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January 2007 Issue

For Young Mothers Facing Life or Death Decisions

She stands over the sink, gripping the counter as she steadies her knees. The churning in her stomach begins to subside. A splash of cold water helps wash away the tears. She reaches over and grabs the tiny stick showing a dark pink line. Engulfed in a cloud of fear and anxiety she asks herself: What do I do now?

Each year in the United States nearly 1 million teenage women (10 percent of all women ages 15-19) become pregnant. Many Southern Baptist churches are discovering this is a perfect time to come alongside young women to offer help for their needs and offer hope in Jesus Christ. Here's how.

Volunteering

First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, launched a Pregnancy Help Center for young mothers in the community. The church supports the...

Late one Friday afternoon a young mother came into my office, gently placed her infant son in my arms, smiled, and said, "I knew you would want to see him." My heart rejoiced as I looked into his beautiful brown eyes, because you see, this child was supposed to die. The decision had been made, the verdict had been rendered, and the execution date had been set. Thankfully, before the sentence was carried out, the mother came into our center and allowed a volunteer counselor to share with her the love of Jesus Christ.

Consequently, she chose not to abort this precious life within her, and the result of that decision lay nestled in my arms. During the months that followed her initial visit, we helped her find a place to live, provided maternity and baby clothes, and offered unconditional love and accepta...

Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives

Hearing on The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (HR 1833)
March 21, 1996

Editor's note: The following testimony is from almost eleven years ago but is being re-printed here in light of a partial-birth abortion case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Please be aware that the descriptions are graphic and troubling.

Mr. Chairman and honorable members of the Judiciary Committee, I am Brenda Pratt Shafer. I am here before you, at the request of the Committee, to relate to you my experience as an eyewitness to what is now known as the partial-birth abortion procedure.

I am a registered nurse, licensed in the State of Ohio, with 14 years of experience. In 1993, I was employed by Kimberly Quality Care, a nursing agency in Dayton, Ohio. In S...

Do They Have the Votes?
Congressional Supporters of Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research are Hopeful

Promoters of embryonic stem cell research are predicting they could have the votes in the next Congress to overcome a presidential veto and provide federal funds for the destructive experimentation.

A more realistic outlook, however, appears to make such a result unlikely.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who will be the Speaker of the House of...

A Turning Point for Pro-Life Democrats?

The election of several pro-life Democrats in the November election may have marked a defining moment in the future of the pro-life movement in the party, the head of Democrats for Life of America says.

Election Day saw Democrat Bob Casey Jr., son of the late outspoken pro-life Pennsylvania governor and a pro-lifer himself, win a U.S. Senate seat from the Keystone State. In the House, a handful of Democratic pro-life candidates — including Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth — also won. All of them were key to the Democrats taking control of the House and Senate.

Although the Democratic Party is still led by supporters of abortion rights who back the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and although its platform says Democrats "stand proudly for a woman...

What comes to mind when you think about worship? Do you think about something that occurs on Sunday morning, or do you think about the total context of your life? Do you "hear" worship in terms of Southern Gospel melodies, contemporary choruses, or a multiplicity of tongues with strange melodies?

Worship has, in some quarters, become an issue of controversy related to various styles of music. These debates about worship styles are simply another symptom of our spiritual myopia, which evaluates most church events or experiences in terms of what pleases or appeals to us. Worship is not about us! We are not the audience. God is both object and audience, and we are those who participate in worship through the offering of ourselves to the King.

Our myopic thinking, which judges worship on wheth...

Morningside Baptist Church had fallen on hard times. On paper, Morningside's budget called for 10 percent of church members' gifts to be channeled through the Cooperative Program, but often that check wasn't written. Each month's local expenses — water, electricity, telephone, mortgage, and the like — were maxing out its income.

During one church business meeting, which was held in the fellowship hall to save money by not air conditioning the larger worship center in midweek, longtime church member Gladys Armbruster challenged the Yuma, Arizona, congregation.

"Until the church puts missions giving first — like God wants us to tithe first — God is not going to bless the church financially," Armbruster said.

The church heeded her words and began sending in its Cooperative Program check first each week.

"Our treasurer still does that today," said pastor Gilbert Taeger of the church's turning ...

On any Sunday, you could walk into almost any Southern Baptist church in America and enjoy doughnuts and coffee before Sunday School, a potluck dinner on the grounds after the morning worship service, or an ice cream social in the evening. Many of our church activities are centered on food. Food is a gift provided to us by God to enjoy and to sustain our physical bodies. But are we overdoing it?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is now the number one health threat facing Americans — and the church is certainly not immune.

A new study recently published by Purdue University Professor Ken Ferraro examined the relationships between religion and both body mass index (BMI) and obesity. The study found that church members tend to be more overweight than the general population, and Baptists, including Southern Baptists, have the distinction of being the most overweight religious group in the study.

Unfortunately, our own ...

Each year many Southern Baptists participate in our Convention's nominations process, and that energy and activity, in turn, causes many others to want to learn more about it. This sort of widespread interest and involvement is a healthy thing and is anticipated by the SBC's governing documents. The nominations process is most visible at each annual meeting, but it begins well in advance of that and is not easily understood by mere observation. The Committee on Nominations will be meeting March 15-16, 2007. This article has been reprised and revised to help more Southern Baptists better understand and participate in this vital aspect of Convention work.

Generally, the process described in the SBC Bylaws is as follows: 1) The president of the Southern Baptist Convention appoints the Committee on Committees; 2) The Committee on Committees nominates the Committee on Nominations [two members from each qualified state or region] to the messengers attending the next annual meetin...

January 2007 is here — already! How did you do on last year's resolutions? Have you quit even trying to make them? I totally believe in making resolutions because it makes me think about what is important in my life and what I need to change. Do I always make it to the next year? A lot of times, no, but I start, I focus, and I begin.

I challenge you to make a resolution/covenant with our Lord to do better in reaching people and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with your world — not everybody else's world, just those the Lord puts in front of you. To do that you will have to have your "spiritual antenna" up and working. Calvin Naylor, pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Russellville, Kentucky, did just that. The opportunities came from strange places, but he was ready and he is training his church to be ready.

I am a pastor of a small but growing, rural church. Since starting our evangelism training two years ago, we hav...

It is that time again. People are talking about resolutions. This year I'm going to burn off those Christmas desserts, tear up the credit cards, and live a wonderful life. One pastor's New Year's resolution was to get to know his deacons. His next year's resolution was to find a new church. Are resolutions a pointless ritual initiated by calendars or a great time to reconsider our own lives and reset our course?

The fact is that the celebration of the next year is a great time to examine the old one. This examination can be called a personal inventory or a cost analysis. Many successful people do what is called "zero-based" thinking in which they examine all that they are doing to see what is working and what is not. In our language it would be choosing between examining your life according to truth or continuing in the tradition of how you have always done it.

I am actually a psychic psychologist. I can look into your future. It will be just li...

"Tweens" Are the New Teenagers

Parents who think their children are growing up too fast may not be simply lamenting the passage of time.

Child development experts agree that physical and emotional changes that would have happened to teenagers years ago are now common among children age eight to twelve, or "tweens," according to the Associated Press.

Children have easier access to contemporary influences that parents don't approve of, such as images of sex, violence, and adult humor in movies, music, video games, television shows, and Web sites. Some kids start dating at earlier ages and carry cell phones, AP said, and girls wear makeup and clothing that is well beyond their years. Many tweens are increasingly disrespectful of their parents.

"The shift that's turning tweens into the new teens is complex...