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May 2007 Issue

An estimated two thousand Southern Baptist volunteers will flock to San Antonio during the first week of June, when Crossover San Antonio comes to town in advance of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, June 12-13.

Crossover — now in its nineteenth year — is officially June 9-10 and will be a comprehensive campaign to reach a significant segment of San Antonio's unchurched population, says Don Smith, national Crossover coordinator for the North American Mission Board (NAMB).

NAMB is jointly sponsoring Crossover San Antonio with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and the San Antonio Baptist Association.

During the week and weekend leading up to the SBC's annual meeting, volunteers — representing dozens of SBC churches in San Antonio and around the nation — will take the ...

In this edition of SBC LIFE, you will see a variety of opportunities for the upcoming Convention. I would like to encourage all Southern Baptists to give serious consideration to their attendance at our Convention, as well as involvement in as many of the opportunities as possible. Most of all, please pray for our upcoming Convention and its activities.

I encourage all Southern Baptists to seriously consider being a part of the evangelistic outreach, Crossover San Antonio, which will be held prior to the Convention's activities. Many can be led to Christ during this time.

For almost one year I have been stating that Baptists have for too long been known for what we are against, but now it is time to be known for what we are for! Wouldn't it be great for the people in our nation to see a body of believers meeting in San Antonio, Texas, with the singular purpose of leading the lost to Christ? Wouldn't it be wonderful for our nation to witness ...

"Houston, we have a problem!" Do you remember those words? Thus began one of the great crises-to-success stories in recent history. A space shuttle in great peril was saved by a team of people determined to find a solution.

We have a stewardship problem. Perhaps you are familiar with it. It begins with spending. The average American couple spends $1.20 for every dollar they earn. This in turn has led to a debt problem. In June 2002, the Federal Reserve reported that the total amount of consumer debt was $1.685 trillion. Six hundred billion of that was credit card debt. The repayment of this debt consumes 14 percent of the average family's budget. These two factors have joined with others to create the "Perfect Storm" for the issue of stewardship through the local church.

Among a...

President and Chief Executive Officer of the SBC Executive Committee

Editor's Note: In March, Dr. Steve Lempke, the interim director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, invited Morris Chapman to respond to ten questions for posting on the Center's blog site, "The Baptist Blog." The following are the questions and answers as they appeared on the site.

What do you see as the greatest strength of the Southern Baptist Convention right now?

The passion for, experience with, and funding of world missions has been and is the greatest strength of the Southern Baptist Convention. In Southern Baptist churches, God continues to stir the hearts of increasing numbers of church members of all ages to go wherever He leads to witness to the sav...

Enabling Each Church to Join Hands with 16 Million Baptists

"It would not be possible for a church our size to put a missionary in Brazil or West Africa; the start-up costs would be prohibitive," pastor Mike Moody says. "But when we collectively work with 16 million Southern Baptists, we can do it."

Moody is pastor of First Baptist Church in Honea Path, South Carolina, where about four hundred people attend Sunday worship services.

By giving through the Cooperative Program, Moody noted that First Baptist is assisting more than five thousand missionaries who are working to share the Gospel among some twelve hundred people groups around the world. In North America, he added, the church's CP gifts are helping start some seventeen hundred new churches each year at a time when, as Moody put it, "the world has come to us. You don't have to go far to find Hispanic communities, Asian communities, African communities [in need of the Gospel].

"The Great Commission basically tells us to go and...

Mandisa Hundley, one of last year's American Idol finalists, doesn't want any regrets.

And that includes missions. Mandisa (who uses her first name) marvels at how missionaries "work day after day ... that the body of Christ can be built up."

So, she's ready to do "anything that I can do" for missions — which is why she readily agreed to host the most recent volume of Missionary Moments Video Vignettes.

The video missions segments, now in their sixth year, highlight the work of six international and six North American missionaries supported by prayers and Southern Baptists' gifts through the Cooperative Program.

Suggested uses of Missionary Moments Video Vignettes — each hosted by Mandisa and less than three minutes in length — include highlighting the Cooperative Program in morning, evening, or midweek worship services; during offering times or as sermon illustrations; in Sunday...

San Antonio, Texas

Tuesday Morning, June 12

Lord, Transform Your Churches

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it. ~ Matthew 16:18 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

8:00 Inspirational Music - The Exaltation Choir, Gary Hallquist, minister of music and worship, Taylors First Baptist Church, Taylors, SC, and Worship Team and Band, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA

8:10 Congregational Praise and Worship - Scott C. White, Convention music director, senior minister of music and worship, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA

8:15 Call to Order - Frank Page, president, Southern Baptist Convention, pastor, Taylors First Baptist...

Pastors' Conference
June 10-12, 2007
San Antonio, Texas

Sunday Evening, June 10

Lord, We Love You and Embrace Your Mission

5:40 Worship through Music

6:00 Introduction, Recognitions, and Prayer

6:10 Worship through Music

6:20 Message - Roger Spradlin, "By Being Encouraged in Your Calling"

6:50 Worship through Music

6:55 Testimony - Paige Patterson, "Christ's Victory in Spite of Opposition"

7:10 Worship through Music

7:20 Message - Jerry Vines, "By Evangelizing Your World"

Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelization

No father should have to bury a son.

But the world can be a sad place — particularly the piece of it called Udmurtia (ood-MER-ti-yah) in the foothills of Russia's Ural Mountains. On a spring day there last year, Leonid touched his son Yevgeny's cold, pale cheek for the last time and wept as Yevgeny was lowered into the silent ground.

Yevgeny, 21, hanged himself after a drinking binge. It was the third suicide of the year in the tiny Udmurt (OOD-mert) village of thirty families.

Why? Hopelessness. Aimlessness. Spiritual poverty.

"Young people want everything and they want it now," Leonid says, sitting at his kitchen table a few months later. "My son was that way. They watch TV and can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality. With no work, all they do is drink."

The gulf between soaring expectations and grim, jobless reality overwhelms some young Udmurts. They brood, drink, sniff glue, become depr...

It's a New Day!

The first of several conferences teaching pastors the basics of debt-free living — named It's A New Day: How Will You Spend It? — aims at "liberating people from the bondage of debt," according to one of its organizers.

The new focus is not another capital campaign or a new way to raise Cooperative Program funds to support Southern Baptist missions and ministries.

Tackling financial bondage will help people "choose who to serve, because if they are in bondage to debt...they are not free to choose to serve God," Bob Rodgers, the SBC Executive Committee's vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship, said in a panel discussion during the March 22-23 conference in Orlando, Florida.

The initiative is tailor-made for Southern Baptists in a collaborative relationship with Crown Financial Ministries. Last year, messengers to the SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, voted to move the ministry assignme...

Can God use shy people to boldly proclaim the Gospel? You might not think so, but consider this account from Dr. Roger Ferguson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.

I continue to marvel how God uses people who make themselves available to Him. Jackie is that kind of person. She is shy by nature, yet she dared to believe God could use her to share the Gospel.

One night in FAITH evangelism training we went to share with a couple that had visited the church. We saw from the license plates on their cars they were from California. This "20-something" couple moved here from Redondo Beach to open an office for his company. We saw their surfboards and knew they were experiencing "culture shock" after moving to Oklahoma.

The conversation turned to spiritual things, and I asked them, "In your personal opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?" The wife gave a faith answer, but the husband was trus...

One great thing about having seven grandkids is that I'm able to watch kid's movies over and over again. There's a movie about talking cars they enjoy watching. It's called Cars. It involves a hot-shot rookie race car called Lightning McQueen. He is living life in the fast lane until he hits a detour. He ends up stranded in Radiator Springs, a forgotten town on the old Route 66. There's not a Baptist church in Radiator Springs, but he does meet some quirky characters that help him discover that there's more to life than trophies and fame. I relate well to the conversations of the cars because they represent life lessons with laughter on a ten-year-old level. I relate well because that is how most people describe my articles.

Let's imagine you're a car. First, take a look at yourself. Do you stay washed and shiny? I have a friend who drives classic cars. When I am with him, people surround us to see the car. People really are impressed with someth...

San Francisco to California High Court: "Legalize 'Gay Marriage!'"

The city of San Francisco joined a host of liberal activist groups April 2 in filing legal briefs asking the California Supreme Court to overturn the state's current laws and legalize "gay marriage."

The justices will hear oral arguments later this year or early next year in the case, which could have a significant impact on the rest of the country if marriage is redefined in the nation's most populous state. A California appeals court ruled against "gay marriage" last October.

At issue is a California law passed by voters in 2000 that protects the natural, traditional definition of marriage. Known as Proposition 22, it passed with 61 percent of the vote. The state also has other laws on the books that define marriage as between a man and a woman.

"The marriage ...