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September 2007 Issue

Southern Baptists Rebuilding Homes, Offering Hope

This team has been a witness in our community," New Orleans pastor Fred Luter said after one hundred and twenty volunteers ventured to the still-stricken city from Georgia's African-American Fellowship and Sisters on Mission.

"Our outreach ministry is at work in the neighborhood even though the community is sparse and we have not yet returned to our own facility," said Luter, pastor of the six thousand-member Franklin Avenue Baptist Church that was dispersed by flooding from Hurricane Katrina and now meets in three different locations.

John Mason, pastor of Providence Community Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, led the team of one hundred and twenty construction and evangelism volunteers from eight Georgia churches.

Regardless of the challenge they faced, Mason said the Georgia churches would be blessed by their ministry in New Orleans. "A mission-minded church," he noted, "has fewer problems on the inside when they are mini...

For the four hundred-member "Carolina Mission Team" in New Orleans — Operation NOAH Rebuild's largest group of volunteers ever — changing the world might not seem so tall an order.

"Sometimes kids don't think they can change the world until they have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than they've ever imagined," said Jeff Gray, youth minister at Willow Ridge Church in Lexington, South Carolina, one of nine Carolina churches represented on the trip.

In an initiative as big as the team itself, the group worked with NOAH — the North American Mission Board partnership with Louisiana Baptists to rebuild homes and share the Gospel in New Orleans — to tackle dozens of work orders, taking on everything from painting to roofing.

"The Carolina group did a tremendous amount of work for our homeowners," said Steve Gahagan, NOAH construction manager, who originally is from Gre...

More than two hundred volunteers from twelve states surrounded the piers and floor structure at 1800 Bartholomew Street in New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward on June 11 to witness the wall-raising of the forty-first home to be built as part of the Baptist Crossroads Project.

Construction on the new home marked the beginning of a new chapter in the partnership between New Orleans' Habitat for Humanity and the Baptist Crossroads Foundation. Initially, plans for the Baptist Crossroads Project included forty homes in the Upper Ninth Ward. The initiative was the vision of David Crosby, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans.

In 2004, long before Hurricane Katrina, Crosby heard New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin say that home ownership is the most effective way of lifting a family out of poverty. Crosby prayed for guidance, and soon, he and his church began making plans to build forty homes. The Baptist Crossroads Proj...

If you have been reading this column for the past year, you are aware that we have been looking at the characteristics of a Kingdom-centered church. None of the eight characteristics that we have covered are goals in and of themselves, but they are character traits which the Holy Spirit molds together in the church to enable it to accomplish the single goal or purpose given by the King — disciple the nations. Thus it is important that we pause for a moment and reflect together on the unifying mission of the church.

The discipling of the nations is the unifying goal that enables the church to maintain focus and balance. Some churches are known for exciting worship, but they are weak when it comes to evangelism or discipleship. Others are known for doctrinal integrity but do little to work with oth...

From His Convention Message to the Southern Baptist Convention, June 13, 2007

I have stated over and over that Ed Stetzer's Convention address was truly one of the great high points of the San Antonio Convention for me. I was deeply thrilled at his balance, biblical content, and prophetic power. His words were challenging, convicting, and powerful. I encourage all Southern Baptists to review them carefully and to see if we might come together in agreement that Ed's comments strike to the very heart of who we are and where we need to be.

Dr. Frank Page
President of the Southern Baptist Convention

I'd like you to take your Bible and turn with me to Acts chapter 16. We're going to look at the story of a journey and a vision. Our message title is "Come Over and Help Us." In that simple phrase, we find some ...

First Baptist Woodstock

According to Pastor Johnny Hunt, at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, missions is not a sideshow, it's the main event.

"It's not something we do 'in addition.' As a matter of fact, we don't even refer to it as missions, we call it 'the mission,'" Hunt said. "It's just singular in that this is what the church is all about — the Great Commission is getting the Gospel to the nations."

When Hunt became pastor of First Baptist Woodstock twenty-one years ago, the church was one hundred and fifty years old, gave $30,000 to missions each year, and had no record of anyone ever going into missions through the church's ministry.

"It's just where we were. But we were a five-star c...

An Interview with Daniel L. Akin

This summer, Broadman & Holman released a new textbook on theology entitled A Theology for the Church. The book was edited by Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and it has contributions from some of the best known names in Southern Baptist life in the field of theology. This is the first compendium of theological topics produced by Broadman & Holman and written by Southern Baptists in more than fifty years. What follows is an interview between SBC LIFE and Dr. Akin. SBC LIFE wanted to know why Dr. Akin and the contributors to this book believe theology is important for the church and why it is especially crucial at this particular juncture in Southern Baptist life.

SBC LIFE Why do you feel it is necessary for churches to focus on theology?

Akin Theology enables God's people to think correctly and live rightly...

Hours from any city, traveling on roads he could only describe as "horrible," Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page recently saw first-hand how Southern Baptist representatives are partnering to provide clean drinking water to a highly remote, nomadic people in northern Kenya.

"It was great to see the hands-on ministry and the relationships that are developing out of that," Page said, noting the acceptance and trust the efforts have built in the area for Southern Baptist representatives. "They are a people in need of the Lord and the Gospel, and meeting human needs is a great entree for that."

Now two International Mission Board regions — the West Africa region and the Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa (CESA) region — are working together to mobilize so-called millennium (twenty-something) Southern Baptists to address spiritual and physical needs across the continent of Africa. Still in the development stages, the pr...

On Personal and Corporate Repentance

WHEREAS, The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Frank Page, has reminded Southern Baptists of God's call to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways so that our land can be healed (2 Chronicles 7:14); and

WHEREAS, Spiritual awakening and renewal are not possible where pride, disobedience, bitterness, enmity, and strife exist (Isaiah 59:1-2); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach us that we should "be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:8-9, HCSB); and

WHEREAS, God's Word teaches, "All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kin...

Are You in One of Those Places?

Have you been frustrated because you are in an area where it is especially difficult to share the Gospel? Consider this testimony from Mark Keith, the Director of Evangelism for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.

I heard Bobby Welch speaking one time at our Utah-Idaho State Evangelism Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, and someone made the comment that the FAITH Evangelism Strategy would not work in Utah. In one of his messages, Brother Bobby commented on this shared opinion. He then told us that if you knocked on ten doors in Salt Lake City and shared the Gospel, at least one person would come to faith in Christ.

I next went to a FAITH meeting in Salt Lake City, and on Thursday night we went out to share the Gospel. We knocked on ten doors, and out of that number, one person prayed to receive Christ! What Brother Bobby told us was true! Intentional evangelism works even in difficult places.

The Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention did some res...

A mournful-looking guy walked into a bar and asked for a shot of whiskey — straight. He gulped it down, then pounded on the bar for two more. The bartender looked at him quizzically and said, "Buddy, you'll be in a mess of trouble if you down a couple more of those. Slow down a bit." The unhappy boozer replied, "Hey, living dangerously is in my blood. Twenty years ago my dad was the first guy to ever jump from a plane two thousand feet up without a parachute. Ten years later my brother was the second man to ever do it. A couple of years ago my mother was the first woman to jump out of a plane at three thousand feet without a parachute, and tomorrow I'll be the first to jump out of a jumbo jet without a parachute." The incredulous bartender said, "That's crazy! Don't you know that you could be killed?" "Of course," the customer replied, "but what have I got to live for? I've got no father, no mother, no brother ...."...

Clinton Pledges to be 'Partner' with Gays
by Michael Foust

Appearing at an historic Democratic presidential forum on homosexual issues on August 9, leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said she hopes to be a partner with the homosexual community if elected president and pledged to work on a broad range of like-minded issues upon taking office, including passage of a civil unions bill and repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't" tell policy.
In addition, and possibly for the first time in a public setting, she said she opposes state constitutional marriage amendments, which protect the natural definition of marriage and which a majority of states in recent years have adopted.
It was the first time the leading candidates from a major party appeared on one stage to discuss issues important to the homosexual commu...