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June 2008 Issue

Fulfilling the mission Christ gave His followers — bringing lost souls into God's Kingdom — will be the focus of the 151st session of the Southern Baptist Convention when it convenes June 10-11 at the Indiana Convention Center.

The meeting will extend a theme of spiritual awakening that has characterized the tenure of Frank Page as SBC president, pressing on to the evangelistic outreach that flows naturally from renewal.

"The motivation and power for evangelism arises out of spiritual awakening," said Page, who is completing his second term as SBC president. "I keep going back to Acts 1:8, which says, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And when we have been stirred by God's Spirit, we reach out to the lost and God draws people to Himself."

That's why Page said he selected Acts 2:47b as the watchword for the gathering: And every day the Lord added to them those who were being save...

I have a sense of God's never-failing presence in my daily life through my relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son and my Savior.

Prayer will be a central component behind this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis.

This year's prayer emphasis at the Southern Baptist Convention has been boosted by the efforts of Indianapolis-area pastors who have caught a vision of what can happen when people spend more time praying.

At last year's meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, a first-of-its-kind prayer room featured videos, maps, and other visual aids along with Bible verses, specific requests, and journals to facilitate prayer. The room was filled throughout the annual meeting, and the results were overwhelming, Dale Eakes, this year's SBC prayer team coordinator, told Baptist Press.

"Churches are discovering more creative and innovative ways to incorporate prayer into their congregations," said Eakes, pastor of Warren Baptist Church in Indianapolis. "A local pastor shared with me that his church knew what worship ...

Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas L. Carver will be the featured speaker at the Chaplain's Luncheon on June 9.

Last June, Carver became the first Southern Baptist since 1954 to lead the U.S. Army's chaplains when he was promoted to a two-star general.

The luncheon, from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday, will be held in the Indiana Convention Center's Sagamore Ballroom 7 on Level 2.

Carver, a native of Rome, Georgia, grew up in a Christian home prior to graduating from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor's degree and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an M.Div. He also holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the Army War College. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, he has pastored churches in Kentucky, Colorado, and Virginia.

The North American Mission Board's Missional Network will hold a dinner and discussion on Monday, June 9 at Buca di Beppo restaurant in Indianapolis. Participating in a panel d...

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's president, Jeff Iorg, will be the featured speaker at the seminary's annual Alumni and Friends Luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, in Rooms 208-209 at the Indiana Convention Center.

Iorg's report will include an overview of plans for the seminary through 2010. In addition, the seminary's distinguished alumni award will be presented.

Tickets, at $10 per person, can be ordered by calling 1-888-442-8709. Tickets also will be available at the seminary's booth in the SBC exhibit hall.

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will host its annual Alumni & Friends Luncheon at noon Wednesday, June 11, at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, in Marriott Ballrooms 7-10 on Level 2, across the street from the conve...

When Southern Baptists hold their annual meeting, plenty goes on beyond the voting and presentations during the Tuesday-Wednesday sessions held in the local convention center.

The SBC exhibit hall, for example, will be a hub of activity as much as ever. It will be open from Monday through Wednesday, June 9-11.

International Mission Board

The IMB booth at the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting will help individual Southern Baptists and their churches explore the question, "What will it take for church planting to begin among the remaining 3,340 people groups where no one is advancing the Gospel?"

The mission board estimates that reaching these people groups will require a missionary force eight thousand strong (s...

Protecting Our Children

I have lived with a secret for most of my life, but recently I revealed this secret to members of my family and church. I know many others are living with the same secret and they, like me, are suffering from the damage and pain it causes.

I was born into a pastor's home, the sixth of nine children and the only girl. We, of course, attended church regularly and seemed to be the normal pastor's family.

I accepted Jesus C...

Protecting Our Children

Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17 NIV).

The tragedy of child abuse needs no magnification, but it is indeed magnified when God's people do not take appropriate action to prevent it, or worse, if they fail to take appropriate action when it is discovered in their midst. It seems that common sense, and a sense of common decency, would move us to address such things; but alas, we are not always sufficiently motivated by these. Consider, ...

Protecting Our Children

Several years before coming to work for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention I worked as a Child Protective Services (CPS) worker, and later as an Adult Probation Officer with a specialized sex offender caseload in Texas. Based on my experience as a professional in this realm, I can assure you that child abuse in the form of sexual molestation is very real. I have conducted hundreds of investigations and interviews with victims, child molesters, and numerous mental health counselors over the years. And yes, such child ab...

Protecting Our Children

It is difficult for us to grasp and accept the fact that the evil of child sexual abuse exists in our midst — it is even more difficult to accept the prospect that it is prevalent today — yet that is what the statistics are showing. Consider the following reports:

"It is estimated that one in three girls and one in six boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before they are eighteen years old" (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1993).

"The typical child sex offender molests an aver...

Protecting Our Children

As dreadful and wretched as it seems, it has become common to hear horrific reports of children being harmed or abused by someone with a prior record of this kind of behavior. Even more horrific, some of these accounts have been connected to churches. The reality is no denomination is exempt from the risk of predators seeking to exploit those who are most vulnerable. In fact, some predators specifically choose to use the trusted environment of a church community to satisfy their vile appetites. Because Southern Baptist churches are entirely autonomous and independent of any outside ecclesiastical authorities or hierarchies, each one must take responsibility for protecting their children from such attacks.

As a Southern Baptist, the father of two boys (ages 11 and 13), the teacher of a middle-school Sunday School class, and president of a national background screening company, I have a very unique and personal view on how potentially dangerous this threat is. From that vantage point...

Protecting Our Children

When child abuse (physical or sexual) is experienced, suspected, or discovered, the information needs to be shared with someone in a position to protect the child. This is a matter of biblical instruction and legal responsibility. Any suspected or known abuse needs to be reported immediately upon learning of the alleged incident(s).

Reporting to Public Authorities

Child Welfare Information Gateway is a service of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). DHHS is the primary child protection agency of the federal government. Its Information Gateway can be accessed at http://www.childwelfare.gov. This site provides information about who in your state is required by law to report, how to report, and to whom a report should be made. It also provides information about special rules related to ministerial confidentiality. It even gives a telephone number where one may call for advice on how to proceed.

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Protecting Our Children

In addition to the sex abuse prevention resources posted on the Executive Committee's sbc.net, many Baptist state conventions have posted resources on their Web sites as well. State conventions have offered or are offering the following types of helps to their affiliated churches.

1 Most state conventions have designated a state convention employee or an office of convention ministry to assist individuals or churches who desire to develop policies, find resources, or take other appropriate steps to safeguard the children under their care.

2 Many state conventions have conducted training seminars with churches and/or associations to help highlight steps to safeguard children. These have included presentations on risk management by insurance carriers, conferences led by certified counselors in the area of sex abuse and prevention, training events conducted by age-graded specialis...

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

For the past one hundred years, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has experienced many challenges and victories, but through it all a pervasive heart for spreading the Gospel has remained central and propels the seminary into its next century of service. This zeal for evangelism is demonstrated in each of the seminary's eight presidents, who then challenged faculty and students to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

When Southwestern was founded in 1908 by B.H. Carroll, his passion for evangelism compelled him to create the first-ever chair of evangelism in a seminary, and he had one person in mind for the position: Lee Rutland (L.R.) Scarborough, a fiery evangelist and pastor of First Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas. When Carroll's health began to fail him, Scarborough assumed administrative responsibilities of the seminary and became the school's second president upon Carroll's death in 1914.

From Scarborough's early days as an unknown ...

By the time the polls closed on Election Day 2000, over 75 million American adults who had the right to vote had not voted — 40 percent of those eligible to vote. According to Census Bureau numbers, three-quarters of those individuals (56.8 million) hadn't even bothered to register to vote.

Those numbers concerned Richard Land and were the impetus behind the development of iVoteValues.com, an initiative to register and educate voters launched by the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in 2004. Land is president of the ERLC.

The goal of the "grassroots voter mobilization and education effort" again this year is to register previously unregistered but eligible Americans for the 2008 election cycle. The initiative also will work to promote an awareness of the immediate and long-term importance of "values-based voting." The effort's linchpin: the iVoteValues.com Web site.

While voter turnout among reg...

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Following weeks of controversy about not only its content but its filming and production, Ben Stein's documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed finished its opening weekend in April in the Top Ten among all movies that weekend.

The ninety-minute movie (PG, thematic elements, very brief language) explores the ongoing academic, legal, and cultural battle between supporters of Darwinian evolution and Intelligent Design, which is the belief that certain aspects of the world are so complex that they are best explained as having been created by an intelligent being, instead of by a random process. Stein talks to people on both sides of the debate, and in a climactic scene, interviews noted atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins.

The movie's premise is simple: Supporters of Intelligent Design are being &qu...

In my role as Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations, I've had the great blessing, several times, to be with North America Mission Board's Keith Travis (Retired Colonel) who has the responsibility for the Southern Baptist Convention's Chaplain's Ministry. God bless NAMB, Dr. Geoff Hammond, and Keith Travis, because through their hard work and the Lord's blessings God truly is, in many ways, blessing our soldiers.

The following is an encouraging account that I heard when I was with Col. Travis and some of our Navy and Marine personnel at Parris Island, South Carolina. This account is from Jason Rochester, a Navy Chaplain serving at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot there.

One of the requirements for military chaplains is having an M.Div. degree. So, because I knew the Lord was calling me into this full time ministry, I enrolled at Southern Seminary after college.

While in school, God gave me the great privilege of serving on sta...

It hit me the other day! Actually I hit it. My caddy said to spank the ball down the middle. I shanked it to the left. We finally found it hidden in the rough, and I told the caddy that this surely could not be my ball. This ball was way too old. He replied that it had been a really long time since we had teed off. Okay — so it's my ball. I do have a shot, though, and the only thing between me and the green was a small branch.

Trees are 90 percent air so all I had to do was to aim for that small branch. I would never hit such a tiny object and then my ball would be on the green. That's when it hit me — the golf ball, that is. That tiny ball hit that small branch, and it came right back at me. The caddy said that was a penalty. I told him it was a foul ball. That happens to Derek Jeter of the Yankees all the time.

So then I line up for another shot. There is no way I can hit that small branch twice. Folks, I'm here to tell you that miracles do happe...

Tithing in the U.S.

The United States is supposedly the most generous nation on the planet, but only 5 percent of American adults donated 10 percent or more of their income to churches and charitable groups last year, according to a study by George Barna's research organization.

Within the randomly selected group of 1,006 adults surveyed, Christians tended to give more than others, The Barna Group said in a news release in mid-April.

"Among the most generous segments were evangelicals (24 percent of whom tithed); conservatives (12 percent); people who had prayed, read the Bible, and attended a church service during the past week (12 percent); charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (11 percent); and registered Republicans (10 percent)," Barna said.

The segments of society who were highly unlikely to tithe included people under the age of 25, atheists and agnostics, ...