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November 2008 Issue

Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, called for a "Great Commission resurgence," a renewed zeal for proclaiming the Gospel similar to the fervor that went into the fight for biblical orthodoxy in recent decades.

During his first presidential address to the SBC Executive Committee in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 22, Hunt quoted Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, who said, "When there was a theological drift, we corrected it. We must now correct our Great Commission drift."

"When you win less people to Jesus, you're drifting from the Great Commission," Hunt said, referring to the mandate Jesus gave His disciples at the end of Matthew 28 and to Southern Baptists' less than ideal baptism numbers.

Hunt also quoted Chuck Lawless, dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, who said, "We have stood...

Making Excellent Progress at Home and Abroad

Southern Baptists are making excellent progress, both at home and abroad, in special emphases that encourage congregational vitality and promote partnership with like-minded believers around the world, Morris H. Chapman told the SBC Executive Committee during the group's September 22-23 meeting in Nashville.

During his reporting time on September 22, Chapman, the Executive Committee's president and chief executive officer, called on three staff executives to give updates on the progress of Executive Committee initiatives: Empowering Kingdom Growth, It's a New Day, and Global Evangelical Relations.

Empowering Kingdom Growth

Ken Hemphill, national strategist for the Empowering Kingdom Growth emphasis, told Executive Committee members he had been involved in about 650 EKG events in the five years since the emphasis was launched. He descr...

Business Conducted

The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee unanimously passed a recommendation September 23 giving pre-approval for any SBC entity to transfer funds to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to assist in its ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

The action was taken to assure compliance with Article XVI of the SBC's Business and Financial Plan.

New Orleans Seminary President Chuck Kelley told the Executive Committee's Cooperative Program subcommittee earlier in the day that rising costs in insurance and utilities have made recovering from Katrina more costly than initially envisioned. Kelley had requested that the subcommittee recommend approval of a special allocation of $500,000 out of any Cooperati...

Jesus Christ ~ The Eternal Son Who is Fully God
The identity of Jesus Christ is absolutely essential for a genuine Christian Gospel.
Grandview Baptist Church

During the six weeks of Grace Works this summer, more than eighty Alaskans made professions of faith.

Grace Works, a new multi-week initiative of Grandview Baptist Church, had a dual purpose of engaging in ministry evangelism to people in Anchorage and providing a missions project available to teams from the "lower 48."

Developed by Grandview pastor Randy Graham and implemented by Scott Kirby and Traci Warren, Grace Works is the latest in a long list of mission endeavors by Grandview, which was started in 1952 on a foundation of missions and the Cooperative Program (CP).

"It's all about cooperation," Graham said. "There's strength in numbers. That's what makes the Cooperative Program ...

The California Marriage Amendment

A proposed constitutional marriage amendment in California took a lead in a recent statewide poll days after supporters of the proposal began airing their first statewide television ad.

The amendment, known as Proposition 8, led 47-42 percent in the SurveyUSA poll, which was conducted October 4-5 among 670 likely voters for four California TV stations. Although the poll put the amendment below 50 percent — not a good position for an initiative — it nonetheless was the first public poll in more than four months to show Proposition 8 ahead, and could reflect the impact of the new advertisement. Supporters also note that marriage amendments typically outperform polls on Election Day. In late September, a SurveyUSA poll had the amendment trailing, 49-44 percent.

If passed, the amendment would reverse the May decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing "gay marriage."

The thirty-second ad opens by showing San Francisco Mayor ...

For more than sixty years, evangelist Billy Graham has preached the Good News of God's love to nearly 215 million people at hundreds of events and countless millions more via television and radio. Now, all of the individuals, churches, and ministries he impacted have been given a unique opportunity to say something in return.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) announced in early October that it was collecting stories and birthday wishes for the evangelist, who turns 90 on November 7, 2008. All who have been personally touched by an aspect of Billy Graham's ministry have been encouraged to visit www.billygraham90.com to share a greeting or a personal story about his ministry they feel would encourage him at this milestone. The official target date for submissions is November 1, but a spokesman for the BGEA indicated that greetings will be accepted through early November.

"My father is a humble man who would never expect to be honored and recogniz...

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

What should a seminary be doing to prepare those called to minister in the twenty-first century? New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president Chuck Kelley has challenged the seminary's administration and faculty to "reinvent seminary for the twenty-first century."

"We believe that the seminary of the twenty-first century needs to pay closer attention to how church is done in today's world than how seminary was done in the past," said Kelley. For NOBTS, the seminary of the future will offer a cafeteria of options — traditional campus-based programs, extension center programs, online programs, and mentorship programs.

One aspect of reinventing seminary for the twenty-first century is to accelerate online course offerings and to offer new online certificates. The seminary currently offers six online undergraduate certificate programs and degree completion for undergraduate students in Christian ministry, as well as five graduate online ...

Besides the mammoth Southern Baptist disaster relief response mounted in Louisiana and Texas after Hurricane Ike, several Baptist state conventions also have deployed volunteers in their own backyards — even as far inland as Ohio.

"It was the perfect storm here in the Cincinnati area," said Dennis Holmes, associational missionary for the Baptist Association of Greater Cincinnati. "When the remnants of Hurricane Ike met up with a cold front, it was the perfect condition. It was worse than any ice storm."

Holmes said winds spiked at 84 mph, felling trees by the dozens and knocking power out for more than 1 million people — 800,000 of them in Cincinnati alone.

"Most of the wind came through Cincinnati, Columbus, Lebanon, and into the Dayton area," said Duane Floro, ministry evangelism strategist for the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.

Floro said disaster relief chainsaw teams were activated east of Cincinnat...

This testimony from Debbie Beebe of Fairfield Baptist Church in Eugene, Oregon, where Alan Gayle is pastor, reminds us that we do not always harvest souls the Lord puts in front of us. Sometimes they need preparation to open their hearts for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. With that in mind, remember that Thanksgiving is an excellent time to at least plant some seeds with lost friends and family members. We might hesitate, thinking, "He or she will never let me share with them — they won't become Christians," but actually it may be that we are just intimidated to share for fear of rejection. We may view it as a "giant" that threatens to defeat us.

I love the song by Casting Crowns, "The Voice of Truth." It refers to David facing the giant and talks about stepping out of our comfort zone even when Satan keeps reminding us of the times we have failed. But the voice of truth tells us a different story; do not be afraid!

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I asked a man why he had lost his job. He responded that the company had put him on "maturity leave." In other words, he needed to grow up. Some people are concerned that no one in America is growing up. John Leo wrote an article entitled "Where Did All of the Grownups Go?" Noel Coward wrote a song called What's Going to Happen to the Children When There Aren't Any Grownups? There is also a book entitled The Sibling Society by Robert Bly. It makes the case that we have become a sibling society — just kid-to-kid — and no one is growing up.

You ladies can probably relate to the woman who asked, "Do you have anything suitable for a twelve-year-old? It's my husband's birthday." Some would say that the difference between a man and a savings bond is that a savings bond eventually matures. It seems our society is not growing up. We are doing a lot of childish things — even in church. Is there a real difference in...

USCIRF Urges Action on Burma and Kazakhstan

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has urged the federal government to promote democracy, human rights, and religious freedom for people in Kazakhstan and Burma.

Amendments approved in 2005 to Kazakhstan laws require religious organizations to register under the regional and national Ministry of Justice offices. USCIRF is concerned a recent draft law that is advancing in the Kazakh parliament will restrict religious communities.

Burmese citizens continue to suffer more than a year after their repressive military junta used violence to crack down on peaceful protests over the government's drastic increase in fuel prices. Thousands of Buddhist monks joined those demonstrations. The military put an end to the protests in late September 2007 by killing, beating, and jailing protesters, including monks.

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