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October 2009 Issue

My Vision for the Year 2009-2010

Morris H. Chapman's Address to the SBC Executive Committee September 21, 2009

During my final year in office as president of the Executive Committee of the SBC, I would like to announce a prayer initiative to support the Great Commission Resurgence. Many of us have longed for a Spiritual Awakening — a true Holy Spirit empowered, culture-changing anointing of God upon His people and our land. This prayer initiative is simple in application, yet its potential impact is profound. I am asking you as members of the Executive Committee, executive staff, entity heads, and guests to join me in praying daily for "Just One More Soul."

Seventy years ago, B. B. McKinney wrote these powerful lyrics:

Lord lay some soul upon my heart and love that soul through me;
and may I bravely do my part to win that soul for Thee.

You will notice that these lyrics properly relegate the winning of each...

September 21, 2009

Dr. Randall James, Chairman and
Members of the Executive Committee
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Dear Dr. James and Members of the Executive Committee:

In February 1992, the then members of the Executive Committee elected me to serve as the president/treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to succeed Harold C. Bennett upon his retirement, September 30, 1992. The Executive Committee, in its September 1992 meeting, recommended that the title of the position be changed to "president and chief executive officer." On my inaugural date, I also became treasurer of the Southern Baptist Convention and treasurer of the Executive Committee. Later, I became...

During the final business session of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee's September 21-22 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, members completed the following actions:

approved a requested $250,000 budget for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, which was created by a vote of messengers to the 2009 SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. To date, the twenty-three-member task force has held two meetings, in Atlanta and in Rogers, Arkansas, with the next meeting slated October 27 in Dallas.

approved a request by the International Mission Board to start a new publication, CommissionStories, to replace The Commission magazine.

adopted a resolution of appreciation for R. Rex "Peck" Lindsay, who will retire December 31 after thirty-two years as executive director-treasurer of the Kansas-Nebraska Conventio...

From the SBC President's Address to the Executive Committee

In his address to the SBC Executive Committee, September 21, 2009, SBC president Johnny Hunt reminded those in attendance of the magnitude and significance of the Great Commission Resurgence.

As Southern Baptists undertake the massive task, they have nothing else to do but cry out to Jesus, Hunt said, pointing to Psalm 119:145-152.

"The psalmist prayed throughout the entire psalm, but in these verses he took it to a new level. He concentrated on prayer, and he cried out to God night and day," Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, said. "From his personal experience, he gives us some practical instructions about successful prayer."

Hunt quoted the late expository preacher Stephen Olford, who personally instructed him more than thirty years ago. "He said, 'Pray when you feel like it, and when you don't feel like it, pray until you do.'"

In the passage, Hunt noted that the...

To truly comprehend what it means to be human, we must understand imago Dei, the image of God in man.
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Southern Baptists have a rich and storied history of looking to God's Word for a response to the pressing moral and ethical issues of the day.

In 1913, the Southern Baptist Convention established the Social Service Commission, which sought to address the rampant use of alcohol in American society. On the foundation of the Convention's prophetic stand for civic righteousness on this and other moral issues, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) continues to serve local Southern Baptist churches and speak to policy makers in the area of applied Christian ethics.

ERLC President Richard Land is known across the country, if not around the world, as a credible, authoritative voice on matters related to ethical issues, public policy and the Christian faith. Well before Time magazine identified him as one of the twenty-five most influential evangelicals in the nation, Southern Baptists recognized Land as a reasoned and bold voice for biblical truth and righteo...

Recent statistics suggest that criminal background checks are a must for every children's and youth worker in every Southern Baptist church. And experts echo the warning.

At the same time, the results of theological education programs in two state prison systems serve as a reminder that the Gospel transforms lives and renders many former criminals fit for Christian service.

LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention teamed up last year with Backgroundchecks.com to offer discounted background checks to ministries around the nation. Since then, of the 450 churches that requested background checks, one in seven applicants for ministry positions were found to have a criminal history that may have disqualified them from volunteering or working in a particular role in a church. Out of more than five thousand background checks performed, eighty uncovered serious felony offenses, such as sexual battery against a child under age 16, felony larceny, and firs...

Hope Baptist Church

After a long and fruitful career with Southern Baptist missions in New Mexico and later with the Home Mission Board (predecessor to the North American Mission Board), Gerald and Libby Palmer retired to his family's farm in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin.

But they didn't stop serving the Lord.

"I don't see how any Christian can stop until they die," said Libby Palmer, now 81.

"I am getting to where sometimes I can't do what I'd like to do," she acknowledged. "But I do all I can."

Gerald Palmer, who retired as an HMB vice president responsible for language missions, chaplaincy, and more, died two years ago. His last ministry — which started soon after moving to Wisconsin from Atlanta in 1995 — w...

Starvation continues to stalk millions of Maasai people in Kenya's Rift valley, and Southern Baptists are launching a new round of hunger relief to help the neediest survive.

Almost a third of the people in Kenya's Kajiado and Narok districts are in dire need of food, and the new round of relief efforts will stave off disaster for about 180,000 people, according to the Southern Baptist missionary coordinating the project.

"These areas of Kenya have not had rain since 2007. There simply is no grass. No grass means no food for the animals. Since Maasai depend almost entirely on their animals, some people began to die — mostly older Maasai," project director Bob Calvert said. "Their animals were emaciated and could not be sold to purchase food, so things went from bad to worse. They could not eat because their animals were either dead or dying."

The new food distribution project is the seventh this year and will cost $472,100, bring...

Church names in the SBC are an interesting study. More than one hundred cooperating churches carry the name Beulah (104). Grace is in the name of 649 congregations. Another 532 are called Immanuel or Emmanuel, and 306 are named Friendship. However, water names seem to dominate with Southern Baptist churches. For example, 1,139 churches have the word Creek in their name. Another 549 contain the word River. We have 850 churches that contain the word Springs in their church name - descriptive names such as Dripping Springs (1), Bath Springs (1), Boiling Springs (8), Clear Springs (11), Cold Springs (7), Cool Springs (10), and so many more.

The early settlers of our nation settled where there was water. So did the biblical patriarchs. When Jesus addressed the woman at the historic site of Jacob's well, He promised her that the water He gives will be a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life (John 4:14 NKJV).<...

Chuck Johnson is a member of Northbrook Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, where Wayne Dickard is pastor. His testimony will sound very familiar because you have most likely heard it before from people you know. The important thing here is that it's a "lived out" testimony of a faithful Christian who is willing to share the Good News of Jesus. Someone around you is watching and needs to see a difference in your life — his or her life depends on it.

I was born again on September 23, 2006. It was forty-two days before my forty-seventh birthday. I was taken to church as a child and I hated it. When I was old enough to choose for myself, I didn't go back. For years friends and family would say, "You need to get back in church." I appreciated the concern but I didn't want to hear it. I believed in God and He was supposed to know everything, so I didn't need to hang out in church with a bunch of people I would otherwise igno...

I like the story of the young man who, eager to make it to the top, went to a well-known millionaire businessman and asked him, what the number one reason for his success was. The businessman answered without hesitation, "Hard work." After a lengthy pause, the young man asked, "What is the SECOND reason?"

Three young boys were bragging about who had the fastest father. The first boy said, "My dad can run a mile in only five minutes." The second boy countered, "My dad can mow the whole lawn in only ten minutes." The third boy jumped in, "My dad's the fastest of all. His job ends at 5 p.m. and he's always home by 3 p.m."

Pastors talk a lot about church, family, and the spiritual life (prayer, Bible Study, etc.), but when is the last time you heard a sermon about work? Most people spend the majority of their time working. It may be going to school, caring for a family, or going to an office, but it is our job. We are...

Stop Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program

Southern Baptist leaders were among nearly fifty religious and conservative leaders who called September 22 for swift action by the U.S. government to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

In a letter to President Obama and Congress, Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt and ethics leader Richard Land joined others in urging a boycott on arms sales to the militant Islamic regime and economic sanctions on firms that conduct oil-related business with Iran.

"For the world's most dangerous regime to obtain the world's most dangerous weapons is something that neither the United States nor the community of civilized nations can allow," the...