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September 2013 Issue

Shine Bright Into the Darkness

On our family vacation to St. Augustine, my daughter, Laura, and I mustered up the courage to climb 219 steps—about fourteen stories—to the precipice of the historic city's lighthouse. That, of course, was after we had drunk from the famed Fountain of Youth, and I was feeling young at heart. I apparently was mistaken. Nonetheless, the beautiful vista was worth the arduous ascent, and I descended with some timely reflections.

On our trek up the spiraling staircase, we saw a heavy oil bucket that lighthouse keepers once used to keep the powerful lamp atop shining. Later, in the caretaker's house, we saw cleaning supplies that were toted up those many steps to polish the lamp's lens so the bright beam would travel far out to sea to warn approaching ships. Inspectors came regularly, so the tedious chore had to be done frequently.

As we sat on a beach shore adjacent to St. Augustine on the eve of July 4, the city's streetlights were shut off for a fireworks di...

For the past twenty-five years, Southern Baptists have begun each annual meeting by celebrating hundreds—sometimes thousands—of new souls won for Christ. site and downloadable resources

Most Christians understand the biblical imperative to tell others about Jesus, yet few regularly do so. A 2012 LifeWay Research study showed that 80 percent of Protestant churchgoers understand their evangelistic responsibility—but 61 percent haven’t shared their faith in Christ in the past six months.

The North American Mission Board hopes the upcoming "Soul-Winning Commitment Day" on October 6 can help Southern Baptist pastors raise the commitment level toward personal evangelism in their congregations.

"Soul-Winning Commitment Day, also called 'The Big Day,' is a customizable event churches can use to equip and mobilize every believer to make a commitment to share their faith," according to Al Gilbert, NAMB's vice president for evangelism.

Though the "Big Day" is set on the SBC calendar for the first Sunday in October, "churches...


Penetrating lostness in North America is a huge task. It will require thousands of church planters and tens of thousands of believers demonstrating and declaring the Gospel of Jesus Christ with compassion and grace.

Where will those church planters come from? Jesus told His disciples to . . . pray to the Lord of the harvest . . . .

The North American Mission Board is inviting Southern Baptists to join together at 10:02 each day—morning or night—to pray that God will send workers into His harvest field:

He told them: 'The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest' (Luke 10:2, HCSB).

Why Pray at TenTwo?

World Hunger Fund offerings

Members of Circle Drive Baptist Church place their offerings in the World Hunger Fund box. Photo courtesy of Circle Drive Baptist Church.

Six-year-old Madeline Gillott loves giving to Southern Baptists' World Hunger Fund. In fact, she recently reminded her mother that they had not yet given "their dollars" for the month. Madeline said that giving is important "so kids don't starve and have lots to eat and can hear about Jesus."

Since February, Madeline and each member of her family—parents Josh and Lauren Gillott and three-year-old sister Aubrey—have been putting a dollar each month into a World Hunger Fund box hand-carved by fellow church member Ed McGee.

It's a new initiative at Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, birthed in the "creative mind and administrative skills" of Circle Drive's children's minister, Kathy Routt, said her husband and the church's pastor, Mike Routt. Each month the church...

Worldwide, 870 million people don't have enough to eat—and the vast majority of them have no idea how much God loves them. A new initiative involving the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund aims to tackle both those problems. Global Hunger Relief, a new branding of the World Hunger Fund, takes the historic World Hunger Fund's unique "dollar in, dollar out" message to new and wider audiences—and challenges a new generation of believers to personally take Jesus' love to starving souls, in both word and deed.
What's in a Name? Cooperation!

Cooperative Program

The name originally given to the Cooperative Program was "The Co-operative Program of Southern Baptists." The CP did not (and does not) belong to the SBC alone; nor does it belong to the cooperating state Baptist conventions alone. It is a joint venture that belongs to Southern Baptists, cooperating with and contributing to both their respective state Baptist convention and the SBC.

Put another way, the "Cooperative" of the Cooperative Program refers to the cooperation between the Southern Baptist Convention and state Baptist conventions to work together in such a way that a local church can financially support the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention and the church’s state Baptist convention through writing a single check each month.

The definition of Cooperative Program giving as adopted by the messengers to the SBC annual meeting is as follows:

"The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists' unified plan o...
Resolution Adopted by the SBC, Houston, Texas, June 12, 2013

WHEREAS, God made all things perfectly good in design for His glory and the good of humanity (Genesis 1–2); and

WHEREAS, Adam and Eve rebelled against Him, choosing their own way and the way of the Evil One, and consequently ushered sin and disorder into our world and the whole human race (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12–21; 8:22); and

WHEREAS, As a consequence of this Fall, humanity is subjected to many kinds of mental health problems including autism spectrum disorders; intellectual disability; mental health conditions like schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders; and diseases of the aged such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; and

WHEREAS, God did not abandon fallen humanity but loved the world (John 3:16–17) and launched a plan of redemption—a restoration that is incomplete in this age but will be perfected in heaven (1 Peter 1:3–9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns, like all people, are crowned with honor and dignity, being made in the image and likeness of God (Psalm 8:4...

During a year when mass shootings and suicides have stunned the nation, a resolution on "Mental Health Concerns and the Heart of God" was overwhelmingly approved by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 11-12 annual meeting in Houston.

The resolution offered by the SBC Committee on Resolutions sought to "affirm, support, and share God's love and redemption" while opposing "all stigmatization and prejudice" to those with mental health challenges.

The resolution identified mental health issues such as autism disorders and intellectual disability; mental health conditions like schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety orders and bipolar disorders; and diseases of the aged including dementia and Alzheimer's.

The resolution expressed support for "the wise use of medical interventions" and supported research and treatment "when undertaken in a manner consistent with a biblical worldview."

Specifically addressing suicide as "a tragedy, leaving heartache, pain, and unanswered questions in its wake," the res...

On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at Birmingham, Alabama's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four girls ages eleven to fourteen. Fifty years later, Southern Baptist leaders who remember the bombing say God used it to help inspire racial reconciliation even though the attackers intended only harm.
By the time Ken Hall was called as pastor in 2003, Lilburn First Baptist had determined its God-given responsibility was to reach out to whomever God brought to their community to build a strong home base of ministry.
Russell Moore

Russell Moore was one of the guest preachers during Saddleback Church's Summer 2013 "Follow Me" series. Photo by Tommy Huynh/Saddleback Church.

For Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, orphan care is no small issue. For Russell Moore, it is no small issue either.

That is why it made sense for Moore, the new president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, not only to preach on the Marietta, Georgia, church's Orphan Sunday in July but to speak afterward at an adoption and foster care luncheon.

Moore—who has written one of the leading books on adoption for evangelical Christians and, with his wife Maria, has adopted two sons—acted essentially as a "cheerleader" for those attending the luncheon, recalled Johnson Ferry ministry associate Jim Watterson. The luncheon for adoptive and foster parents, as well as those who had been adopted, proved not only to be "kind of a pep rally" for attendees, but it demonstrated the diversity of a new ERLC initiative known as Church Equip...


Religious Liberty Threatened by Gay Marriage

Religious Liberty Threatened by Gay Marriage

Doctors in California who were sued for refusing to perform artificial insemination on a woman in a homosexual relationship exemplify the religious liberty threat created by the legalization of gay marriage, the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson writes in National Review.

Other religious liberty infringements in recent years include a New Mexico photographer who was prosecuted by the state's Human Rights Commission for declining to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, Illinois bed-and-breakfast owners who were sued for refusing to rent their facility for a gay civil union ceremony, and a Georgia wellness counselor who was fired for referring someone in a homosexual relationship to another counselor.

"We must insist that government not discriminate against those who hold to the hi...

Golden Gate Seminary’s Commencement at San Quentin
Golden Gate Seminary’s Commencement at San Quentin by Phyllis Evans; SBTS Press Publishes Evangelism Guide by BP staff; NOBTS Receives "Providential Gift" by Frank Michael McCormack; SWBTS Facilitates Global Network by Benjamin Hawkins; GuideStone Announces Three New Funds by Shelly Moon

Epic Flub

I'm so glad I never make stupid mistakes. I'm a pastor's wife, you know. We're not allowed to be stupid.

…Wow. You should be really proud of me. I typed that with a straight face. I'm laughing uproariously at myself now though. The truth is, I have fluff-brained moments all the time. I'm pretty sure I set my brain on top of my car the other day and then drove off with it still up there. Since then it's been all mad at me and giving me the silent treatment.

I wonder how many things I've left on top of the car over the years. I lose more coffee that way. I call it "road-spill." I'm thinking of putting a cup holder up there. Go ahead. Compliment me on the cool vinyl top on my car. We all know it's not vinyl. It's aged and weathered cappuccino. I may put this on Pinterest.

Coffee isn't the only thing flying off car roofs. So many cell phones dying so young. My husband gave his the double whammy. He didn't even need the car roof. He put his phone in...

Click here to download the 2014 SBC Calendar.

January 2014

Call to Prayer Month, January 1–31
January Bible Study, January 1–5
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, January 19

February 2014

True Love Waits Emphasis Month, February 1–28
Racial Reconciliation Sunday, February 9
Focus on WMU, February 10–16
Children's Ministry Day, February 15

March 2014

Youth Week, March 2–8
Week of Prayer and Mission Study for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, March 2–9
Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday, March 16
Church Planting Emphasis Sunday, March 16

April 2014

SBC Seminaries Sunday, April 6
Cooperative Program Sunday, April 13
Baptist Doctrine Study, April 13–18
Life Commitment Sunday, April 20

May 2014

Senior Adult Sunday, May 4
Christian Home Week, May 11–17
Baptist Association Emphasis, May 18–24

June 2014


Baltimore, Maryland

Click here to download the hotel reservation form and rates for the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.