January 9, 2020 www.mbcb.org
J ou r n a l
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M i s s i s s i ppi B a pt i s t C on v e n t i on
New year offers new start for Bible reading NASHVILLE, Tenn., (BP and ing plans are being completed local reports) — With the un- around the world, what really folding of a new year comes makes them important? Bobby Gruenewald, opportunities for new founder of YouVersion, commitments, resolusaid that the plans oftions, and goals. For fered in the app are part many people, these of an effort to make it goals include dedicaeasier for the commutions to Bible reading nity to read the Bible and specific Bible readmore. The plans are ing plans. Choosing a Bible GRUENWALD oriented in a way that helps individuals develreading plan can be intimidating and some people op habits of engaging with the may wonder why to even both- Bible every day. “Bible plans are one of the er being specific about the way most popular ways in the app in which the Bible is read. Are Bible reading plans even being for people to develop a daily rhythm of reading the Bible, followed? YouVersion, a popular Bible which we know leads to a deepreading app headquartered in er, more intimate relationship Edmund, Ok., reported that in with God,” Gruenewald said. Michelle Hicks, manager of 2019, 1.1 billion Bible Adult Ministry-Short plan days were comTerm Bible Studies at pleted in the app. This LifeWay Christian Reis a reported increase of sources in Nashville, 25% when comparison said Bible reading plans to 2018. help remind us what In 2019, the app ofthe Bible is really about fered more than 10,000 — God — rather than unique plans to users. reading our preferences HICKS Of those, 1,500 were in into its words. languages other than “A Bible reading plan helps English. According to these statis- one open the Bible to know tics, Bible reading plans are God and even more than knowing His Word, a Bible being utilized and in fact are reading plan reminds us of growing in number and popularity – but even if Bible readsee BIBLE on p. 6
s i nce
Vol. 144 No. 2
A new day; read your Bible!
o, your eyes are not deceiving you. With this issue, The Baptist Record has been resized to an up-to-date format as we move into 2020 with a new printer. Considering the advances in the offset press world in recent years, the time has come to fit the dimensions of the Record to our new printer’s modern presses and the massive rolls of newsprint that are used each week for printing. The resizing will also help keep newsprint and ink costs under control — a major factor in the both the budget and the subscription price of the newspaper. The new dimensions are the first phase of a major remodeling envisioned for the Record. Phase two will be a complete rethinking of the layout and design of the newspaper to modernize the look and feel and make it fit better into the new dimensions. We’re going to start with a clean slate in order make the redesign as fresh and user-friendly as possible. That doesn’t mean we’re going to throw out such popular features as the weekly Sunday School lessons written by Mississippi Baptists, or the photos of Mississippi Baptists doing ministry in their local areas, or news from our Mississippi Baptist educational institutions, or the Bibliocipher word puzzle. We’re not going to do away with insightful commentary by Mississippi Baptist authors and Southern Baptist leaders from across the convention, nor will we cease to keep our state’s Baptists informed on Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) happenings here at home and around the world. What it does mean is that we intend to the best ministry of information we
can possibly be for the readers of The Baptist Record across Mississippi and, literally, around the world. That is our calling and the calling of those who have gone before us at the Record. We pledge to continue that 143-year-old mission. The advent of a new year is the traditional point at which nearly everyone promises to do better by making resolutions. The failure in short order of most of those resolutions has been fodder for comedians and commentators as long as any of us can remember. There is one resolution that all Christians should make in 2020 – and keep for the whole year. That’s a resolution to delve deeper into the Word of God, led by the Holy Spirit and illuminated by Jesus Christ. When we are feeling as low as we can go, the Bible will lift us. When we are too cocky for our own good, the Bible will humble us. The Bible is our support system and armor against all Satan’s evil plans and perverse attractions. With serious, focused study taken in context, the Bible can address any challenge we face in our modern world. Page one of this issue contains an article that suggests a great springboard. Reading the Bible through is an excellent start. Do it either before or alongside a Bible study curriculum. Reading the Bible through can only lead to deeper understanding and also build on our wisdom – and who alive today doesn’t need more wisdom? Here’s to our Christian walk in 2020 backed up with Bible study, and let’s not forget our greatest call as spelled out for us in Matthew 28:18-20. Happy New Year!
Older members welcome
couple of gray, dinged-up wheelchairs and a walker linger a few feet off the entrance of my church. They’ve been stored there between uses for years, but I notice them more than I did before. I’m glad they are there. Those medical devices serve the aged who need them. Not only that, they remind me the church is for young and old alike. When I came to pastor Mount Vernon Church in Sandy Springs, Ga., more than a decade ago, I wanted to see younger people join the church. Everyone else did, too. The young represented life, vitality, and the future. A quiet children’s ministry had the stench of death about it. We needed to grow as a church and subtly thought the best growth was young growth. By God’s grace, our membership has increased slowly and steadily over the years but now more than ever, I’m thankful for those wheelchairs. I rejoice at the sight of those wheelchairs because I believe the Bible: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31). There is something honorable about aging gracefully. Not all the elderly are saints, but the saints who are elderly deserve special honor. I love those wheelchairs because the Apostle Paul saw fit to commend grandmother Lois for investing in young Timothy, and I want a church filled with grandmothers like Lois (Connie, Carolyn, Sylvia, Jane, and Fredda, to name just a few of the grandmothers in my own congregation). Those wheelchairs mean a great deal to me because growing old is hard, and I long for the aged to lean into the church and for the church to lean into the aged. There is no time stamp on Hebrews 3:13, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
with Aaron Menikoff
“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31 Bob and Peg are hosting a small group at my church. Bob was born in 1929. He married a younger woman (born in ‘33). In 2020, their home will be filled at least once a month with some empty nesters, a single woman, and a young couple cutting their teeth at parenting. This is good. Being a multi-generational church has its challenges. For example, the worst of each generation expects all other generations to kowtow to its musical preferences. Not long ago we sang the older hymn titled, My God, How Wonderful You Are, and the newer King Forevermore in the same service. We don’t offer multiple services, so everybody needs to give a little. It’s worth it. We are one church, one family. If I could go back ten years, I would have spent less time worrying about when more young people would join the church, and more time engaging with the elderly saints who had called this church home for decades. Thankfully for me, it’s not too late. I’m grateful to God for the wheelchairs. Menikoff is senior pastor of Mount Vernon Church in Sandy Springs, Ga., and a member of the Greater Atlanta Baptist Network’s administrative team. His commentary appears courtesy of Baptist Press. Edited for style and length.
2 January 9, 2020 The Baptist Record
NAMB looks back on productive 2019 ministries ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — Who’s your one? That question became commonplace in 2019 among Southern Baptists as churches, local associations, and state conventions embraced the North American Mission Board (NAMB) evangelism emphasis. In partnership with Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president J.D. Greear, senior pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, NAMB is encouraging pastors and Southern Baptist leaders to participate in the movement by asking people to focus on praying for and witnessing to at least one person. NAMB provided Who’s Your One resources for tens of thousands of pastors and launched a national Who’s Your One Tour spearheaded by Johnny Hunt, NAMB’s senior vice president for evangelism and leadership — all intended to spark a wave of evangelism in North America and beyond. Other 2019 highlights included:
For the third straight year, Southern Baptists set a record for giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) of 61.4 million dollars, surpassing the 2018 total.
500 soldiers. Church planting missionaries continue launching new churches designed to reach and serve families in the military community.
First Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, took another step forward with the May 19 opening of its new church building — an example of how Southern Baptists continue to rally around the church where 26 people lost their lives in a mass shooting in November 2017.
Ahead of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, Al., NAMB worked with Southern Baptists to launch a city-wide evangelism event called Crossover Birmingham.
Shane Pruitt joined NAMB’s evangelism and leadership team as the director of next gen evangelism. He previously served as a Bible teacher and the director of evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention in Dallas.
Timothy+Barnabas also entered its 25th year of ministering to pastors and prepared for the launch of the Timothy+Barnabas Institute in 2020.
Thousands of recent church plants within NAMB’s Send
ON TOUR — Catherine Renfro, a marketing consultant in evangelism at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga., shares practical evangelism experience during the Who’s Your One Tour at Prestonwood Church, Dallas. (BP photo courtesy of NAMB) Network continue reaching their communities with the hope of the Gospel. Several churches from the planting class of 2018 shared stories of reaching hundreds of people. A pastor in San Diego received NAMB’s inaugural Replanter of the Year award, and NAMB trustees had the opportunity to meet church planting missionaries reaching San Francisco.
Send Relief, NAMB’s compassion ministry arm, opened a new Ministry Center in Pittsburgh and broke ground on a new facility for the Ministry
Center in Puerto Rico. A Send Relief missionary received an award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on behalf of the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans. Summer-long and Spring Break GenSend student ministries also made huge impacts in urban areas and storm-damaged towns.
Southern Baptist chaplains continue reaching members of the United States Armed Services. One Army chaplain at Fort Jackson in Columbia S.C., baptized more than
The SBC Executive Committee in Nashville and NAMB partnered to cultivate relationships with more ethnic churches and encourage them to join the Southern Baptist family. Two NAMB positions announced in 2019 were Peter Yanes, executive director of Asian American relations and mobilization, and Julio Arriola, executive director of Hispanic relations and mobilization.
NAMB launched two podcasts in 2019 specifically designed to be resources for pastors: Evangelism with Johnny Hunt, and Quick Takes with Kevin. The podcasts provide regular insights into evangelism personally and corporately within the church, and soul care for pastors. A third podcast, Stories of Hope, shares stories about how local churches and ministries serve and reach their communities. The episodes are designed to inspire and encourage churches to engage their community with the gospel through compassion ministry.
Kentucky pastor to help reclaim western U.S. churches ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (BP) IMB President Paul Chit— Bill Langley, senior wood believes Langley’s pastor of Severns Valley pastoral experience and Church, Elizabethtown, example will be a great Ky., will be moving to benefit to other pastors. the International Mis“I’m incredibly grateful sion Board (IMB) of the to have a leader of his Southern Baptist Concaliber coming to IMB vention (SBC) to help to help strengthen our Southern Baptist church- LANGLEY partnerships with assoes west of the Mississippi ciations and those who River that have no recent con- lead in the association mission nection to the mission agency. strategist roles across the SBC.”
Chitwood says he tapped Langley because he’s led by example, helping Severns Valley Church to be one of the leading Cooperative Program giving churches in the SBC. The Cooperative Program is an initiative by which local churches support the work of state conventions and Southern Baptist entities such as the IMB and the North American Mission Board.
“We’re working hard to involve more Southern Baptists in strategic partnerships with our overseas missionaries to see the Revelation 7:9 vision fulfilled,” Chitwood said. Todd Gray, the Kentucky Baptist Convention executive director-treasurer, reflected on Langley’s time in the state. “Bill has led Severns Valley well for the past 11 years with sound biblical preaching, solid fiscal
guidance, and building a staff team that is second to none, while helping the church remain focused on reaching the community with the Gospel.” Gray says while the news of Langley’s departure from Kentucky is bittersweet, it should encourage the state’s Baptists because, “Bill’s new assignment allows us to send another of Kentucky’s best to serve our larger SBC work.”
The Baptist Record January 9, 2020 3
n the latter weeks of 2019 and as we charge into the 2020 year, as I have been anticipating my retirement on Feb. 29 I have been going through the processes of rearranging things I want to keep, eliminating things I don’t need, and thinking and rethinking about the stuff I’ve accumulated over 56 years of preaching and ministry. One of the items I ran across was a monument I picked up years ago when I was in Enterprise, Alabama. There is in the downtown area of Enterprise a monument that stands out in the middle of the street. It has a lady holding a boll weevil above her head. The monument to the boll weevil is a one-of-a-kind statue, and though the one there in town is several feet high, mine is a few inches high but I got one to remember that experience. The plaque beneath the lady holding the boll weevil up above her head said, “In profound appreciation for the boll weevil.” It went on to tell how much they appreciated the boll weevil coming through Alabama’s southern part in 1919 that destroyed their cotton crop. I had heard about the monument and heard about what had taken place a number of times through the years, so while I was in Enterprise I went to see monument to the boll weevil. I bought me a statue I have kept through the years not just as a remembrance of that time, but of the actual impact of the devastation that came when the boll weevil moved in and destroyed the cotton crop in South Alabama. The reason it’s so significant is that because of the boll weevil infestation, a new crop came into being in South Alabama that has become one of the main industries for the folks down there for years and years. That is the peanut crop. Being a connoisseur of peanuts and enjoying eating peanuts more than I do eating cotton, I appreciate the boll weevil too. It became emblematic of what I’ve been going through over the past few months as I step-by-step get closer to my retirement date. When you think about it, the monument to the boll weevil is somewhat in step with what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God can take the worst of things and make it good. Sometimes good things become bad things and even then, they can become good again. So as I was packing up some stuff up and picked up the old monument to the boll weevil, I again thought of so many life experiences to which that verse applies and becomes a reality that we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
good. Think about all the things that are part of your everyday life that one time were such difficult, unbelievable, insurmountable kinds of events in life, and now are such a good part of your life. I think about the one through 12 multiplication tables we had to learn and now we just know that 2x2=4, 8x8=64, and things that just literally are etched on the front edge of our brains for life were such an incredible struggle when we were just young, grade school kids. Multiplication looked so bad and became so good. There are so many academic exercises with which we get involved that look difficult and bad, but become good. Maybe with most of the cycles of life where we move from one age and stage to another or move toward retirement, and in so doing begin to realize all the When God is working His purpose in one, a precious, beautiful, little ole duck your life and in mine, three things beto take with them to feed and care for and mental and emotional and even physical gymnastics that we’re going through, come evident. watch it grow. we think it is bad only to find that it can One — sometimes things that Along with watching it grow was all be good. The verse rings again and we look good can become bad. Somethe feeding and care and mess that a know that all things work together for times they get messed up and sometimes duck can provide all around your porch good to them that love the Lord. That they just turn sour. What looked so good and your house and your whatever. I God is at work even when it doesn’t look and we thought was so wonderful didn’t believe every one of the parents of the good, He’s making it good. You and I can stay that way at all. A few years ago it was grandkids will never forget that Easter celebrate that together. just about a week before Easter, I came and never forget the precious gift I gave There’s a third thought I just across some folks that had some baby their children, for what looked so good would throw out there from my ducks. They had dyed the ducks blue pretty soon became bad. monument to the boll weevil, and and red and yellow. They were running The truth is there are a lot of things that would be for the believer all around everywhere, pretty as they could in all of our lives that looked good, were things are in the hands of God and be, dyed for Easter. It just struck me thought to be good, maybe were kind of standing there seeing all those little cute good, but as time marches on aren’t quite can be made good for us by our ducks, all of which were for sale, and I as good as we thought. Sometimes phys- caring Lord. That, my friends, is true. He can take the worst of life’s situations thought to myself, “How wonderful it ically, sometimes mentally, sometimes and turn it around. He can take the best would be to give a duck to each one of my spiritually, it becomes bad and we know grandkids.” They were so precious, and all things work together and I can tell you of life’s situations and make them even better. When we walk with Him, He is I knew the grandkids would absolutely without going into too much detail the constantly working on us, in us, for us, adore them. I thought their moms and ducklings that looked so good became dads would also be thrilled to have the bad and ended up in some ponds around to make all things work for good. Oh, I know because of our limited vision and little ducks running around, so I made the neighborhoods where they finished understanding things look differently, arrangements to get eight of the breathup their lives. After a few months or takingly cute little ducklings. years, all of them went on to their eternal are different from what we’ve ever seen, and we wonder how they can work for Eight of them, and I brought them reward. good. My brother, my sister, trust God home to nurture and care for several That brings me to a second and you will see the good that can come. days before Easter arrived. Well, you can thought about the whole cycles Good that God will work. Good for you of life: there are some things that imagine how excited the grandmother and those around you who love the Lord was when I brought them home. How are look bad and they become good. that God is going to bring about good. He That is the very story of the monument we going to keep these things? What are of the boll weevil. What looked so bad, a can. He will. He does. you going to do with them? Where are lost crop and no way to grow cotton that As I move from one phase of life and you going to keep them up? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah… it was an interest- would not be eaten and ruined by the venture into another, there are those ing time. What I thought was so wonder- boll weevils, the people wondered what crisscrossing paths out there that I were they going to do. Just throw up ful wasn’t interpreted that way when I wonder, how can this be good? How is their hands and do nothing? Just comgot home, and as the days went by what that going to be for good? How is God plain about the boll weevil all the time looked so good began to turn bad. Still, going to work that? In one situation after or change crops? Do a different thing? the kids and their faces and their exciteanother, reflecting again on the powerful Go a different way? Plant peanuts? ment and their love for the ducks would Word of God, we know that all things Boll weevils don’t eat peanuts and sure overcome any of the opposition that was work together for good to them that love enough, almost without knowing what out there, I thought. Sure enough we the Lord to those who are called accordthey were doing, the industry of plantmade it all the way to Easter and Easter ing to His purpose. We trust Him and Sunday when all the grandkids were over ing and harvesting peanuts was born in follow Him and we see Him do the good at the house and eating together and then South Alabama. things in our lives. We don’t often think about it, but so got ready to leave, that was an important time. When they got ready to leave and go many times things that really are bad, The author can be contacted at directo their homes I presented them, one-by- tough, and hard to deal with become email@example.com.
Monument to the Boll Weevil
4 January 9, 2020 The Baptist Record
January 9, 2020
HouseTops is a Baptist Record supplement produced by the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board’s Communication Services.
2020 VBS Kickoff March 27-28, 2020 Garaywa Camp & Conference Center
MADISON CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL • BAND HALL
Friday, January 10 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Church Music • 601-292-3267 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Sessions will include these and more: - Age group trainings - Crafts - Decorations - Leading a child to Christ - Music - Missions - Worship Rally
Registration will begin in January 2020. Housing will be available for Friday night for a small fee. Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries • 601-292-3292 • email@example.com
2020 STATE SENIOR ADULT EVANGELISM RALLY January 28, 2020 | 8:00-11:30 a.m. Northcrest Baptist Church, Meridian Guest Speaker: Dr. Ronald Meeks Blue Mountain College **No fee & no registration required** Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries 601-292-3284 • firstname.lastname@example.org
JANUARY 9 First Baptist Church Carthage
FEBRUARY 13 Midway Baptist Church Vardaman
JANUARY 16 Ingalls Avenue Baptist Church Pascagoula
FEBRUARY 20 LaBelle Haven Baptist Church Olive Branch
MARCH 5 Riverbend Baptist Church Aberdeen
Small Church Youth Ministry Workshops
6:00-8:45 p.m. Supper is served at 6:00 p.m.
Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries 601-292-3283 • email@example.com
STATE BIBLE DRILLS
Weekday Drills: Registration: 2:00-5:00 p.m. Saturday Drill: Registration: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 14 FBC, McComb Emmanuel BC, Grenada
Thursday, April 23 Longview Point BC, Hernando FBC, Starkville
Thursday, April 16 Fifteenth Avenue BC, Meridian Harrisburg BC, Tupelo
SELECTION TOURNAMENT Saturday, April 25 Highland Colony BC, Ridgeland
Saturday, April 18 Crossgates BC, Brandon Hardy Street BC, Hattiesburg
Visit www.mbcb.org/bible-drill for more details and resources.
Tuesday, April 21 Hillcrest BC, New Albany Morrison Heights BC, Clinton
Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries 601-292-3284 • firstname.lastname@example.org
SAVE THE DATES: March 2nd & March 3rd More information coming soon! Sponsored jointly by Christian Action Commission & MBCB in partnership with Ministry Safe.
Evangelism • 601-292-3278 • email@example.com
2020 MISSISSIPPI BAPTIST STUDENT SPEAKERS’ TOURNAMENT SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 2020 | FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, RIDGELAND Sunday School & Discipleship ministries • 601-292-3284 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Does your church produce videos? Does your church have a website? Do you type words on the screen for worship service? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you have material you can enter into the 2020 Witnessing Through Media Awards Competition! – AWARDS COMPETITION – • Entries in the Awards Competition must have been produced or aired between January 1, 2019 – January 1, 2020 • Award Entry Deadline is February 21, 2020 Communication Services • 601-292-3378 • email@example.com
MARCH 21-22, 2020 First Baptist Church, Summit, MS Public is invited to the worship concert on March 22 at 6:30 pm. Auditions are now closed for the 2020 choir.
Church Music • 601-292-3272 • firstname.lastname@example.org
2020 MISSISSIPPI BAPTIST HANDBELL FESTIVALS March 20-21 Main Street Baptist Church Hattiesburg March 27-28 Friendship Baptist Church Grenada Church Music • 601-292-3267 • email@example.com Miss Lulie 03/06/09 Parents: J & MM Sub-Saharan African Peoples
Mr. B 03/07/07 Parents: J & M Restricted
Mr. Silas 03/13/12 Parents: D & L Restricted
To Be Sent February 25, 2020, by the WMU
Miss Emma 03/28/03 Parents: C & S European Peoples
PLEASE NOTE THE TIMING: Thank you for your love and support of MKs by sending Birthday cards! Because of the sending to other countries, there is a need to get cards sent a month ahead of birthday. As soon as the list is in the Baptist Record, please send the cards and not wait until a couple of weeks before the date of the birthday. It is posted two months ahead to give time to receive cards and then to mail them a month ahead of time to insure arrival around birthday. Again, thank you for being a blessing to so many with this ministry! NOTE: Church members may send a package of cards together; cards do not have to be sent individually to the WMU. Individual cards do not need postage stamps when sent as a package to MS WMU. FOR SECURITY, cards will be forwarded. Please send all to: MBCB WMU MK Birthdays, PO Box 530, Jackson MS 39205. Please include your return address on each card envelope. MKs and their parents may wish to send you an update or note of appreciation.
LSU football standout gives praise and thanks to God HUG PF NHZG, YPFLIJLF NHZG Z KUYJ XJK, YPHY UJ WHU EHU EJWF KUYJ WF, FTEFOY ZY RFLF CZQFU KUYJ PZW JI WX IHYPFL. BJPU NZT: NZTYX-IZQF Clue: K = U Have fun with cryptography and exercise your Bible knowledge. A King James Version Bible verse has been encoded by letter substitution. The same letter is substituted throughout the puzzle. Solve by trial and error. Answer to last week’s puzzle: Luke 21:27 By Charles Marx, 1932–2004, © 2005
MS POSITIONS HIGHLAND BAPTIST CHURCH CRYSTAL SPRINGS, MS IS SEEKING A FULL TIME PASTOR. Send resumes to Highland Baptist Church attn: Terry Rials 505 N. Jackson St. Crystal Springs, MS 39059
CENTER HILL BAPTIST CHURCH IN HAMILTON, MS IS SEEKING A FULL-TIME YOUTH/MUSIC MINISTER. Housing provided. E-mail resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 59, Hamilton, MS 39746.
CLASSIFIEDS CHURCH PEW UPHOLSTERY, FREE ESTIMATES: Davis Upholstery, Quitman, Miss., phone 601-776-6617. HOPPER STAINED GLASS: Custom Windows, Restoration and Repairs, www. hopperglass.net Call 601-502-0202. PULPIT SUPPLY AVAILABLE: Retired Southern Baptist Navy chaplain available for Sunday pulpit supply on short notice (pastor illness, vacation, rest, etc.). 100 mile radius of Hattiesburg. Deacon of Hardy Street Baptist Church. Graduate of New Orleans Baptist and Fuller Theological Seminaries. References available. Compensation unimportant. Contact him at 601-4084608 or bennyhornsby.com
WINDOW AND SCREEN SHOP — Windows and storm windows built to fit your opening. Plus new window screens and rescreen old screens. Call Tom Cook 601-709-4879. W W W.SEBRENHOMEIMPROVEMENT.COM. CHRISTIAN OWNED DON & RITA SEBREN. 601-992-2092. All home improvements, siding, energy efficient windows, metal & shingle roofs, screen & sunrooms, patio covers, decks, room additions, kitchen & bath upgrades. GET THE BEST RATES ON: Health Insurance and Medicare Supplements. Call 1-800-541-8196 or visit www. TurnerInsuranceOnline.com.
BATON ROUGE, La. (BP and local reports) — Blake Ferguson came to the football program at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge after being counted as the country’s number one long snapper when he was a senior in high school. Last year, he was named best collegiate long snapper. On top of that, he took over the job from his brother Reid, who was signed after graduation as the long snapper for the National Football League (NFL) Buffalo Bills. Scouts are predicting Blake will play at that level in the NFL on Sundays, too — but Sundays have another special meaning for the professional football prospect. He is a committed Christian whose home church is the Georgia Baptist congregation, Christ Covenant Church, in Smyrna, Ga. As much as Blake contributes to the success of the LSU Tigers on the gridiron, observers say he makes an equally important impact off the field. Andy Stroup, the greater Baton Rouge area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), called Ferguson “the main guy” in LSU’s FCA chapter. “He has been a part of the leadership team, going on his third year,” Stroup told the Baptist Message, news journal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. “He is a tremendous man. “When Blake walks into the room, the energy goes up. He has allowed us to speak life
Ferguson into him, and he has done likewise with other players.” Ferguson said he tries to take that same energy for learning more about and sharing Christ with others into the locker room and onto the field. “As an athlete, my faith has always had a huge impact on my approach to the game,” Ferguson told the Baptist Message in written comments. “At FCA, we talk all the time about ‘doing sports God’s way.’ This means that every snap we take, every time we run down the court, whatever it is, we represent Christ in the way that we play.” His faith even penetrates his game day preparations. “Each day before our team meeting, at the top of my notebook, I write ‘Glorify God with your work today.’ To me, this is a daily reminder to myself of the reason that I do what I do.”
There is a culture of dependence on the Lord on the team, Ferguson said, citing in particular the spiritual leadership of head coach Ed Orgeron, who also served as head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-2007. “While [Orgeron] can get fired up on the sidelines and during practice, he also takes time to spend time with the Lord, and as a player that means a lot,” Ferguson said. “He is in chapel every week and encourages players to be in there also, and he leads the team in prayer following every practice and every game, showing our consistent dependence on the Lord to provide for us every single day.” The Tigers had a 13-0 dream season this past year and are currently ranked No. 1 in the country. They handily defeated Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl Dec. 28 and will play Clemson University on Jan. 13 for the national title. Ferguson puts the accomplishments and accolades in perspective: “I have an incredible platform as a collegiate athlete to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a large number of people, whether it’s with my actions on the field or literally sharing the Gospel with them one on one.” Editor’s note: Baptist Press photo is courtesy of LSU Athletics Department.
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cont. from p.1 God’s character, His promises, and His plans and purposes,” Hicks said. The point of having a predetermined plan when reading the Bible is to dive deeper into knowing the author: God. Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Al., said spending time in the Bible on a daily basis is the most effective way to stimulate spiritual growth. “Nothing impacts your spiritual growth LITTON like your engagement with God’s Word on a daily basis,” he said. Plans for reading the Bible do not have to look the same way each year or even necessarily follow a certain pattern that others may be using. Litton said he is consistently changing the way he approaches Bible reading. “Each year I will change something about my engagement with God’s Word. I may use a different translation or paraphrase or a chronological Bible reading plan.
“After years of reading the Bible through each year it still amazes me how a simple change can transform a text you thought you knew and understood.” Gruenewald said the beginning of the new year is a great time to use the momentum of resolutions and goals as a way to get started in a new Bible reading plan. “It’s a great time of the year to find friends who have similar goals and commit to cheering one another on throughout the year,” he said. Many resources such as YouVersion exist to encourage and facilitate inventive Bible engagement. Hicks noted LifeWay’s goal for developing Bible reading plans for women, some of which are featured on the YouVersion app, is to drive women to have a hunger for God’s Word and live in obedience to Scripture. “The reading plans we develop are to encourage and guide women in that relationship,” Hicks said. Litton also said the effectiveness of a Bible reading plan to help develop a rela-
tionship with God depends on the willingness of the individual to engage in the Bible on a daily basis. “If someone is just starting out, do a five- to seven-day reading plan first,” Hicks suggests. “Then do another, then another or start with a monthlong reading plan, then move to the longer plans.” Hicks also said setting aside 10-15 minutes in the day for the plan is a great way to make sure the daily engagement actually happens. For those 10-15 minutes, having a designated place where individuals can read could prove helpful but Hicks said the most important part is that the reading actually happens. “A designated place is always good, but sometimes you do what you need to do to make it happen. The goal is to read God’s Word daily. He created us to need Him and to have our needs met by Him. He is the one who can restore our souls daily regardless of our circumstances.” Keeping that goal in mind will help fuel motivation to stay committed to daily engagement with God’s Word, Hicks stressed.
T R U T H I S N OT R E L AT I V E .
F I N D I T I N T H E O N E W H O I S T H E WAY, T R U T H , A N D L I F E . Simply share the following prayer with God in your own words: 1. Lord, I admit that I need you. (I have sinned .) 2. I want forgiveness for my sins and freedom from eternal death. (I repent .) 3. I believe Jesus died and rose from the grave to forgive my sins and to restore my relationship with you. (I believe in Jesus.) 4. B y faith, I invite Jesus Christ into my life. From this time on, I want to live in a loving relationship with Him. (I receive Christ as my Savior and Lord .) “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name.” (John 1:12) If you make a decision for Christ today, contact a local Southern Baptist church for spiritual guidance.
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6 January 9, 2020 The Baptist Record
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS FOR JANUARY 12, 2020
Explore the Bible • God Expects • Numbers 32:20-32 The Israelites subdued two kings, Sihon and Og, from the regions of Gilead and Bashan. These regions were characterized by robust grasslands; thus, they were attractive to those who owned vast numbers of livestock (Num.32:1,4). Eventually half of the tribe of Manasseh and the tribes of Reuben and Gad would settle in these regions east of the Jordan river. Warning Issued (Num. 32:20-24). Moses warned the tribes of Gad and Reuben, who had approached him about letting them settle on the east side of the Jordan river (Num. 32:119). These tribes did not want to be forced to cross the Jordan. Believers today realize that failure to fulfill God’s purposes comes at a cost. Moses objected to the idea that some Israelites would fight and die while others settled down in peace (Num. 32:6-15). If the warriors in the tribes of Gad and Reuben, plus those from half the tribe of Manasseh, were
to remain on the east side of the Jordan, Israel’s military strength would be drastically reduced. The tribes of Gad and Reuben needed to build enclosures for their livestock and secure cities for their wives and children before they could aid in the conquest of the promised land. Together they worked out a strategy for the east side of the Jordan. Then, the warriors of all the tribes would be engaged fully in the conquest of the land west of the Jordan river. Agreement Given (Num. 32:25-27). “The sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben” refers to the men of fighting age and their representatives, who appeared before Moses. The representatives pledged to Moses they would do as he commanded. They referred to Moses as “my lord” (‘adoni), a sign of respect. They restated the conditions of the agreement. First, the women, children, and livestock of the tribes of Gad and Reuben would remain east of the Jordan.
with W. Wayne VanHorn Second, the men — the “servants equipped for war” (CSB) — would cross the Jordan River to secure the promised land. The most important aspect of this passage is the phrase, “… in the presence of the LORD…” (Num. 32:27). The conquest of the promised land was viewed as a divine act of judgment against the land’s inhabitants. Four centuries earlier, God had promised the land to Abraham’s descendants but taking possession of the land had to wait because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet complete (Gen. 15:16). Moses agreed to the arrangement after securing a guaran-
tee from those tribes that they would supply every available man to fight on the western side of the Jordan against the occupants of the promised land. Both sides got what they wanted. The armies of Israel would have the full strength of Gad’s and Reuben’s warriors. In turn, their women, children, and livestock would be secure while those warriors were away fighting. Accountability Established (Num. 32:28-32). Moses died before the conquest actually began but before his death he commanded Eleazar, the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the tribal heads regarding the conquest and the arrangement made with the tribes of Gad and Reuben. Moses cast the agreement in a conditional format: “if…, then” (Num. 32:29). Their possession of Gilead was conditioned upon them helping Israel to subdue the land. Once again, we are reminded that this is a divinely conceived and divinely wrought military oper-
ation. Everything was done “in the presence of the LORD.” What if they did not meet the condition? Moses stated, “… if they don’t go across with you in battle formation, they must accept land in Canaan with you” (Num. 32:30). They would face the same calamities in Canaan as the other tribes. The men of Gad and Reuben affirmed their commitment to fight alongside the other tribes. Having referred earlier to Moses as “my lord” (Num. 32:25), they pledged full allegiance to Yahweh, saying, “As the LORD has said to your servants, so we will do” (Num. 32:31). Then they vowed to cross over the Jordan “in the presence of the LORD,” while affirming their inheritance would be in the region east of the Jordan. Believers today hold each other accountable for fulfilling their commitments to God. VanHorn is dean of Christian Studies at Mississippi College, Clinton.
Bible Studies for Life • Why Does Suffering Exist? • Gen. 3:16-19; Rom. 8:18-25 Recently I ran into one of my favorite pastors in this world, Jeff Parker. As we caught up, I shared with him the emphasis on this series of lessons on suffering. I value his Godly insight gained through his experience as a pastor and as a missionary with the International Mission Board. We both agreed the theology of suffering is not one that is easy to approach. Genesis 3:16-19 introduces us to the first suffering outlined in the Bible. When sin was instigated in the garden, there were consequences. Both Adam and Even lost a God-planned, divine future for them in the garden. The fall of humanity continues to rage today as deliberate sins harm not only the persons committing the sins but many others impacted directly or indirectly. Romans 8:18-22 gives us a theological reasoning for suffer-
ing based on the natural order of the world. In verse 18, the Apostle Paul declares, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (NIV). He understood that in this world, suffering of some sort is inevitable. Paul also understood that these do not compare with the beautiful big picture God designs for believers. Jeff Parker likened it to a completed cross stich piece turned on the wrong side. It looks like a mess and table of strings and knots but when you turn it over to the correct side, you see the beautiful picture. Trying to understand why some things happen can become a jumble in our hearts and minds but when we view our lives through God’s lens, it is beautiful and intentional. Our last passage is Romans 8:23-25. We do “groan” about
with Beth S. Bowman in these bodies with a view of eternity that is beautiful and freeing and full of joy. All suffering should be done with this lens. Hope has a name and His Name is Jesus. This body was not meant to last. We are waiting for the redemption. The Book of Job deals with pain and suffering in a first person narrative from the life of Job. No one in Scripture is given as a bigger example of suffering than Job. Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist and author,
states about Job: “The context of the entire book of Job — the book in the Bible that deals most with this subject — is pain. “Why?” Job asked from various vantage points, but not once did he question God’s existence. He struggled with wanting to know God’s purpose and understand His ways. Job wondered about the purpose of his own existence, but he never questioned God’s existence. Job knew that God had a plan and purpose and He would get the honor and glory from this suffering. He trusted in God’s redemption. I experienced first-hand suffering in my life as I found myself a single mom of two little boys at age 37. Never in my dreams of childhood did I paint that picture. There are no words to explain the pain that comes with rejection from a spouse and the responsibility of raising
two kids alone — but I was not really alone. In the midst of my suffering, God showed Himself in countless ways. One truth I heard from God over and over was His reminder that He would get to write the ending to this story. His truth, His mercy would be completed in my life and the lives of my children. I would not want to go through anything like that again, and I would not disavow for anything the closeness and tenderness I experienced from Jesus. God became more real and present than I had ever experienced. View suffering in the light of the truth that God is present in our suffering and He will write the last words to the story. Bowman is a conference speaker, Lifeway contract writer and member of West Carthage Church, Carthage.
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JUST FOR THE RECORD
Dwayne Parker, associate pastor of youth, education, and missions at FIRST CHURCH, FLORA, recently earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Southeastern Seminary. Steve Stone, interim pastor.
The younger TeamKids of BRIDGEWAY CHURCH, MT. PLEASANT, are shown in front of the timeline they have started while studying The Gospel Project.
GILLSBURG CHURCH, GILLSBURG, honored its veterans during a Wreaths Across America ceremony.
The children, parents, and teachers of CALVARY CHURCH, VICKSBURG, are shown enjoying their annual childrenâ€™s Christmas party.
The Young at Heart group of HOLLY CHURCH, ALCORN, prepared gift fruit baskets for senior adults and others in the community. Thomas Magers, II, pastor.
WILLIAM CAREY UNIVERSITY students, faculty, staff gathered Dec. 5 at Thomas Fine Arts Auditorium for Vespers. The annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ includes music and scriptural readings that tell the Christmas story. After the service, guests gathered to sing Silent Night together around the statue of Jesus in Chain Garden.
HOLLY SPRINGS CHURCH, BROOKHAVEN, has called Lande Johnson as pastor, who comes with his wife Brandie and family.
ROCKY CREEK CHURCH, LUCEDALE, has called Paul Brashier as pastor. He is shown with his wife Kim.
TRINITY CHURCH, FULTON, has called Nathan Ward as worship leader. Shown are pastor David Haynes, left, and Ward.