Page 1

VBS: A roller coaster of missions & ministry across Florida

Maguire Prayer Guide reminds you of the need for the Gospel from South Asia brothels to your own neighborhood

PAGES 4-5

PAGES 10-11

FLORIDA BAPTIST WITNESS Volume 130, Issue 16

Inspiration and information for such a time as this

August 22, 2013

Macedonia Project speeds missionaries to the f ield

16:9). But you need the theological training required for career missionary appointment. The Macedonia Project might be the express lane to missions you’re looking for. It’s a new category of missionary service being developed by the International Mission Board in

conjunction with Southern Baptist seminaries. The three- to four-year mission assignment, to be offered under the International Service Corps umbrella, will allow apprentice missionaries to live and serve overseas while pursuing theological education online with

one of the participating seminaries. At the end of the field term, Macedonia Project missionaries will return to the United States and complete the remainder of their academic curriculum within a year, earning a master of arts degree while continuing to receive a financial stipend. After successfully

completing the program, they will be eligible to apply for appointment as full-fledged career missionaries. “They will be able to press excellent theological training through the grid of practical field experience while at See MACEDONIA, Page 13

Super Summer to scatter across the nations LEESBURG (FBC)—Even as 800 students worshipped in jubilant voices led by contemporary band Cloverton and responded with life-changing decisions to sermons by keynote speaker Stuart By BARBARA DENMAN Florida Baptist Convention

Henslee, the final night of Super Summer 2013 was never intended to be an end of the experience. The night—as well as the five days of camp held July 22-26 at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center—was created

as a lifelong catalyst for youth urged to claim James 1:1 and be “Scattered” across the nations. “Every day you go to school is a mission trip,” said Henslee, pastor to young singles at Biltmore Baptist Church in Ashville, NC. He urged the students to seize the harvest, because their schools are among the largest mission fields in the world. “Identify your target, claim your home, claim your schools and claim See SUMMER, Page 6

FBC PHOTO BY BARBARA DENMAN

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)—You’ve recently finished college—or maybe you’re a mid-career professional—and you sense an urgent call to follow Christ into long-term mission service. You have the practical skills to make an impact. You have the motivation. You’re ready to respond to the Lord’s call in obedience—right now, as the Apostle Paul responded when he dreamed of the man pleading, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts

IMB FILE PHOTO

MACEDONIA PROJECT A young missionary, right, shares the Gospel with a man in Latin America. A new IMB missionary program, the Macedonia Project, aims to help others called to long-term mission service get to the field sooner while obtaining the theological education they need.

SUPER SUMMER Students from Kingdom Covenant Baptist Church in Homestead prepare for worship during Super Summer at Lake Yale Conference Center.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE ... BREAKING NEWS AND DAILY UPDATES ONLINE AT WWW.GOFBW.COM Send Cities Houston stirs planters PAGES 14-15, 20

Duck Dynasty’s Si on God’s humor PAGE 12

Black missionaries are changing views PAGE 16


2 Opinion

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

Giving value to the devalued NEW YORK (BP)—Homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. As of this spring, there was an all-time record of 50,700 homeless people living on the streets of New York. If you walk more than a block, you will be confronted with this reality. After preaching the parable of the Good Samaritan at the Gallery Church, I was headed to Harlem for dinner with my girlfriend Liz. As we were walking up the stairs to exit the subway, I saw him: a nameless elderly man in dirty clothes, begging for change. This wasn’t out of the norm to see at a subway stop. But for me, this time was different. I watched as people walked by and refused to acknowledge his existence. Yet, he persisted, “Can I have a dollar for a sandwich?” I watched as each person actively chose to look down rather than to look up at the face of the man. I have to confess that I also walked by. But with each step, my feet felt heavier to the point that I could no longer continue. I heard two voices. One was the faint, defeated voice of the man asking for change. The other voice was my own, reciting the remnants of the sermon I had just preached: “Don’t be the Levite, don’t be the priest, who walked by and refused to love the man who was vulnerable.” Too many times we dehumanize the people that God loves and values. Tim Keller in his book “Generous Justice” explains, “Jesus taught that a lack of concern for the poor is not a minor lapse, but reveals that something is seriously wrong with one’s spiritual compass, the heart.” His point is that a heart that is not bent toward grace and mercy is one that has not experienced true compassion. The fact that we ignore the poor, whom God values, points to a heart that doesn’t value God. Most of us devalue other human beings unconsciously. Whether we do it out of self-protection, fear or apathy, our response to those who are weak and vulnerable indicates where they rank in our value system. In the parable, Jesus did not investigate whether the reasons the priest and Levite walked by the dying man were valid. That was not His point. The issue was that regardless of their reasoning, they actively chose to walk away and not show compassion.

They chose not to love their neighbor. By giving this lesson in the form of a parable, Jesus challenges us to identify with the characters. He wants us to see our reflection as we see the lack of love shown by the priest and Levite. He wants us to see our own neediness as we see the man lying in the ditch. Unlike the half-dead man, the Bible says that we are

Guest Editorial By Raleigh Sadler North American Mission Board missionary and college pastor at Gallery Church in New York City

completely dead in our sins. In our sin and spiritual deadness, we are enemies of Christ. But Christ did not leave us to die. He spoke life into my death when I could not love God and I could not love others. He didn’t merely risk His life to help us, He freely gave it. Jesus Christ has fulfilled the character of the Good Samaritan. He came to us in our brokenness and rescued us by His grace. By His life, death and resurrection in my place, He saved me. There was nothing I could do to earn His favor. As a response to His free grace, I am moved to act in compassion and trust God with the results. My response is to care for the vulnerable and to give graciously. The grace of God alone can change our focus. Whether our response is to have a conversation with a homeless person or to care for the child who has been trafficked into prostitution, we respond to those that are helpless and exploited as a result of our own redemption and freedom from the bondage of sin. Only as we reflect on the Gospel can we go from someone

God expects us to pray It’s official! For many, the long days of summer have come to aboard a big yellow school bus. a crashing halt. “I want to go to school,” Belinda boldly declared, big blue No more hot afternoons deciding between pool or beach, eyes shining, red braids swinging. park or playground, library or dimly lit living rooms—playing I took her words to heart games with siblings or sorting through tattered remnants of The child had no lack of social skills and easily made friends Vacation Bible School treasures. at church. She carefully sketched her letters and numbers and It’s back to the books for children and teens throughout Florida. was a happy conversationalist. She was a sweet older sister to her Some will face a transformed dining room table replete with brother, just 15 months younger. But it seemed she would benefit an array of impressive and personalized lessons as homeschooling from something a little different. kicks into high gear with mom, So Belinda went to a private dad, or both—serving as primary, German Kindergarten. Within secondary and even high school months the child spoke better teacher—all at the same time. German than we did. Her horizons Some will don uniforms and were expanded and we had an head to local Christian or private opportunity that we never thought academies run by churches or other much about before a friend helped By Joni B. Hannigan community-based organizations that make it possible. We prayed with have various mission statements and for her teachers. We loved the Managing Editor tailored to meet particular needs. nuns at the Maria Stern Convent in Still others will grab a backpack Augsburg where we lived. They and join over 2.5 million that attend Florida’s more than 3,600 loved our daughter and later our son who would attend only for public elementary and secondary schools spread throughout its a short time before our return to the states. 67 school districts in rural and metropolitan Florida. It was at home, at church, and at school that our children were At the grocery store last week, the cashier said something about first loved and nurtured and began a love-affair with learning kids not looking forward to school starting back up—not because that has never ended. they would miss the lazy days of summer, but because of what’s School there was highly structured—but intensely enriching expected. with an expectation that children would grow in mind and body, “They just expect them to know so much,” she sighed. through learning activities in balance with nap time, play time, Her earnest outburst prompted me to think about how things and time in the garden. At lunchtime they stressed table manners. have changed and how much they’ve stayed the same over the At three years old. past few decades since my children were young. Simply put, my children loved school and were challenged by all Living in Germany for the Army, I hadn’t thought much about they were learning. I was challenged to pray for their experience, preschool for my 3-year old daughter in the 80’s. But apparently for their teachers. For our family. she was ready to move on from “mommy” school, however—and I can’t imagine children not wanting to attend school, and to every day would stare out her bedroom window from our fifth not expect that there would be great expectations on what they floor housing unit and wave longingly at the kids climbing could achieve. I know my grandchildren, Joey and Madelyn,

Heartbeat

who desires self-protection to someone who desires to protect others. The Gospel motivates us to see every person as someone God values rather than merely a statistic. The Gospel empowers us to value those society rejects as those who have been created in the image of God. With that fact fresh in mind, I turned around and began talking with the man. Liz later told me that his face brightened up as I acknowledged him. I asked him what he needed, and he told me he just wanted a sandwich. So we quickly went to the local bodega, and I told him to order whatever he wanted. As we talked, I began to notice a change in my own heart. This man, whom I had originally chosen to ignore, had a name. Timothy, or “Dreads” as he liked to be called, told us about his life. He was so excited that we would stop to spend time with him that he invited us to swing by his shelter and ask for him anytime. He even gave us the phone number for his new prepaid phone. “What are you doing for the Fourth of July?” Timothy asked. “Because a few other friends in the shelter and I are getting together to have a little barbecue. We would love for you to come and spend some time with us,” he said. After this invitation, I was moved as I realized that I now spoke to this man as if he were a member of my own family. By the end of the conversation, I could tell that the feeling was mutual and that we both valued one another. Raleigh Sadler is a native of Cocoa Beach. He began going to Clear Lake Baptist Church and became involved in Baptist Campus Ministries at the University of Central Florida, a ministry supported through the Cooperative Program of the Florida Baptist Convention, after a home visit by an area directors of missions. For more information about Sadler’s ministry in New York, working with victims of sex trafficking, please go to his website “Urban Grace” at http://raleighsadlernyc.com/ and to ask him to speak, email him at Raleigh.Sadler@gmail.com Follow Sadler on twitter @raleighsadler. To see a related story about Raleigh Sadler, go online to Florida Baptist Witness at http://www.gofbw.com/News.asp?ID=15137

loved going to our church’s school last year—and are looking forward to their new school in Houston this year. Picking up my phone, I called a friend who teaches at a public school locally and is a member of my church. I assured her of my prayers as this school year starts. The phone got quiet. I could hear only my breathing. “You don’t know how much that means,” she said. “I didn’t expect you to call.” “Forgive me, Lord,” I prayed. “She should expect my prayers.” Pick up the phone, if you haven’t already. Send an email. Drop a note in the mail. Tell a teacher, a principal, a mom, a dad— you are praying for them. Tell them they can expect your prayers. Pray whenever you pass a school, when you see a yellow school bus, when you pick up a pencil, when you use a marker— when you click on a mouse pad or use an iPad. Pray when you pack one of those backpacks for the needy, or donate lined paper, or think about how much you can spare for a pair of tennis shoes for a needy child. Pray like never before that good, godly teachers and administrators, parents and helpers, grandparents, friends and siblings, will challenge, encourage, and be there for our children and our teens and help them to reach their God-given potential. Pray they will one day “be all that they can be”—and we will never fall short of being what we should be for them. God expects it. VOLUME

130 FLORIDA BAPTIST WITNESS

NUMBER

16

Official newspaper of the Florida Baptist State Convention

Business Manager

Managing Editor

John C. Hannigan

Joni B. Hannigan

Bookkeeper

Newswriter

Kathy Curtin

Carolyn Nichols

Circulation

Graphic Designer

Joan Keahon

Andrea Burroughs

Office Phone 904.596.3165 Toll-Free Line 800.226.8584,

Fax Line 904.346.0696 E-mail info@goFBW.com

extension 3165

Florida Baptist Witness Board of Directors: Ken Whitten, chairman; Luis Aranguren; Dennis Baxley; Shelly Chandler; Freddy Davis; James Dubois; Randy Huckabee; Ronnie Edwards; Randy Knepper; Sidney Lanier; Jim Locke; Patrick Pfrimmer; John Rollyson; Bradley Smith; and Daniel Webster. POSTMASTER Send address changes to Florida Baptist Witness, PO Box 10289, Jacksonville, FL 32247-0289 Individual subscription, $24.95; Church Group Plan, $11.50; Church Budget Plan, $10.00, Local Church Edition Plan, $8.50. (USPS 200-940, ISSN 1092-7409)

1230 Hendricks, Suite 514, Jacksonville FL 32207-8619 Publishes two issues monthly, except three issues in October and November. Periodical Postage Paid at Jacksonville, FL and at additional mailing offices. www.goFBW.com

“Florida Baptist Witness publishes Good News about God’s Work that encourages, enables and exhorts Florida Baptists to exalt God and extend His Kingdom.”


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

Opinion 3

Wisdom in Trials Henry Anhalt, his wife, Becky, and their three sons were on their way back to Florida from a weeklong mission journey to the Bahamas. The family was onboard a six-seat Piper Cherokee airplane, piloted by their friend, Kris Pierce. After a brief stopover in Fort Pierce to pass through U.S. Customs, they were again up in the air, flying toward Winter Haven, when Pierce collapsed at the controls. By STEPHEN RUMMAGE Special to Florida Baptist Witness

Henry Anhalt discovered that the pilot was not only unconscious, but dead of a massive heart attack. Henry managed to get on the radio and call out a distress signal. “Mayday! Mayday,” he cried over and over

As James talks about “counting it all joy” when we fall into all kinds of trials, he writes: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, into the transmitter. and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Don McCullough, a part-time flight instructor Trials have a way of revealing to us our need in Lakeland, heard Henry’s frantic message. for wisdom. The times of pressure and difficulty Calmly and confidently, McCullough in our lives take us beyond our own helped Henry work the controls and resources, outside the bounds of our land the plane, delivering his wife and own strength, knowledge, and skills, and boys to safety. bring us to our knees in prayer before I tell you that story to make this God, so that we cry out: “Mayday! simple point: When he woke up that Mayday! Lord, I need your wisdom morning, Henry Anhalt had not right now!” intended to learn how to fly an Notice what happens when we cry airplane! out to God for wisdom: He gives it to He learned how because he was in us freely, or “liberally.” He gives it to us RUMMAGE a position that he had to learn how. lovingly, or “without reproach.” The In the same way, trials teach us things that moment we cry out to Him for wisdom in our we would never learn otherwise. trial, the Lord opens His hand and says, “Child, God uses trials to bless us with His wisdom. I’m so glad you asked. Here’s all the wisdom

Call to Prayer: Modern day slavery EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world during 2013. NASHVILLE (BP)—News outlets across the nation reported the rescue of more than 100 teenage victims of sex trafficking. From a statement from Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, NBC By TRILLIA NEWBELL

Baptist Press reported that the sting resulted in the arrest of 159 “pimps” from San Francisco to Miami; the youngest victim was 13 years old. For many, this may be the first news of such atrocities occurring in these United States, the land of the free. Sex trafficking is not only happening, the numbers are staggering. The FBI estimates that nearly 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Victims are often young, from broken families or orphans. They are taken and sold for forced sex or prostitution. Most are girls, but boys are exploited as well. Sex trafficking is a global issue. The FBI reports that it is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. Money and lust motivate men and women to abuse and exploit children in ways unimaginable, so much so that I have resisted linking to the plethora of graphic and disturbing images and articles describing the torture these children endure day in and day out. I’ve seen only a small portion of what this might look like. As a young and naïve college student I had no idea what I was about to stumble upon during my visit to Amsterdam. I knew that marijuana was legal and that I might encounter it (oddly, I never

did). But I did find myself in the middle of the Red Light District. The images I saw have haunted me since that trip. Women posing in windows for anyone to gawk at as voyeurs walked by. It is legal. It is blatant. And I now know it was a small taste of the devastating sex industry. What I saw was tame compared to the many reports of secret housing holding women hostage to be raped repeatedly. As we learn about these tragedies the question that haunts us is, what can be done? How can the church help? The Psalmist wrote, “For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight,” (Psalm 72:12-14). Because of its criminal nature we are slightly limited in what we can do; but limitations aren’t impossibilities. And we know nothing is impossible for God. Here are three ways you might get involved. 1. Pray. The poor, needy, oppressed and orphan are special to the Lord. We can bow before God and ask Him to rescue “the needy when he calls.” nPray for government officials to continue to crack down on these crimes and for the criminals to be found. nPray for families to be healed and children to be protected before a sex-trafficking criminal can reach them. nPray for the salvation of all those involved, that the Gospel would penetrate hearts and break the sinful bondage that entangles them and pour out forgiveness and grace. nPray for healing for the girls and boys who have been rescued, that they would be able to return to society and live healthy, normal, productive lives. This is not an exhaustive list, the prayer needs are many. 2. Be informed. You can’t share what you don’t know. This article is only an introduction. Various organizations

have produced information to keep you informed and some are developing tools to help you remain active. The Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board shares Christ and serves those in spiritual and physical need through avenues such as OneLife’s One Woman and One Brothel projects. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s website has an entire page devoted to resources on human trafficking. Other organizations, such as International Justice Mission, Salvation Army, Sower of Seeds, Project Red Light Rescue and Nefarious Documentary, provide numerous resources to help you get started. 3. Spread the word. Because of the horrific nature of sex trafficking,

That’s why you have health insurance Dear Dave, Do you think having cancer insurance is a good idea? Brittany Dear Brittany, No, I don’t believe buying cancer insurance is a good idea. However, I do believe everyone needs health insurance. If you have a good health policy in place, it’s going to cover you in the event you’re diagnosed with cancer. Lots of insurance companies offer these policies because cancer is such a scary thing. It’s a hot-button topic, and many people have lost friends and relatives to cancer. I don’t believe in cancer policies though. You need a good emergency fund of three to six months of expenses, long-term disability coverage and a solid health insurance plan.

you need.” Today, if you are facing a trial and you don’t know what to do in the midst of it, simply cry out to God and ask for His wisdom. He’s waiting to give you exactly what you need! Have a great day and keep moving forward! Suggested Bible Reading James 1:1-12; Proverbs 9:1-6 Prayer Guide Today as you pray … Pray that He will give you a fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Thank Him for His promise to give you wisdom to face your trial. Cry out to Him, asking for His wisdom for the trial you are experiencing. Praise Him for His answer, for His provision, and for Jesus Christ, whose cross is the power and the wisdom of God. Stephen Rummage is pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon. many of us do not want to face the truth that this could happen right under our noses. One way to assist is to inform your churches and neighbors. Many articles are graphic in nature and therefore require discernment regarding which to share. There is, however, information available. Through prayer, sharing and education we can be active citizens in helping the fight against sex trafficking. We won’t be able to solve the problem in one day, one year, or even five; but by the grace of God we can be the feet of Jesus to a world that is dying and for these young girls and boys who are enslaved in the most inhumane way. Trillia Newbell writes for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Learn more about how you can become involved in fighting sex trafficking at erlc.com/ humantrafficking.

Dave Says By Dave Ramsey For more great financial advice please visit www.davesays.org.

My favorite health plan, and what I use personally, is the Health Savings Account (HSA). With an HSA you have money sitting there to cover some of the ancillary things. Most cancer policies won’t cover alternative treatments and things like that, and lots of them are income policies, meaning they replace a portion of your income, but that’s what disability insurance is for. —Dave

CORRECTION: In Cooperative Program Report, Aug. 8 on pps. 16-18 of the Witness, the column headings, with the exception of those in the first column of page 16 were incorrect. The “Report of Mission Giving as of June 30, 2013,” should have reflected three columns: CP, Jan-June 2012; CP, Jan-June 2013; Misc. Jan-June 2013, throughout. We regret the error. See the report online at on.gofbw.com/17Er1uT

Staring down the well: Jesus and the zealotry of Reza Aslan BreakPoint By Eric Metaxas Copyright © 2013 Prison Fellowship. Used with permission.

The latest book claiming to reconstruct “the historical Jesus” isn’t worth your time. Knowing why it isn’t, however, is. It probably didn’t feel like it at the time, but being hectored for ten minutes on Fox News may have been the best thing that ever happened to Reza Aslan, the author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Lost in the discussion about whether a Muslim can or should write a book about Jesus—the answer to both questions is “yes, of course”—is whether Aslan has written a book worth reading. By “worth reading” I mean “has he said anything that hasn’t been said before or at least has he said it any better?”

The answer to that question, as my friend Joe Loconte recently pointed out at the Huffington Post, is definitely “no.” Now, folks, let me be honest; I’m a big Joe Loconte fan. He’s a professor of history at The King’s College in Manhattan and he’s simply one of the best Christian writers around. So I take what he says very seriously. Loconte points out that Aslan is only the latest in a long series of writers who claim “to have discovered a radically different Jesus from the personality portrayed in the gospels and preached by the church for two millennia.” Like virtually all of these authors, Aslan claims “that the Christian community conspired to reinvent Jesus in order to meet pressing social needs,” despite the lack of substantiating evidence. As N.T. Wright, among others, has pointed out, while we know a great deal about the Judaism of Jesus’ time, and even more about the Christianity of the second century A.D., we know little, if anything, about the Christians Aslan and others

say “reinvented” Jesus. The “pressing social needs” that allegedly prompted this reinvention are almost entirely the product of writers like Aslan’s imagination. Or to be more precise, they’re what you have left when you rule out a priori the trustworthiness of the New Testament accounts. Aslan is in august company. In his book, Reasonable Faith, William Lane Craig of Biola surveyed the various attempts to find the “historical Jesus.” There was “[David] Strauss’s Hegelian Jesus, [Ernest] Renan’s sentimental Jesus, [Bruno] Bauer’s non-existent Jesus, [Albrecht] Ritschl’s liberal Jesus, and so forth.” As Craig put it, “apparently unaware of the personal element they all brought to their research, each writer reconstructed a historical Jesus after his own image ... each one looked down the long well of history and saw his own face reflected at the bottom.” The same is true of Aslan. For Aslan, Loconte says, events like the “Arab Spring” are part of “an unequivocal march towards freedom.” Thus it should come as no surprise

that when Aslan looks down the long well of history he sees “Jesus the Zealot for Political Liberation.” It doesn’t matter to Aslan that the evidence for this interpretation is virtually non-existent. Nor does Aslan account for Jesus’ extraordinary influence throughout history. There was no shortage of revolutionaries in first-century Palestine. Like Jesus, they died at the hands of the Romans. Unlike Jesus, that was

the end of the story for them. It’s Aslan’s failure to confront what Loconte calls “the question that haunts all honest minds about the legacy of the Nazarene,” and not Aslan’s religion, that makes the book not worth your time and the author just another guy staring down a well. What would be worth your time is reading Joe Loconte’s excellent article. Please come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to it.

Bibliocipher XFTYT EBMYDRF RFD NZKFRDTMY RT KT B Y R N B L Z O B O D C Z I X B L, F D Y F B I I H B I I F Z Q Y D I H Z O R T F Z Y T X O A Z R: G M R R F D MANZKFR YFBII FBCD KTTP RFZOKY ZO A T Y Y D Y Y Z T O. A N T C D N G Y R X D O R L - D Z K F R: R D O Clue: M equals U Have fun with cryptography and exercise your Bible knowledge. A King James Version verse is encoded by letter substitution. The same letter is substituted throughout the puzzle. Solve by trial and error. Answer to last week’s puzzle: “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:5). Provided by Charles Marx


4

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

Church kids, church hoppers & ‘spiritual orphans’ experience God’s love at VBS

dren came from scribed a young boy with behavioral Cape Coral neigh- problems living with his grandparents. borhoods, with He had been asked to leave other some “coming churches, but Grace Baptist volunteers through their embraced him and the whole family. By CAROLYN NICHOLS yards and some “If we can show God’s love to one Newswriter riding the church little boy and his family, it’s all worth cnichols@goFBW.com van,” the pastor it,” she said. “It’s not about the hullaMany re-created carnival midways said. The 6-8:30 baloo; it’s about reaching children in their sanctuaries to fit Colossal p.m. VBS welwith God’s love.” LAKES WALES CHURCH Coaster World curriculum. According comed preschoolFIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, STARTS NEWS SUNDAY to VBS directors and pastors in Cape ers through high MOUNT DORA SCHOOL CLASS AFTER VBS Coral, Crawfordville, Mount Dora, and school age Lake Wales, a successful VBS requires Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Lake Pierce Baptist Church near children. prayer, preparation, and a sincere was a peak experience in a year already Lake Wales may have set a world “VBS is the love for children and families. crowded with revival experiences, record during its Aug. 8-11 Vacation greatest opportuaccording to Pastor Thomas Jamieson. Bible School, according to Ridge Assonity we have for NEW HOPE BAPTIST Saturday evening prayer meetings ciation Director of Missions Mike evangelism, and CHURCH, CAPE CORAL that began in preparation for a series Hasha. More than 92 percent of the the greatest According to Pastor Mike Faircloth, of revival meetings in September children attending the church’s VBS amount of fruit New Hope Baptist Church has “always 2012 continued for VBS. made professions of faith, and two new comes from it,” put a high priority on VBS.” In addition to the evening prayer Sunday School classes were started. MUSIC WORSHIP Volunteers at New Hope Baptist Church in Cape Faircloth said. Preparation for the July school be- Coral lead music in a Vacation Bible School rally. Pastor K.C. Crum, who has served “Now we are heav- services, prayer-walkers prayed in every gins every year soon after Christmas Lake Pierce Baptist since June, said ily into follow-up— room used for VBS June 24-28, and when the date is set and fifty volunthe faculty’s imaginations, and their they prayed for unchurched families to the church began planning for VBS in first for those who made salvation teers are enlisted and trained. detailed plans are also accomplished send their children to VBS, according early July. The congregation of 45 decisions, then the prospects.” Children’s Minister Frank Ferdinand early. to Children and Preschool Director had only one child attending, and Faircloth’s commitment to VBS oversaw VBS in years past, but he “Our folks love to go crazy on the Tracy Ahearn. previously had no programs or classes stems from his 13 years as a youth retired in January. His wife, Patti, decorations,” Faircloth said. Volunteers promoted the VBS door- for children. pastor at First Baptist Church in Cotserved as VBS director this year. The church cooperates with other to-door in neighborhoods, and the “We didn’t know what to expect, but tage Hill. When he was new to the The children begin rehearsals for local churches that use the same curri- job in 1977, he led the first youth, church partnered with Chick-fil-A to we decided to try it anyway,” he said. the VBS musical in March. The music culum. This year three Baptist churches Jack Page, to Christ during VBS. distribute 1,000 Colossal Coaster World The Thursday-Sunday evening VBS and drama “describe the VBS theme,” and a non-denominational church fliers on trays and in to-go bags. drew 13 children, ages 5-12. A church “I have been sold on VBS ever Faircloth said. The pastor, a former contributed toward the cost of conOn the first day of VBS, 316 children member brought nine or ten neighborsince,” he said. worship pastor, directs the musical and structing and building the sets. The and 100 workers were enrolled, almost hood children to VBS in her van, GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, the daily worship rallies during VBS. props included a midway turnstile at doubling the total in 2012. Forty-five Crum said. “Putting together the musical the sanctuary door, a roller coaster car CRAWFORDVILLE professions of faith were recorded During the first session Crum told production helps create excitement. It also at the entrance, circus tent-like among the 2nd-6th graders. During the story of Jesus calming the storm, Bea Kenyon has served as VBS makes the children want to come back stripes on the walls, and roller coaster director at Grace citing I John 4:18. in the summer,” he said. tracks on the platform. Later that evening, Baptist for four Theme decorations are a product of When July 15 arrived, 120 chilCrum dressed in years. The church’s biblical costume and her personal to portray the commitment to Apostle John as VBS has been an eyewitness to challenged, but Jesus’ power over has remained the storm. In an unchanged. MIAMI (FBW)—At Wayside Baptist Church in Miami, June 10-14 Vacation invitation at the “Through everyBible School was only the first week of summer ministry to local children. end of the sesthing, there has The Wayside Kidz Camp, in its 11th year, provides “an affordable Christian sion, 12 of the never been a disenvironment that is fun for kids in the summer,” according to a church 13 children cussion about not press release. rushed forward having Bible The 10-week camp, from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., is a valuable ministry to make professchool,” she said. for working parents who struggle to arrange for childcare when school is sions of faith, “God takes care not in session, and even the week of VBS comes with aftercare for those leaving a fiveof our little church. who need it. Preschool and Children’s Ministry Director Leigh Byers can year-old He really does.” identify with the needs of parents. Last year, Trop- PRAYER AND REVIVAL Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church in Mount Dora was behind. “I remember being a single parent and wanting my daughter to be able “They all came ical Storm Sandy a continuation of the revival that began in September 2012. to go to VBS. Thankfully, other church parents took her and kept her all down like a saturated the area afternoon. It made me ask, ‘What can we do to help these families?’” she said. the Friday Family Night, 15 adults and herd,” Crum told Florida Baptist Witwith 25 inches of rain on the first The camp program is fully sponsored by Wayside Baptist that hires a ness. planned day of VBS. The storm, which children made professions of faith camp director and staffers to work during the summer. According to Byers, “Praise the Lord who gives the All the children, plus another three, moved to the northeastern U.S. as a the church also utilizes church youth, whom the church pays $10/day. Some increase,” Jamieson wrote in a church attended every session, including a hurricane, forced the cancellation of who began as counselors-in-training are now counselors. Saturday Family Fun Day and Sunday the first two days of VBS. The faculty press release. “We’ve done this long enough to have a base of workers. We’ve created The church’s prayers for unchurched evening closing session. Crum said he re-worked the schedule to include five a camp culture here,” she said. families were answered. was encouraged not only by the reBible stories in three VBS sessions. The camp also creates a family atmosphere, a “social environment “Normally, we have our church chil- sponse of the children, but also by the Also, Grace Baptist has been where we live life together,” she said dren and church hoppers, but this year dedication of the 15 VBS volunteers. without a pastor for all of 2013, and The church campus includes a gymnasium and playing field that accomwe had unchurched children—those I VBS volunteers and other church attendance has plummeted to 45-60. modates large numbers of children. Average attendance is 75, but the members are now following up on However, thirty VBS volunteers arrived call ‘spiritual orphans,” Ahearn said. number increases to more than 100 the last weeks of summer, when Children who regularly attend those who attended VBS with cards and every evening July 15-19 to meet 30 other day camp programs end. Sunday School were in class with visits in their homes. Several are attendchildren. The ministry consumes Byers’ and camp faculty’s summers. “Every year there is so much antic- others who had never been to church, ing Sunday School in two children’s “This ministry is not convenient for us, but it is for families,” Byers and teachers had to be prepared to classes that were started since VBS. ipation. Will we have any kids? Will said. “Fortunately, God sends us fresh faces at the end of summer to help.” teach both groups. “It had been a while since our they come? It just amazes me when Although some of the Kidz Camp children attend Wayside Baptist, “We had some who didn’t know church had anyone make a profession the first kids arrive on the property,” most do not attend regularly. where to find the Book of John, so of faith, so we are going to take advanKenyon said. “What’s trending now is that we don’t see kids every week. With custhe teachers had to engage them tage of this gift God gave us. We are The children were greeted by a tody issues, we’re lucky to see them twice a month. I look at it like this – without losing the interest of those blessed,” Crum said. midway gate and a lighted wooden in 48 days of summer our Kidz Campers get about a year’s worth of SunFerris wheel, day School, and camp is Sunday School on steroids,” she said. constructed by Church Kenyon. A carousel, roller coaster, and Colossal Coaster World posters followed the theme. Church members also constructed a boat for the Bible story on Paul’s shipwreck. “For a small church, I’m really amazed at what they come up SLIMED Older campers at Wayside Baptist Church in Miami participated in Vision to with,” she said. LEARNING IS FUN Children at Vacation Bible School at Grace Baptist Church in Crawfordsville participate in a Hear X Factor camp activities. learning activity. Kenyon deCOURTESY PHOTO

CAPE CORAL (FBW)—Hundreds of Florida Baptist churches reached tens of thousands of children during summer Vacation Bible Schools across Florida.

who do know,” she said. As a result of VBS, the church began a Tuesday morning day camp that roughly follows the VBS schedule, with the addition of field trips to the zoo, bowling and roller skating. Some of the children have the same teachers they learned from in VBS. “We have dedicated teachers here,” Ahearn said. While Pastor Jamieson works on baptizing those who made professions of faith, Ahearn has started a discovery class for children using “I Am a Christian Now” by LifeWay Christian Resources.

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

Miami Kidz Camp offers ‘Sunday School on steroids’


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

5

work provided by the Florida Baptist Convention summer missions ministry.” Now that he is in the process of planting CHRIST Fellowship PCB in Panama City Beach, he said he is working “diligently to make the Good By BARBARA DENMAN News about Jesus known throughout Florida Baptist Convention the beach” even as the church meets in an elementary school. “Are we going to learn about God Although the new church plant had today?” they asked, almost in unison. previously used a mission group from After an affirmative response, a loud Alabama to lead community children and resounding “yes” echoes from through the VBS curriculum, Petty the group of children. enlisted the northwest Florida summer “It was amazing seeing how God is mission team of Hahe and Carey to really working through the lives of lead a “Summer Kids’ Club” in the the children and how joyful the kids community using the Jungle Jaunt are to learn more about the Gospel,” material. said Fitzwater. “The missionaries came into our “The kids come from rough backcontext and made it their own! They grounds, many of their parents are not worked with the children and the married, their siblings are not blood space we had related and so just available and prolearning that God duced a powerful can help them face week of ministry their fears and he making the Good is right there News about Jesus beside them and known. The final help them with results bore evitheir challenges. dence of their It’s really cool.” faithfulness,” he Fitzwater and concluded. “Four her co-worker were young people who among ten sumheard the Good mer missionaries News answered tasked with leadJesus’ call and ing vacation Bible were gloriously schools in five born again. locations across Nearly 30 the state, helping students between Florida Baptist the ages of 8-15 churches that othmade professions erwise would not RELATIONSHIPS Summer missionary Matt Hahe greets one of the VBS participants at of faith during be able to conduct Heights Baptist Church in Pensacola. VBS at Bethel a similar event. Evangelical Baptist Church in Delray amazing experience,” said Carey, a Many times the schools were held in a Beach led by summer missionaries student at Baptist College of Florida local church; at other times, VBS was Indira Bertarioni and EIizabeth offered in apartment complexes target- in Graceville. Brown, said Stephanie Deshommes, “No matter where we went God ing areas for new church plants. who leads the Haitian congregation’s showed up,” Carey said. At the completion of their eight In addition to the two North Florida summer camp. weeks the missionaries had assisted “I can’t even begin to understand teams, students were assigned to 50 churches, enrolled 5,400 children how just two missionaries were able in VBS and discovered 423 prospects. three associations in South Florida— to have so much impact on 60-plus Palm Beach, Gulf Stream and Miami. But most important, the teams saw The VBS summer missionary project kids,” Deshommes said. “The Bible 433 professions of faith from children study lessons about the life of the began in 2005 and has helped 381 and adults they ministered to. Florida Baptist churches conduct Bible Apostle Paul were unforgettable. They “We had Hindus, Mormon and were still talking about them weeks schools. Since that time more than Muslims participating in our Bible after the missionaries left. The songs schools,” said David Moore, associate 30,000 children have attended and were fun, the motions energetic, the 2,000 professions of faith recorded. team strategist in the Sunday school, lyrics memorable.” groups and discipling ministries team. But this year’s teams reported more Among the 30 children who prayed than any other year, said Moore. “Adults came to faith in Christ, we to receive Christ, Deshommes said most Moore said the Bible schools are reached parents, several church helpers were led to Christ and several mission- most effective in reaching new believ- of them believed that their relationship with Christ would be in jeopardy if aries gave their Bibles away to children ers as well as prospects when they they were “bad” by talking back to are held in locations away from the who never owned a Bible.” churches, such as apartment complexes parents, hitting someone, lying, or Missionaries Matt Carey of Palm “anything else kids their age do,” she and parks. In these environments Bay and Elijah Hahe of Lancaster, children are confronted with the gospel said. Ohio, traveled to both Panama City “With the Colossal Coaster lessons, for the first time in their lives. Also, and Pensacola leading VBS in both off-campus sites provide more oppor- they understood that through the ups churches and for new church plants. Hahe called the summer experience tunities to reach the children’s families. and the downs, Jesus still loves them The missionaries and church leaders and that their journey with the Lord “outstanding. To be able to help these is still the best ride of their lives.” work together to specifically track young kids, introduce them to the In addition to the change in lives prospects and cultivate connections of the children and families involved in the VBS, Moore said one cannot made during the measure what happens in the lives of VBS week. In 2013, 423 persons the summer missionaries after serving in such a role. were followed up “They are radically changed. Many by the churches of the students had never led a person and summer misto Christ. Others look at a change in sionaries. Over their life’s direction. It is amazing what the nine-year period, as many as God put in their hearts as a result of this experience.” 1,845 prospects— “Their eyes are open to the needs not including on the Florida mission field as they those who made invest in lives of people cross culturally, professions of engaging people of different faiths faith—were conand ethnic groups,” he explained. tacted by leaders Hahe called the experience “lifeof the churches. changing” and is waiting on the Holy As a former Spirit to guide him further. director of misCarey, whose home church is Lifesions for the Gulf point in Palm Bay, has felt God calling Stream Baptist him into youth ministry. “God has Association, Michael Petty said given me this experience and insights he was “intimately in preparation for my calling,” he said. SUMMER MISSIONS Matt Carey of Palm Bay spent his summer For Fitzwater, a student from First helping small Panhandle churches and church plants conduct VBS. aware of the fine FBC PHOTO BY BARBARA DENMAN

Lord and be able to love them with the love of Jesus Christ has been amazing.” During his first week in Pensacola, Hahe was asked to preach a sermon in the church they were helping with only one day notice. While taken offguard, he persevered and preached on the hope Christians have in Christ. “I didn’t think I did very well,” he said, “but the beauty of it is that one youth came forward and accepted Christ” as his Lord and Savior. In another church, Carey, who was serving his second year as a VBS summer missionary, shared the gospel message with a group of 7 through 12 graders. At the conclusion of his presentation, 16 students—all in the class—made spiritual decisions as the pastor led several of them through the sinner’s prayer. “That was a rare and

FBC PHOTO

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Arriving at the Jacksonville apartment complex, Shannon Fitzwater and her co-worker were immediately swarmed by neighborhood children from a variety of ages, races and religious backgrounds.

Vacation Bible School: Changing lives for eternity

FBC PHOTO

VBS summer missionaries in Florida change lives—including their own

LIFE-CHANGING VBS workers at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tallahassee seek to be sensitive to spiritual needs of children.

TALLAHASSEE (FBC)—Do you have a special memory of Vacation Bible School etched deeply in your mind? Perhaps you recall a special craft, song or friend. For many children in the Sunshine State, VBS in more than just a fun memory; it’s a life-changing experience. Year after year in church after church, thousands of children make professions of faith as a result of VBS. In the past five years (2008-2012), at least 14,513 children made salvation decisions in Florida Baptist churches during VBS, according to David Moore, VBS coordinator for Florida Baptists. It’s not unusual, after a child has made a profession of faith as a result of VBS, for entire families to make or renew their faith commitments, he said. Immanuel Baptist Church in Tallahassee is one church in particular that recognizes the unique evangelistic opportunity offered by VBS. “We love VBS at Immanuel,” said pastor Rich Kincl. “It is all about Jesus.” According to Kincl, VBS is “the premiere outreach emphasis of the year for our church. It allows us to reach out to BY THE NUMBERS our community and is the first touch for Decisions of faith as a many families with Immanuel.” result of VBS reported by Planning begins months in advance as Florida Baptist churches: teachers are enlisted and trained, with 2008: 2,869 the entire process immersed in prayer. Wristbands, bearing teachers’ names, are 2009: 2,951 distributed to church members who are 2010: 2,687 encouraged to pray for teachers by name. During the two Sunday morning worship 2011: 2,767 2012: 3,239 services prior to the start of VBS, pastor Kincl leads in a special prayer for the chil- 2013 is not available; dren and adults who will participate in reports are coming in the week; on the Wednesday just prior to now. VBS, church members participate in a Total decisions reported church-wide prayer walk. “Our people love doing this. It involves for the five years: 14,513 the entire congregation in VBS!” he said. *These numbers do not This year, the church, which runs apreflect all of the decisions that proximately 1,000 on a typical Sunday were made at VBS in Florida morning in its three worship services, Baptist churches. These numwelcomed almost half (484) of its Sunday bers are from the churches that sent in their reports. morning number to the daily VBS. Intense promotion of the week attracted not only church members’ children but also unchurched neighborhood children to this year’s “Colossal Coaster World” week. As the week unfolded, teachers sought to “be sensitive to the spiritual needs of the children,” said Kincl. Then, on Thursday morning, after the children had been learning the basics of the gospel through a fun, animated song, the pastor led in an evangelistic joint worship service, giving children an opportunity to step to the front of the sanctuary if they wanted to talk with an adult leader about making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. This year, church member, deacon and adult Sunday School leader Carl Fuqua had agreed to serve as an evangelistic counselor on Thursday morning. As his morning began, a series of frustrating experiences, unrelated to VBS, tempted him to forego his commitment. “It has been a tough morning. They’ve got plenty of people there,” he reasoned to himself. “Then the Lord spoke to me. “You’re meant to be there,’ He said. ‘It’s about sacrifice, not your schedule.” The weary man kept his commitment and watched as a young boy, Cale Cox, walked toward him for counseling during the service. Convinced the little boy understood his decision with a childlike faith, Fuqua led him through a prayer of commitment. “A couple of times during the prayer, I started to tear up a bit. His sweet voice and his sincerity reminded me of the joy in sharing our faith,” said the father of three. The little boy was one of 17 children who made professions of faith as a result of VBS at Immanuel Baptist Church this year. Follow-up with not only the children who make professions of faith but also with their families is extensive and ongoing, said the pastor. “We are glad to be a church that promotes VBS and boys and girls getting saved!” said Kincl. Baptist Church in Leesburg who is entering the University of Central Florida this fall, the summer proved that God is in control when he asks you to take a risk. “The Lord really asked me to step out on a limb this summer. Never before would I have uprooted myself from my friends, family, and comfortable niche. It was incredible as I really learned to lean on God. There were

times I was just so tired and knew that I could not go on, but the Lord always gave me strength, she said. “He would give us words that would be exactly what the children and their parents needed to hear. It was an interesting summer as not only were we working with children, but also adults. We heard many different life stories and it is so amazing to see how God weaves His people together.


August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

Retired UF campus minister Otto Spangler left legacy of changed lives GAINESVILLE (FBW)—Otto Maurice Spangler, retired Baptist campus minister at University of Florida, died Aug. 3 at a hospice in Gainesville. He was 77. Spangler served as Baptist campus minister at UF for 28 years and retired in 1999. He became UF chaplain for Gator Athletics in 1986, a position he held until 2002. He also was chaplain of the Gainesville Quarterback Club from 1972-2010. During his career at UF, he led dozens of Florida Baptist Convention conferences for campus ministers. Many at his funeral Aug. 7 at First Baptist Church in Gainesville were UF alumni who paid tribute to their former BCM minister. He was described as a Bible scholar and teacher, athlete, a giver of bear hugs who greeted everyone as “Beloved.” Craig Naylor, former student minister in the Gainesville area, read a letter to Spangler at the funeral: “Otto, God, through you, changed our lives. We are who we are today much due to your influence and your

love. All of our stories are different, very unique, but a common thread we have is you. There are so many experiences and so many opportunities that your faithfulness provided us. You gave us a place of stability in the BCM—a place where we could grow in Christ. And as we grew, we were allowed to fail and still be loved. We were allowed to SPANGLER have fun and also to be serious about life. Otto, you were always so real and genuine when you shared about the Christian life and what it meant to live for Christ. You encouraged us to do stuff when we didn’t think we could,” Naylor read. “One of our greatest memories is that you called us ‘Beloved.’ We felt cared for and loved,” Naylor continued. “We felt important and special. We knew we were more than just another student to you. Thank you for showing

us Jesus and helping us experience the power of Christ through this simple yet complex word, ‘Beloved.’ For this we will always be grateful.” Eddie Gilley, Baptist campus minister at UF, wrote about his predecessor: “Otto certainly cast a long shadow after being at UF for so long, but he always made me feel like he was my biggest cheerleader and so proud that I was carrying on so many of the programs and traditions he started. When I came to Westside [Baptist Church in Gainesville] he was more than helpful to me. He went out of his way to help me learn the campus environment. It was a mutual partnership that really set the stage for me to join the Florida Baptist Convention staff and move into campus ministry. In many ways I wanted to expand on the partnership he had created. He continued to love students and student ministry all the way to the end. It has been my honor to preserve and expand his legacy of collegiate ministry.” Alumni who commented about Spangler’s influence told of his lasting

SUMMER: Youth leave ‘comfort zone’ mission field without purchasing passports or hopping on an airplane,” he explained. The Miami missions experience will be held at the Florida Baptist Convention’s Urban Impact Ministry Center in Hialeah June 16-20, 2014, while

BCF PHOTO

FBC PHOTO BY BARBARA DENMAN

students to whet their appetite for ministry on a mission field where 3 the places you go,” he told them. million people have never been im“You are not there by accident, you pacted by the Gospel.” are there for a reason; to preach the He added that church planters in Gospel with your mouth and by living Miami will benefit from the missions a holy life doing things differently.” experience as they get some much As an aspect of needed help and the call to be encouragement in “Scattered,” the a difficult location. week’s theme, an “We want students announcement by to go back home camp director Jeff and say, this is Hessinger, stratewhere God is callgist for the Florida ing me to serve as Baptist Personal/ preachers, church Student Evangelplanters and in ism team, chalsupporting roles lenged students in churches.” to enter the South “I believe God Florida mission is doing somefield where 95 thing amazing in percent of the Miami and this population is will impact the spiritually lost. city for Christ for SCATTERED During worship at Super Summer, nearly 800 students were challenged to For the first years to come,” take their faith to their schools, communities and the nations. time in 2014, an Coats said. inaugural Super Summer Mission the week-long Super Summer camp During the 2013 Super Summer, Experience will be held in Miami, will continue to be held at Lake Yale. students from 42 Florida Baptist designed to connect students with Hessinger hopes the Miami mission churches spent the week studying and church planters in the South Florida trip will be the first of a mission stratmemorizing verses from the book of mission field and the work of the egy that will expand to international James, emphasizing how to be a mature North American Mission Board’s SEND locations including Haiti. “It makes Christian and share their faith through City program. sense to create a student mission Scripture memorization. Hessinger stressed the ethnicity of strategy that has the same excellence The Super Summer curriculum is the city of Miami where nearly twoand qualities as Super Summer,” he planned by a team of student pastors thirds of the population is Hispanic, at said. and senior pastors who have a heart least 56 different languages are spoken Patrick Coats, a Florida Baptist for youth, Hessinger said. and 160 nationalities are represented church planting missionary living in Eric Botley, pastor of Providence in the public schools. Miami, attended the 2013 Super Baptist Church in Palatka, is among the “This will be a hands-on opportunity Summer at Lake Yale to rally students’ coordinators and brought 18 students to share Christ in an international participation. “We are excited for from his church. He said the camp, by taking the youth out of their comfort zone, gives them a deeper disciplined walk and “a concern about those who are lost and dying.” This is the second year Pastor Eric Erskine took students from First Baptist Church in Havana, bringing 15 high school and middle school youth this year. “It’s a great camp,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to have a concentrated focus on the Lord.” The week not only, “ignites and encourages a sustained passion for the Lord,” he said, “it brings our youth group closer together.” Super Summer campers also participated in recreational activities including some designed to create ON MISSION A mission 24-member mission team ranging in age from 11-70, team spirit that promoted competition "Builders for Christ," from Oakview Baptist Church in Okeechobee, spent a week this between each of the seven grades summer at Baptist College of Florida to paint, pour concrete, rip out carpet and represented. Students joined in ropes engage in other campus improvements. The team was led by senior pastor John courses, boating activities, paintball Garrison and his wife Amelia, former missionaries to Zambia, Africa. and swimming. From Page 1

influence on their lives: In a statement to Florida Baptist Witness, Danny Wuerffel, a former quarterback for the University of Florida and a 1996 Heisman Trophy winner who went on to play in the NFL and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013, shared these words: “Otto’s warmth, smile and love for God and people made a big mark on my life during my time at UF. I am very thankful for Otto. His impact on me continues to this day,” said Wuerffel, who is now the founder of Desire Street Ministries which partners with local ministries in Lakeland, and in New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas and in Montgomery, Ala. Jim Waters, pastor and equipper at Friendship Baptist Church in Milton talked of Spangler’s contribution through BCM. “Otto had a very specific influence on the Kingdom of God through his many years of service. He was a true encourager and consistently offered bits of wisdom to us young students,” Waters said. “God used Otto and the

BCM, in my live and in others, as a launching pad into Kingdom work.” Tributes written on Spangler’s online guest book at www.legacy.com include memories of his guidance in students’ struggles and of his involvement in students’ weddings, such as that of Andrea and Steve Burroughs. Andrea has been the Witness’ designer since she graduated from UF in 1997. After retirement from BCM, Spangler joined the bass section of the choir of First Baptist Church in Gainesville, where he was a deacon and Bible study teacher. Spangler, a native of Virginia, grew up in Bristol, Tenn. He was a graduate of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He served as pastor of several Baptist churches in Kentucky before serving as the first Baptist campus minister of western Kentucky, overseeing BCM work on six college campuses. He moved to Gainesville in 1972. He is survived by his wife of almost 57 years, Harriet; his children, Otto “Chuck” Spangler Jr., Victor Spangler, and Elizabeth Byrd; ten grandchildren and great grandchildren. Gifts in Spangler’s memory may be made to First Baptist Church, Gainesville, or to E.T. York Hospice in Gainesville.

But students said the most worthwhile time at the camp was worshipping with hundreds of other students and exploring their personal relationship with God. Senior Nathaniel Smith of First Baptist Church in Floral City said he is a three-year veteran of Super Summer. As he looks to go into a career with law enforcement when he graduates, he said each year the camp “brings me closer to God and sets me on fire as I walk with Jesus.” Worship was a highlight for Kevin Cauthen, 16, from Forest Grove Church in Alachua, now in his fourth year at Super Summer. While he admits that he faces peer pressure at school, the camp “helps me grow because it teaches you how to develop your quiet time and to be more on fire for God.” He

also believes the evangelistic tools, such as the E-Cube, demonstrated to the youth will provide him occasions to witness to friends at school. During the final night of worship, students presented skits to demonstrate the week’s theme. Perhaps the most poignant was a mock graduation exercise for seniors that shared some of their high school accomplishments and plans for college and career. Some will go to Florida schools, some locally and others will leave at the end of the summer for out-of-state colleges. Now undergirded spiritually after five days of intensive Bible study and Christian discipline, the seniors left Super Summer for the next step in their lives—ready to be “scattered” across the nations and equipped with a fortified faith.

Jon Moody, 33, middle school pastor in Jacksonville, dies JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Jonathan Everett “Jon” Moody, 33, middle school pastor at Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville, died Aug. 9 at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Moody had learned to live with heart disease from birth, according to John Boone, Chets Creek Church member and Sunday School team strategist with the Florida Baptist Convention. “He lived life to the fullest, and did not let heart disease get in the way,” he said. During a hospitalization in May, Moody blogged: “I have heart disease and it isn’t always playing nicely in the back yard…I am usually content, knowing God has a plan for all of this,” he wrote. THE MOODY FAMILY Moody accompanied the church’s middle schoolers to camp at Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., in July and became ill during the camp. He was treated at local hospitals in Jefferson City and in Knoxville before being transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, where he was hospitalized 31 days. When news came of his death, church youth tied pink balloons to the fencing around a pond on the church campus. Pink was Moody’s favorite color, and was the color of choice for the overflow crowd attending his funeral on Aug. 13. Glenn Reese, associate pastor at Chets Creek Church, officiated at the funeral and the church’s praise band led music. Moody is survived by his wife of eight years, Lindsay; daughters, Ava Grace Kathryn and Maggie Kay; and his parents, James Buddy and Kaye Moody. Chets Creek Church Pastor Stephen (Spike) Hogan and his wife, Kitty, are Moody’s in-laws. Gifts in Moody’s memory may be made to the Jon Moody Camp Scholarship Fund at Chets Creek Church. Additional financial donations to assist the Moody family are being received by Chets Creek Church. To send a gift, please make a check out to Chets Creek Church and write, “Helping Hands JM” on the memo line or envelope. To read more about Jon Moody, go to his blog at http://jonthemoody. com/about/

COURTESY PHOTO

6


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

7

By

CAROLYN NICHOLS Newswriter

cnichols@goFBW.com

“I’ve been at Oak-Griner so long that church members seem like extended family. All my children are here, and most of the grandchildren. I know it’s hard to retire and still go to the church, but my family is here,” he said. Frank and Barbara Grant moved to Ocala from Gainesville in 1980, when he was 37 and their family included two teenagers and two preschoolers. Their children married into Ocala families, and all their families attend Oak-Griner Baptist, except two grandsons and a daughterin law who live in Jacksonville and in Raleigh, N.C. Twenty-two of the 175 members at Oak-Griner Baptist are Grant family members. The clan, including Frank Grant’s mother, Dorothy Bright, who lives in an apartment over the garage, gathers

at the Grant home every Sunday after the other credit for their family tradichurch. They eat lunch, “lay around all tions. She says her “family man” never afternoon,” and then return to church neglected her or the children in his for the evening service, Grant said. work, and he says she “has the gift of The family also has the tradition hospitality and is largely responsible of spending the last week of the year for the long tradition of Sunday together in a mountain cabin. dinners.” “The cabins have grown over the One of the most popular ministries years. Last year we of Oak-Griner grew needed eight bedout of the Grant chilrooms,” he said. dren’s involvement in The pattern will be baseball and softball, altered this year to and his observation accommodate a of “excessive competigrandson’s wedding tion.” The ministry is in Myrtle Beach, S.C., called the Oak-Griner on Dec. 31. “A beach Re-Creation Center house will have to with the slogan, “Let’s do,” said the proud re-create the game grandfather, who will and make it for kids.” perform the wedding. FRANK AND BARBARA GRANT “When I moved Frank is the oldest here, the church had of six children, and Barbara, the a lot of gray heads, and they wanted youngest of seven. They met in eleme to put an emphasis on ministry mentary school in North Fort Myers, to children. Baseball was a way to do where he and Barbara’s older sister, that,” he said. Dorothy, were in the same class. They Today their son, Wes, is Oak-Griner’s have been sweethearts since junior minister of recreation, overseeing a high school, and they will celebrate community-wide youth baseball protheir 51st wedding anniversary Sept. 1. gram that began in 1981. The church “I’ve never had another sweetheart. owns eight lighted baseball fields that She is it,” he said. bring hundreds of children to one of Each member of the couple gives the largest kids’ baseball/softball

LEGACY Oak-Griner Baptist Church has one of the largest kids’ baseball/softball programs in Marion County.

programs in Marion County. However Grant sees his legacy as more than baseball. In 33 years he has baptized several generations of families and officiated at weddings for those he baptized. Along the way, he baptized all his children and grandchildren. “Oak-Griner has suited me real well,” he said. About 10 years into his pastorate at Oak-Griner Baptist, several people in the church opposed his leadership, he said. He and Barbara prayed that the conflict would not affect his children’s love for church. “I didn’t want the kids to have a sour taste in their mouths about church. I explained to them that ‘this kind of thing happens in life,’ and they stayed out of the debate,” he said. “I thought,

Churches give back to local schools via clothing drives, food & academics JACKSONVILLE (FBW)-Two Jacksonville Baptist Association churches were honored recently by the Florida Education Foundation and Florida Department of Education Commissioners for their work in partnerships with local elementary schools. The award is presented annually to one or two businesses or organizations in each of the 67 school disBy

CAROLYN NICHOLS Newswriter

tricts in the state. Both Bryceville Baptist Church and San Jose Baptist Church help to provide for the needs of students in schools that share their names. The schools and the partnerships are vastly different, but the churches share a desire to minister to families in their communities.

BRYCEVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH Nassau County’s Bryceville Elementary School, one of 19 schools in the rural district, is around 150 yards from the back door of Bryceville Baptist Church, according to Pastor Terry Yerby. A year ago, in an effort to become more involved in its community, the 100-member church began looking for ways to minister to the staff and the children of the nearby school, Yerby said. He met with Laura Lee Kinard, academic counselor at Bryceville Elementary, and offered the church’s help – “whatever we can do,” he said. About the same time, the church was given children’s clothes and shoes that comprised the first donation to the elementary school. A partnership grew from that act of generosity. “That bunch of clothes and shoes helped get our foot in the door, and the Lord kept laying things to do on my heart. Now the school calls us when students need help,” Yerby said.

COURTESY PHOTO

cnichols@goFBW.com

SCHOOL HELPERS San Jose Baptist Church in Jacksonville recently led a Vacation Bible School on the campus of San Jose elementary School. Crafts were a popular activity at VBS.

The school calls when one of its 220 students’ families needs groceries, or when fire destroys a student’s family home. The church moves its popcorn and cotton candy machines to the school for special events, “a sure way to meet families.” Several families have visited the church after meeting him and other volunteers at school events, the pastor said. The church provided 17 families with ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, and volunteers helped host “Everything Math night” at the school. Bryceville Elementary’s kindergarten graduation was held in the church’s fellowship hall. The church finances the school partnership through offerings taken quarterly after Lord’s Suppers. The church is already collecting school supplies for the beginning of the fall term. Yerby, a former teacher and coach at Trinity Christian School in Jacksonville, serves on the School Advisory Council. He said his involvement with Bryceville Elementary has changed his ministry. “When I was at Trinity, it was easy to just hang around with athletes.

I know now that I was not getting to know or reaching out to others—to the skateboarders and surfers. This is helping me know whole families in the community,” he said. Deacon Jim Hicks, a retired investigator with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, volunteers at Bryceville Elementary. He and his wife Marlene made the trip to Tampa to accept the education award while the pastor was at youth camp. “I accepted the award for the whole church. This is a team effort – definitely not a one-person show,” he said.

SAN JOSE BAPTIST CHURCH San Jose Baptist Church in suburban Jacksonville will soon begin its third year of partnership with nearby San Jose Elementary School. The K-5 school is one of 183 schools in the Duval County School district, and its 820 students speak 28 languages. Lisa Dempsey heads up a sevenmember school mission team that manages the dozens of volunteers required to fulfill school requests. Each of the team members represents a segment of the church, from youth to

though, that we would need to move. I certainly never expected to be here another 23 years.” He said he would tell young pastors in the midst of conflict to carefully evaluate the truth of the situation. “The opposition comes from fewer people than you realize,” he said. Grant said he promised his wife he would “really rest” in retirement that began May 31, although he said he is “catching up on work around the house” that they built with their own hands. They continue to attend Oak-Griner, and he looks forward to the church calling a new pastor. “I’ve told them that when they get a new pastor to imagine that Frank and Barbara have moved to Alaska,” he said.

from 6-8 p.m. on the school’s playground and in the gymnasium when bad weather loomed. The church bussed in children from nearby apartments, primarily Bhutanese students. Seventy VBS students were taught by 30 adults and youth. The summertime activities – including clean-up days on school grounds - were in addition to those during the school year: Fall Festival, where popcorn and cotton candy machines are manned by 20-25 youth; Arts and Crafts Day in which artisans from the church rent booths; and the Book Fair, where 15 senior adults volunteered; and weekly tutoring. “This is all a way to give back, especially to kids. Twenty minutes you spend with a child at school when they have so much going on at home is so meaningful. It’s such a small thing to us, but not to them,” she said. San Jose Baptist has already begun its annual clothing drive for children. The church hopes to give every child a warm jacket before cool weather arrives, a tangible expression of love. “The school partnership gives us an opportunity to express the unconditional love of God in a tangible way. In a culture where the church’s credibility is being attacked, we can show those in our community we just want to be Jesus to them,” Pastor Reed wrote in an e-mail from youth camp.

senior adults. Church members – whether they volunteer at the school or not – are encouraged to join the PTA and attend meetings. The church was thrilled to receive the state education award, Dempsey told Florida Baptist Witness. “Pastor [Michael] Reed and I share the award. I keep it at my house a week, and then he gets it in his office a week,” she joked. The church launched a ministry to San Jose Elementary in 2011, shortly after attending a school district-sponsored conference for faith-based partners. Chets Creek Church, also a part of Jacksonville Baptist Association, was highlighted in the meeting. “We heard how to get started in a partnership, and we came back and got the ball rolling in the next couple of weeks,” Dempsey said. Serving a school where so many languages are spoken is a challenge for the school staff and for the San Jose Baptist volunteers. “The staff has their work cut out for them every year, because nobody speaks all the languages,” she said. San Jose Baptist Church is home to Burmese and Bhutanese congregations, and Dempsey said Pastor Stoney Cem is a valuable asset in communicating with families at school. Children of the Burmese and Bhutanese congregations attend San Jose Elementary School and also attend children’s events and Awana at San Jose Baptist, including recent Vacation Bible Schools at the church and on the grounds of San Jose Elementary School. Church volun- LOVING CHILDREN A Bryceville Baptist Church volunteer helps a teers conducted student with a project during Bryceville Elementary School’s “Everything Math Night.” the five-day VBS

COURTESY PHOTO

OCALA (FBW)—For Frank Grant, pastor of Oak-Griner Baptist Church in Ocala for 33 years, retirement is all about family. He said his relationship with his church during his long pastorate was always connected to family—and it will stay that way.

COURTESY PHOTO

Family is the focus for retired Ocala pastor


8

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

State Board committee approves $30.5 million CP budget for 2014 steps to study their efficiency. Green said churches continually are being asked by national entities to take on more financial commitments— such as planting churches in North America and adopting an unreached people group—which can dilute the CP commitment of many churches. At the conclusion of the 90-minute discussion, the committee adopted By BARBARA DENMAN three recommendations. Florida Baptist Convention Mike Tatem of Lake City made a motion to appoint a committee to The proposed budget, a half million study the fiduciary responsibilities of dollars below the 2013 revised budget the state convention as it relates to of $31 million, keeps Florida Baptists the 50/50 split of CP receipts; and to on-track to reach an even 50/50 perdetermine ways to provide salary centage division between national and increases for Convention staff. The state mission causes by 2018. study committee was However, in a special called asked to bring a meeting Aug. 15 at the Baptist report to the May 29, Building in Jacksonville prior to 2014 meeting. the Budget meeting, a spirited Another motion, discussion erupted as Board made by Alan Kilgore members wrestled with how to of Crestview, asked continue to increase the SBC that the State Board percentage while coping with request SBC entities diminishing CP giving by to study their fiduciary Florida Baptist churches. responsibilities and The pre-meeting was called efficient use of Cooperto discuss the fiduciary responative Program funds sibility of the state convention given to their entities. in light of the 50/50 split by Sieg Hildebrandt of considering the reintroduction Tampa made a third of shared ministries, said commotion that Florida mittee chairman Terry Baptist churches look Townsend of Wellington. This at their own Cooperative would separate ministries that Program giving and benefit both the SBC and increase their giving. Florida Baptist Convention, In making this mosuch as Cooperative Program tion, Hildebrandt said promotion, stewardship mingiving 10 percent istries, and/or international through the Cooperative mission work in Haiti and Program had been a Cuba, before the division of CP prerequisite when he funds. PRAYER Members of the State Board's Budget-Allocations Committee pray for Florida Baptists’ Executive Director John Sullivan during the accepted the pastorate A second consideration of budget planning meeting Aug. 15 in Jacksonville. of Belmont Baptist the called meeting was to Church, “to set an exconnect the 50/50 percentage ample of ten percent to my people.” their CP receipts to the SBC, although CP funding with actual church The 2014 budget proposal of Kentucky had made an effort. receipts, he explained. $30,500,000 approved by the BudgetIdentifying the partnership The drive to evenly split CP funds Allocations Committee will be considFlorida Baptists have with Cuba and from churches between national and Haiti, Green added, “personally, I feel ered by the full Board when it meets state missions began in 2010 when Sept. 20 and by messengers attendrecommendations by the “Imagine If . . that what we are doing in Haiti and ing the Florida Baptist State ConvenCuba is so unique and so distinct . Great Commission Task Force” tion, Nov. 11-12 in Jacksonville. (IIGCTF) were approved by messengers that it is unfair it is counted as part In that proposal, the Southern to the State Convention annual meeting. of our 50 (percent)” suggesting it be Baptist Convention will receive 43 counted as a shared ministry. Among six recommendations was percent or $12,865,000, representing Noting that God is opening many the call to a 50/50 percentage distria 1.94 percent increase over the doors in both countries and blessing bution of CP funds to increase sup2013 revised budget. The funding the work, he added, “If we walked port for global missions that also will be sent to the SBC Executive out of Cuba and Haiti there is not called on churches to increase their another Southern Baptist presence to Committee which will distribute the CP giving each year. monies in percentage allocations do what we do there.” The State Board of Missions approved by SBC messengers to SBC As the conversation continued, followed through on that commitment, some of the members felt the concept entities including the International planning to reach the goal in seven Mission Board, North American of shared ministries is not easily years. The shared ministries concept Mission Board and six seminaries. understood. was one plan that surfaced to help The Florida Baptist Convention Mike Tatem of Lake City said move the Convention toward that goal, will receive $17,385,000 which will many pastors “perceive” the concept but was pulled after criticism prior to be divided between the program of shared ministries “as you just the 2011 State Convention meeting. budget to benefit local churches and want to keep back some.” He added, Meanwhile, giving by Florida associations, $13,998,400, and “I would rather look at the timing Baptist churches has actually Florida Baptist institutions and that 50/50 is actually reached,” declined in the years since IIGCTF agencies, $3,386,600. rather than designating share was approved-- from $33.8 million This will be divided among the ministries. “I think that is more a in 2010 to $30.9 million in 2012, pastor/church minded way of doing it.” Baptist College of Florida–general continuing a downward trend. education support, $1,569,156; Several Board members said the Since 2008 annual gifts to the ministerial tuition support, Convention needs to determine if Cooperative Program have dropped $212,052; Florida Baptist ministries being done are essential more than $7 million annually. Children’s Homes, $1,226,795; and what could be assigned to other During that same time period, fundFlorida Baptist Witness, entities or deleted. ing earmarked to the Florida Baptist $306,699; and Florida Baptist Tatem noted, “I think that the Convention for programs to benefit Financial Services for the Florida state convention should be involved local churches and associations has Baptist Retirement Center, in doing the things churches by declined from $23.6 million in 2008 $71,898. to the proposed $17.3 million in 2014. themselves cannot do.” All Florida Baptist entities— During the discussion, Board Although he is not a member of including the Convention— this committee, Board member Tommy members complained that the experienced an across-the-board Convention had been unable to give Green from Brandon, who served on 4.4 percent decrease in funding salary increases to its staff for the the IIGCR Task Force, was asked to from the revised 2013 budget. past seven years. Others suggested share some of the background of the that SBC entities also need to take task force recommendations. JACKSONVILLE (FBC)–The BudgetAllocations Committee of the State Board of Missions approved a balanced $30.5 million Cooperative Program Budget for 2014—its lowest amount since year 2000—that sends 43 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention and retains 57 percent for Florida Baptist missions and ministries.

Charles R. Swartz Jr. 83, dies LAKELAND (FBW)—Charles R. Swartz Jr., 83, retired pastor of South Florida Baptist Association churches, died July 2. A Gainesville native, he was a graduate of Mercer University, Atlanta; and Baptist College of Florida, Graceville. During his 60-year career, Swartz served several terms as moderator of South Florida association, and after retirement, led the Retired Ministers’ Fellowship and ministered to senior adults. According to Robert V. Roberts, Director of Missions of the South Florida Baptist Association, Swartz was ordained at Carters Baptist Church, preached his first sermon in Hardee County, and served at Highlands City First Baptist Church, First Baptist Church in Bartow, Crystal Lake Baptist Church and at Southside Baptist SWARTZ Church in Lakeland. “Pastor Swartz left behind a family that mourns his death, but also a host of people who have been impacted by his ministry,” Roberts said in the associational newsletter, published by the Witness. “He was a good friend and faithful minister of the Gospel. He will be missed.” Swartz is survived by his wife, Dot; daughters: Carolyn Swammy, Marilyn Boyles, Charlotte Swartz and Barbara Hargrove; a son, Chuck; 11 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Louise. Gifts in his memory may be made to Scott Lake Baptist Church Building Fund, Lakeland.

While the Brandon pastor said he believed there was a “steadfast commitment” to get to the 50/50 split, the IIGCTF task force did not know what “all that meant or would mean in the long haul.” “I don’t think we were under some type of an eternal mandate from anything,” Green continued. “The Convention operates yearly and can do what it wants to do just as we did there. There are some decisions that the Board could make, and particularly as it relates to budgeting that could be considered that could help us.” He added no other state convention has been able to allocate 50 percent of

MANATEE SOUTHERN North River, Parrish Justin Arbuckle, pastor MIAMI l Christ Centered, North Miami Derek Allen, pastor l City on a Hill, Hialeah Michael Cruz, pastor l Epic, Miami Chase Clunan, pastor Sponsor: Fellowship of the Hills, Tallahassee l P3, Pompano Beach George Rich, pastor PALM BEACH l Family, West Palm Beach Josue Leon, pastor Sponsor: West Palm Beach First l Grace Temple Haitian Baptist Church Inc. Henry Mercy, pastor l Sel & Lumiere, West Palm Beach Leolin Dorcin, pastor PASCO l Faith Fellowship, Dade City Ray Moats, pastor TAMPA l Light Christian, Brandon Samuel Benitez, pastor Sponsor: Open Arms, Tampa TREASURE COAST l Bethel Tabernacle, Port St Lucie Jean-Robert Ladouceur l

New Works Florida Baptists start 19 new churches in July JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—According to a report released by the Florida Baptist Convention’s Church Planting Group, Florida Baptist started 19 new churches July 2013. The following is a listing of new churches by association: GULF STREAM Desire, Pembroke Pines Jerel Olson, pastor l Divinite, Oakland Park Cedernier Georges, pastor l Koinonia, West Park Carlos Maldonado, pastor l Reference, Lauderdale Lakes Patrick Africo, pastor l Restoration, Pompano Beach Louis Jean-Francois, pasto l Sarepta, Southwest Ranches Jackson Voltaire, pastor l West Pines, Pembroke Pines Maykel Valdes, pastor JACKSONVILLE l Life Light Community, Jacksonville Francis Bezzam, pastor l

NEW RIVER

Florida Focus A one-time announcement of special events is a free service provided by the Witness to Florida Baptist churches. Please e-mail materials at least three weeks before the date of the event to cnichols@ goFBW.com. Information may also be mailed to Florida Baptist Witness, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207; faxed to 904-346-0696; or submitted via the Web site: www.goFBW.com.

GADSDEN COUNTY Concordia Baptist Church in Havana will mark its 155th anniversary in Homecoming Sept. 8 beginning at 10 a.m. with a concert by Ron and Claudia Henderson. Former member Bill Barber will speak in the 11 a.m. worship service. The Hendersons and Barber are from Georgia. A covered dish lunch will follow the service. For more information, call 850-539-0154, or e-mail radfordpat@yahoo.com.

LAKE COUNTY First Baptist Church in Leesburg will offer Grief Share beginning Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. in the People Helpers Building. The 13-week program is for “those journeying through the grief process from the loss of a family member or friend,” according to a church press release. For more information or to register, call 352-787-1005.

Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights will meet in revival Aug. 25-28 with Evangelist Ronnie Hill. Service times are Sunday, 8:30 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.; MondayWednesday, 7 p.m. Monday is Kids Night; Tuesday, Student Night; and Wednesday, Steak Night. For more information, call 352-473-7261, or go to www.trinitybc.org.

ORANGE BLOSSOM First Baptist Church in Sebring has called Matthew D. Crawford as pastor. He most recently served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Merritt Island, where he also served as minister of students 20032005 and during summers while a student at University of Central CRAWFORD Florida in Orlando. He is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian Philosophy. He and his wife Christie have two sons and are expecting a daughter in November.

PENSACOLA BAY Olive Baptist Church will host First Place 4 Health Live Sept. 21. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A church press release describes the day as “energy, exercise, motivation and fun.” For more information or to register, go to www.olivebaptist.org/ health/.


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

9

HAITI BLOG:

Witnessing the sacrifice of a goat

MISSION TRIP Rick Lentz of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville comforts a worker at the El Shaddai Children’s Home in Bon Repos, Haiti.

& praying for spiritual purity

HEART (Center) Fruit Cove member Christi Burnett was in the orphanage the day of the earthquake and continues to return to help the children. SERVANT (Below) During a mission trip to Haiti, Florida Baptist State Convention President Tim Maynard, uses a piece of wood to deliver lunch to the children during Bible clubs.

NOTE: Tim Maynard, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention and pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in metropolitan Jacksonville, traveled with his church to Haiti in July to work with the El Shaddai Children’s Home in Bon Repos, which is directed by former Jacksonville resident Marie Prinvil. While there he blogged about his experiences and shared them with Florida Baptists. By TIM MAYNARD Special to Florida Baptist Witness

Florida Baptists have had a 17-year partnership with churches in Haiti. Churches interested in participating in a mission trip to the Caribbean nation can contact John Holloway, team strategist, Partnership Team: jholloway@flbaptist.org.

BLOG 1 Not being fluent in Creole, the sounds outside our compound wall could have been a fervent, enthusiastic, even Pentecostal worship experience. That being the case, I didn’t really think too much about the situation. I was tired. Physically taxed by a

er f f o t! s i h as t f y w rr Hu ill gro w

ride into the country on the Marquis de Sade bus line on roads still earthquake ravaged. Emotionally drained from a day of ministry with the orphanage we had come to support. I had just put on my headphones and stretched out on my bed, listening to odd popping sounds in my back, when a quiet knock called me to the door. “Tim, I’m sorry to bother you but we thought you’d want to know ... the sound we’re hearing is a voodoo service happening just outside the gate.” Despite the pain in my protesting back, I MAYNARD climbed out of bed and witnessed a phenomenon I had heard existed but never actually had seen. Coming out onto the open roof our security guard nervously cautioned us as we made our way through a darkened corridor between buildings. He was visibly uncomfortable with our curiosity about the loud service happening close enough for us to make out the faces of those attending. The guest of honor, a hapless goat

2

representing the presence of the demon Aziel (our guard explained), had already been sacrificed and his remains were on a grill. New inductees wore a white bandana to identify them. The larger group wore ceremonial bright red robes and caps. From our perch we really couldn’t see what they were doing but they had circled something. Our viewing ended when one of the participants noticed us. The area was filled with nice cars and an even nicer charter bus that had brought many to the ceremony. This was not a service for the poor and ignorant but instead one that drew successful, affluent and educated Haitians. Several things swirled in my head as I returned to my room. One was that this is happening, not out in the country—where most of the voodoo in Haiti is practiced, but in the city of Port-auPrince, outside the gates of the Florida Baptist Mission House—under our noses; in our face. Maybe even a ceremony directed against us! But I drifted off to an exhausted sleep burdened once more for a people in spiritual darkness and hunger that is so deep that well-educated, affluent people would don silly robes and dance around a dead goat. That is a darkness that goes deep, and must be addressed with the only remedy ... the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How can we not give ... how can we not go ... how can we not send ... how can we not pray...for the spiritual blindness that exists that close to our

.50% 3 Year Time Certificate

Just plant it. And watch it grow! The Church Growth Investment Fund helps you start the New Year right with a fantastic yield on our 3 Year Time Certificate. Call us today!

800.780.0325 ext.221 • www.cgif.co *Bonus yield of 0.10% for accounts with over $100,000. **Time Certificates are also available to IRA account holders. Yields are subject to change. CGIF is available to individuals as well as churches and corporations. CGIF is offered by prospectus only. For a prospectus or current yields, visit wwwcgif.co or call 800.780.0325 ext.221.

home? Or for the same darkness that exists in Florida. Or for that matter ... just outside the wall of our own home?

BLOG 2 As we toured the streets, back roads and alleys of Port-au-Prince we were once again overwhelmed by the devastation caused by the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Two things

had graciously protected Christie in the house. Not a crack appeared on any wall of the room she was in! But it took several days for her to find her way to the airport and to be evacuated by the military. Her presence on trips that followed but particularly on this trip reminded me of God’s stubborn love that will not abandon either His people or His purposes. As I watched her wrap her arms around children who had been abandoned by their parents I was struck by the power of hope to overcome the worst of circumstances. God is faithful. Just ask Christie!

BLOG 3

brought the reality of this event home to our team. The first was passing a corner where a large building had collapsed. It was still untouched after the quake. It had become something of a shrine; a cold, concrete reminder of that dreadful day. As we passed the site, our guide solemnly said, “Seventeen people died on that corner.” The chatter on our bus was immediately silenced by the comments of this man who lived through the horrors of that day. Later, a young man stood and came forward during an invitation we had given at a worship service. He hobbled to the altar, awkwardly balancing on crutches. Barely eighteen, Gibson had lost his left foot and a portion of his leg due to the quake, and now faced the rest of his life as an amputee. I looked hopelessly at him as he asked if there was any way we could help him get a prosthetic leg so he could finish school. The memory of the quake was not lost on four of our team members. Christie Burnett, a newly graduated nurse practitioner, had been at the orphanage the night of the quake. She was wrapping up a visit there and was standing in an inner room when the quake hit. I first heard of the incident from her father, Ken, who called me to ask for prayer for her safe return. They knew she was there but had heard nothing from her. But God

Leaving Haiti is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is always hard to leave. The work that could be done in this country is daunting. We leave reluctantly. There is so much that is left undone. On the other hand it will be a relief to be back to the familiar and comfortable. In Florida I can understand what people are saying (well, mostly). I can drink water without thinking twice ... or three times ... about parasites. I can relate to one little guy who said to his Mom, “Germs and Jesus, Germs and Jesus. That’s all I ever hear about around here and I can’t see either one!” Thankfully I don’t believe I’m giving a parasite a ride home but I’ve sure thought a lot about the unseen world of microbes and those things not apparent to the naked eye. Knowing the damage that something invisible can do to one’s intestinal tract makes you ... cautious. I can’t help but think about the difference it would make for us personally and for Kingdom advancement generally if we were as careful about spiritual purity. “Touch not the unclean thing” Paul warns us. I’m sure he wasn’t warning about microbes and parasites in that statement (though I’m confident that, as a missionary he was intimately acquainted with them...bless his heart)! No, he was warning against the ravages that an unseen disease called sin can do to us...even after we have come to faith in Jesus. When it comes to sin, don’t even touch it! The effects are too painful, too devastating even though we may not immediately see the symptoms. For many of us, our guilt comes from what Jerry Bridges, the author of “Pursuit of Holiness” calls “respectable sins.” These are not horrific, grotesque sins. They are socially acceptable, and seldom identified as “serious.” But their effects and ravages are just as bad. The cure? Don’t touch them. Don’t see how close we can get without getting burned. Don’t be polluted by the unseen. Don’t incapacitate yourself spiritually because of careless handling of “unclean” things. And never buy into the thought that what you can’t see can’t hurt you!


A heart of generosity “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” —Galatians 6:9-10 NIV

Generosity comes in many forms—one can be generous in spirit, generous of time and talents, generous in prayer; as well as generous of money and gifts. The Bible is clear. God wants His people to be generous. He is not concerned about the amount of money you give, but the attitude of generosity you demonstrate. A generous heart receives blessings from the Lord. In a practical instruction found in Galatians 6:9-10, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Early Church not to grow weary in doing good, but to be useful to others when the opportunity arises. Don’t lose heart, he said, but keep your eyes fixed on the Giver of all blessings. Have a special concern for those in the household of

faith, Paul urged–fellow believers who are in need, who are doing the work of the Lord, who are in crisis. Through the Maguire State Mission Offering, Florida Baptists—God’s Compassionate People—have an opportunity to be a blessing to those who are followers of the Lord as they seek to win souls and proclaim the Gospel message. The offering provides funding for 22 compassionate ministries designed to fulfill God’s purpose in Florida and the Great Commission among its mission partners. Without funding from the Offering, many of these ministries could not be accomplished. As Florida Baptists demonstrate a heart of generosity, they are emulating the ultimate act of generosity, when Jesus Christ died on the cross to offer the free gift of salvation to all who call upon His name. Through their gifts to the Maguire State Mission Offering, Florida Baptists are God’s Compassionate People displaying a heart of generosity to all people.

SUNDAY James Barker, pastor of Holy Hill Baptist Church, “looks on everything God does as a blessing.” Among the blessings experienced by the church, located on the outskirts of Panama City, is an interest-free loan from the Maguire State Mission Offering. The money purchased 1.5 acres of property along Highway 98 as a site for the congregation to build a church. A new church building will enable the primarily African-American congregation to create better visibility in the community and connect with residents of all races. “Holy Hill is a community-sensitive body of believers ... seeing needs, meeting needs and sharing faith. If a church doesn’t affect its community, it’s not doing its job,” said the pastor. Grateful for Florida Baptists’ heart of generosity, the church reflects the spirit of giving as it tithes its income through the Cooperative Program and gives generously to the Baptist association as well. Pray for Pastor Barker as he leads Holy Hill Baptist Church to reach out to people in its community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

TUESDAY In the past year, 41 people seeking medical treatment at the Westside Samaritans Clinic have walked out of the clinic, changed physically and spiritually by Christ’s healing hand. Every Thursday night, members of Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville transform the church facility into a medical clinic. Then, for four hours, volunteer medical personnel tend to the health issues of Gainesville’s indigent residents. Westside pastor Gary Crawford long had a vision of developing a community medical clinic, believing it would be “a wonderful way to show the love, compassion and grace of Christ.” Years later God gave emergency room physician Roy Klossner a similar dream. The two teamed up and watched the vision become reality. “Just story after story, God kept providing,” said Klossner, grateful for Florida Baptists’ heart of generosity in the gift of state mission offering funds used to purchase needed medicine and supplies. The offering provides subsidies to nearly two dozen church-based clinics in Florida. Pray for Pastor Crawford, Dr. Klossner and the many other volunteers who are extending God’s healing hand to needy people.

Your gifts to the Maguire State Mission Offering will fund these compassionate ministries Priority Expenses

$375,000

William J. Guess Church Site Loan Fund Disaster Relief/Recovery Ministry

Partnership Mission Projects

$300,000 $75,000

$30,000 $35,000 $9,000 $10,000 $20,000 $4,000

Developing Believers

$78,000

Urban Day Camp Camp WorldLight (GA/Acteens) Hispanic Youth Camp Haitian Youth Camp Korean Youth Camp

$5,000 $40,000 $16,500 $13,500 $3,000

Collegiate World Missions

Support Ministries Association Shared Receipts (Est.) Promotion Expense

GOAL

$15,000 $15,000

$159,000 $60,000 $99,000

$1,000,000

MAGUIRE STATE MISSION OFFERING 2013 SEASON OF PRAYER

DAILY PRAYER GUIDE 10

THURSDAY The remnant members of Dunns Creek Baptist Church wanted to remain Southern Baptist even after back-to-back pastoral controversies, including the teaching of false doctrine, threatened their fellowship. The San Mateo congregation had always been a generous people, but found themselves relying on the generosity of Florida Baptists when the church unraveled from 450 members to less than 60. Meanwhile, they had a large monthly morgage to pay. Revitalization funds from the Maguire State Mission Offering provided an interim pastor whose wisdom nurtured the church to health. Ron Moore, retired pastor of Anastasia Baptist Church, said he knew the congregation had turned the corner when expressions of love returned to the family of believers. The offering funded a new roof and sign that said to the community, “We are here to stay.” Pray for Pastor Moore and Dunns Creek Church as they strategically reach out to their rural community with a faith strengthen by conviction.

$108,000

Migrant Ministries Church-based Health Ministries Jail and Prison Ministries Church Revitalization Mobile Dental Clinic Port Evangelistic Ministries

Student Evangelism Outreach

WEDNESDAY The bright neon lights of the East Asia city are a long way from her small Florida Panhandle hometown. But to Molly Frank*, those lights beckoned her to share the Light of the world with desperate young women caught up in prostitution. As a college student Frank was challenged by a testimony at a Baptist Campus Ministry event. The next summer Frank conducted vacation Bible schools for Haitian churches in Miami, leading a child to Christ for the first time. Since then, she has traveled throughout the world with the life-changing message of the gospel. Upon college graduation, Frank joined the BCM staff, demonstrating a heart of generosity of time and spirit as she mentored young women and took them on mission trips. The mission trips, underwritten by the state mission offering, “make it possible for people to experience what God is doing all over the world.” *Real name not released for security issues Pray for Frank as she continues to follow God’s leadership and for the college students who will follow in her footsteps, touching lives with God’s love through summer missions.

$265,000

Haiti Mission Project $70,000 Cuba Mission Project $70,000 Brazil Evangelism/Church Starting Project $50,000 Partnership Missions/Indiana $25,000 PARTNERSHIP PASTORAL SALARY ASSISTANCE West Virginia $25,000 Nevada $25,000

Mission Outreach Ministries

MONDAY As the elderly couple in a Brazilian village tearfully accepted God’s gift of salvation, the heart of Jeff Ray, pastor of Jones Road Baptist Church in Jacksonville, was moved to commitment also. “That experience is one reason I’ve gone back to Brazil time and again,” he said. Since 2005 Florida Baptists have been on mission in Brazil through a partnership ministry in cooperation with the International Mission Board and Convencao Batista Brasileira—underwritten by the Maguire State Mission Offering. With a heart of generosity, Florida Baptists provide evangelism, church planting and leadership assistance to Brazilian Baptists in three states located in the northwest corner of Brazil along the Amazon River. A consultant to the ministry partnership, Ray said Brazil has the largest number of people groups in the world—translating into millions of people—who have never heard the gospel. Pray for Pastor Ray and other Florida Baptists as they obey the Great Commission and share the gospel along the Amazon River with people eager to hear it.

FRIDAY At only 10 years old, Lorna Bius experienced what she now describes, some 30 years later, as the “most transforming and foundational experience of my life with Christ.” The young Bius had spent a week at Camp WorldLight, a mission camp made possible by Florida Baptists’ heart of generosity. That week Bius sensed that God orchestrated circumstances to help her understand she could trust Him no matter what happens in life. Answering the call to fulltime ministry 20 years ago, Bius now serves in the western United States as a LoveLoud missionary for the North American Mission Board, working alongside churches and other SBC partners, helping them to “demonstrate God’s love by meeting significant human need while sharing Christ.” Five Florida Baptist mission camps are supported by the state offering, preparing the next generation to answer God’s call. Pray for Bius as she leads churches across the west to meet needs and share Christ in their communities. August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

SATURDAY When the community clubhouse in Holiday Lake Estates went up for sale, members of the Anclote River Baptist Church believed God had a purpose for the property. Located in a deteriorating Tarpon Springs neighborhood where the small group of believers previously met in the home of Pauline Nichols, the clubhouse with a large open meeting space was perfect for corporate worship. The congregation received an interest-free loan from the Maguire State Mission Offering to purchase the building. “We wouldn’t have this church without the interestfree loan,” said Nichols. Currently without a pastor, the small congregation is able to continue making the small mortgage payments because of the generosity of Florida Baptists. The church is strategic to reaching the 8,000 “lost souls” in this community, said neighboring pastor John Fountouklis. “This community drastically needs the gospel. We are to seek and save the lost. That’s what Christ would do.” Pray for the members of Anclote River Baptist Church as they seek a new pastor to lead them on mission in this community of lost souls.

SUNDAY The persons you have prayed for during the past seven days are just a few of the family of believers whose lives and churches have been impacted by the Maguire State Mission Offering and who depend on Florida Baptists’ commitment to the Great Commission. As Florida Baptists demonstrate a heart of generosity, they are emulating the ultimate act of generosity, when Jesus Christ died on the cross to offer the free gift of salvation to all who call upon His name. As you consider your gift to the Maguire State Mission Offering, remember that it provides funding for 22 compassionate ministries designed to accomplish God’s purpose in Florida and its family of believers.

11


A heart of generosity “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” —Galatians 6:9-10 NIV

Generosity comes in many forms—one can be generous in spirit, generous of time and talents, generous in prayer; as well as generous of money and gifts. The Bible is clear. God wants His people to be generous. He is not concerned about the amount of money you give, but the attitude of generosity you demonstrate. A generous heart receives blessings from the Lord. In a practical instruction found in Galatians 6:9-10, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Early Church not to grow weary in doing good, but to be useful to others when the opportunity arises. Don’t lose heart, he said, but keep your eyes fixed on the Giver of all blessings. Have a special concern for those in the household of

faith, Paul urged–fellow believers who are in need, who are doing the work of the Lord, who are in crisis. Through the Maguire State Mission Offering, Florida Baptists—God’s Compassionate People—have an opportunity to be a blessing to those who are followers of the Lord as they seek to win souls and proclaim the Gospel message. The offering provides funding for 22 compassionate ministries designed to fulfill God’s purpose in Florida and the Great Commission among its mission partners. Without funding from the Offering, many of these ministries could not be accomplished. As Florida Baptists demonstrate a heart of generosity, they are emulating the ultimate act of generosity, when Jesus Christ died on the cross to offer the free gift of salvation to all who call upon His name. Through their gifts to the Maguire State Mission Offering, Florida Baptists are God’s Compassionate People displaying a heart of generosity to all people.

SUNDAY James Barker, pastor of Holy Hill Baptist Church, “looks on everything God does as a blessing.” Among the blessings experienced by the church, located on the outskirts of Panama City, is an interest-free loan from the Maguire State Mission Offering. The money purchased 1.5 acres of property along Highway 98 as a site for the congregation to build a church. A new church building will enable the primarily African-American congregation to create better visibility in the community and connect with residents of all races. “Holy Hill is a community-sensitive body of believers ... seeing needs, meeting needs and sharing faith. If a church doesn’t affect its community, it’s not doing its job,” said the pastor. Grateful for Florida Baptists’ heart of generosity, the church reflects the spirit of giving as it tithes its income through the Cooperative Program and gives generously to the Baptist association as well. Pray for Pastor Barker as he leads Holy Hill Baptist Church to reach out to people in its community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

TUESDAY In the past year, 41 people seeking medical treatment at the Westside Samaritans Clinic have walked out of the clinic, changed physically and spiritually by Christ’s healing hand. Every Thursday night, members of Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville transform the church facility into a medical clinic. Then, for four hours, volunteer medical personnel tend to the health issues of Gainesville’s indigent residents. Westside pastor Gary Crawford long had a vision of developing a community medical clinic, believing it would be “a wonderful way to show the love, compassion and grace of Christ.” Years later God gave emergency room physician Roy Klossner a similar dream. The two teamed up and watched the vision become reality. “Just story after story, God kept providing,” said Klossner, grateful for Florida Baptists’ heart of generosity in the gift of state mission offering funds used to purchase needed medicine and supplies. The offering provides subsidies to nearly two dozen church-based clinics in Florida. Pray for Pastor Crawford, Dr. Klossner and the many other volunteers who are extending God’s healing hand to needy people.

Your gifts to the Maguire State Mission Offering will fund these compassionate ministries Priority Expenses

$375,000

William J. Guess Church Site Loan Fund Disaster Relief/Recovery Ministry

Partnership Mission Projects

$300,000 $75,000

$30,000 $35,000 $9,000 $10,000 $20,000 $4,000

Developing Believers

$78,000

Urban Day Camp Camp WorldLight (GA/Acteens) Hispanic Youth Camp Haitian Youth Camp Korean Youth Camp

$5,000 $40,000 $16,500 $13,500 $3,000

Collegiate World Missions

Support Ministries Association Shared Receipts (Est.) Promotion Expense

GOAL

$15,000 $15,000

$159,000 $60,000 $99,000

$1,000,000

MAGUIRE STATE MISSION OFFERING 2013 SEASON OF PRAYER

DAILY PRAYER GUIDE 10

THURSDAY The remnant members of Dunns Creek Baptist Church wanted to remain Southern Baptist even after back-to-back pastoral controversies, including the teaching of false doctrine, threatened their fellowship. The San Mateo congregation had always been a generous people, but found themselves relying on the generosity of Florida Baptists when the church unraveled from 450 members to less than 60. Meanwhile, they had a large monthly morgage to pay. Revitalization funds from the Maguire State Mission Offering provided an interim pastor whose wisdom nurtured the church to health. Ron Moore, retired pastor of Anastasia Baptist Church, said he knew the congregation had turned the corner when expressions of love returned to the family of believers. The offering funded a new roof and sign that said to the community, “We are here to stay.” Pray for Pastor Moore and Dunns Creek Church as they strategically reach out to their rural community with a faith strengthen by conviction.

$108,000

Migrant Ministries Church-based Health Ministries Jail and Prison Ministries Church Revitalization Mobile Dental Clinic Port Evangelistic Ministries

Student Evangelism Outreach

WEDNESDAY The bright neon lights of the East Asia city are a long way from her small Florida Panhandle hometown. But to Molly Frank*, those lights beckoned her to share the Light of the world with desperate young women caught up in prostitution. As a college student Frank was challenged by a testimony at a Baptist Campus Ministry event. The next summer Frank conducted vacation Bible schools for Haitian churches in Miami, leading a child to Christ for the first time. Since then, she has traveled throughout the world with the life-changing message of the gospel. Upon college graduation, Frank joined the BCM staff, demonstrating a heart of generosity of time and spirit as she mentored young women and took them on mission trips. The mission trips, underwritten by the state mission offering, “make it possible for people to experience what God is doing all over the world.” *Real name not released for security issues Pray for Frank as she continues to follow God’s leadership and for the college students who will follow in her footsteps, touching lives with God’s love through summer missions.

$265,000

Haiti Mission Project $70,000 Cuba Mission Project $70,000 Brazil Evangelism/Church Starting Project $50,000 Partnership Missions/Indiana $25,000 PARTNERSHIP PASTORAL SALARY ASSISTANCE West Virginia $25,000 Nevada $25,000

Mission Outreach Ministries

MONDAY As the elderly couple in a Brazilian village tearfully accepted God’s gift of salvation, the heart of Jeff Ray, pastor of Jones Road Baptist Church in Jacksonville, was moved to commitment also. “That experience is one reason I’ve gone back to Brazil time and again,” he said. Since 2005 Florida Baptists have been on mission in Brazil through a partnership ministry in cooperation with the International Mission Board and Convencao Batista Brasileira—underwritten by the Maguire State Mission Offering. With a heart of generosity, Florida Baptists provide evangelism, church planting and leadership assistance to Brazilian Baptists in three states located in the northwest corner of Brazil along the Amazon River. A consultant to the ministry partnership, Ray said Brazil has the largest number of people groups in the world—translating into millions of people—who have never heard the gospel. Pray for Pastor Ray and other Florida Baptists as they obey the Great Commission and share the gospel along the Amazon River with people eager to hear it.

FRIDAY At only 10 years old, Lorna Bius experienced what she now describes, some 30 years later, as the “most transforming and foundational experience of my life with Christ.” The young Bius had spent a week at Camp WorldLight, a mission camp made possible by Florida Baptists’ heart of generosity. That week Bius sensed that God orchestrated circumstances to help her understand she could trust Him no matter what happens in life. Answering the call to fulltime ministry 20 years ago, Bius now serves in the western United States as a LoveLoud missionary for the North American Mission Board, working alongside churches and other SBC partners, helping them to “demonstrate God’s love by meeting significant human need while sharing Christ.” Five Florida Baptist mission camps are supported by the state offering, preparing the next generation to answer God’s call. Pray for Bius as she leads churches across the west to meet needs and share Christ in their communities. August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

SATURDAY When the community clubhouse in Holiday Lake Estates went up for sale, members of the Anclote River Baptist Church believed God had a purpose for the property. Located in a deteriorating Tarpon Springs neighborhood where the small group of believers previously met in the home of Pauline Nichols, the clubhouse with a large open meeting space was perfect for corporate worship. The congregation received an interest-free loan from the Maguire State Mission Offering to purchase the building. “We wouldn’t have this church without the interestfree loan,” said Nichols. Currently without a pastor, the small congregation is able to continue making the small mortgage payments because of the generosity of Florida Baptists. The church is strategic to reaching the 8,000 “lost souls” in this community, said neighboring pastor John Fountouklis. “This community drastically needs the gospel. We are to seek and save the lost. That’s what Christ would do.” Pray for the members of Anclote River Baptist Church as they seek a new pastor to lead them on mission in this community of lost souls.

SUNDAY The persons you have prayed for during the past seven days are just a few of the family of believers whose lives and churches have been impacted by the Maguire State Mission Offering and who depend on Florida Baptists’ commitment to the Great Commission. As Florida Baptists demonstrate a heart of generosity, they are emulating the ultimate act of generosity, when Jesus Christ died on the cross to offer the free gift of salvation to all who call upon His name. As you consider your gift to the Maguire State Mission Offering, remember that it provides funding for 22 compassionate ministries designed to accomplish God’s purpose in Florida and its family of believers.

11


12

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

God turns tragedy into triumph after divorce information to the public? Honestly, shame was a minor issue as I worked on this material. My husband and I have been involved in some capacity of ministry in this area since about 2003, so I’m fairly used to putting my story “out there” and sharing openly. However, when we first started sharing with groups of people, it was nerve-wracking. Until you get used to it, telling people that your husband was unfaithful and a porn addict is an awkward topic to broach; but Greg and I realized—from our own situation—that this is a topic that sorely needs to be addressed. Someone has to be bold and have those awkward conversations. Why not us? LAKELAND (FBW)—Seven years after Cathy Dyer and her husband were married, a crisis arose in their marriage that nearly destroyed it. In Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives, a resource written specifically By JONI B. HANNIGAN

Managing Editor jhannigan@goFBW.com

for women, Dyer, a member of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, shares her real-life story and testimony of “God’s ability to turn tragedy into triumph.” In the book, Dyer, who recently celebrated 19 years of marriage, talks about how her husband’s secret addiction came to light, dramatically changing their lives forever. Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives is co-authored by Jay Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall, and is a church-based resource designed to complement Our Hardcore Battle plan, a study that is a component of the million men initiative designed to help men win the battle against pornography. Dennis launched the initiated in June at the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Houston. In the book aimed at women, Dyer reveals her story in Part I of the book, titled, “The War.”

Sharing handwritten pages taken directly from her personal journal, she gives readers a poignant glimpse of her private pain and process of restoration. An October, 2012 poem looking back and describing her journey is labeled, “Providential Serendipity.” The mother of two children, Dyer answers questions about what she expected as a result of co-authoring the book and how she prepared: What do you anticipate will be the result of the release of your book? I hope and pray that the book for women, along with the books Pastor Jay has written for men and pastors, will be a CATALYST for many things: for people to find a kindred spirit, practical advice, help, and deliverance. Additionally, it has been my prayer that pastors will use these materials with their congregations and join the movement (www.join1million men.org). How have you prepared for any of the “shame” issues that come with the release of your personal

How do you think this will help other women who are dealing with the same issue? When I was going through all the MESS of my marriage, it helped so much to read people’s personal stories, to know that someone out there had gone through the same thing … and survived! One influential book for me was by Bonnie Keen, called Blessed are the Desperate. I hope many things for my book, but my number one hope is that women who are struggling with pornography or even an affair in their marriage will find solace in my story, that they will connect with my pain and then see the HOPE on the other side, that they will draw near to God as they are going through all the wreckage. Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives is available online at LifeWay http://www.lifeway.com/Product/our -hardcore-battle-plan-for-wives-winningin-the-war-against-pornography P005584805

Duck Dynasty’s Si: ‘God has a great sense of humor’ NASHVILLE (BP)—Viewers and ducks have a hard time resisting the call of the Robertson family. Duck Dynasty, the hit A&E television show, returns with season four in mid-August. But before that, Si Robertson, one of the show’s stars, opened up to LifeWay Christian Resources about his faith and the reason he and the rest of the Robertsons have found success. “Uncle Si,” as viewers know him, has a propensity for stretching the truth during his stories on the reality TV show. However, when he sat down with LifeWay for two exclusive video interviews, he was serious about what Christ can do—as serious as he can be. “A lot of people say, ‘Hey, God doesn’t have a sense of humor.’ Yes, He does. God has a great sense of humor. Look at me. Look at Phil. Look at Willie. Look at Jase,” Robertson said with a laugh, referring to other members of the Robertson family. “God has taken four guys that look like five miles of muddy road and made them famous in the TV world.” In preparation for the Sept. 3 release of his new book Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle, Robertson attributes the success of their business and TV show to God.

“[People] ask us all the time, ‘How did you become so successful?’ That would be one answer: The Almighty is the one who has made this a success,” Robertson said.

We are all mortal. We are all going in that grave. There ain’t but one way you gonna beat it. Si Robertson The show, following the exploits of the Robertson family and their duck call manufacturing operation in Louisiana, has been a blockbuster for A&E. The season finale in April drew a record 9.6 million viewers. In the most coveted demographic of 18- to 29-year-olds, they topped every show on cable and broadcast. A video interview released by LifeWay last spring with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson went viral with almost 4 million views. While Si Robertson has experienced God in his success, he also sees God as the one who is there during difficult moments. “I wonder when people run into bad

times, when they go to the doctor and they find out, ‘I’m dying of cancer,’ and they don’t believe in God, who do they turn to?” he asked. “We are all mortal. We are all going in that grave,” he continued in the first of two short video interviews at LifeWay.com. “There ain’t but one way you gonna beat it.” For Robertson, above all the success and fame, the Gospel is the most important thing in his life. “Like Phil always tells them, ‘If you’ve got something to offer me better than I just shared with you, I’m all ears,’” Robertson said. “[Jesus] beat the grave and He promises you that since He beat it, if you believe in Him, He’ll make you beat it.” In the second two-minute video, Robertson gives his own apologetic for believing in the resurrection of Christ: spring. “In the winter, things are dead and dull, but then there is an explosion of life,” he told LifeWay. “That’s what He promises people who believe in His Son. That’s what all the Robertsons are banking on.” The second video will be available at LifeWay.com/SiCology the week of Aug. 12.

Florida pastors join call to pray SOUTHLAKE, Texas (BP)—A group of 47 Southern Baptist pastors is inviting senior pastors to participate in A Call to Pray for Revival and Awakening Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Southlake, Texas. Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, announced the 24-hour event Aug. 14. “On behalf of our invitation team, I am inviting you to join us in a prayer gathering of senior pastors from all sizes of churches across America, for one purpose: praying together for revival and awakening!” Floyd said in a written statement. “We will focus on praying for pastors, local churches and our nation to experience a mighty move of God that will be a catalyst for revival and awakening.” The team of pastors has committed to attend the event in its entirety, Floyd said. “This is not a ‘come and go’ event or a place to ‘come and be seen,’” Floyd said, “nor is it a denominational or political meeting. It is a serious spiritual experience of prayer with pastors nationally. Due to our commonality of need, we are focusing on Southern Baptist pastors.” Those not attending the event should pray nonetheless, Floyd said. “Pray for us in that 24-hour period of time,” Floyd wrote in a letter to Baptist convention state executives. “We are in [a] desperate time. All of us want to see our pastors, churches and nation experience a mighty move of God.” Floyd encourages pastors to register as early as possible due to a limited number of available rooms at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square, the site of the event. To reserve a hotel room, call the hotel at 800-445-8667 to receive the group rate. A $75 stipend is available to offset hotel cost, financed by a special gift from a supporter, whose name was not announced. Registration is free by contacting Cross Church at 479-751-4523 or gaylao@crosschurch.com. Joining Floyd on the invitation team from Florida are senior pastors Mac Brunson, First Baptist Church in Jacksonville; Willy Rice, Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater; Jimmy Scroggins, First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach; Ted Traylor, Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola; and Hayes Wicker, First Baptist Church in Naples; and in alphabetical order, senior pastors John Avant, First Baptist Church Concord in

Knoxville, Tenn.; Bart Barber, First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas; Kie Bowman, Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas; Matt Carter, Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas; Michael Catt, Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.; Frank Cox, North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga.;Bill Elliff, The Summit Church in North Little Rock, Ark.; Ernest Easley, Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.; Grant Ethridge, Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va.; Jonathan Falwell, Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va.; Danny Forshee, Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas; Bruce Frank, Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, N.C.; Steve Gaines, Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn.; David Galvan, New Life Church in Dallas; Blake Gideon, Edmond’s First Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla.; Mike Hamlet, First Baptist Church North Spartanburg in Spartanburg, S.C.; Chip Henderson, Pine Lake Church in Brandon, Miss.; Alex Himaya, The Church at Battle Creek in Broken Arrow, Okla.; Robert Jeffress, First Baptist Church in Dallas; Tony Lambert, Riverside Baptist Church in Denver; Drew Landry, First Baptist Church Spotswood in Fredericksburg, Va.; Richard Mark Lee, First Baptist Church in McKinney, Texas; Ed Litton, First Baptist Church North Mobile in Mobile, Ala.; Fred Lowery, First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La.;Gregg Matte, First Baptist Church in Houston; Scott Maze, North Richland Hills Baptist Church in North Richland Hills, Texas; Bob McCartney, First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas; Byron McWilliams, First Baptist Church in Odessa, Texas; John Meador, First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas; James Merritt, Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga.; Bob Pearle, Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas; Vance Pittman, Hope Church in Las Vegas; Clint Pressley, Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte; Bob Roberts, Northwood Church in Keller, Texas; Josh Smith, MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas; Glynn Stone, Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas; Brandon Thomas, Keystone Church in Keller, Texas; Eric Thomas, First Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va.; Terry Turner, Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas; A.B. Vines, New Seasons Church in Spring Valley, Calif.; and Don Wilton, First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C.

FAITH AND SUCCESS Duck Dynasty's Si Robertson's new book Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle, is scheduled for release in September.


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

13

World Changers aid Superstorm survivors

BP PHOTO BY CAROL PIPES

SUPPORT Sina Duncan (right) of Nashua Baptist Church in Nashua, N.H., and one of her fellow crew members choose a board to be used as a floor joist in a home they are helping repair from flood damage in Oceanport, N.J.. World Changers worked on 90 homes in Monmouth County, N.J.

Panama City missions pastor coordinates key project ship with the folks in Neptune and floor as floodwater rose to three-and- one of the coordinators for the NepMonmouth County,” said John Bailey, a-half feet on the lower level. tune project. “Many are having to World Changers director. “When they “It was like being on a sinking face the tough decision of whether to asked us to increase the number of ship,” Bobby Cartwright said. keep their home or walk away. If we volunteers this summer to accommoOutside, the rising waters turned can get them back in their homes, date the needs in the community due the Cartwrights’ yard into a lake, and that will help them tremendously.” to the damage caused by Sandy, we boats from a nearby marina began A partnership between World were glad to say yes.” floating down the streets of Oceanport. Changers and Oceanport Cares opened The large size of the Neptune project Power lines kept a 46-foot boat from the door for volunteers to be matched required double the coordinating teams crashing into the Cartwrights’ house. with the Cartwrights and other local and double the resources. Local partDue to extensive flooding, the residents. Oceanport Cares was nerships were key to coordinating Cartwrights gutted the entire first established by the residents to proconstruction materials as well as meals floor. They did the work themselves, vide assistance during the recovery on the work sites. Neptune Township choosing to stay in their home after and rebuilding after Sandy. provided more “I never than $30,000 for thought the house construction would go back supplies, and together,” Cartlocal food banks wright said. “Just provided lunches to see the progress every day. they’ve made is abStudents and solutely amazing.” adults worked Robin Daly with experienced Lenorth, Oceanconstruction crew port Cares’ volunchiefs, assisting teer coordinator, residents affected said the partnerby Sandy to clean ship with World up and repair Changers has been damaged property like a puzzle with as well as assisting HARD LABOR Leanne Fries of Faith Community Church, Canonsburg, Pa., and Michael all the pieces low-income coming together Plamo of Queens Bible Church, Glendale, N.Y., haul replacement dirt into an Oceanport, residents with perfectly. N.J., backyard that was washed away during Superstorm Sandy. ongoing needs. “The families Bobby Cartwright and his father, the storm. The second floor is the only of Oceanport were overwhelmed Bob, residents of nearby Oceanport, livable space but still has no heat or with the after-effects of the storm, N.J., rode out last fall’s storm in the air conditioning. They soon discovered and now they’re overjoyed to know family home, built in 1831. Bobby reinsurance would only cover a fraction they are not alone,” Lenorth said. calls the terrifying sound of 80-90 mph of the cost of the repairs. “It’s been wonderful to connect these winds and the way the rising water “It’s been hard for homeowners to dedicated students to people in need. from the storm surge shot through obtain resources for materials,” said They take every project to the next cracks in the dining room floor. David Flatt, missions pastor of First level.” The two climbed to the second Baptist Church in Panama City, and Sina Duncan, from Nashua Baptist FBC PHOTO

NEPTUNE, N.J. (BP)—It has been eight months since Superstorm Sandy impacted the densely populated northeastern United States, and residents are still recovering from the painful punch. The killer superstorm wrecked businesses, destroyed homes and dealt a devastating blow to residents along the New Jersey coast and further inland. World Changers and P2 Missions, both ministries of LifeWay Christian Resources, combined forces July 6-13 to offer help to those in need in Neptune, N.J., and the greater Monmouth County area. More than 600 students and adults from 26 churches and 11 states completed 90 local projects, including painting houses, building wheelchair ramps, installing sheetrock, conducting Backyard Bible Clubs, and even sprucing up the local ballpark. It is the sixth straight summer that Neptune has welcomed students from World Changers, which provides students and adults with opportunities to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others. A key facet of World Changers’ work entails improving substandard housing for low-income homeowners in cities across the U.S. and in Canada. Volunteers donate a week of their summer working in conjunction with cities, churches and community agencies to provide renovations at no charge. That mission goes hand-in-hand with P2 Missions, whose participants focus their efforts on meeting needs and demonstrating God’s love through action while partnering with and serving alongside local church planters in the nation’s most strategic cities. “We’ve had a tremendous partner-

Church in Nashua, N.H., is one of several students who worked on the Cartwrights’ house. “We’ve been leveling the floor and hope to install the subfloor, insulation and drywall before we leave,” said Duncan, a first-time World Changers participant. “There was no floor when we arrived; I had no idea how we were going to get it done.” For Duncan, World Changers has been a learning experience. “I’ve learned how to hammer; I was terrible when we started,” she said. “I’ve also learned a lot of patience— waiting on God’s plan—and learning to be fluid.” Duncan said residents have been surprised to learn how far students have traveled to help. “We’ve been able to tell people we’re here because God loves them and we want to show that love in a tangible way,” she said. The participants stayed at Neptune High School, sleeping in classrooms and eating meals in the cafeteria. Each morning, they were up for breakfast at 6 a.m. and on the job by 7 a.m. The students paid $309 each for the week’s experience. “People in New Jersey have been blown away by the depth and breadth of ministry done by Southern Baptists,” said David Persson, director of the North Jersey Network of Churches. “It’s helping to lessen some of the negative perceptions people may have about Southern Baptists, and we’re seeing God work through ministries like World Changers.” This year, more than 15,500 students will participate in 97 projects in 65 cities across North America and in Puerto Rico through World Changers and P2 Missions.

MACEDONIA: IMB is seeking candidates to jumpstart training From Page 1

the same time pressing their practical field experience through the grid of their theological training,” IMB President Tom Elliff said. “Those who qualify can complete a graduate degree, apprentice training and language study. The Macedonia Project will add to the ranks of our personnel who are viewed as some of the most passionate and skilled on the globe when it comes to effective missiological practices,” Elliff said. The approach will enable new missionaries to gain real-world experience while building the biblical foundation needed to undergird them for the long term. They will learn theology and missiology “in the laboratory of the field experience—essentially without delaying theological education in order to gain field experience, nor delaying

field experience in order to get theological education,” according to the program’s introductory statement. IMB personnel and several Southern Baptist seminaries are talking together about how to design the program while specific field assignments are developed. The projected time frame calls for candidates to be recruited through the rest of 2013 and early next year. Qualified applicants will be invited to a special Macedonia Project Expo next summer for screening and job matching, with as many as 40 to be recommended for ISC appointment and orientation by the fall of 2014. The IMB is seeking two types of candidates for the program: 1. People just out of college with a long-term mission calling who want to jumpstart their training and get to the field as soon as possible. 2. Well-equipped people already in

the professional arena who have valuable skills to offer in mission service, but who need seminary training. The first group comprises “millennials who are moving from college into the professional world and really aren’t of the mindset to separate their theological education from their practical experience,” said an IMB strategist helping design the program. “The other group is professionals who feel called to long-term missions. They maybe have professional expertise in teaching or dentistry or medicine or nursing and they want to come with IMB,” he said. “They’ve got experience. They’ve got a professional degree. The only thing they lack is theological education. They can come via Macedonia and get the education while at the same time getting oriented to missions.” But the Macedonia Project won’t be for everyone.

“It’s going to be hard,” he said. “We’re going to give them field training, language training and theological education at the same time. So the bar is going to be high. We’re going to assess you very carefully to see if you have the capacity. “Second, we’re going to match people to the right role, the right job. But what we hope to do is design the degree programs where for the first two years they’re focusing on biblical studies, which will underscore their own walk with the Lord, their own personal discipleship.” Participants will work to complete one seminary course per semester, or two per year, while they’re on the field. The most academically challenging courses likely will come at the end of the program, when they return to complete degree work on seminary campuses. Cooperating seminaries will be

asked to provide Macedonia Project missionaries a discount in regular tuition for online classes. IMB also will provide study funds to help offset tuition costs. And the programs won’t be identical at each school. One seminary might offer a unique angle on a program that would be attractive to a particular student. Program designers are looking to have a variety of programs a student could choose from to further enrich the type of experience that student receives. As the program is being developed, potential candidates can seek more information by calling IMB Initial Contacts at 888-422-6461 or emailing initial.contacts@imb.org. Apply for the program through IMB’s International Service Corps application process at http://going.imb.org/2to3yr/isc.asp. Indicate specific interest in the Macedonia Project.


14

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

Send Conference connects churches to vast mission field Of 4,200 registrants, 91 reported from Florida PLANO, Texas (BP)—More than 4,200 church planters, pastors and church leaders–including 91 registrants from Florida–flooded the hallways of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, for the North American Mission Board’s second Send North America Conference July 29-30. The gathering was marked by the participation of more than 1,500 participants for ethnic tracks which included Hispanic Leadership and Mission, Black Church Discipleship and Development, Reaching People from a Muslim Background, Korean Leadership and Development and Leadership Development for Kingdom Development in Chinese Churches. Many expressed the belief they were witnessing momentum building toward a movement to reach the continent. The conference opening combined video, graphics, precision projection and an individual performance that traced the significant moments Southern Baptists have seized throughout history. Aaron Coe, NAMB’s vice president of mobilization and marketing, said his prayer was that the conference would be seen as a turning point in SBC history. “Will this be a defining moment or will this be a forgotten moment?” Coe

asked. “The difference between a defining moment and a forgotten moment is a seized moment. We’re praying that we are able to give you the tools over these next days for you to seize the moment.”

Witness en español: gofbw.com/news.asp?ID=15358 Prestonwood pastor Jack Graham closed Monday afternoon’s session by encouraging church planters. “Church planters, you are on the front lines in cities across this continent, and you are taking the Gospel into the cities to penetrate lostness here and around the world,” Graham said. “Thank God that NAMB is saying, ‘Plant churches. Make disciples.’ NAMB does a lot of good things, but it is important that they now say, ‘Plant churches. Make disciples.’ And we support them in it.” The Monday evening session closed with Jim Cymbala, pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle, calling for attendees to come forward if they felt God leading them to step out into a new dimension of service. Thousands came forward as Cymbala led in prayer. “If you don’t want to be in a fight, get out of the ministry,” Cymbala said.

“The ministry is nothing but a fight. Paul didn’t say at the end of his life, ‘I have danced a good dance.’ He said, ‘I have fought a good fight.’” More than 100 breakout and workshop sessions included offerings for ministry wives, students and worship leaders as well as language tracks in Spanish, Korean and Chinese. Monday evening events for students included a hip-hop concert by Grammy award-winning artist Lecrae. Multiple environments were created for churches and church planters to network. Thirty of NAMB’s 32 Send cities hosted sessions for attendees to explore partnership and planting opportunities. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and evangelist Luis Palau were the closing session speakers. Akin, who approached the platform following a time of praise and worship led by Christy Nockels and Brett Younker, put aside his prepared remarks. “I want to speak to you about your life under the lordship of Jesus Christ,” Akin said. “Why do we need a Gospel? The world is dead in sin. God is angry with sin. God judges sin. God killed His Son so He would not have to kill me. As you come to Christ there are some things you will become alive to, and some things you will die to.”

Egyptian Christians face ‘hardest days’ WASHINGTON (BP) -- The wholesale looting and burning of Christian buildings in Egypt is not what grieves one Egyptian Christian leader the most. For him, the murder of a 10year-old girl, gunned down by a Muslim militant on her way home from a Bible study, is the most grievous kind of wound inflicted by the conflict in his country. “Those are the hardest days we’ve ever witnessed,” the leader, who was not identified for security purposes, told Open Doors, an organization serving the persecuted church. “The peaceful Egypt is now soaked into violence, hatred and desire [for] revenge,” the leader said. Since the Egyptian military removed President Mohammed Morsi from power following an outcry against his rule by many Egyptians, enraged supporters of the former president and the Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a showdown with the military. Amid the furor, Christians are paying a heavy price. “The level of violence against Coptic Christians, their property and businesses is unprecedented in modern Egypt, both in its scope and the number of churches and structures attacked,” Robert George, chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), said in a news release. Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian scholar, told the Associated Press the Muslim Brotherhood is blaming Christians for Morsi’s ouster so it can peg the interim military-supported government as anti-Islamic. He said Islamists have attacked more than 50 churches, setting many on fire and destroying at least 20. Tadros also told the AP that the Coptic pope, Tawadrous II, has gone into hiding, many churches have cancelled Sunday services and Christians are fearing for their lives. He called Aug. 14 the worst day of violence against the Coptic Church since the 14th century. MidEast Christian News (MCN), an independent news service, reported on several of the attacks. In one instance, Islamists stormed the St. George Diocese in Sohag, setting fire to the church, looting its contents and assaulting priests inside. Some Islamists even hijacked a fire truck to prevent it from extinguishing the fire. Father Selwanes Lofti, priest of St. Mary and St. Abraam Church, told MCN how Islamists burned several other church buildings. “They stormed the monastery, setting areas on fire as they went, including the historical St. Mary Church, St. George Church and St. Antony Church,” Lofti said. Writing for National Review, Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, said rioters are targeting not only churches and other religious buildings but also the private property of Christians. “In some cases, Egypt’s security forces have protected the Christians from enflamed Islamist mobs; in many others

they are failing to stop the mayhem,” Shea wrote. Wael Ibrahim, who managed the Assuit branch of the Egyptian Bible Society, told Morning Star News that Morsi supporters circled around the bookstore in the morning, threatening to attack any Christian who came near. They later burned down the building, destroying all literature and merchandise. “They didn’t just attack the store, they attacked the café and every store on the street that had any connection with Christians -- they destroyed so many stores,” he told Morning Star. “All the books were burned. There is nothing left.” Shea described the Obama administration as being unable or unwilling to stop the attacks on Christians after U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf “responded simply that [the State Department] is ‘concerned’” about the violence and did not outline a specific policy to help Christians.” “This can only mean [the administration] is either unwilling to use or has lost all leverage with Egypt’s military, which Secretary [of State John] Kerry had so generously continued funding,” Shea wrote. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spoke out on Twitter, noting the attacks on Coptic Christian buildings and saying U.S. aid “should be conditioned on #Egypt govt protecting #Christians.” In the meantime, Coptic Pope Tawadrous II said the attacks have been expected and that Copts consider their church buildings “a sacrifice to be made for our beloved Egypt,” according to SAT-7, a Christian satellite station operating in the Middle East and North Africa. Terence Ascott, CEO and Founder of SAT-7, wrote in a commentary on the agency’s website that he found it “important and encouraging” that some Muslims came to protect the churches from attack. “[M]any Christians then sent messages to their fellow Muslim citizens saying, ‘Buildings can be rebuilt again, but you are priceless, so stay safe, and don’t worry about the churches,’” Ascott wrote. Baptist Press reported on Friday that the Beni Mazar Baptist Church in Minya, a city south of Cairo, was attacked and burned. Nobody was reported killed or injured. Mounir Sobhy Yacoub Malaty, the church’s pastor, posted a video showing the ransacked and burning building. The Egyptian Christian leader who spoke with Open Doors reiterated that the greatest loss is not the buildings destroyed, but the lives taken in the violence. He told Open Doors that irate Muslim Brotherhood members continue to threaten violence and destruction. “My heart and the hearts of millions of Christian and Muslim Egyptians are bleeding,” the leader said, “as we see Egypt turning into a strange country we’ve never known before.”

Palau challenged attendees to “dream great dreams for God,” “pray great prayers for God” and “obey great commands of God.” He introduced his son Kevin, who is on the forefront of community transformation in Portland, Ore. He has worked with his father for almost three decades, and their efforts have brought together 27,000 Christian volunteers from 49 of the 50 largest evangelical churches in metro Portland. They’ve completed 350 projects, and the ministry was so impactful that every public school in Portland has been matched with a church for support. Coe closed the conference with encouragement and a challenge. “How do we go from this moment to a movement?” Coe asked. “It takes people. There are entire communities in the United States and Canada that have no churches. We’ve got a lot of

work to do. As we leave this Send North America Conference, I hope you leave encouraged that Jesus is for you. “Let’s agree together as the people of God not to leave complacent or go back to the status quo, but to leave this place to make a difference in the world for the glory of God. Join me in not letting this be a forgotten moment,” Coe said. NAMB President Kevin Ezell said he was “ecstatic about the turnout” for the event. “Not only the energy and electricity among the participants, but the passion and heart of pastors and planters—it all exceeds our expectations. The ethnic diversity is fantastic. Obviously this confirms the launch of a new day. It is a new day and a new NAMB.” Most important, Ezell said, were the partnerships and commitments that were made at the conference. “We’ve had more than 500 participants say they want to take the next steps in church planting. And more and more churches are stepping up to say they will partner with our planters. So the ongoing impact of these two days will really be the measure of success,” Ezell said.

New way of giving to missions at FBC Orlando continues CP support David Uth: ‘Every dollar we spend is about the mission of the church’ ORLANDO (FBW)—For folks at First Baptist Church in Orlando, where an estimated 85 percent of the congregation doesn’t come from a Baptist background or understand “church talk”—praying about “giving to the Lord” wasn’t really hitting the mark. But when people were asked to feed the homeless, help a pregnant mom, send a missionary to the field, or plant a By JONI B. HANNIGAN church—there was no stopping them from Managing Editor writing checks to take care of the needs. jhannigan@goFBW.com David Uth, senior pastor of the 15,000member church since 2006, said people did not understand the nomenclature of the church and its various appeals for budget and other items. “We realized we were confusing the people more than engaging the people,” Uth told Florida Baptist Witness. “We were giving the people a reason not to give.” The church responded by developing “The Mission,” a new way for people to invest in the life of the church—by contributing to the church’s budget that now includes items such as financial support for the church’s pregnancy care center, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Cooperative Program, and Love Orlando—an effort that supports social ministry initiatives in the local area. Offering envelopes at the church proclaim that receipts support “The Mission” of the church, and that is basically whatever the church chooses to be a part of. In years past there might have been separate envelopes for various offerings and categories for expenses like building repairs, but Uth said addressing those issues are part of the church’s mission. “This is just something we needed to do,” Uth said. “What we really wanted them to see is that every dollar we spend is about the mission of the church.” The congregation will still focus on efforts like its partnership with the International Mission Board to minister in Madagascar, Uth said, or to plant a church in Colorado, with the assistance of the North American Mission Board—but a strategic budgeting process directs the way ministry projects receive direct support. “We will still talk about those initiatives, but not be supporting those to the detriment of others,” Uth said. “People used to give to whatever appeal was the greatest or strongest—whatever had the greatest presentation or video.” With a new giving formula, instead of urging some who “don’t even give at all” to give a tithe and then above and beyond to other mission and ministry efforts—Uth said the new giving formula is simple and efficient. “It’s all going through one fund—’’The Mission’—and it’s about the mission to our church—and people understand, ‘this is one big gift I am giving to the Lord,’” he said. It’s that kind of talk that makes it easy for Uth to include Southern Baptists’ funding mechanism for missions and ministry, the Cooperative Program, in “The Mission” of First Baptist Orlando. “When we talk about the Cooperative Program, it’s no longer an entity that lives or exists outside of our church. It’s who we are as a missional people,” he said. “CP becomes a tool to help us accomplish our mission all over the state, in our nation, and all over the world—it helps us touch lives.” Uth said the church is still working out budgeting details, such as when to send Cooperative Program funds that are part of “The Mission” budget to the Florida Baptist Convention since the church’s goal is to budget at least one million a year to the Cooperative Program—but already the shift has encouraged people to invest in the mission of the church. “Our message is that by giving to our offering, ‘The Mission,’ you are helping a missionary over in a Romania, or helping a seminary student in Kentucky—that is the mission of our church—as much in the same way as we believe one day we will do renovations in our worship center,” Uth said. “Every dollar that we send out from that is about the mission of this church.” Finally, Uth said the church’s budgeting process is in many ways a lot like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. “It is a time-worn way for Florida Baptists to support missions and ministries they believe in,” he said.


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

15

BP PHOTO BY JOHN SWAIN

Better church planter support is NAMB’s goal

MIAMI PLANTER Church planter Jose Abella (center and inset) addresses North American Mission Board trustees during a city vision tour held in conjunction with a board meeting in Miami last year. Abella is part of the Send North America Support Network and appreciates the "incredible amount of support, prayer and encouragement available as we connect with other planters and NAMB."

Miami church planter Abella says family has limited opportunity for relationships ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)—Church planter support is becoming a priority at the North American Mission Board as Southern Baptists seek to greatly increase the number of churches planted in North America over the next 10 years. “We need thousands more church planters,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell

said. “We know it’s God’s role to call them. But we also know we must do a better job taking care of them once they’ve responded to the call.” One of Ezell’s first actions after coming to NAMB in 2010 was to establish a church planter support network directed by Micah Millican, who helps establish support teams for planters

planters in a city. Local planters decide what those events will be. “Cities are not won in isolation,” Millican said. “Cities are won in community. Church planters need to be able to lock arms with other planters to effectively push back lostness in a city. They desperately need one another.” One of the three events NAMB funds each year is specifically designed for church planter wives, and another one involves the whole family. A recent event in Boston included a family trip to the aquarium for planters and

in cities throughout North America. Local church planters, church planting catalysts and NAMB city coordinators lead the city-specific support teams. NAMB encourages three events a year per city designed to deepen relationships between planters and their families and build a sense of brotherhood between

their families. To help support and encourage church planting families, NAMB regularly sends books to all planters who have joined the network, including publications focused on leadership development, marriage and spouse enrichment and other ministry issues. Funds have been provided for date nights and to meet special financial needs in times of crisis. Church planter Jose Abella has benefited directly from NAMB’s increased support efforts. Abella, who serves in Miami, said church planting can be a lonely ministry. With so much of a planter’s energy focused on reaching new people with the Gospel, his family often has limited opportunities for relationships with fellow Christians. That’s why the relationships his family has developed with other church planting families through the North American Mission Board’s Send North America Support Network over the past two years have been so crucial. “That’s part of what it means to be Southern Baptist,” Abella said. “You’re not on your own. There is an incredible amount of support, prayer and encouragement available as we connect with other planters and NAMB.” Miami is one of 32 Send North America cities where NAMB is developing local networks of church planters by establishing city-specific support teams driven by its national Send North America Support Network. The city-specific support teams are part of a national effort by NAMB to develop a network among Southern Baptist church planters. The national network is open to all lead church planters regardless of ministry context who affirm the Baptist Faith & Message and have planted within the past five years. Church planters can visit namb.net/ cpprofile for more information and to join the Send North America Support Network. They can contact Micah Millican at mmillican@ namb.net for more information.

WIVES IN MINISTRY Church planter wives and ministry leaders Shauna Pilgreen, left, and Elicia Horton were joined by North American Mission Board LoveLoud missionary Lorna Bius, right, to discuss how the Gospel drives their respective ministries during a breakout session at the 2013 Send North America Conference.

to speak from their hearts, challenged them with cutting-edge solutions and kept the standards high with fastpaced yet deep presentations. “The conference was short on cliched thinking and long on usable 21st-century solutions, thanks to great preparation by speakers and authentic audience participation,” said Litton, who also leads www. flourish.me—an online community for ministry wives. Women expressed joy at connecting with other church planting wives so they could share experiences by telephone and email when they returned home. Tish Hedger of Bolivar, Mo., said

L argest Selection of COMMERCIAL & ACTIVITY BUSES in Florida

407.472.4800 or 866.942.5544

We have the perfect bus for ever y application & budget.

Service After the SALE 1st. First Class Coach Sales

www.FirstClassCoachSales.com

Send was “an incredible encouragement, because we met so many other couples in the same season we’re experiencing.” She and her husband Joshua planted Freshwater Church with help from Second Baptist Church in Springfield. Now the Hedgers have planted two more Missouri churches with September launch dates. “Like many young pastors’ wives, I had an identity crisis with unreasonable expectations for what a ministry wife should be like,” Hedger said, recalling her early ministry days. “I felt like I fell short. Eventually I came to a crossroads: Either be swallowed up by my fears or come to grips with how God equipped me as the woman I am.” Naomi Song, wife of Timothy Im, said Send gave her more confidence for their church plant among Korean Canadians in Montreal, Quebec, admitting, “Sometimes I feel alone and insecure.” They were pleased that the confer-

ence provided tracks in their language and for their culture. “Sometimes husbands and wives have different ideas, conflicts within the marriage,” Song said. “As Asians we have different perspectives than Western people.” Angie Mitsamphanh of Memphis, Tenn., said Send provided her and husband Thi with encouragement as a couple. First International Baptist Church began with fellow secondgeneration Laotian Americans. Soon they were ministering to Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian residents, also second-generation Americans. “Then God sent some wonderful first-generation Nepalese,” Mitsamphanh said. “Recently, He brought inner-city African American teens who want to follow Christ instead of the influences they learn on the streets.” In addition to providing insight and encouragement to the wives of church planters and pastors, the track was helpful for women in multiple areas of ministry leadership. Sylvia Sales, who provides Sunday School leadership for Friendship Baptist Church in Dallas’ The Colony, said she liked Christy Nockels’ presentation.

“She reminded us that we must understand who we are in Christ before tackling the ministry we’re called to do,” Sales said. Nockles is women’s worship team leader at Passion City Church in Atlanta. Feliciana Watkins of St. John’s Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, said she liked advice from Mary Jo Sharp on conversing with nonbelievers. Sharp, a former atheist, teaches apologetics at Houston Baptist University. “You need to be prepared with listening skills and good questions to lead a conversation to the Gospel,” said Watkins, who serves as a missions coordinator at her church. Sales and Watkins attended Send with Donnie Devereaux, also of Friendship Baptist in The Colony, and Charles Leslie, professor to all three at Southern Bible Institute in Dallas. In addition to work at their home churches, the four serve on Mission AMEN’s Uganda team, led by Devereaux. Mission AMEN, founded by Leslie, is dedicated to mobilizing the African American church to evangelize the world. “I can apply what I learned at Send to my ministry work in Texas and on the mission field in Uganda,” Watkins said.

NAMB PHOTO BY SUSAN WHITLEY

PLANO, Texas (BP)—Fresh insights and authentic personal sharing characterized the women’s track at the 2013 Send North America Conference. Participants received encouragement and practical ideas they can use in their marriages and churches. “We’re finding new heroes and role models in Southern Baptist life,” said Kathy Litton, the North American Mission Board’s national consultant for ministry to pastors’ wives. “I could see the positive responses of these church planting women serving with their husbands, often in remote locations, as they were met with compassion, understanding and wisdom by ministry wives who had been through similar experiences,” Litton said of the NAMB-sponsored conference at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, July 29-30. The track included seven breakout sessions and workshops on topics as varied as “How to Start Well: Transitioning Your Family into Church Planting,” “An Open Dialogue with an Atheist” and “Loving Your Ministry Without Hating Your Marriage.” Women also joined their husbands for an array of other topics. Litton said she felt God’s power in the smaller rooms where women could share openly and find support. “Both hard things and heart things were expressed there,” she said. “Some wives felt tired and fragile. They needed to be equipped and supported.” Attendees expressed gratitude that the event provided the opportunity

NAMB PHOTO BY SUSAN WHITLEY

Women at ‘Send’ find various ethnic perspectives

WORSHIP Worship leader Christy Nockels helped provide leadership to the worship experience at the 2013 Send North America Conference. Nockels also led a workshop on the posture of the heart in ministry for the ministry wives track at the event.

For more information or to become involved in NAMB’s Send North America strategy, visit namb.net/ mobilize-me. For more on the Send North America Conference visit namb. net/send2013.


16

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

Unique doors open to black missionaries overseas After his election as SBC president, part of Luter’s role included going on an international trip. He spent two weeks in Africa. “It was one of the most rewarding times in my life,” he said. “I regretted, pastors, that I didn’t do this a lot sooner.... So let me challenge you: Don’t let it take you to be elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention to go to the mission field. “Ask God right now, ‘God, put upon my heart and upon the heart of my church a passion to go onto the highways and byways of life.’ Pastors, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few,” Luter said. “Let’s take up the commandment and the commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s make disciples.”

IMB PHOTO BY AMANDA SMITH

RAISING THE NUMBER Dugas sat in the audience and listened to various presentations as she flipped through a booklet about IMB. A student at Louisiana College in Pineville, La., Dugas knows God has called her to the international mission

IMB PHOTO BY AMANDA SMITH

HARDSHIP AND JOY George Smith, an IMB worker in Uganda, answers a question from Tammy Dugas, an attendee at the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference at LifeWay's Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center. Dugas attended Smith's breakout session, learning more about the hardships and joys of life on the field.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Jerry Bates* attracts a lot of attention in Central Asia. As an American, he doesn’t quite fit in. As a Christian who is African American, he topples the worldview of many of the Muslims he meets. Bates says when people in Central Asia ask about his religion, they expect him to profess Islam because he is black. “I seem different,” Bates says. “They say if you have darker skin, you’re probably a Muslim. If you have lighter skin, you’re a Christian.” It’s a deepseated belief in that part of the world, he contends.

He could have called a lot of other people, but He called me. And sometimes I don’t understand why, but it’s all in His ultimate plan. Jerry Bates* But Bates sees people’s curiosity as an opportunity to share his testimony and spread the Gospel. Of the 4,900 Southern Baptist workers who serve through International Mission Board, Bates is one of only 26 African Americans. Although Bates has served with IMB for more than 12 years, it wasn’t something he planned to do growing up. In college, his goal was to become a businessman. “I didn’t know exactly what a missionary did,” Bates says. “I just knew it wasn’t me. They always lived in

strange places and did strange things and learned strange languages.” A summer mission trip to Central Asia, however, broke Bates’ heart. After only one week of seeing hopelessness on the faces of people who had never heard the name of Jesus, who had no access to the Gospel and who had never attended church, Bates knew he had to share Christ with the unreached. He returned to finish his final two years of college and, after completing his degree, went back to Central Asia as a missionary. It was there he met Fuad.* A local who transported Scripture across country borders, Fuad is an active evangelist who shares the Gospel with everyone he meets. But his zeal for Christ resulted in an arrest on false charges, followed by 18 months of imprisonment. Bates expected Fuad, a ministry partner, to ask for help in getting out of prison. Instead, when Fuad managed to send a note to Bates, he asked that Bates bring him copies of a Bible printed in the local language. Prisoners were flocking around Fuad to hear the Gospel; even prison guards wandered by to listen. “Remember those copies you told me you were going to give me?” Fuad asked. “I need them now, because people are coming to faith and they need to read the Scriptures.... Jerry, they’re in there because they’re sinful people. And no one has told them about Christ. They’re hungry.” When Fuad completed his prison sentence, Bates asked him if he would be more cautious when sharing his faith. “Jerry, I can’t,” Fuad replied. “People are so open to hear the Gospel, even when I was in prison. How can I not

CALLED Jerry Bates (name changed), an IMB worker in Central Asia, describes his experiences as an African American Christian living in a mostly Muslim country. Being African American opens unique doors for Bates, allowing him to share with people who have never heard the Gospel.

IMB PHOTO BY AMANDA SMITH

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)—College junior Lauren Dugas had never met an African American missionary prior to this year’s Black Church Leadership and Family Conference. Neither had many of the other 900 men, women and children from predominantly black Southern Baptist churches who spent the week at LifeWay’s Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center. Of the 4,900 Southern Baptist workers serving overseas through the International Mission Board, only 26 are black; eight of them were on hand for the week’s events July 2226, encouraging others to engage in international missions. The theme for this year’s conference was “Leave all, follow fully, make disciples.” At the conclusion of IMB’s July 24 presentation, Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter described how he met his first African American missionary at the conference years before. David Cornelius, a retired IMB missionary and staff member, had urged Luter to visit the mission field. But Luter never did, believing he was too busy.

churches, to start our kids very young, to put this in the back of their minds that foreign missions can be an option.” Luter’s son Fred “Chip” Luter III missional strategist for African did just that during the conference. American churches, said other barriers While their parents attended sesfor church members include financial sions, youth ages 12-18 attended difficulties and fear of the unknown. Centrifuge camp led by Chip, pastor of Nearly all of IMB’s black missionyouth and young adults at Franklin field. As a child, she was even dubbed “little missionary” by one of the men aries are veterans who have served 12 Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. years or more, he said. Just a few years On the final evening of the conferin her church. ago that number stood at 31, but as ence, Chip challenged the students Her mother Tammy also attended about missions service. He and several the event, becoming more comfortable workers completed their terms or other pastors had recently returned with the idea of her daughter serving resigned, there were no new African American missionaries to take their from taking a group of about 40 overseas as the week progressed. She place. youth to South Africa. said meeting African American “What about missionaries and leaving the comattending breakfort of home to out sessions was make sure a world helpful. that doesn’t know “I believe it’s Jesus Christ has a preparing me for chance to hear what I believe God witnesses?” he is doing in my asked, telling the daughter,” she youth to seek out said. people “far from When Dugas God, but close to arrived at Ridgeyou.” crest, she was Jefferson said surprised that so unique doors much of the conoften are opened ference revolved to African Ameriaround missions. cans sharing At an exhibit CALL TO THE FIELD Fred "Chip" Luter III speaks to youth at Centrifuge, which took place for Black Missions during the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference in Ridgecrest, N.C. Luter gave a Christ overseas. Link, a website of call to missions, urging youth to pray about engaging in short-term or full-time mission work. In places like East Asia, dark skin atresources for “There are around 300 Asian mistracts interest and curiosity, drawing African American pastors and their sionaries, around 90 Latinos and then people to listen to the Gospel. In churches, Dugas spoke with several there are 26 African American misother countries, people with dark IMB workers who encouraged her to skin are eager to hear the Gospel apply for the Journeyman Program (for sionaries,” Jefferson said. “From the perspective of African Americans, we from black missionaries. college graduates willing to commit know there are roughly 1 million “When African Americans go to to two years of overseas service). African Americans in the SBC, about places that have people of color,” Jef“You don’t see too many African 6.5 percent. If we were to represent ferson said, “there are people in those American missionaries,” Dugas said, adding that it was “amazing” to meet in Southern Baptists’ missionary force countries that say, ‘You know, the what we represent in the convention’s white missionaries have always come, black missionaries at the conference. membership, it would be over 300.” but when you come, the people here “[We] as African Americans, we do know that [Christianity] is not a relicare about our third-world countries gion for whites only, it’s a religion and we are praying for them. And we INSTILLING A PASSION Luter also spoke of the importance for all the people of the world.” should go over to these countries of raising up young black missionaries. To learn more about how your and share our faith. We shouldn’t be “In the churches I grew up in as a church can be involved in international in our comfort zone. We need to get kid, I never heard a thing about foreign missions, visit blackmissionslink.org uncomfortable....” missions,” Luter said. “So I think it’s or call Keith Jefferson at 1-800-999Besides lack of exposure to black just a process of educating our 3113, ext. 1422. missionaries, Keith Jefferson, IMB’s

BLACK MISSIONARY

changing view of Christianity tell them?” Bates, too, has been bold in sharing about God, even when it’s outside his comfort zone. He has pushed past his introverted tendencies to build relationships and share the Gospel. “It’s a joy to see how sometimes I didn’t feel like I was qualified to do things,” Bates says, “but God put me in a certain place at a certain time to live a certain way that allowed people to grow closer to Him. “He could have called a lot of other people, but He called me,” Bates says. “And sometimes I don’t understand why, but it’s all in His ultimate plan.”

Bates said he believes more African American missionaries are needed all over the world, especially in countries where people with dark skin are eager to hear the Gospel from black missionaries. “If you go down the list of all the African American [IMB workers], all of us at some point in time said, ‘That’s not me,’” Bates says. “And we can give you various things, whether it’s because we didn’t think African Americans could be involved in missions, we didn’t think there was funding there, we didn’t think there was a place for us. And all of these things are just

lies the enemy gives to us. “When African Americans go out and share the Gospel with [the world], that really opens up a whole new can of worms and really turns [people's] worldview around, their very understanding of God,” Bates says. “They show that it’s not just a particular society or a particular group—that the Gospel is for all people.... The Great Commission wasn’t given to any one people. It was not given to any one segment of society. It’s given to all Christians to make disciples from all the nations.” *Name changed.


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

Guidestone expands SAN FRANCISCO (Guidestone/BP)— O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, reported on the continued growth in the number of the entity’s expanded ministry participants at a meeting of the trustees in San Francisco. Trustees also were updated on GuideStone’s long-range plan and on health care reform efforts. Expanded ministry participants, Hawkins said, help provide stability and strength to GuideStone’s insurance program. “Each year, we see value from our efforts to reach out and engage likeminded evangelical organizations,” Hawkins said at the July 29-30 meeting. “Currently, expanded market ministries comprise over 25 percent of our total group medical plan participants and provide more than 10 percent of total new money into the retirement plan. “Additionally, many of the participants in our expanded ministries insurance base are younger, which enables us to keep our premiums lower for our participants, as well as providing the ability to attain additional economies of scale across all of our product lines,” Hawkins said. GuideStone’s request for a ministry assignment change was approved by messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in June, allowing GuideStone to serve like-minded investors and individuals with a focus on Southern Baptist and evangelical church members. Even with a potential new market, Hawkins said GuideStone will continue to serve “the SBC pastor at the crossroads” and “will remain committed to its vision of enhancing financial security.” Citing Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish ...," Hawkins said GuideStone 100, the entity's long-range strategic plan, provides the ministry with its design, definition, dynamic, direction and dependence.

Classifieds

POSITIONS First Baptist Church of Palm Coast, Fla. is searching for a WORSHIP PASTOR. The candidate should evidence a passion for the Lord Jesus, His church and reaching the lost; be comfortable leading a variety of worship experiences and have at least a Bachelor’s degree in music from an accredited college or University. Must have strong vocals or instrument and be proficient with traditional, blended and contemporary music styles. Other interests in teaching, creativity and administration a plus. Please submit your resume to fbcmail@fbcpc.org Attn: search committee or mail to Search Committee 6050 Palm Coast Pkwy, Palm Coast, Florida 32137. 08/22 Church in established neighborhood in Tampa seeks SENIOR PASTOR. Average attendance, 70. Seeking individual who can lead the church in creative worship and creative outreach. Prefer seminary graduate. Some musical ability is a plus. Send resume to wellswoodbaptist@yahoo. com. 08/22 FBC Lynn Haven, FL is seeking a FULL-TIME STUDENT PASTOR for Middle and High School students. Ministry degree and experience required. Send resume to info@fbclynnhaven.org, ATTN: Personnel Committee. Deadline for submittal is September 20, 2013. MINISTER OF YOUTH AND MUSIC: First Baptist Church of Homerville, Ga is seeking a full-time minister of youth and music. We desire to find a person with a strong walk with Christ and a heart for ministry. We desire a seminary graduate but are open to college graduates in a ministry field. Please submit resumes with a cover letter through email to paulfulton@ windstream.net. 08/22 First Baptist Church, Palatka, FL, accepting resumes for MINISTER OF MUSIC/WORSHIP. 5+ years experience, Bachelor of Music, desired. Send resume to bryanhelms1111@gmail. com 08/22

Hawkins highlighted the more than 50 significant organizational achievements accomplished under GuideStone 95, which -- along with GuideStone 90 -- was a stepping stone toward the completion of GuideStone 100. GuideStone 90 was completed in 2008, and GuideStone 95 was completed this year. Hawkins said the accomplishments of GuideStone 95 have helped position the entity for its goal of becoming the premier provider of employee benefit products to the evangelical community. Hawkins updated trustees on GuideStone's Mission:Dignity ministry, which raises funds to provide financial support to needy retired Southern Baptist ministers, denominational workers, missionaries and their surviving spouses. Qualifying individuals receive $200 a month in assistance; couples are eligible for $265 a month. As of June 30, Mission:Dignity served 1,872 individuals and couples. During the first six months of 2013, 3,949 donors made gifts in support of Mission:Dignity and revenues for the program increased 13.7 percent over last year. For the complete story, go online to goFBW.com.

17

Pope’s comments don’t change Catholic teaching, prof says NASHVILLE (BP)—Pope Francis’ comment that he will not “judge” homosexuals does not signal a change in Roman Catholic teaching about sexual morality but reflects the pope’s desire to portray the Roman Catholic Church as loving toward everyone, according to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Gregg Allison. “I think some, perhaps many people, both outside and inside the Catholic church, are hopeful that the pope’s comments about homosexuality signal a change in the church’s view of and policy toward homosexuality, but I have strong doubts that this is the case,” said Allison, professor of Christian theology and author of the forthcoming book Intrigue and Critique: An Evangelical Assessment of Roman Catholic Theology and Practice (Crossway, 2014). The pope offered his comments July 29, during a wide-ranging press conference aboard a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome. He made “off-thecuff remarks that express his rightful compassion toward all people, those engaged in homosexuality included,” Allison said. “Like his similar remarks

a couple of months ago about atheists and good works, the pope’s comments are not official teaching on this issue.” Francis commented on an alleged “gay lobby” in the Roman Catholic Church with inordinate influence. He said a gay lobby is bad but distinguished between the gay lobby and homosexual individuals, telling reporters, “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?” That statement led major media outlets to speculate that Francis may be shifting the church’s ethical teaching. But Allison said such claims show a misunderstanding of Catholic theology. “The pope’s comments do not represent any official change in theological direction,” he said. “ ...The current pope seems to embrace everyone and wants to demonstrate to the world that the Catholic Roman Church embraces everyone. “But this should not be taken to mean that Pope Francis is going to reform the church in terms of a new social or theological agenda when it comes to homosexuality, abortion, contraception, women as priests, married priests and the like. The Roman Catholic Church in general, and its pope in particular, does not—I would add cannot—function in that way.” The official teaching of Roman Catholicism, articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is that some acts are intrinsically disordered, including homosexual activity. Such acts are “always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil,” according to the catechism. “Accordingly,” Allison said of Catholic teaching, “under no circumstances— for example, the claim to be acting out of love, or to be reciprocating an expression of love—is homosexual activity a moral act. It is always illicit.” Another highlight of Francis’ trip to Brazil was his emphasis on the need for Catholics to evangelize more or risk losing the church’s members. According to census data, the number of Catholics in Brazil dropped from 125 million in 2000 to 123 million in 2010, with the nation’s percentage of Catholics

falling from 74 percent to 65 percent. During the same period, the percentage of Protestants and Pentecostals soared from 15 percent to 22 percent. “Jesus is calling on you to be a disciple with a mission,” Francis told a crowd of 3 million in Rio de Janeiro on July 28. He added, “Dear young people, Jesus Christ is counting on you; the church is counting on you; the pope is counting on you.” Francis is well aware of Protestantism’s recent success in Latin America as a native of Argentina, Allison said. “This pope knows firsthand the immense impact of evangelical churches on the Catholic populations of South America, and he will be a leader for the Roman Catholic Church who challenges it to mirror and even reproduce the evangelistic fervor, community building, prayer, enthusiastic worship and the like of evangelicals,” Allison said. “We should expect a more aggressive Roman Catholic Church to follow the lead of this pope in reaching out to connect with people, both Catholic and non-Catholics.”

ECFA recognizes IMB RICHMOND, Va. (BP)—The International Mission Board has received accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). This recognition acknowledges IMB’s demonstrated compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. Since 1979, ECFA has provided donors and potential donors with the assurance that their member organizations adhere to the highest standards of financial integrity and Christian ethics. In addition, ECFA keeps its members informed of accounting, financial, fundraising and legislative matters of common concern and promotes such on Capitol Hill. Members include more than 1,700 Christian ministries, denominations, churches, educational institutions and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Campus Crusade for Christ and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

EARN A YIELD OF UP TO

Evergreen Baptist Church is seeking a FULL/BI-VOCATIONAL PASTOR we are a Southern Baptist Church located in a small rural area in central Florida. Submit resume to Evergreen Baptist Church, PO Box 346, Lawtey, Florida 32058. 09/05 MUSIC MINISTER – Grand Island Baptist Church, SBC, (avg. attendance 200 – blended style), is seeking a part-time minister of music for this growing ministry. Resumes accepted until Oct 11th. For details see grandislandbaptist.com. 09/19 Church in growing Southwest Ga. community seeks a MINISTER OF MUSIC. A partially funded position. Blended service, direct adult choir, lead and plan congregational worship, oversee all music programs, etc. Computer skills necessary, experience preferred. Contact Sandra Yerby, san4au@bellsouth.net. 08/22 STUDENT MINISTER - Bethel Baptist Church is seeking a student minister to lead, coordinate, plan and promote its student ministry with an emphasis on reaching students with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and training them to serve Him. Resumes should be mailed to Bethel Baptist Church, 2245 Bethel Road, Sycamore, GA 31790, Attn: Staff Search Committee. To learn more about Bethel Baptist Church please visit www. bbcsycamore.com/. 08/22 Crestview Baptist Church in Lakeland, Florida is seeking a full-time MINISTER OF MUSIC for a growing and exciting ministry with traditional and contemporary blended services. Please send resume to 615 Old Polk City Road, Lakeland, FL 33809 or email to crestviewbaptist@ tampabay.rr.com. 08/22 COTTAGE PARENTS • The Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch is looking for married couples to be full-time Cottage Parents. Salary $47,840.00 per couple with benefits provided. High school diploma or GED required. For more information contact Linda Mather at (386) 842-5555 lmather@youthranches.org Fax resume to (386) 842-1029 Employment application on line at www.youthranches.org (EOE/DRUG FREE WORKPLACE) 08/22 Ebenezer Church in Vernon, Florida is seeking a PART-TIME ASSOCIATE/STUDENT PASTOR. Candidates for this position should have a heart for children and teens and be ready to work with a team of two other pastors, ministering to the

present membership as well as developing strategies to reach out into this small rural community. Ministerial education (completed or in progress) is preferred. Please send resumes to ebc@aarkenterprises.com. 08/22

INSURANCE CHURCH INSURANCE PROGRAMS—Anywhere in Florida—property, liability, buses, vans & worker’s comp. Competitive rates—Mel Himes & Associates: 800-329-3031. TFN CHURCH INSURANCE COVERAGE for Less/State of Florida: Property with Wind, Day Care and Schools. Web Site: www.churchinsuranceflorida. com or call: Harris Insurance Group 1-888909-1260. TFN LIFE INSURANCE FOR THE LIVING • we sell Term, Whole Life, and Universal Life Insurance for ages 18 to 90. For a review of your Life Insurance needs, call Jim Smelcher at The Insurance Store - 800-583-0970.

MISCELANEOUS Would like to TRADE 25 PASSENGER BUS for 15 passenger. 2002 Ford, purchased new ($54,000). 25,000 actual miles. First Baptist Markham Woods, Lake Mary, 407.333.2085. FOR SALE: CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION TREE • 19' tall; Seven-tier/43-voice; 150-degree. Structure and all accessories included. Assembly instructions and pictures included. Purchased from Celebration Specialties in 2002 for $9,923.00. Price: $2,500.00 Call: 386-755-5553. 08/22

CABIN RENTALS HAYESVILLE, WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA. LOVELY, LIKE-NEW MOUNTAIN COTTAGE FOR RENT. May – November. Weekly/Monthly. All conveniences. 2BR/2BA. On beautiful Hiawassee River. LOW PRICE $500 weekly plus tax. Sleeps five. Children welcome. No Pets. 828-389-3302.

Classified advertising is $1.50 per word, with a $45 minimum per issue. Please e-mail your copy to classifiedads@goFBW.com or fax it to904-346-0696. Florida Baptist Witness cannot investigate all advertisers. It is recommended that you be cautious, do research, and get references for any advertiser with which you are not familiar

3

.00%Build God’s while helping to

Kingdom

CURRENT CERTIFICATE YIELDS* Demand & Corporate Demand Certificates 1.25% Time Certificates 1 Year Time Certificates 1.75% 27 Month Time Certificates 2.25% 3 Year Time Certificates 2.50% 5 Year Time Certificates 3.00% IRA Certificates 1.50% *Yields are subject to change. CGIF is available to individuals as well as churches and corporations. CGIF is offered by prospectus only.

www.cgif.co

800.780.0325 ext.221

For a prospectus or current rates, visit www.cgif.co or call 800.780.0325 ext.221.


18

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness SEPTEMBER 1 THE PRESSURE OF TRIALS JAMES 1:1-4

Our study of the Book of James can be enriched if we spend some time considering the author and his purpose. By wide consent we can safely identify the author as James, the half-brother of Jesus. As was true of others in His family, only Mary accepted His role as the Messiah (John 7:5, 10). We do not know when James was converted, but Jesus made a special appearance to him (1 Cor. 15:7). Apparently he succeeded Peter as leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18). He was present at the general gathering of missionaries to resolve what Jewish traditions were to be imposed on Gentile believers (Acts 15:19-22). However, the Book of James is unique in its style. Foregoing the lengthy greetings as employed by writers like Paul and Peter, James’s greetings fall generally into the style of the prophets. His language, though showing his awareness of proper Greek, sounds much like that of the men who called Israel and Judah to accountability before God. James, reared as a loyal Jew, wrote about the law of Moses as seen through the perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a latecomer to belief in Jesus, God’s anointed One, James absorbed much of what Jesus taught. For example, he includes at least ten allusions to the teachings of Jesus, particularly from the Sermon on the Mount. We will consider these at the appropriate junctures. But James has his distinct contribution to make. Whereas one could call John the Apostle of Love, Paul the Apostle of Faith, and Peter the Apostle of Hope, James deserves the reputation of the Apostle of Good Works. After this brief overview of James and his ministry, we turn our attention to his epistle as he wrestles with the pressures raised by trials in the Christian life. First, he addresses the fact of the recurrence of trials (v. 1). In his greeting James addresses “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” The ten northern tribes, called Israel, were taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. As a group they were absorbed into the surrounding nations. Judah, including Benjamin, fell to the Babylonians in stages, beginning in

SEPTEMBER 1 THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD JOHN 1:1-18 With this lesson, we began an exciting sixmonth journey in the Gospel of John. According to early church tradition, the Apostle John wrote his Gospel in the last decade of the first century. John wrote the Gospel for an evangelistic purpose (20:30-31). The purpose statement contains four key concepts foundational to this book. First, the Gospel sets forth eight “signs” (the resurrection is the final sign) to point to or signify the identity of Jesus. Second, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. In many ways, the fourth Gospel is the most Jewish. This Gospel demonstrates Jesus fulfilled all the major festivals of Judaism and at key junctures people confess Jesus as Messiah (Jhn. 1:41; 4:29; 11:27). Third, John set forth Jesus as “the Son of God.” The Gospel contains seven explicit “I am” sayings. The name “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” means ‘I Am” (Ex 3:14); thus, Jesus explicitly claimed deity through these sayings. Finally, the fourth Gospel highlighted the role of believing. The noun “faith” never occurs in this Gospel, but the verb “believe” occurs nearly one hundred times. The opening verses of the Gospel set forth Jesus as the supreme revelation of God. First, Jesus possesses equal status and nature with God (1:1-5). The concept of “the Word” was important in biblical revelation and first century philosophical thought. In Jewish thought, “Word” signified the revelation of God. In philosophical thought, “Word” was the one principle that explained everything. John highlighted four truths regarding Jesus as Word. First, Jesus was equal with God. Jesus was co-eternal with God (in beginning), co-equal with God (“with” means a ‘face-to-face equal), and possessed all the nature of God (was God). Second, Jesus was the active agent in the creation of all things spiritual and physical (Col. 16; Heb. 1:2). Third, “Life” and “Light” are in Him. Rather than terms describing physical realities,

608 B.C. through 587 B.C. The tribes are called by the Jewish historian, Josephus, the Diaspora, or Dispersion. James knew that many Jews became Christians in Jerusalem and traveled back to their foreign settlements. What a joy it must have been to receive a “letter from home,” as James dealt with the very issues and conflicts which plagued Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. He advances the idea that trials are a means of obtaining joy (v. 2). Whereas happiness by definition is shallow and temporary because it comes from particular events, a “happening,” joy, in contrast, is a soul-deep feeling of contentment which arises from the attainment of a life goal. For example, Jesus endured the cross because He anticipated the joy that what He accomplished would bring to Himself and others. Trials purify the soul. When I was a boy, we grew sugar cane to turn the juice into syrup. We would boil 60 gallons of juice for four hours and scoop off impurities as they rose to the surface. When the impurities and water were gone, we ended with 12 gallons of syrup. James also realized the trials would bring self-awareness (v. 3). The Bible begins a series in which one word suggests another, or so forth. Faith works endurance and endurance leads to maturity. The same kind of progression is given in I Peter 1:5-7 in which “faith” (v. 5) leads to “brotherly kindness charity.” Enduring trials results in growing into moral perfection (v. 4). At this juncture James reiterates the thought implied in a statement of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We would expect our Lord to set with the moral standard that each believer might grow into moral perfection. The word perfect does not mean sinless, a state only applicable to Jesus. It’s meaning is revealed in Hebrews 2:10. The captain, or leader of our salvation was made “perfect through suffering.” That is, His suffering made Him suited for His work of atonement for sin.

Bible Studies for Life

“Life” and “Light” in John describe spiritual realities. Fourth, Jesus was not defeated. As the “Light” He shined into the darkness—the reality of humanity and evil spiritual forces estranged from God and dominated by Satan—and overcame this opposition to God. Second, Jesus, the eternal Word, entered into human experience (1:9-13). As Light Himself, Jesus invaded the world of darkness by coming into the world. As the true Light, Jesus forces all people in darkness to make a response— either rejection or belief. “Believe” and “receive” are synonymous terms. A person receives Jesus by believing. A person believes in Jesus by receiving Him. Receiving Jesus by faith brings in individual into the family of God through the new birth—a spiritual birth not the result of ancestral heritage (descendent of Abraham). Third, the incarnation of Jesus is the supreme and ultimate revelation of God (1:14-18). The eternal Word became flesh, that is, a human. The HCSB translation “took up residence among us” literally means “tabernacle” or “tented” among us. Jesus’ life on earth was tent-like, that is, temporary. The key concept, however, is “tabernacled.” The OT pointed to the tabernacle as the dwelling of God and the location of the glory of God. The fullest revelation of God’s glory occurred historically when the Eternal Word and unique Son of God became human. In the fourth Gospel, the revelation of the glory of God is connected to the sacrificial death of Jesus. The coming to the Word into human experience means all who receive Him receive “grace after grace.” The fullness of graceful life through Jesus is a progression. Believers experience a lifetime journey of grace. Jews regarded the law given through Moses as the supreme revelation of God, yet Moses never saw God. The incarnate Son provided God’s ultimate and supreme revelation, or literally, “explanation of God (1:18).

Explore the Bible

SEPTEMBER 8 THE PRESSURE OF TEMPTATION JAMES 1:13-18 The verse preceding our assigned texts says those enduring temptation “shall receive the crown of life” (v. 12). Four other crowns are listed in the Bible. God awards the incorruptible crown to those who are “temperate in all things” (1 Cor. 9:25; the “crown of righteousness” for those who love our Lord’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8); the “crown of glory” for being a faithful shepherd of God’s flock (1 Wiley Richards Pet. 5:4), and a is professor crown of incorrupemeritus of tion for those theology and mastering selfphilosophy at discipline. The Baptist College of Florida Temptation can in Graceville. come in many forms. Something which is tempting to one person may have zero effect on someone else. For example, alcoholic beverage venders have no effect on me, but chocolate shops are a different matter. We will look at four aspects related to the pressure of temptation. As a point to begin, we need to consider temptation’s origin (vv. 13-15). God never tempts anyone to sin. What we sometimes denote as a temptation could more accurately be denoted a strengthening test or exercise. As some of the Church Fathers have observed, God is in the business of soul-building, not soulwrecking. He can send the refiners fire into our lives to advance our spiritual growth. In the downward spiral given by James, sin arises out of human lust. Lust if not checked will lead one into sin, and sin leads to death, both spiritual and, sometimes, physical. One could document this in the lives of drug addicts. As someone has noted, sin is the opportunity to meet a God given desire in a God-forbidden way. Another source of temptation comes from Satan. Read the account of our Lord’s temptation as proffered by Satan as recorded in Luke 4:113. The temptations related to food (v. 3), power (v. 6) and pride (v. 9). It is no casual affair that Satan used those three avenues of gaining

SEPTEMBER 8 KNOWING JESUS THROUGH HIS TITLES JOHN 1:19-51 The New Testament richly describes the person and ministry of Jesus through various titles. The New Testament contains at least 175 titles for Jesus. Since the NT highlights various titles for Jesus, twenty-first century believers greatly benefit from a study of the titles for Jesus. “The study of Christ is diminished when these ascriptions are neglected.” Mark Rathel is Why does the a professor of NT contain such theology at The numerous titles for Baptist College Jesus? of Florida in One leader from Graceville. the early church postulated that Christ meet people at their point of need by revealing his identity by means of specific titles. “The Savior comes in various forms to each man for his profit. For to those who lack joy, He becomes the Vine; to those who wish to enter in, He is the Door; for those who must offer prayer, He is the mediating High-Priest. Again, to those in sin, He becomes the Lamb to be sacrificed on their behalf. He becomes ‘all things to all men’ remaining in His own nature what He is.” What do the titles for Jesus in John 1:19-51 reveal about Jesus? First, the title Son of Man (1:51) highlights Jesus heavenly origin as well as future end-time ministry. In the four gospels, Jesus alone referred to Himself as Son of Man. His unique usage underscores the importance of the title. The background for this title comes from Daniel 7:13-14. The Son of Man, according to Daniel, the Son of Man approached God (Ancient of Days) as an equal and received from God an everlasting dominion comprised of people from every people group and language that serve (worship) the Son of Man.

access into human beings. They were exactly the three approaches that Satan, the serpent, employed successfully to seduce Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Whereas Satan successfully corrupted the pair in the Garden, Jesus triumphed alone with Satan in the wilderness. Satan still follows the same pattern of activity with us. The Apostle John phrased it this way: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is one the world” (1 John 2:16). Also, the pressure of temptation can cause one to miss the holy light (vv. 16-17). James surely could remember the event when his halfbrother, Jesus, announced He was the light of the world (John 8:12). As C. S. Lewis has observed, statements like that one cannot be attributed to a man who was just a man. He is what He claimed, or He was a lunatic. James could remember the Lord’s portrayal of His followers as being the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13). They have been charged with the responsibility of transforming human being into serving as bright lights in a gloomy world of spiritual darkness. The heavenly Father still bestows good gifts (James 1:14). Finally, James calls the attention of the twelve tribes to their role as being God’s firstfruits (v. 18). The background for this concept goes all the way back to the law God gave through Moses. The firstfruits represent the first harvest of a crop, considered a symbol of the best, usually the first picking or cutting. Israel, therefore, was to present the firstfruits to God as a symbol of dedicating their best to Him (Ex. 23:19; Lev. 23:9-14). The day following Pentecost they were to take samples of the firstfruits and wave it before God, a recognition that everything belonged to Him. Jeremiah 2:3 affirms Israel to be the firstfruits to God. In the New Testament, the first converts from a given region were called the firstfruits (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15). The redeemed 144,000 of Israel were called the firstfruits (Rev. 14:4). Even the Holy Spirit becomes the firstfruit (Rom. 8:38) as does the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 16:15). We can now grasp the impact of James’s characterization. The converted Jews become the new Israel among the nations. This becomes their great commission.

The title “Son of Man” occurs thirteen times in the fourth Gospel to emphasize Jesus descent from heaven (3:13), ascension to heaven (6:62), role as giver of eternal life (6:27, 53), end-time judge (5:27), and the one glorified through His death (12:23; 13:31). Second, the title “Son of God” (1:49) emphasizes Jesus identify and relationship with God. The title “Son of God” occurs nine times in the Gospel and the abbreviated form “Son” occurs more frequently. Twice the title occurs in the fourth Gospel as Jesus’ self-description (10:36; 11:4). Martha proclaimed the climatic confession of faith in the NT, offered in the context of pain and grief, as she acknowledged Jesus as “Son of God” (11:27). The Son of God and the Father have a mutual love relationship (3:35; 5:20). As the Son, Jesus always obeys the Father (5:17-18). As the Son, Jesus is the active agent of spiritual and physical resurrection (5:25). Failure to believe in Jesus’ status as Son of God presently experiences the condemnation of God (3:18). Third, the title “Lamb of God” communicates Jesus’ role as the sin sacrifice (1:29, 36). By the use of the term, John the Baptist brought together a collage of OT themes. First, Jesus is the Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) and the Last Supper contains Passover imagery. During the Passover, the application of blood resulted in the “passing over” of the agent of God’s judgment. Second, the OT proscribed daily sacrifices of lambs to make atonement for sins (Lev. 1:4). Third, Isaiah described the Suffering Servant as a slaughtered lamb (Isa. 53:7) pierced and crushed for our transgressions and iniquities resulting in peace (Isa. 53:5). Jesus as the Lamb of God fulfilled all the OT sacrifices. Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God “took away” sins by bearing the penalty due us because of our sin. Fourth, Jesus fulfilled the promises of God for an anointed King as evidenced by the titles “Messiah” and “King of Israel” (1:41, 49). The Messiah was the promised ruler from the house of David. The complete manifestation of Jesus as King awaits His return.


Florida Baptist Witness • August 22, 2013

19

Project identifies 8 attributes of discipleship BP PHOTO

HONDURAS Neil Hoppe, with camera, filmed a segment of the Experiencing God documentary in Honduras with Anthony Ponceti (not pictured). Ponceti has worked with churches in Honduras using Experiencing God as a text, saying the discipleship study transcends cultures.

1. Bible engagement

‘Experiencing God’ documentary recaps 23 years of discipleship NASHVILLE (BP)—A documentary about the impact of Experiencing God—a discipleship study that influenced a generation—is the first release of LifeWay Films. Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King has touched and changed millions of lives and thousands of churches worldwide since its release in 1990. The workbook has sold more than 7 million copies, is available in more than 45 languages and has been used in almost every denomination. Experiencing God has spawned dozens of other books and tools including the newly released Experiencing God at Home book and curriculum, Your Church Experiencing God Together, The Man God Uses, “Fresh Encounter” and the “Experiencing God Musical.” Now, the documentary focuses on some of the stories reflecting Experiencing God’s influence for more than two decades. LifeWay Films is a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We’ve heard hundreds of stories about how Experiencing God served as a catalyst for someone to make a dramatic life change,” King, LifeWay’s discipleship specialist, said. “We pray that these three will represent well the influence Experiencing God has had over these 23 years.” Neil Hoppe, producer and host of the documentary, and director Bill Cox traveled to Lynch, Ky., Angola (La.) state penitentiary, two villages in Honduras and Atlanta to film segments that chronicle the movement of God through the discipleship study.

GOD AT WORK IN MIAMI & HONDURAS

Anthony Ponceti was living in Texas when he sensed God asking him to move to Miami. Ponceti was shocked to discover why. Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega had been arrested on drug trafficking charges and sent to prison in Miami. Several months later, Southern Baptist evangelists Clifton Brannon and Rudy Hernandez led the former dictator

to Christ. Ponceti was asked to disciple Noriega following his conversion. “I couldn’t do it,” Ponceti said. “My brother died because of drugs, and here is one of the biggest drug traffickers in the world.... Disciple him? No. I hated him.” But having been through Experiencing God, Ponceti knew God had invited him to be a part of His work with Noriega. This was Ponceti’s crisis of faith. Would he obey? Ponceti’s heart softened and he agreed to disciple Noriega using Experiencing God.

reported John Robson who heads the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension center at Angola. His work with inmates has led to hundreds receiving Christ, hundreds studying Experiencing God and many earning seminary extension degrees.

JOINING GOD IN KENTUCKY

WHERE THE STORY BEGINS

Lonnie and Belinda Riley were so convinced of God’s plan through Experiencing God that they moved to the small coal-mining hamlet of Lynch, Ky., to begin ministering to the community. They had no plan, no support and no income. What they did have was assurance that God wanted them there and would take care of the details. The Rileys, now serving in Lynch as North American Mission Board missionaries, have seen the opening of a food pantry and clothes closet and have led in such ministries as home repair and school assistance. They’ve also seen an influx of mission teams and monetary contributions that have helped revitalize the town. In all this time, Riley said, he has never asked for anything except for God to show him the need. When he sees the need, he prays and God answers.

GOD’S WORK IN ANGOLA After Burl Cain, warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, went through Experiencing God, he had a preposterous idea: What if he took Experiencing God into the prison and offered the class to some of the inmates? Angola houses more than 5,000 inmates and at one time was considered the most dangerous prison in America. But now, in part due to Experiencing God and the work God is doing in the prison, “50 percent of the inmates are Christians,”

NASHVILLE (BP)—LifeWay Research surveyed 7,000 churches in 2008 to discover the principles involved with healthy congregations. Last year, LifeWay’s researchers went back into the field to focus on individual believers, asking more than 4,000 people about their spiritual lives and level of maturity. The project has identified eight biblical factors that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer. Those “attributes of discipleship” are:

2. Obeying God and denying self 3. Serving God and others 4. Sharing Christ 5. Exercising faith 6. Seeking God 7. Building relationships 8. Unashamed transparency

The documentary closes with Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. Experiencing God is Blackaby’s life message, the principles by which he has understood and walked with God. It was how he guided God’s people as a pastor. Blackaby, a native Canadian, was pastor of a large, affluent congregation in Southern California when he was approached by a Canadian pastor who asked him to consider returning to Canada and becoming pastor of a small, dying church in Saskatoon. Blackaby was struck when he said, “The only hope for Canada is if Canadian pastors come back home.” There, in that place of difficult ministry, the principles of Experiencing God took shape into what would become the resource that has led to countless changed lives. LifeWay Films, producer of the Experiencing God documentary, offers films with the message of faith and hope. For more information, including information about site licenses and movie offerings, go to www.lifeway.com/films. The original Experiencing God Bible study is available in Spanish as Mi Experiencina con Dios for adults, youth and kids in both leader and member editions. Experiencing God is currently published in more than 45 languages around the world, nine of them available as downloads at www.lifeway.com.

BP PHOTO

ANGOLA Documentary producer Neil Hoppe films a prisoner in Louisiana’s Angola prison telling of his life change in becoming a Christian and studying Experiencing God. The discipleship study is the focus of a new film recapping its 23 years of influence worldwide.

“Jesus called us to make disciples of all nations, so we wanted to discover the common traits for those maturing in their faith,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We have collected and analyzed a huge amount of data about how each of these attributes leads to transformational discipleship in an individual believer,” Stetzer said. “Due to the sheer volume of material [for each factor], it will take several months to complete our analysis and release.” Stetzer said the project’s purpose is to assist church leaders in discovering how to help their members grow, because “spiritual growth does not happen by accident.” “God shapes congregations through the shaping of the individual members’ lives. This shaping doesn’t just happen; it’s through intentional effort on the part of both leaders and church members,” Stetzer said. To help pastors, churches and individuals measure their spiritual development, LifeWay Research used the survey data to develop a questionnaire for believers, the Transformational Discipleship Assessment (TDA). Available online, the TDA results in a report on spiritual maturity using the eight attributes of biblical discipleship. It also provides helpful and practical suggestions for individuals to take the next steps in their spiritual development. Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, said the new assessment tool zooms in to the personal level. “The Transformational Discipleship Assessment helps people see how they are doing with those eight attributes. It answers, ‘Are you growing? Are you consistently following Christ?” McConnell said. “It also helps leaders know where to focus sermons, Bible studies, events and other disciple-building activities.” McConnell said the research was conducted in three phases. First, recognized discipleship experts were interviewed. Their input was used to revise a set of questions that have been effective in measuring dozens of specific biblical principles that may be reflected in a believer’s actions, attitudes or beliefs. Then 1,000 Protestant pastors in the United States were polled. In the final phase, more than 4,000 Protestants from both the U.S. and Canada were surveyed in three languages, English, Spanish and French. The transformational discipleship project is the next phase in LifeWay’s long-term research project called the Transformational Initiative focused on discovering common traits of churches experiencing transformation in the lives of individuals, the church and the community. The first findings were compiled in the book Transformational Church, released in June 2010 by LifeWay’s B&H Publishing Group, providing a big-picture scorecard for the church. Now, transformational discipleship is examining the details at the individual disciple level. To learn more about the transformational discipleship research, visit LifeWayResearch.com. The TDA is available at http://tda.lifeway.com.


20

August 22, 2013 • Florida Baptist Witness

MIAM I ship in PASTOR Ric k M in Miam iami, spoke Blackwood, lead pa about i, o n e th s o southe rn Send f three of the e specific nee tor of Christ F ell ds North A cities. merica and opportu own Missio n n Board ities 's

Planters form partnerships at Send Conference PLANO, Texas (BP)—New York City church planter Patrick Thompson started New City Church in Queens only a few months ago and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when he arrived at the 2013 Send North America Conference. Joined by fellow North American Mission Board church planter apprentices Jon Carr, Jason Jasper and Scott

Stallard—all serving in New York City, Thompson had hoped to learn more nuts and bolts, and to make some good contacts with existing churches. Thompson said what he gained at the conference, held at the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano July 29-30, in terms of connecting with potential partners was priceless. “We probably accomplished more

in 30 minutes eating our Chick-fil-A sandwiches than we would have in exchanging emails for three weeks,” Thompson said. These connections included churches in South Carolina and Georgia who expressed potential for financial and other partnership. Thompson said he also spoke with a Hispanic leader who could connect him with leaders to

serve the Spanish-speaking population New City Church is trying to reach. Additionally, Thompson said, he and several other New York City church planters were able to exchange notes on ministry, family and other important factors affecting planters in hard-to-reach areas of the Northeast. “New York is a big place,” said Thompson, laughing at the obvious

NAMB PHOTOS BY JOHN SWAIN

PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS Illustrator William Warren highlighted moments from the Send North America Conference on the Social Mural wall in the conference's connection area. Warren also collected Sketchnotes to provide overviews of key presentations by speakers at the event. The Sketchnotes can be viewed at namb.net/ send-sketchnotes.

statement. “It’s more difficult than you would think to have ongoing connection with other leaders in the city.” “It was cool that we just got to sit down together and talk about how ministry is going, how our families are doing and just to connect on a personal level like that.” Connections like these were an important element in planning the Send North America Conference, said Aaron Coe, NAMB’s vice president for mobilization and marketing. “When I was a church planter I would have loved more opportunities to have planters and partners under one roof,” Coe said. “I’m excited to see what opportunities and partnerships emerge from our time in Dallas.” The church planting track included breakouts and workshops led by seasoned church planting leaders and practitioners discussing everything from bivocational planting to leadership development to dealing with the emotional and spiritual burdens of church planting in tough mission fields. Planters also had an opportunity to attend workshops addressing needs and opportunities in 30 of the 32 Send North America cities represented at the conference. Thompson said the workshops connected him with New York planters he’d not met in person and gave him opportunities to hear the heart of established churches already partnering in the city. “A big part of what made it so powerful was just seeing how many leaders were praying for and partnering with and just thinking about the work [in New York City],” Thompson said. “It just feels like we’ve turned a huge corner as Southern Baptists. Can’t wait to see what happens next.” Visit namb.net for more coverage and photos from the 2013 Send North America Conference. For a short highlight video, visit namb.net/ video/send2013-highlights/.

20130822  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you