August 2017

Parenting about cross bearing, Moore tells ERLC crowd

August 28 2017 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Cross-shaped parenting is marked by dependence on God and connection to other Christians, Russell Moore told a sellout audience at a Southern Baptist-sponsored conference Aug. 24.

ERLC photo by Kelly Hunter
Cross-shaped parenting is marked by dependence on God and connection to other Christians, Russell Moore told a sellout audience at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s national conference Aug. 24.


Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), delivered the opening keynote address to about 1,300 people gathered for “Parenting: Christ-centered Parenting in a Complex World,” the ERLC’s 2017 national conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. The three-day event concluded Aug. 26.
 
Parenting is difficult most importantly because family “is not just biological; family is spiritual warfare,” Moore said. Christians see in family something “about what it means to be dependent on God as Father” and what it means to be connected to each other.
 
“The Bible tells us we are in enemy-occupied territory; we are in the middle of a war zone, and the powers out there rage against the picture of the gospel that is found in the family,” he said.
 
“Parenting humbles us; parenting humiliates us; parenting crucifies us,” Moore told attendees.
 
The humiliation “is exactly the point of parenting,” he said. “If we felt we were competent to do this, we would not need the power of God and we would not need one another.”
 
Parenting is about cross bearing, Moore said.
 
“Parenting shows that the only way we can gain our lives is by losing them and the only way we can win is to lose, so we have the freedom to pour ourselves out for the next generation not because we want everyone to see how successful we were as parents, not because we feel the obligation to always do the right thing but because we love and in that love we have the ability to risk,” he told attendees.
 
“We’ve been called to be parents, but we’ve been called to be disciples first,” Moore said. “We’ve been called to love our families but to do so while” living for the kingdom of God.
 
The best thing parents can give children is for them to be able to look back and know their father and mother’s “self-identity was not me,” Moore said. Instead, he said of such children, “My parents’ self-identity was the question: ‘What can wash away my sin?’ – with the answer: ‘Nothing but the blood of Jesus.’
 
“Cross-shaped parenting means our children are going to understand our goal for them is not that they be successful or impressive the way the world defines it,” he said. “Our goal for them is that they would be like us – crucified with Christ and therefore alive with the presence of God forever.
 
“The shape of the cross in our parenting also means that we need each other,” Moore told the audience. “[W]e cannot be godly parents to our children if we are not brothers and sisters to each other.
 
“And once we’ve been crucified and survived, why can’t we admit to one another that we need help ... we are incompetent ... we need forgiveness.”
 
Referencing Psalm 22’s prophecy of the crucifixion, Moore said the passage shows Jesus thought of his parents at the point of His greatest desperation.
 
“The cross shows us how beauty and brokenness are in the same place,” he said.
 
Parenting “is this unique mixture of joy and terror, of beauty and brokenness,” Moore said. “Nothing is easier than loving your children, and nothing is harder than loving your children.
 
“The Bible doesn’t give us a picture of shiny, happy families. It gives us a picture of people bearing the cross.”
 
Moore announced during Thursday’s afternoon session the ERLC’s 2018 national conference would be Oct. 11-13 in Dallas. With the theme of “The Cross-shaped Family,” the event will feature such speakers as Bible teachers Beth Moore and Jen Wilkin, Nashville pastor Ray Ortlund and ERLC’s Moore.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
 

8/28/2017 10:20:16 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Carol Causey to retire after 3 decades of WMU service

August 28 2017 by Julie Walters, WMU

Carol Causey, director of national Woman’s Missionary Union’s (WMU) missions resource center, has announced her retirement, effective Sept. 15, after nearly 32 years of service with the Southern Baptist auxiliary.

Carol Causey


Causey joined the staff of national WMU in 1986 and served in a number of editorial and managerial roles. Since 2003, she has led the missions resource center in planning and producing products and curriculum for age-level missions organizations such as Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, Acteens, myMISSION and Women on Mission.
 
Her leadership also involved developing volunteer ministries, including Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and WMU’s Missionsfest and Familyfest preplanned missions trips.
 
“Some have given significant portions of their lives in service to WMU,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director/treasurer of national WMU. “WMU has been Carol’s singular focus as she’s helped to keep WMU on task and moving forward. She not only carries WMU history and knowledge in her head, it is sealed in her heart.”
 
In her role, Causey served on a number of Southern Baptist workgroups, including Global Hunger, Mega Focus Cities, Strategic Focus Cities and the Missions Education Council. In partnership with the mission boards, she helped plan and promote giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions for many years, and collaborated with the former SBC Brotherhood Commission on coed missions education options for children, students and adults.
 
She also led the editorial transition of Royal Service magazine to Missions Mosaic and coordinated the return to WMU of Royal Ambassadors and Challengers from the North American Mission Board.
 
A native of Amarillo, Texas, Causey served as associate media minister at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth prior to her work at WMU.
 
She holds a doctor of philosophy and master’s degree in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from West Texas State University.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Julie Walters of WMU.)
 

8/28/2017 10:05:09 AM by Julie Walters, WMU | with 0 comments



ERLC parenting conference sells out

August 25 2017 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) kicked off its fourth annual national conference Aug. 24, this time on the topic it receives more inquiries about than any other – parenting.

ERLC photo by Kelly Hunter


A sellout crowd of about 1,250 people gathered Aug. 24 for “Parenting: Christ-centered Parenting in a Complex World” at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.
 
“It takes more than a village to raise children; it takes the church of Jesus Christ,” ERLC President Russell Moore said in a written statement. “There is nothing that we as an organization get asked about more frequently than issues related to parenting.
 
“That’s why I am thrilled about this year’s National Conference and our talented lineup of speakers,” he said. “My goal is that this event would equip families to be cross-shaped, kingdom-oriented and empower parents to raise their children in the gospel within the context of the local church.”
 
The conference comes at a time in American culture when parents are facing new challenges in child-rearing – including how to respond to the growing acceptance of transgenderism and the pervasiveness of technology. In addition to addressing these issues, speakers will seek to help Christian parents apply the gospel in rearing counter-cultural children by dealing with such topics as sexuality, pornography, media, sports, school, adoption and foster care.
 
In addition to Moore, the speakers include:
– Sen. Ben Sasse, author of the new book The Vanishing American Adult.
– Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible.
– Crawford Loritts, senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Ga.
– Andrew Peterson, musician and author.
– Jen Wilkin, Bible teacher and author.
– Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.
– J.D. Greear, senior pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
– Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher and author.
 
The conference’s speakers are to cover topics in plenary addresses, short talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions.
 
The first ERLC National Conference, which was held in 2014, focused on applying the gospel to homosexuality and marriage, while the 2015 conference addressed the gospel and politics. Last year’s event addressed cultural engagement and gospel faithfulness.
 
The sessions on the main stage will be live streamed at live.erlc.com.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
 

8/25/2017 9:35:10 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



WWII ship’s discovery prompts survivor to ‘praise the Lord’

August 25 2017 by David Roach, Baptist Press

When Edgar Harrell learned about the recovery of the U.S. Navy destroyer whose sinking he survived 72 years ago, his first reaction was “praise the Lord!”

CBSNews.com screen capture
A team assembled by entrepreneur Paul Allen used an unmanned submarine to capture images of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which such in 1945.


“I’m so excited,” Harrell, 92, told Baptist Press (BP). “It kind of brings closure.”
 
The U.S.S. Indianapolis’ discovery was announced Aug. 19 by Paul Allen, an entrepreneur whose research ship located the wreckage 3.5 miles below the surface of the Philippines Sea. The Indianapolis was sunk by Japanese torpedoes July 30, 1945, after delivering the contents of the famous “Little Boy” atomic bomb to the western Pacific island of Tinian during the closing days of World War II.
 
Harrell, a 20-year-old Marine corporal at the time, was among 317 survivors out of a 1,200-member crew. Some 900 sailors and Marines made it off the sinking ship, but most died during four and a half harrowing days afloat in the ocean. Shark attacks and dehydration were among the leading causes of death. Survivors subsisted thanks in part to rain water and a drifting crate of rotten potatoes.
 
Though a distress signal was sounded as the Indianapolis sank, it either didn’t get out or wasn’t received. The survivors were rescued only after a U.S. bomber happened upon them during a patrol.
 
The sunken ship’s precise location had been a mystery for seven decades.
 
“The discovery of the Indianapolis brings back a lot of memories,” said Harrell, a Clarksville, Tenn., resident and member of Calvary Bible Church in Joelton, Tenn. “... When I was leaving the ship, I was praying and I knew the Lord was hearing. But I was hoping and praying that somehow I could survive what was ahead of me.”

CBSNews.com screen capture
The U.S.S. Indianapolis delivered components of an atomic bomb to the western Pacific in 1945 before succumbing to a Japanese torpedo attack.


In 2009, Harrell told BP he made it through the four and a half days at sea thanks to prayer, scripture quotation and thinking of his family. He also recounted pulling his feet up in the water to avoid shark attacks and feeling shark fins brush past his body at times. Harrell had received Christ as his Lord and Savior two years earlier.
 
The Indianapolis’ precise location remains classified, CBS News reported. Allen’s team, which used an unmanned submarine to locate the wreckage, plans to conduct a live tour of the ship’s remains in the coming weeks and is working with the Navy to honor the 18 remaining survivors.
 
Since the discovery was announced, Harrell “can’t get away” from his computer and phone for all the media interview requests and other contacts, he said. He has been interviewed over the past week by CBS News, The Washington Post, C-SPAN Radio and other outlets.
 
He told The Post the discovery “brings closure to the story. But the experience that we survived, the trauma that we felt, that still exists.”
 
Still, Harrell told BP God used the protracted suffering at sea as a catalyst for spiritual growth.
 
“All things work together for good to those who love and honor Him,” Harrell said. “I look back and have to say, ‘Lord, I wonder what might have happened to me had I not had that kind of an experience those four and a half days, but had just been picked up the next hour or so and then just passed it over as a little, short incident that happened.’”
 
Harrell chronicled his experience with the Indianapolis in the 2005 book Out of the Depths, coauthored with his son David, pastor of Calvary Bible Church. Edgar Harrell maintains an active speaking schedule, sharing his testimony with audiences around the nation.
 
“Lord,” Harrell said he prays, “I know that sooner or later I’m going to meet You face to face and be able to thank You so much for so many, many things that have transpired to Your praise and honor and glory.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
 

8/25/2017 9:30:14 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



High court urged to accept florist’s appeal

August 25 2017 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling it says requires a Washington state florist to violate her faith convictions or forfeit her business.
 

BP file photo
Baronnelle Stutzman


The ERLC joined Roman Catholic and Jewish organizations, as well as a Muslim imam, in an Aug. 21 friend-of-the-court brief in support of Barronelle Stutzman, a Southern Baptist who declined to design flowers for a same-sex wedding. The brief argues the high court should accept the case to reaffirm that the practice of faith “does not end when a religious believer leaves her home or place of worship” and to revisit an unwise precedent regarding the free exercise of religion.
 
The Supreme Court will likely decide this fall whether to review the opinion in the case. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Stutzman, has asked the justices to consolidate her appeal with a similar case involving Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo. Phillips declined to decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding because of his Christian beliefs.
 
The high court agreed in June to accept Phillips’ appeal and is expected to hear oral arguments in the case this fall. With Phillips’ case, the justices – who will begin their next term Oct. 2 – will weigh in on the growing legal and cultural skirmish between religious liberty and sexual liberty.
 
Travis Wussow, the ERLC’s general counsel and vice president for public policy, said the entity was proud to urge the Supreme Court to hear Stutzman’s appeal.
 
Her case “goes to the heart of the role faith has in the public square; people of all faiths should be paying close attention to this case,” he told Baptist Press (BP) in written comments.
 
In Stutzman’s case, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed a lower-court decision in February, finding the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that legalized gay marriage means discrimination “based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
 
Stutzman, 72, however, had served Robert Ingersoll, a gay man, for nearly 10 years and had become friends with him. She also had hired gay employees at her shop, Arlene’s Flowers, in Richland, Wash. When Ingersoll asked her to design the flowers for his 2013 wedding to Curt Freed, Stutzman told him she could not because using her artistic ability to take part in the ceremony would violate her belief in the Christian teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman. She referred him to other florists in the area who would provide flowers for the wedding, but Washington’s attorney general – as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Ingersoll and Freed – sued Stutzman.
 
In their brief, the ERLC and their allies say the lower-court rulings mean Stutzman “will be forced to express the government’s message or lose her business and personal assets. That is a stunning result for the millions of business owners and workers who believe they have the responsibility to practice their faith in their business vocation by refraining from activities that violate their religious beliefs.”
 
The teachings of Christianity, Judaism and Islam “reflect that the historic doctrine of marriage is not rooted in animus” or hatred, according to the brief. In addition, teachers in such faiths not only uphold male-female marriage and condemn prejudice toward any person, but they advise “against any public witness or activity that would seem to celebrate, endorse or condone same-sex weddings,” the brief says.
 
The use of government authority to force compulsion like Washington has done with Stutzman “is to needlessly penalize people of faith, to wound the country’s long tradition of celebrating and protecting religious exercise, and to depress the fundamental pluralism that motivated our country’s founding,” the brief says.
 
If the free-speech clause of the First Amendment does not protect Stutzman’s rights, the free-exercise-of-religion clause of the same amendment should do so, the brief contends. The ERLC and its allies recommend the Supreme Court limit or annul Employment Division v. Smith, a controversial 1990 ruling that rolled back protection for religious free exercise.
 
The Smith opinion “flies in the face of the First Amendment’s text, which expressly singles out religion for special treatment,” according to the brief. The lower courts’ interpretation of the Smith decision leaves the free-exercise clause “a virtual nullity: absent evidence of animus, targeting, or selective enforcement, the Constitution does not protect the exercise of religious beliefs.”
 
“It cannot be the case that the government, over a religious objection, can force a Muslim grocer to serve pork, a Jewish website designer to develop a website for pornography or a Christian floral designer to participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony simply because a facially neutral law says so. Yet that is the clear holding of the Washington state courts,” which relied on the Smith ruling, the brief says.
 
In addition to the ERLC, the others on the brief are the Washington State Catholic Conference, Jews for Religious Liberty and Omar Ahmed Shahin – a fellow of the Graduate Theological Foundation and a professor of Islamic law.
 
Others filing briefs with the Supreme Court in support of Stutzman included 29 members of Congress, 14 states, Becket, Thomas More Society and Cato Institute.
 
Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior counsel who argued Stutzman’s case before the Washington Supreme Court, expressed hope the high court would take the florist’s case and “affirm that the government shouldn’t have the power to force a 72-year-old grandmother to surrender her freedom in order to run her family business. Anyone who supports the First Amendment freedoms that the U.S. Constitution guarantees to all of us should stand with Barronelle.”
 
Russell Moore, ERLC’s president, introduced Stutzman at the 2015 SBC meeting during the entity’s report, and she received a standing ovation from messengers.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
 
8/25/2017 9:28:13 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Coach Kennedy loses appeal to pray in public

August 25 2017 by Leigh Jones, WORLD News Service

Former high school football coach Joe Kennedy lost his appeal Aug. 23 at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled he did not have a right to pray at the 50-yard line after games.

First Liberty Institute photo
Former Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy.


A three-judge panel of the court said Kennedy’s prayers did not amount to constitutionally protected free speech because he was acting as a public employee when he offered them.
 
“By kneeling and praying on the 50-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, Kennedy was sending a message about what he values as a coach, what the district considers appropriate behavior and what students should believe, or how they ought to behave,” Judge Milan Smith wrote in the majority opinion.
 
Smith went on to claim Kennedy “took advantage of his position” to push his faith on “impressionable and captive minds.”
 
Kennedy served in the U.S. Marines and was a part-time coach at the Bremerton, Wash., high school. He began his post-game prayer routine in 2007. The short prayers soon attracted large groups of students and parents – and the attention of school district officials who ordered him in 2015 to stop. When he refused, he lost his job. He sued nearly a year later.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Leigh Jones writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville, N.C. Used by permission.)
 

8/25/2017 9:26:34 AM by Leigh Jones, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments



New transgender military guidelines called ‘wise’

August 25 2017 by David Roach, Baptist Press

The Trump administration will bar transgender individuals from enlisting in the U.S. military and let Defense Secretary James Mattis decide whether those already in the military may continue to serve, according a Wall Street Journal report confirmed by other media outlets.
 
The White House explained its policy in a two-and-a-half-page memo to the Pentagon, The Journal reported Aug. 23, fleshing out specific policy implications of President Donald Trump’s July 26 Twitter announcement that “the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
 
Southern Baptists with military and Defense Department experience underscored the biblical concept of gender and urged prayer for civilian and military leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces.
 
Daniel Heimbach, a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor and former deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower, told Baptist Press (BP) “the new White House guidelines allowing military leaders to remove people claiming transgender sexual identity and to prevent them from enlisting are wise and responsible.”
 
Former U.S. Army chief of chaplains Douglas Carver asked believers to pray for Trump and Mattis as well as “senior military and civilian Department of Defense leadership.”
 
Their decisions about transgender military service, Carver told BP in written comments, “will impact the combat readiness, health and safety, unit cohesion and morale of our military that remains engaged in the longest war in U.S. history, including our over 200,000 troops presently deployed in 177 nations. We must pray that this policy avoids the disruption of military commanders’ strategic focus, leader and unit development and the intensive training cycle required for deployment to a combat environment.”
 
The White House memo also instructs the military to stop spending money on so-called gender transitions for military personnel and gives Mattis six months to implement the new policy, according to The Journal.
 
Under the administration’s policy, Mattis – a retired Marine Corps general – will decide whether a transgender service member must exit the military based on “deployability,” defined by The Journal as “the ability to serve in a war zone, participate in exercises or live for months on a ship.”
 
Trump’s policy reverses a 2016 decision by then-President Barak Obama to lift a ban on transgender service members.
 
Heimbach, senior professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern, said the Trump administration’s guidelines “address a point of fundamental incompatibility between the selfless sacrificial ethic on which military service and national security depend and the spreading popularity of self-centered identity valuing based on self-proclaimed sexual feelings.”
 
“There is no externally fixed basis for” claiming a gender identity different than one’s biological sex, Heimbach said in written comments. “It is entirely internal, subjective and beyond assessing by anyone other than the one demanding everyone else accept and adjust to whatever is claimed. The problem recognized by the White House and Pentagon leadership is that military service requires members to adopt a sacrificial ethic that subordinates self-interest and disciplines feelings to the point of risking health and sometimes life itself.”
 
There is “no middle ground” between accepting transgender troops and banning them, he said. “The services can train and maintain battle ready troops or they can accommodate self-centered identity valuing. But they cannot do both. Thus the new guidelines truly are wise and responsible, and anything less would be foolish and terribly irresponsible.”
 
Advocates of transgender military service decried the Trump administration’s policy.
 
Sue Fulton, former president of Sparta, an organization that advocates open military service by transgender individuals, said “there’s no difference between the deployability of transgender service members” and others. Troops undergoing a gender transition, she told The Journal, can undergo surgical procedures “when they are at home base” and subsequently deploy without any “ongoing treatments.”
 
Carver, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) executive director of chaplaincy, said “regardless” of the Trump administration’s policy decisions, “endorsed Southern Baptist Chaplains will continue to treat every soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman with Christ-centered love, dignity, honor and respect.”
 
In the next several weeks, Carver added, NAMB “will issue specific policy guidance to all endorsed [Southern Baptist Convention] chaplains regarding ministry to the men and women under their pastoral care struggling with their sexual orientation and gender identification issues.”
 
If the military ever allows transgender troops to enlist and serve openly, Carver said, Southern Baptist and other military chaplains “may slowly lose their religious liberty to preach or counsel biblical truth regarding the God-ordained connection between one’s biological sex and their gender-specific orientation. Even if Southern Baptist chaplains are allowed to freely exercise their religious liberty, our chaplains might be forced or feel pressured to silently condone the transgender lifestyle.”
 
Estimates of the total number of transgender troops in the U.S. military range from just over 1,000 to more than 10,000. In all, there are more than 2 million reserve and active duty troops.
 
A 2014 Southern Baptist Convention resolution “on transgender identity” affirmed “God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception.” The resolution also invited “all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
 

8/25/2017 9:24:35 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



NFL: Tamme thankful as football season nears

August 24 2017 by Larry Rowell, Western Recorder

With four state high school football championships under his belt, four years playing at the University of Kentucky, holding the all-time receiving record at UK for a tight end, and playing for nine years in the National Football League (NFL), including three Super Bowls, one might say Jacob Tamme has had a fulfilling and successful life.

Contributed photo
After enjoying a successful career playing football at Boyle County High School, the University of Kentucky and nine years in the NFL, Jacob Tamme, shown here with wife Allison at Kroger Field in Lexington, is an unrestricted free agent. Living on the family farm in Danville, Ky., Tamme says God has a plan for his family, which may or may not include more football.


However, the unsigned free agent who played last season for the National Football Conference Champion Atlanta Falcons takes his successes – and challenges – in stride.
 
“Yes, three Super Bowls, I’m 0 for 3,” Tamme said laughing, referring to the Indianapolis Colts losing to the New Orleans Saints 31-17 in 2009, playing for the Denver Broncos in 2013 and losing to Seattle 43-8, and last year, with Atlanta, losing to New England, 34 to 28, in overtime.
 
Now 32, which he says is 70 in football years, Tamme is content at home on his family farm in Danville, Ky., where he and his wife Allison, are raising Angus cattle and feeder calves along with their two children, Lila, 6, and Luke, 2.
 
But what’s truly remarkable about Tamme is in spite of being a noted professional football player, he says his faith in Jesus Christ is of the utmost importance in his life.
 
As Tamme tells the story of his faith journey, he points to those whom God placed in his path for having impacted his walk with Christ.
 

Strong influences

While one might think that money, prestige and power could lead a rookie in the NFL astray from his Christian principles and small town roots, Tamme’s experience was just the opposite.
 
And it began at home.
 
“I was raised in a Christian home with wonderful parents. We believed in God, and we believed in Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for my upbringing in Danville, being in a small town.”
 
In reaching the pinnacle of professional football by being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, the small town boy was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight.
 
Tamme credited Christian teammates, the head coach, the chaplain and a spiritual awakening of sorts during a Good Friday service to staying the course.
 
“I had probably a dozen teammates there in Indianapolis who were strong Christian men and who were strong influences on me. I also had Tony Dungee as a head coach,” he said. Dungee is well known for his Christian faith.
 
Pastor of The Eagle Church in Zionsville, Ind., Eric Simpson also served as the Colts team chaplain.
 
“Eric Simpson is one of my best friends and mentors in the faith. His is the most profound display of a man who knew his Bible, knew his theology, but most importantly, knew Jesus and lived it out and that made a great impact on me,” Tamme said.
 
But it was these men, along with what happened on an Easter weekend that deepened Tamme’s walk with Christ.
 
“Man, there’s really a lot of power in Good Friday. Easter is not Easter without Good Friday and that was the most remarkable worship experience I’ve ever had. All those things combined transformed my faith,” he said.
 
The Christian influences on Tamme’s life continued as he played at Denver, and then Atlanta.
 
“I’ve been pretty blessed in the three places I’ve been. We’ve always had good chaplains, and there’s always been an opportunity to be who you are,” he said.
 
And being around non-Christians, Tamme says, didn’t change who he is as a follower of Christ.
 
“It really doesn’t matter what situation I’m put into or what people around me think. I’m going to be who I am. I don’t apologize for being a Christian, and there are places where it’s tough to be a Christian right now. It’s about being who you are. I think you earn more respect from those around you by being true to who you are and not trying to hide your faith.”
 

Spiritual growth

Just as Tamme has to remain in top physical condition when competing for a spot on a NFL team, he knows staying spiritually fit is just as important.
 
“There is something truly supernatural that happens when we read the Bible in a yielding spirit, in a spirit that’s seeking truth and understanding,” he said, noting there are times he falls short in this area.
 
“What I need to do is read my Bible more. I don’t do it enough. The Lord is calling me to more and to be more responsive to that.”
 
Tamme’s prescription for spiritual growth and vitality is as simple as running plays in practice every day.
 
“The No. 1 thing you can do is to take 15 minutes in the morning and start your day off in the Word and listening to what it has to say. That’s where you start. That’s been transformational for me.”
 
Equally transformational in Tamme’s Christian walk has been his and Allison’s involvement in a local church in Danville.
 
“Calvary Baptist Church has been great for us. Allison has been going there with her family for quite a long time. Calvary has really opened their arms to me by being extremely welcoming.”
 
In addition, worship and Sunday School are an integral part of their church life.
 
“We have a really good nucleus of young adults in our Sunday School class. Our class is so much fun, we love our Sunday school class. And, Brent Rowe, the pastor, does a fantastic job.”
 
With his hectic schedule travel schedule, it matters when the family misses church services.
 
“If we miss I feel it. I miss being there because it’s such a good community there and there’s something special about worshipping with fellow believers.”
 

A godly wife

Even with mentioning how God has used others in strengthening Tamme’s spiritual journey, he praises the love of his life, his high school sweetheart, Allison, for being a godly helpmate.
 
“She’s a godly woman. I’m thankful for that every day. She’s been the most supportive wife you could have on this football journey and literally been with me from day one on this football thing.”
 
Allison was the manager on Tamme’s high school team, “changing chin straps on helmets and handing out water bottles back in 2000,” he said.
 
“If I didn’t have her as my partner, I would probably be going down a lot of different paths that wouldn’t be good. She’s been a wonderful companion on the journey.”
 

Life and happiness

Tamme noted, “Football for us has never been the main thing.”
 
“It’s directed our lives in certain ways as we’ve followed the path playing NFL football,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience but football has never been my identity. Identity should be found in Christ, as a follower of Christ. And when that happens, it’s amazing how much better you are to your family. Family experiences get richer and deeper because you’re more intimately connected with Christ.”
 
While Tamme recovers from a season ending shoulder injury in 2016 and being declared an unrestricted free agent from the Atlanta Falcons, the future is uncertain as to playing in the NFL.
 
“I have no idea where I’ll play,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll play this fall.”
 
This situation we’re in is probably the ultimate amount of uncertainty.”
 
However, the uncertainty of the situation doesn’t worry Tamme.
 
“I played nine years,” he said. “We’re very happy here at home in Danville and central Kentucky. God has the right plan for us and it’s beginning to work itself out for us. We’re trusting in that. No matter which way it goes, it’ll be good.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Larry Rowell is editor of the Casey County News, where this article first appeared, and a trustee of the Western Recorder.)
 

8/24/2017 10:28:28 AM by Larry Rowell, Western Recorder | with 0 comments



Bible journaling helps readers engage scripture

August 24 2017 by Lisa Cannon Green, LifeWay Christian Resources

Dawn Rush was horrified when her teenage daughter, Ashley, started drawing in her Bible.
 
“She was writing all over the Word of God!” said Rush, who attends New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. “She kept asking me to paint in her Bible. That gave me panic attacks.”

Photo provided by LifeWay
During a Bible journaling workshop, this Bible is displayed with blocks of color blended with stamps, stickers and handwritten notes to emphasize portions of scripture.


But treating scripture as a canvas wasn’t a sign of disrespect, Rush discovered. Instead, it helped Ashley connect with God as she overcame severe depression.
 
“I was wrong – she had more respect for the Word than I did, and she was spending time with her Creator,” Rush said.
 
She and 17-year-old Ashley were among the leaders as LifeWay Christian Stores nationwide held Bible journaling workshops Aug. 22 to show others how to enhance their study of scripture through art.
 
“Bible journaling is not simply writing in your Bible,” said Lauren Keller, marketing specialist for LifeWay. “It’s a way to engage with scripture, and it can truly transform the way you spend time in the Word.”
 
Participants clustered around tables to experiment with art supplies, testing new techniques in their Bibles or on the pages of a free Bible journaling workbook provided by the LifeWay store.
 
“OK, this is pretty neat,” said Tina Lillig of La Vergne, who attends First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, after using the edge of a credit card to spread bands of yellow and orange acrylic paint across a page.
 
The credit card trick also impressed Jeannie Hubanks of Rockvale, who attends New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. A seasoned Bible journaler, Hubanks is accustomed to using a brush. “This will save a lot of time,” she said.
 
In a fast-paced hour, Rush addressed common questions about getting started.
 
Queasy about writing in a Bible? Create “permission pages” in the front of your Bible to remind yourself it’s OK.
 
Not artistic? Use tracing paper to copy meaningful designs into your Bible, and embellish with stickers or stamps.
 
Daunted by hand lettering? Turn ordinary cursive handwriting into “faux calligraphy” by thickening downward strokes with a Crayola marker.
 
Worried your design will bleed through the page? Coat the paper with clear primer, and choose the right pens.
 
Intimidated? Remember why you’re journaling. “This is between you and God,” Rush said.
 
Several participants used Bibles designed for journaling, with wide margins for adding notes and illustrations. The store offered giveaways and discounts on journaling supplies and Bibles, including the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) Notetaking Bible, which releases Sept. 1.
 
LifeWay Christian Stores held their first nationwide Bible journaling workshop in January 2016 to overwhelming response. About 200 people attended in Murfreesboro alone – including Dawn and Ashley Rush, who showed up with “more tools and supplies than we had here in the store,” said Rosa Galarza, assistant store manager.
 
Since then, LifeWay Stores have offered workshops on a variety of topics. The next nationwide workshop, on Sept. 12, will focus on apologetics – how to have discussions about faith.
 
In addition to the practical training, LifeWay’s workshops help people find gospel-centered community with other believers, said Keller, who wrote LifeWay’s workbook on Bible journaling.
 
For her, Bible journaling has been a personal journey.
 
Journaling begins with focused attention to the Word, she said. “If I pull out a single verse and meditate on it, it makes my time with the Lord that much sweeter.”
 
Bible journaling has also helped Keller memorize scripture, she said.
 
“This is all about enhancing your personal relationship with the Lord by being more intentional whenever you’re reading your Bible,” Keller said.
 
“It makes you sit down, look at scripture, and really think about what it means to you.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lisa Cannon Green is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.)
 

8/24/2017 10:26:11 AM by Lisa Cannon Green, LifeWay Christian Resources | with 0 comments



Child suicide bombings by Boko Haram at all-time high

August 24 2017 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Boko Haram’s abuse of children as suicide bombers is at an all-time high in the Lake Chad region including northeast Nigeria and neighboring countries, UNICEF said Aug. 22.

Photo by UNICEF, Gilbertson
Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno in northeastern Nigeria, is a frequent site of suicide bombings, increasingly carried out by young girls captured and used by Boko Haram. A suicide bomber detonated a vest in February in Maiduguri while in a convoy of civilian trucks, part of an attack that killed 11 people, UNICEF reported.


The jihadists have murdered at least 83 children since January by strapping them with bombs before sending them into public gathering places and detonating the explosives, UNICEF said in its press release.
 
About 55 of the victims were girls under the age of 15, as girls often become pregnant in captivity as rape victims, UNICEF reported, noting that at least one girl was much younger than a teenager. The remaining 27 victims were boys.
 
“The use of children in this way is an atrocity,” UNICEF said in the report. “Children used as ‘human bombs’ are, above all, victims, not perpetrators.”
 
The numbers for less than eight months of 2017 are a drastic increase over the 30 killed as suicide bombers in all of 2016, UNICEF noted, as well as the 56 in 2015 and four in 2014. In UNICEF’s earlier report in April, Boko Haram had killed 27 children by using them as bombers.
 
UNICEF gave no reason for the increased abuse of children, but Boko Haram began using more suicide bombers in general in late 2016 after the Nigerian military announced a technical defeat of the jihadists. A regional military force had so weakened Boko Haram that it could only launch isolated attacks by suicide bombs, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had claimed. But in recent months, Boko Haram has managed to ambush entire villages, according to news reports from the region including Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
 
As recently as July, Boko Haram killed at least 83 civilians and soldiers in two separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, including an ambush and suicide bombings. But the Islamic jihadists have not reestablished any caliphates in its quest to subject citizens to strict sharia law. At its strongest point, in early 2015, Boko Haram held Islamic caliphates or Sharia-based governments covering more than 20,000 square miles in northeast Nigeria.
 
Children who manage to escape Boko Haram’s grasp are often feared and rejected when they return home and try to reintegrate into their communities. Their plight is also complicated by food shortages and malnutrition in the region including Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. In northeast Nigeria alone, up to 450,000 children are at risk of severe malnutrition this year, UNICEF said.
 
At the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in February, donors pledged $670 million to help an estimated 17 million people facing food shortages in the region, the United Nations (UN) reported. The UN estimated about 10.7 million people needed immediate humanitarian assistance, including 8.5 million in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram violence was cited as the main cause of the food shortages.
 
The terrorists have killed between 20,000 and 25,000 people since 2009 and have displaced millions more, according to official estimates. Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, originally targeted Christians but has also killed moderate Muslims, government officials and civilians.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)
 

8/24/2017 10:23:59 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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