November 2016

Along the Zambezi, a ‘modern-day Livingstone’

November 21 2016 by Alex Sibley, SWBTS

Elephants, antelope, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo and the occasional lion are among missionary Kenny Vines’ travel mates as he moves about his ministry in the African nation of Zambia.

Photo by Adam Covington
Along the Zambezi River, missionary Kenny Vines carries a vision to nurture villagers with hearts for evangelism.


On multiple occasions while on his way to a village for Bible study, he has been cut off by a herd of elephants and had to travel another path. At other times during days of extended ministry, lions calling, hyenas laughing, elephants trumpeting and hippos bellowing were the soundtrack to his nights as he lay in his tent.
 
Not without reason has Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), referred to the SWBTS alumnus, as “a modern-day Livingstone.”
 
“Tucked away in the most remote regions of Zambia, Kenny Vines and his family come close to reproducing the earliest experience of missions in Africa,” Patterson said, recalling the ministry of David Livingstone, a 19th-century explorer and missionary.
 
“Living far from stores or provisions, his wife [Lesley] cares for the family and, as a doctor, works with those in need of medical assistance,” Patterson said. “Kenny teaches the Bible, leads men to Christ and is frequently called when there is a lion, buffalo or elephant threatening people and they need a man with nerves of steel to face the challenge. Life for Kenny Vines and his family is more breathtaking than any novel that could be penned.”
 
The Vineses have ministered along the Zambezi River in southern Africa since 2009. As with all missionary-evangelists, all of their efforts for community involvement anticipate open doors to provide everyone on their mission field the opportunity to both hear and respond to the message of Christ, and they have a “systematic plan” to do so through direct outreach and spiritual multiplication.
 
Vines attributes much of his ministerial potential and impact to the education he received at Southwestern, where he completed his master of divinity in 2003 and later enrolled in the Ph.D. program in world Christian studies.
 
“While I had a good base from growing up through my parents and my church, Southwestern really helped me to cement a lot of those connections in my mind, my spirit and my life.”
 
This impact would be realized more fully after Vines arrived on the field.

Photo by Adam Covington
Missionary Kenny Vines co-leads a Bible study with an aspiring church leader in a village along the Zambezi River. Vines and his wife Lesley are seeing doors open for the gospel in Zambian villages by focusing on direct outreach, community projects and spiritual multiplication.


“Because of the amount of reading, scripture memory and ministry practice that was required of me as a student, I am now able to travel from village to village with only my Bible and am able to handle the spiritual- and knowledge-based battles that come from African traditional religions and other denominations like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists. I am confident with my words and actions now because of my time at Southwestern.”
 
Deployed to Zambia roughly seven years ago, Vines and his wife Lesley eagerly prayed that God would open doors to spread His Word. Not long after they arrived, their prayer was answered for what would become the first of many times.
 
While still in the language-learning phase of their deployment, Vines traveled to Luangwa, the village in which they would ultimately be stationed, to explore the location and oversee the preparation of their home. When returning to the language school, Vines stopped to pick up two people who were flagging his vehicle for a ride. As it turned out, these two people were the wife of and aide to the chief of that area.
 
“Later, when we moved to Luangwa, we went to see the chief and introduce ourselves to him,” Vines recounted. “That divine appointment with his wife and aide helped to pave the road to a great relationship with the chief. In our area, you need the chief’s blessing for all that you do, and because of how the Lord worked in the beginning, our ministry has been able to move and function in this area with no hindrance.”
 
One of the Vineses’ primary avenues for ministry is community projects such as digging water wells, assisting in building projects and performing any other tasks that a village might not be able to do alone. Such undertakings allow the Vineses to “get [their] feet in the door” and, hopefully, begin Bible studies in villages with no church or missionary work.
 
“[Doing these projects] allows us to show the love of Christ through actions, as James describes [in Scripture], while at the same time giving us the ability to evangelize and teach a weekly Bible study in those villages,” Vines said. “Community projects and community involvement are a great way to open doors of opportunity as well as model faith and works.”
 
Another ministry avenue unique to Vines’ Zambian mission field is assisting the Wildlife Department, serving as a volunteer the past three years. He often goes out at night to confront “problem animals.” More than an opportunity for adrenaline-fueled adventure, these night calls open doors for spiritual conversation.
 
“When we head out on a call, we will oftentimes sit in the village around the fire for hours while we wait on the problem,” Vines said. “This gives me an insight into the village and culture that I cannot get via books or even an interpreter.
 
“Something happens when the sun goes down and you are sitting around the fire,” he continued. “People begin to open up in ways that I would never be privy to. In and through my relationship with the Wildlife Department, I have been able to peer into this culture, and God has given me so many new tools to use in sharing the gospel now that I didn’t have before.”
 
Other ministries in which the Vineses are involved include teaching in a local Bible school, volunteering at the village clinic, coaching basketball at a nearby high school and one-on-one mentorship with aspiring church leaders. And in a weekly 30-minute radio program, Vines polls the community for questions (topics ranging from “Abaddon to Zion”) and answers them from the Bible.
 
“This is a great form of broad seed-sowing since there is only one radio station in our area,” Vines said. “This means that for 30 minutes each Sunday evening, the gospel is being shared to everyone who turns on the radio.”
 
In the midst of these efforts, one of the most rewarding aspects of the Vineses’ work is witnessing the maturation process of those to whom they minister. One characteristic of this process is the adoption of a similar, if not stronger, zeal for evangelism.
 
“It is rewarding to see those whom you have trained show up at your gate and ask for more gospel tracts,” Vines said. “Then, as you say, ‘Sure,’ you are racing through your mind, trying to remember how you forgot that we were supposed to go out visiting today, when he says, ‘No, we aren’t going out’ – that this is something he organized on his own. [It is rewarding] to see those whom you have mentored out doing the very thing, on their own, you have spent so much time teaching.”
 
Such evangelistic zeal and spiritual multiplication are important, Vines said, because of the context in which they serve. Though having a figurative open-range zoo in one’s own backyard may initially seem exciting, the location has more than its share of danger from predators and disease. As such, bringing the life-giving message of the gospel to this area is an urgent necessity.
 
Just as David Livingstone’s pioneer ministry beckoned others to follow in his evangelistic footsteps, so Vines encourages fellow believers to join him in spreading the gospel along the Zambezi River. “There is an urgency to the call of sharing the gospel amongst these people,” he said, “but we can’t do it alone.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Alex Sibley is associate director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)
 

11/21/2016 12:36:24 PM by Alex Sibley, SWBTS | with 0 comments



Oregon official who targeted Christian bakers loses election

November 21 2016 by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service

The Oregon labor commissioner who went after bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein for their refusal to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple lost his race for Oregon secretary of state to a Republican last week.

Wikipedia photo
Brad Avakian


Brad Avakian fined the Christian owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa $135,000 in 2015 and waged an all-out war to elevate sexual orientation over religious liberty. He carried his progressive politics into a heated race for secretary of state, a position held by Democrats since 1984.
 
Avakian lost to Republican Dennis Richardson, a trial lawyer who piloted combat helicopters in Vietnam.
 
A Republican win is rare, with Democrats deeply embedded in Oregon politics. The northwest state is one of six with a Democratic trifecta – control of the governor’s seat as well as the state House and Senate. But Richardson’s basic platform of government transparency, promoting voter activity, and making Oregon more attractive to new businesses won out over Avakian’s smear tactics.
 
One of Avakian’s television ads insinuated Richardson compared gays and lesbians to drug addicts and alcoholics, and “believes a woman loses the right to her own body when she becomes pregnant.”
 
Aaron Klein told the Independent Journal Review that Avakian’s extreme agenda was unsavory even to Oregon’s progressive voters: “He used his office to execute a personal bias and I think people thought he’d do the same with secretary of state.”
 
Not a single Oregonian newspaper endorsed Avakian, and he lost to Richardson by more than 4 percentage points.
 
But his downfall may have been due to more than extremely progressive politics.
 
Last month, Forbes wrote that Avakian “acts as if rules are only for other people.” He used his job as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) to promote his secretary of state campaign, gave bonuses to employees from his campaign fund, and redacted hundreds of events from his official calendar, breaking state law. He also gave himself and other BOLI employees significant raises.
 
Avakian will continue serving his second four-year term as Oregon’s labor commissioner until 2018.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Samantha Gobba writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)
 

11/21/2016 12:35:41 PM by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments



50 new missionaries appointed by IMB

November 18 2016 by Julie McGowan, IMB

Bob and Melanee Gallina invested 18 years in leading The Church at Green Hills in La Habra, Calif. They lived in a comfortable house that was a home base for their children, who are missionaries overseas. After retirement, the couple noted, they planned to serve overseas themselves.

IMB Photo by Roy Burroughs
New IMB missionaries (from left) Chris and Jamie Schilt, Jenny and Nathaniel Parker, and Melanee and Bob Gallina offer a song of worship during a Sending Celebration Nov. 10 near Richmond, Va. The appointees are part of 50 new missionaries sent by Southern Baptist churches.


But then they felt God prompting them to consider, “Why wait until you retire? Why not now?” Now the church they once led is sending them through the International Mission Board (IMB) to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to American peoples.
 
The Gallinas were among 50 new Southern Baptist missionaries appointed through the International Mission Board Nov. 10 near Richmond, Va.
 
The celebration highlighted ways God transforms personal experience into a willingness to make disciples and multiply churches among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God. Lily Llambes’ appointment is a long way from her history involved in voodoo, to the point of almost being personally sacrificed in a ritual. She heard the gospel on TV and surrendered her life to Christ.
 
Lily and her husband Carlos joined Iglesia Bautista Estrella de Belen in Hialeah, Fla., where they were discipled. Lily was involved in Woman’s Missionary Union and prayed for four years that God would call Carlos to missions, as God had called her. He did, and the couple will share the gospel in Mexico City, “grateful to God, IMB and the Lottie Moon Offering.”
 
When she was 19, Jamie Schilt said, she was “jaded toward the gospel and indifferent to the resurrection.” But “God brought my dead heart to life. Now, I celebrate the resurrection of my Lord every Sunday and long to see the nations do the same!”
 
Schilt and her husband Chris are being sent by Relevant Worship Church in Claremore, Okla., to partner with a team in Malawi, Africa, to plant churches, train pastors and gather worshippers among the nations.
 

Why go?

IMB Photo by Roy Burroughs
“Seeing the great need for the gospel among the nations, God gave us His love and desire for them to know Him,” Bjorn and Ariana Worthington (names changed) share during an IMB Sending Celebration Nov. 10. The Worthingtons, sent by a church in North Carolina, will take the gospel to Central Asian peoples.


“Why are you going? Why are you uprooting your lives, giving away your possessions, altering your future to move to difficult, even dangerous, places in the world?” IMB President David Platt asked the new missionaries.
 
He extended the question: “Why are we sending them? Why are we sending single sisters and brothers, married couples, parents, grandparents with our support to difficult, even dangerous, places in the world?”
 
“Why?” is a really important question, Platt said. The answer can be found in 1 Corinthians 15. In the passage, Paul is willingly walking into difficulty and danger for the spread of the gospel in the world. The first reason, Platt said, is because death is coming (1 Cor. 15:20-22).
 
“Death is our destiny. And death is our enemy,” Platt said. “It could be today. It could be tomorrow. … We don’t invest our lives here in temporary trinkets. We invest our lives here in eternal treasure. We don’t spend our lives here on fleeting pleasures and foolish pursuits. We spend our lives here on what’s going to matter forever.”
 
Followers of Christ go to share the gospel because others’ death is coming, too. “Here’s why it makes sense to go and live your life and lead your family into great risk in another part of the world: because those 2.8 billion people who haven’t heard the gospel, they’re not guaranteed tomorrow either,” Platt said.
 
“The second reason we go is because the resurrection is real,” Platt noted, reading 1 Cor. 15:3-8. Christ’s resurrection, he said, is “crazy good. It’s the greatest news in all the world: death has been defeated! … Because Jesus was raised from the dead, risk-taking, death-defying missions in difficult, dangerous-to-reach places is to be envied in this world.”
 
The Bible gives an outline of history in the passage, and Christian believers go to share the gospel because of where all history is headed, Platt said.
 
“All of history is headed toward the day when Christ will put all His enemies under His feet, and we will join with men and women from every nation, tribe, tongue and people to enjoy and exalt Him forever in a new heaven and new earth where there is no more sin, sorrow, or suffering,” he said. “Let’s lead the church for that day. Let’s live and die for that day.”
 

Pathways to go

IMB Photo by Roy Burroughs
Jamie and Chris Schilt, center, new IMB missionaries sent by Relevant Worship Church in Claremore, Okla., receive a prayer of dedication from IMB trustees Audrey Smith (Northwest) and Cecil Sanders (Alabama), as well as Carol Causey, director for the Woman’s Missionary Union missions resource center. The Schilts will share the gospel with the people of Malawi.


The 50 new missionaries represent fully funded, full-time personnel. While IMB is developing ways to send “limitless” missionaries, the organization is committed to continue sending these fully funded, full-time missionaries to the field. This includes funding in the 2017 budget for Journeyman and International Service Corps personnel – those previously called “short-term personnel,” but what IMB soon will call “mid-term personnel.”
 
“Let me be crystal clear,” Platt told Southern Baptists during IMB’s report to the Southern Baptist Convention in June, “the IMB is still going to send full-time, fully funded career missionaries just like we’ve always sent. They are the priceless, precious, critical core of our mission force.”
 
Those career missionaries, he noted, will be surrounded with professionals, students, retirees and others who collectively show that global mission “is not just for a select few people in the church, but for multitudes of Spirit-filled men and women across the church.”
 
Support through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) make it possible for these new missionaries to be appointed. Cooperative Program and LMCO gifts also sustain the thousands of Southern Baptist personnel already on the field.
 
The 50 new missionaries are able to go through the sending of all kinds of churches – such as Three Wooden Crosses Cowboy Church in Augusta, Kan., or Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., among dozens of others. Churches interested in learning how they can partner with IMB to send their members on mission can visit IMB.org/send. To learn more about personal pathways of service, including students, retirees and professionals, visit IMB.org/sendme.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Julie McGowan is IMB public relations leader.)
 

11/18/2016 10:13:47 AM by Julie McGowan, IMB | with 0 comments



Medication abortions soar after FDA eases regulation

November 18 2016 by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service

More women than ever in the United States are choosing to end their pregnancies at home with a two-step prescription abortion, according to a recent Reuters analysis.
 
Marketed as more private and less invasive than surgical abortion, the drug duo mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol work in tandem to shed a woman’s uterine lining and induce labor, killing the baby.
 
Restrictions on the drugs have kept their use lower in the United States than in Western European countries, where they often account for the majority of abortions. But the self-administered abortion drugs now rival surgical abortions in this country, partly due to loosening restrictions.
 
At Planned Parenthood alone, medication abortion comprised 43 percent of all abortions in 2014, up from 35 percent in 2010. Those numbers soared this year after the Food and Drug Administration eased regulation of the drugs in March to allow prescriptions up to the 10th week of pregnancy instead of the seventh. In Michigan, medication abortions comprise 55 percent of the state’s abortions, and in Iowa, 64 percent.
 
The new regulations also reduced the dosage, dropped the number of required visits from three to two, and made it possible for a nurse practitioner to prescribe the drugs.
 
Pro-life leaders told me the rise in medication abortions is no surprise but expressed concern about the safety of the drugs.
 
Randall O’Bannon, National Right to Life’s director of education, told me medication abortion is anything but the “safer, simpler alternative” to surgical abortion that the abortion industry advertises.
 
“That there are not more is probably due to the fact that some women and more than a few doctors have figured out that these are much more dangerous and difficult than advertised, that they take several days to work, that they are extremely bloody and painful, and that they are still abortions, taking the lives of unborn children,” he said.
 
An abortion facility’s overhead for medication abortion is significantly lower than surgical abortion, which requires an abortionist, instruments, a physical site, and a way of dispensing with the dead babies. But Planned Parenthood charges the same for both types of abortion: between $300 and $1,000, depending on the woman’s income level.
 
“This is a big revenue stream,” Anna Paprocki with Americans United for Life told me. “It’s a way to expand their business at a lower cost to themselves.”
 
The cost falls on the women, who are sent home without medical supervision to endure contractions, possible nausea and vomiting, and bleeding that can be severe and last days or weeks. In trials of the drugs between October 1994 and September 1995, the Population Council reported an 8 percent failure rate for women at seven weeks gestation and a 23 percent failure rate between eight and nine weeks gestation.
 
A 2011 Australian study of RU-486 found 3.3 percent of women who used it needed a visit to the emergency room because of bleeding. It also found 1 in 480 women who took the drugs needed to visit a hospital due to infections, compared to 1 in 1500 for surgical abortions.
 
O’Bannon warned the rise in use of abortion pills will not only increase abortion availability but also harm women more than surgical abortion.
 
“There will be more complications, more injuries, more deaths,” he said. “The question is whether the public will be informed of them and whether women will ultimately see that chemical abortion is, after all, still abortion, still violent, still painful, and offers them and their children no more hope and no less suffering than the old surgical method.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Samantha Gobba writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)
 

11/18/2016 10:11:22 AM by Samantha Gobba, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments



Bill Hunke, former Alaska executive & historian, dies

November 18 2016 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

E.W. “Bill” Hunke Jr., executive director of the Alaska Baptist Convention from 1966-71 and prolific chronicler of Southern Baptist work in the western U.S., died Oct. 31 in Sun Lakes, Ariz. He was 92.
 
Hunke led a large-scale disaster relief effort in Fairbanks after harrowing flooding of the Chena River in 1967. And he led the Alaska convention to prevail in a dispute with the city of Anchorage in 1970 over taxation of the Baptist Building offices.

E.W. “Bill” Hunke Jr.


In 1971, Hunke was part of a 14-day simultaneous crusade for the Alaska convention’s 25th anniversary which yielded 370 baptisms.
 
In retirement in 1988, Hunke published the 368-page book Southern Baptists in the Intermountain West (1940-1989): A Fifty-Year History of Utah, Idaho and Nevada Southern Baptists.
 
In 1996, Hunke’s four-volume Southern Baptist Jubilee in the West (1940-1989) was released. The research project for the former Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) spanned 1,404 pages in four three-ring binders and included an array of biographical sketches of individuals who had played a part in Southern Baptists’ westward advance.
 
He earlier wrote a 63-page Home Mission Board publication, “A Biblical, Philosophical, and Historical Basis for Home Missions” in 1964 and 55-page research project for the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, “A Study of Arizona Southern Baptists,” in 1963.
 
Hunke’s late wife Naomi also was an author, penning In This Land about the first 25 years of the Alaska convention, three other books and numerous articles for Southern Baptist publications.
 
In 2012, Hunke received a distinguished alumnus award from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention); he received the distinction at the seminary’s Arizona campus in May of that year.
 
“Dr. Hunke was one of the earliest graduates of Golden Gate Seminary,” President Jeff Iorg said at seminary’s luncheon during the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in New Orleans.
 
“He has invested his life fulfilling our mission of expanding God’s Kingdom around the world. It is a privilege to honor him and celebrate his many accomplishments.”
 
During Hunke’s ministry, he was a Home Mission Board coordinator in the western U.S. and Canada; associate executive secretary for the Arizona convention; a missionary for several Baptist associations; pastor of four churches in California, Utah and Arizona; and a catalyst for planting 14 churches in California and Arizona and a half-dozen other churches, missions and fellowships in Alaska during his tenure as executive director. He also was president of Golden Gate Seminary’s alumni organization in 1960.
 
“What a remarkable man he is,” Iorg told the 2012 seminary luncheon. “Today, at the age of 88, he is helping to plant another new church in Arizona, and it currently meets in his home.”
 
Earlier in retirement, Hunke served as evangelism director for the Grand Canyon Baptist Association and interim president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta, in 1993.
 

Fairbanks flooding

The flooding in Fairbanks in August 1967 left 10 Southern Baptist churches heavily damaged and 200 Baptist families homeless after the heaviest rainfall in 40 years, Baptist Press (BP) reported at the time.
 
“We’re going to have to have help fast,” Hunke told BP. “This has nearly wiped Fairbanks off the map.”
 
Hunke issued a plea for Baptists throughout the nation to respond to the crisis and to pray for the flood survivors, noting that sub-zero weather was only six weeks away.
 
The flooding caused the cancellation of the Alaska convention’s annual meeting after middle-of-the-night evacuations of several speakers, including Porter W. Routh, then-executive secretary of the SBC Executive Committee.
 
“We were running for our lives,” Hunke told BP after being taken to safety aboard a U.S. Army armored truck with oversized tires.
 
A total of 122 volunteers came to Fairbanks, deploying to plumbing, electrical, carpentry and masonry needs; the Home Mission Board sent $50,000 in relief funds and churches outside Alaska sent more than $11,000.
 
Hunke, in an October letter to those who assisted the convention, wrote, “You will be happy to know that every facility is now operational. Much work remains to be done in sheetrock finishing, painting, finished carpentry in trim and door hanging, some floor tile work, and equipment purchase, but we are operational. …
 
“We frankly do not know what we would have done without the concern and response of God’s people,” Hunke wrote.
 

Other key junctures

The 1970 tax dispute over the Baptist Building followed an Alaska Supreme Court decision sustaining taxation of a Seventh-day Adventist residence-office facility for denominational officials.
 
Hunke, in lengthy discussions with Anchorage officials, prevailed in pointing out that the Baptist Building was, as he put it, “a religious office facility used only for religious and charitable purposes.”
 
The 1971 simultaneous crusade at the convention’s 25-year point featured 36 evangelists from the “lower 48” states following a two-day evangelism conference at First Baptist Church in Anchorage that included testimonies from a 113-year-old Eskimo Christian, “Grandma” Tucker, who was converted at age 83, and “Aunt” Elsie Willock, 83-year-old widow of the first Eskimo Baptist deacon, who also sang in their native tongue.
 
In addition to 370 baptisms, reports from participating churches totaled 118 additions by letter, 14 for special service and 880 rededications.
 
The crusade was “one of the greatest meetings we have ever had,” Hunke said, highlighting professions of faith by numerous young people and high attendance marks at many churches.
 
A native of Taylor, Texas, Hunke enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school in Waco in 1942, serving three years in the U.S. Corp of Engineers and subsequently the Air Force in several states in electronics, engineering and aircraft mechanics.
 
While in the military, Hunke made a profession of faith in Christ stemming from the witness of Clifford E. Clark, a state Home Mission Board (HMB) evangelist. He was baptized in California’ chilly San Joaquin River by B.N. Lummus, another HMB state evangelist. He surrendered to preach in an Air Force chapel and was ordained by First Southern Baptist Church in Madera, Calif.
 
Hunke was a 1953 graduate of Golden Gate Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif. (now Gateway Seminary in Ontario, Calif.), previously earning degrees from Pacific Bible Institute and Fresno State University. In 1974, he earned a Ph.D. in education from Arizona State University.
 
He is survived by a daughter, Dixie, who led the Woman’s Missionary Union of the California Southern Baptist Convention during the 1980s; two sons, David and Jim; and five grandsons.
 
A graveside service was held at Sedona (Ariz.) Community Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions or the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)
 

11/18/2016 10:08:19 AM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Possible record-breaking buck, baptism in same week

November 18 2016 by Erin Roach, Baptist Press

As his pastor said at Stephen Tucker’s baptism, it had been a good week. First he bagged a 47-point buck that may break the world record for largest antlers ever measured, then it was his birthday and then he followed the Lord in believer’s baptism.

Photo from Facebook
Stephen Tucker of Gallatin, Tenn., was baptized, had a birthday and shot a potentially world-record-breaking buck all in the same week.


Tucker, of Gallatin, Tenn., was baptized Nov. 13 at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., where pastor Bruce Chesser explained Tucker had been a believer for years but had not demonstrated his faith through baptism. Last week, Tucker decided it was time.
 
As he testified to the congregation that Jesus is his Lord and Savior, Tucker’s name was quickly making the rounds on Internet news sites as articles recounted how he pulled off every hunter’s dream.
 
Tucker, 27, first saw the prize buck on a Sumner County farm Nov. 5 and tried to shoot him with a muzzleloader, but the gun misfired.
 
“The first time I saw him Saturday he came out about 30 yards,” Tucker told WSMV-TV in Nashville. “I kind of locked up a little bit and I finally calmed myself down enough to shoot, and then my gun wouldn’t shoot.”
 
He saw the whitetail deer from about 150 yards away later that day, “but he didn’t get what he felt was a clean and ethical shot,” Field & Stream reported.
 
“I was just hoping I would see him again after I passed up the shot the second time I saw him,” Tucker told The Tennessean. “My thinking was the second time I saw him was, as far away as he was and as big as he was, I wanted to make sure that I killed him. I didn’t want to cripple him.”
 
Two days later, Nov. 7, Tucker got another chance.
 
“That morning, he came out in front of me, but it was too dark to see,” Tucker told The Gallatin News. “He had a scrape right behind my blind. Thirty minutes later, I heard something, so I turned to my right and didn’t see him. When I turned back around, there he was.”
 
The buck was 40 yards away.
 
“I tried to focus,” Tucker said. “The other two times I had seen him, I was torn up. I had been coaching myself up this time.”
 
When Tucker shot the deer, the animal ran about 80 yards, according to The Gallatin News.
 
“When we went down there, we couldn’t find a blood trail. It wasn’t until about 50 yards that we found a good blood trail. I started to get nervous. I started wondering if I had taken a good shot. I was relieved when we found the blood, and in about 30 more yards, there he was.”
 
Tucker took the deer to a local bait shop, where the owner “was pretty speechless about it,” he recounted. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) website “wouldn’t even allow him to check it in,” Tucker said. “It kept saying that it was an invalid rack point number. He had to write a manual ticket.”
 
The 47 points totaled more than 300 inches in length. Because the buck’s rack was so unique, Dale Grandstaff, a captain with the TWRA, measured it using Boone & Crockett Club requirements for non-typical racks, the agency said.
 
Grandstaff calculated a green score of 308 3/8 inches.
 
“When I first saw the buck, I thought this is going to be a state record for sure because it had about the same number of points as our standing record, but it surprised me when I measured it and it went above 300 inches,” Grandstaff said, according to a TWRA news release. “That is something you just don’t ever expect to measure as a certified scorer.”
 
The current world record buck, killed in Iowa in 2003, is 307 5/8 inches. Boone & Crockett requires a 60-day drying period during which the antlers of Tucker’s deer could shrink below world record status, TWRA said, but he’s almost certain to break the Tennessee non-typical record of 244 3/8 inches, which came from a buck also killed in Sumner County in 2000.
 
The antlers from Tucker’s deer are in a vault, and the rack will be measured again in January.
 
Meanwhile, he told The Gallatin News he plans on using every part of the trophy animal.
 
“We didn’t even let him hang,” Tucker said. “Once we skinned him, we cut him up and packed the meat.”
 
Tucker said he’s eager to see the dry score, which could set the new world record for non-typical whitetail deer.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Erin Roach is a writer in Nashville.)
 

11/18/2016 9:56:56 AM by Erin Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Nigeria appoints women to police refugee camps

November 18 2016 by Onize Ohikere, WORLD News Service

Nigeria’s police force has deployed 100 female officers to camps for internally displaced people across the northeastern Borno state after Human Rights Watch reported camp officials sexually abused some residents.
 
Damian Chukwu, Borno’s commissioner of police, said 100 policewomen will now handle daily interactions with displaced people in the camps, while male officers will only deal with territorial coverage and patrol. A separate committee will handle the camp’s security, Chukwu said.
 
Human Rights Watch in its report last month documented rape and abuse cases of 43 women and girls in camps across the state. Some of the women said government and security officials falsely promised them financial assistance and marriage in exchange for sexual favors. Chukwu said the different police units stationed across the camps did not receive any reports of abuse prior to the report, but many of the women and girls said they feared retaliation should they speak up about their attacks.
 
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari described the report as shocking and instructed the police general and Borno state governor to commence an investigation into the allegations.
 
“Their findings will determine the next course of action for the government and define an appropriate response,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu had said in a statement.
 
Chukwu said the female officials’ presence in the camps also would aid the investigation into the allegations by Human Rights Watch.
 
“The deployment of women is also to dig out the true happenings in the camps regarding the allegations,” he said. “We feel that the victims might not want to talk freely to men, but they will be encouraged to open up to women [police] if the allegation is true.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Onize Ohikere writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)
 

11/18/2016 9:46:27 AM by Onize Ohikere, WORLD News Service | with 0 comments



Hollifield: Reach the overlooked and avoided

November 17 2016 by Chad Austin, BSC Communications

Reaching out to individuals from different backgrounds isn’t an option to be considered. Instead, it’s a command to be obeyed.
 
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), said reaching out to those people who are overlooked or avoided is key to seeing other come to faith in Christ and grow as disciples.

Photo by Steve Cooke
Milton Hollifield Jr. gives his address to messengers at the 186th BSC Annual Meeting at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.


Hollifield’s remarks came during his address to messengers at the 186th BSC Annual Meeting at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The theme of the meeting was “Impact: Compelling the Lost to Come to Life.”
 
Preaching from the event’s theme verse of Luke 14:23, Hollifield said the servant in this parable issued strong command to his servant – “Go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house might be filled.”
 
“In this story, the master of the house is burdened about people who are far away from the presence of the master, so he says to his servant, ‘Compel them come,’” Hollifield said.
 
In applying the passage to present day, Hollifield said Christians should reach out to those in society have been overlooked or avoided. The overlooked may include individuals who regularly attend or are members of churches, but they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
 
“We need to look specifically within the church, to make certain that we do not overlook any person in our midst who has not yet come to genuine faith in Christ,” Hollifield said.
 
Reaching out to the avoided means engaging individuals who may have different cultural, ethnic or religious backgrounds than our own.
 
“We must get down to the hard work of taking the gospel to each and every resident of North Carolina regardless of their ethnicity, their cultural or religious background or even their sexual orientation,” Hollifield said.
 
And Hollifield said those opportunities to take the gospel to others are abounding in North Carolina.
 
Hollifield said convention research has revealed that more than 65 percent of North Carolina’s population are lost. Moreover, the convention has identified at least 150 different people groups from around the world currently living in the state, a number which continues to grow.
 
Further research has identified 250 concentrated pockets of lostness across the state. Of those, Hollifield said 100 pockets of lostness are found in eight population centers across the state, with the remaining 150 located in smaller cities, towns and communities.
 
“Because of that reality, no church has an excuse for failing to engage lostness, for lost people live almost everywhere in this state,” Hollifield said.
 
Hollifield said that when he considers the changing population of North Carolina and the fact that the majority of the state’s population do not know Christ, he is reminded of 2 Peter 3:9 which says that God desires that all people come to repentance and faith.
 
That’s why Hollifield said he is passionate about helping others understand the state convention’s strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making.”
 
“Disciple-making is that beautiful umbrella term under which our evangelistic efforts and our discipleship efforts are brought together in order to keep both focused on the ultimate goal – disciples that make disciples that make disciples,” Hollifield said.
 
Hollifield said disciples who have made a willful decision to follow Christ will be transformed by the gospel.
 
“The gospel transforms us completely and thoroughly,” Hollifield said. “It is impossible to submit one’s life to Jesus and remain as you were.”
 
Being transformed by the gospel means being on mission to reach others for Christ – even those who come from different backgrounds – Hollifield said.
 
“Jesus has commanded us to go after those who are difficult to reach, and we are to be persistent in our obedience.” Hollifield said. “In this story, the master did not even tell the servant that the invitees would come. He just told him to go.”
 
Noteworthy…
 
Following are other highlights from Hollifield’s executive director-treasurer’s report.

  • As of Nov. 9, N.C. Baptist Men reported 11,500 volunteer days, 450,000 meals served in conjunction with the American Red Cross and 536 completed jobs in response to Hurricane Matthew.
  • Since adopting a new approach to collegiate ministry, Hollifield said gospel engagement has grown from nine campuses to 45 campuses in the past three years.
  • In the past 12 months, N.C. Baptist church plants across the state have reported 6,100 professions of faith.
  • N.C. Baptists sent more than $11.4 million from Cooperative Program receipts to support the overall ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in 2016.
  • N.C. Baptists led all 42 state contentions in giving to both the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (more than $14.6 million) and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (more than $6 million) in support of international and national missions.
  • Collectively, N.C. Baptist churches gave more than $32 million to SBC causes in its last fiscal year.  
11/17/2016 10:08:16 AM by Chad Austin, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Billy Graham Crusades’ Cliff Barrows dies at 93

November 17 2016 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Clifford Burton “Cliff” Barrows, who served as music director of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for more than 60 years, died Nov. 15 in Pineville, N.C., after a brief illness. He was 93.
 
The Marvin, N.C., resident had traveled the world with Billy Graham since the noted evangelist’s first crusade in 1947 in Grand Rapids, Mich., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) reported.

BGEA photo
Cliff Barrows


Barrows’ contributions to the ministry were immeasurable, Graham said in an official statement upon the musician’s death.
 
“There wouldn’t be a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the way it is today without him. He was used of the Lord more than anyone else to keep us together with his strength, energy, devotion and love for the Lord,” Graham said. “Cliff set an example and was a role model of what a Christian ought to be. His contribution to my ministry cannot be measured in human terms.”
 
Barrows was known to BGEA President and CEO Franklin Graham as “Uncle Cliff.”
 
“Not only was he one of my father’s closest friends, but he was a friend to all of us on the team and in the family,” Franklin Graham said. “Growing up, and until the day of his death, I called him Uncle Cliff. He was very much a part of our family.”
 
Barrows met the patriarch Graham in 1945 while the song leader was on his honeymoon. The two men soon formed the first team of what would become known as BGEA. Barrows was director of music programming – and later television and radio programming – for Billy Graham Crusades, and hosted the weekly Hour of Decision radio program heard internationally for more than 60 years.
 
“Sometimes he could just step up and preach a lot better sermon than me because God gave him the gift – not only of organization and music, but also of preaching and teaching,” Billy Graham said of Barrows. “We have a little conference center near my home where I would go to hear him when he was there and he certainly was a powerful speaker.”
 
Barrows is fondly remembered by many.
 
LifeWay Worship Resources Director Mike Harland called Barrows “the Father of every one of us who aspire to lead the church in singing the song of faith.”

BGEA photo
Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea sang “How Great Thou Art” at the 1980 Indianapolis, Ind. Billy Graham Crusade.


“Whatever the job of leading congregational singing is, that’s what Cliff Barrows did. And whoever that leader is supposed to be, that’s what he was to the rest of us,” Harland told Baptist Press. “And whatever the relationship between preacher and song leader can be, that’s what we all saw in his relationship with Dr. Billy Graham.”
 
Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, expressed deep sadness at Barrows’ passing.
 
“He was a dear friend for many years,” Page said. “When I was considering going to Taylors (First Baptist Church, Taylors, S.C.) as pastor, he called me and asked me to visit. We sang a chorus together and he shared Scripture with me.
 
“He was a man without guile and a man in whom the Holy Spirit found a welcome place,” Page said. “He will be deeply missed by millions and remembered as a man who served our Lord and his friend Billy Graham with absolute selflessness and joy.”
 
Barrows was inducted into the Nashville Gospel Music Hall of Fame in April 1988, the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame in February 1996, and the inaugural class of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists’ “Hall of Faith” in 2008.
 
Jerry Johnson, president and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) said Barrows reminded him of joy.
 
“He spoke with joy, sang with joy, and led God’s people to sing with joy at the Billy Graham crusades,” Johnson said. “Cliff was an NRB man all the way and we will miss him until we see him again in the glory.”

BGEA photo
Cliff Barrows directs The Hour of Decision radio show in a recording studio with Billy Graham.


Barrows is the fifth member of the original Billy Graham Crusades team to die, including his first wife Billie, Grady Wilson, George Beverly Shea and Billy Graham’s wife Ruth.
 
Son of the late Harriet M. and Charles Tilson Barrows, the ministry leader was born and reared in Ceres, Calif. He is survived by his wife Ann and five children from his first marriage to Wilma Irene “Billie” Newell Barrows, who died in 1994, and their spouses; namely Chris and Bonnie Thomas, Bob Barrows, David and Betty Ruth Seera, Clifford “Bud” Barrows, and Bill and Teri Barrows. He is also survived by Ann Barrows’ children and their spouses, Tal and Teresa Prince and David and Dana Shillington, and numerous grandchildren.
 
A public funeral service for Barrows will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 22 at Calvary Church in Charlotte, followed by a private interment. An online memoriam has been established at cliffbarrowsmemorial.org.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)
 

11/17/2016 10:07:28 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Southern Baptists win re-election to Congress

November 17 2016 by Baptist Press staff

All Southern Baptist members of Congress participating in the Nov. 8 election successfully defended their seats.
 
Three senators and 26 representatives – all members of Southern Baptist churches – won re-election. With three other senators who were not up for re-election, Southern Baptists will count at least 32 of their own in the Senate and House of Representatives when the next Congress convenes in January. Some Southern Baptists whom Baptist Press (BP) is unaware of may have been elected for the first time.

BP file photo by Adam Covington
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), shown here praying for the country during the National Call to Prayer at the 2016 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, was one of at least 32 Southern Baptist members of Congress elected or reelected last week.


Five Southern Baptist members of the House either retired, lost in a primary or fell short in races for other offices.
 
Reps. Randy Neugebauer of Texas and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia retired. Seven-term Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia failed to regain his seat when he fell short in the Republican primary. Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana failed to qualify Nov. 8 for the run-off for a Senate seat. Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana lost in the GOP primary for the Senate.
 
The three Southern Baptist senators who gained re-election are Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas, Roy Blunt of Missouri and James Lankford of Oklahoma.
 
Southern Baptists held 40 seats in Congress after the 2012 election, reaching what appears to have been the largest Southern Baptist contingent ever on Capitol Hill.
 
Following is a list, as compiled by BP, of the ballot results for members of Southern Baptist churches who sought re-election to Congress. (The vote totals are from Politico’s website, with the Associated Press as the source. Some races had more than two candidates on the ballot, but only the top two finishers are included in these results.)
 
Senate
Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman, Republican, seeking second term, First Baptist Church, Rogers, defeated Conner Eldridge, Democrat, 657,856-397,970, 60-36 percent.
 
Missouri: Sen. Roy Blunt, R, seeking second term, First Baptist Church, Branson, defeated Jason Kander, D, 1,370,240-1,283,222, 49-46 percent.
 
Oklahoma: Sen. James Lankford, R, seeking first full term, Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, defeated Mike Workman, D, 979,728-355,389, 68-25 percent.
 
House of Representatives
Arizona: Rep. Trent Franks, R, 8th District, seeking eighth term, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, defeated Mark Salazar, Green, 165,593-75,963, 69-31 percent.
 
Arkansas: Rep. Rick Crawford, R, 1st District, seeking fourth term, Nettleton Baptist Church, Jonesboro, defeated Mark West, Libertarian, 183,068-56,200, 76-24 percent. Rep. Steve Womack, R., 3rd District, seeking fourth term, Cross Church, Pinnacle Hills, defeated Steve Isaacson, Libertarian, 214,268-62,793, 77-23 percent. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R, 4th District, seeking second term, Walnut Valley Baptist Church, Hot Springs, defeated Kerry Hicks, L, 181,9212-60,969, 75-25 percent.
 
Florida: Rep. Daniel Webster, R, 11th District, seeking fourth term, Church at the Cross, Orlando, defeated Dave Koller, D, 257,881-124,599, 65-32 percent. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R, 16th District, seeking seventh term, First Baptist Church, Sarasota, defeated Jan Schneider, D, 230,187-154,854, 60-40 percent.
 
Georgia: Rep. Austin Scott, R., 8th District, seeking fourth term, First Baptist Church, Tifton, defeated James Harris, D, 171,529-81,903, 68-32 percent. Rep. Doug Collins, R., 9th District, seeking third term, Lakewood BC, Gainesville, won in an uncontested race. Jody Hice, R, 10th District, seeking second term, Summit Baptist Church, Loganville, won in an uncontested race. Rep. Tom Graves, R, 14th District, seeking third term, Belmont Baptist Church, Calhoun, won in an uncontested race.
 
Kentucky: Rep. Harold Rogers, R, 5th District, seeking 19th term, First Baptist Church, Somerset, won in an uncontested race.
 
Mississippi: Rep. Gregg Harper, R, 3rd District, seeking fifth term, Crossgates Baptist Church, Brandon, defeated Dennis Quinn, D, 201,280-91,992, 66-30 percent.
 
Missouri: Rep. Sam Graves, R, 6th District, seeking ninth term, First Baptist Church, Tarkio, defeated David Blackwell, D, 236,938-98,598, 68-28 percent.
 
New Mexico: Rep. Steve Pearce, R, 2nd District, seeking seventh term, Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, Hobbs, defeated Merrie Soules, D, 142,499-84,514, 63-37 percent.
 
North Carolina: Rep. George Holding, R, 2nd District, seeking third term, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh, defeated John McNeil, D, 219,342-167,299, 57-43 percent. Mark Walker, 6th District, seeking second term, Lawndale Baptist Church, Greensboro, defeated Pete Glidewell, D, 205,973-141,480, 59-41 percent.
 
Oklahoma: Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R, 1st District, seeking third term, South Tulsa Baptist Church, Tulsa, won in an uncontested race. Rep. Frank Lucas, R, 3rd District, seeking 13th term, First Baptist Church, Cheyenne, defeated Frankie Robbins, D, 227,276-63,008, 78-22 percent. Rep. Steve Russell, R, 5th District, seeking second term, First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, defeated Al McAffrey, D, 160,012-103,122, 57-37 percent.
 
South Carolina: Rep. Jeff Duncan, R, 3rd District, seeking fourth term, First Baptist Church, Clinton, defeated Hosea Cleveland, D, 196,793-72,993, 73-27 percent. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R, 4th District, seeking third term, First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, defeated Chris Fedalei, D, 197,235-91,106, 67-31 percent.
 
Texas: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R, 1st District, seeking seventh term, Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, defeated Shirley McKellar, D, 192,066-62,635, 74-24 percent. Rep. Al Green, D, 9th District, seeking seventh term, Cullen Missionary Baptist Church, Houston, defeated Jeff Martin, R, 151,884-36,454, 81-19 percent. Rep. Mike Conaway, R, 11th District, seeking seventh term, First Baptist Church, Midland, defeated Nicholas Landholt, L, 201,476-23,613, 89-11 percent. Rep. Randy Weber, R, 14th District, seeking third term, Sagemont Baptist Church, Houston, defeated Michael Cole, D, 160,340-98,815, 62-38 percent. Rep. Bill Flores, R, 17th District, seeking fourth term, Central Baptist Church, Bryan, defeated William Matta, D, 149,197-86,352, 61-35 percent.
 
If you know of incoming Senate or House members who are members of Southern Baptist churches, please e-mail bpress@sbc.net.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
 

11/17/2016 10:06:50 AM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments



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