August 2017

The curious case of Demas

August 31 2017 by Doug Munton, Baptist Press

I am curious about a biblical character named Demas.
He is only mentioned three times in the New Testament. But there is intrigue and mystery and disappointment surrounding him. What happened? Where did it go wrong?
Demas is mentioned in Philemon 24 along with other, more prominent names like Mark and Luke. He is one of those Paul calls a “coworker.” It suggests Demas traveled with Paul, shared the gospel and planted churches with him. It leads us to believe that Demas started well in ministry and made a valuable contribution to the Kingdom of God.

Doug Munton

In Colossians 4:14, Paul tells us, “Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas send you greetings.” It seems just a bit odd that Luke is given a glowing description and Demas none at all. Perhaps it means nothing. Perhaps things have started to change. But at least he is still involved with his ministry partners.
Far more is revealed some time later in 2 Timothy 4:9-10. “Make every effort to come to me soon, because Demas has deserted me, since he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica.
Desertion is a strong word. Demas turned his back. He abandoned his ministry and responsibilities and friends. Demas deserted.
Demas is not the only deserter. Many more start in ministry than finish in ministry. More promises are made than kept. More friendships begin than endure.
But why did he desert his friends and ministry? Details are not provided but one overarching reason is given: “He loved this present world.”
If you love this world, you love the wrong home. God made you for something bigger. He saved you, Christian, for something that lasts much longer. If you love this world, your love is misplaced and you will find yourself abandoning the better choices.
If you love this world, you won’t sacrifice for the cause of Christ and you won’t go to hard places in the service of Christ. Rather, you will follow comfort or convenience or power or fame or pleasure rather than Christ.
We Christians are to love the people of this world and to give ourselves to ministry in this world. But our love is reserved not for this world, but the world to come. This is the fallen world, the dying world, the broken world. We are headed to the perfect world, the living world, the world for which our inner soul longs.
Demas is instructive. He exemplifies the danger of misplaced affection. His description calls out to us a plea to persevere and stay true. If an associate of Paul can desert, we are certainly capable as well. That should sober us.
Maybe your own affection is wavering between two worlds. You see the lights and glamor and are tempted to live for the here and now and for self. But may I remind you that God has something far better in mind? May I encourage you to stay at the task of ministry though it can be hard and sometimes lonely?
The curious case of Demas reminds us to love – and live for – the right world.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Doug Munton, online at, is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Ill., and former first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

8/31/2017 7:25:41 AM by Doug Munton, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Scary awesome

August 30 2017 by Waylon Bailey, Baptist Press

My wife Martha and I had the opportunity to make a trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer. It has always been one of the places she particularly wanted to go.
We also visited the Grand Teton National Park which is only a few miles from Yellowstone. In many ways it is more breathtaking than Yellowstone. We also spent some time in other parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

Waylon Bailey

But one of the most wonderful places we visited we didn’t even know about. We left Montana heading back into Wyoming and saw a promising-looking highway – the Beartooth Highway – that led from Red Lodge, Montana, to Cody, Wyoming.
Martha described it as “scary awesome.” That meant she wanted me to “keep your eyes on the road” amid the awesome scenery. We saw mountain goats at the pass crossing from Montana to Wyoming at 10,900-plus feet. The switchbacks were truly scary, amazing, inspiring and astounding.
Martha’s phrase about “scary awesome” kept reverberating in my mind. While the highway with its narrow road and amazing scenery was truly scary, it was the kind of scary you never want to miss.
I think of the gospel in the same way. It is “scary awesome.”
The gospel is scary because we have to “die to self” – to surrender the things we assume we could never live without – so that we can live to God.
The gospel is awesome because “to live is Christ but to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). It is awesome because the “light momentary afflictions” of this present time are nothing compared to the glorious riches laid up in heaven for us (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). It is awesome because “henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge” has prepared for all of us who believe (2 Timothy 4:8).
How sad for those people who miss so many awesome things in life because they are afraid. How much more sad for those who miss the awesome blessings of the Christ life because they are afraid to submit to Him. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel,” Paul said, “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. ...” (Romans 1:16-17).
The gospel transforms and makes us alive. It is the power of God.
For this reason, life with Christ is sometimes scary. It demands fortitude, perseverance and courage. But it is awesome – the kind of awesome you would never want to miss.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Waylon Bailey, online at, is pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington, La.)

8/30/2017 8:12:05 AM by Waylon Bailey, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Without community the mission suffers

August 29 2017 by Vance Pitman, IMB

The notion of following Jesus outside of a community of believers is on the rise across the United States. Increasingly, believers are opting for digital downloads of Sunday services as opposed to gathering together with brothers and sisters in Christ to hear the Word preached and to worship Him together.
Let’s face it, fellowship can be inconvenient and messy. It’s easier to choose a podcast over face-to-face encounters with people who actually know us. The temptation to avoid relationships, both in and outside of our churches, is not only real, it’s not going away soon.

Vance Pitman

The modern world might be making faith a private endeavor, but the picture of faith in scripture couldn’t be more different. The early church, in Acts 2:42-47, could not get enough of studying, breaking bread, praying, meeting needs, worshiping, celebrating, visiting, hosting and being on mission together. They were enthusiastic for both the preaching of the Word and fellowship in the body of Christ to the point, in fact, that it could be said that the New Testament knows nothing of Christianity without community.
In his Word, God not only encourages fellowship but calls it an authentic mark of following Him. Ironically, the very thing that God has called a necessity – fellowship in a local body – is something that too many are viewing as merely an option.
When I think about how critical fellowship is in the life of a healthy church, my mind turns to thinking strategically. I wonder how we encourage biblical fellowship in our churches. It may be possible that we do a great job of teaching how much the local church needs its members but are slack in our teaching about the important ways in which the Bible says believers need their own spiritual family. Consider three realities that I think require us to both live and teach the necessity of following Jesus in fellowship with other believers as we join in His mission:

We need others to help us grow in intimacy with God.

The New Testament makes clear that Christian community is an indispensable part of biblical discipleship. That truth can be difficult to hear, however. Western culture (and in particular, American culture) has been heavily influenced by individualism and consumerism – baggage that, if we’re not careful, we can bring into our churches.
While it may be common to show up on Sunday searching for information or programs that we think will help us grow in our walk with Jesus, it’s important to remember that God says the most significant part of our growth in intimacy with Him happens in relationship with others. As Proverbs remind us, “Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV).
There are things about God that we will never learn apart from relationships with other believers. Living our lives together exposes our faults and allows others to speak truth into our lives. It can be messy, confusing and painful at times, but the blessing we experience as we obey this command of God’s far outweighs any of those obstacles.

We need others to help us walk through life’s ups and downs.

In Paul’s description of the marks of a true Christian found in Romans 12:9-21, he urges us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15, ESV). We cannot obey this command without being in community. If believers are commanded to rejoice and weep with one another, the implication is that there will be times when our joys need amplification and our sorrows need distribution. True humility involves a willingness to say both “God, I need You” and “God, I need others.”

We need others to help us accomplish the mission.

The mission of God has always existed in the context of community. This fact is displayed in the most basic element of the gospel: God the Father sent God the Son to be “Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14, ESV). When Jesus ascended from the earth, He charged His followers to take the gospel to the entire world. What’s more, He didn’t just say it once – He said it five times, and each time His commission was in the context of a group of believers. The New Testament pattern for community assumes mission, and the New Testament pattern for mission assumes community.
Nowadays, the word fellowship has expanded to mean any of a number of ways of connecting with people – some real and some that we euphemistically call “virtual.” In an era when virtual commutes and relational distance are real-life concepts, it’s important to remember that face-to-face fellowship in the local church is not merely an option for Jesus’ followers, but rather an imperative.
Because we have a relationship with Jesus, we now have a relationship with His family. And, just as our relationship with Jesus is central to our lives, so should be our relationship with His family. Our position in Christ has never been up for debate. Why should our place in His body be? Not only does my church need me but, if I’m a follower of the living Christ, I need my church as well. If we are going to accomplish the work into which we’ve been sent, we must do it together.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Vance Pitman is senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas. This column first appeared at the International Mission Board’s website.)

8/29/2017 7:35:08 AM by Vance Pitman, IMB | with 0 comments

MOVIES: Refugee farmers & a dying church intersect

August 28 2017 by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press

Sometimes, love is signified through fervent prayer for others. Other times, it is expressed through sacrifice and deeds. “All Saints,”  which premieres Aug. 25 in theaters nationwide, demonstrates the need for all three of these expressions of spiritual love.
Especially in the context of the refugees we see on the news and read about so often these days.

Phil Boatwright

The faith-based drama is based on the true story of an Episcopalian priest ordered by his superiors to shut down his dying parish. But when the young minister senses the Holy Spirit telling him to keep it going, the question becomes: But how, Lord?
Once the Lord speaks to clergyman Michael Spurlock (John Corbett, “Northern Exposure,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Raising Helen,” “Ramona and Beezus”), he soon meets a group of refugees from Southeast Asia who are looking for work to supplement their meager incomes.
They’re Christians and farmers, and they want to make use of the land surrounding the church building. An idea emerges: a harvested crop to supply the refugees’ needs as well as income that will pay off the parish’s mortgage.
At first, no one in the congregation’s hierarchy likes the idea. But seeds (literal and metaphorical) nevertheless are planted and, despite numerous ordeals, God provides a bountiful harvest.
Matters concerning refugees and immigrants are certainly in the headlines these days, and they often get conjoined with political issues. This film deals with the struggles of those escaping horrors that surrounded them in their homeland, but I didn’t find a political element to the story. Rather, its message concerns people drawing closer to each other through God’s love and our deeds.
All Saints is rated PG; I found nothing objectionable in the release from Sony and Affirm Films. I think the picture is an important one for our time because it addresses themes such as bonding and working with our fellow man, sacrificing for others, and God’s love in times of turmoil. It has a compelling storyline, resonating dialogue and a perceptive performance by Corbett.
I love it when a faith-based film of this quality opens in cinemas that normally screen superhero fantasies, crude comedies or Oscar-contenders heavy on R-rated content. All Saints offers us an opportunity to witness for Christ by bringing loved ones and friends to a movie.
For further information on theater locations and times, go to
Here are two other films (available on DVD) featuring godly men listening to and then acting on the Lord’s direction.

“Faith Like Potatoes”

The inspiring “Faith Like Potatoes ” from 2009, based on the novel of the same name, tells the story of Angus Buchan, a South African farmer who suffers a series of seemingly insurmountable losses. But through an unlikely friendship with his Zulu farmhand and God making Himself known through miraculous events, Angus discovers that the key to healing and learning to accept others lies in his unwavering belief in Jesus Christ. The unknown cast does a credible job, but what really moved me was the brave yet sensitive presentation of spiritual beliefs. The way the Holy Spirit affects the life of the main character surely will send a message to even scoffers that there must be something more than the mental and physical aspects of life they embrace.

“Stars in My Crown ”

And from old Hollywood, one of my favorite films: “Stars in My Crown” (1950). Joel McCrea stars as a 1800s minister dealing with the problems of his church members. A gentle, episodic tale for the whole family, it is a fine example of how our daily walk can eventually affect the lives of others.
It’s my belief that films such as All Saints, Faith Like Potatoes and Stars in My Crown will encourage and inspire viewers to put their faith and love into action. If ever there was a time to do so, it certainly is now.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,” the scripture tells us, “if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV).
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Phil Boatwright is the author of “MOVIES: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Really Bad,” available on

8/28/2017 10:02:00 AM by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

‘Please walk forward and talk with me’

August 25 2017 by Jeff Iorg, Baptist Press

Asking people to respond by making public commitments in a worship service seems to be less and less common today. There are several reasons for this.

Some pastors are reluctant to ask for decisions because they don’t want to embarrass people. Some don’t want to ask for decisions because they fear people will confuse the process with the results. Others have theological reservations about doing anything that might conflate human means with God’s purposes. Finally, some leaders don’t believe public responses contribute to spiritual growth.

Jeff Iorg

Recently on a Sunday I visited a newer church in our area. They meet in a public school, have what would probably be called a “seeker” approach to ministry, and draw their 150 people in a middle- to upper-middle class community – the location and demographic usually thought resistant to public response.
The worship service was meaningful and the message clearly communicated the need to submit to God’s plan for our lives. It’s what happened at the end of the service that surprised me.
The pastor finished his sermon and said something like this: “If you would like to talk with me about how to put this message into practice, if you would like help committing yourself to God or if you would like someone to pray with you – please walk forward and talk with me.”
For the next 20 minutes, person after person walked forward to pray with the pastor or his associate. No pressure, no forcing the issue – just a simple, direct appeal to solidify response and facilitate first steps of obedience.
Authentic worship evokes response. Effective preaching includes persuasion. Yet, leading people through a process designed to encounter God without asking them to initiate first steps of obedience is like inviting a hungry person to watch you prepare a meal but not eat any of it.
There are many different ways to invite people to respond to God. Find one that works in your context and include opportunities for immediate response as an important act of worship.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jeff Iorg is president of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. This column first appeared online at


8/25/2017 9:35:54 AM by Jeff Iorg, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Those who don’t give up

August 24 2017 by Chuck Lawless, Baptist Press

Despite the joys of living for Christ, sometimes it can be so hard that we’re tempted to wonder if it’s worth the sacrifice.
It is, of course, worth every moment of being in Christ’s care, but difficulties sometimes cloud that truth. Based on my years of studying spiritual warfare, here are characteristics of believers who don’t give up in the battle:

Chuck Lawless

1. They’re solidly connected to a local church. That is, they don’t just attend a church; they participate in it. They’re involved in a small group and they serve in some capacity. They’re living for something other than themselves.
2. They have a devotional life, even if it’s not perfect. They might be struggling with consistency but they’re working at it. They make time to read the Bible and pray.
3. They have somebody to walk with them. They don’t fight the battle alone because they have a Christian brother or sister who stands with them. They share their burdens and their struggles – which always lightens the load.
4. They choose to believe what the Bible says. Even when they may not “feel” like it’s true, they make the choice to trust Bible truths like “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
5. They rehearse God’s care in the past. It’s easy to forget yesterday’s blessings, but those who don’t give up fight hard to avoid that error. They continually remind themselves, “God has never let me down in the past. He won’t now, either.”
6. They trust that when they are weak, God is their strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). They may not like the battle but they learn from the apostle Paul’s prior experience in finding strength amidst hardship. Weakness doesn’t bother them, for they know God’s power is most evident when they are weakest.
7. They understand the witness of faithfulness in the battle. They recognize that somebody’s always watching them – and that their witness is most potent when life is hard and their faith is stretched. Their faithfulness in the valley catches the attention of the watching world.
8. They cry out to God. There’s no pretense in their praying. They sugarcoat none of their words and they follow no formula in their prayers. They know God’s big enough to handle their questions and their pain.
The battles we face are real, and the powers and principalities who war against us do not surrender easily. As believers, though, we have no reason to give up. We’re already on the winning side.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chuck Lawless is vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers and professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

8/24/2017 10:29:44 AM by Chuck Lawless, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Smartphone hazards and adolescents

August 23 2017 by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Baptist Press

Researcher Jean Twenge has written an article in The Atlantic that is rightfully getting a great deal of attention. She asked the question: “Have smartphones destroyed a generation?”
The subhead in her article is this: “More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.”
Her article opens up with a conversation she had with a 13-year-old about her life online. The girl is identified as Athena – not her real name. She is said to live in Houston, Texas. She’s had an iPhone since she was 11. She told Twenge that she has spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, according to Athena. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones,” she said.
Then this: “I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
Now to this point Twenge offers us some generational analysis; it’s pretty interesting. You know, in the mainframe, the kind of pattern of generations from the greatest generation as they were called to the baby boomers and then of course to generation X and the millennials or generation Y. But now we are looking at adolescents and preadolescents and here they’re simply identified as the post-millennials. In any event, we know they’re living different lives – digitally and electronically. Also, it turns out socially and perhaps psychiatrically.
What we are told is that these adolescents and preadolescents are increasingly living their entire lives online. These children and young people are increasingly losing interest in relationships, as well as the ability to relate.
They are offering some very interesting patterns of life. They generally are not now getting drivers licenses when they’re 16, many of them don’t even have driver’s licenses when they graduate from high school. Why? Because they no longer look to the automobile as the vehicle or the conduit for the kind of relating that teenagers and adolescence have yearned to do in the past. Furthermore, they’re not dating, according to Twenge in this article.
“The shift,” she says, “is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were dating less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.”
Now at this point, the moral issue here is not dating in adolescent socialization. It’s the massive shift away from all relating and all socialization with these young people living their lives increasingly entirely online. Courtship has largely disappeared. Now it’s just a matter of talking or “liking” online. Of course there’s also the danger of not being “liked,” according to the contemporary digital parlance, more on that in just a moment.
It’s interesting that in this article Twenge says that today’s adolescents and preadolescents are spending more time in their houses with their parents and families than at any point in recent American history. But here’s the thing, they’re actually spending less time in terms of relationships or communication or conversation with those very same people. They’re in the house, but they’re not in conversation with the other human beings in the house, they’re in communication – digital socialization – with people who may be somewhere else in the world. And this is leading to a very fragile psychological and psychiatric state. Furthermore, it’s not just a problem in the United States.
Twenge writes: “Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.”
Now, later in the article she says:
“Psychologically they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration,” she writes, “to describe [this new generation] as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades.”
She concludes: “Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”
Later, she writes this: “There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives – and making them seriously unhappy.”
They’re also not growing up. Later in the article she cites a great deal of evidence and then she summarizes: “18-year-olds now act more like 15-year-old used to, and 15-year-olds more like 13-year-olds. Childhood,” she says, “now stretches well into high school.”
Looking at a great deal of data, and especially in terms of how adolescents and preadolescents describe themselves as more and less happy, Twenge says this: “There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all non-screen activities are linked to more happiness.”
She explains: “Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media.”
She says this: “If you were going to give advice for a happy adolescence based on this survey, it would be straightforward: Put down the phone, turn off the laptop and do something – anything – that does not involve a screen.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This is a transcript from R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s podcast, The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. This transcript was published by Kentucky Today, a news resource of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The transcript has been edited for minor style, formatting and grammatical changes.)

8/23/2017 10:26:44 AM by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Labor Day: Your work matters

August 22 2017 by Michael Kelley, Baptist Press

You might or might not be paid for the work you do. You might or might not work outside the home. You might work in a manufacturing industry or you might own your own business. You might wear a uniform or you might wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
Nevertheless, when work slips into tedium and routine, I think all of us are prone to ask the question whether what we are doing really matters.
The question, even if it’s not directly spoken, is revealed in other ways. We might find it hard to get out of bed on another Monday. Or we might constantly find ourselves clicking on job postings online to find something we deem to be more significant.
Or we might apply this short but very relatively word to our occupation – “just”:

  • I’m just a teacher.
  • I’m just a mom.
  • I’m just a cook.
  • I’m just a salesman.

Does our work really matter? And if the answer is yes, then are there reasons for that answer that go beyond the scope of a particular vocation? In other words, does our work matter regardless of what our position is?
To that end, I can see at least four reasons why your work matters, whether you’re a plumber or a preacher, a stay-at-home mom or a go-to-the-office dad:

1. Because God is sovereign.

We tend to think of God as sovereign over big, earth-quaking events like an election or some other world event, but if we believe that God is sovereign, then He is sovereign over both big and small. It is not by chance that you are working in a particular field, at the company where you are and even in the location where you are. You are there by His design. God has not made an error in judgment or had a lapse in His divine attention.

2. Because we are made in God’s image.

Work matters not only because of God’s intentionality; it matters because our desire and capacity to do good work is part of what it means to be made in God’s image. If you look back to the account of creation, you see God speaking innumerable creatures into existence, but He made only one in His own image. And the first thing He did after uniquely creating man was to give Him a job: “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15).
Being made in God’s image goes well beyond this, but it also includes our work. God did not create us to lounge around; it is His intent for us to engage in work. Indeed, without work we are not living fully in the image of God. So our work matters simply because working is God’s design for us as humans.

3. Because work is for your good.

God is using all things, both big and small, for our good, which is to mold us into the image of Jesus. This is His will for us in Christ – that we are transformed into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:28-30). When we become adults, we spend the majority of our waking hours doing some kind of work. So, then, if God is using all our circumstances for our good and godliness, and we spend the bulk of our time doing work, then our work must also be for our good and godliness.
It’s through this avenue that we learn the lessons of sanctification like contentment, perseverance, faithfulness, patience and a host of other things. And even if your job is not one you would have chosen for yourself at this point in life, you can be sure that God is using it to make you more like Jesus.

4. Because work is for the good of others.

Work is one of the primary means by which God is exercising His common grace for humanity. Though He might have chosen other means, He has opted to use us to keep the world in order and provide for human flourishing.
Consider, for example, what the Lord said to His people when they were exiled into a foreign land: “Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
One of the most practical ways we can seek the good of the community around us is by doing good, hard work that others benefit from. Whether you are teaching a class, collecting garbage or plumbing a toilet, you are one of the means of God for the public welfare. That means your work matters.
So you might find yourself living your dream job today. Or you might find yourself in a role you would quite frankly rather be assigned to someone else.
But God is sovereign. You are created in His image. He is making you more like Jesus. And He is providing for the good of others through your job. Be faithful, Christian and work hard in faith.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael Kelley is director of groups ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and author of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God and Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life. He is on Twitter at @_michaelkelley and online at, where this article first appeared.)

8/22/2017 8:31:15 AM by Michael Kelley, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

I wish to bring a resolution

August 21 2017 by Brian Davis, Guest Column

The 2017 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) is quickly approaching (Nov. 6-7). Prior to the fall of the gavel opening the first session, numerous BSC committees will complete the work necessary to facilitate an annual meeting.

One of the committees essential for the smooth operation of an annual meeting is the Committee on Resolutions and Memorials.

An important deadline for the work of this committee is Sept. 10.

This is the final date to submit any resolution that can be considered by the messengers to the annual meeting. Resolutions must be submitted in writing.

The Resolutions and Memorials Committee accepts submissions via email or standard mail. Please email resolutions to Penny Cozzadd at or mail resolutions to Committee on Resolutions and Memorials, 205 Convention Drive, Cary, NC 27511.

It is important to understand that individuals may not bring resolutions directly to the floor of the convention for consideration. The bylaws require that the Committee on Resolutions and Memorials must first receive and consider all resolutions.

The Committee on Resolutions and Memorials is authorized to accept a submitted resolution as is, edit a resolution or reject a resolution in whole.

This committee is required to place the resolutions it will bring to the annual meeting for consideration on the BSC’s website ( fourteen (14) days in advance of the annual meeting.

They are also required to notify the Biblical Recorder that the full text of the resolutions can be found on the BSC’s website.

If the Committee on Resolutions and Memorials rejects a resolution in whole, the individual submitting the resolution is notified so they may determine whether or not they wish to follow the prescribed process for bringing a committee-rejected resolution to the floor of the convention for consideration.
When a properly submitted resolution has been rejected in whole by the Committee on Resolutions and Memorials an individual may still bring the resolution to the convention floor if the following conditions are met:

  1. The individual submits the resolution to the board secretary twenty-one (21) days in advance of the annual meeting. The full text of the resolution will be placed on the BSC’s website at least fourteen (14) days in advance of the annual meeting. In addition, the resolution may be available on the Biblical Recorder’s website (
  2. The individual provides notice in the Biblical Recorder with a publication date more than fourteen (14) days in advance of the annual meeting that the full text of the resolution will be available on the BSC’s website. It is not necessary for the full resolution to appear in a printed edition of the Biblical Recorder, but it is necessary for a notice (announcement) to be placed in the Biblical Recorder indicating that the full resolution can be found on the BSC’s website.
  3. The individual submitting the resolution must register as a messenger and present the resolution during the appropriate business session during the annual meeting. If there is any question as to when it is appropriate to present the resolution, messengers are encouraged to speak with a convention parliamentarian.
  4. The messengers to the annual meeting must agree to hear the proposed resolution, requiring 2/3 majority vote, contrary to the decision of the Committee on Resolutions and Memorials.
  5. Should you have questions about the process for submitting resolutions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or (800) 395-5102, ext. 5506. I will be glad to address your questions or connect you with one of the parliamentarians who will be glad to assist you.

We look forward to seeing you in Greensboro for the 187th annual meeting of the convention. 


(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brian K. Davis is associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He can be reached at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5506, or 
8/21/2017 1:01:14 PM by Brian Davis, Guest Column | with 0 comments

Believing is seeing

August 18 2017 by J.D. Greear, Baptist Press

Imagine that you’d been blind your whole life and, suddenly, through some medical miracle you regained your sight. How would you prove to someone that you are now in the light?
It’s not that you can logically prove the existence of light. It’s not that you can explain how the medicine worked. It’s simply because you can now see everything else because of that light.

J.D. Greear

John’s Gospel presents Jesus that way. It opens by saying that Jesus is the light that came into the world. God’s Word “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory” – the kind of glory that could only belong to God (John 1:14).
In Jesus, John says, we see a being of such unparalleled moral beauty that we know He has to be God.
We see one whose passion to do the will of His Father was more essential to Him than food.
We see one who never sought His own glory but always sought His Father’s glory, even to the point of death.
We see a man who possessed the power to walk on top of waves, cast out demons and raise the dead. And yet, we see a man who emptied Himself of that power, saving those who rejected Him in the ultimate act of compassion.
The beauty displayed in Jesus’ life was so glorious, so unique, so otherworldly that we know it has to be God.
When Jesus wanted to prove to people that He was who He said He was, He said something really unusual: “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood” (John 7:18 ESV).
To prove who He was, He pointed to the glory of His life. His life was proof of His claim.
You see, Jesus doesn’t just make sense, He brings sense to the world. He is sense. He is the light, and in His light our darkened eyes can see again. As C.S. Lewis once put it, believing in Jesus is like believing that the sun has risen. We believe not only because we see it, but because by it we see everything else.
The most famous example of this transformation is the story John tells about a man, uneducated and blind all his life, whom Jesus heals. After Jesus restores his sight, the man goes around telling everyone that Jesus healed him, and all the religious rulers get ahold of this guy and start raising these intellectual problems with his healing: “Hey, Jesus couldn’t have healed you because we know He can’t be the Son of God, and here’s this or that philosophical problem with worshiping Jesus.”
Finally the blind guy, exasperated, says, “Look, I don’t know the answers to all your questions. I don’t even understand half the words you’re using. What I know is that once I was blind and now I see.”
That’s how coming to Jesus often works. I could lay out for you all the evidence for the resurrection. (In fact, I find it very compelling.) But what I can also tell you is that in Jesus I finally learned what peace is – not a temporary break in the busyness of my life, but a cure to the endless thirst of my soul.
In Him, I finally learned a humility that didn’t crave exalting itself all the time but one that delighted in giving glory to God.
In Jesus, I learned what self-emptying generosity is like. I learned the power to forgive. I tasted, for the first time, the sweet relief of finding my identity in God rather than building it up for myself.
In Him, I tasted the glory of God, and I know that He is the truth as surely as I know the sun is shining outside.
In Christ, I’ve gained the kind of knowledge that surpasses logical inference and evidence – the kind of knowledge where you just know something instinctively.
You may still have questions, even though you know in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that He rose from the dead. But the knowledge that comes with making Him your Savior and experiencing His love will take your questions and turn them into trust.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – J.D. Greear is pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and author of several books including Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send.)

8/18/2017 10:41:05 AM by J.D. Greear, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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