March 2019

LaVern told me about Jesus

March 7 2019 by Kevin White

Church planting is not new or something special to our day of ministry. Here in Nevada and across the Southern Baptist Convention, Jesus-centered, gospel-purposed church planting as well as church revitalization have long been at our roots.

All of this came to mind as I had the honor of attending LaVern Inzer’s funeral service in Elko, Nev., in January. Some of us have known LaVern as Pastor Inzer or, like me, Reverend Inzer.
He served in the Navy during World War II in the South Pacific and had two aircraft carriers sink on him during battles. Post-war, he attended college and then Golden Gate Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary).
In 1959, he was called to Winnemucca, Nev., by a small group of people brought together by Leonard Siegel, who served all of northern Nevada at the time as director of missions.
Siegel challenged LaVern to come to northern Nevada and its 500,000 square miles to start churches. He gladly took the challenge, and at the beginning he took several side jobs to be able to pastor. He simply had a desire to share the gospel with everyone – from ranchers and miners to migrant workers – and would not give up regardless of the challenge.
As he began planting churches, he became known far and wide as a circuit riding preacher much like days of old. He would travel 1,000 miles a week across northern Nevada, and many of those roads were not paved. In 1998, he was recognized as the Nevada State Citizen of the Year for his service to those in need.
Reverend Inzer possibly was the most prolific church planter in the history of Nevada Baptist Convention. One is hard-pressed to find a church in central and northeastern Nevada that LaVern Inzer did not plant or play a major role in seeing it planted.
But for me there is so much more to the story. You see, Reverend Inzer was the first person I ever heard speak about the loving grace of Jesus.

Submitted photo
The late LaVern Inzer traveled 1,000 miles a week across northern Nevada to plant churches.

This determined man did not accept rejection when he traveled to Crescent Valley, Nev., to plant a church. He wouldn’t accept rejection from my father, but continued to visit in our home. That was just the beginning of how God would use LaVern in my family to see our lives turned for Jesus.
From that first visit, little did he know that my father would surrender to preach and also plant churches. Little did he know that I, a 4-year old boy, would later surrender to preach and plant churches and now serve pastors in Nevada. How could he know that his calling would lead to my two sons’ own surrender to preach, one serving with the International Mission Board and the other serving a church in Nevada.
No, he just knew the gospel call to plant churches and held true to that call.
I will miss Reverend Inzer on this earth, but I look forward to my reunion with him in glory. But for now, with joy, I return to my roots and desire to be focused and determined to plant more churches so that the next Kevin White can hear the gospel, maybe for the first time.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kevin White is executive director of the Nevada Baptist Convention. This article first appeared in The Nevada Baptist newsletter.)

3/7/2019 10:09:40 AM by Kevin White | with 0 comments

Impacting lostness through opioid awareness

March 5 2019 by Robert E. Jordan

The Christian Life and Public Affairs Special (CLPA) Committee is focusing on the opioid epidemic. The committee desires to raise awareness of opioid poisoning and addiction among N.C. Baptists. The tragedies associated with opioid poisoning and addiction impact churches within every denomination located in every community across the state.
Opioid poisoning and addiction touches families across all social, racial and economic lines. This is not a crisis limited to others. It is a crisis that touches all of us. The effects of this crisis are staggering.
Consider the following:

  • From 1999 to 2017 more than 13,000 North Carolinians died from unintentional opioid-involved poisoning deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in November 2018.

  • According to current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates, the cost of unintentional opioid-involved poisoning deaths in North Carolina totaled $2.5 billion in 2017.

  • Since 2011, more people die from drug poisoning than traffic fatalities in this state, according to HHS.

  • The Center on Addiction estimates that 19.3 percent of our state budget goes to this problem.

I do hope that some of this information shocks you and causes you to think. I implore you to research the impacts of opioid poisoning and addiction in your local area and discover what is happening in your own backyard. Check with emergency services, your local hospital, your police (local and state), Department of Social Services and the health department. They will more than likely be glad to give you some information.
The strategy of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina calls N.C. Baptists to impact lostness through disciple-making. A healthy disciple is the goal and that health is found spiritually, physically and emotionally. The effects of opioid poisoning and addiction impact each of these areas of health for individuals and families.
Satan attacks people from many sources to create barriers between individuals and the gospel. It is this connection with the gospel that makes awareness and engagement with this issue strategic for the CLPA committee.
Remember that awareness brings knowledge and knowledge brings solutions.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Robert Jordan is chair of the Christian Life & Public Affairs Special Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)

3/5/2019 12:08:47 PM by Robert E. Jordan | with 0 comments

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