May 2015

United prayer is what we need

May 5 2015 by J. Chris Schofield, BSCNC Office of Prayer

Ever been in a desperate situation?
In May 1940, more than 300,000 British and French soldiers huddled down in full retreat and defeat at Dunkirk. Hitler’s Blitzkrieg warfare had routed the allied armies and they were facing certain annihilation or imprisonment.
On one side was the shallow port of Dunkirk on the English Channel. On the other side, Hitler’s war machine with panzer tank divisions, infantry and his esteemed Luftwaffe (air force).
As Hitler’s armies prepared to make a final assault on Dunkirk, King George VI of England declared a National Day of Prayer to be observed on May 26. Churches opened their doors and people united in prayer. What happened next has been aptly called the “Miracle of Dunkirk.”
God moved and began answering the prayers of the English people. Hitler suddenly changed his mind (going against all advice from his officers) and ordered his tanks and infantry to hold their positions while the air force finished off the British and French troops.
Then, before the planes could get in the air, an intense thunderstorm followed by a dense fog covered Dunkirk and the channel. The fog set in for nine days and the channel turned very calm, which allowed small boats and naval vessels opportunity to come ashore and rescue the soldiers. Some 335,000 troops were rescued as believers united in prayer for God’s mercy amidst the onslaught of Hitler’s evil war machine.
Acts 1:14 says that the believers “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” desperately waiting on the Lord’s Spirit to fill and flood their lives with power to proclaim the resurrected Christ to their world. They, like the believers in Britain knew the power of united prayer.
On Thursday, May 7, believers across America have the opportunity to unite in prayer on behalf of our nation during National Day of Prayer gatherings.
It is no secret that America is in a moral and spiritual freefall. The fact is America is being lost to paganism and most churches are in desperate need of revival. The church in America has its back against the wall – just like the allied troops did in 1940 and believers in the first century did prior to Pentecost. They responded with united prayer. Will we?
To find out how you can unite in prayer with others for our nation or for more information and resources related to the National Day of Prayer visit:

5/5/2015 12:11:00 PM by J. Chris Schofield, BSCNC Office of Prayer | with 0 comments

Baltimore, after the cameras & SWAT teams are gone

May 4 2015 by Michael Crawford, Baptist Press

Many of you are now well aware of what’s been happening the past few weeks and what happened April 27. All of our hearts are saddened and broken, and a lot of us are wondering, “What can we do to help?” And I want to give you a few things that I think could be truly and really helpful.
The first thing is you could really pray. Like, really pray. Not Facebook that you’re praying. Not tweet that you’re praying. Not have a sentiment that you’re praying. But really pray.
Churches, why don’t you gather and have a special hour of prayer? Small groups, community groups, whatever groups you call them, y’all should get together and really pray. Dedicate a few hours to prayer. Get your people to fast and pray. We believe that if we, the people of God, call on God, then He will heal our land. And that’s what we need. We need to lead in prayer, so I want to challenge you to do that.
The second way you can help is in not being divided. Most of us probably need to get off of Twitter and Facebook and get on our faces. And be careful of the potential divisive rhetoric.
The third way you can help is by resourcing us. As the team strategist of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, I oversee church planting there. There are a lot of church plants here in our city. There are more than 60 churches in the Baltimore Baptist Association, led by director of missions Bob Mackey, and we are on the ground here, doing the clean-up and doing the work and meeting people.
And long after the cameras and the SWAT teams and the police are gone, the people will still be here, and we need to rebuild. And the church needs to drive the bus and not sit on the side and watch it pass by. So we need your prayers. And we need your resources. We will use the money you send to resource the local churches so they can do the job that Jesus has commanded them and commissioned them and given them the authority and the gifts to do.
The last thing, some of you may need to actually get on a bus or in your car or on a plane and come join a local church – like, for good. This could be a call for some of you to move permanently to Baltimore, permanently plant your roots like many of us have done and fall in love with the city that Jesus is deeply in love with.
We believe that God is great. We believe God is doing great things. And there is an opportunity, a window of a lifetime for us to step into and let our light shine. My invitation to you is to respond to that window. We got one chance to do this. Let’s do this.


(EDITOR’S NOTE – This Call to Prayer, with Baltimore pastor Michael Crawford, is adapted from the Love Baltimore website of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. In an April 28 video at, Crawford, as the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network’s team strategist for church multiplication, outlined ways Southern Baptists can be part of Baltimore’s healing after rioting marred the city over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody.)
5/4/2015 3:25:06 PM by Michael Crawford, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

What should the church say to Bruce Jenner?

May 1 2015 by Russell Moore, Moore to the Point

In the 1970s Bruce Jenner seemed to have it all – fame, wealth, admiration. He was an Olympic star, so popular in American culture that he was reputedly considered for the roles of both Superman and James Bond.
Now, Jenner is best known as the stepfather on reality television’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Jenner is now ready for one more change. He says he knows what he’s been missing: his identity as a woman.


Russell Moore

Jenner has reportedly undergone surgery to make himself appear more like a woman and has been photographed wearing dresses. Now, in a highly publicized interview with Diane Sawyer, he says that his “whole life has been leading up to this.”
Bruce Jenner, of course, is a symbol, a celebrity spokesperson for an entire mentality that sees gender as separate from biological identity. So is there a word from God to the transgender community? How should the church address the Bruce Jenner in your neighborhood, who doesn’t have the star power or the Malibu mansions but who has the same alienation of self?
First of all, we should avoid the temptation to laugh at these suffering souls. We do not see our transgendered neighbors as freaks to be despised. They feel alienated from their identities as men or women and are seeking a solution in self-display or in surgery or in pumping their bodies with the other sex’s hormones. In a fallen universe, all of us are alienated, in some way, from who we were designed to be. That alienation manifests itself in different ways in different people.
But neither should we fall for the transgender cultural narrative. This narrative is rooted in the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, with the idea that the “real” self is separate from who one is as an embodied, material being. Body parts and chromosomal patterns are seen as dispensable since the self is radically disconnected from the body, the psychic from the material.
The old Gnostic heresy is joined with contemporary expressive individualism – the idea that I must be true to whomever I perceive my “real me” to be on the inside in order to be “authentic.” This is what leads some parents, in other news of recent, to “transition” the gender identity of their child at ages as early as age four.
It is somewhat ironic that Jenner’s interview came in the same week as Earth Day. Earth Day, of course, reminds us that human desires and human technologies ought to have limits. Just because a corporation has the technological power to raze a forest or level a mountain or dump toxins into a water system is no sign that one should do so. The common good means human beings learning to live in balance and harmony with nature, not with a rapacious domination of it.
What is true of natural ecology is true of human ecology as well. Techno-utopian scientism tells us that we can transcend our limits, to become as gods. For some, that manifests itself in believing that humanity can pollute its own ecosystem with impunity. For others it manifests itself in believing that they can transcend the boundaries of the male/female polarity. A biblical view of our place in the universe is quite different. We are not machines, to be reprogrammed at will; we are creatures.
That vision includes a respect for God’s natural, creative order that reflects His wisdom and lordship over the world. Our maleness and femaleness is very much part of that wisdom and lordship. We are born not out of self-effort but in the pure providence of our creator. Our given gender points us to an even deeper reality – to the unity and complementarity of Christ and the church. A rejection of the goodness of those creational realities, then, is a revolt against God’s lordship and against the picture of the gospel that God has embedded in the creation.
The hope for Bruce Jenner, and for others like him, is not to alter the body with surgery or to flood their systems with hormones. The answer is to realize that all of us are born alienated from what we were created to be. We don’t need to fix what happened in our first birth; we need a new birth altogether.
For the church, this is going to mean both conviction and wisdom. Our transgender neighbors experience real suffering, and we should suffer with them. The answers offered by the culture and the Sexual Revolution-Industrial Complex can’t relieve that suffering. We should stand for God’s good design, including what Jesus says has been true “from the beginning” – that we are created male and female, not as self-willed designations but as part of God’s creative act (Mark 10:6).
In so doing, what every previous civilization would have seen as obvious, that maleness and femaleness are part of our biological design, will be seen as out-of-kilter with the culture. So be it. We will stand with conviction, even as we offer mercy. We’ve been called to keep in step with the Spirit, even if we can’t always keep up with the Kardashians.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Russell Moore is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.)

5/1/2015 11:06:15 AM by Russell Moore, Moore to the Point | with 0 comments

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