March 2012

Opportunity is knocking at our door

March 26 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

By definition, an opportunity is limited by time. An opportunity to help a friend is limited to the point in time when your friend has a specific need. An opportunity is a favorable circumstance, a moment in time, an open door to do something that can only be done at that given moment.
 
We’ve all had those regrettable times when we saw an opportunity and did nothing. We could have made a difference in a life, a family, a community or even the world, but we missed it.
 
We did not capitalize on the one moment that we will never be able to recapture, no matter how much we would like to turn back the clock. What we should have done will remain undone for eternity.
 
Jesus captured the urgency of time when he said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work”  (John 9:4, NKJ).
 
There is a time given to us to do the right thing. When the night comes, the door is closed. It will never be open again.
 
Such a moment faces North Carolinians.
 
A very simply worded, uncomplicated amendment to our state’s constitution will be on the ballot on May 8. Responsible citizens will cast a vote. Christians have an opportunity to impact our culture in a very positive way by voting for the amendment.
 
I pray that men and women of conviction will vote consistent with the truth of scripture to identify marriage as God defined marriage – one man and one woman.
 
This is a definition which has worked since the creation of man and woman. Civilized cultures have embraced it without question. This definition has never been the cause of societal collapse. It has never undermined a single political system. On the contrary, it has been a bedrock of social and moral stability wherever it is practiced.
 
But, my concern is that we will miss two opportunities. We will miss the opportunity to pray together, and we will miss the opportunity to vote together.
 
May 3 is the National Day of Prayer. This is the Thursday before we have the opportunity to vote for the marriage amendment.
 
May 3 and May 8 are two monumental days of opportunity. I hope we will not miss either date.
 
I want to plead with pastors and other Christian leaders to plan a specific prayer event on Thursday, May 3. As you gather to pray for America (it is the National Day of Prayer), pray for North Carolina. North Carolina needs the truth of God’s Word and a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit. This will not happen apart from fervent prayer.
 
In Luke 18, Jesus gave a great parable on the power of prayer. The Holy Spirit made sure that Luke inserted these words before he reported the parable: “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1, NKJ). He seemed to be saying that in a time of need, there are two choices: pray or give up. The word translated “lose heart” (“faint” in the King James) means “to be utterly spiritless; weary to the point of exhaustion.”
 
We must pray. We cannot afford to throw in the towel. This is our opportunity to pray for our state and our nation in very specific ways.
 
Christian pastors and leaders must call God’s people to prayer. I believe Christians have a genuine desire to follow leaders who will issue a call for public gatherings of prayer. Call people to prayer for a breakfast gathering, a noon gathering, or an evening service. Encourage everyone to ask their employers if they can meet for prayer during their lunch break on May 3.
 
As we pray, acknowledge to God that America’s problems are not primarily financial, political or social. Our problems are spiritual.
 
America’s hope does not rest in one leader or institution. Our hope is found in the One who created us, and loves us enough to give His only Son for our eternal salvation. Call to God on behalf of America, that He will hear our cry, and that we would see a revolution of righteousness sweep our state and nation.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Resources for the National Day of Prayer may be found at NationalDayofPrayer.org. Resources for the marriage amendment may be found at BRnow.org/marriage.)
3/26/2012 3:41:08 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments



We can reach North America

March 12 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

North America needs Jesus! The North American Mission Board (NAMB) says 259 million people in the United States and Canada do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And most of them do not live in close proximity to a church. So, how will they hear?
 
What is the best way to reach the lost on our continent with the gospel? The scripture presents God’s plan that people will reach people. Disciples will make disciples.
 
Indulge me for a moment as I remind us of the ratio of churches to people.
 
• There is one Southern Baptist congregation for every 2,277 people in our state of North Carolina.
• There is one Southern Baptist congregation for every 6,828 people in North America.
• In New England the church-to-people ratio is one in 37,788.
• In Canada the ratio soars to one church for every 123,971 people.
 
The bottom line: if we are going to reach people, we must plant new churches. The essential role of the local church should be obvious.
 
If we do not plant churches in communities where there are so few churches, there is little chance people will hear the gospel and respond in faith.
 
NAMB’s website says “... churches are desperately needed to reach our continent with the gospel.”
 
If we are looking at our own community we might assume that there are plenty of churches in North America. But our personal world is probably not characteristic of North America. The staggering shortage of churches demands our response.
 
What can we do? Existing churches in every state must engage a strategy to demonstrate Christ’s love to the unreached of our continent. Every church can do something.
 
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NAMB Graphic

NAMB has geographically divided its assignment into five regions. Encourage your church to pray for missionaries in each region, with special emphasis on those areas where very few churches exist. To learn more, visit the NAMB website at namb.net.


According to sources at NAMB, fewer than 4 percent of SBC churches are engaged in church planting as a primary sponsor – accepting responsibility for direct financial support in partnership with other churches. NAMB’s goal is to see a 10 percent increase.
 
Churches beyond the South are hungry for a partner in the South. By adopting a church in another part of North America, we can provide them with financial support, develop long-term partnerships with them, and send short-term mission teams that focus on specific projects such as VBS, block parties, construction and renovation needs.
 
Let’s find ways to do all of that. But don’t overlook a very immediate opportunity. Give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
 
Every Baptist can participate. It’s simple. It gets so much done. It’s efficient. It confronts real needs. It funds real missions. It supports church planters and more.
 
Whatever it takes – let’s do it!
3/12/2012 6:27:32 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments