December 2015

Resolve to pray for God to move in 2016

December 29 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

With the old year behind us and the New Year just beginning, we have entered into a season where many individuals are starting to implement their New Year’s resolutions.
 
There’s something about new beginnings that seems to strike a chord with all of us.
 
We often feel so eager to start over and so keen to move forward to make a fresh start. Those of us who wish to make a fresh start might want to do so in order to live life with more intentionality, to grow in a particular area of our life or to correct a poor habit that we’ve developed in the past.
 
It’s only by the grace of God that we can receive forgiveness and have a fresh beginning in our walk with Him. The blood of Christ cleanses us from past, present and future sin.
 
As we begin the New Year, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and various state conventions are celebrating a special prayer emphasis in January titled, “In All Things Pray.”
 
The goal of this emphasis is to call, equip and encourage followers of Christ to a renewed life of prayer to impact a lost world so that many individuals around the world would come to know Christ.
 
Prayer is vital to the spiritual awakening that is so desperately needed in our world today.
 
That’s why the practice of fervent prayer is listed first among our core values as we seek to make disciples and assist North Carolina Baptist churches in their divinely appointed mission. To help encourage and equip you in your prayer life, a number of resources have been developed by our national and state SBC leaders.
 
You can learn more about the “In All Things Pray” emphasis by visiting sbc.net/inallthingspray. There you will find a number of resources for individual and corporate prayer.
 
You will also find a number of resources from Chris Schofield, who heads the office of prayer for evangelization and spiritual awakening here at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, at ncbaptist.org/prayer.
 
Also, make plans now to attend the annual statewide prayer gathering scheduled for March 11-12 in Charlotte. More information on that event is available at ncbaptist.org/stateprayer.  So as we look ahead to all that 2016 may bring, my hope is that as we will join together in prayer and see God move in our state, in our nation and in our world.
 
As you think about fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions, I would like to encourage you to make a commitment to start afresh in your prayer life – to set aside a special time each day to go to the Lord in prayer.
 
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV).

12/29/2015 11:26:38 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Should we not be more like the wise men?

December 15 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Every year around this time, Gloria and I spend time reflecting on the Christmas story. We rejoice with the angel who proclaimed the good news, we are in awe of God’s glory as the shepherds were, and we feel grateful like Mary did when she found a place of shelter in the stable.
 
This year in particular, however, we feel the determination of the wise men who made the decision to follow a star. This star was not an ordinary star.
 
This particular star led them to the King of kings, the Lord of lords. In reflecting on this story, have you ever wondered what compelled these men to pick up and embark on a journey that many scholars believe spanned a few years?
 
Could it have been security? Were they so certain of the outcome of their search that they were willing to leave their hometowns, their families and possible loss of life? Surely, these men would have felt more secure if they had stayed at home instead of leaving to follow after a star.
 
But no, the wise men knew that what lay at the end of their journey was worth far more than their own comfort. Though it must have seemed irrational, they were willing to risk wasting years of their lives on a journey to find the one, true King.
 
Should we not be more like these wise men? Are we willing to lay aside our comforts – and even our plans for our life – to be a committed Christ follower? Can we not give our entire life to Him who promises to lead us through whatever struggles and triumphs we might encounter on the path of life? Isn’t that what Jesus meant in Luke 9:23-25? This invitation was not intended only for those who want to make an “A+” in following Jesus.
 
In comparison, think about this, Jesus has not asked us to do anything more than what He was willing to do for us. He came not only to be the babe of Bethlehem in the manger, but to become the Savior of those He created.
 
Jesus came to live in total surrender and die a purposeful death on a criminal’s cross. He, who never sinned, became sin for us so that the cost of our spiritual redemption could be paid in full. Jesus gave the greatest gift so that our lives, our eternal destiny could change.
 
This Christmas season, will you ask God for the same determination to follow Him and worship Him as the wise men demonstrated?
 
I am confident that as we seek Him all the more, we will see the beauty of the One who loved us enough to give Himself for us at Christmastime.
 
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him’” Matthew 2:1-2 (NKJV).

12/15/2015 10:18:10 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments