February 2015

Pray for North American missions March 1-8

February 24 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Every year, many professing Christians come together during the Easter season to celebrate Jesus’ triumphant resurrection from the grave. It is also during this time that Southern Baptists are challenged to pray and support North American missions. We are challenged to give sacrificially in support of a special offering called the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO).
As we approach Easter Sunday on April 5, I am asking you to join other Southern Baptists for a week of focused prayer during the first week of March for North American missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. During the week of March 1-8, please take time to pray specifically for those who are lost in North America and all who are working to reach them with the gospel.
The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, which helps financially support North American missions, was started by the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) in 1895 and named after Annie Armstrong in 1934. Through prayer, personal involvement and giving to this offering, we can make an impact to help reach the lost in this continent for Christ.
In North Carolina alone, more than half of the population has not accepted Christ as Savior and Lord.
Following our state convention’s strategy to make disciples who make disciples, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering will equip God’s servants to reach and disciple more people who are lost in North America.
Traditionally, North Carolina Baptists have been some of the strongest supporters of this special offering. In 2014, North Carolina Baptist churches gave $5.8 million to support the AAEO.
The North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) overall goal for this year’s offering is $60 million, all of which goes to help fund missions in North America.
Specifically, 54 percent of the funds will go toward evangelism and church planting personnel and projects, which will help support and establish mission work in spiritually destitute areas of this continent.
Additionally, 33 percent will be devoted to raising up a new generation of missionaries under the farm system – a system that supports and trains student missionaries and church planters as they live out and spread the gospel on their mission field. The remaining 13 percent will be used to help provide health care benefits for NAMB missionaries.
As we approach this Easter season, will you join me in fervent prayer for North American missions, NAMB president Kevin Ezell, his staff and all of our missionaries as they labor in advancing God’s Kingdom in our continent?
Give to God above your regular tithe in support of this special offering. Help spread the message of God’s love and grace to all peoples in North America.
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”    – Luke 24:47 (NKJV)

2/24/2015 12:08:35 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Be encouraged to make disciples

February 16 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Sometimes we can all fall into the trap of serving God out of a sense of duty and obligation rather than a sense of joy and love for our great Savior.
God’s Word tells us that Christ’s commands to us as believers are not intended to be burdensome. Jesus Himself said that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
I have been meditating on these truths over the past several weeks as they relate to making disciples. I recently shared some thoughts with our staff that came out of my own time with the Lord that I would also like to share with you.
As we strive to cultivate a disciple-making culture here in North Carolina and beyond, I want to be sure that we are encouraging the people in our congregations and not discouraging them.
The thought of becoming a fully devoted follower of Jesus or participating in making other Christ followers can seem like a daunting task. We may not feel adequate or knowledgeable or sufficiently trained to help others grow in Christ.
Yet when we pause to consider the depths of God’s great love for us, Christ’s commitment to us and the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, we should be encouraged, moved and motivated to serve the Lord because of our awe of Him.
When was the last time you paused to ponder how much the holy and perfect God of creation loves and values you? He loved you enough to send His sinless Son to suffer on your behalf, to become sin for you and to die in your place even when you were still a sinner.
The more time we spend with the Lord in our daily devotions, reflecting on who He is and all He has done for us, the more we will grow in our love for Him. And the more we grow in our love for Him, the more we will want to obey His commands.
God’s Word makes it clear how much He loves us and how much He is committed to a relationship with us through Christ. He does not ask us to do more for Him than what He has already done for us.
Those of us who are married know that we do not want our spouses to share their love with anyone else. As the church, we are the bride of Christ, and Christ does not want us to have any desires and affections that compete with Him.
Christ gave His all for us, and He doesn’t want to be second place in our lives.
Thankfully, we do not have to try to love and obey God out of our own strength. We can rejoice that He has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to live in His power, experience His joy and be successful in advancing His Kingdom.
Attempting to be a follower of Christ apart from accessing the power of the Holy Spirit who is present in your life will leave you tired, exhausted and frustrated.
So be encouraged that God has not left us alone in this task of making disciples. May we continue to grow in our walk with Christ as we reach others and help them in their walk with Christ.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3

2/16/2015 1:49:31 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments