February 2016

Annie Armstrong prayer week urges Baptists to be mission-minded

February 23 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

During the Easter season, Christians often take the time to reflect on God’s goodness and blessing in raising Jesus from the dead. It is also during this time that Southern Baptists across the country are challenged to give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO), an offering that supports missions throughout North America.
 
Since 1895, the AAEO has supported missionaries through the North American Mission Board (NAMB), allowing the gospel to be spread and churches to be planted throughout the United States and Canada.
 
This year, there will be a week of prayer emphasis for this offering during March 6-13. During this time, Southern Baptists are encouraged to not only pray for NAMB missionaries, but also to ask the Lord how He might use them to do missions work in their own lives.
 
The 2016 theme of the AAEO is “Here I am, send me,” taken from Isaiah 6:8. How wonderful it is that our Father in Heaven has called us to do His bidding here on earth!
 
Since the offering’s beginning in 1895, more than $1 billion has been raised in support of North American missionaries. This year, the offering’s goal is $70 million, a $10 million increase from last year.
 
I’m thankful that N.C. Baptist churches are strong supporters of the AAEO. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina led all state conventions in giving to this special offering in 2015.
 
On behalf of Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, I thank you for contributing more than $5.89 million during the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.
 
NAMB uses part of this offering to help plant evangelistic churches in 32 “send cities” – which have been selected as a result of a dramatic decrease in the church-to-population ratio in North America.
 
On average, about 1,000 SBC churches close their doors (either temporarily or permanently) each year. These 32 cities are the places where there is the greatest disparity between the number churches and the population in the continent.
 
While the week of prayer emphasis for the AAEO is March 6-13 this year, offerings in support of the AAEO will be received year round.
 
I am grateful for all that Woman’s Missionary Union does each year during this season to emphasize the importance of prayer for missions in North America and promote this special missions offering. I pray that you will join me this year in fervent prayer for those who have been called by the Lord to preach the gospel in our own continent.
 
Just as the Lord has called missionaries to be His witness to the nations, He has called all of us to give sacrificially in the spread of the gospel. May each of us take the time during this week to answer, in our own way, “Here I am, send me.”
 
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” – Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV).
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – To learn more about the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, visit anniearmstrong.com or call (800) 634-2462.)

2/23/2016 10:25:37 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



In all things, a time for prayer

February 9 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

I firmly believe that the practice of consistent fervent prayer is required if we are to see God move in our state, nation and world.
 
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are commanded to pray without ceasing. Have you ever spent time meditating on the meaning of this verse?
 
Does it mean that we are to spend our every waking moment in prayer and supplication?
 
Does it mean that we are to live our lives forgoing all other activities to devote ourselves completely to prayer?

 
2-9-16edt.jpg

To the contrary, I believe that Paul’s reference to prayer addressed an attitude – an attitude that causes us to position our hearts and our minds toward God at all times. Paul did not mean that we were to remain on our knees in the posture of prayer all throughout our day, but we can keep our Heavenly Father in mind in all circumstances.
 
It is possible to recognize the goodness of God in every situation and pause to reflect on Him.
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus promised that when two or three are gathered in His name, He is there also. James 5:16 states that the prayer of a righteous man (person) is powerful and avails much.
 
In commenting about the prayer life of Jesus, George Adam Smith said that for Jesus “going forth from the place of prayer was little more than gathering the spoils of victory.”
 
Our prayers are not in vain. Our Heavenly Father hears every one of them and answers according to His wisdom and His plan. Psalm 25:14 states that the secret (counsel) of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant (plan).
 
Do you make it a daily consistent practice to go into the throne room of God with an open Bible as well as an open heart? If you sit at His feet in an attitude of humility and praise, if you meditate on His written Word and wait for Him to direct your prayers, you will sense His presence.
 
Recently, I heard Amy Boone, the new executive director-treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina and former missionary with the International Missions Board tell about answered prayer. Amy said she and her husband, Mike, saw God perform numerous miraculous works on their birthdays when they lived in Africa because thousands of Southern Baptist people were praying for them.
 
Do you want to learn more about power in prayer? In March, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will be hosting a statewide prayer gathering called “Awaken – Watch and Pray.”
 
This two-day gathering will feature John Franklin of John Franklin Ministries; Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church, Charlotte; Richard Owen Roberts, president of International Awakening Ministries; and Chris Schofield, director of the BSC Office of Prayer.
 
Praying always with all prayers … being watchful … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” – Ephesians 6:18.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – To learn more about “Awaken: Watch and Pray,” a North Carolina State Prayer Gathering, please visit ncbaptist.org/stateprayer or contact Betsy Roland at broland@ncbaptist.org or (800) 395-5102 ext. 5513.)

2/9/2016 11:31:58 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments