January 2010

Lifelong learners

January 25 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

Not long ago we included an article on our web site about how students at Campbell University started a ministry to reach out to international students. Students attending the five affiliated North Carolina Baptist colleges and universities continue to make me proud as I hear about their involvement in missions and service on their campus, in the community and around the world. Last year, students at Chowan University spent the summer serving in East St. Louis. A graduate student at Gardner-Webb University began serving in the Peace Corps with HIV/AIDS relief in Rwanda. Mars Hill College students used summer break to minister in Puriscal, Costa Rica. Students at Wingate University helped with Habitat for Humanity projects.

During February we encourage churches to designate one Sunday as Baptist College Day. North Carolina Baptists have long expressed a belief that education, specifically Christian higher education, is an important, necessary and essential part of the convention’s ministry. While one of the original purposes for the establishment of the convention was theological education, the young convention soon expanded into the area of Christian higher education; meaning that we supported higher education for fields beyond the preparation of ministers and missionaries.

The North Carolina Baptist Scholarship Program administered by the convention allows North Carolina Baptists to continue supporting our young people as they prepare to enter many professional fields of work. For the 2009-2010 academic year, 663 Baptist scholarships were awarded, totaling more than $980,000. I am so glad we as a convention support our college students. The college years are indeed a special season of life. A time of learning in the classroom, and a time of growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I hope all our college students will be mindful that this is a special time. Do not be anxious for tomorrow and do not rush ahead to the next thing. Enjoy the moment. Take time to learn everything you can. Most importantly, devote yourself to learning more about Jesus Christ.

I challenge all of us, no matter how long it has been since you donned the cap and gown, to think more like a student. As long as the Lord gives us breath, each of us will be a student. We are always learning new things about our Lord and His Word. He always has new things to teach us about what it means to know Him, love Him and serve Him.

Be eager to get into the scriptures and discover the treasures awaiting those who truly seek after truth and wisdom. And then, share what you learn with others. Be quick to put into practice the things you learn from God’s Word. I am grateful to God for His faithfulness toward His children as He continues to transform us into His image.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Prov. 1:7  
1/25/2010 6:23:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 1 comments

New things

January 11 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

There is something refreshing about the term “new” because it reminds us that things do not always have to be the same. God has always been in the business of doing new things. Through the process of salvation God redeems and transforms sinful human beings into new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17) and we walk with Him in a new relationship.

On Monday, January 4, we had our first staff chapel service of the new year in the Baptist Building in Cary. Most Mondays, we are blessed as one of our North Carolina Baptist pastors, a member of our Board of Directors or someone from an entity of the SBC, preaches during this service. However, we utilized the most recent staff chapel service for a special time of worship and prayer led by some of our staff as we focused on Kingdom prayer as presented in Matt. 6:9-10. I wish you could have been present to hear members of your convention staff pouring their hearts out before God as they worshipped, privately confessed sin, petitioned God to send a new spiritual movement in our midst and made commitments to walk closer with God during this new year. They prayed for the needs of our churches, North Carolina Baptists and the ministries God has called us to fulfill. They interceded in prayer on behalf of people who faced recent tragedies and they prayed for the spiritual needs of others. God manifested His presence during that service and we left with a new sense of spiritual refreshment because we experienced God’s presence.

In this new year, I invite you to practice the discipline of spending time each day in the place of prayer alone with God. Jesus had some particular prayer habits. Scripture refers, at times, to a “certain place” that Jesus went to be alone in communion with His Father. We also read how He sometimes got up before daybreak to be alone in the place of prayer with His Father. We even read how He prayed all night when He faced major decisions. If prayer was that important in the life and ministry of Jesus, how important it is that we discipline ourselves to have regular, uninterrupted times of communion and fellowship with our heavenly father. I challenge you to get alone with God in your place of prayer and invite Him to speak through His written Word. Offer words of adoration and praise as you reflect on the ways God has blessed you. Linger in silence until you begin to sense His manifested presence. You will recognize that gradually you begin to develop a new attitude, because when we spend unhurried time in His presence, it makes a difference in our attitude toward God and others.

“Behold, I will do a new thing … I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19  
1/11/2010 8:38:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments