January 2013

‘Awaken’ conference to focus on spiritual revival

January 28 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Several years ago the Barna Group conducted a research study to help determine some of the challenges that evangelicals experience regarding their spiritual growth.
One of the findings especially caught my attention: Of those surveyed, four out of five born again Christians believed that spiritual maturity is “trying hard to follow the rules.”
The implication of this finding is that many people have lost sight of the gospel truth. Being a Christ follower is not about following rules, but is all about trusting in Jesus for forgiveness of sin and living in a growing relationship with Him.
We cannot live the Christian life on our own; we must rely on the grace of our Lord as He molds us and equips us to do the good works He has prepared for us.
I often realize this truth as I spend time in prayer. As I devote time to prayer and enjoy fellowship with God, He reveals to me His wondrous love and mercies, and I am once again reminded of the greatness of my Savior and my dependence on Him.
Prayer is a key component in our spiritual growth. Prayer is so important to the life of a believer because it is during these times of intimate fellowship that God supplies us with His power and speaks directly to our hearts.
Last year The Huffington Post published an article entitled, “Why people who pray are healthier than those who don’t.” The article begins with information about how people who pray have lower stress levels and a more positive outlook on life.
Yet, the article says little about the spiritual implications of prayer. Prayer is so much more than, as the article describes, “a physiological mechanism.” For those who know Jesus Christ, prayer is the sacred act that binds our hearts to God and radically transforms our lives so that our lives reflect God’s Kingdom purposes.
Please continue praying for personal spiritual renewal, as well as spiritual awakening for our state, nation and world. Many churches across the state committed to praying last year for spiritual awakening, especially in the days leading up to our convention’s annual meeting. God honored our prayers, but we must not see that meeting as an end. It was a new beginning. If our heart’s desire is to see God transform lives for His glory, then we must continue to remain steadfast in our prayers for spiritual awakening.
This year’s statewide prayer conference is an excellent opportunity for you to be equipped and encouraged in your personal prayer commitment. The March 15-16 “Awaken” conference will be held at Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and feature speakers such as Darryl Craft, R. Logan Carson, John Franklin, Hugh Morrison and Bryon Paulus.
More information about this conference is available at www.praync.org or by emailing broland@ncbaptist.org.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6
1/28/2013 2:38:00 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

‘Culture Reach’ conference will encourage gospel witness

January 14 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Most of you are familiar with the “Seven Pillars for Ministry” that serve as core values to help our state convention stay focused on its mission of assisting North Carolina Baptist churches. One of these core values is “reaching North Carolina’s international community.” People from all different religions and cultures now call North Carolina home – and we must do all we can to reach them with the gospel.
More than 230 language groups are represented in North Carolina. Last year our church planting staff worked with new church plants of various types and people groups, such as Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Nepali, Haitian, Burmese and Montagnard. We also worked with 37 Asian language groups.
The face of our state is changing rapidly and we cannot ignore people who speak a different language or represent a different religious background.
Throughout the year your state convention offers equipping opportunities to help you become more effective in reaching our diverse state with the gospel. One of these opportunities is the annual statewide evangelism conference.
We have hosted this conference for many years, and I am especially hopeful about the potential impact of this year’s conference.
This year’s conference is themed “Culture Reach: Understanding, Loving and Relating to Muslims.” We want to help you better understand Islam, and better understand Muslims, so that you will be more active in sharing your faith with people from this religious background. We want you to be encouraged to share your faith and to do so in a manner that glorifies Jesus Christ.
The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life recently conducted a study that projected the global Muslim population will continue to grow at a faster pace than any other demographic during the next two decades. The study projects that by 2030, one out of every four people in the world will be Muslim.
We have Muslims from different countries, living in our state who still have family ties and connections to their countries of origin. If we reach them with the gospel while they are here, they can then take the gospel back to their countries.
When we reach people in North Carolina with the gospel we are also reaching the nations.   
If you attend this conference you will learn from excellent speakers and teachers such as Zane Pratt, Mike Licona and Alex McFarland.
We will also hear from Fred Luter, our Southern Baptist Convention president; Nik Ripken, a leading authority on the persecuted church; and Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim.
The conference will be held Feb. 25 at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. You can find out more information as well as details for the pre-conference workshops at www.ncbaptist.org/culturereach
I pray that the principles you learn during this conference will help you reach not only Muslims, but will help you become more engaged in witnessing to people from different religions and cultures.
“All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” Psalm 86:9
1/14/2013 1:32:09 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments