January 2017

Bearing God’s image, racial reconciliation

January 24 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

On Sun., Feb. 12, we will observe Racial Reconciliation Sunday, a time when we come together before the Lord and our brothers and sisters and work toward being more united in Christ.
It is heartbreaking to think about the racial injustice in our nation’s history. Even today, I know that racism is an issue that continues to detrimentally affect so many. We should pray that God will pour His healing balm upon the wounds and atrocities that have been caused by racial strife – throughout the world, our nation and in our own state.
I firmly believe that racism goes directly against every aspect of the gospel – and it is sinful.
Our Lord desires that we love each other as Jesus loved us, and that each person should “esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).
For this reason, each of us should look to our Heavenly Father this Sunday and ask Him to point out anything in our attitudes that could be a barrier or stumbling block to working together with those of other races. All human beings were made in God’s image, and if we do not show love and respect to an individual from any ethnic group, we fail to bring glory to our Lord in this area of our life and gospel testimony. All individuals who have accepted Christ as Savior are one through the blood of Christ and in the bond of Christ. Our Lord desires that we see beyond the differences in skin color, languages, customs and cultures in our acceptance of others. It is time that we confess our sin of any discriminative prejudice that we secretly harbor toward others, even if we are this way because we were raised in a Southern culture that once gave approval.
Let us celebrate the fact that God chose to create different races and cultures! Chris Green of The Summit Church has in the past encouraged Southern Baptists to strive for oneness, rather than sameness (http://bit.ly/RacialReconcilliation), and I hope we will all put his words into action this Sunday.
Some years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) formally and publically denounced racism, saying that “we affirm the Bible’s teaching that every human life is sacred, and is of equal and immeasurable worth, made in God’s image, regardless of race or ethnicity (Genesis 1:27), and that, with respect to salvation through Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for (we) are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).” (http://bit.ly/SBCresolution)
I am grateful for the progress we have made in destroying racial hatred, but I am painfully aware that we still have quite a distance to go.
There is still much work to do. Will you pray for racial reconciliation this Sunday? Ask the Lord to use you personally to help advance our churches toward racial reconciliation. Pray that we will be able to see each other the way that God sees us – as image bearers of God, and as brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of our ethnic differences.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” – Genesis 1:27.

1/24/2017 1:08:15 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Honoring God’s creation of human life

January 10 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

At long last, the new year is here. Fittingly, many of us spend these opening months of the year thinking about new beginnings – new lifestyle changes and new goals for the year among them.
One particular new beginning, however, is on my mind along with others this time of year: the new beginning of human life.
I like to think that most Baptists believe that all life begins at conception, which is why we designate a special time each year to celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
Every January, the Southern Baptist Convention selects a Sunday as a time to underscore the miracle and gift from God that is human life.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has put out statistics on abortion rates in America dating from 1979 through 2013, and it breaks my heart to read them. In 2013, there were 664,435 reported, legal abortions in the United States, which amounted to 200 abortions per 1,000 live births. Most of the women who had abortions were in their 20s.
Though these numbers are dire, I know that the Lord is still working in the lives of many who are considering abortion.
I am so thankful for the many pregnancy centers throughout our state that help these expectant mothers to consider other options for their newborn infants.
Please join me this month in praying that mothers who are considering having abortions would come to the understanding that the fetus within them is much more than a mass of tissue.
It is a human being into whom God has breathed life and is developing this little person so that it can experience physical birth and begin a life of its own.
Pray that these expectant mothers will feel God’s strength and know that He will be present with them during their journey of giving life to a new baby.
Pray also that they would be reminded that there are families who would be overjoyed to adopt their child into a loving home – this is another option for expectant mothers, and it is one that I truly believe mirrors the way that the Lord has saved and adopted us into His spiritual family.
Local churches and individuals must stand ready to spiritually support and also financially assist the unwed moms who are brave enough to give birth to their baby.
During this month, let’s not forget to remember in prayer those mothers who have had abortions in the past.
Many of them come to the realization that they have ended the life of their child soon after the procedure – and that realization is understandably painful.
Our Heavenly Father has no short supply of mercy and grace for these parents – He loves them, just as He loves their children in heaven and He offers forgiveness and opportunity for a new walk with Him.
As we celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday this month, I ask you to pray for an end to abortion in this nation.
For You formed inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works” – Psalm 139:13-14.


1/10/2017 1:58:16 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments