July 2011

A return to fervent prayer

July 20 2011 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

The first statement in the Westminster Catechism reads: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

I appreciate that statement because it is a good reminder of our purpose in this life. God wants us to know Him and to experience much joy in our relationship with Him. Then, out of our love for God, we will want to serve Him and glorify Him.

You will love God more and enjoy Him more when you begin to understand who He is. I have learned that one of the best ways to do this is through prayer. When I pray, God speaks to my heart. He teaches me truth from His Word and teaches me about His desires and purposes. Prayer is how God unleashes His power into our lives.

As often as I can, whether through theses columns, sermons, special messages or just in conversations, I enjoy sharing with North Carolina Baptists the importance of prayer because prayer is such an important part of my life. I have experienced its great impact and seen God do many wonderful things as a result of prayer.

Prayer is the first of the Seven Pillars for Ministry, which includes seven biblical concepts I believe to be a Christ-centered vision for our Convention.

I believe these seven core values are to guide the work of our Convention for this time in my administration as your leader.

As important as the other six pillars are, I believe everything we do must begin with prayer. We cannot accomplish anything for the Kingdom if we do not first begin with prayer.

As you have noticed, this issue of the Biblical Recorder has a special emphasis on prayer. I am very encouraged to know that over the next few months the Biblical Recorder will focus one issue on each of the seven pillars.

I am encouraged because this means more North Carolina Baptists will have an opportunity to know the heart of our Convention. I appreciate the desire of editor Allan Blume to help share this vision with churches across our state.

I am firmly convinced that God gave me a vision statement I have shared with many of you: “By God’s grace, we will become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I believe that as we continue to focus our prayers, our attention and our energies on the seven pillars, we are truly on our way to seeing this vision accomplished.

However, we must continue to be faithful in praying. As I have said before, and believe with all my heart, prayer is the “key indicator of the passion of a redeemed heart to worship God and work for His harvest.”

Let’s pray that we are known as people passionate about worshiping and serving God.  

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.”
— 1 Peter 3:12

(EDITOR’S NOTE — This item is part of a package of stories highlighting prayer and prayer ministries across the state. The Biblical Recorder is focusing on the Seven Pillars for Christian Ministry adopted by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. For more stories on prayer or to find out about the entire package, please visit here.)

7/20/2011 2:13:00 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments

Reflections from Phoenix

July 5 2011 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. , BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

Although a few weeks have gone by, I find myself still reflecting on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting. I can’t seem to get this one image off my mind: hundreds of messengers flooding the altar and committing to help their church get involved in taking the gospel to unreached and unengaged people groups.

International Mission Board (IMB) president Tom Eliff reported that 3,800 people groups in the world are unengaged and unreached. Among these groups, less than two percent are evangelical Christians and no individual or church is intentionally engaging them with the gospel.

During the convention sermon David Platt, senior pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., reminded us that the reason we go to these unreached people groups is not out of guilt. We go because we want to see Jesus, our King who is worthy of praise from every people group on this earth, glorified. Do you pray for Jesus to be glorified throughout the ends of the earth?

It was emotionally moving for me to watch as some new IMB missionaries were commissioned for service. Some of these missionaries are well aware they will serve Jesus at great risk, but that does not discourage or dissuade them because of their intense love for Jesus and the compassion they have for the people where God has called them to serve.

The entire SBC meeting truly had a missions focus, and not just on international missions. I am thankful for the work of our North American Mission Board (NAMB), and especially grateful for the lives of the 20 new NAMB missionaries who were commissioned in Phoenix, Ariz. 

During the NAMB report I was greatly encouraged and challenged by the testimony of a husband and wife who left their home in South Africa to plant a church in Norwich, Conn., where only two percent of the residents are evangelical Christians. This one church planter has now led 67 people to faith in Jesus Christ. What a testimony to God’s power to save, and God’s faithfulness to work through those who love Him.

Last, but certainly not least, I remember and appreciate the challenge Frank Page, SBC Executive Committee president, set before the messengers in Phoenix. He said if all Southern Baptist churches would increase Cooperative Program giving by 1 percent, the Cooperative Program would increase by $100 million. What a challenge! What a wonderful and obtainable opportunity to reach more people with the message of Jesus.

North Carolina Baptists, is striving to help fulfill the Great Commission your greatest desire? Are you praying, giving and going so that others may hear and believe?

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Revelation 7:9
7/5/2011 3:42:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. , BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments