June 2010

Freedom to serve

June 29 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

During our May board of directors meeting we enjoyed a very enlightening special report from Larry Jones, senior consultant for military and chaplaincy ministry with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). Colonel Jones also serves as the State Chaplain for the N.C. National Guard. Joining him were Capt. Tommy Watson, a chaplain to the N.C. Army National Guard who recently served in Iraq and Specialist Humberto Kantu.

As I listened to these soldiers share with members of our board, I was reminded again that our soldiers deal with many problems and family situations back home at the same time they are putting their lives at risk on the battlefield. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to pack up, deploy overseas and not know for sure the next time you will get to see your family and friends.

I want to share with you a new outreach of the BSC designed to serve our wounded warriors called “Operation Crossroads.” Col. Jones has developed this ministry to help soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion, a non-deployable unit in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

About 500 sick and wounded soldiers are part of this unit. Some soldiers are from the Fort Bragg area, but many are not. The ministry will help match individuals, as well as local churches, with specific needs of soldiers at Fort Bragg, as well as at other military installations and in local communities where wounded warriors live and receive treatment across our state.

Various opportunities exist for this ministry. You and volunteers from your church can sit in the hospital waiting room with a soldier’s family or visit a soldier in the hospital. You may bring meals to the family waiting at the hospital or help a spouse with household chores. This is a great opportunity for your church to be on mission for Jesus right here in North Carolina. I encourage you to contact Col. Jones (ljones@ncbaptist.org) and find out how your church can get involved.

As I reflect on the observance of Independence Day, I think about our soldiers. I am so grateful to our soldiers who serve in order that people can experience freedom and safety. All too often in this country we take that for granted.

I also think about the freedom, or liberty, that has come to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not only has Jesus Christ saved us from our sin, He has made it possible for all who trust in Him to have the freedom to serve Him and to serve others. Our salvation in Christ means we have freedom to shake off fleshly desires and put on an attitude focused on loving others.

This year, on July 4, thank God for those who have sacrificed in order that you may enjoy freedom. Thank God for the freedom you have as a new creation because of His Son.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13 
6/29/2010 6:15:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments

A Father’s Influence

June 14 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

In Luke 15, Jesus tells a story about two sons and a father. Often we focus our attention on the two sons in this story especially the one that leaves home and wastes all that he has, but eventually returns home.

Too often, we overlook what kind of man Jesus depicts the father in this parable to be. The central truth of this story teaches us that God loves sinners. This parable also reveals some wonderful attributes about a father of great influence. It is not difficult to recognize that the central character in this story reveals that God is the perfect loving father.

Throughout the Bible, numerous stories communicate the importance of dads and moms providing love and support for their children. The Old Testament stories of Abraham and his descendents emphasized that the blessing of the father upon his sons was a very significant act in life of Jewish families. George Sweeting, former president of Moody Bible Institute, stated that children will base their concept of God on what they see in their father. Because of this he encouraged fathers to develop the kind of relationship with their children that they wish for their children to have with God.

Significant research has been done about the negative impact upon children who grow up in a fatherless home. The Texas Department of Corrections reported that 85 percent of all youth sitting in prisons grew up in fatherless homes. The Centers for Disease Control stated that 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes. The Bureau of Census Information indicates that 90 percent of runaway children are from homes without a father figure present. The Criminal Justice and Behavioral publication reports that 80 percent of rapists motivated with displaced anger are from fatherless homes.

All of this information challenges fathers to fulfill the role and responsibility that God has given to us. It is not easy to be this kind of Christian father or mother, but God does not expect us to do this alone.

If we know Christ as our Savior, if we live in submission to the Spirit of God living within us, He will empower and enable us to be a blessing and a positive spiritual influence with our children and grandchildren.

I was greatly blessed of God to grow up in a home where my two sisters and I, along with our younger brother who is now with the Lord, were loved and nurtured by Christian parents. They read the Bible to us and prayed with us on a daily basis.

We each accepted Christ under the preaching of my pastor father. Although he is 84 years old, my father continues to be a godly influence in my life today. He no longer pastors a church but remains very active in pastoral ministry. He attends conferences, revivals and preaches in many churches. Last week, he visited 96 people in homes, hospitals and retirement centers. I am so thankful that, even today, he provides an influential model by which his children and grandchildren continually learn and are challenged.  
6/14/2010 6:39:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments

Let all nations praise the Lord

June 1 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

In my last column I shared with you about how North Carolina Baptists are serving through our international partnership with Biju Thomas and the Transformation India Movement. As North Carolina Baptists are serving in so many places around the world through international partnerships, I want to take one more week and share with you several other opportunities.

If you have not read the latest issue of Baptists on Missions I encourage you to do so.

In this publication you will find information and personal testimonies about all kinds of different trips.

For example, our partnership with Hungarian Baptists and the New Life Gypsy Church in Munkacs, Ukraine. Volunteers from North Carolina are helping renovate a building for this gypsy congregation and are leading Vacation Bible School with gypsy children. These gypsies are among the poorest people in the country and need our help to meet even the most basic needs.

In July, teenagers from across the state will travel to Honduras to participate in Deep Impact. Deep Impact is a weeklong, hands-on missions experience being done in locations stateside and internationally. Teenagers in Honduras will help with construction projects, Vacation Bible School, medical clinics, distribution of hygiene kits and sports ministry.

We have a partnership in Honduras and Mike and Ginger Greene are our on-site coordinators.

If your church members come to Honduras the Greenes will help make sure you have what you need to do your ministry among the Honduran people.

Your Baptist State Convention staff is involved with partnerships in Ukraine and Honduras, and they can tell you stories of how God used a mission trip to change their lives.

One staff member and her husband joined a Ukraine team last year and this month they will lead a team to Ukraine. Their daughter is also joining them this summer.

Others on our staff have traveled to places such as Cuba, Armenia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Sometimes they share with us during a staff chapel time about their trip and it always amazes me to hear how God transforms their hearts.

They come back with even more of a burden to see people from all nations come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

I believe the reason why they experience such a change is because they see firsthand how desperately people need the gospel — and how so many people have never had even one opportunity to hear the gospel.

It’s not too late for your church to visit www.ncmissions.org and sign up to go on a summer mission trip with one of our partnerships.

If you go, you’ll never be the same again. 

“O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” Psalm 117:1
6/1/2010 7:31:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments