June 2015

Call to prayer in Columbus

June 30 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

In all of the 34 years that I have had the privilege of attending the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, I have not experienced anything like the national call to prayer for spiritual awakening that took place at this year’s meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
In the months leading up to the meeting, SBC president Ronnie Floyd had called on Southern Baptists to be in earnest prayer for revival in America.
This call to prayer culminated in Columbus with Floyd devoting an entire session of this year’s convention for attendees to pray for the next Great Awakening in America and to reach the world for Christ.
For more than two-and-a-half hours, Floyd and other leaders from across the SBC led all those in attendance in a time of guided worship and prayer.
Words cannot adequately express the overwhelming sense of God’s power and presence that was on display during that June 16 evening session. The image of thousands of messengers on their knees, on their faces, huddled in groups or lying prostrate before the Lord crying out to Him from all across the floor of the Columbus Convention Center is a scene that I will never forget.
What a special joy it was to see several North Carolina Baptists participate in this historic event in the life of the SBC.
Timmy Chavis, Native American pastor of Bear Swamp Baptist Church in the Burnt Swamp Association, was one of a small number of pastors invited to speak from the stage and pray for unity and Christ-like love within the ethnic diversity represented in the body of Christ. I was honored that Brother Timmy asked me to be among those that joined him on stage for that special time of prayer.
J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, and Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, were also among the individuals from North Carolina who led or voiced prayers during the session.
J.D. and Clint also preached during the annual SBC Pastors’ Conference, held prior to the SBC annual meeting. Clint also represented our state well in carrying out his duties as the convention’s first vice president. While Timmy, J.D. and Clint served in prominent roles at this year’s SBC meeting, I was also pleased to see many other North Carolina Baptists, including our state convention president, Timmy Blair, participating in the work that takes place during the SBC’s annual meeting.
The 2015 SBC meeting theme of Great Awakening permeated every aspect of this year’s meeting. Floyd and everyone who led the messengers before the throne of grace that night reminded us that throughout the Bible and throughout history there has been no great movement of God that was not first preceded by a season of extraordinary prayer on the part of God’s people. I challenge all North Carolina Baptists to pray earnestly for spiritual awakening to occur in our state and nation as we seek to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pastors, please lead your people to practice extraordinary prayer and expect God to do great and mighty things.
Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things” – Jeremiah 33:3

6/30/2015 11:33:02 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Summer allows time for student mission opportunities

June 15 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Our state convention strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making” is not just for individuals older than 25. Many of our North Carolina Baptist middle, high school, college and seminary students will be giving up a leisurely, summer vacation in order to spend their time away from school investing in God’s Kingdom through a number of summer mission and ministry opportunities.
Many students from our N.C. Baptist churches will serve the Lord this summer by providing leadership with younger students who attend camps and retreats at Caswell, Caraway and Truett Camp. Some will serve God this summer with church groups fulfilling mission assignments in North Carolina communities while others will serve in Boston, New York, Canada, Appalachian coalfields, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Hawaii. Some will be engaged on mission for Jesus in other countries. 
Merrie Johnson, senior consultant for the evangelism and discipleship group has already selected, trained and equipped her “Be Do Tell” team for student summer missions at Fort Caswell; her team is already at work with students attending this year’s summer youth weeks. In 2014, 6,573 individuals from 264 churches attended these camps at Caswell. Of those attending, 487 students made professions of faith and 425 made commitments to vocational Christian service. Will you commit to pray for a great movement of God again this summer in the hearts of student leaders and campers?
World Missions Week and Deep Impact mission camps are sponsored by North Carolina Baptist Men and will be conducted this summer at Caswell July 5-11. This experience provides campers from all age groups the opportunity to learn how they can be involved in exciting missions opportunities in the state, across the nation and around the world. World Missions Week and Deep Impact provide many students with their first opportunity to learn about God’s heart for the nations and experience what it means to be “on mission” for Him. The experience of being a part of a missions project is a life changing experience for many of the students who participate.
As you think about and pray for all of the many missions opportunities that will be available this summer, also be reminded that each of us are to be “on mission” for God every day wherever we are. In the Great Commission given to us in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus instructs us to make disciples as we go about the normal routines of our daily lives. I challenge you to always be sensitive and ready to respond, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the opportunities that God presents to you. Boldly minister to and befriend those He brings across your path each day. Give them opportunity to accept Christ and when they do, help them grow in the faith.
Remember to pray daily that God will work in the hearts and minds of our student missionaries this summer. Pray for their protection and pray that they will be obedient courageous followers of Jesus. Pray for a harvest of new believers this summer.
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

6/15/2015 10:52:01 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

God is a perfect Father

June 2 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate and honor noble fathers and the godly father figures in our lives. As Father’s Day approaches, many of us are thinking about the huge impact that these men have left on us. While our culture dictates that wealth and prestige determine one’s success, the impact and influence of godly fathers goes far beyond this temporary life.
Men of God who are following Christ, love, nurture and help to spiritually develop their children and others who look up to them. Use this Father’s Day to celebrate the fathers in your life, showing them love and gratitude for all they have done for you.
On this Father’s Day weekend, plan to pay those special individuals a visit, make the time to call them or send them a message thanking them for investing in you.
God gives us a picture in Luke 15 of what a perfect father is like.
This touching story that we often refer to as “the prodigal son” actually displays the heart of our heavenly Father. The central truth of three stories in this same chapter: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son, is that God loves sinners!
Jesus told of a self-centered young man who forsook his father to experience the ways of the world. In his rebellion, he spent all of his inheritance on wild living and vain pursuits. Eventually, because he was financially destitute, emotionally broken and physically starved, he returned to his father’s estate. His best hope was that his father might allow him to live there as a hired servant. However, upon his arrival, before this prodigal could even communicate his request, the father ran to him and embraced him, forgiving him for all his wrongdoings.
The sad reality is that some individuals have a father who sinned against them through some form of abuse and have become disillusioned when they hear references about God being our father. Please know that this God of heaven is a perfect father who loved you so much that He allowed His only son to die on a cross in order that your sin could be forgiven. This father desires to give you eternal life, walk with you daily and allow you to spend eternity in heaven with him. Your perfect heavenly father will never disappoint you.
Maybe you are a father who lives with guilt because you have failed God and failed your family. Don’t despair!
Look to the heavenly father in repentance and believe that through His grace your sin can be forgiven and your failures can be overcome. God is able and willing to transform you into a new person in Him. God can even empower and enable you to love and forgive others who have wronged you. He is the only perfect father.
But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20 (NKJV)

6/2/2015 10:26:46 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments