March 2018

Share the hope of the resurrection

March 19 2018 by Milton A. Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer

In the coming days, the world will recognize and celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. While Easter is a day of joy and celebration of Christ’s victory over sin, death and hell for believers, for those who don’t know Christ, it can be a season marked by questions or confusion about what it truly means to have a personal relationship with the risen Christ.
 
With more than 5.8 million lost people living in North Carolina, Easter provides a tremendous opportunity to proclaim what Christianity is all about both personally and corporately in our worship services leading up to Easter Sunday.
 
Many living among us right here in our state have little or no religious background, or they are from a different faith or religious background, or they may be indifferent toward the gospel and Christianity.
 
However, during the Easter season people are generally more open and receptive to hearing and learning about Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection, and why we as followers of Him place so much emphasis on the resurrection.
 
I pray that we as North Carolina Baptists would be sensitive to those that God brings across our paths and sensitive to leading of the Holy Spirit in engaging them in gospel conversations.
 
Consider inviting friends, family members or coworkers to Easter services at your church. We know that during the Easter or Christmas season people who are unchurched are more open to attending church services than at any other time of the year. Simply inviting someone to attend an Easter service with you is a great start to beginning an ongoing dialogue about Christ.
 
Pastors and church leaders, pray that God would bring those who don’t yet know Him to your church on Easter Sunday. Strongly encourage your congregation to invite their family, friends or neighbors to attend. Begin making plans now for an influx of guests, and encourage your members, volunteers and staff to do all they can to create a warm and welcoming environment to your church. And pastors, I will be asking God to help you present the gospel with clarity and conviction.
 
Petition the Holy Spirit to begin even now to work in the hearts of unbelievers and pray that they would respond to the proclamation of God’s Word in faith and repentance.
 
I would enjoy reading an email from you telling me about the great things God did through your church family during this special season. My email address is mhollifield@ncbaptist.org.
 
As we look forward to Easter Sunday, remember and reflect on the glorious grace that we have been given and eternal life that we have been granted because of Christ’s work on our behalf and in our place.
 
To God be the glory!
 
 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy and has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” – 1 Peter 1:3 (NKJV).
 

3/19/2018 3:02:25 PM by Milton A. Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Remembering Billy Graham

March 6 2018 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Much has been written and said about the Rev. Billy Graham in the days since he finished his earthly race on the morning of Feb. 21 and made his entrance into heaven to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Like so many others, I have enjoyed the many tributes that have been shared about Graham in recent days and along with you, I have prayed that God would use these news stories to help many more people come to faith in Christ. We will never forget this choice servant of God, and his influence will continue to impact our evangelism efforts.
 
Let me share with you how the story of Billy Graham’s walk with Christ began. The supreme importance of prayer in our evangelism efforts is illustrated in how a group of Christian businessmen in the Charlotte area prayed together for months in 1934 that God would send revival in their city, across their state and to the ends of the earth. Billy Graham’s father was a part of that prayer group. On one occasion when the men gathered for another all day prayer meeting in a pasture on the Graham farm, a paper salesman named Vernon Patterson suggested they add a bold new prayer, that God would raise up someone from out of Charlotte who would preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. They invited an evangelist named Mordecai Ham to come and lead a series of revival meetings. It was during one these revival services that a 15-year-old boy named Billy Graham was saved and became a follower of Christ.
 
Only God could take a humble farm boy from Charlotte, N.C., and use him to boldly proclaim the gospel to millions of people all around the world. Throughout his ministry, Graham humbly remained true and faithful to the gospel. Billy Graham believed that his primary purpose in life was to help people come to a personal relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Because he understood the vital importance of discipleship, Graham and his organization worked with local churches and ministries, like the Navigators, during his crusades to help ensure that those who responded to the gospel invitation were then connected to a local church for follow-up and discipleship.
 
Billy Graham was also a man of biblical conviction who stood true to the Word of God. Graham always sought to apply the scriptures to various social issues of the day.
 
Graham recognized that all people are made in the image of God and argued that racism and segregation were unbiblical and contrary to God’s character. In his later years, Graham continued to uphold a biblical view of marriage as being between one man and one woman for life.
 
Graham often spoke of how he longed to be in heaven with Jesus. Now he is there, in the presence of his Savior and reunited with his wife, Ruth, other family members and beloved friends from his original evangelism team like T.W. and Grady Wilson and Cliff Barrows.
 
Only in eternity will we truly know the extent to which God used Graham to lead countless numbers of people around the world to accept God’s gift of eternal life.
 
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” – 2 Timothy 4:7.
 

3/6/2018 9:53:23 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments