May 2015

Remember the sacrifices made for the freedoms we enjoy

May 19 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

It is so easy to go throughout our day without pausing to reflect on all the freedoms that we enjoy in this great nation. But on Memorial Day, we are encouraged to take the time to remember that these freedoms came with great sacrifice.
Since the founding of this country, men and women have paid the ultimate price so that we might have the privilege of living in a state of freedom and be active participants in our government and society.
In these United States, we are blessed to enjoy many opportunities and the freedom to make our own choices. We are fortunate to be citizens of a nation where our Constitution guarantees some liberties that aren’t available in many other countries.
Because of the sacrifices soldiers of these United States have paid since our beginning as a free nation, we have enjoyed the freedom to worship our God according to the dictates of our own conscience without fear of oppression. This is a right that Christ-followers are convinced was given to individuals by the Almighty Creator.
As Christians and also as American citizens, we must be vigilant and always stand ready to do our part in making certain that this generation and the generations to come do not lose this freedom in America. Although we love our nation and the form of democratic government that has enabled these United States to become a strong, powerful and wealthy nation by the grace of God, we must never forget that our ultimate allegiance is to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
While we may be tempted to take our freedoms and liberties for granted, I hope that on this Memorial Day, our hearts will be filled with gratitude to our God, to our soldiers, our veterans and even their families who sacrificed so much.
Even those soldiers who survived their tour of military duty without injury lived with the knowledge that their service to our country might cost them their life. Multiple thousands of brave men and women who donned the American military uniform and placed themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others live today with significant physical limitations and deep-seated emotional scars they incurred while fighting for the cause of freedom.
Take the time to express gratitude for those Americans who served and those who gave their lives in service to the United States of America.
Don’t forget that there are some individuals from other countries living in America today who fought bravely alongside of U.S. soldiers for the same cause of freedom. These individuals also paid a high price as a result of the horrors of war. Express appreciation for them too.
The scriptures tell us that Christ humbled Himself on our behalf and came to earth to die a sacrificial death for us. Our spiritual freedom cost Christ everything. May our hearts be filled with gratitude for the freedoms we have been granted, not just on Memorial Day, but all year long.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13 (NKJV)

5/19/2015 12:44:56 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Pray for more lives to be changed at Summer Youth Weeks

May 5 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Summer is fast approaching, and that means the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Summer Youth Weeks at Fort Caswell are right around the corner.
During these Youth Weeks, the lives of many teenagers are changed, as more than 7,000 young people attending camp each summer are challenged to further their walk with Christ and engage in the work of God’s Kingdom.
I praise the Lord for how He works in the lives of young people each summer through these camps. In 2014 alone, people from 264 churches attended our youth camps, 487 campers professed Christ as Savior! There were also 3,267 campers who rededicated their lives to the Lord and 425 campers who answered God’s call to ministry. Summer Youth Weeks have been life changing for so many campers.
The theme for Youth Weeks this year is “More,” which is based on Ephesians 3:20.
With so many pressures and challenges facing our young people today, we hope they will come away from these weeks realizing that following Christ is so much more exciting than anything we could ever experience on earth.
One way that our campers engage in God’s missions while at camp is to package food that helps alleviate hunger in Haiti.
This food is paid for through offerings given by our campers during these youth weeks. 2015 will be our fifth year of packaging meals for Haiti during Summer Youth Weeks. Not only do these meals provide nourishment to those who receive them, but they also give missionaries an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with these people.
In fact, during a recent mission trip, our youth evangelism and discipleship consultant Merrie Johnson was part of a team that delivered the one millionth meal that had been packaged at Caswell for the people of Haiti through a ministry called the House of Abraham.
While in Haiti, Merrie discovered that a discipleship ministry has developed through the meals delivery in Jacmel, Haiti. The food packaged during the summer helped feed children in the schools as the gospel was presented.
One community saw 26 professions of faith in one presentation of the gospel after the meals were distributed.
Merrie also heard testimonies of how God is working to change this region through this meal ministry. Children have raised their educational scores as a result of receiving consistent nutrition over the past few years, which has assisted their learning.
These Summer Youth Weeks at Caswell are a great opportunity for young people to grow in their relationship with Jesus while sharing His love and compassion to those who are lost and in desperate need.
What a joy it is to see our next generation engaged in service to our Lord!
As summer approaches, please pray that more campers are reached and transformed by the power of Christ.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,   according to the power that works in us.” – Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

5/5/2015 12:06:18 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments