May 2017

Honor your father

May 31 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Families, Sun., June 18, will be a great opportunity to express your love and appreciation to your father or a man who has had a significant positive influence on your life.
 
We can read in the Bible how God reveals Himself to us as our Heavenly Father. He guides us, protects us, loves us and disciplines us. Though we will most certainly fail Him over and over again, He will never fail us nor forsake us – His love for us is unconditional. How wonderful it is to have this divine, guiding presence in our lives!
 
Men, God entrusted us with monumental responsibility when He declared in His Word that husbands/fathers are to exhibit good and effective leadership with our families. Some Christian psychologists say that children will base their concept of God on what they see in their father.
 
Wow, if that is true, it should challenge us to be men who show love and respect for God and also for our wife and our children! We should strive to be a positive role model for them as we love, obey and serve God. If you are a father or a father figure to someone younger, I urge you to take some time to pray consistently about the influence you have on that individual. Ask God for spiritual strength that will enable you to be a positive example for those who look to you as a good example.
 
Father’s Day may be painful for some who have lost their earthly father, or perhaps your father did not reflect the character of Jesus Christ in his life. My friends, if that is the case, I pray that our Heavenly Father will be your comfort and strength this weekend.
 
I know two brothers whose father walked off and left their family while the boys were small. Even though their mother was heartbroken about this family break-up and the responsibility she was left to fill, she shouldered the responsibility to be a godly mother who taught her sons that God would be their father, that He would provide for their needs and they would get through this together by God’s strength.
 
Today, those boys are grown men and they are strong Christ-followers.
 
To this day, I continue to value the time spent with my father and the lessons he taught me. He went to be with the Lord three years ago, but I can still remember his words, his sermons, his prayers and his constant encouragement. I will never forget how he would bear hug me even during my adult years and remind me how thankful He was for the ways God worked in my life. I give praise to God that Dad and Mom chose to raise my siblings and me in a spiritual environment that helped us want to learn about Jesus and to follow Him.
 
On this Father’s Day, also take this time to reflect on the great love of our Lord – our Father who loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us and save us from our sins. That is the example of true fatherly love to which we should all look.
 
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1.
 

5/31/2017 7:32:10 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



In Baptist life, a special place for associations

May 15 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

As Baptist people who are passionate about missions, we have learned that our churches can accomplish more by cooperating and working together than we can by working alone. A good example of this cooperation is how churches can work together within the fellowship of their local Baptist association. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) calendar has listed May 21-28 as Baptist Association Week, and I would like to share with you why I am convinced that Baptist associations are important.
 
Though some individuals may not consider local Baptist associations as important as the SBC or state conventions, I believe Baptist associations are at the “front line,” so to speak with member churches. They are geographically close by, and the associational missionary can have more face-to-face contact with the churches than the state or national conventions do. Association leaders have the potential to develop strong relationships with pastors and people in their member churches. Through visionary leadership, they can help their pastors recognize the opportunities and need for doing missions and ministry in communities and cities around them. It is through associations that a group or network of churches in a geographical area can rally together and make a difference in impacting lostness around them by combining manpower and resources from member churches to do evangelism, disciple-making, church planting and community ministry. They can also help strengthen and revitalize dying churches around them.
 
Before the existence of the SBC or state conventions, there were Baptist associations. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) that we enjoy today was birthed by churches within associations in North Carolina who decided to unite their efforts for kingdom advance. They envisioned that in cooperating together, they could achieve more in evangelizing the lost, discipling the saved and starting churches. Among those early churches in this state are Shiloh Baptist Church and Sandy Creek Baptist Church, both of which are still part of our N.C. Baptist family today. What a legacy these churches have!
 
After groups of churches formed associations, state conventions followed. In 1830, the BSC was established in Greenville, and only 15 years later, members from our convention joined with others in Augusta, Ga., to form what is today the SBC. Before my role as our convention’s executive director-treasurer, I served as executive director of missions (DOM) for the Gaston Baptist Association in Gastonia.
 
During that time, I became aware that some larger churches preferred to function alone rather than cooperate with an association. My encouragement to them, both during my role as DOM and in the present, would be to join with the missionary efforts of other churches in their Baptist association – to give more than they expect to receive. Though larger churches may accomplish more alone than smaller churches, if they combine their efforts with others, they can make a greater contribution than any individual church.
 
Every church needs to work in cooperation with others if they want to achieve maximum results in God’s kingdom advancement. In Southern Baptist life, we are blessed to have churches, associations, state conventions and a national convention. We pool our resources and combine our efforts in order to be most effective in fulfilling the Great Commission.
 

5/15/2017 10:09:15 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



The significant influence of a godly mother

May 2 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

On May 14, we will celebrate what I believe to be a very special day of the year – Mother’s Day. Year after year, Mother’s Day presents us with the opportunity to pay due respect and appreciation to the mothers and mother figures in our lives.
 
Our mothers are one of the primary ways through which God shows His love to us. Apart from sharing the important role of being disciple-makers of their children, mothers are uniquely gifted by God to convey a nurturing, caring and unconditional love for their children.
 
I am thankful that my mom always made her children know that she loved us. Mom and Dad read the Bible to my two sisters, our brother and me and they prayed with us every day. They taught us the importance of loving Christ and following Him. Mom gave us an example of how to serve others. Many years have passed in the seasons of life for my parents. Dad has been with the Lord now for almost three years and Mom is confined to a health care center near Asheville. Even though her physical health is very limited and her mind is not as clear as it once was, she still has lots of love to share. When my sisters and I visit her, she reminds us how much she loves us and how she prays for us and our own families.
 
In my travels across the state, I stop and visit with Mom as often as I can, and she is always interested to know about my trips and the work I do with churches. On occasion, when I must conclude my visit with her and prepare to leave, Mom will kiss me and say, “Son, when you get back from your travels, if I’m not here, you know where I will be.” How blessed followers of Christ are to rest in the peaceful assurance that when our life here is finished, we go to be in the presence of our Savior and reunite with those who preceded us and are now in heaven.
 
If you are fortunate enough this Mother’s Day to enjoy some time with your mother, remember to express your gratitude for specific instances in your life when she showed you God’s love or led you closer to Him. Tell your mom how wonderful she is! Assure her that you still love and respect her.
 
As you reflect on the significant influence your godly mother has had on your life, also remember to think about the disciple-making role you play in the lives of your own children and grandchildren. May our gratitude for the Christian influence of our mothers spur us on to make disciples of the younger generation of individuals in our own lives. 

Do not anticipate that the younger generation will have the same kind of positive spiritual influences that we had outside of the home. Just as the Lord equipped our mothers, so He has equipped and called each of us to be disciple-makers and reflect His image before others.
 
On this Mother’s Day, make a phone call or pay a visit to a wonderful woman who made a significant impact on your life. Utilize this platinum opportunity to say “thank you.”
 
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies. Her children rise up and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:10, 28).
 

5/2/2017 11:01:02 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments