November 2010

Are we there yet?

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

About a month ago now I attended an International Mission Board (IMB) appointment service at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. During this service IMB trustees appointed 57 new missionaries who will serve among people groups with no or little access to the gospel.

I can’t describe the wonderful movement of the Holy Spirit or how I was overwhelmed with emotion during this appointment service when I saw those individuals who are giving all they possess to Jesus standing before a large audience and committing themselves to doing whatever it takes, whatever it costs, to get the gospel to people who desperately need to hear it.

When SBC missionaries answer God’s call on their life to go and serve on the international field they are answering a call to leave family and friends behind, to uproot their children, to move to a foreign place where they may not know the language and, sometimes, to put their very life in jeopardy for the cause of Christ.

Did you know the IMB reports there are 6,426 unreached people groups with little or no access to the gospel?

The global snapshot is really quite overwhelming. Consider for a moment that 22 percent of the world’s population is Muslim – that equals 1.5 billion people. The Christian witness among cities in China is less than one percent. In India, 311 people groups have no known evangelical believers.

While the global picture of lostness is overwhelming, we cannot give up. We must continue going and telling the story of how Jesus Christ came to the world to save sinners and to give them everlasting life.

We must continue to do this because our Lord has commanded us to do so, and because of that we can be confident that He will work in and through His people to accomplish His purposes. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is one way you can participate in carrying out the Great Commission throughout the world. The theme for this year’s offering is “Are we there yet?” As you can see from the statistics we are certainly not there yet; we need churches from across this state to join with churches from across the country to sacrificially give to this offering and to commit to serving in international missions. The goal is $175 million.

The IMB web site, www.imb.org/offering, includes many helpful resources for your church as you seek to promote the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. You can download videos, print materials and learn more about connecting with unreached people groups.

Ask God how He would have you participate in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year. Will you pray and give unselfishly so that many can hear the gospel?

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us;
that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.” Psalm 67:1-3
11/29/2010 6:36:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 1 comments



What Will You Remember?

November 15 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

Something I love about God’s Word is that this precious book includes testimony from ordinary people. Stories of people just like you and me fill the pages of scripture, and so I can often relate to the men and women in the Bible. In my own life I find I can identify with some of their struggles and concerns.

For example, even though the disciples walked with Jesus, learned from Him and saw Him perform miracles, they sometimes forgot His teachings. If we are honest, I wonder how many of us also forget what Jesus has taught us, and what His death on the cross and resurrection really mean for those who trust in Him?

We see repeatedly throughout the Gospels Jesus explaining to His followers about how He would be crucified and raised to life. Yet, in Luke 24, we find the women at the tomb wondering where Jesus’ body had been taken. John’s Gospel tells us that even when Peter and John came to the empty tomb on that resurrection morning they did not understand Jesus had risen from the grave. They failed to remember that Jesus had told them this would happen.

During the Passover meal in the upper room before Jesus is crucified, Jesus tells His disciples to remember Him. In John 15:19-21, Jesus says to remember His teaching about a servant not being greater than his master. Jesus promises in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit will remind the disciples of everything He taught them. In Acts 11, Peter says he remembered Jesus’ promise that baptism would come by the Holy Spirit.

Remembering is important. The entire Bible tells the story of how God remembers His children. Genesis 9:15 says God remembered His covenant with Noah and His promise to never again flood the earth.

In Exodus God remembers His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He delivers His people from Egypt. Even when the people complained in the wilderness, God remembers them and provides for them. 

If remembering is so important, why do we forget? Why do we forget the wonderful grace and mercy and glory of our Savior? I think one reason is because we get so busy with life we do not stop nearly often enough to give God thanks.

If we are intentional about every single day thanking God for salvation and the many other blessings He gives, remembering His goodness during the tough times is easier.

Remembering His teaching, faithfulness and love will just become part of who we are. When God gives good gifts we won’t complain because we think we deserve more — we will remember God has already done more for us in Jesus Christ than we could ever deserve or imagine.

What will you remember this Thanksgiving?

“When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” Psalm 63:6-7
11/15/2010 8:55:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments



Find it Here 2011: Embracing Christ

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

Last year during the annual meeting our Convention staff shared with you about a special Easter evangelism emphasis called Find it Here. When I think about how churches across the state responded I am still amazed.

Churches committed to four evangelistic activities on or before Easter Sunday of this year: praying for non-believers, preaching an evangelistic sermon, inviting non-believers to Easter services and baptizing new believers on Easter Sunday or the Sunday following.

Churches reported that because of their efforts to be intentionally evangelistic, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, lives were changed. Church attendance increased, baptisms increased and many of our churches experienced a spiritual revival.

As thankful as I am for these testimonies, we cannot stop there. Evangelism is the first step, and we must follow that with discipleship.

Believers must be discipled so that they grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ and learn to live for Him. Your Convention staff wants to help you in your efforts to make disciples who bear much fruit. In North Carolina, Find it Here is a three-year emphasis of evangelism, discipleship and missions.

During our annual meeting this year we will introduce you to the 2011 Find it Here: Embracing Christ discipleship emphasis. Next year around this same time you will begin hearing about our 2012 missions emphasis.

I hope you will prayerfully consider joining us in the 2011 Find it Here emphasis. If your church joins this discipleship initiative, we will ask you to commit to:
  • praying for disciples,
  • preaching on discipleship,
  • teaching discipleship in classrooms and in homes,
  • making disciples by participating in the 2011 Easter evangelism emphasis,
  • becoming disciples by serving in your community.
We have a web site — www.finditherenc.org — with free downloadable resources to help your church carry out each of these activities.

On this site is also a sign-up page where your church can show your support of Find it Here.

Making disciples is not a simple process. It requires great intentionality and a commitment to serving others and investing in their lives.

Yet, I promise you that walking alongside someone and seeing them mature in their relationship with Jesus Christ is one of the greatest blessings you will ever experience.

If you have not read Transformational Church, please take some time to read this book. In this study Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer report that too many churches measure the success of their church by temporal and external things.

This study suggests that what we should focus on is not our church buildings or simply getting attendance numbers up, but seeking to make disciples who will in turn make disciples.

I am praying for God to do great things as North Carolina Baptists focus on being intentional in following His command to make disciples. Please join us as we seek to make God’s glory known!
11/1/2010 2:01:00 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments