November 2012

Thankful to serve alongside North Carolina Baptists

November 19 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Thanksgiving is a special time to celebrate and give thanks for all God has done in our lives and for His Kingdom. I have much to be thankful for, such as my family and friends.
 
But above all, I am thankful to God for salvation and for calling me His child. There is no greater gift, no greater blessing, in this world than living in the joy of knowing Christ Jesus my Savior.
 
North Carolina Baptists, during this Thanksgiving season, I want you to know how deeply grateful I am for you. This year I saw God working through you as individuals and as church families, and we truly experienced God’s presence, power and abundant grace.
 
I am thankful that even during difficult financial times North Carolina Baptists continue to give sacrificially. Churches across this state are stepping up and accepting the 1 Percent Challenge, which means they are committing to increasing their Cooperative Program giving by at least 1 percent next year. We are able to accomplish much more for the Lord’s Church by working together through the Cooperative Program.
 
I am thankful that North Carolina Baptists prayed so faithfully this year for spiritual awakening.

For many months leading up to our annual meeting, churches joined together in praying for God to awaken the hearts of believers to His Kingdom purposes. You prayed for believers to return to God in personal holiness and to re-commit their lives to sharing the gospel and glorifying God. I have heard so many wonderful testimonies of how God worked during this time of prayer.
 
I know that many churches have committed to continuing in prayer for spiritual awakening, and I am thankful for this dedication to pursuing God’s heart and crying out to Him in prayer.
 
I am also thankful for how North Carolina Baptists serve others. Our North Carolina Baptist Men volunteers responded to disaster relief efforts in our state and beyond, including assistance to hurting people in New York and New Jersey during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
 
You also helped provide for a very important need by building more than 350 wheelchair ramps in N.C. through Operation Inasmuch and Rampin’ Up.
 
I give thanks that more churches are involved in our Great Commission Partnerships in Boston, metro New York and Toronto, as well as in the Eastern European country of Moldova.
 
More people are hearing the gospel because of your obedience to helping fulfill the Great Commission.
It is only through the power of God’s Spirit that we are able to accomplish anything for our Lord’s Kingdom.
 
I am thankful to God for allowing North Carolina Baptists the blessing and privilege of serving Him this year. I pray that as we look to 2013 we will continue steadfast in our pursuit of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
 
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20
11/19/2012 3:22:32 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Remaining steadfast in prayer

November 5 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

In my previous column I urged North Carolina Baptists all across the state to pray for our state Convention’s annual meeting in Greensboro. I asked you to pray toward our theme of “Awaken,” or spiritual awakening. Now, I am asking for you to pray that the 182nd annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention ignites a revival and a powerful movement of God unlike anything this state has seen.
 
We have been praying for months that God’s presence and work during the annual meeting would be a catalyst for spiritual renewal. However, our prayers must not cease when the annual meeting ends. If we stop now, we will not accomplish all that God wants to do through us as we become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel.
 
Prayer is the force that God’s Spirit uses to empower His church. God expects His children to pray. He is glorified through our prayers and blesses us when we pray. As we pray toward the will and purposes of God and apply His Word to our life, God molds and shapes us so that we become more like His Son. Intimate time alone with God in prayer and Bible study allows us to listen to our Heavenly Father, to worship Him and to bind our heart to His heart.
 
If you want to know more about how things are changing in our nation in relation to a decline in the influence of Christianity, get a copy of an excellent book written by Dr. Rit Varriale entitled Reformation in Responsibility: A New Ethic for a New Era (visit amazon.com). Rit is a member of the Convention’s Board of Directors and the pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby. No longer should the world have more influence on the church than the Church is having on the world.
 
I know that we live in difficult times, but I also know that when we pray toward His passion, God can use us to make a Spirit empowered difference around us. As the spiritual darkness in this world increases, it becomes even more crucial that we who are Christ followers live as salt and light in this world. As God’s children we are His redeemed people and He calls us to make a positive difference in the world.
 
“Awaken” cannot be only a theme for a two-day meeting; rather, it must be the consuming desire of our hearts every day. We must commit ourselves to seek God and to live holy lives that glorify God and give witness about Him to those who do not know Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
 
I pray that this year’s annual meeting is only just the beginning of a spiritual awakening that will achieve much more than any of us could have imagined.
 
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18
11/5/2012 2:49:59 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments