November 2011

Revival definitely needed

November 21 2011 by John Alden Tagliarini, First Baptist Church of Bryson City, N.C.

I heard and greatly appreciated the words by theme interpreter, Al James, and convention sermon pastor, Darryl Craft on Tuesday evening (Nov. 8). Resonating powerfully was the call for unity and love of each other as believers.
However, I wondered what disunity or lack of love they have observed, prompting such fervor. The claim that we’ve turned a corner and are doing great work in great ways suggests that we are now unified. Indeed, I perceived no dissent at any point in the meetings or hallways. Is the call intended to motivate us to reach out to other evangelicals more clearly?
Is the call to recognize our organic unity with believers in the mainline churches?   Does the call include believers from Roman Catholic or Orthodox communities? Does the call for love of brother include the moderate?
We do need revival, and my need for personal renewal conditions my prayer life. I wonder who will take the first steps of love, humility, forgiveness and unity?
John Alden Tagliarini
First Baptist Church of Bryson City, N.C.
11/21/2011 3:14:31 PM by John Alden Tagliarini, First Baptist Church of Bryson City, N.C. | with 0 comments

A simple formula for cooperation

November 7 2011 by W. Scott Thompson, Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute

In an effort to explain why Christian organizations and associations fail to cooperate effectively, a retired pastor in Western North Carolina compared Christians to children on a playground. The pastor explained how elementary school children often pick teams at recess in order to play a game of touch football. After choosing teams and beginning the game, the students are forced to halt the game because of a disagreement between the teams over an imaginary sideline marker. In other words, an unseen line between the corner of the school building on one end of the playground and a tree on the other end of the playground was a necessity in order to determine when a player was out of bounds. This, of course, created confusion when one team thought a player was out of bounds and the other team thought the player was in bounds. Some of the children would argue vehemently. Other children would plead desperately with those who were fighting to stop their feud so they could enjoy playing before the recess ended. Sadly, the pastor replied, “Christian institutions many times resemble children arguing on a playground.”
Since Jesus was victorious on the cross, Christians should fellowship around the victory already completed instead of fighting over ambiguous issues that cause division. For instance, an atmosphere of celebration and unity is always present when the hometown team wins a championship. Everyone shouts for joy and hugs one another. In an effort to see the hand of God move miraculously, let us pray that every Christian in the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, all of the local associations in North Carolina, and all of the members of Baptist churches in North Carolina will focus on the finished work of Christ instead of vainly arguing over unimportant issues. This rejoicing over the victory we have in Jesus will create a unity so unique that the world would notice. This alone would infinitely bless our efforts in evangelism and discipleship on a much deeper level than any one program or personality.

W. Scott Thompson
vice president of academic affairs
Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute 

11/7/2011 2:21:46 PM by W. Scott Thompson, Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute | with 0 comments

A time to experience God’s presence

November 3 2011 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Welcome North Carolina Baptists to the 181st annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina!
Our annual meetings are always a busy time. From ministry reports to breakout sessions, to special presentations and business sessions, we cover a lot in a short amount of time.
Although the schedule is busy, I want to encourage us to take time to slow down and enjoy all the aspects of this meeting. Each year I believe God has something special to say to each one of us. We are all at different places in our lives this year than we were last year. We have all lived another year of unique experiences and seasons of joy as well as trials.
Over these next two days, please don’t just go through the motions of moving from one session to the next, or one worship song to the next. God has each of us here for a reason. You never know what sermon, or what prayer, or what theme interpretation will be the one God uses to speak to your heart.
I know it can be difficult, but I want to challenge you to slow down a bit while you are here. Take time and truly make it your goal to hear from God. What does He want to teach you while you are here? How can He use this meeting to change your life?
If you are committed to taking time during this meeting to seeking God, to spending time in prayer and in His Word, I believe He will teach you and do a great work in your life. It may be that God speaks to you about how He wants you more involved in missions. As you know, our theme this year is “All In” and we are considering what it means to live our lives totally devoted to Jesus Christ. Our Find it Here 2012 missions mobilization emphasis, which you will hear more about during the meeting, is about helping you discover how you can be on mission for Jesus Christ.
Spend some time in the prayer room while you are here. It is near the exhibits in the Riverdale room. Ask God to speak through those who will deliver sermons, theme interpretations, worship music and reports. Be especially sensitive to what God will say to you during the opportunities provided in the program for worship through prayer. Please join me in making this annual meeting a time when we can truly say we experienced the presence of the Living God!
Milton A. Hollifield Jr.
BSC executive director-treasurer

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Milton Hollifield wrote this letter to address messengers to the annual meeting in Greensboro.)
11/3/2011 2:05:05 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

God at work in local churches

November 3 2011 by Ed Yount, BSC President

For the past two years it has been a joy to serve as your convention president. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of seeing Christ on display in your hearts and your lives.
Prior to this experience, I did not realize the extent to which God is working in such unique and extraordinary ways across our state. One of the things that really captured my attention has been the many ways God is at work through the local churches of our state convention.
During my tenure as your president I have encountered some of the most passionate people I have ever known; people who truly care about God’s Kingdom and about serving others above self. It has been inspiring to discover many North Carolina Baptists who are genuinely burdened for the lost, and are sincerely committed to sharing the gospel that they may know Christ.
I cannot begin to tell you all the North Carolina Baptists I met during these two years and all the churches and associations I have been fortunate enough to visit. Every person and every place had a story to tell.
It was a pleasure to listen, to learn, and to make so many wonderful new friends throughout the state.
Our God is a powerful God who works in such tremendous ways when His people are willing to be obedient and faithful to Him. God has encouraged my heart and strengthened my faith by allowing me to see how He is at work among North Carolina Baptists.
I have been reminded that we can do nothing on our own – it is only by God’s grace that we are able to serve Him and live as He desires.
I pray our hearts are open during this time together in Greensboro. Join me in praying that God will show us what being “All In” means in our lives. May we never be content with where we are in our walk and service to the Lord, always asking Him to use us even more to magnify the precious name of our Lord Jesus.
Let us continue forward, ever giving our best for His glory. Welcome to the 181st annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. I look forward to meeting you!
Ed Yount
BSC President
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ed Yount wrote this letter to address messengers to the annual meeting in Greensboro.)
11/3/2011 2:02:02 PM by Ed Yount, BSC President | with 0 comments