April 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for May 4: Establishing Godly Standards for My Family

April 11 2003 by Crate Jones , Jeremiah 35:1-2, 5-10, 12-19

Family Bible Study lesson for May 4: Establishing Godly Standards for My Family | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for May 4: Establishing Godly Standards for My Family

By Crate Jones Jeremiah 35:1-2, 5-10, 12-19

A drunken father was walking across a snow-covered field. Looking back, he saw his little boy putting his feet in the staggered tracks he had made. He asked, "Son, what are you doing?" His reply was, "I'm walking in your footsteps, Dad."

Model an obedient lifestyle Jeremiah 35:1-2,5-10 The Recabites were descendants of Recab, who helped to overthrow the house of Ahab, wicked king of Israel.

Jonadab, son of Recab, commanded that his descendants drink no wine and dwell in tents. They did what Jonadab commanded.

Obedience to God's standards should guide in the building of the Christian lifestyle.

Billy Mohorn, in the early 1900s, bought some land, cut the trees, planed the lumber and built a house. It was home for his wife and their 11 children; a gathering place for family members, and friends.

He carried the mail on horseback, was a magistrate - trying cases under a huge tree in the yard - and farmed his 60 acres. All of this, and more, was to provide for his family.

Good food, laughter, instrumental music and harmonizing made it a special place. Billy learned the hymns with the help of a tuning fork and led the singing at the church. Best of all, his reverence for God gave him strength of character.

From that home went out a Christian influence that has lasted and will last for generations.

Listen to the Lord Jeremiah 35:12-17 The Lord commended the Recabites for listening to and obeying the commands given to them. By doing so, they would not be destroyed as a family.

Jesus was not always heard by those with whom He spoke. Grieved, He said: "O Jerusalem, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing" (Matt. 23:37 NIV).

Listening is hearing with the intent of obeying. It doesn't always work that way.

One man was asked by the preacher why he was inattentive. He replied, "Oh, I thought you were just preaching."

How does God speak to us? Through the pages of the Bible; through other people (we want to hear from someone who has experienced God); through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, and often through circumstances. "He that hath an ear, let him hear" (Rev. 2:7). It pays to listen.

Enjoy the blessing of obedience Jeremiah 35:18-19 The Recabites enjoyed God's blessings for their obedience; so will Christian families.

I saw a family of four on a bicycle built for two. I do not know if they were Christians, but I saw spiritual truth.

Mama, up front, had a little tyke strapped in a basket in front of her. Daddy, on the rear seat, had a baby attached to his back, papoose style. The smile on the little one's face said he was having the ride of his life.

They were pulling together, heading for the same goal, enjoying the ride. Other thoughts peddled around in my head: dad had put mom ahead of himself where he could protect her. Mom could see what he might not see and give guidance. The children were secure in the family. Harmony and rhythm said, "This family is together."

Keeping their balance under pressure was a must; leaning in opposite directions would wreck them.

A wise family invites Jesus to ride with them on the vehicle of God's love. There will be some potholes en route, but the Bible shows how to steer around them. And the Lord knows how to keep them out of the wrong "traffic."

Pedal with Jesus on earth, and you'll ride right through the gates of glory.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Crate Jones , Jeremiah 35:1-2, 5-10, 12-19 | with 0 comments



Formations lesson for April 27: Appearance and Commission

April 11 2003 by David Stratton , Mark 16:9-18

Formations lesson for April 27: Appearance and Commission | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Formations lesson for April 27: Appearance and Commission

By David Stratton Mark 16:9-18

"The earliest manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20." So states a note above this text in the New International Version. The new Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), published by a division of LifeWay of the Southern Baptist Convention, puts brackets around Mark 16:9-20 and includes a note saying "other mss [i.e. manuscripts] omit bracketed text." More generally, in the introduction to the HCSB, it is acknowledged that "brackets are used to indicate texts that are omitted in some ancient Greek manuscripts."

The original reading Behind such statements found in virtually all English translations is a fact well known to students of the scriptures. We possess no original manuscripts of biblical texts. Instead we have ancient copies of the originals in which there are differences in wording. So the manuscripts are studied and a process known as "textual criticism" is utilized to determine as closely as possible the original reading of the text.

These facts are not cause for alarm. Just as surely as God works through the overall process of the translation of scripture, God also works through the process of textual criticism. The authority of the Bible is not undermined by the need for the Spirit-led work of the textual critic.

The text at hand Serious study of Mark 16:9-20 forces a discussion of textual criticism. One would be hard-pressed to find a responsible Bible scholar, liberal or conservative, who believes this text to be part of Mark's original writing. Since, in the words of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, "only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired" and, since the manuscript evidence indicates this text was not part of the autographic text, one is forced to conclude that these verses are not inspired scripture.

Snakes and poison This passage was probably written in the second or third century. In general, it contains brief statements based on the resurrection accounts of Matthew, Luke and John. One glaring exception to this rule is the affirmation of verse 18 that believers will pick up snakes with their hands and drink deadly poison with no ill effects. Small pockets of Christians in this country handle snakes and drink poison in worship based on this verse.

Please do not purposefully pick up vipers or drink toxins using such a questionable passage as a guide. There is no other legitimate portion of scripture advocating the drinking of poison. It is true that Jesus spoke of stomping snakes in Luke 10:19, but that was in the context of overcoming the power of Satan and stomping snakes and picking them up is not the same thing.

A viper in a woodpile bit Paul in Acts 28:3-6 but the apostle did not pick the snake up on purpose. True, Moses grabbed a snake by the tail in the burning bush account (Exodus 4:4), which is the only volitional snake handling in the Bible. So, unless there is a burning bush in sight and a voice from heaven telling me to do so, I have no plans to grab any snakes on purpose.

Lesson? While these verses were not part of the original manuscript of Mark's gospel there is, nonetheless, a lesson to be learned from this very early Christian writing. They remind us of the priority assigned to the teaching function of the early church.

William Lane noted that the passage may have been originally written as an early instructional "summary of post-resurrection events" (The Gospel of Mark, New International Commentary on the New Testament, 604). There can be no other explanation for the addition of these verses other than the desire to teach the events from the discovery of the empty tomb through the ascension of Jesus. They were added to the abrupt ending of Mark in order to be obedient to Jesus' command at the end of Matthew to "Go ... and make disciples of all ... teaching them ..." (Matt. 28:19-20).

This passage stands first and foremost as a testimony to the high priority assigned to the task of teaching and learning in the early church, a testimony the church of today desperately needs to take to heart.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by David Stratton , Mark 16:9-18 | with 0 comments



Formations lesson for May 4: Family Tradition

April 11 2003 by David Stratton , 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:3-14; 3:14-17

Formations lesson for May 4: Family Tradition | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Formations lesson for May 4: Family Tradition

By David Stratton 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:3-14; 3:14-17

Chris' dad died five weeks before Chris was born. When he was seven, his brother died while his stepdad was in Vietnam. Chris asked his mother if his father was in heaven. She laughed and said, "No, he is not in heaven."

Chris asked why he was not in heaven. "Because there is no heaven," his mother replied.

Then Chris asked why there is no heaven. "Because there is no God. It was all made up," his mother said.

This is the sort of religious education Chris received from his family. Fortunately Chris did not believe his mother. He is now a dedicated Christian, active in his church.

Timothy's religious education at home was far different from that of Chris.

Family Bible study Young Timothy carried out the challenging work of leading the organization of the churches in and around Ephesus. The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy in his task by reminding the young man of his sincere faith that lived first in his grandmother, Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). A few lines later Paul reminded Timothy that he had been taught the inspired words of scripture from childhood, and was told to remember who instructed him (2 Tim 3:14-17).

So Timothy was strengthened for his work not only through the memory of the biblical instruction he had received but also by the memory of a faithful family that taught him the scriptures.

Two families merge Alongside the reminders of his faithful biological family, Timothy read intimate encouragement from a church family member. Paul, who had no traditional family connection to Timothy, called the young man his "loyal child in the faith" (1 Tim. 1:2). The apostle's words to Timothy sound like those of a concerned father writing to his son.

Paul was thankful to God when he thought of Timothy and he prayed for him day and night (2 Tim.1:3). Remembering Timothy's tears when they parted, Paul longed for the joy he would experience when he saw his loyal son in the faith again (2 Tim. 1:4). The apostle exhorted young Timothy to be courageous, calling to mind the moving moment when his "faith father" laid hands on him, perhaps in a commissioning service (2 Tim. 1:6-7).

So encouragements related to Timothy's biological family merge with those related to his church family. However, faith is the common denominator in the discussions of both families. In the end it is the faith connection more than the biological connection that brings meaning to Timothy's relationships.

Our family Acts 2:42 tells us that believers in the early church devoted themselves to "fellowship," a translation of the Greek word koinonia. The Contemporary English Version attempts to bring out the intimate bond implied by the Greek word by using the phrase "they were like family to each other." This fits with Jesus' teaching that whoever does the will of God is his brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35).

We all have biological families that impact us in various ways, yet the New Testament teaches that we also have a family of faith to which we are to devote ourselves.

The Bible contains examples of dysfunctional families producing godly people (e.g. Joseph). The Bible also teaches us that godly parents may raise children who choose to be ungodly (e.g. Samuel's sons, 1 Sam. 8:1-5). The effect of the biological family on one's faith often cannot be explained through simple formulas.

We do not know the details of Timothy's family life, but it is obvious that he received much encouragement in the Christian faith at home. God has shown that He can overcome the failings of faithless families.

Let us strive to make our homes a place where the Bible is taught and faith is alive.

Paul's communication to Timothy teaches us that faith is the key to meaningful relationships. Let us nurture the bond of love with our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in faith. Through our family of faith we are presented with the challenges and encouraged by the joy that will stand the test of time and eternity.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by David Stratton , 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:3-14; 3:14-17 | with 0 comments



Hail to the disciplined!

April 3 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Hail to the disciplined! | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

Hail to the disciplined!

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Those of us who struggle to maintain a healthy weight know that unwanted pounds can pile up quickly and easily, but bidding those same pounds farewell can make for a long and arduous process.

Whether we gain or lose weight is really all about thermodynamics - whether we burn more calories than we ingest. The formula can be expressed as a matter of straightforward math: Gaining Weight = More Food + Less Exercise, while Losing Weight = Less Food + More Exercise.

Maintaining one's weight generally follows the same formula as losing weight, with just slightly less intensity.

It requires an effort, but the effort is worthwhile. Major illnesses like heart disease and diabetes are largely preventable if we can just manage to maintain a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.

Still, getting motivated and staying motivated is a constant challenge.

Last fall I stated my own intention to lose a few pounds by the end of the year, and challenged any readers who wanted a little extra motivation to submit their names for publication, figuring that would provide some helpful peer pressure.

Eleven readers joined me in the challenge. Exactly three of us succeeded in reaching our goals, and that was after extending the deadline.

I was not among the successful. A frigid winter, a busted treadmill, and a bum hip conspired against me - along with a case of poor discipline at the dinner table (and the breakfast nook, and the lunch counter, and the snack bar). I lost a few pounds and am still working on it, in hopes that a physical therapist, more stretching and warm weather will ease my joints and help me sweat off the rest.

I trust the others are still working at it, too.

Those who did reach their goals (and thus deserve our applause) are Robert Dixon of Greensboro, John Hatcher of Cary, and Michael Blackwell of Thomasville.

As they used to say on Hee-Haw, "Sa-lute!"

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4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



The intersection of grace and faith

April 3 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

The intersection of grace and faith | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

The intersection of grace and faith

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

John Tagliarini is one sharp guy, and I don't say that just because he is chair of the board of directors for the Biblical Recorder. Following a recent meeting of our board, we were loading up and preparing to leave when he whipped out a pen and started drawing on a pad. "Let me show you something I've found helpful," he said.

I found it helpful, too. Tagliarini, who is pastor of First Baptist Church in Bryson City, said something like "It occurred to me that a lot of our doctrinal problems result in a failure to realize that we live at the intersection of grace and faith." He drew two intersecting lines, labeling the horizontal one "faith" and the vertical one "grace."

Our spiritual life is healthiest when we balance grace and faith, he said, but we're often inclined to venture away from the intersection, and all roads from the center can lead to trouble.

On Grace Avenue, for example, some believers prefer to head north, putting major emphasis on the sovereignty of God. We should indeed trust in God's sovereignty, but going too far in that direction can lead to fatalism, a belief that God determines everything and we have no role to play.

Others are more at home going south, in the direction of human free will. It's important to recognize that we are free to respond positively or negatively to God. But, it's also possible to travel so far down the road of free will that God gets lost from the equation, and we end up in chaos.

One can also choose alternate directions on Faith Street. Some think of faith in terms of obedience, stressing adherence to certain behaviors, laws or traditions. Obedience, indeed, is essential. Jesus called us to be obedient in following Him. But He also warned against the dangers of legalism, moving so far from grace that we think salvation grows from our good works.

The opposite direction on Faith Street leads toward liberty. Jesus taught that His followers are set free from the law to live in liberty, guided by the "new commandment" to love one another as He loved us. It's easy enough, however, to get so caught up in our liberty that we lose track of the law of love. Without that grounding, we can slip into a lifestyle of unbridled license.

Tagliarini observed that most heresies of the church through its history have resulted from an over-emphasis on traveling in one direction, moving away from a healthy spiritual balance and toward one extreme or the other. Many conflicts of the present are also proportional to the distance we may travel from the center.

I've met Christians whose theological perspectives are all over the map, and I am continually amazed at God's patience with us, God's grace toward us. Our hubris leads us to think our personal version of the gospel - down whichever road we prefer to travel - should be normative for all others.

But as I pondered Tagliarini's schematic, I imagined that the Spirit of Christ is at work, gently shepherding us toward the fold where there is security, productivity, abundance of life and even peace between the sheep - that blessed spot at the intersection of grace and faith.

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4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Family Bible Study lesson for April 20: The Resurrection and the Life

April 3 2003 by Crate Jones , John 11:1-4, 21-27, 38-40, 43-44

Family Bible Study lesson for April 20: The Resurrection and the Life | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for April 20: The Resurrection and the Life

By Crate Jones John 11:1-4, 21-27, 38-40, 43-44

Death is a reality for all John 11:1-4 When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, He cast them out. Because of their sin, we live in a fallen world where there is sickness and death.

Every person who lived before those who are now alive has died. And some of us don't feel too chipper.

A lady left this word with a funeral home: "When I die, I want Crate Jones for my funeral - if he's still living." I thought that was the most considerate thing I'd heard lately.

Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, were distressed over the sickness of their brother. Thinking he might die, they sent word to their friend Jesus. They expected Him to come to them quickly; He waited two days.

A drama was about to unfold that would glorify God and Jesus.

When Jesus arrived at the tomb, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."

Imagine the amazement of the people when they heard a faint rustling. Lazarus appeared in his grave clothes. Then Jesus said, "Loose him and let him go."

Believers experience resurrection and life John 11:21-27 The word resurrection presupposes that death is a reality. Our concept of death determines how we live. If there is nothing beyond the grave, we live only on a materialistic level.

The resurrection of Jesus is proof positive that life is eternal. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but the darkness of that day was replaced with the glorious Light of Life when He emerged from the tomb.

Easter reminds us of the gift of God's love in providing salvation for us through Jesus. The Promise Keeper said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies (physically); and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die" (John 11:25).

The moment we repent and believe in Jesus, we experience a resurrection. Paul said, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV).

We will be included in the resurrection when Jesus comes.

A seven-year-old boy invited his aunt to come to his church. He said, "I'm gonna be babbatised." Pointing to his heart, he said, "I have Jesus in my heart, and (rubbing his body) I want Him all over." What a desire that would be for all of us!

Jesus is sovereign over death John 11:38-40,43-44 Polly Wilson, a lovely Christian lady, died from cancer. A graveside service was held at Bear Swamp Baptist Church.

In the afternoon, the sky donned a black robe. Lightning scribbled threatening messages on the clouds, as thunder clapped its hands. It was almost as if nature was empathizing with the storms raging in the hearts of the family members.

As we gathered at the church, where caring friends provided a meal for the family, the roughhouse storm moved on. Only gentle tears dropped from the sky. Polly's brother-in-law, Samuel Ray, said, "Come here. Look!" We rushed out to the cemetery.

God had set His rainbow in the sky. There's nothing unusual about that, for He has been doing it ever since Noah's day. It had to do with a promise He made. To look beyond the rainbow would be to think of God.

What gave this rainbow special meaning was because the end was pointed directly above the tent erected over Polly's resting place. God was manifesting His Presence, keeping His promise of receiving His own unto Himself. It was as though Polly's spirit had caught a ride on the rainbow, only to find herself in heaven.

One other touch of glory. A light streak of cloud was seen cutting across the rainbow, making the shape of a cross. What a combination! A rainbow promising life over death and a cross to remind of God's great gift of salvation through Jesus.

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4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Crate Jones , John 11:1-4, 21-27, 38-40, 43-44 | with 0 comments



Formations lesson for April 20: Resurrection and Life

April 3 2003 by David Stratton , Mark 16:1-8

Formations lesson for April 20: Resurrection and Life | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

Formations lesson for April 20: Resurrection and Life

By David Stratton Mark 16:1-8

I once heard a preacher say the command that Jesus gave to His followers more than any other was this: "Do not be afraid." So it seems strange that Mark's gospel would end with some of Jesus' followers fleeing the empty tomb in fear. The other gospels include joyful sightings of the risen Lord, but Mark ends with a freeze-frame of women running in shocked and fearful silence. Why?

Could it be that Mark's ending invites us to ponder more deeply the earliest reaction to the discovery of the empty tomb?

A shocking discovery Jesus died on the cross and His body was placed in a tomb cut out of rock (Mark 15:33-47). The final chapter of Mark's gospel opens with several ladies on their way to anoint Jesus' body with aromatic oils, which was an ancient Jewish burial custom (v. 1). The women were discussing the difficulty of rolling away the large stone covering the entrance to the tomb when they looked up to discover that it had already been removed (vss. 3-4). They went inside only to be alarmed at the sight of a young man in a white robe (v. 5).

The young man told the ladies to be calm and then he delivered the shocking news that Jesus was not in the tomb because He had been raised (v. 6). The women were instructed to go and tell the disciples, including Peter, that the risen Jesus was going ahead of them to Galilee (v. 7). Peter may have been singled out in the message in order that he might know that he had been forgiven of his denial of Jesus.

The passage ends with the women fleeing the scene, "for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid" (v. 8, NRSV).

The end? It is very likely that verse 8 concludes not only our passage but also Mark's writing of the book that bears his name. Most translations include a notation like that in the New International Version: "The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20." Some who study this matter have concluded that Mark deliberately ended his gospel with 16:8. Others theorize that Mark's original ending has been lost.

Be that as it may, the manuscript evidence indicates that the original autograph of Mark's gospel (or what survives of it) ends with scared, silent women running from the empty tomb. So we are left to ponder the meaning of this abrupt ending.

Pause at the first reaction The first time I read an Ernest Hemingway story it seemed to end before it was over. Mark's gospel leaves me with the same impression. Yet the finale comes at precisely the right moment.

The sudden ending of Mark's gospel will not let us rush ahead to the joy of Easter. We have three gospel accounts in which the women spread the news of the empty tomb. Three gospels leave us cheering at sightings of the resurrected Jesus. Yet the three gospels also reveal the initial shock of those who found the tomb empty.

The abrupt ending of Mark does not conflict with the resurrection accounts of the other gospels. Rather, this conclusion reminds us to pause at the stunned and fearful silence that is also a prominent part of the Easter story.

The empty tomb marked a radical shift in the world. Mark's ending compels us to feel the shockwave for a moment. Before the flood of joy, this gospel would have us sense the initial movement of spiritual tectonic plates.

Certainly we will celebrate the joyful news of the risen Lord on Easter. Yet the joy cannot be complete without some awareness of the full depth of the implications of the resurrection of Jesus. Recovering the shocked and fearful silence of those running women at the end of Mark results in louder cheering at the reports of Jesus seen alive.

Let's spend a moment meditating upon the "terror and amazement" of the empty tomb so that we will experience more fully the joy of the resurrection appearances of our Lord.

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4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by David Stratton , Mark 16:1-8 | with 0 comments



God's Lighthouse brightens night for community heroes

April 3 2003 by Laura Rich , BR Graphics Editor

God's Lighthouse brightens night for community heroes | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

God's Lighthouse brightens night for community heroes

By Laura Rich BR Graphics Editor

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 gave many Americans a new awareness and appreciation for those who work in communities protecting their neighbors.

Firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel have been honored across the nation for their bravery and sacrifice.

While preparing for a service on the anniversary of the attack, Ron Bushey, administrative pastor at Young Memorial Baptist Church in Concord, recognized an opportunity for ministry to these individuals.

In preparing for the service, Bushey rode with Concord city police officers. God inspired him to find a way to give back, he said.

"As I worked on (the service) the Lord led me and put a burden on my heart that we too often overlook all that these public servants do for us," he said.

Bushey recognized the intense pressure that officers work under each day and sought to give them a place to relax. The ministry that resulted is called "God's Lighthouse" and seeks to "provide a Christian atmosphere for (officers) to meet, fellowship and have a good meal during the hours of the night when there is nowhere for them to go," Bushey said.

On Jan. 10, the kitchen at Young Memorial opened from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. offering a hot meal and a place for fellowship to law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. The program has continued each Friday night.

That evening, 35 police and emergency personnel enjoyed a meal of hearty chili and hot coffee. There was no sermon, just a safe place to relax during a long night.

"What we have at Young Memorial would not have happened if it had not been God's plan," Bushey said, noting the cost and hours of the project.

The kitchen is staffed entirely by volunteers from Young Memorial. They work in teams that plan each night's menu, and prepare and serve food.

"When Ron asked for volunteers for the program, I wouldn't have missed the opportunity for anything," said church member Jimmy Jarrell. "Just to be able to repay the officers for their service is reward enough."

The food itself is purchased with donations from individuals or is offered by local restaurants. A typical menu may include anything from soups and sandwiches to hamburger steaks and chicken cordon bleu.

Marion Asselin has been a volunteer from the beginning. "It is a wonderful feeling to see smiles on the faces of the men and women who protect us daily," she said, "and to hear how much they appreciate knowing that they are appreciated."

Each month, Bushey honors one officer with an award of a soldier's Bible during the church's Sunday worship service. The gift is a pocket-sized Bible with a steel plate intended to be carried in a shirt pocket.

"This special service draws a lot of attention from the officers and their families," said senior pastor Jeff Smith. "Because of this, we are reaching people who would not otherwise attend our church."

Jarrell, who volunteers as a crew leader, agrees. "It's very rewarding to be able to sit down and to share your faith with some officers that do not attend church and see them in the congregation on the following Sunday," he said.

"God's Lighthouse is our way of showing God's love in a practical way," Smith said. "It is about reaching people where they are."

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4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Laura Rich , BR Graphics Editor | with 0 comments



Hughes, Earp to run as Mainstream candidates

April 3 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Hughes, Earp to run as Mainstream candidates | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

Hughes, Earp to run as Mainstream candidates

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

GREENSBORO - Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) officials announced on March 29 that the group would endorse David Hughes for president of the Baptist State Convention (BSC), and Raymond Earp for BSC first vice president.

The announcement was made to about 70 people at a MBNC meeting at First Baptist Church in Greensboro.

Raymond Earp
Hughes is pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Earp, a layperson from Beaufort and former president of N.C. Baptist Men, ran for BSC president in 2001, but was defeated by current BSC President Jerry Pereira, pastor of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa.

Pereira and current BSC First Vice President Bob Foy are completing their second terms in office and are not eligible for re-election.

BSC Second Vice President David Horton is completing his first year in office and can run for a second term in November. MBNC officials said they do not intend to oppose him if he runs for re-election.

Horton is pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro.

Hughes and Horton became friends in 1997 while both served on the "Committee of 20," a group of 10 conservatives and 10 moderates who held several meetings to discuss the BSC's future.

They later served together on the Commission on Cooperation, which proposed a Shared Leadership Plan. The plan was defeated when it failed to get the needed two-thirds vote at the 1999 BSC annual meeting.

In an interview after the MBNC meeting, Hughes said he and Horton are still friends.

"I still have a very high regard for him," Hughes said.

In a telephone interview, Horton said he wishes Hughes the best.

"He's a fine man and I think a lot of him," Horton said.

Horton said he wasn't ready to say if he would run for re-election but he appreciates Mainstream's decision to not oppose him. He said that if he did run for re-election, he wouldn't have a problem working with Hughes.

David Hughes, left, greets Lewis Boroughs after the Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina meeting.
During the MBNC meeting, Hughes said that he had come to have peace with becoming a candidate just a few days earlier.

"In all honesty, I'll tell you I got here with some reluctance, maybe some kicking and screaming, but I'm grateful to be here," he said.

Hughes who has been active in the BSC, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and CBF-North Carolina, told of how he lessened his involvement in denominational work several times in the last 20 years. Each time, something brought him back.

He said several members of MBNC approached him several months ago about running for office. Since then he did "a lot of soul searching, a lot of praying."

"Why am I doing it?" he asked. "Because I believe we're at a crossroads. I believe we have a small window of opportunity left to make a difference.

"At the end of the day, I want to look in the mirror and say, 'You know what - it may not have gone the way I wanted it to, but I did my best.'"

Hughes talked of recently seeing a friend who had grown up in Winston-Salem's First Baptist Church, but was now a member of another denomination. The man told him, "If I wouldn't have grown up in your church, all I'd know about Baptists is you come together in Winston-Salem and have a ... fight."

"That comment has haunted me," Hughes said. "With all the things going on, that's what he thinks about N.C. Baptists. That makes me sick."

Hughes said he wishes the man could tell about how Baptists know how to disagree honorably; about how they're trying to make the church culturally relevant without compromising the gospel; about how Baptists are not for divorce, but offer ways to recover from divorce; about how they're not for homosexuality, but are welcoming to them and anyone who is broken.

"I think we've got a chance to say some things," Hughes said. "Are we going to win in November? If you look at recent history, you'd say, 'Probably not,' but winning may not mean winning the election. It may mean making a statement and letting God take care of the rest."

Earlier in the meeting, Ken Massey, a member of the MBNC steering committee and pastor of First Baptist Church in Greensboro, talked about the Mainstream vision for North Carolina.

Massey told of hearing about a "blue on blue" incident in Iraq where in the fog and confusion of battle soldiers had fired on friendly forces.

"If that sounds like a metaphor to you, it does to me, too," he said.

He said Mainstream Baptists do not want to "charge up the same hill" of Baptist controversy over the last 24 years. Instead, they want to "point to a new mountain," he said.

"There was a time when we thought we could stay on course by staying between the ditches on the right and the left," he said. "It never occurred to us that the ditches might be on the wrong road."

Massey said MBNC has a two-fold platform that it wants to emphasize more than its candidates.

First, MBNC wants to know if churches that are affiliated with the CBF can be full partners in the BSC and if loyalty to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is going to be a litmus test in the state.

Massey said that early in the controversy in the SBC, some said they just wanted parity. Eventually they took absolute control and are now purging anyone who dissents, he said.

MBNC wants to know if the BSC is going to be as rigid and exclusionary as the SBC, Massey said.

"It's not a mandate; it's not a threat," he said. "We simply want to know, 'Is there room for churches that are no longer loyal to the SBC?' In November, we aim to have an answer."

Second, MBNC wants to know if the BSC is ready to become a 21st century denomination, "a new wineskin for the new wine of God," Massey said.

"When Mainstream Baptists say we are running on a platform of change in the BSC, no one should take that as criticism of anyone at the Baptist Building," he said.

Massey said there are good men and women working at the building, but asking them to retool now is similar to asking Marines in Iraq to make major changes to their tanks in the midst of battle.

"Can we call a cease-fire to get ready for the transformation that God longs to bring?" he asked. "If not, whoever wins the Baptist battle will inherit a '57 Chevy that's rusted out and won't run."

If the battles can be stopped, Mainstream churches are willing to partner with all N.C. Baptists, Massey said.

"If not, our congregations have some difficult choices to make," he said.

Massey said that MBNC does not presume to say what changes need to be made in the BSC.

"The road we're on as disciples of Jesus Christ is steep and winding - Jesus called it the narrow way," Massey said. "What Mainstream Baptists want to know is if this road is wide enough for all Baptists or are some going to go over the side."

Mainstream Baptists want to walk side-by-side with all N.C. Baptists, but not follow, he said.

"It's not a threat; it's not a mandate," Massey said. "N.C. Baptists, tell us where you're going."

Massey compared the current state of Baptist affairs to the immune system in a human body.

When an immune system gets weak and under functions, the body can be attacked by disease.

"Sometimes, the immune system doesn't under function, it over functions and attacks healthy cells," he said. "Mainstream Baptists want to ask N.C. Baptists to diagnose what's happening."

Massey told about Jack MacGorman, a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He said MacGorman has a striking love for Jesus Christ, but can no longer teach at the school because he can't in good conscience sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

"That tells me our immune system has gone berserk," Massey said.

In a phone interview after the meeting, Massey said Mainstream Baptists will know the answers to their questions by the outcome of votes for BSC officers. Candidates endorsed by MBNC will support the group's platform, he said.

"It boils down to the election of officers," he said.

When asked about Mainstream's chances of success Massey said, "It depends on whether or not we can recapture the moderate folk who have checked out (of the BSC) emotionally."

Hughes said in the interview that he was going to try to energize those N.C. Baptists.

"Maybe a word of encouragement from a fellow burned out N.C. Baptist will make a difference to some of them," he said.

Earp said after the meeting that he learned from his last try at office that MBNC needed to be more organized.

"I feel like we're going in the right direction," he said.

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4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Missing Camp Lejeune Marine known of his 'deep faith'

April 3 2003 by Michael Foust , Baptist Press

Missing Camp Lejeune Marine known for his 'deep faith' | Friday, April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003

Missing Camp Lejeune Marine known for his 'deep faith'

By Michael Foust Baptist Press

BOILING SPRINGS, S.C. - A Marine known for his deep Christian faith and involvement in his Southern Baptist church is among a group of American soldiers whose whereabouts are unknown.

Nolen Ryan Hutchings - known as "Ryan" to friends - is a member of Northbrook Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, S.C. The private was among seven Marines who were involved in operations on the outskirts of Nasiriyah in Iraq March 23; three of those soldiers have since been confirmed dead.

Hutchings, 20, was initially listed as "Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown." He was later reported as missing. His Marine unit is based in Camp Lejeune.

"He had a deep faith in the Lord," Northbrook Baptist pastor Wayne Dickard told Baptist Press. "If he is alive - and we hope and pray that he is - then our prayer is that he will be returned to his family.

"We're trying to encourage the family and pray for them. I can't imagine what they're facing."

Dickard's predecessor at Northbrook, Ralph Brown, has known Hutchings for about six years. Brown was pastor at the church when Hutchings accepted Christ as a teenager and became involved in the youth group.

"He loved the Lord Jesus Christ," said Brown, who now pastors neighboring Jonesville Baptist Church, which is some 30 miles from Boiling Springs. "He loved to worship. He was a Bible-carrying/believing young man. He loved to talk about his Lord."

Even after Brown left Northbrook, Hutchings stayed in contact with him. Brown told Baptist Press that during the Christmas holidays last year, Hutchings dropped by his house to say hello.

"He and my wife and myself knelt in our den," Brown said. "We all held hands. He told me he was going to be shipped out. He told me, 'I can't tell you where I'm going. It's classified.'"

"We all held hands and prayed for his safety - for the Lord to watch over him and take care of him."

Hutchings was a member of the Northbrook Baptist youth group when it took mission trips to various states, holding Vacation Bible Schools and backyard Bible clubs. He had a Christ-like demeanor, Brown said.

"He was a very personable young man," Brown said. "He had a giving spirit. He cared about other people."

Hutchings was "a very active member of this church," Dickard said.

Both churches spent time in prayer for Hutchings at church services March 30.

Wherever Hutchings is, he is "trusting in the Lord," Brown said. "I believe that. I really do."

"Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown" is different from "Missing In Action," a Marine Corps spokesman told The Greenville (S.C.) News newspaper. For example, a soldier could end up in the wrong unit during the confusion of battle.

"If more time passes and they can't find them, then they will be considered (missing in action)," Gunnery Sgt. Michael Giannetti told the newspaper.

News | Opinion | Children | Youth | Youth Q&A | Archive | Calendar | Email Updates | Feedback | Sunday School Lessons | Churches | Church Search | FAQ | LinksAdvertising | Mast Head | History | Staff | Classified Ads | Place An Ad In The Biblical Recorder ClassifiedsSubscribe To The Biblical RecorderChange Your Biblical Recorder Subscription AddressSend A Tar Heel Voices Letter
4/3/2003 11:00:00 PM by Michael Foust , Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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