July 2004

One of the Baptist greats will be missed : Friday, July 30, 2004

July 30 2004 by

One of the Baptist greats will be missed : Friday, July 30, 2004
Friday, July 30, 2004

One of the Baptist greats will be missed

On July 22, North Carolina Baptists lost one of the greatest men I have ever known. Tom Lolley was more than a beloved colleague to me, he was my friend. Who will ever forget how Tom stood in our pulpits, stroking his dog-theme neckties while he held our attention telling us about a dog name "Rainy Weather"?

I remember the last time I saw Tom at the State Convention. With excitement I yelled at Tom across the room, "Hey Tom! I've got a new pastorate!" Tom looked back and smiled in a way only Tom could smile and yelled back, "Just love 'um Ray and they'll love ya back!"

Tom was truly one of the Baptist greats who had a genuine love for Christ and humankind, and while I will dearly miss him, one day I truly expect to walk up on the Apostle Paul, and Peter, and John, gathered around a smiling Baptist missionary telling another dog story!

Raymond Osborne

Lincolnton, N.C.

7/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

Thank you, N.C. Baptists : Friday, July 30, 2004

July 30 2004 by

Thank you, N.C. Baptists : Friday, July 30, 2004
Friday, July 30, 2004

Thank you, N.C. Baptists

Thank you from Alaska! It was wonderful to see you recognize one of the groups from your wonderful state as they meet needs throughout Alaska. The several groups from Macon Association have been a blessing beyond expectation. They helped remodel a building that was a service station, changing it into a fellowship/worship center at Friendship Baptist Mission in Fairbanks, and repair parts of the main worship building. I became acquainted with them then, and Gary Holland their on-site leader, who, along with his wife, Edith, have been wonderful resources for help with the work here. Most of us cannot imagine the difficulty of spending time in an Alaskan village trying to construct a building for ministry. Let me just say that, in spite of many obstacles, these groups from North Carolina have overcome, they have persevered, and they have accomplished so much of which all of you should praise God.

I wish to express my profound gratitude to each person who has come to serve. I also, speaking for the Tanana Valley Association, wish to express our praise to God for your concern for Alaska work, especially work with Alaska Native people. We have struggled for many years to find ways to reach the lost Native people here, and building a building which will be used for Native people while being led by an Alaska Native Pastor, Paul Frost, is a step that will, we trust, resound throughout Alaska to the glory of God.

Thank you again, our extended family of God. May His Kingdom advance through you.

Paul W. Wells

Fairbanks, Alaska

7/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

Applauds SBC for BWA withdrawal : Thursday, July 29, 2004

July 29 2004 by

Applauds SBC for BWA withdrawal : Thursday, July 29, 2004
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Applauds SBC for BWA withdrawal

In response to Jim Royston's article in the July 17 (printed) Recorder stating that the SBC split from the BWA (Baptist World Alliance) was "ill-timed," I must agree with him. I believe it came at least 50 years too late. However, I take exception to his statement that it was "ill-informed." To "partner" with the BWA is to link us with those who oppose the truth of such fundamental doctrines of scripture as its inerrancy, which I believe is its most fundamental doctrine. I am only sorry that we have waited so long to make this important decision. I have yet to understand how anyone can reject the inerrancy of the original manuscripts of scripture and yet be confident that it is correct about the way of salvation, or anything else, for that matter. I know there are other Southern Baptists who also reject inerrancy, but I applaud the convention for making this important step in the right direction.

David H. Wyatt

Concord, N.C.

7/29/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

Please pass the goat cheese : Friday, July 23, 2004

July 23 2004 by Tony W. Cartledge

Please pass the goat cheese : Friday, July 23, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004

Please pass the goat cheese

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

As a lifelong fan of food, I'm always fascinated with the fare I encounter when traveling. A two-week stint at the seminary in Armenia gave me abundant opportunities to sample Armenian cuisine, which begins and ends with goat cheese and fresh herbs.

Most days, breakfast consisted of soft-boiled eggs, large chunks of chewy bread, slabs of butter and a plate of goat cheese. The goat cheese was most commonly soft and white, pockmarked with tiny holes, and cut in slices about a third of an inch thick. Most of what I ate had a pleasant, mild flavor, though one crumbly variety I tried about 2 a.m. during a long road trip had more taste and smell than I could handle.

Lunch usually consisted of a thin soup that may have had a distant kinship to chicken, but tasted mostly of parsley. Depending on the day, the soup might include rice noodles, spaghetti, rice, potatoes or lentils, along with fresh parsley or dill. More bread (typically broken into the soup) and a dish of pasta or grechka (boiled buckwheat) typically filled out the meal, followed by a cup of hot tea.

Supper was more likely to include a serving of meat, usually barbequed in chunks or ground, pressed onto a skewer and grilled.

Armenians love fresh herbs. Many meals include lavash, a flexible flat bread, like a flour tortilla except rectangular. It is often eaten with a smear of sour yogurt or hummus, to which a slab of goat cheese is added, along with stalks of fresh herbs like parsley, dill, tarragon, oregano or green onions.

A goat cheese wrap and carbonated water are the Armenian equivalent of the classic southern combination of an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. I learned to ask for water "without gas," and drank Hay-Cola when more familiar soft drinks were not available ("Hay," pronounced "high," is the Armenian word for "Armenian").

After eating goat cheese at least twice a day for almost two weeks, I returned to the states and bought a hamburger before I left the airport.

While preparing stories drawn from the experience, I read through the volunteer orientation manual again. For the first time, I noticed a suggestion that travelers to Armenia should "avoid unpasteurized goat cheese (always white in color)."


7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments

The sacred days of summer : Friday, July 23, 2004

July 23 2004 by Tony W. Cartledge

The sacred days of summer : Friday, July 23, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004

The sacred days of summer

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

Could summer be the most sacred time of the church year? Few would argue for such a proposition. Surely Easter is the most sacred time of year for the church, followed closely by Christmas.

Yet, I would argue for summer. Why? Not because it's a time when vacations can offer periods of spiritual refreshment, though that is certainly possible. In many cases, people return from vacation more tired than when they left, and they often take a vacation from spirituality, too.

I argue for the sacredness of summer, especially among young people, because summer is the season of mission trips and summer camps at places like Caswell, Caraway and Mundo Vista. Summer is the season of decision-making, of heart-changing, of world-shaping.

I confess to a personal prejudice, as my own life has been strongly shaped by summer events. In the summer of 1968, my home church hired a summer youth minister. He didn't plan anything more exciting than an evening cookout at a nearby lake, but he invested a summer's worth of time, energy and love into 10 or 12 young people at our church. By summer's end, we experienced a sense of surrender and revival that I remember clearly after 36 years.

In the summer of 1971, I served as a summer missionary in Indonesia. Teaching conversational English to college students in the city of Semarang and trying my conversational Indonesian with people I met in the rice paddies and backwoods of north central Java, I discovered another world of persons who are precious to God. I learned that the world I had known was just a tiny corner of the earth, and not at all typical of the larger world. That global perspective, which continues to grow, has impacted my living ever since.

Think for a moment about what is happening in these hot months of the year.

Literally hundreds, if not thousands, of children and young people will make decisions for Christ this summer. At Mundo Vista, Caraway and Truett Camp many girls and boys will trust in Christ as Savior, and others will hear the first clear notes of a call to mission and ministry.

At Caswell and other summer camp locations, youth who have resisted the message of Christ for years will find their hearts melting as they discover a new relationship with God and with each other.

While painting or roofing a decrepit house, visiting with a family in poverty, teaching children at a Backyard Bible Club or serving tea in a soup kitchen, both youth and adults will discover new worlds of need and reality, and their lives will be changed.

Those moments of discovery and surrender are sacred moments, never to be forgotten, and they make the summer a special, holy time.

Let us pray that this summer will bring an overwhelming harvest of sacred memories. Pray for the children who attend camps and Vacation Bible Schools, and for those who work with them.

Pray for young people who may meet Christ for the first time at a summer event, and for those whose spiritual eyes will be opened through involvement in volunteer missions.

Pray that the deep emotions felt around the campfire or in heart-tugging worship experiences may not melt away, but be transformed into personal commitments that are meaningful and longstanding.

Decisions made and lessons learned this summer will impact individuals and churches for generations to come. Take a moment to pray for those who are finding God, surrendering to God, serving God in this hot season.

Summertime is sacred time.

7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments

Movies or missions - where does your money go? : Friday, July 23, 2004

July 23 2004 by Bill Overby

Movies or missions - where does your money go? : Friday, July 23, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004

Movies or missions - where does your money go?

By Bill Overby
N.C. Baptist Foundation

The Baptist State Convention hosted a wonderful conference at the end of March in Ridgecrest called "Recasting Your Net." The conference was opened to and promoted by several other area states, including Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Virginia and Tennessee.

I want to share a few thoughts and statistics I picked up at the conference that relate to charitable giving and our attitudes about our possessions or our "stuff." Many thanks to Loren Mead, author of Financial Meltdown in the Mainline, Chuck Bentley of Crown Financial Ministries and Gregory Ring of PhilanthroCorp for their presentation materials.

Did you know that the number one New Year's resolution in the United States is to get out of debt? Did you know that 60-70 percent of all divorces in this country are related to disagreements over financial matters? In 1990, individuals lost $10.4 billion to gambling and in 2001 it was $50.9 billion. Ninety percent of all college students have one or more credit cards by the middle of their freshman year. Back in the "good ol' days" I had to fight to get one even after graduating and having a job.

I hate to sound pessimistic, but I worry a great deal about our future and I worry about the charitable givers of tomorrow. Did you know that 36 percent of all individuals spend more at Blockbuster than they give to church?

Christians, on average, give between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent to church instead of a tithe.

National estate-planning statistics also consistently show that 60-70 percent of all adults do not have a last will and testament and only 4 percent of all individuals give anything to charity through their will.

It was interesting to note that 38 percent of all charitable giving in recent years went to the church.

Much has been written in the last couple of years about the vast wealth that is held by the senior adult population living today. It is expected that there will be between $10 trillion and $40 trillion in estate transfers between 2004 and 2020.

To give you an idea of what this means, consider this: if you were to give away $1 million every day, it would take you 27,000 years to give away the low end number of $10 trillion. Talk about potential!

Just imagine what would happen in kingdom work if all N.C. Baptists were to break out of the mold and tithe from all that the Lord has provided. Imagine further what would happen between now and 2020 if all N.C. Baptists were to spend time in getting their estate affairs in order and leave a tithe of their accumulated estates to the Lord's work.

If you feel the challenge, know that you can easily be a part of the solution. The Baptist Foundation has seen the challenge and has placed three area managers in the eastern, central and western regions of the state to help you find a thoughtful way to do your part. But the decision is firmly yours. Call (800) 521-7334 today and ask us to help you.

That is a good first step.

7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Bill Overby | with 0 comments

Remembering Wendell Davis : Friday, July 23, 2004

July 23 2004 by

Remembering Wendell Davis : Friday, July 23, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004

Remembering Wendell Davis

In about a year, the 100th anniversary of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) will be held in Birmingham, England. I won't make it, but I wish to recall attending the "Golden Jubilee" BWA week in 1955. My good friend Wendell Davis, who was buried July 12, attended with me.

Billy Graham closed the meeting, which I covered when I was editor of Charity and Children.

Our journey included a 62-day tour that covered five continents and 15 countries, including an intensive tour of the Holy Land.

As part of the tour, we spent two days and nights in a dark cave in Petra with no conveniences, maybe a candle and no flashlight.

Our third "cavemate" was the late Dr. Tom Freeman of Dunn, president of the Baptist State Convention, 1972-73, and a good one.

We rode donkeys to our "room," and I recall that Wendell was concerned because he had little change for a tip, but the Turkish guide seemed satisfied with a big hug.

The 100th BWA cannot possibly equal our group's memorable adventures like the one in the dark cave at Petra.

Marse Grant

Raleigh, N.C.

7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

Family Bible Study lesson for August 8: Live Confidently : Friday, July 23, 2004

July 23 2004 by Phyllis Elvington

Family Bible Study lesson for August 8: Live Confidently : Friday, July 23, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004

Family Bible Study lesson for August 8: Live Confidently

By Phyllis Elvington
Focal Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-12

"Confident! Confident! Dry and secure. Raise your hand, raise your hand - if you're sure!"

A popular commercial for underarm deodorant from several years ago started with this catchy slogan. The point of the commercial was that if you trusted their product, you could confidently raise your hand without fear of embarrassment.

In whom or in what do you place your confidence today? Social Security benefits? A Certificate of Deposit? A 401-K?

I prefer to put my confidence and trust in the One who can back His promises 100 percent of the time.

God tells us in Josh. 1:5b, "I will not fail you or forsake you." And Jesus promises believers in Matt. 28:20b, "...And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

I can raise my hand confidently, without fear of embarrassment, disappointment or defeat "for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12b).

The divine initiative

1 Peter 1:1-2

Have you ever heard the expression, "consider the source"? We use this phrase to discount what someone has said because that person does not have the credentials to know the whole story.

The opposite is true with the letter of 1st Peter. Peter had the credentials. He knew the whole story. He not only knew the whole story - he was living it.

Peter was one of Jesus' 12 disciples. He, along with James and John, was part of an inner circle of disciples with whom Jesus was especially close.

Peter knew about suffering. He had witnessed and experienced it himself.

But Peter also knew Jesus. Therefore, he was qualified to write to Christians suffering for their faith with words of encouragement and hope.

Peter shared three reasons for our confidence in the Lord: we have been chosen by God (Eph. 1:4); we have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5: 8-9); and we have been sanctified by the Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13).

The living hope

1 Peter 1:3-5

In these verses, Peter shared four gifts we receive from God that enable us to live out our faith in confidence - even in the midst of trials.

1. God has given us a "new birth." When we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to come into our heart as Lord and Savior, we have been born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. At that moment, we have passed from death unto life - eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

2. God has given us "a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Jesus said in John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

3. God has given us "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." Romans 8:17 says, "...heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."

4. God has given us protection by His power. For a picture of God's divine protection, read Psalm 23.

The inexpressible joy

1 Peter 1:6-9

How can we have joy in the midst of trials?

  • This life is not the end of the story (Rev. 21).
  • Trials strengthen our faith in God (James 1:2-4).
  • In the end, it will be worth it all (Matt. 25:23).
  • The revealed gospel

    1 Peter 1:10-12

    God's spirit revealed the truth about salvation to the prophets long before Jesus actually came.

    They believed even when they could not see. How much more hope and confidence should we have living on this side of Calvary!

    7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Phyllis Elvington | with 0 comments

    Family Bible Study lesson for August 15: Act Right : Friday, July 23, 2004

    July 23 2004 by Phyllis Elvington

    Family Bible Study lesson for August 15: Act Right : Friday, July 23, 2004
    Friday, July 23, 2004

    Family Bible Study lesson for August 15: Act Right

    By Phyllis Elvington
    Focal Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-16,22-25; 2:1-3,11-12

    I taught second grade for nine years and loved every minute of it.

    As part of a study on community helpers, I had taken my class on a field trip to the local post office, fire station and police station. Everything had gone according to plan, and I was pleased with the day's activities. That night, however, one of my parents called with a concern about something her son, Jason, had seen written on the wall of the jail.

    When Jason told his mother what he had seen, she asked, "Well, what did your teacher say?" Jason replied, "Oh, she didn't read those words - she's too holy to look at words like that."

    The mother laughed as she told me the story, but I cried. I cried because I realized how closely little ones like Jason watch everything we say and do. And I cried because I knew how many times I am not holy - as my Lord has commanded all of us to be.

    Be holy

    1 Peter 1:13-16

    To be holy is to be different, set apart and separate from the world. Peter reminds us in this passage that we have been called to a lifestyle of holiness.

    I have a note written in my Bible beside these verses that states: Holiness is not an option for a Christian. "Be holy, because I am holy," God commands us (v. 16).

    I do not think that I am a "holy" person. I do strive to live towards a holy (different from the world/set apart) lifestyle. I tell my children at home and the athletes I coach in high school sports: "If I say it, then you can say it. If I do it, then you can do it. Likewise, if I don't say it - you can't say it. If I don't do it, you shouldn't do it."

    If we expect those around us to "act right," then we should strive to be holy in all we say and do.

    Be loving

    1 Peter 1:22-25

    "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:7-8).

    Loving others, like holiness, is not an option for Christians. Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."

    I really do believe that loving others is the acid test for a Christian.

    Be mature

    1 Peter 2:1-3

    Peter tells us two ways to grow and mature as a Christian. We need to subtract some things from our lives, and we need to add others to our lives.

    First, Peter tells us to get rid of "all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind" (v. 1). I like to use the saying, "God does not like ugly." He does not like ugly words, ugly actions, ugly attitudes, etc.

    Second, we are to "crave pure spiritual milk" (v. 2). Just as we get hungry for food every day, we need to hunger for God's word. Jesus said in Matt. 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

    Be honorable

    1 Peter 2:11-12

    Charles Swindoll tells us in his book, Rise and Shine: "Our sole purpose, our basic reason for existence, is to bring maximum glory to our God - to magnify, exalt and elevate the Lord our God. When we truly 'act right,' we obey Jesus' words in Matthew 5:16, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'"

    7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Phyllis Elvington | with 0 comments

    Formations lesson for August 8: God Calls Samuel : Friday, July 23, 2004

    July 23 2004 by Ken Vandergriff

    Formations lesson for August 8: God Calls Samuel : Friday, July 23, 2004
    Friday, July 23, 2004

    Formations lesson for August 8: God Calls Samuel

    By Ken Vandergriff
    Focal Passage: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

    Several of the Bible's call-narratives give the impression of a solitary individual in a dramatic encounter with God, which forever changes the direction of that life - Abraham (Gen. 12), Moses (Ex. 3), Isaiah (Isa. 6), Paul (Acts 9). Today's text, however, offers a different experience of calling, one that required the help of another to comprehend and that extended over time.

    Three features of this text are important for our understanding of God's call in our lives.

    God's call as a process

    It is notable that God called three times before Samuel or Eli perceived what was happening. We shouldn't fault Samuel, since verse 7 says that he had not yet had a revelatory experience with God.

    Similarly for many of us, God may have to invite us repeatedly before we perceive. That is no less real or effective than the singular dramatic experience; it's just different.

    Michael Ruffin of Belmont University stated that "this experience of Samuel, which lasts for one night, can be offered as a paradigm for the life of discipleship: over and over, we move from misunderstanding to readiness to response."

    Even after we have responded positively to a call of God, the call may remain an ongoing process.

    I remember a seminary friend who worked as a missionary in Europe. While home on furlough he told me, "Every time my wife and I come home, God has to call us again to go back to the mission field." That is realistic.

    It is a mistaken notion to assume that a call necessarily locks us in for a lifetime. Sometimes it does, but not always. Isaiah 50:4 says, "morning by morning he wakens my ear."

    Times of transition

    Samuel's entire ministry straddled some of the most unsettling transitions in Israel's history.

    At Samuel's initial call he faced religious change, as the priestly house of Eli, with its respected and ancient heritage, was losing its privilege to serve God, in fact was losing life itself (1 Sam. 2:22-36).

    As an adult he faced political change, as he was called to steer Israel's transition from a loosely knit tribal league to a united monarchy, due to the threat of the Philistines (1 Sam. 8-12).

    Still later God called him to announce God's rejection of King Saul and God's choice of the new king, David (1 Sam. 13:13-14; 15:10-31; 16:1-4), another disquieting political transition.

    Note that in these transitions Samuel was not called to take Israel back to the past, to the way things used to be. He moved Israel forward, into the new. Even as the old was fading, Samuel sensed that God was birthing the new.

    Change is always unsettling. In recent decades pluralism, eclecticism and secularism have offered alternative visions to our society; most denominations have felt the loss of denominational security; new moral issues raise vexing questions.

    Can we hear God's voice today, calling not to retreat to a supposed idyllic past but to discern His newness in the midst of unsettling change?

    The role of mentors

    The blind priest who could not literally see at last perceived God's speaking to Samuel, and Eli acted as a mentor, guiding the inexperienced Samuel. Eli could have let bitterness stand in the way of his mentoring. After all, his sons were disappointments (1 Sam. 2:12-17,22-25), and he had already been told that the priestly privilege would be taken from his family (1 Sam. 2:27-36). Who would blame him for bitterness? Instead, he guided.

    This text reminds us of the role of community in discerning God's call. We, like Samuel, may miss God's voice. There is wisdom both in mentoring and being mentored.

    7/23/2004 12:00:00 AM by Ken Vandergriff | with 0 comments

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