June 2001

CBF leaders refer strategic plan back to council for more study

June 29 2001 by Bob Allen , Associated Baptist Press

CBF leaders refer strategic plan back to council for more study | Friday, June 29, 2001
  • Adding a membership requirement that churches must "embrace" the CBF mission statement and organizational values to be counted as a CBF member. Some complain that requiring any action beyond financial support violates the autonomy of the local church. Others say it smacks of creedalism and would divide churches by forcing the issue in congregations where CBF and Southern Baptist Convention supporters peacefully co-exist.
  • Altering makeup of the Coordinating Council. The plan proposes reducing the size of the council to make it more efficient, but it also ends the practice of allowing state and regional CBF chapters to elect their own representatives to the national council. A nominating committee appointed by and reporting to a renamed Governing Board would in the future recruit new members. Critics say the move removes decision-making from the grassroots and moves the council's complexion toward a self-perpetuating board.
  • A general feeling that leaders of state chapters weren't included in early phases of developing the plan, when their feedback could have helped avoid some of the problems. Pushed by a desire to unveil the strategic plan in conjunction with the CBF's 10th anniversary General Assembly and to move beyond a strategic-planning limbo that has already spanned two years, some members felt the council was attempting to ramrod it through.

    "In terms of how this is playing at the grassroots level, this is not being well received, and I think it will hinder what we are doing in phase one if we don't clarify this," said Michael Tutterow, a council member from Wilmington.

    Forrester, a minister from Greenville, S.C., said the council had probably failed to communicate effectively how the first and second planning phases fit together.

    Moderator-elect Jim Baucom pledged to invite recognized experts to discuss polity concerns and to seek input from the broader constituency during the next year.

    Pam Eubanks of Knoxville, Tenn., recalled that leaders initially believed unveiling a strategic plan for the future on the group's 10th anniversary would serve as "a birthday present for CBF."

    "It would have been great for us to offer this as a birthday present," she said, " ... but we've all gotten birthday presents we were disappointed with.

    "Give us all time to chew on it, to think about it and maybe come up with a wonderful present for our 11th or 12th birthday."

    At a breakout session on June 29, CBF members talked about the need for more input on the issue.

    Ed Vick, a layman from First Baptist Church in Raleigh, said he thought that money should be a deciding factor to be a member of CBF. He also talked about the method of electing Coordinating Council members.

    "I think this is a grassroots organization and I think it's important we have grassroots input into the governing board," he said. "We do not want a self-perpetuating board."

    Hardy Clemons, First Baptist Greenville, S.C., suggested naming the group a "leadership team" instead of a "governing board."

    "If we end up with 'governing board' we have made a deep mistake," he said.

    Harry Poovey, a retired N.C. Baptist pastor who served on the Coordinating Council for four years, said he believes it is dangerous to get away from grassroots input.

    "Since I rotated off I don't know what's going on," he said.

    Bob Patterson, the coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, said phase two of the strategic plan should be put together in a way similar to the method used for phase one.

    "Phase one was devised with the input of every one of us," he said.

    In another vote, however, the Coordinating Council refused to reverse an earlier position banning CBF funding of institutions that "condone, advocate or affirm homosexual practice."

    After discussion, the council voted 38-13 against a motion by Dixie Petrey of Knoxville, Tenn., to rescind the policy approved last October.

    The council did, however, change terminology in the statement from "organizational value" to "personnel and administrative funding policy" in an effort to clarify that it is an internal document for the Coordinating Council and does not speak for the CBF movement as a whole.

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - Biblical Recorder Assistant Editor Jimmy Allen contributed to this report.)

  • Friday, June 29, 2001

    CBF leaders refer strategic plan back to council for more study

    By Bob Allen Associated Baptist Press ATLANTA - Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leaders have sent a strategic plan slated for vote at this week's General Assembly back to the drawing board. Citing resistance from state and regional groups affiliated with the CBF, a national Coordinating Council voted on the eve of the June 28-30 gathering in Atlanta not to go forward with a second-phase strategic plan billed as a new course for the moderate group's second decade.

    The plan, which follows a first phase approved last year that included a new mission statement and reorganized staff, proposes to alter the makeup of the organization's governing board, the Coordinating Council, and change the way the national body relates to state and regional chapters.

    Since its release in February, the plan has drawn widespread criticism, prompting the Coordinating Council June 27 to refer it back for more study and dialogue with a goal of recommending a possibly altered plan at a future national gathering.

    "There's just been a virtual storm as people have read about this particular plan from their own perspectives and without all the information sometimes," CBF moderator Donna Forrester said.

    Among concerns cited in formal communication from state CBF groups in North Carolina and Virginia and informally in other states are:

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/29/2001 12:00:00 AM by Bob Allen , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

    Graham's message is timeless: Jesus is the only way

    June 29 2001 by Michael Foust , Baptist Press

    Graham's message is timeless: Jesus is the only way | Friday, June 29, 2001

    Friday, June 29, 2001

    Graham's message is timeless: Jesus is the only way

    By Michael Foust Baptist Press LOUISVILLE, Ky. - He opened by proclaiming the exclusivity of the gospel and closed by stressing the eternality of the soul. During four days of preaching in Louisville, Ky., June 21-24, 82-year-old evangelist Billy Graham made it clear that while his health has changed in recent years, his message of salvation through Jesus Christ hasn't.

    Graham preached to more than 180,000 people during four nights of the Greater Louisville Billy Graham Crusade at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, including a stadium-record crowd of 57,500 on the final night. Each night, nearly 2,300 people responded to Graham's call to make a commitment to Christ.

    "Is there another way to heaven, except through Christ?" Graham asked the crowd on the first night. "The Bible teaches there's only one way. Other people will come along and try to tell you there are other ways, but the Bible says there's only one way, and that way is by the cross. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.'"

    Each night, the crowd showed its appreciation to Graham by giving him a standing ovation as he prepared to speak. Following the standing ovation on the first night, Graham quipped, "I'm not a horse" - in reference to Kentucky's famous thoroughbreds.

    Like he has during his entire career, Graham mixed anecdotes and humor with his gospel presentation. He joked about his age, saying that the golden years are anything but golden.

    "I used to think of myself as young - just a few short years ago," he said on the final night. "Now I know that I'm old, and I have a lot of the problems that old people have. I've accepted the fact that I'm old, and I'm proud when they say that I'm old. It's a great period of life. ... It's a great period to experience God - to look back over your life and see the hand of God in your life, and to have the assurance that if you die you're going to heaven. To me, heaven is one glorious place, and I'm going."

    Graham then quickly reminded the hushed crowd of the reality of death, saying, "Every one of us are going to die."

    "Are you in the process of losing your soul today?" he asked. "You were born in sin, and sin has separated you from God. There was a movie entitled, 'The Voyage of the Damned.' That's the route some of you are taking right now. You're on a cruise. It's the voyage of the damned. You're having a pretty good time now, but one day it will snap, and you'll find yourself in a totally different environment. There's no return route out of hell. It's a one-way street.

    "Jesus Christ loved you so much that he died that you might live - that you might live fully, completely and eternally.

    Graham told the story about the New Jersey lottery winner who waited until the last week to claim his multi-million dollar prize.

    "But even if you've got it all, it doesn't bring peace and happiness," he said. "It doesn't help in time of trouble."

    While the world changes, God never changes, Graham said

    Graham then told the crowd, "(God) is never going to change. But you must change. Have you changed?"

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    6/29/2001 12:00:00 AM by Michael Foust , Baptist Press | with 0 comments

    Changing the world, a house at a time

    June 22 2001 by Melissa Pendleton , BR Intern

    Changing the world, a house at a time | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Changing the world, a house at a time

    By Melissa Pendleton BR Intern Matthew Pyle knows a changing world when he sees one. In south Raleigh last week, he saw hundreds of teenagers nailing shingles on roofs and painting houses. They worked around a chain link fence and a big, blue, industrial trash bin.

    They heard a table saw whirring and muffled conversation.

    And, of course, they felt June humidity common to North Carolina.

    Pyle, from Missouri, spent the last three summers with World Changers, a student program sponsored by the North American Mission Board. The work meant so much to him that he joined the World Changer staff. This year he's helping oversee work in Raleigh, one of 85 World Changers' project sites this year.

    About 390 student volunteers came to Raleigh to repair run-down residences June 9-16.

    They came from all parts of the country. Some of them are even native to North Carolina.

    North Carolina churches participating in the mission program are: North Side Baptist Church, Shelby; McKee Road Baptist Church, Charlotte; Iotla Baptist Church, Franklin; Covenant Baptist Church, Charlotte; Boger City Baptist Church, Lincolnton; and Bethlehem Baptist Church, Kings Mountain.

    Long before the World Changers arrived in Raleigh, the citizens whom they will be helping were chosen. The City of Raleigh Community Development office gives World Changers its assignments. According to Pyle, many of the recipients are either elderly or disabled and unable to make repairs themselves. The city office matches the residents' needs with the skills of the World Changers. Then, 28 crews go to work.

    A typical crew consists of 10-15 members. Each crew's members vary in age. Most of the high school students work on roofing, while the junior high students paint. This year, there is one junior high crew roofing.

    With all of these young volunteers, adult support and supervision is necessary. There must be one adult volunteer to every five students. Most volunteer for a one-week commitment.

    Many churches have fund-raisers or offer scholarships for the young mission workers. The World Changers at the Raleigh project slept, ate and worshipped at Wake Christian Academy.

    Pyle said a typical day goes something like this: 7 a.m. volunteers report to the worksite. They break for lunch, which is hosted by members of the Raleigh Baptist Association.

    After lunch, the crews continue working until around 3:30 p.m. Then the volunteers have until dinner at 6:00 p.m. to shower and rest. At 7:45 p.m. they attend a worship service. The youth meet with their church groups before going to bed at 10:30 p.m.

    Pyle said he loves the program and what it does. "I love the change in my life and the change I see in the lives of others," he said. " I felt I needed to be helping in a different capacity.

    "It's great to see 400 kids come in and give time, money, sweat and blood. They're excited about what they see God doing in the community."

    To promote a sense of group identity and the spirit of teamwork, each crew has a name. The group "Clueless" put siding and new windows in William B. Hinton's home on Rock Quarry Road.

    Hinton said that he's been looking forward to the project for "about a year." The young people knew exactly what to do, he said.

    "They are nice people," he said. "You can't meet people any nicer."

    Mark Anthony Porter, Hinton's grandson, was helping "Clueless" to repair his grandfather's home. The shy, quiet, 10 year-old-boy said it makes him feel "good" that people are helping his grandpa. Mark Anthony said he's going to help others when he gets older.

    Lewis Rager, from Circle Wood Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., decided to help change the world with his oldest daughter, Kendall. He learned about the project from working with the youth in his church.

    "The experience has opened my eyes to the needs of others and made me grateful for what I've got," he said.

    Rager is also excited to see positive changes in his daughter.

    Erika Kicklighter is a volunteer from Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights, Fla.

    "This has been a humbling experience," she said.

    Kicklighter is thankful for "the ability to serve God and help people out."

    "It's good for the kids to see how the people (we help) live," she said.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Melissa Pendleton , BR Intern | with 0 comments

    Mainstream meets with Charles Page

    June 22 2001 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Mainstream meets with Charles Page | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Mainstream meets with Charles Page

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor Representatives of Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) had a "very productive and helpful" meeting with Baptist State Convention (BSC) presidential candidate Charles Page, but stopped short of endorsing him. The MBNC steering committee met with Page on June 15 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.

    Carolina Conservative Baptists (CCB) has endorsed Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte. Page's candidacy was announced April 26 at a meeting of "loyal Southern Baptists" sponsored by CCB.

    Page said at that meeting that he believes the Bible is "God's inerrant, infallible word." Inerrancy was the battle cry of conservatives while they gained control of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

    Some moderates fear that conservatives want to take over the BSC. MBNC formed last year with the intent of "preserving" the BSC. The group is made up mostly of moderates, but includes some conservatives.

    Page's candidacy put MBNC in a delicate position. Page is widely seen as a strong candidate.

    An endorsement of Page could be seen as evidence of MBNC's commitment to shared leadership, but also could alienate moderates who worry about a conservative takeover.

    The MBNC steering committee did not immediately decide whether to support Page, according to a four-page statement released by the committee. Page confirmed the major points of the statement through a church spokesperson.

    MBNC told Page that details of the meeting would be made public.

    At the meeting, Page said he supported all four of the BSC's budget plans. Three of the plans divide Cooperative Program gifts from churches between the BSC and SBC. The other divides the money between the BSC and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a ministry and missions alternative to the SBC.

    Page told MBNC that he would not block the appointment of an ordained woman to a state committee, nor would he block the appointment of someone from a church that has broken ties with the SBC. He said he strongly believes in the autonomy of the local church.

    "If they are contributing to the state convention, that should determine their eligibility for participation," he said.

    Page said such issues on the "periphery" cause problems among Baptists. He said he would hope to lead the BSC back to the main issues, and "to do what we tried to do with shared leadership."

    Roy J. Smith, retired BSC executive director-treasurer and a member of the MBNC steering committee, told Page that his name had been mentioned as a possible centrist candidate, but Smith said he felt that opportunity had been lost with the CCB's April endorsement.

    Page said he is not a member of the CCB and is not a regular attendee of its meetings. "Much of what they believe, I agree with, but I have lots of friends outside that group," he said. "I am not a political animal."

    When asked if he had a debt to the CCB, he said, "Absolutely not."

    Page said he had no idea why his candidacy was announced at the CCB meeting. "It was not part of my plan," he said, but added that he is not na�ve enough to think that others were not making plans.

    Page was asked how he would work with the two vice presidents to nominate the 15 members to serve on the Committee on Committees. Page said he would recommend that they collaborate on selecting the nominees.

    "Whether we end up with 7 conservative and 8 moderates, or 8 conservatives and 7 moderates, is of no concern to me at all," he said.

    Page said two key events led to his candidacy - the extension of life he feels he has been granted following a bout with cancer and his sense that the Lord could use him to help the state convention to come together. He said N.C. Baptists share a common emphasis - the lordship of Christ and doing missions and evangelism.

    Don Gordon, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mount Olive and chairman of the steering committee, asked Page a number of questions during the meeting. "He answered some key questions in a way that revealed that he values diversity," Gordon said in a telephone interview.

    Page and the committee met for about an hour and a half. Committee members said it was a "very productive and helpful session." They said Page was open, frank and cordial.

    Committee members said they desire to meet with future candidates as they are announced.

    "Therefore, the Steering Committee is not taking a position to endorse any candidate at this time," the committee's statement said.

    After meeting with Page, committee members discussed whether Mainstream should endorse candidates.

    Gordon said that while the committee didn't endorse Page, such support was still possible.

    "We just haven't made a decision yet on what we're going to do about him or any other candidate," Gordon said. "I'd say we're in a state of prayer, seeking God's will."

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

    Sermon to remain before election, committee decides

    June 22 2001 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Sermon to remain before election, committee decides | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Sermon to remain before election, committee decides

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor The program, place and preacher committee has decided not to move the sermon at this year's Baptist State Convention (BSC) meeting despite concerns that the preacher will be nominated for president. John Cashwell, chairman of the committee and pastor of Green Springs Baptist Church in Parkton, said Charles Page was asked to preach the convention sermon long before he was asked to be nominated for president.

    Conservative Carolina Baptists announced April 26 that Page would run for president at the BSC meeting in November.

    The convention sermon is preached during the Monday evening session of the annual BSC meetings. The presidential election is the next day.

    Some have questioned whether a candidate for president should be allowed to preach before the election.

    Cashwell said his committee decided against moving the convention sermon until after the election. The committee wanted to emphasize worship each day, with the convention sermon on Monday, a musical on Tuesday and a time of prayer on Wednesday, he said.

    "Let's not emphasize politics; let's emphasize God," he said. "Maybe we can find one thing we Baptists can agree on - that's the worship of God."

    In a meeting with the Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) steering committee, Page talked about the wisdom and fairness of his preaching the convention sermon at the meeting at which he will be nominated. He said he called a member of the program, place and preacher committee and current BSC President Mike Cummings and offered to step aside. He said they encouraged him to preach the sermon since he had been asked well before he decided to run for president.

    Don Gordon, the chairman of the MBNC steering committee, said some will see the issue as giving Page an unfair political advantage.

    No other candidate for president has been announced.

    Cashwell said his committee also decided to leave BSC vice presidential elections on Wednesday even though the move from Tuesday was questioned.

    "We're saying with that that every day of our convention is important," he said.

    Traditionally, Tuesday has been the best attended with attendance falling off markedly on Wednesday.

    Both matters can be challenged on the floor of the convention.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

    Southeastern to shut down childcare center

    June 22 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Southeastern to shut down childcare center | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Southeastern to shut down childcare center

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor WAKE FOREST - Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced plans to close the Ruby Reid Child Development Center, citing as one of the reasons "ideological problems" with the school sponsoring a childcare center. The center, which has served both seminary students and community families for decades, is one of a select few to have a "four star" rating. It was designed to serve as a learning laboratory for the seminary while also providing quality care for children two to five years old, according to Beth McLeod, who directed the program from 1965-85.

    That is no longer seen as the center's function.

    Seminary president Paige Patterson told Baptist Press that the center doesn't fit into the school's "Statement of Institutional Purpose." He said the seminary officials are currently reviewing the school to be sure it is "in compliance with accepted standards of higher education accreditation."

    "Through this review we realized that providing daycare is not really a part of our mission, especially when the vast majority of our clients are from the community and not students," he said. "We have no program for early childhood education, and the center serves no educational purpose."

    Tina Dekle, who has been director of the center for seven of the 12 years she has worked there, said that about 20 percent of the 60 pre-schoolers enrolled in the center's summer program are children of seminary students, but about half of the 86 children who are registered for the fall program have parents in seminary.

    In separate letters to student parents, community parents and the center's 21 employees, Patterson related a variety of reasons for the closure. He told parents from the community that the children had been "an infinite spring of happiness," but that childcare was not the seminary's focus, and he was concerned about the seminary's liability exposure.

    To student parents, Patterson said the seminary could no longer afford the liability or the operating cost of keeping the center open. Raising tuition fees to a break-even level would make it impossible for students to afford the service, Patterson said.

    Baptist Press reported that the center has lost $332,000 over the past five years.

    "When we added it up, we determined that the seminary was spending $4,000 of Cooperative Program funds per year per student child to provide daycare," Patterson said.

    Patterson also told students that seminary officials had "ideological problems" with seminary sponsorship of a childcare center.

    "Recent discoveries regarding children reared in childcare centers have only escalated our convictions that the child that is most likely to have a happy and useful life is a child reared in the home with the parents, not in a childcare center," he said.

    Patterson told Baptist Press that the students embrace those views.

    "However, our position on child rearing did not close the center," he said. "Had that been the case, we would have closed it nine years ago when I became president."

    In his letter to the students, Patterson said that some may disagree with the decision.

    "I hope that in your decisions about what to say or not to say about it you will keep in mind the critical nature of our public witness for Christ, and also that you will respect the necessity of the adminstration to make the best conceivable decision for the sake of the institution as a whole," he said.

    Cheryl Robbins, whose son, Noah, 4, has attended the center for more than two years, told the Wake Weekly newspaper that Patterson was unamused by media attention to the center's closing.

    Robbins, who is not a student, said that Patterson told her that "using the press to pressure me to do what you want does not work with me. It hasn't for 20 years, does not today and will not tomorrow. She said Patterson told her that because she had gone to the press he had "hardened his decision not to give the parents a hearing."

    Other parents and people in the community reacted with dismay. Christie Pleasant of Youngsville told the Biblical Recorder that her daughter Katie has been in three other day care centers, but none offered the level of care she received at Ruby Reid. "Katie is happy and learning and has a place where students pray at lunchtime," Pleasant said. "Those traits mean a lot to a parent."

    In response to Patterson's belief that children should be raised in the home, Pleasant said, "If this were a perfect world, we would all stay at home." Citing financial pressure and the need many families feel for both parents to work, she added, "It's not a perfect world."

    Former director McLeod expressed similar sentiments in a letter to the Wake Weekly, noting the number of "graduates" of Ruby Reid Center who are now serving as productive adults in both ministerial and lay professions. "It is unrealistic to think that all of the mothers of children presently enrolled at Ruby Reid will be able to stay home with their children," she said.

    A group of parents, including some seminary students, met June 19 to discuss options for keeping the center open as an independent entity. They decided to write seminary trustees, asking to use the current facility for another year while they seek an alternate location.

    Although Patterson's letter said the center would close prior to the fall semester, Dekle said he has offered to allow rent-free use of the campus facility through December provided organizers agree to pay part of the utilities and begin to incorporate separately from the seminary.

    Dekle hopes individuals or churches will volunteer space or funding for a new facility. "We believe very strongly in the ministry being done here," she said. "We hope to continue offering a full-time Christian-based center."

    Seminary officials said the building will likely be used for a healthcare center and computer labs.

    The closing comes on the heels of related actions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

    Southern Seminary officials announced in April 2000 that the campus childcare program would close at the end of July, citing financial woes. After a public outcry, seminary president Al Mohler pledged to keep the center open at least one more year while the school studied long-term options to meet the seminary's child care needs.

    Mohler denied claims that the decision was based on a belief that mothers should stay home with their children, telling Kentucky's Western Recorder "We are not philosophically opposed" to providing child care on campus.

    After completing the study, seminary officials decided to upgrade the facility and keep it open, according to Lawrence Smith, vice-president for public relations. Smith told the Kentucky Western Recorder the center will be open "for the foreseeable future" and that $100,000 has been invested in the facility's playground, fencing and security features.

    Midwestern's childcare center has been closed and reopened twice since 1995. Interim president Michael Whitehead reopened the center in August 2000, but new seminary president Phil Roberts decided in April to close the facility, and the seminary's board of trustees voted 17-9 at their April 23-24 meeting to cease operations on June 15, according to a Baptist Press report.

    However, a May 23 article in the Kansas City Star said seminary officials were considering keeping the campus center open by negotiating with an outside operator to run it.

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    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    �Habla usted Espa�ol?

    June 22 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Habla usted Espanol? | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Habla usted Espanol?

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor Have you found the voice on the fast food drive-through squawkbox even harder to understand than usual? Tried to carry on a conversation with the guys laying brick over at the new shopping center? There's a good chance there are a growing number of people in your community who you simply can't talk to without learning at least a smattering of Spanish.

    Figures from the 2000 census reveal that North Carolina, like many other states, saw a dramatic increase in its Hispanic population. In fact, the Tar Heel state led the nation in the percentage of growth in immigrants from Mexico (655 percent), with large increases in the Puerto Rican and Cuban population as well. Immigrants are also coming from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and other poor Latin American countries.

    They have one thing in common: they speak Spanish.

    Most North Carolinians have something in common: we don't.

    I've been trying to maximize the time spent in my car by listening to "Learn in Your Car Spanish" tapes. I've learned a lot of words and a fair number of grammatical rules. Given time for mental ciphering, I can understand the man on the tape (who enunciates clearly and says everything twice). Haltingly, I can talk back to him.

    But when the landscape crew in line behind me at Wal-Mart starts talking among themselves, it's all I can do to pick out one word in ten.

    North Carolina Baptists have a variety of projects and programs under way that are designed to impact our growing Latino population with the love of Christ and with the gospel challenge.

    We can do lots of things. We can provide space in our facilities and help sponsor Hispanic pastors, and that's good. But, if we are to have wider influence on our new neighbors - if we really intend to show them the love of Christ, more of us will need to learn their heart language.

    Is that easy? We can all understand that answer, which is the same word in English and Spanish: "No."

    Is it worth the effort?


    To learn ways you can be more involved in ministering to our growing Hispanic population, call Larry Phillips or John Jones at the Baptist State Convention: (919) 467-5100 local, (800) 395-5102 toll free, or send e-mail to lphillips@bscnc.org or jjones@bscnc.org.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    Lighter weight, deeper thoughts

    June 22 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Lighter weight, deeper thoughts | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Lighter weight, deeper thoughts

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor I was recently asked to prepare a devotion based on why I chose to lose weight and get into shape - at least, a different shape. I agreed, but then realized that I didn't know why. I knew that I wanted to trim down and shape up, and had a clear gut feeling that I needed to, but hadn't given it much more thought.

    Since I was preparing for a devotion, the first thing that came to mind was 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 6:19-20, which speak of our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit. In context, both passages are more concerned with moral purity than with physical fitness, but the principle is the same. We belong to God, and should honor Him with our bodies.

    I would like to think that my get-in-shape campaign was motivated purely by pious devotion to God and a desire to renovate the temple I inhabit, but I can't really claim that as my primary goal.

    Was it just vanity? Could it be that I wanted to trim down so I could pose in front of the mirror and count my abdominal muscles?

    I suspect vanity does play a role. I do in fact like the way I look at 190 a whole lot better than the way I looked at 225, though I've been less thrilled with having to buy new clothes.

    Better physical fitness promotes stronger self-esteem, and I suppose most of us could use more of that. When I look down, I don't have to lean over to see my feet. If some bad guys were to start chasing me, I know I could probably run farther than them. When I step on the scales, I no longer beat myself up for being out of control in the buffet line.

    When I eat appropriate amounts of food instead of packing in every left over scrap on the table, I feel better and my digestive system works better.

    When I get a decent amount of exercise and work up a good sweat four or five times a week, I have more energy and stamina.

    All of which adds up to, I like myself better, and I feel better when I gain some measure of mastery over my appetite and fitness level. That's a pretty strong motivation.

    But, there is another reason that goes deeper yet, if I am honest, and it is this: I don't want to die. Not yet, anyway. No sooner than necessary.

    It is customary for folks near my age to take a hard look at our mortality. Things are happening to our bodies that we know are directly related to age. We see and feel the changes, and know we will never be the same again.

    There are a lot of things about aging that we can't change, but there are areas in which we can make a difference. Decisions we make now will have consequences later.

    I can't change the number of years my heart has been beating, but I can make it stronger and do something about keeping its arteries clear.

    I can't change the number of miles my feet have walked, but I can reduce the number of pounds they must carry.

    I can't change my body's age, but I can lower its risk factors for disease.

    Seven years ago, I woke up after a grinding crash. My daughter Bethany did not, teaching me clearly that there are no guarantees about how long we will live. I could get fit enough to run a marathon and get run over on the way home.

    But, as I have learned to be thankful for every day of life, I am also determined to make the most of those days. I want them to be active days, fruitful days. I want to retire from getting paid one day, but not from being useful. I hope to gain some wisdom, and have strength enough to pass it on.

    A reader friend recently reminded me of a motto we learned in Vacation Bible School or some other church program many years ago, one that stuck with me: "I will do my best with what I have for Jesus' sake today."

    I can't do my best for Jesus' sake today or any of the tomorrows that lie ahead if I am not physically as well as spiritually fit.

    Which brings us back to that idea of taking good care of the temple that God has given to each of us.

    Maybe I'm more pious than I thought.

    Maybe you are, too.

    I hope so.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    Reaching our youth: a greater challenge than ever

    June 22 2001 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

    Reaching our youth: a greater challenge than ever | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Reaching our youth: a greater challenge than ever

    By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer A great challenge for me as a pastor was the question concerning a person's age when they were most likely to make a profession of faith in Christ and join the church. Although there was great debate on how young someone can be - when do you actually reach that "age of accountability" - there was little disagreement that conversions were less frequent after age 18 or graduation from high school. When we begin to "be on our own" - either college or career - things spiritual seem to play a smaller role in our list of priorities. Conventional wisdom says that young married couples, especially after the birth of the first child, will generally find their way back to church. I'm not sure that is as true today as it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Today, more and more people delay marriage until their late 20s or early 30s, long after they've established their social patterns. Also, single adults, a group most congregations have always had trouble assimilating into church life, are a growing segment of our overall population. The man, wife and school-age-children family is no longer the majority in our society, nor in many of our churches.

    Reaching youth and young adults has long been a major priority for many of our Baptist churches. The Baptist State Convention has provided some type of youth and campus ministry for well over seven decades. Today, that challenge is greater than ever - and one often more difficult to accomplish.

    Many of our well-worn beliefs about youth ministry may simply no longer be true.

    Belief one: Most of "our" young people accept Christ as pre-teens or teenagers, join the church and continue as active disciples for the rest of their lives. Although this model can still be found throughout our convention, more and more youth make it to high school graduation without publicly committing their lives to Christ. Today's youth ministry must focus on youth evangelism. Good children from good homes don't automatically become Christians.

    Belief two: Since most of "our" people were saved in their home church before age 18, our ministry to college and career groups does not have to emphasize evangelism. There is probably no greater field of evangelism in North Carolina today than our college and university campuses, a challenge we take very seriously. Wanda Kidd, our campus minister at Western Carolina University, who recently received her doctor of ministry degree from Drew University, wrote her thesis on "Listening Evangelism: Sharing the Christian Gospel with Post-moderns."

    North Carolina Baptists have long recognized the changing youth and campus ministry landscape. We are responding to these challenges through our Mission Growth Evangelism Group. We have just hired two new staff members to work with youth and young adults, each well qualified in this important area of ministry: Merrie Johnson in youth ministry and Rick Trexler in campus ministry.

    We have - and will continue - to emphasize youth and campus ministry, building on the past while recognizing that reaching our youth is a greater challenge than ever.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments

    Family Bible Study lesson for July 8: It is finished!

    June 22 2001 by Catherine Painter , John 19:16-18, 28-31, 33-42

    Family Bible Study lesson for July 8: It is finished! | Friday, June 22, 2001

    Friday, June 22, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson for July 8: It is finished!

    By Catherine Painter John 19:16-18, 28-31, 33-42 I'm going to Calvary. Come too, if you like, but remember - it's serious business. God compels no one to accept Jesus' sacrifice. You can reject; you're just not free to decide "not to decide." That is rejection. Then, too, it's not for the weak of stomach. It's ugly, and there'll be a bloody stench. I don't understand it all yet, but I steer my life by it anyway.

    I remember the first time I heard the crucifixion described. Years ago, John Bisagnio preached about it at a convention. Until then, my knowledge was limited to that one phrase: "... there they crucified him" (Luke 23:33), and my gold cross necklace.

    With fingers in both ears and with my eyes shut, his words still found their way in, and my tears forced their way out. I begged Jack to leave, but I'm glad we stayed.

    Charles Spurgeon said, "Measure yourself by the cross and see how high you stand."

    The crucifixion (John 19:16-18)Crucifixion originated with wild tribes, was picked up by Persians, was passed on to Carthage where Romans reserved it for their worst criminals. Yet, the best man who ever lived died, not for anything He did, but for being who He was - "The King of the Jews" (v. 19).

    We're here. His crucifiers have finished, "And sitting down they watched Him there" (Matt. 27:36). Imagine that - doing nothing - not loving Him, not living for Him, not letting Him change anything - just watching Him? They gamble for His clothing. I want to say, "Jesus played for keeps, too," but I keep my distance.

    The observations (Selected verses)I like to people-watch. Jesus' mother and other women weep (see Mark 15:40-41).

    One malefactor insults Him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save Yourself and us" (Luke 23:39)! He doesn't answer (Ps.66:18). The other prays, "Jesus, remember me ..." and Jesus promises: "... today you will be with Me in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).

    No probing His past, no probationary period; just immediate forgiveness and eternal status (see John 6:37b).

    Passersby rail (Matt. 27:40b), and chief priests make an offer: "Come down and we will believe" (Mark 15:32). It's staged; Jesus won't respond. But the centurion says, "Surely, this was the Son of God" (Mark 15:39). Reporting for work, he had assumed Jesus was one more criminal to dispose of, but leaving his mind open and his heart's door ajar, I believe Jesus entered (cf. Rev. 3:20).

    The completion (John 19:31, 33-34)Jesus says, "I thirst." The One who created water is thirsty. Fulfilling Isaiah 69:21, someone puts a sponge filled with vinegar to His lips. Receiving it, He cries, "It is finished!" It's a cry of victory, much like our "Mission accomplished!"

    Suddenly it's dark (Luke 23:44). Those crucified hands have turned off the light of the sun. The earth shakes (Matt. 27:51b); the guards tremble (Luke 23:44-45). The Sanhedrin, their hands still wet with His blood, worry about some Old Testament law that denies leaving anyone crucified overnight on a cross (see Deut. 21:22-23). Soldiers come with mallets to break their legs. Unable to exhale now, they'll die of suffocation. But Jesus has committed His spirit to God (see Ps. 34:20).

    The burial (John 19:38-42)Someone said, "Joseph of Arimathea originated 'Christians Anonymous.'" He believed in Jesus but kept it secret "for fear of the Jews" (v.38). It's interesting how some people will parade their loyalty to an organization, but will remain strangely hesitant about voicing their allegiance to Christ.

    The testimony (John 19:35-37)John declares what he has written is true. It looks like a shut case. But when Emile Zola was condemned, his lawyer pointed to a crucifix, saying, "Remember, gentlemen, that was once a closed case, too, but it was opened again." I'll see you at the empty tomb!

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Catherine Painter , John 19:16-18, 28-31, 33-42 | with 0 comments

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