December 8, 2011 Print Edition

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As Christmas approaches, Uth urges pastors to plan for Easter

ORLANDO (FBW)—It’s not Christmas yet, but David Uth is urging Florida Baptist churches to be thinking of ways to demonstrate the reality of the incarnation next Easter by meeting needs in their communities.

Uth, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, introduced his “Love is Alive” concept during the recent FBSC annual meeting in Coral Springs—that churches would use the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus for 40 days of service leading up to Easter Sunday, April 8.

Tom Elliff inaugurated as IMB president & ‘bondservant’

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)—A few days before Tom Elliff’s inauguration as the 11th leader of IMB (the International Mission Board), three bite-size packages of Butterfinger chocolate appear on a table at the entrance of his office.

Elliff offers one to a visitor, pops another in his mouth. His eyes crinkle at the edges as he savors the morsel—they are a favorite. Finally the grin that quickly became famous around the office when Elliff arrived seven months ago breaks across his face.

Florida Baptists invited to observe SBC Day of Prayer Jan. 29

JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—In times of uncertainty, desperate needs and looming disasters, Florida Baptists must turn to God for comfort, strength and hope, said a state spiritual awakening specialist.

There is no better time to “share the hope found in Christ and reliance on God the Father than at the start of a new year,” said Rick Shepherd, strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s Prayer and Spiritual Awakening Team.

Editorial: Before you forward that email …

Don’t believe everything you read. In the age of the Internet and email this maxim has never been truer.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a friend. The subject line read: “Is this legit? … Pastor Removal from TV.” My friend was skeptical for good reason. I immediately recognized the bogus claims—although revised from earlier iterations—as the notorious FCC Petition Number 2493 that has been around for decades. Indeed, this hoax has been in circulation since 1975—and it won’t die!

Point of View: The danger of idols & lionizing the living

JACKSONVILLE (BP)—Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said Nov. 14 that former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno’s name would be removed from the conference’s championship trophy.

Point of View: Spiritual baby formula

There are no magic formulas for the Christian life or its spiritual disciplines. Take prayer for instance, the scriptural formula for prayer is quite simple. We are to simply “pray in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). In other words, we are to pray as God burdens us to pray, we are to pray as the still, small voice of the Spirit instructs us to pray, and we are to pray with whatever spirit of prayer and supplication we are graciously granted.

Point of View: With thanksgiving, rejoice this Christmas season

The salt and pepper pilgrims on my dining room table had a short shelf life this year. Thankfully, the spirit of Thanksgiving they were meant to represent lasts all year long.

Point of View: Dave says

Dave Says is a column featuring the financial advice of nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey, the Dave Says column is filled with timely, relevant questions and answers taken from actual calls on Ramsey's radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show.

Point of View: A very unhealthy situation: Trampling on religious rights

The Department of Health & Human Services recently cut funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ campaign against human trafficking. Not because the campaign wasn’t helping the victims of sex trafficking. It was.

Hanging Christmas stockings amidst Japan’s devastation

TOHUKU, Japan (FBW)—A November mission trip to northern Japan, where residents are still cleaning up from the March 11 tsunami, has cemented a Jacksonville family’s commitment to missions. San Jose Baptist Church layman Dusty Gregory, who led the four-man team that included his 18-year-old son J.D., called the trip “unforgettable and humbling.”

“The tsunami makes Katrina look like nothing. It takes a resilient people to recover from something like this,” Gregory said.

LMCO: Pride, economic decline lead to homelessness in Japan’s cities

TOKYO (BP)—As the sun rises over Japan, millions rise early to head to work. An intricate system of commuter trains and subways moves countless men and women from the comfort of their homes to a Tokyo skyscraper or a Nagoya factory. Together, Tokyo and Nagoya represent the business and manufacturing facets of the country’s robust economy, the world’s third largest.

Hisaya Kazu, 62, also rises early from his cardboard cocoon to go to work. By 3 a.m., Kazu is picking up aluminum cans and other debris in Sakae Park in Nagoya. He cashes in the aluminum for enough yen to buy his meals for the day. As daybreaks and Nagoya wakes, Kazu, who is homeless, finds a place to hide, away from public view.

Indiana Baptists elect Cecil Seagle as new state exec

MONTICELLO, Ind. (BP)—The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana marked two key events in less than a month—convening their 53rd annual meeting and welcoming Cecil Seagle as the SBCI’s sixth executive director.

Messengers to the Oct. 7-8 meeting, held in the new facility of Twin Lakes Baptist Church in Monticello, approved a 2012 budget of $4.33 million.

Luke 2:8-20: December 25—Rejoice in God’s gift

It is always special to us when the day we celebrate as our Lord’s birthday comes on Sunday. Whatever else Christmas stands for, it is preeminently associated with giving and receiving gifts in recognition of the gifts the magi brought to Jesus to celebrate His birth. We help perpetuate that event by emphasizing children during the Christmas season, especially on Christmas day, in spite of the mythical Santa Claus and his helpers. Truth usually has to make its impact in spite of circumstances. In that vein of thought, let’s view and celebrate the day of our Lord’s birth by featuring biblical elements with which God the Father stamped His imprint on history.

Proverbs 23:20-21; Daniel 1:8, 11-16; Romans 13:12-14: January 1—Thriving in a fast-food culture

Most of us can probably identify with the sentiment of the wag who observed that most of what he liked was either illegal, immoral, or fattening. We live in a society in which food companies have mastered the art of marketing their products. Sex sells. I remember the chapel speaker who lamented the fact that the manufacturer of a monkey wrench used a scantily clad woman to advertise it. After the service I mentioned to him that it was the only time I had heard that product mentioned in the pulpit. What are we to do?

Christian groups finding hostility at colleges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—Four Christian groups at Vanderbilt University soon could be kicked off campus as school administrators quietly adopt a policy that prohibits student organizations from holding members or leaders to any standard of belief or behavior.

Representatives from Christian Legal Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Graduate Christian Fellowship and Beta Upsilon Chi are negotiating with school officials in hopes of persuading them to reverse their decision. But Jim Lundgren, director of collegiate ministries for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, said they are preparing for the likelihood of becoming “third-class citizens” at Vanderbilt: “We all see the handwriting on the wall.”

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