February 23, 2012 Print Edition

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African American pastor Fred Luter to be nominated as SBC president

NEW ORLEANS (BP)—Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention by David E. Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans.

“Fred has been among Southern Baptists for more than 20 years as a pastor. He has taken a church that was at death’s door to the largest worshipping congregation in the state of Louisiana among Southern Baptists,” Crosby said.

State Board hears GCR status report, handles financial matters

LEESBURG (FBC)-The State Board of Missions heard a status report of the Florida Baptist Convention’s response to the Board’s Great Commission Resurgence recommendations, elected a replacement lead strategist for church planting, revised the 2012 budget; and distributed $746,322 in 2011 budget overages during its Feb. 10 meeting at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center.

The Board’s 27 GCR recommendations, presented to messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention in November 2011, resulted from the six recommendations developed by the messenger-mandated “Imagine If …. Great Commission Resurgence” task force.

Hispanic ministries adjust to immigration law

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)—Fearful members. Declining church attendance. Concerned pastors. Uncertain futures. Despite dramatic changes in the life of many Hispanic congregations in Alabama with the new immigration law, the news isn’t all bad.

“A lot of people left,” Carlos Gomez said of the Hispanic congregation he leads at First Baptist Church in Center Point. “I called them back and some of them returned. But I know of another ministry that is close to me here in town that had around 120, and now it has about 40.”

Pastor revolutionizes historic congregation with church planting strategy

WEST PALM BEACH (FBC)—Mowing the lush green grass surrounding the community center where the fledgling congregation was meeting, the Jacksonville youngster was unaware that this would be the first of many churches he would have a role in planting.

The elementary school student three decades ago was determined to do his part to grow a church that had been planted in his family’s living room, even if it was a simple job of tackling the grass with his mower.

Point of View: ‘Will we go to jail?’ Religious liberty under assault

The President of the United States is violating the First Amendment.

Without even asking Congress or getting the opinion of the Supreme Court, he and Kathleen Sebelius (Secretary of Health and Human Services) have decided to force the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention to buy abortion-causing drugs for women. This is a direct assault on the religious liberty that our ancestors won and defended for us, and we have no choice but to oppose it.

Point of View: On Adoniram Judson bicentennial: Please go and dig

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)—The rocks signified a specific event in Israel’s history. The crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land—a supernatural event—revealed God acting on behalf of His people to keep His promise, show His faithfulness, and display His might. While the generation who migrated across the divided river would never forget walking through that divinely made aisle, human nature and subsequent circumstances likely would have prevented those distinct memories from remaining with the next generation.

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: Gambling insanity: Political chicanery and cowardice

A well-known expression attributed to Albert Einstein defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Lafayette County pastors take lead in revivals & community ministry

DAY (FBW)—For five years Baptist churches in Lafayette County have organized simultaneous revivals during January. Along with promoting inter-church fellowship and evangelism, the churches have cooperated to establish new ministries in their county that is divided by Middle Florida Baptist Association to the north and Lafayette association to the south.

The tradition began in 2008 when three Lafayette County pastors planned simultaneous revivals in their churches. Each church hosted one night’s meeting with each pastor preaching once and musicians from each church providing music one night. The original participants were Pastor Matt Swain and Brewer Lake Baptist in Day; Pastor Chip Parker and Airline Baptist; and Pastor Charlie Walker and New Hope Baptist, both in Mayo, the county seat.

Beast feast, community festivals further church presence & Gospel in Morriston

MORRISTON (FBW)—Seven years ago, when Pastor Keith Stewart visited Morriston Baptist Church before accepting the church’s call, he got lost on the back roads, he said. He stopped at a business less than four miles from the church to ask directions, only to be told that no one there had heard of the church.

“We have to let the community know who we are, and that we love them and we want them to come hear about Jesus,” Stewart said.

BCF missions team assists new Pensacola congregation

PENSACOLA (BCF)—In January even the Sunshine State can be chilly. Add a damp drizzle and 20 mile per hour winds to the mix, and it can be downright cold. Stand at the base of the Pensacola Bay Bridge at dawn in those conditions, and the word “frigid” comes to mind. But even the extreme conditions could not dampen the spirit of 16 Baptist College of Florida students working with a new church start in the Pensacola area.

Each January, BCF and the Florida Baptist Convention partner together to sponsor a church planting practicum somewhere in the state. This year, the hands-on opportunity took them to the Gulf Breeze area of the Panhandle to assist pastor Gabriel Vargas with Iglesia Mision Casa, a Hispanic congregation meeting on the campus of the city’s First Baptist Church. “There are approximately 7,000 Hispanics living between Navarre and Pensacola,” Pastor Vargas noted. “And they need a church to call their own.”

BCF professor Mark Rathel sheds 180 pounds as testimony to ‘Lordship of Christ’

GRACEVILLE (FBW)—Eighteen months ago Baptist College of Florida Professor Mark Rathel embarked on a life change that has resulted in a 180 pound weight loss. For Rathel, who also writes Bible study commentaries for Florida Baptist Witness, it was a matter of “living out the Lordship of Christ.”

Rathel grew up in Niceville enjoying his mother’s cooking, especially the desserts. He does not remember a time when he was not “heavy,” and his family—including two adult sons—“have never seen me skinny,” he said. His past busy life in pastoral ministry contributed to a sedentary lifestyle.

Psalm 42; 43: March 4—I long for you

Augustine (354-430. AD) penned the famous spiritual insight that God has made us for Himself, and our souls are restless until they rest in Him. The fact of a multitude of religions around the world and throughout time bear witness to that truth. People wind up making images of metal, wood, and stone which are little more than reflections of human emotions written on a huge scale. The gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus, for example, express the sensations of their worshipers. Left to themselves, people create gods in their own images. Nevertheless, God made Adam and Eve in His image, His assurance that He can be found. Psalms 42 and 43 lay bare the path a longing heart follows as it seeks rest in God. As we study these psalms, we will probably say, “Been there; did that.”

Psalm 86:1-13, 15-16: March 11—I call on you

Meditate on the times you have called most fervently on God. Were not most of these when we faced momentous decisions, or in times of grave illnesses for which there seemed to be no cure? We may even organize a telephone brigade to petition God for healing mercies or relief from danger. We can gain assurance from the Bible of God’s concern. King David, a man after God’s own heart, illustrates the commonality of our feelings. We know not the particular circumstances beyond what the psalmist recorded in verse 14. Assemblies of violent men “sought after” his soul. Was he in a military battle? Had political enemies conspired against him? We do not know, but we need not speculate further. The important lesson is how he dealt with the problem.

‘Lecture lab’ brings depth to California church

“We’ve done the Lecture Lab approach on several occasions,” said Setlzer, who has served nearly 14 years as senior pastor of the tan and red-tiled roofed church located on a palm tree-lined corner on the outskirts of California Baptist University. “Based on LifeWay’s Explore the Bible curriculum, we’ve gone through 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.”

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