March 25, 2010 Print Edition

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NAMB corrects missionary count data to GCR Task Force

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (NAMB/BP)—The North American Mission Board has informed the Great Commission Task Force that data it provided last summer regarding the geographic distribution of missionaries in North America contained a significant error. The NAMB error resulted in incorrect data being published in the Feb. 22 "progress report" issued by the GCRTF.

Bryant Wright to be nominated SBC president in Orlando

ORLANDO (FBW) – Bryant Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the June SBC annual meeting in Orlando, David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, announced March 11.

Wright is the first announced candidate for president in 2010. Current SBC President Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., is ineligible for re-election.

Gramling to be nominated Pastors’ Conference president

NORTH PORT (FBW) – Troy Gramling, lead pastor of Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City, will be nominated president of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference during its June meeting in Orlando, John Cross, pastor of South Biscayne Church in North Port, announced March 18.

Cross told Florida Baptist Witness he will nominate Gramling because he embodies the Great Commission Resurgence "we're praying and believing God for … in our churches and convention."

House OKs health care, disappoints pro-lifers

WASHINGTON (BP)--The House of Representatives barely passed a controversial health-care bill Sunday, deeply disappointing pro-life Americans who hoped a small group of Democrats would block legislation they say will permit federal funding of abortion and likely increase the rate of the procedure.

Bunkley reports on action in Florida legislature

TALLAHASSEE (FBW)—Florida Baptist Convention Legislative Consultant Bill Bunkley continues to express concern about gambling expansion during the current legislative session, while he continues to monitor and speak to other legislation of concern to Florida Baptists.

Summarizing recent gambling activity, Bunkley told Florida Baptist Witness March 20, the fact that no public action has taken place on gambling legislation in the last week is only the “proverbial calm before the big storm as the rumor mill is churning with reports of House and Senate negotiators conducting serious talks with the Seminole Tribe, with the pari-mutuels along for the ride.”

God’s providence continues to shine in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (FBC)—While traveling to a crusade in Bouce Carre in Haiti’s Central Association, a truck carrying Craig Culbreth broke down in a remote area with a busted radiator hose.

While his traveling companions, De Louis Labranche and Michele Elius, who serve as directors with the Confraternite Missionaire Baptiste d’Haiti, peered under the hood, 14 Haitians appeared seemingly from nowhere and surrounded the ar to offer assistance.

Point of View: ‘Letters to God’ is uplifting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—If you wrote a letter to God, addressed the envelope “To God” and then mailed it, where would it end up?

I’m not sure what would happen to such a letter in real life, but in an upcoming film, the letter and others like it end up being read by others and changing the hearts and lives of an entire community—all because of the faith of an 8-year-old-boy who has cancer and writes his prayers on paper.

Point of View: Worldview—Loving the enemy

Love your enemies, Jesus said.

We nod in easy agreement with the theory. It’s the application that gets sticky. Which enemies, exactly, are you prepared to love? The guy who tailgates you on the road? The “friend” who spreads lies about you?

What about Osama bin Laden?

State Convention president voices appreciation for GCRTF leadership

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Noting an emphasis on revival and spiritual renewal—both personal and corporate—in the progress report presented to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Feb. 22, John Cross, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, said he is grateful for a focus on the Great Commission—“because obviously that’s where it starts.”

Cross, pastor of South Biscayne Church in North Port, said the GCRTF has cast a vision moving Southern Baptists to repentance and prompting them to share in a sense of loss for unreached people groups globally and domestically.

Matchbox cars & marbles at Sonshine Conference

LEESBURG (FBC)—Haitian orphans will have a glimpse of hope as they receive “GO” bags full of matchbox cars, marbles, jump ropes, picture books, flashlights, and many other toys—one of several hands-on mission projects to take place April 9-10 during the 2010 SonShine Missions Conference.

Journey in the Holy Land

Joni B. Hannigan, Witness' Managing Editor since 2002, was a guest of the Israel Ministry of Tourism on a press trip with 11 other journalists March 8-14.

Author: Muslim world-ruling strategy must be countered with Christian love

INVERNESS (FBW)—Islam has a strategy to take-over the world, but outwitted and under-financed Christians can coun­t­er that growing, successful plan with love, a missions professor said Feb. 25.

“I believe it’s extremely important that we understand what Islam is doing in the world,” said William Wagner, senior professor of missions at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

Ray Campbell receives NAMB church planting award

ATLANTA (FBC)—Ray Campbell, field missionary for the Florida Baptist Convention African-American Church Planting department, received the African-American Church Planting Missionary of the Year award from the North American Mission Board at its 2010 Church Planting Missionary Forum Feb. 24-27 in Atlanta.

Campbell, a church planter in the Central Florida region, was recognized for helping to start over 12 African-American churches in 2009, according to David Terry, representing the church planting group for NAMB.

Luis Rodríguez: Southern Baptists expand God’s work in Puerto Rico

COAMO, Puerto Rico (NAMB)—At the onset of his missionary career, pastor Luis Rodríguez and his wife, Lourdes Santiago, were dismayed at the lack of commitment from church members at the church they’d planted in Coamo, Puerto Rico. However, this apathy did not hamper the efforts of these Southern Baptists. Besides, from God’s divine perspective, this was only the beginning.

Luis remembers the challenges faced during those uncertain days after being sent by the Raham First Baptist Church of Santa Isabel to plant a new church in Coamo. “When we arrived at Raham-Coamo, we noticed the believers there didn’t really have a commitment to come to the services,” said Rodriguez. “When we were on our way to a prayer service, they started calling to excuse themselves from coming to the service. In that moment I turned and looked at my wife and wondered if our efforts were really worth it. We began doubting if God was really involved.”

Jim Ballard: Mountain-surviving, church planting, cowboy preacher

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (NAMB)—North American Mission Board missionary Jim Ballard—all 243 lbs. of him—lay sprawled in agonizing pain on a snow-covered dirt trail high in the mountains of the Salmon National Forest in eastern Idaho.

Four of his ribs and a vertebra were fractured, and his sternum was cracked. His lung punctured, Ballard was spitting up pink, foamy blood, which dotted his full salt-and-pepper beard.

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