April 7, 2011 Print Edition

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Santa Rosa County school employees' lawsuit to proceed in federal court

PENSACOLA (FBW)-Giving a preliminary victory for the constitutional rights of teachers in the Santa Rosa County School District, a federal judged March 21 ruled in a favor of hearing their claims–denying a request by the American Civil Liberties Union and the school board to dismiss their lawsuit.

Fire destroys Midway Baptist Church building in Panama City

PANAMA CITY (FBW)— Midway Baptist Church’s building in Panama City was completely destroyed in a fire March 22 according to the church's pastor John Rochefort, who stood on the perimeter of the church property with church members watching it burn nearly to the ground.

Bunkley ‘encouraged’ as Legislature approaches mid-point of session

TALLAHASSE (FBW)—As the Legislature approaches the mid-way point of its annual 60-day legislative session with competing budget plans drawing most of the attention, pro-family legislation is advancing in both chambers, while gambling expansion measures appear to be stalled.

While “keeping a very close eye” on possible changes, Florida Baptist Convention legislative consultant Bill Bunkley is “encouraged” about the status of pro-family issues at this point, urging Florida Baptists to remain engaged with their legislators communicating their views on vital issues.

SPECIAL REPORT: A day in the life of Congressman Daniel Webster

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FBW)—Legislating in the U.S. House of Representatives is pretty much the same as in the Florida Legislature.

“You file bills. You vote. You speak. You attend committee meetings.”

Editorial: No joke; pray for those in government

It was April Fool’s Day, so I decided it was time for some fun—with the help of Twitter and Facebook.

In a series of tweets starting at 8:30 a.m. with the post: “BREAKING: I’m taking a leave of absence to pursue the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012,” I laid out my “credentials” as a candidate for political office, carrying the pro-family, conservative banner.

State Evangelism Conference draws 1,500 pastors & leaders

OCALA (FBC)—Thomas Hammond admits that when he goes home in the afternoon he would like to sit in his easy chair and relax.

But the evangelism group director for the North American Mission Board, SBC, has made a commitment to befriend his neighbors so he can earn the right to share Christ with them. Most days find him puttering in the yard until it becomes dark.

Point of View: The real ‘gay agenda’

The real gay agenda has nothing to do with “equal rights.” Homosexuals already have the same right to marry as heterosexuals; but that’s not what they want. Instead, homosexuals want marriage redefined to fit their sexual perversion.

Point of View: TECHNOLOGY: In this realm, the youth can lead

With the announcement of the iPad 2, Steve Jobs gave some very clear statistics that herald our move into the post-PC world: more than 200 million iTunes Store accounts, 15 millions iPads sold in 10 months, and more than 65,000 apps available. These are touch points for just one company; it doesn’t include all sorts of gadgets and applications that are coming out from Google, Microsoft and the hundreds of companies we’ve never heard of from other countries.

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: It’s Not ‘Why?’ It’s ‘What Now?’—In the Wake of the Tsunami

After the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, we are just now beginning to understand the scope of the devastation—the loss of life, the annihilation of entire communities, and even more ominously, the threat of meltdowns at Japanese nuclear facilities. Predictably, seismologists and nuclear engineers are all over the airwaves explaining what happened and what might happen next—and we should be grateful for their input.

Port Tampa youth introduce Facebook Friends to Jesus

PORT TAMPA (FBW)—Drawing from a combined pool of about 700 Facebook “friends,” 25 youth at First Baptist Church in Port Tampa drew about 83 young people to their first Facebook Friends Night March 9—more than tripling their usual number for the evangelistic effort.

Youth Minister Ricky Dobbs, a Navy veteran who attends Baptist College of Florida, said he worked with the church’s youth, The Rock, to plan the evening since August. In January, Dobbs said the effort gained momentum in January after they read a special report in the Florida Baptist Witness about ministering through social media.

‘Extreme Makeover’ takes First Baptist Middleburg family by surprise

MIDDLEBURG (FBW)—When ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” came to Middleburg in January to build a home, they found experienced volunteers at First Baptist Church. The church built a house for a family in its community in 2010, and this time church members worked with the TV show’s designers and builders to construct a new home for a family in its own congregation.

Pastor Alan Floyd sees the homes as proof that “you can’t out-give God.”

JAX chosen for first Global Day of Prayer in U.S.

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Leaders from the Jacksonville Baptist Association joined Global Day of Prayer founder Graham Power March 22 when he encouraged community religious leaders to support the worldwide movement’s first simulcast from the United States this summer.

The 2011 Global Day of Prayer is set for June 11 in Jacksonville which is on “The First Coast” of Florida—a historic area extending from Amelia Island in the North to Palm Coast in the South—and the site where in 1564 the French Hugenots who established a settlement at Fort Caroline erected a cross and celebrated life in the New World.

Ezell: NAMB will continue jointly funded missionaries with states

BRANDON (FBW)—In spite of the Great Commission Resurgence report that many expected would end jointly funded missionaries with state Baptist conventions, North American Mission Board president Kevin Ezell says “strategically placed mobilizers” in southern states are necessary to accomplish NAMB’s church planting goals in the rest of North America.

Ezell, who was elected NAMB’s third president in September, sat down for a 30-minute, wide-ranging interview with Florida Baptist Witness following a March 20 missionary commissioning service at First Baptist Church in Brandon.

Multiethnic churches are vital, NOBTS prof says

NEW ORLEANS (BP)—Cultural exclusivity in the church represents neither the power of the Gospel nor American society, and change is needed for the church to maintain relevance and vibrancy in the coming decades, Damian Emetuche and fellow professors tell students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Special Reports