July 26, 2012 Print Edition

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Fred Luter ‘totally against’ Obama’s gay marriage position

TAMPA (FBW) – Fred Luter and Barack Obama share historical distinctions as African Americans’ first Southern Baptist Convention and U.S. presidents, respectively, but on the major political-moral issue of gay marriage they are on opposite sides – a disagreement driven by Luter’s commitment to the Bible.

Georgia bus crash ends as ‘distraction’ rather than tragedy for JAX church

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)-Instead of a tragedy, a bus crash on the way to a weekend spiritual retreat July 13 ended as a “distraction” for youth from Arlington Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Heading north on Interstate 95, the 44-passenger bus blew a tire and crashed into the woods in Camden County, Ga., about 50 miles from its destination, according to Robert Anderson, the church’s associate pastor of church development.

Point of View: Convention’s ‘liquidity,’ 50/50 split not ‘incompatible objectives’

In November 2010, messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention overwhelmingly approved the recommendations of the Imagine If Great Commission Resurgence (IIGCR) Task Force. Among other proposals, the task force recommended that we move to a pure 50/50 split of Cooperative Program receipts between the state and Southern Baptist Convention. The recommendation requested that the State Board of Missions present a plan to the 2011 FBSC meeting showing how the convention would accomplish this division of resources within four years. The recommendation further provided for a seven-year contingency plan in case the convention encountered continued financial decline. Under no circumstance would it take longer than seven years to implement the pure 50/50 split. In 2011, the FBSC approved such a plan.

Point of View: Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor may not reflect the views or opinions of the Witness. Letters may be mailed, faxed or submitted using our online form. Only letters marked clearly for publication, signed with address will be considered for use. Letters are subject to editing. Please limit letters to 300 words.

Editorial: Why your view of politics may be wrong

Your view of politics—or, more specifically, the role of Christians and Christianity in politics—is probably wrong (at least at times).

Jeremiah 1:4-14, 17-19—August 5: Make no excuses

We preachers read the Book of Jeremiah and come away with mixed emotions. We read about God’s call to him and marvel. We cannot claim such a dramatic call experience, but we are equally certain of God’s call. Our old-time churches often saw the call to ministry as the supreme call, God’s highest calling. We can understand the retort of James P. Boyce, one of the founders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, when he was offered a job with a lucrative salary. He refused. When asked whether the pay was not enough, he replied, “The money is fine. The problem is, the job is not big enough.” Refusing the call to higher salaries, we stay where God has placed us, without excuse. Becoming aware of God’s call could be a gradual awakening to something higher in life.

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.

Multi-site, multi-ethnic congregation extends reach throughout Miami

MIAMI (FBC)—Each weekend in Miami, close to 8,000 people, representing 78 nationalities, worship in one of 17 services in any of six locations—all under the umbrella of one congregation, Christ Fellowship.

But for Rick Blackwood, senior pastor of Christ Fellowship, a multi-site, multi-ethnic growing congregation in Miami, the story of his church is more than a story about numbers.

BCF on mission in Cuba

GRACEVILLE (BCF)—Laughing, a student at the Baptist College of Florida, Rachel Butler, read out loud from an internet blog titled, “10 Ways to Ruin Short-Term Mission Trips.”

“Stay organized and on schedule. Set detailed goals before you go. Establish schedules and refuse to deviate from them. Do not accept delays, last-minute changes, and impromptu visits and invitations,” Butler recited three other girls in a hotel room June 14. All laughed at the irony they faced because their plans had changed, their schedule abolished and their team—on a mission trip to Cuban—had no idea whether they would be traveling to the island nation or have to turn around and head back to Graceville.

Point of View: We could use some rest: Busyness and angst

For the past few months, the New York Times has been running a series on anxiety at its “Opinionator” blog. According to the Times, “for many,” anxiety “is not a disorder, but a part of the human condition.” The series’ stated goal is to explore “how we navigate the worried mind, through essay, art and memoir.”

Journey transforms struggling Bartow congregation

BARTOW (FBC)—On a rainy but otherwise quiet April 2012 afternoon in a crowded room of First Baptist Church in Bartow, approximately 20 deacons went to their knees in prayer together. One by one they prayed, seeking God’s renewal and guidance.

Such prayerful focus among the church’s spiritual leaders is a welcome change to the dissension and fragmentation that once characterized the church.

Orphaned children tug at student’s heart

ITHICA, N.Y. (BP)—Barrett Keene is walking from coast to coast to raise awareness about the plight of orphans—a journey “that’s crazy enough that people pause and say, ‘What is going on? Why is he doing this?’”

Keene, a Cornell University graduate student, traces the roots of his 3,500-mile journey to a trip to Central America when he taught English and agriculture to children of poor farmers.

Jeremiah 8:4-13, 18 to 9:1: August 12—Let your heart be broken

Picture the following scene. You are in a home in which you see a man and woman, passed out in a drug induced coma. On the floor are two little girls with soiled clothing, trying to entertain and care for each other.

Restaurant church discount draws investigation

NEW YORK (BP)—A family-owned restaurant in Pennsylvania is under a state discrimination investigation for offering a 10 percent discount for diners who present a church bulletin on Sundays.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission confirmed there is an investigation against Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen in the town of Columbia. The complaint was filed by John Wolff, a retired electrical engineer.

‘Blessings’ songwriter & Grammy winner says peace and healing possible in life’s struggle

ATLANTA (BP)—“Blessings” is more than just a song that has garnered several key awards for Christian singer-songwriter Laura Story, it is her own tale of finding healing and peace with hardship.

Story’s song came from her own personal struggle understanding God’s plan after learning that her husband had a brain tumor early in their marriage. “Blessings,” which she wrote about two years ago, was her way of working through the difficulties in her life and learning that God does not always immediately come to the rescue.

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