August 11, 2011 Print Edition

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At some point, still in Little League, I believed and imagined that everyone around me was also trying to improve. In retrospect, I’m not really sure how much most kids were training at that age, but at the time, I was convinced everyone was working hard to get better.

And that’s when I adopted one of my mantras for getting stronger and better and for all my workouts:

Editorial: End Florida’s gambling ‘gray area’

There is a problem in state law when members of Florida’s Cabinet interpret it differently, when various police jurisdictions and state attorneys enforce it differently, and when at least two state judges rule contradictorily on the very same statute.

It’s time for the Florida Legislature to clarify the “gray area” in state law that is being exploited across the state to establish Internet “sweepstakes cafes”—thinly disguised gambling parlors that prey on senior citizens and the poor under the guise of selling time for web surfing and/or phone cards.

Florida mission volunteers take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Every summer hundreds of Florida Baptists travel with church groups to mission points around the world. The volunteers journey far from their homes with a mandate to share the Good News because “we cannot neglect people who have never heard the Gospel just because it is inconvenient, expensive or intimidating,” one pastor wrote.

A few of their stories are included below:

Point of View: Katy Perry’s sexualization of little girls

EDMONTON, Alberta (BP)—Katy Perry’s California Dreams Tour came to my home town last week. The sugar-laced extravaganza of candy canes, cupcakes, lollipops, cotton candy, and other sweet treats is an ode to childhood fantasy. The show features a mish-mash of references to the Brothers Grimm, Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, and Rainbow Brite as it tells the story of a girl named Katy visiting a vibrant candy land in search for her pet cat, Kitty Purry, and the love of her life, the Baker Boy.

Tampa doctor changed by Children’s Home experience

LAKELAND (FBCH)—Tommy McElroy walks quickly down the hall to his next patient at the Center for Advanced Healthcare on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Board certified in family and sports medicine, he is an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at USF.

This successful physician who also serves as team physician for Sun Lake High School in Land O’Lakes, is living the dream he had when he and his brother came to live at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in Lakeland.

Point of View: An agenda for dying well

When I started medical school in the late sixties, sudden death was the rule of the day. Chicago would have a heavy snowstorm. The stalwart would go out to shovel snow and keel over, the heart unable to handle the strain. If people were nearby, they would run to the nearest phone and call the fire department. But little could actually be done to preserve the person’s life until he or she was inside the emergency room. Most commonly, the victim was DOA (dead on arrival). This course of events doesn’t occur as often today because of a well-known telephone number: 911. Upon seeing someone in a life-threatening situation, an alert person quickly pushes three keys on a handy cell phone, seeing in motion a set of amazing life-saving procedures. The same patient who would have been dead on arrival in 1970 is back to work in a week.

Point of View: Never, never, never give up: The defense of marriage today

Is it time for the “marriage battleground” to shift to religious freedom? That’s the question posed by a recent Christianity Today article in the wake of New York’s approval of same-sex “marriage.” According to University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, the answer is “Yes.” He says, “Religious conservatives who advocate traditional marriage must shift their focus to fighting for religious freedom.”

JAX church installs windmill, works at Children’s Home for local missions project

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—More than 200 members of Deermeadows Baptist Church in Jacksonville recently spent nearly three days accomplishing dozens of local mission projects.

“MissionJax 2011” left church members wanting more, according to Youth/Recreation Minister Drew Pilkenton, who headed up the event.

Romans 14:1-12, 19; James 4:11-12: August 21—Don’t criticize one another

I have an image seared into my memory that haunts me. I was visiting a home about the time the children were arriving from school. One little boy came bouncing into the room, holding his report card. His face was glowing because he had improved. His mother took one look at the card, saw one poor grade, and immediately gave him a tongue lashing. I watched the little fellow as his face twisted in bewilderment. The lesson? No relationship can survive in the face of constant criticism. It will destroy a marriage, a home, or a church. Our lesson today should touch or hearts.

Genesis 13:1-12; Romans 12:16-18; 15:5-6: August 28—Agree with one another

Disagreements within the church fellowship are going to come. How they are to be handled depends on the nature and depth of the problem. In cases where one member has some charge against another, Jesus set forth the steps to be taken in which the accusing member refuses to be reconciled, eventually requiring the church to become involved (Matt 18:15-17). In a similar vein, an offending member who had become involved with “his father’s wife” required church discipline (1 Cor. 5:1-7). The vast majority of tensions between members need not deteriorate to the level of requiring the church’s public involvement.

Chaplain in Honduras leads troops to extend faith to villagers

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras (BP)—While scores of Southern Baptist military chaplains minister to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, others are serving faithfully in other hot spots, often in isolated regions.

In the mountainous heart of Honduras, for example, where the four military branches work together in drug interdiction, Chaplain (Maj.) Dan Thompson and Chaplain (Capt.) Paul Cartmill serve some 500 soldiers who are part of Joint Task Force-Bravo located at Soto Cano Air Base near Comayagua.

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.

Missionary prison chaplain at Blume shares consequences of poor decisions

ORLANDO (WMU)—Stacey Smith and her two brothers were raised in a home with loving parents. In school, she was president of the student council, a cheerleader, and a member of many academic clubs. She had a bright future until a series of bad decisions led her to a place she never thought she would be.

At age 29, Smith was arrested while transporting drugs from Texas to Arkansas, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Revell, SBC Life editor, accepts pastorate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—John Revell, editor of SBC Life, is resigning to become pastor of a church in Connecticut.

Revell—associate editor of SBC Life from 1996 through September 2005 and editor thereafter—will leave his position effective Sept. 15 to become pastor of Stamford Baptist Church in Stamford, which is in southwest Connecticut and about 40 miles northeast of New York City. Prior to his work at SBC Life, he pastored churches in Florida and New York.

Pastors divided on when to perform weddings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—American Protestant pastors have widely varying standards for when they will and will not perform wedding ceremonies, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

The survey of 1,000 randomly selected Protestant pastors found that a majority (58 percent) will perform weddings for couples they know are living together. Nearly a third (31 percent) will not, and 10 percent are not sure.

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