October 2014


Election Day provides opportunity to express citizenship


The Bible exhorts Christians to be good citizens while on earth (Romans 13:1-8). Voting is one of the foundational requirements to good citizenship. With Election Day quickly approaching it is important to head to the polls. We, as believers, should actively engage in understanding the policy issues affecting our communities and neighbors. We should vote in accordance to God's agenda for this world and not just on blind allegiance to a political party or person.

To that end, we should evaluate for ourselves, in accordance with... [continue]

Reaching Waco through the world’s most popular sport


WACO—Nearly every fair weather day of the week, grassy soccer fields see an abundance of size three, cleat wearing little leaguers running back and forth while parents and siblings cheer from the sidelines.

Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Waco Regional Baptist Association and the Central Texas Hispanic Ministers Alliance, hosted a City Reach event called the Fiesta Familiar soccer tournament and festival on Sept. 27 as an effort to reach a community that admires soccer.

City Reach is conducted annually as an... [continue]

Searching for Answers


As someone who spends most of their day on a college campus without going to classes, my heart breaks for the students around me who have no realization that the very God who created the enormities of the universe cares deeply for them and wants to have a relationship with them.

Here at Tarleton State Universtiy, some of our students have felt God call them to equip their fellow peers in how to talk about their faith with students on campus so people can know of this incredible God. Every Monday night, students gather at the BSM, spend time in prayer, and... [continue]

Live the Difference: around the world


This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, had to say:

What does it mean to Live the Difference? Authors Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts say. "If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, He calls you a missionary! You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God's work in you, you are on mission."*

For me, living the difference means being on mission... [continue]

A special weekend for Special Friends


CEDAR HILL—The 2014 Special Friends Retreat, hosted by Texas Baptists' Preschool and Children's Ministries, brought lots of smiles and laughter along with the opportunity for participants to share their talents on-stage.

The retreat for the mentally challenged of ages 12 and older took place at two locations - one in Floydada on Sept. 12-13, with about 90 campers, and another in Cedar Hill on Oct. 3-4, with 350 campers.

Participants made crafts, learned about parts of the world in Bible studies, performed their talents in a talent show... [continue]

India in Arlington


The room reaches a sweltering temperature as hundreds of bodies move and collide in circles, jumping and swaying to traditional Indian dance steps. The sounds of drums, violins and melodic pitches fill the room. The DJ plays a current Indian pop song and the crowd roars; the room looks like a musical number from a Bollywood movie come to life. Sweat mixed with condensation from the overtaxed air conditioning system accumulates on the ceiling beams and drips onto the heads of the dancers below, unbeknownst to them. The room feels like a sauna, fogging eyeglass lenses... [continue]

Praying for opportunities on Engage 24


October 14, 2014 was the date for this year's Engage 24, a nationwide campaign for every Christian college student to share the Gospel with at least one person during that one day. Engage 24 falls in the middle of the semester, right about the same time as midterms, and it is a great reminder of the real reason we are where we are. God has placed us right where He wants us, and He wants us to share Him with others (Tweet this). He wants us to spread the Gospel. He wants us to love people.

This year Engage 24 fell on a Tuesday, which was... [continue]

Houston subpoenas raise religious liberty concerns


The City of Houston gained national attention last week as a result of subpoenas sent to five local pastors seeking "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession."

CLC Director Gus Reyes spoke out against these subpoenas because they appeared to be designed to intimidate pastors and make them think twice about speaking on this critical social issue. Texas Baptists President Jeff... [continue]

Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment


ARLINGTON: Youth ministry is a calling that comes along with great trials but even greater rewards, including seeing the salvation of young souls and the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders.

Speakers at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave on Oct. 13-15 focused on youth ministry as a calling and encouraged leaders to recognize it as a divine appointment. Conclave is sponsored by Texas Baptists and supported through the Cooperative Program with ethnic scholarships provided by Mary Hill Davis Offering... [continue]

Ellis Orozco


When I was working as an engineer, God made it clear that I was in the wrong place; He wanted me to prepare myself to serve him for the rest of my life. I have never regretted it and have never looked back! -Ellis

Name: Ellis Orozco

Wife: Priscilla Ruth Orozco

Children: Gabriel Antonio Orozco (22); Michael Andrew Orozco (16); Celeste Iliana Orozco (15)

Church: First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas

Number of years: 5 and a half

Attendance: 1200

Where did you grow up?

Pasadena, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and... [continue]

Run:4Justice


As a church we committed to a partnership to curtail sex trafficking in Cambodia. Then, last year we also partnered with two other churches for an area-wide Choose Life 5k to raise funds for multiple crisis pregnancy centers in the Tarrant Country area. -Pastor Joe Sanchez

Church: 121 Community Church

Pastor: Ross Sawyers

Initiative: Run:4Justice

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

Hosting and co-hosting fundraising runs for Justice and Life issues.

How did you recognize this need?

Our two Run:4Justice runs... [continue]

Live the Difference: on a college campus


This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Jay Leibold, campus missionary at the University of North Texas, had to say:

What is culture? Culture is defined as the beliefs, customs, and values of a particular society, group or place. I came to the UNT BSM my freshman year and have been here just long enough (starting year 5) to see a shift in our culture. We have begun to see a shift in what we value as a campus ministry and... [continue]

Retreating and embracing the Gospel


Every fall the BSM at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) takes their students on a retreat, usually somewhere close to campus, but far enough away to feel like we've escaped the bustle of school and replaced it with the serenity of the woods (even if we still have phone reception and Wal-mart is only 20 minutes away, in case we underestimated when grocery shopping). Fall retreat is an opportunity for new students to get plugged in and bond with older students, for old friends to reconnect after the summer, and for everyone to spend time in... [continue]

Now is the time: Texas Baptists winterizing refugees in Lebanon


In Lebanon, millions of refugees are trying to figure out how to survive brutal temperatures as the winter months approach. Through the development of a winterization project, Texas Baptists are sending necessities like blankets and heaters to help refugee families prepare for the winter.

Since early 2011, when the Syrian conflict began, more than 1.5 million refugees have fled to Lebanon seeking safety. At least 10,000 Iraqis have also sought security in the country. Most of them have little money and no place to live.... [continue]

CLC director expresses concern regarding Houston subpoenas


Gus Reyes, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has released the following statement regarding the City of Houston's subpoenas sent to five churches:

"We are glad Mayor Annise Parker now agrees with critics that the initial City of Houston subpoenas were overly broad.

"The U.S. Constitution protects religious freedom, and that includes the right of pastors and church members to speak on social and community issues without fear of intimidation by the government.

"We now wait to see what city officials do next.... [continue]

God's plan since the day we arrived


I have now reached my halfway point of my time in South Asia. Since the day we arrived in our city, Father placed learning the language on both my teammate's and my hearts. We didn't understand this because there is no way we could have learned the language being a short term "trip." We followed His instructions and found ourselves learning the national language two times a week for two hours each day. We met our national partner Kate* and fell in love with the way she desires to help people with language and her sweet spirit is absolutely... [continue]

Texas Baptists prepare to Live the Difference


WACO – Texas Baptists' annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco will be an opportunity to see what it means to truly "Live the Difference." The meeting, to be held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme verse from 1 John 2:6 with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.

"This is an exciting time for our convention as we pave the way for our future and focus on what it means for us to 'live the difference,'" said Executive Director David Hardage.... [continue]

Blessed to be called by Christ


This past week I had the privilege of praying with one of the staff members which I am working alongside of through Go Now Missions. This staff member had shared with us during our evening devotions on Sunday that her mother was greatly sick, sick to the point of being unable to talk and she wanted for us to pray for her. We all prayed together for healing. After devotions were finished she pulled me aside because she was very worried and didn't know what she was going to do. I sat down with her and before we prayed I asked her if her Mother was a... [continue]

Live the Difference: on social media


This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, had to say:

I'm browsing through Facebook this morning when I see the status update of a childhood friend. This friend is describing how she doesn't feel that people treat her as she deserves to be treated.

Makes a few comments about how she perceives herself to be a good person who is fun to be around, yet feels as if the world takes her... [continue]

Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response


SPRINGFIELD, Missouri - Though media is flooded with news of the Ebola crisis, a calamity nearly as fatal—starvation—has risen in West African countries due to the virus. In response to this dire need, Dallas-based Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), in partnership with Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri, shipped 250,000 meals to Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, Oct. 9, to help bring relief to the crisis.

When the container of food, holding 44,000 pounds of prepackaged meals, arrives to Monrovia in... [continue]

Texas Baptist Hunger Offering needs end-of-year boost


Texas Baptists are generous, but our giving to fight hunger and poverty has lagged this year. Through August, Texas Baptists gave $548,395 through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. That's a lot of money, but it is significantly less than we gave last year -- $727,877 or 75.3 percent.

As we give millions of dollars to support church programs, it is important to remember that Jesus said care for the poor is a key indicator that a person is seeking to follow Him. When we seek to follow Christ we will have a Spirit-inspired burden to... [continue]

Christian Life Commission adopts statement on Islamic state and religious persecution


The Christian Life Commission (CLC) has adopted a statement on the Islamic state and religious persecution, inviting leaders to continue protective efforts and encouraging churches to pray.

The terror group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been coercing people to choose between fleeing their homes and living in fear of oppression that can ultimately lead to death. Media reports have recorded brutal persecution of many individuals living in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, since... [continue]

Feeding the 500


So it isn't the 5000 that Jesus fed in one afternoon that we read about in Mark 6, but in the past month the BSM at UTD has fed about 500 students lunch for free! Starting the week after Labor Day, we have had over 100 students come to our free Monday lunches. This number is consistently higher than anything I have seen before at UTD, and it is terrific!

Students are given a free meal and then participate in discussions around their tables, led by one of our student leaders, or a local church volunteer. We try our best to work the Gospel into every conversation, so... [continue]

Congratulations to Texas Baptists Shalom Builders


Thank You Texas Baptists Shalom Builders. Several of the homes in West that were adopted by the Shalom Builders are almost done and are in the final stages of being completed. Homes located at 1506 Regan, 409 College, and 1341 Marable are in the home stretch. The families are anxious, excited and almost ready to move in. Home dedications are being planned. Final inspections are taking place and move-in dates are being scheduled.

Some of these families are still in need of appliances and furniture and can be adopted by contacting the TBDR... [continue]

Saying thanks to your pastor


Being a pastor can many times be a thankless job. One works seemingly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - going from meeting to counseling session to hospital visit. Not to mention the time needed to prepare for Sunday's sermon, Wednesday's Bible study, a luncheon for Senior Adults and a youth fellowship on Friday night.

Between all of the week's activities, there are also opinions from church members on everything from the color of the carpet in the sanctuary to the dessert served on Wednesday night.

Pastor's hear it all - but two words they may not hear very... [continue]

Idols and open doors


Kuṭumba,

Namaskara! Once again, I am so thankful for your time to read this and your prayers for the ones I love here. His love is so greatly shown and I hope to share this with you through my words. I am so honored to call you Family!

The best way I can describe the past month of life here would be to point you to 2 Pet 3:8-9. He has continued to show me that He will fulfill His promise and He is not slow, but is patient towards us. Father has placed us where we need to be and His promises are being fulfilled daily. Everyday I have to remind myself to place the... [continue]

Understanding the city and the culture


Cities are known for their cultures and for their role of influence in societies. Also, there are other forces, which are constantly shaping the city and its cultures. But today, it is crucial for us to understand the city, the communities within the city and their cultures in order to collaborate in ministry and serve the different groups who live, work and visit the city.

I believe the basic elements of culture are languages, artifacts, practices, values, institutions and stories.

We all contribute towards the creation of culture, and culture... [continue]

Executive Board approves purchase of BUA property


DALLAS - During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.

“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue to... [continue]

Bill Arnold


Name: Bill Arnold

Spouse: Margaret

Children: Meredith and Jonathan Grandchildren: Ryan, Mason, Jake, and Hank

Ministry: Providing financial resources for Texas missions

Position: President of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation

Number of years: 30

Where did you grow up?

Memphis, Tennessee

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

Eight years old at an RA camp on the Mississippi coast.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Mississippi College

If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?... [continue]

Texas Baptist Missions Foundation


Department: Texas Baptist Missions Foundation

Staffers: Bill Arnold, President; Larry Thomas, Vice President; Bob Feather, Consultant; Marcy Strube, Donor Relations Coordinator; Rita Griffith, Administrative Assistant

Explain your ministry:

The Missions Foundation works with individuals that want to financially support missions in Texas and around the world. We do this by receiving cash and noncash gifts as well as by working with people who want to include missions in their estate plans.

What are the different aspects of the TBMF?

Working with... [continue]