May 2015

FBC Del Rio reaches across the border to assist tornado victims in Mexico

As needs are arising in Texas following flooding, tornadoes and other severe storms, many in Mexico are also experiencing great difficulties from weather damage. Larry Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church Del Rio, led a group from their church to minister across the border in Acuna, Mexico, following an F4 tornado. Read his report below:

Day 5 in Mexico was one of importance. We sent a group of seven to continue our presence for those that have been displaced by the F4 tornado on Monday. As we went in Jesus' name, we made an initial stop by our partner church Templo Bautista Bethel. There we stumbled upon a pastor's gathering in... [continue]

Executive Board encouraged by testimonies of BSMs, discuss church planting increases

DALLAS - Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) directors are being missional on college campuses, a place not like any other in America, Bruce McGowan, director of Collegiate Ministries shared with Executive Board members on Monday, May 18, during their May board meeting in Dallas.

"Thousands of students are gathered together with a common purpose of getting an education, going to class, and being open and willing to dialogue," McGowan said. "Our goal is to incarnationally meet students on campus - to go where they are."

Board members heard reports from several BSM directors during the Monday evening session, sharing stories of God's... [continue]

A primer on biblical marriage

A pastor friend told me recently something like this: "Ferrell, in my ministry I deal with a whole lot more heterosexual sin than homosexual sin."

The truth can hurt. Sexual sin is widespread. In confronting sexual sin, it is important to consider marriage. Here's a little primer on biblical marriage.

What we call marriage today began as an act of creation. The Bible tells of God creating male and female persons. But God did not simply create them and put them in the garden; God told them to do something.

God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the... [continue]

Stephen Curry lights up basketball world

Curry Fever overtook me quietly as I sat watching my first game of Golden State Warriors playoff basketball. Before the game ended I had experienced a flashback to my days in Illinois and the Michael Jordan hysteria that gripped so many of us in the 1990s. Stephen Curry is an amazing basketball player.

I'm not a big NBA fan; it's casual fandom for me. After Jordan, the game bored me. Then the Dallas Mavericks captured some magic, if less beautiful and exciting, but then their franchise let the guys who won them a championship go. My interest waned. I pulled for the Spurs to beat the Heat last year, but that meant watching one series... [continue]

Go Now students encouraged to start sharing now

DALLAS - Rather than waiting to share the Gospel until Go Now missionaries arrive on the mission field, Joe Osteen encouraged students to starting sharing as soon as they leave, even on the plane. Osteen, BSM director at the University of Texas at Tyler, encouraged more than 200 college-aged students to embrace their callings this summer as they spread out around the world for mission projects.

The Go Now Missions Commissioning service was held in the Pilgrim Chapel at Dallas Baptist University on Sunday, May 24, following a weekend of orientation and training for the student missionaries.

Osteen, drawing from Isaiah 55,... [continue]

TBDR seeks volunteers and funding to help Central Texas flood victims

SAN MARCOS - Following intense flooding in the Central Texas region of San Marcos and Wimberley, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is working to coordinate volunteers and funds to assist those in need. More than 400 homes have been destroyed in San Marcos, with assessment continuing in the town of Wimberley as to the number of homes damaged or destroyed.

Chris Liebrum, with TBDR, and Fred Ater, area representative, traveled to the region on Tuesday, May 26 to meet with local pastors about needs in the communities. On Wednesday, Marla Bearden, TBDR specialist, and other representatives met with Texas Baptist Men to develop a strategy... [continue]

Operation Giver: Voluntary church cooperation

Operation Giver is a project connecting young Texas Baptists with older professors, pastors and theologians to discuss Baptist Distinctives. Similar to the book, The Giver, our goal is to pass on wisdom from seasoned Baptists to the up-and-coming generation. While times continually change, the beliefs we share as Texas Baptists have held true for more than 130 years. Facilitating these conversations will help educate and encourage younger Baptists as they continue in the biblical tradition set before them.

Transitions tend to mark who we are. It is during the transitions we live through in which we get the opportunity to show what... [continue]

Can't we get rid of the Old Testament already?

This question is being asked more often. I was asked this just the other day by a group of 20- and 30-somethings whether or not we, as Christians, need to follow Old Testament regulations. When we talk about a theological position several considerations must be made. Proper biblical interpretation must find a balance among the scriptures as a whole. We believe scripture does not contradict scripture. With that said, let's examine this issue together.

The question was sparked from the very words of Jesus when he said He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. We also understand the Ten Commandments and Mosaic Law... [continue]


The old phrase, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression," is a polite way of saying that we pre-judge people. And to be honest, I'm prejudice.

Now, before you start casting stones, you are too. You may not realize it, but you are. You pre-judge people too.

My prejudice is based on how one dresses, one's vocabulary, body language and how one treats others. I also prejudge people on their hair, teeth, the bicycle they ride, the car they drive and a myriad of aspects of life. My prejudice is not based on ethnicity, nor does it force people into a permanent category or keep me from talking with someone.

At its core... [continue]

Texas Baptists assist FBC Mineral Wells following tornado damage

MINERAL WELLS – A tornado tore through downtown Mineral Wells on Tuesday, May 19, damaging First Baptist Church, along with several local businesses. The next day, Texas Baptists were on-hand ready to help in a myriad of ways. David Scott, director of Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program, and Joe Loughlin, director of Connections, traveled to the church to provide support and meet with Pastor Nathan Buchanan.

Additionally, a team from Texas Baptists Church Architecture assessed the structural damage sustained to the Welcome Center, Youth Room, and Family Life Center. The team was able to... [continue]

Between a rock and a hard place

A friend shared with me a few days ago of feeling "between a rock and hard place." That's how it can feel when one seeks to stand for Christ in the midst of a wide array of competing interests in the broader public square, including the Christian portion of that square.

Trying to stand for Christ and the things Christ valued is not easy, even among Christians, because good people have come to different conclusions regarding what is right or best in dealing with the details of day-to-day living and societal interaction.

Take politics for instance. If you want government to be like Jesus and help the poor then people on the right think... [continue]

Bad blood

Pop singer Taylor Swift is famous for putting her hurts and pain into song. She's done it again. The word on the street (the web) is that another pop icon, Katy Perry, is the newest object of her ire. That really doesn't matter; the words matter.

Now we've got problemsAnd I don't think we can solve 'emYou made a really deep cutAnd baby, now we've got bad blood, hey!

Many of us can identify with those words. People hurt us; they figuratively cut us. Our hurt and pain causes our blood to rise, as the saying goes. We get angry.

Did you have to do this?I was thinking that you could be trustedDid you have to ruin what was shiny?Now it's... [continue]

Even if you're bad at it

Recently, the Texas Baptists' Missions team went through some missional coach training, which we are ready to do with mission leaders and pastors in Texas. One thing I learned through this training (something I knew as a pastor, but was never able to put words to), our trainer Dr. Bob Logan said if pastors will engage in a missional evangelistic lifestyle, church members will then follow in the kind of lifestyle.

What he said next is what really got me: The level of effectiveness of a pastor, doing this kind of work, really does not matter. What matters is that they are doing it. Even if you believe you are "bad" at... [continue]

Cyclists weather storms to end hunger

When you are driven by a great cause, like working to end the cycle of hunger and poverty experienced by millions worldwide, a 500-mile bike ride seems a little more possible. Twenty-nine cyclists from across Texas, along with a few riders from Colorado and New York, joined together May 11-16 for the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger-Texas ride. This year, the team traveled from Boerne, near San Antonio, to Dallas with shared goals to raise money and awareness for hunger needs across Texas and around the world.

Funds raised by the cyclists were given to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which supports 180 ministries worldwide through... [continue]

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery Offers Church to Family Partnerships

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery will launch a new initiative for churches in response to the recent onslaught of severe weather across the state. Through the new Church to Family Partnerships, the opportunity is available to partner with a family affected by flooding or tornadoes to help rebuild or repair their home.

In May, many homes were damaged and/or destroyed through tornadoes and flooding in the towns of Van (East, TX), and Donna (South, TX). In Van alone, over 60 homes were completely destroyed and declared uninhabitable.

The Long Term Recovery phase of these disasters is beginning. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery will... [continue]

7 Things I Want “PK’s” To Know

The year was 1990. "New Kids on the Block" was the #1 boy band that climbed the music charts during the '80's and '90's, selling more than 80 million records worldwide. Every teenage girl I knew in the DFW area, including me, the "preacher's kid," had a major crush on the band. NKOTB was going to be in concert and I wanted to go with some church girlfriends. But there was a small problem.

I found out the concert would be on a Sunday night. I failed to tell my parents this minor detail because I knew what the answer would be. And I was right. They said, "No," when they found out. "Joanna, you know that's a church night. How would it... [continue]

Ebola Free Liberia Baptists Say, “Thank You”

We received the following letter from Olu Menjay, president of Liberia Baptist Missionary & Educational Convention, Inc, vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and principal/chief administrative officer of the Ricks Institute. He gives his thanks with a grateful heart, and thanks you for your prayers and tangible support during the raging storm of Ebola in Liberia.

"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in everyone of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5

On Monday, May 11, 2015, we attended the official... [continue]

Saying goodbye to UTD

This week, I said goodbye to the BSM at UTD, as I served my last day as its Campus Missionary Intern. After a whirlwind year, it slowed to a stop with the last few weeks of finals and end-of-the-year activities. And there is much I'll be taking away from my experience.

Primarily, I am so grateful the Lord blessed the ministry of the BSM at UTD so immensely this year. This was my fifth year to be involved (first as a student and now as a staff member) with the BSM, and the spiritual growth of the group is incredible. Our student leadership team is now larger than the entire membership, or weekly free lunch attendance, when I first... [continue]

Hearts full in Haiti

On Tuesday and Thursday nights, we have our beginner ESL (English as a Second Language) course. It's four o' clock and our students start to pour inside. We have made provisions with an extra table in the spare room and extra chairs around our kitchen-turned-classroom.

We exchange familiar hellos with our students, always so jovial and friendly as they arrive. It's hard to believe that some of our students walk for two hours to come to our one-hour class. It amazes me that they are this devoted to learning English.

This is our last class for awhile as we will be hosting short-term teams from the States and will not be able to... [continue]

Disaster Recovery prepares to respond to Van tornado destruction

A deadly tornado, which struck the Texas town of Van Sunday, May 10, has affected 204 total homes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) is on the ground assessing damage and preparing to begin volunteer mobilization.

According to the Red Cross, 62 homes were destroyed, 56 made inhabitable, 41 received minor damage, and 45 were otherwise affected. There were two fatalities and 56 residents were injured.

Texas Baptist Men, a partner organization of Texas Baptists that mobilizes immediate response teams, has chain saw teams in the area and is working to clear debris from homes.

First Baptist Church in Van is serving as a Red Cross... [continue]

​Help for dealing with a changing culture

The American culture seems to be getting away from us; that, at least, is how many Christians with more traditional values feel.

One of the most seriously threatened values is the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman for life. First, we saw the "for life" part mostly fall away as divorce grew more common, and now the "one man and one woman" portion hangs in the balance.

Most states already have redefined marriage as including same-sex relationships, and now many experts think the U.S. Supreme Court is about to make that redefinition apply to the remaining 13 states, including Texas.

For many of us, this just seems... [continue]

5 Reasons Generosity is Important: Looking at you, Millennials

As a Millennial working in the nonprofit sphere, I hear a lot of questions about the giving habits of my generational peers and how to get more young people involved in the organization's mission. Many see our "selfie era" as an indicator of rampant narcissism, producing an overly self-involved generation that cares little about what lies beyond our social news feed. While there is some evidence to suggest otherwise, youngsters like myself have a tendency to seek answers pertaining to the why rather than simply the how. The issue is not merely the supply of worthy initiatives or reducing the number of clicks on a donation page, but... [continue]

Saddle Up

Today (May 10), starts the first day of the 6th Bike Out Hunger – Texas event, which raises awareness of, and money for ending the cycle of hunger in Texas.

The annual event started as a "Hey, what if …" in the fall of 2009 with the first ride, a six-day 400-mile expedition, in Spring 2010. Of the original small group, four cyclists are riding with us this week and have made all six weeklong rides.

This one "what if" has grown into an organization that reaches more people and impacts more lives each year. This year, there are 8 single-day rides in Texas, one six-day ride, two triathlons and an international ride in Italy – all... [continue]

Cyclists to ride 500 miles with Bike Out Hunger to raise awareness for hunger

On Monday, May 11, the Sixth Annual Bike Out Hunger will leave from Boerne, raising money and awareness for hunger needs through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. This year's week-long route includes 29 cyclists who will ride more than 500 miles from Boerne to Dallas. The team will leave at 9 a.m. on Monday, ending the day in Fredericksburg.

For updates on the week follow at or on Twitter and Facebook.

Money raised will be donated to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which last year totaled approximately $900,000 and impacted more than 180 ministries around the world. The goal of the Hunger Offering is to bring an end... [continue]

Golf Classic brings in $15,000 for disaster recovery

Blue skies and a bright shining sun made an appearance as 265 golfers stepped onto the green of the TPC San Antonio golf course on April 27 for the second annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic.

The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and 17 sponsors, with Baptist Church Loan Corporation (BCLC) serving as title sponsor. All proceeds will benefit Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR).

"We're grateful to all of our sponsors, especially BCLC who, without their help, the event wouldn't have been possible," said Chris Liebrum, tournament director and director of TBDR. "We're glad we can host the... [continue]

Daniel had a better way

Three members of my family just completed an altered version of the Daniel Fast. It's a 21-day "partial fast" based on the experience of the prophet Daniel. I learned some things.

First, I'm no Daniel. My version was substantially less strenuous than recommended.

Second, my version was a challenge. I consumed no fried food, soft drinks, beef, pork, eggs, snack food, leavened bread or regular milk. I tried to avoid cheese, but that stuff is on virtually everything. I had only two cups of coffee.

Third, I realized I was addicted to caffeine and sugar. I didn't think I was a big drinker of soda and coffee, but headaches and... [continue]

A Thank You Note to Ministers' Wives

Isn't it an unexpected pleasure, especially in these days of instant communication, to open a small note card and find a handwritten word of thanks?

As a pastor's wife in a small town, every spring I would find my mailbox full of invitations and announcements. Fun wedding showers filled the weekends. In May graduation announcements began to roll in. Add baby showers, birthdays and Mother's Day, and spring is filled with gift-giving opportunities!

In the following weeks, thank you notes would begin to arrive. Some were quickly dashed off. "Thank you for the gift. It will be very useful in the future." I'm sure you have received... [continue]

Helpful tips for your Mom's Day sermons

Imhbao*, Mothers' Day is THE riskiest Sunday of the year for a pastor. Here are some lessons I've learned so far:

  1. Keep it in the fairway - no trick shots; #youwillblowit.
  2. Do NOT use sports analogies (as I did in #1 above).
  3. Speak to their hearts as opposed to their heads (Moms are smarter than the rest of us anyway and don't need How-to's).
  4. Stories not points. Better yet, story.
  5. Be positive, uplifting, encouraging - don't EVEN bring up the lady in Proverbs 31; most ladies dread the comparison.
  6. Preach no more than half as long as usual - it's all about brunch/lunch.

*In my humble but accurate... [continue]

2015 State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament winners named

Eighty-seven youth representing 35 churches competed in the Texas Baptist State Youth Bible Drill and Speaker's Tournament May 1 and 2 at the Baptist Building in Dallas.

Prior to the competition, students competed in one of the five regional events across the state. For 2015, there were 827 participants in Bible Drill and Speaker's Tournaments from 109 churches competing in the regional events. The highest-scoring youth from those events then traveled to Dallas for the state competition.

State winners include:

Youth Bible Drill (7 – 9th grades)

1st Place - Tie - William Horton, First Baptist Church in Dallas and... [continue]

Advocacy Alert: Stop Telemarketing by Payday Lenders

Ask Your State Representative to Vote Yes on HB 411.

Thanks to your phone calls the House Calendars Committee set HB 411 for the House Calendar on Tuesday, May 5.

HB 411 would limit the telemarketing abilities of payday lenders. We need to protect consumers from unsolicited calls from payday lenders attempting to trap them in unaffordable loans.

We need you to call your State Representative and ask them to support HB 411 on the floor.

To find out who represents you, please click ... [continue]

Refugee families adjust to life in the US with help of Houston ministry

Loaves & Fishes is a ministry actively seeking to alleviate hunger amongst refugee children in Houston. They receive funds from Texas Baptists Hunger Offering via the Union Baptist Association, which help the ministry in a variety of ways:
  • Providing a hot meal for children on Saturday nights, when they do not receive a meal from school
  • Keeping a stock of food items such as rice and lentils for families to take when food stamps run low
  • Packing children's backpacks in the summertime with food

Margie Randall, retired IMB missionary, has a special place in her heart for children. Ever since God called her to help refugee... [continue]

My Space

At the risk of sounding like a 3-year-old on a 14-hour road trip, "He's touching me!"

There's an invisible line dividing airplane seats, which exists in the middle of the shared armrest that, like property lines in Texas, extends up into space and down into the earth. If this is new information to you, perhaps you are the gentleman I sat next to on a flight back home recently.

I don't take up much space in an airline seat. I'm 5'10" and weigh between 142-144 pending on how much cycling I'm getting in. The more cycling, the more weight (odd, but it's an uncanny and unfortunate talent I have to lose muscle quickly). Yes, I realize this... [continue]

5 Keys to Kingdom Work

"To do the work of God, the Church must have a mission. It's in the Great Commandment and in the Great Commission." -Toby Snowdensee Mark 12:29-31 & Matthew 28:18-20.

Just as a key is used to open a door, these five keys can assist us in opening doors for Kingdom work.

  1. Win Souls"He who wins souls is wise" Proverbs 11:30The Apostle Paul states clearly the attitude of God concerning the lost, "(God) who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4. Jesus declared "you will be my witnesses" Acts 1:8. The New Testament is replete with words like preach, teach, persuade, declare, reason, explain,
... [continue]