February 2016

Executive Board approves preventative education and training regarding clergy sexual misconduct

DALLAS - In a proactive approach to address clergy sexual misconduct through prevention education and training, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas voted to revise current policy at the recent February 22-23 board meeting.

Vernon Stokes, chairman of the Administration Support Committee, presented the recommended policy change, in response to research provided by an internal review of procedures. Rollie Richmond, director of human resources, oversaw the internal review which included assessing the effectiveness and... [continue]

What homes of restoration and redemption look like

Nestled next to both Texas Christian University and Paschal High School lies a small building, which is home to Southside City Church pastored by Darrel and Kim Auvenshine. Before Southside was a church, it began as a group of people meeting at a park to serve the HIV community of Fort Worth.

"We built our church on Matthew 25," Darrel Auvenshine said during an interview. "We wished to serve 'the least of these,' and that our church could feel like their home when they might not have one."

On the southside of Fort Worth poverty has been... [continue]

Texans spending billions for booze

Texans are going to bars and drinking deep of alcoholic beverages, according to a story in the Austin American-Statesman.

Beer, wine, and mixed drink sales reached almost $6 billion in Texas last year, an increase of 6 percent over 2014.

This figure saddens me. Some of it accounts for just basic refreshment. Some people drink a beer in the same way I drink a Dr. Pepper. Some people drink a glass of wine for health benefits. Some people just like the taste. But, I suspect, most of the alcohol is consumed to alter one's mood -- to help unwind at the... [continue]

Ministry is done with people, not for people

I have often thought back to a meeting one afternoon with the "consultant" in regard to attendance. The church was at its lowest point in my tenure. I was desperately trying to figure out what our church could do in the midst of decline, and a neighborhood we seemed not to match up with. The "consultant" told me to build a church with the affluent and let the affluent minister to the non-affluent. The key in all of it, though, was that our main worship service was going to primarily only serve the affluent. Part of me still cringes a little... [continue]

Marriage in a Fishbowl

Have you ever had any of these thoughts?

  • I hope no one realizes that I have no idea what I'm doing.
  • I want to quit most Mondays.
  • I'm really kind of 'over' people. I'm not even sure I like them anymore.
  • I'm afraid that my kids will end up resenting me, despising the church and rejecting Jesus, all because of their experience as a pastor's kid.
  • My marriage is so strained I'm not sure we will make it.

Cory and I have been in ministry full time for most of our adult lives. We have served together, raised our kids under the watchful eyes (and often vocal opinions) of our... [continue]

Brokenness is close at hand, but we are together

We've all heard the phrase "it's a small world" and may have even said it ourselves at some point when we realized we knew someone or knew of someone through another person. In fact, for years the idea has been that there are six degrees of separation between people – so much so that years ago it was made into a game – the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. More recently, Facebook has said there are only 3.5 degrees of separation between users.

Why am I talking about degrees of separation? It's estimated that one in five people will experience a... [continue]

Today we have hope, today we are fed: Texas Baptist Hunger Offering at Work

Ruth sat at a table in the two-room shack where she lived with her abusive husband and four hungry children in the Dominican Republic. She stared at a cup of tea in her hand that would cause her to abort a fifth child she was now carrying.

"Ruth! Ruth!" She heard Rosa Elena calling her name from across the street. It became a God-moment, and the calling of Ruth's name saved the precious life of Ruth's unborn child.

Rosa Elena did not just cry out to Ruth; Rosa Elena fed Ruth and her children, and shared God's love... [continue]

Listening and responding to the Lord’s call to go

Go Now Missions recently hosted Discovery Weekend at First Baptist Church Midlothian, where 195 students were issued invitations to serve as Go Now Missionaries after the weekend. There were 50 small group leaders, made up of BSM Staff, Church Staff and students who are former Go Now Missionaries; 25 host homes provided by FBC Midlothian; 17 who served on the Prayer Team; and 25 who served on the Servant Team. Below is a story from one student who participated in the weekend.

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with... [continue]

Texas Baptists welcomes new team lead for Music and Worship

From an early age, Tom Tillman learned he had a natural musical ability. Since then, his life has encompassed a vast array of musical experiences.

Texas Baptists welcomes Tillman, former Music and Worship Pastor for First Baptist Church in Conroe, as the new Music and Worship Lead.

"I was literally one of those kids that grew up being at the church every time the doors were open," Tillman said. "I was always eager to do musical things, whether it was children's choir or handbells and then eventually playing piano,... [continue]

Safety from war does not come without struggle—bringing hope to Syrian refugees

The terror and violence became unbearable. At 4 a.m. around two years ago, Yusuf and Fatima Assad* gathered their nine children and left their house, possessions and comfort to search for a better life, away from bombings and turmoil.

The Assad family is just one of millions who have fallen victim to the unrelenting civil war in Syria, which first struck the nation four years ago. Since then, close to 1.08 million registered Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, located just west of Syria.

There was no turning back. Seconds after they... [continue]

Praying for those who will go

Go Now Missions recently hosted Discovery Weekend at First Baptist Church Midlothian, where 195 students were issued invitations to serve as Go Now Missionaries after the weekend. There were 50 small group leaders, made up of BSM Staff, Church Staff and students who are former Go Now Missionaries; 25 host homes provided by FBC Midlothian; 17 who served on the Prayer Team; and 25 who served on the Servant Team. Below is a story from one leader who served on the Prayer Team.

As a former GoNow missionary, I had the opportunity of serving on the Prayer Team for... [continue]

Predatory lending is unjust because it traps borrowers

(Stephen Reeves will lead a workshop titled "Predatory Lending and the Church: Morality, Missions and Advocacy" during the CLC's Micah 6:8 Conference March 31-April 1 at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.)

Through the prophet Micah, God commands us to do justice. Doing justice is not extra credit; it is not bonus activity or tangential to the Gospel. The work of justice is at the very heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came proclaiming release to those held captive.

Millions of our neighbors are held captive... [continue]

Should I smack someone or is there a better choice?

It was our first day back at church after being away for a month. I got up early, spent time in prayer for the services and for my own heart's cleansing, praying that nothing in my heart would hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in my life or the lives of my family – personal and church.

During the morning service, I was just overwhelmed while we were singing of the love of Jesus and I was reminded of the story of Calvary. It was a great morning of worship.

However, the service was barely over when things went downhill. Hurtful,... [continue]

Introducing The 2016 National Acteen Panelists From Texas

Every year, Woman's Missionary Union® chooses a handful of young women to serve as National Acteen Panelist. The girls that are chosen as Panelist obtain qualities that show leadership, serving hearts, and a strong relationship with Christ.

The 2016 National Acteen Panelist consists of three girls from the state of Texas. Hannah Hutton from Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Jemima Louis from Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, and Ana Sandoval from Freeman Heights Baptist Church in Garland.

As a former Panelist, I know that this... [continue]

Texas Baptists to host Hispanic evangelism events for students and adults

The Texas Baptists Hispanic Evangelism team is gearing up for a busy but invigorating year, complete with evangelism training opportunities for Latino churches around the state.

Both students and adults will have opportunities to gain valuable evangelism training through regional Renovación Hispanic Evangelism Conferences and through Congreso, a youth evangelism conference. Joshua del Risco, evangelism lead for the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, said he is excited for what is in store for each upcoming... [continue]

Choices and consequences: The newest study from Connect 360

Choices and their inevitable consequences. We just can't seem to get around them. Whether it's the food we choose to eat, the speed we choose to drive, the relationships we choose to enter, the people we choose to follow, or the habits we choose to form; we all live with the positive and negative consequences of our choices. Fortunately, God has provided us an "owner's manual" that can serve to guide our choices. The Bible contains stories of real people, their choices, and the resulting consequences.

The Books of Joshua and Judges are full of such stories –... [continue]

When disaster strikes: Five steps to ensure your church is prepared to minister to the community

2015 was a record year for disasters in Texas. Flooding and tornadoes damaged thousands of homes. Currently, there are 24 active Long Term Recovery groups meeting regularly to rebuild homes and lives of people affected by these disasters in Texas.

When communities are struck by disasters, a well-run leadership structure within that local government keeps citizens from being caught off guard and scrambling to react. The same is true of our churches and associations. Those who educate... [continue]

These gleaming, little eyes

Look at these gleaming little eyes. Gripping, aren't they?

Though a sparkle glistens, these eyes have seen what no eyes should ever see.

These eyes saw a bomb detonate yards away as they fled their Syrian home at 4 a.m. over a year ago.

They saw airplanes fly above which triggered tears and the verbal response, "They're coming! They're coming to bomb us!"

They saw crowded buses and tired feet during the two days of transit to cross the Syria/Lebanon border.

They saw their new home—a wooden frame, covered with a flimsy nylon tarp—and two "rooms" to house nine pairs... [continue]

When disaster strikes

What looked to be a typical, rainy spring weekend quickly turned tragic. The rains, heavier than usual, created a 40-foot wall of water that came barreling down the river, wiping houses off their foundations and thrusting cars into trees. The flood in San Marcos Memorial Day weekend 2015 would go down in history as the highest flood recorded in Texas.

But when news of the damage shook the community, First Baptist Church in San Marcos was armed and ready to respond.

Two and a half years ago, volunteers from the church assisted with disaster recovery following the West... [continue]

I wanna know what love is

Like the 80s rock band Foreigner, I want to know what love is. And I am not alone in my inquiry. Legendary singer Tina Turner asks, "what's love got to do with it?" John Legend speaks of its all encompassing nature, singing it has affected "all of me." So what is it?

Diana Ross and Lionel Richie found that love is "endless." Beyoncé, Queen Bey, opines love is "crazy." Huey Lewis says there is a "power of love." How much power? Well, it made Stevie Wonder call just to say "I love you." Leona Lewis is quite figuratively "bleeding love." And Taylor Swift owes her entire career... [continue]

Celebrating the sanctity of marriage

In a sermon series addressing the issues of brokenness in the world, Pastor Chris Dupree of Baptist Temple McAllen focused one Sunday sermon on the sanctity, definition and value of marriage.

While society has attempted to define and redefine marriage over the years, Dupree encouraged the congregation with this simple truth, "God is the author, definer and creator of marriage."

Dupree invited Ron Smith, counseling pastor at Baptist Temple, to join him in preaching the sermon. Smith addressed the biblical concept of marriage, drawing from... [continue]

How a small town church can make a big impact

Churches are often looking for ways to engage the community around them with the Gospel, to reach out to the unchurched and find an event which will pique their interest enough to begin a conversation. Small membership churches may find it difficult at times to host a large event due to limited budgets, resources, volunteers, facilities and the list goes on and on.

Here's the good news! By using creativity, ingenuity and networking, it is possible to make a big splash in your neighborhood.

I visited with Joe Ward, pastor of First... [continue]

Episode 1: Ready: Recognizing and Responding to God's Call

In our first episode of txb.life podcast, Joshua Minatrea sits down with Rusty Wheelington and Grant Byrd, authors of the new book Ready: Recognizing and responding to God's call. Listen as the authors provide insight into this helpful new resource for young people sensing a call from God to vocational ministry.

​Revival through the radio waves in Honduras

This past month, Radio Rio de Dios had an incredible time of ministry. During the last week of January, during our monthly marathon, special guest Pedro Paz came to the radio station to pray, share the Gospel and minister to the listening audience.

Over a period of six days, more than 500 people came to the radio station seeking help, prayer, and to bring offerings for the radio ministry. People waited for hours outside in the hot sun to receive prayer and in some cases healing from various illnesses.

During the week over 175 decisions were... [continue]

Let Justice Roll Down

(Dr. Michael A. Evans, Sr., will lead a workshop titled "Let Justice Roll Down -- It's a Big Deal in Scripture & Today" during the CLC's Micah 6:8 Conference March 31-April 1 at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. He is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield.)

One of the most prolific martyrs of the civil rights era, namely Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded readers in his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" of the prophetic words of the Old Testament prophet, Amos.

King wrote these words in the midst of a civil rights movement that had come to a... [continue]

Lesson learned: The power of words for church leaders

I remember his faithfulness in leading out in the ministry of the church. I remember he was one of the most familiar faces from my childhood. What I will never forget about him is the Sunday evening he stood in a business meeting at our church to discuss some changes and he proclaimed "the church is gone."

He was actually quoting from a business meeting in that same church that had happened 12 years earlier when the church had split. For me, it was the first time I had ever imagined that a church could or would die. It shook me... [continue]

Raising Highly Capable Kids program sees continued growth around the state

FORT WORTH—With flowers in hand, students at W.J. Turner Elementary School in Fort Worth assembled in the school's auditorium last week to witness an extraordinary sight—their parents' graduation.

Seventeen parents took the stage to receive their diplomas for completing 13 weeks of classes based around the curriculum Raising Highly Capable Kids (RHCK), which teaches parents skills for raising their children.

In 2013, Pastor Rafael Berlanga, from Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, introduced the program... [continue]

The oversaturated, overextended and overstimulated mind

In a world where contentment and happiness tend to be driven by the entertainment industry, and at a time when the entertainment industry is growing in innovative, all-encompassing ways of keeping our attention in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life, it is easy to become addicted to an oversaturated, overextended and overstimulated state of mind.

How then do we battle the repercussions of this cultural norm? As the demands on our lives become ever increasing and time is consumed, our minds and thoughts are following the... [continue]

We joined Christian Women's and Christian Men's Job Corps

Imagine enrolling in a job corps program and having your entire life transformed. That's exactly what happens to many who pass through CWJC and CMJC. Program participants receive training in life skills and job readiness, and, along the way, gain self-confidence, purpose, direction, and hope for the future. What a deal!

Naturally, we wanted in on the action. Henry Blackaby said, "Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work." A generous grant from the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation gave us the... [continue]

Two former pastors to serve as Area 8 representatives

DALLAS--Over 900 Texas Baptists churches are located in the North Texas region surrounding Dallas, also known as Area 8, where diversity is vast and culture is ever-changing.

Texas Baptists has recently welcomed former pastors John Nguyen and Dowell Loftis to partner together as part-time area representatives for Area 8, which encompasses counties as far north as Grayson and Fannin Counties and as far south as Leon County.

The duo will work together to build relationships with pastors, key church leaders and directors of... [continue]

Baptist University of the Américas to relocate entire campus

SAN ANTONIO – Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) students will enjoy a modern campus when they move into one building that provides more square footage and up-to-date facilities for Fall 2016.

The 68-year-old university on the Southside that educates Hispanic ministers from 23 countries is relocating its entire campus operations and personnel this summer.

The university is moving from the eight outdated buildings to a medical office building built in 2006 that has been unused due to foreclosure.

BUA has been on... [continue]

Top 10 items only pro TLs pack

Top 10 items only pro TLs pack

1. Cush your tush. From hard baked Texas soil to folding metal chairs, your hiney is whiney for something soft to sit on. This guy is just the thing to beat the seat.


2. That hot Texas sun ain't goin' nowhere, might as well prepare. Be you and pick your own hat but make sure it has a full brim, is breathable so your scalp doesn't cook, and look for one with a string so you can fling it back in case you are chasing a wandering student.... [continue]

Preparing for service on a unique mission field

Passionate about preaching the word of God and sharing the Gospel, Mark Kim enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 2014. In his younger years, Kim would not have pictured himself in seminary but rather in medical school pursuing a career in pediatrics.

Following his graduation from Baylor University with a degree in education, Kim was working at a hospital in his hometown of Lewisville. He constantly found himself drawn to patients, checking on how they were doing in the midst of sickness and emergencies. He... [continue]

Las vidas de los inmigrantes a través de los ojos de los migrantes en las Escrituras

Para ayudar a nuestra comunidad y al cuerpo de Cristo a entender la inmigración, es necesario hablar de este tema dentro del contexto más amplio de la migración en las Escrituras.

La Biblia habla ampliamente de la migración y nos cuenta historias de personas de la vida real que sufrieron experiencias dolorosas al trasladarse de un país a otro,  enfrentando situaciones que aún hoy en día son relevantes.

La historia de nuestra fe comienza con Abraham el inmigrante, a quien Dios le mandó dejar su... [continue]

The lives of immigrants can be seen in the migrants of Scripture

To help our culture and the body of Christ understand immigration, it is helpful to talk about it within the broader scope of migration in Scripture.

The Bible deals extensively with migration and tells stories about real people who went through painful movements from one country to another, facing issues that are still relevant today.

The story of our faith begins with the migrant Abraham, who is commanded by God to leave his homeland and become a blessing to the nations. His great-grandson, Joseph, becomes a victim of human... [continue]

5 Ways to spiritually fight for your kids

"Where is my wedding ring?" My heart started racing in panic.

I noticed my ring was missing and immediately started to look around, thinking quickly about where it could be and why it wasn't on the ring holder like usual. My thoughts went to my then 4-year-old daughter, Rachel Beth.

Immediately I questioned her. "Have you seen my wedding ring, Rachel?"

She replied, "No. I don't know where it is."

I asked again, my anger and frustration welling up inside me because I knew she might be up to something by the way she was squirming. After another... [continue]

Bono rocked the world 10 years ago with words about poverty, justice

Ten years ago today, rock star Bono delivered an amazing address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, with President George W. Bush sitting nearby.

Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, said an encounter with a wise man had changed his life "in countless way, big and small." The singer said he was "always" asking God to bless his family, a tour, a song. "Could I have a blessing on it."

And this wise man asked me to stop. He said, Stop asking God to bless what you're doing. Get involved in what
... [continue]

What happens to college students when they actually "rest"

Jumbo shrimp, good grief, bitter sweet--these are just a few of my favorite oxymorons. Another favorite I hear a lot is this: restful college student.

For many college students, the idea of "resting" is unheard of, aside from catching maybe five hours of shut-eye at night. Whether it's school, work, homework or having a social life, for some reason the hours in college just seem to get filled up so quickly.

Every year, Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry organizes a prayer retreat called "Abide" that invites college students to... [continue]