Youth group travels to minister’s hometown to rebuild flood-damaged homes
by Leah Reynolds on March 31, 2016 in feature
WIMBERLEY, TX--When Bobby Catt, minister of students at First Baptist Church in San Angelo, discovered a student mission trip opportunity in Wimberley, he knew he had to sign up his youth group right away.
Catt called the small town, with a population just over 2,500, home for many formative years. Last Memorial Day weekend, numerous Wimberley residencies sustained severe damage after record amounts of rainfall caused flooding across Central Texas.
Nine days after the flood, Catt and three members from his church traveled to Wimberley to begin relief work.
Nearly 10 months later, he heard about a spring break mission trip... [continue]
Cultivating meaningful communication with your spouse
by Guest Author on March 30, 2016 in faith
This article is part three of the Marriage in a Fishbowl series, focused on encouragement and helpful marriage tips for ministers. It is written by Cory and Amy Brand, a ministry couple serving in Corsicana. Click here to read part one and part two.
“Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.” - Charles Dickens
A church member dies. Someone feels forgotten. A family falls apart. Another financial need arises. A cancer diagnosis. The phone rings…again. Is anybody else exhausted?
As ministers, we are constantly battered by the pain in this world, by the fallout from sinful choices, and from the... [continue]
For God and Country
by Melody Rich on March 29, 2016 in great commission
On May 20-22, three churches will hear the stories and testimonies of those that have served our state and country through a special event "For God and Country." Highlighting a different speaker for each day, this free event focuses on encouragement and the redemptive power of Jesus' blood. Hardened criminals, war-touched veterans, relatives killed in bombings; these are just some of the tragedies which struck these three speakers.
Max Gunn, the speaker for May 20, served the Texas Department of Public Safety for 37 years and retired as a Senior Corporal. During his almost four decades of service he worked with Highway Patrol... [continue]
The impact of Beach Reach stretching far beyond the small island
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in feature
Beach Reach by the numbers
1,040 students served over the course of three weeks
11,000 pancakes were served by Texas Baptist Men
25,262 free van rides were given on South Padre Island
186 commitments to Christ were made
62 people were baptized in the Gulf of Mexico
It was around 12:30 a.m., Wednesday morning of the third week of Beach Reach. Students were assembled in their assigned roles around the island. For some it was directing traffic in the busy Looie’s parking lot, others struck up conversations with spring breakers over pancakes. Some spent hours in the sanctuary of Island... [continue]
Beach Reach finds new opportunity to serve city officials during spring break
by Kalie Lowrie on March 29, 2016 in great commandment
College students around the country know that South Padre Island is the place to go for a good time during spring break. Between the sand, sun and fun that is had by thousands, it is a one of the busiest weeks of the year. One night, 1,500 new guest checked into a local hotel, which is about half of the population of the entire island.
As college students, with a sprinkling of families and a few “winter Texans,” provide a substantial boost to the economy, the influx also requires a substantial increase in police officers and city workers to help maintain safety in the community.
Since 1980, Christian students from Baptist... [continue]
Knowing Your Limits
by Joe Loughlin on March 28, 2016 in faith
I can't do impersonations. I've tried. It's beyond me. I speak for a living and work in a lot of humor in my talks, but the element of that hilarious impersonation of some celebrity is never in my act. And, ironically, I finally determined to quit trying after a failed attempt to impersonate Clint Eastwood's famous line, "A man's got to know his limitations." Ha!
One of my best friends approached me that day and simply said, "Pastor, you know I love you, but don't ever try that again." I laughed, and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I'm serious. It was embarrassing." So, now I quote celebrities but never try to... [continue]
Be Clay Pot, Not McDonald's
by Rand Jenkins on March 25, 2016 in the texas baptistist
The Clay Pot is a small Vietnamese restaurant in Waco. Actually, it's the only Vietnamese restaurant in Waco and it's good. To clarify, it's good to those who like Vietnamese food.
This unique restaurant has a feature that is my son's favorite – sitting on the floor to eat. It doesn't matter if he's eating out of a clay pot or Pho, he's happy sitting on the floor to do so.
Being the only Vietnamese restaurant in Waco makes some people question why there is one at all if a demand for several doesn't exist or makes them recommend diversification to increase patronage. Well, as you know people are different and have different ... [continue]
Houston's brokenness: College students respond to the mega city's greatest needs
by Leah Reynolds on March 24, 2016 in feature
HOUSTON--Home to nearly 2.2 million people, Houston is labeled the fourth most populous city in the nation and has over 145 languages spoken. Along with its large population and immense diversity comes more startling statistics:
- Houston has more victims of human trafficking than any other U.S. city.
- 6,300 people are without a home on any given night in Houston.
- Crime reports showed 283 people were murdered in Houston in 2015.
- There are more than 1 million foreign born residents in the Houston metro area, accounting for one in four of the population.
Over spring break, 130 college students embraced the city and its... [continue]
Medical missions--Providing light in a man's darkest moments
by Guest Author on March 24, 2016 in great commandment
"'For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'...And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36,40
How does God work to save a man from taking his own life? How can a clinic team and two pastors reach a man in his darkest hour? God alone can be the explanation.
This week, I traveled with a group of pre-med and medical students to El Paso... [continue]
Help That Makes A Difference
by Ali Hearon on March 23, 2016 in clc
(Ali hearon will lead a workshop titled "Community Transformation: Foundations for Community Ministry" at the Micah 6:8 Conference March 31-April 1 at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. The conference will feature authors Jen and Brandon Hatmaker.)
Amy has an outgoing personality, lots of perseverance, and a heart for service. Her welcoming presence and vivacious sense of humor draw others to her in friendship. Amy also happens to be in recovery from an intense addiction to alcohol that has wreaked havoc on her life and relationships.
Amy is now living in sobriety in Trinity, though her name is changed here. She is surrounded by... [continue]
by Guest Author on March 23, 2016 in ministers spouses
The following story took place early in the 21st century:
The first day on the job, my pastor husband was setting up his office in a wonderful church where we were serving at the time. He called out to his secretary: "How do I access the internet?" She responded, "We don't!"
It turns out that the World Wide Web had never inhabited the little church. Later that week, pastor husband gathered among a group of humble servants to have a discussion about getting the office set up with an internet provider. The proposal was initially met with pleasant chatter of several obvious reasons the staff could use access to the internet in... [continue]
A Holy Week reflection on suffering
by Guest Author on March 21, 2016 in faith
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Christ and Him crucified.1 Corinthians 2:2
The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our faith, and its presence could not be more evident during this time of year. In this season, we remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We have prepared our hearts through Lenten devotion. We have set our minds on Good Friday in order to discern the grace of God in the most difficult of situations. Even now, we wait with bated breath for hope to rise again with resurrection power on Sunday morning.
We can't wait for Sunday morning. Sunday morning is when the darkness of night... [continue]
Double Your Missions Gift
by Liz Encinia, Missional Lifestyle Strategist on March 18, 2016 in womans missionary union
Through 2018, the Texas TTT Endowment will benefit Missionary Kids (MKs). Each year, WMU of Texas sets aside $6,000 to help Texas MKs returning stateside attend the MK Re-Entry Retreat. WMU of Texas will host the national event in 2018. This retreat has all the features of a weekend camp experience along with time for MKs to immerse themselves back into life in the United States. For many, this event offers a great opportunity for them to fellowship with other MKs, learn current affairs, and be loved on by WMU. The average cost for travel per MK is $350.
In 2016 the Texas Touch Tomorrow Today (TTT) Endowment received a... [continue]
The art of one thing
by Joe Loughlin on March 17, 2016 in faith
Being the ultimate single-tasker, I often find myself overwhelmed with the aspects of ministry that resemble some version of juggling--believe me, those who've mastered tossing and catching chainsaws and things afire have nothing on today's ministry leader. But, more often than not, I have found the ability to hone in on one thing at a time to be a distinct advantage in three-plus decades of ministering in and through transition. It's the art of the one thing.
For example, when I arrived at a new ministry assignment which clearly called for major transition (the only other option was for the ministry to die), I found myself... [continue]
Are you stuck?
by Guest Author on March 16, 2016 in ministers spouses
This past weekend my daughters and I attended a sold out Beth Moore Conference in Waco with 7000 women in attendance. As you probably already know - that many women going to one place would be phenomenal, would be awesome worship - 7000 voices at one time worshipping Jehovah, the One True God. The parking and gathering would be a headache, and the lines to the bathrooms (even the men's turned women's) would have long lines.
So we are in a city that none of us are familiar with - depending on our Garmin. We left the hotel early and set our sights on getting to the stadium, parking and finding our seats before worship started. We... [continue]
Responding to Same-Sex Issues with Grace and Truth
by Steve Wells on March 15, 2016 in ethical living blog
(Steve Wells will lead a workshop titled "Responding to Same-Sex Issues with Grace & Truth" during the Micah 6:8 Conference March 31-April 1 at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.)
Grace and truth. Holding them together – that's the difficult thing, isn't it? Truth without grace is cold. Grace without truth can get very mushy. But grace and truth together – there's power there – and in it, a real magnetism.
Grace and truth held together is especially needed when Christians listen and dialogue with our LGBT brothers and sisters, both inside and outside the church. Yes, there can potentially be tension in such dialogue, but when we... [continue]
Do you see me?
by Katie Swafford on March 14, 2016 in faith
People struggle with mental illness all around us. Though we may be shocked to hear the statistic that 1 in 5 will experience a mental illness in a given year or that 10 million adults in the U.S. live with some type of serious mental illness, we struggle to recognize how our personal world is touched by mental illness.
On more than one occasion driving to work, I have observed mental illness. You may think the next line will read something about episodes of road rage or technology addictions (because yes, those are evident in the morning/evening commute). But what about the others who we may drive by, but don't really see. Like the... [continue]
Talk with your kids
by Rand Jenkins on March 11, 2016 in culture
A recent trip to my parents' house reminded me of something. My mother is a talker. She'll talk about the TV show we are watching, about people we have never known, about stores we drive by or even simply read signs aloud as we pass them just to talk and maybe start a conversation. Turns out, since she's such a talker, it benefitted me in my early development and education (probably a reason I majored in Communications and minored in English, well, that coupled with the minimal math requirements in those fields of study).
Many of us are aware of the widening educational gap in America. The expanding space between the haves and the... [continue]
Promise & Peril: Preaching Micah 6:8 In 2016 America
by Les Hollon on March 10, 2016 in christian life commission
How clearly do you see the promise & peril of our country during the 2016 election? Are you able to see that there is an American Dream, and that you share in its promise? Can you see how God's hope is calling us forward? Do you see your part to play in solving our perilous problems? Do you believe that our national motto, "In God we trust", provides our pathway forward?The Peril
Our greatest challenge as Americans is to identify and claim that "common good" which holds us together. Without a common good we are fragmented by self interests which cause us to war against each other. With a common good we pull ourselves together into a... [continue]
Texas Baptists names new director of African American Ministries
by Leah Reynolds on March 10, 2016 in feature
DALLAS—Dr. Roy Cotton, from Dallas, has been named Director of African American Ministries for Texas Baptists.
Cotton assumed his new role March 1 and became the fourth director, after having served as interim director since September 2015.
More than 900 African American churches cooperate with Texas Baptists, and Cotton said he is looking forward to connecting with even more churches in this new position.
"I am most excited about connecting African American pastors and churches with Texas Baptists," he said.
As director, Cotton will serve as a liaison working with the African American Fellowship of Texas and the... [continue]
La promesa y el peligro: Predicar Miqueas 6:8 en un Estados Unidos del 2016
by Dr. Les Hollon on March 10, 2016 in clc espanol
¿Qué tan claramente puede usted ver las promesas y los peligros que enfrenta nuestro país durante las elecciones presidenciales del 2016? ¿Puede usted darse cuenta de que hay un sueño americano, y que usted comparte las bendiciones de esa promesa? ¿Puede ver cómo la esperanza divina nos invita a seguir adelante? ¿Ve usted el papel que le corresponde jugar a fin de resolver nuestros peligrosos problemas nacionales? ¿Cree usted que nuestro lema nacional, “En Dios confiamos” nos provee un camino hacia el futuro?
Nuestro mayor desafío como americanos es el de identificar y reclamar ese “bien común” que nos une a todos... [continue]
7 Reasons you don't want to miss the Micah 6:8 Conference
by Kathryn Freeman on March 9, 2016 in culture
1. Your feelings when listening to Jen Hatmaker.
Featured speaker Jen Hatmaker, New York Times best-selling author, mother and justice advocate will have you laughing so hard you might cry and clap just like Oprah! Learn more about Jen and her family at jenhatmaker.com
2. How you will feel after participating in workshops led by outstanding thought-leaders in advocacy, ministry, ethics, and justice.
We have over 25 thought provoking workshops led by experts ready to give you practical tips for building and strengthening your justice, mercy and advocacy ministry.
3. How the young people in your church will feel... [continue]
Putting marriage priorities back in order
by Guest Author on March 9, 2016 in faith
This article is part two of the Marriage in a Fishbowl series, focused on encouragement and helpful marriage tips for ministers. It is written by Cory and Amy Brand, a ministry couple serving in Corsicana. Click here to read part one.
'And they lived happily ever after!'
Are you kidding me? I'd venture to say that any of us who have been married for any length of time have figured out that creating a good marriage takes work! But here's my question: who are you married to? I mean, let's just get really honest. Who consumes your thoughts, your time and your energy? Whose companionship do you seek? Who has your heart? Who are you... [continue]
by Sandy Wisdom-Martin, WMU of Texas Executive Director-Treasurer on March 3, 2016 in womans missionary union
We have a tremendous opportunity to support the future of missions in our state while we honor the legacy of a WMU of Texas leader.
Jeane Law loved Texas and missions. Joy Fenner says of Jeane, "My favorite memories include Jeane's genuine love for missionaries and their kids. It began when she was a Sunbeam (preschool missions organization). It grew and developed as she grew. That love expressed itself in multiple ways and continued throughout her entire life."
What Else Can a Parent Ask For
by Gabriel Cortes on March 3, 2016 in faith
Since our two sons were little, we've stressed the importance of going to college and earning a bachelor's degree. Even more, we have stressed the need to go ahead and work towards earning a master's degree, since competition in the job market seems to increase every day. Now, our oldest is in his last semester of high school and college life is looming just six months away. We couldn't believe it when the other night we had to put down the deposit for his dorm! Truly, the last 18 years have flown by, and we're definitely full of mixed emotions as we look into the future. But like the civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy said, "I... [continue]
New facility brings new opportunities for North Texas BSM
by Leah Reynolds on March 2, 2016 in news
DENTON--Friends, alumni and students of the University of North Texas Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) celebrated the grand opening of of new, fully funded $2.3 million BSM building on Saturday.
In its over 50 years of existence, the BSM has hosted thousands of free lunches and worship services, seeing many students come to know Christ and even more deepen their level of faith and knowledge of God's Word.
When the UNT BSM first opened its doors in 1960, the student population was around 6,700. Today, the student body has reached over 37,000. Not only did the original building begin experiencing structural problems, but it... [continue]
Christian community development brings Good News to the poor
by Jimmy M. Dorrell on March 1, 2016 in clc
(Jimmy Dorrell will be leading a workshop at the Micah 6:8 Conference March 31-April 1 at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. His workshop is titled "Christian Community Development: How to Do It Where You Live!")
While the church and her people may have forgotten the poor and the call to justice at various times in history, God has always cared about the whole person and the whole city.
"If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?" 1 John 3:17
The Old Testament Law, the eighth century B.C. prophets, the gospels, and teachings... [continue]
Why does mental health matter to me?
by Katie Swafford on March 1, 2016 in faith
Have you heard that 1 out of 5 adults in the US will experience some type of mental health issue this year? Recently I spoke to a church on the subject of mental illness and used this statistic. One gentleman raised his hand and somewhat jokingly said "I'm looking around and there are about 40 people in this room….so you mean that about 8 of us are going to have a problem?"
Statistically, yes, that is what I mean.
Some people are taken aback by this realization because their thoughts immediately go to news stories or movies that depict more severe levels of mental illness. They can't imagine they would be at risk for such... [continue]