November 2016


What the new overtime regulation means for your church-Updated 11/29/16


The new salary requirement for an exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for overtime pay will not take effect December 1.

On November 22, a federal judge from Sherman, TX, issued an injunction halting the enforcement of a change to the "salary test" for an exemption to the FLSA rules for overtime pay. Currently, in order to satisfy the salary test a "white collar" employee must make $455 a week ($23,660 annually). That amount was set to increase to $913 a week ($47,476 annually) beginning December... [continue]

Here's a tip of the hat to 'Texas Strong'


Charlie Strong is out, Tom Herman is in -- as football coach of the Texas Longhorns.

When Strong first came to Texas, a t-shirt became popular that wasn’t officially sanctioned by the university -- “Texas Strong.” Most of us didn’t know immediately all that Texas Strong meant, but part of what it soon came to mean was football players being dismissed from the squad.

Strong had five core values -- honesty, treat women with respect, no guns, no drugs, and no stealing. It turned out a number of players didn’t hold those same values and didn’t want... [continue]

Addiction and the church


Most people are somewhat familiar with the topic of addiction, whether it is through media, books, educational or prevention programs in the community; or perhaps at a more personal level, by struggling with addiction or knowing someone who is in that journey. The fact of the matter is that everyone has had an encounter with this issue whether personally or impersonally.  

Addiction is a complex and compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (e.g alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine etc.) or a behavior such as gambling or pornography.  According to... [continue]

How does religious freedom affect starving children in Nigeria?


By Randel Everett

The United Nations reports that an estimated 75,000 children could die from malnutrition within a year in Northern Nigeria unless food is made available. Members of our 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative staff have traveled to Nigeria twice this year, visiting camps where a million people displaced by Boko Haram and Fulani militants now live. We interviewed dozens of village leaders and victims of this violence, and we heard and saw for ourselves the reality behind the U.N. statistics.

What can we do to... [continue]

How to shop like a Christian


Black Friday could use a dose of something sorely missing -- civility. So, if you brave the rude and crude crowd this year may you carry with you something different from the rest.

Jesus’ Great Commandment may be most needed on this crazy shopping day -- love God and love neighbor. All I know about Black Friday is what I hear people say and see on TV. I hide. Based on my limited knowledge, it seems lots of people rapaciously go after a limited number of must-have stuff at lowest-of-the-season prices.

If you are intent on going into the melee, remember to... [continue]

Ears to see


Good Brunches are a series of conversations developed by an organization called Matryoshka Haus. Their purpose is to draw a diverse group of people around a common table to talk about meaningful things in healthy ways. The blog post below references the conversation that took place during the San Antonio Good Brunches around the topic of “tolerance.” Click here to read the intro post for Good Brunches.

Picture this: A space with a mash up of people where diverse ages, races, socioeconomics merge. I’m envisioning the streetcar I rode last week in New Orleans, which operates... [continue]

We are a messed up people, by God's standard -- be thankful for salvation


Mark 10 is challenging. In it, Jesus confronts things that are common in our society and churches.

Divorce – “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (v. 9).

Remarriage after divorce -- "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (vv. 11-12).

Wealth -- “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (v.... [continue]

Strobel encourages Texas Baptists to ‘Make people thirst for God’


Lee Strobel invited Texas Baptists to “live on the evangelistic edge,” where ordinary days can take extraordinary twists as we allow God to ambush us with opportunities to share our faith, on Nov. 15 at Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco.

Strobel, a teaching pastor at Woodlands Church in Houston and professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University, preached during the Tuesday morning worship session on the passage from the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus calls Christians to be the salt of the earth and... [continue]

Texas Baptist Hunger Offering celebrates 20 years of giving, totaling $15.5 million


The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering celebrated its 20th year connecting Texas Baptists churches to serve and support ministries that meet the immediate nutritional needs of people living in poverty and developing long term solutions. Through 20 years of giving, Texas Baptists have raised $15.5 million, which has been disbursed through worldwide ministries combatting hunger and poverty.

“I like what Phil Strickland used to say,” Charlie Whiteside of First Baptist Church of Kilgore noted. “‘Empty stomachs... [continue]

Texas Baptists missions endeavors to expand to Brazil and Mexico


Texas Baptists Missions announced the beginning of a new partnership between Texas Baptists and the Brazilian Baptist Convention during the Texas Baptist Missions Banquet, on the evening of Nov. 14 at Annual Meeting.

“When I was 14-years-old, I heard the Gospel at a Baptist church and I was baptized by a missionary from Texas,” Brazilian National Mission Board Executive Director Fernando Brandão said. “I am here tonight because you sent missionaries to my country. Myself and my family are fruit of your prayers and your... [continue]

Churches seeking revitalization must embrace change


Phil Miller, associate director of the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team focused on the importance of prayer, symptoms of an unhealthy church, and the process the church revitalization team leads its churches through during a church revitalization workshop on Tuesday afternoon at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

Miller started by emphasizing that prayer is foundational to any church revitalization effort.

“You can go through all the steps a book tells you to do -- and there are tons of books out there on church revitalization -- but it’s... [continue]

Hospital administrators discuss major challenges facing health care


Three nonprofit hospital administrators emphasized the need for everyone to learn about advanced directives when it comes to health care during a workshop Tuesday at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

The panel included Joel Allison, president and chief operating officer (COO) at Baylor Scott & White Health; Tim Lancaster, president and COO of Hendrick Health System in Abilene, and Glenn Robinson, president and COO of Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest in Waco. 

“The Challenges of Health Care Today and Tomorrow” workshop... [continue]

Texas Baptists gather in Waco for 131st Annual Meeting


Texas Baptists joined together for the 131st Annual Meeting Nov. 13-15 in Waco, focusing on “Celebrating Service” through worship and business sessions, workshops and a variety of events with 1,157 messengers and 663 visitors in attendance.

Messengers approved the 2017 Texas Baptists budget of $36.6 million, used to fund ministries, missions and institutional partnerships all focused on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Monday’s business session, officers for 2016-2017 were elected including Danny Reeves, pastor of First... [continue]

Cleophus LaRue to Texas Baptists: ‘Get out there and tell it!’


When the world recognizes the golden arches of McDonald’s more readily than the Christian cross, we have some work to do, Cleophus LaRue said on the Monday of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco.

He preached during the evening worship session that the story of the Gospel is for everyone. It is our job to get out there and tell it.

LaRue based his sermon on Acts 17:16-21, where Paul is found struggling to spread the Gospel message in Athens, a proud city widely considered to be the cultural and intellectual capital of the... [continue]

Texas Baptists university presidents talk affordability, Title IX


WACO— Within the first session of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting workshops, Texas Baptist university presidents Blair Blackburn, East Texas Baptist University; Eric Bruntmyer, Hardin Simmons University; Adam Wright, Dallas Baptist University and Bobby Hall, Wayland Baptist University, contributed to a panel discussion on the state of Christian higher education in Texas.

Texas Baptists Associate Executive Director Steve Vernon moderated the discussion about issues pertinent to higher education.

One challenge for academic... [continue]

The end of Religion? An Essential Corrective to the Secularization Myth


Three scholars from Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) debunked the myth that the end of religion is near during an afternoon workshop on Monday at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco.

The workshop drew close to 100 attendees as the three men gave their view of religion in today’s world.

Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor and co-director for historical studies of religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion, said many look at Europe as a “godless... [continue]

TBMF honors individuals and church for excellence in missions


Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) presented its annual Adventurer, Innovator and Pioneer Awards during a Monday luncheon at Texas Baptists Annual Meeting, held at the Baylor Club in McLane Stadium.

John LaNoue presented First Baptist Church of Kilgore member Charles Whiteside with the Adventurer Award, which honors an individual or organization who has advanced missions through outstanding financial support or leadership in ministry opportunities.

LaNoue remarked how Whiteside has always worked hard and... [continue]

Hardage shares new ministries, expanding work of Texas Baptists


Texas Baptists are engaging in new outreach opportunities with people groups in Texas and beyond, shared Executive Director David Hardage during his Monday evening report at Annual Meeting. Hardage introduced several key leaders overseeing new ministry opportunities.

“As you know, Texas is a changing state, becoming very diversified and we can talk about that in a variety of ways,” Hardage said. “Culture and ethnicity are at the top of the list.”

A growing population of refugees are entering Texas each year. Leonid... [continue]

Asking the wrong question: ‘What can I get?’ vs. ‘How can I serve?’


The last will be first and the first will be last in Jesus’ topsy-turvy kingdom, according to Dr. Todd Still, dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Still lectured on Mark 10:35-45, the primary New Testament text containing Jesus’ teaching on service, in his Monday morning workshop session at the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

This passage finds James and John making a shockingly bold request of Jesus; they ask to sit at His right and left hands in glory.

Headed on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, it seemed to... [continue]

Maciel encourages Texas Baptists to give themselves to God


WACO — Texas Baptists President René Maciel opened his address during the Monday morning Annual Meeting Worship Session with a bold question.

“Can you honestly say you’ve given yourself to God this year?” he asked.

Maciel read from Jesus’ words in Matthew 22.

But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God... [continue]

Texas Baptists elect officers for 2016-2017


Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas elected a new slate of officers Nov. 14. Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, was elected president. Last year, Reeves served as second vice president of the convention. Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church of Nederland, nominated Reeves for the position.

“Danny will be a president we can believe in,” Burden said. “He will be a president we can follow whose example will be of such a high standard that we will strive to be a better convention and better
... [continue]

Hispanic Texas Baptists urged to seize the moment when service opportunities arise


WACO, Texas—Hispanic Texas Baptists rallied at the beginning of Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting 2016 Sunday night at Iglesia Maranata in Bellmead.

The service recognized various ministry leaders in Texas Baptists life. Texas Baptist Hispanic Ministry Director Rolando Rodriguez said that was intentional.

“In celebrating service, I think it’s important we see every aspect of church life and community--pastors, Sunday school teachers, lay leaders,” he said.

He and Dr. Moises Rodriguez, acting president of... [continue]

African American Fellowship rally emphasizes foundation of faith


WACO—Churches that forget the importance of discipleship have committed “the great omission,” said Dr. Delvin Atchison, director of the Texas Baptists Great Commission Team.

Atchison preached Sunday night at the African American Fellowship worship rally, one of four rallies that took place throughout Waco to kick off the 2016 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.

“Until a person knows who Jesus is, they can never share Him with anyone else,” Atchison said. “So I want to suggest to you that it is essential that the Church... [continue]

BSM Directors celebrate partnerships and disciple-making at Annual Meeting


When Joe Osteen is asked for an update on the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at The University of Texas at Tyler, his response is, “we are doing more of the same thing - telling students about Jesus and making disciples who make disciples.”

As an encouragement to his fellow BSM Directors at a dinner on Sunday evening of Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco, Osteen reminded his colleagues the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Having served in the position for the past 12 years, he has seen the... [continue]

God’s faithfulness evident through growth in Cowboy Churches


Sixteen miles northwest of Waco, the Top Hand Cowboy Church rises up with a rodeo arena in front of it. The church hosted the first Western Heritage Roundup Rally on Sun., Nov. 13, the start of the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco.

The Top Hand Church, pastored by Greg Moore, is one of more than 200 Texas Baptists Cowboy Churches. Started in 2005 with just four families, Moore said the rural church draws 400 through its doors each Sunday. This past Easter, 1,280 gathered to worship. The Neason family started attending Top... [continue]

El Dr. Gus Reyes, Director de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana responde a los resultados de las


AUSTIN -- “Muchas personas en la nación están felices hoy porque su candidato ganó las elecciones, mientras que un número significativo de personas están experimentando frustración y ansiedad. Eso representa un gran reto para nuestro país y para la iglesia. A pesar de nuestros puntos de vista políticos somos ciudadanos de una nación, unidos por los principios de la Declaración de Independencia y el marco legal de la Constitución. Estos documentos nos ligan unos a otros.

Podemos estar... [continue]

Terminaron las elecciones, ¿Y ahora qué?


Ahora que terminaron las elecciones, quizá se sienta tentado a olvidarse de la política, pero es importante que continuemos involucrados ahora que tenemos nuevos líderes. Nuestro involucramiento no termina con nuestro voto; de hecho, la casilla de elecciones debe ser el punto de partida.

De acuerdo al Instituto Annette Strauss, solamente el 9 por ciento de los tejanos han contactado a sus representantes políticos, lo cual significa que el 9 por ciento tiene una influencia sobre nuestros políticos. El involucramiento político no se trata de la agenda... [continue]

OREMOS POR LOS NIÑOS DEVASTADOS


Las elecciones son más que ejercicios políticos; afectan las vidas de las personas. Después de las elecciones del martes, el miedo y la confusión están invadiendo a algunos niños, y esto requiere de nuestras oraciones. Dos amigos compartieron las siguientes peticiones de oración y me dieron permiso de compartirlas en público.

 “Mi esposa es bibliotecaria en una escuela y me llamó para compartir conmigo que muchos estudiantes latinos están devastados; sus padres son indocumentados y los niños tienen miedo de que sus padres sean deportados”. 

“Por

... [continue]

We are in need of a God-produced craving for righteousness


Monday I wrote about righteousness and humility together, but I wanted to share a little more of what the late Quaker Thomas R. Kelly had to say about righteousness in his book,

A Testament of Devotion

.

. . . God inflames the soul with a burning craving for absolute purity. One burns for complete innocency and holiness in personal life.

The key word is “craving.” All of us know we are not absolutely pure. We are sinners, and to our utter disgust we continue to fall short even after deciding to follow Jesus. Sin is not... [continue]

Investing in the future of Texas through Collegiate Ministry


Much has been written about Gen Y and now Gen Z (just entering college). Tim Elmore offers excellent insights into the characteristics of both generations, growingleaders.com In campus ministry, some characteristics carry over into these upcoming generations.

  • On college campuses in Texas, less than 5% are involved in a weekly Bible study or small group where spiritual growth is emphasized. Even when you consider those attending large group meetings, the percentage is no greater than 10% at best.
  • Over 625,000+ are
... [continue]

Rio Grande Valley family sees bright future constructed just outside its doorstep


PEÑITAS, Texas – Maria Luisa Morales’ future was so close, it was right outside the front door of the aging one-room travel trailer that currently serve as home for her family of six. Her future was being constructed before her eyes, nail by nail, board by board by a group of volunteer women who are building her new three-bedroom home.

Nearly 20 women through Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas worked from sunrise past sunset building the home for the Morales family from scratch. With sweat on their brows,... [continue]

Pray today for frightened children


Elections are more than political exercises; they affect lives. Fear and confusion is gripping some children today, so they need our prayers. Two friends shared the following prayer requests and gave me permission to share them more broadly.

“My wife is a high school librarian. She called to let me know many Latino students are distraught. Their parents are not in the US legally and the students are afraid their parents will be deported.

“Please pray for these students. Today this is probably happening at schools throughout

... [continue]

The Election is over, now what?


Now that the election is over, you might be tempted to put politics out of your mind, but now that our new leaders are in office it's important that we stay engaged. Our political engagement does not end in the voting booth, in fact, the voting booth should be just the starting point.

According to the Annette Strauss Institute, only 9 percent of Texans have ever contacted their elected officials, which means that 9 percent has an outsized influence on our politicians. Political engagement should not be about a specific party agenda, but about the agenda... [continue]

How sexual abuse prevention training can help your church


Sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic to discuss. It seems to be even more uncomfortable when we think of the discussion within a church setting. For many of us, myself included, it is difficult to fathom how such painful and destructive experiences can occur in a church, but they can and do. And I assure you it is much more comfortable to discuss prevention of sexual abuse than to suffer the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of abuse that can occur by doing nothing.

Do you know what “grooming” means? Maybe I’m... [continue]

We are in need of God-blinded faith -- true humility


Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:10, NRSV).

Monday, I wrote about righteousness and humility together, but I wanted to share a little more of what the late Quaker Thomas R. Kelly had to say about humility in his book, A Testament of Devotion.

Kelly spoke of humility as resting “upon a holy blindness, like the blindedness of him who looks steadily into the sun.” All of us have probably experienced the visual memory that occurs immediately after looking at a bright light, especially the sun. It... [continue]

Nine churches to be recognized for Cooperative Program Giving during 2016 Annual Meeting


DALLAS - This year, during Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting in Waco, nine churches will be recognized for their Cooperative Program giving. Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has provided the fuel to fund missions work in Texas, the United States and around the world.

"Over the past 91 years Texas Baptists have seen God do some amazing things through the unselfish giving of partnering churches," said Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program Ministry.

Five churches will be recognized for top... [continue]

Jesus confronts us in our religion -- pursue righteousness and humility


“God inflames the soul with a craving for absolute purity. But He, in His glorious otherness, empties us of ourselves in order that He may become all.” --Thomas R. Kelly

God both inflames us for right living and empties us of our sinful pride. God calls us to a different kind of living and stands against our ego-driven desires. God brings to us new desires that are beyond us, yet they become part of us as we seek to follow Christ. There is a battle raging within us between the god of self and the God of... [continue]

QUE PODAMOS ENCONTRAR PALABRAS QUE SANAN DESPUÉS DE UNA TEMPORADA DE PALABRAS OFENSIVAS


Hace algunas semanas dejé de hacer comentarios sobre las campañas presidenciales en las redes sociales. No había apoyado a ningún candidato en particular, pero dejé de opinar porque no confiaba en mí mismo. Estaba empezando a disgustarme y me sentía tentado a hacer comentarios ofensivos, a etiquetar a las personas o a faltar al respeto.

Ha sido difícil dejar de hacer comentarios, pero me alegro de haberme refrenado. Mi enojo y mi rabia no habrían sido de ninguna bendición para mi familia, amigos o... [continue]

San Diego statue reminds of Christ's work


How does Christ’s church, his people, turn the anger and violence of this world into something good? A church statue in San Diego provides a visible guidepost. Here’s the story, not a new one but one worth retelling.

In about 1980 vandalism to a statue of Jesus at Christ the King Church left the plaster Messiah without hands. Sam Lucero photographed the statue in 1986 and retold the story in 2013. Lucero writes:

Rather than repair the statue, Jesuit Fr. Robert Fambrini, pastor at the time, placed a sign at the base to reflect the mission of the people of

... [continue]

The uncommon work of the Kingdom


Kingdom work is often the result of common people doing uncommon work in the unlikeliest of places for the most unlikely of people. This is certainly true when you consider a call to be a leader in ministry. It is evermore real as you consider Texas Baptists’ work.

As we think of the work we will do, most ministers in training whom I know picture a life of ministry that involves a church similar to the one where we developed in our faith. But, Kingdom work can be uncommon.

Until about 18 months ago, I personally did not know Pastor Jim Furgerson or of... [continue]

Biblical persuasion: The heart of evangelistic apologetics


I have been to countless evangelism events, conferences and training sessions over the years, but I cannot recall a single sermon, lesson or resource on the biblical concept of persuasion. Yet, I contend that persuasion is at the very heart of apologetics, and I dare say, it is at the heart of evangelism itself. I have to wonder if the lack of emphasis on this biblical doctrine has lead to the decline in baptisms and evangelistic efforts among evangelicals over the last few decades?

What does the Bible say about persuasion?... [continue]

So that they may reach their potential


Haga clic aquí para leer este artículo en español.

One of the things that distinguishes Texas Baptists from other conventions is that we have made the education of our Hispanic students a priority. This is why about seven years ago, Texas Baptists created the Hispanic Education Initiative; it is necessary that in our days, seeing the great current and projected growth of the Hispanic population, we make the education of our children and young people a priority. If it is projected that there will be 21 million Hispanics in Texas by 2050 and that... [continue]

¡Para que alcancen su potencial!


Click here to read this article in English.

Una de las cosas que distingue a los Texas Baptists de otras convenciones es que hemos hecho una prioridad la educación de nuestros estudiantes hispanos. Por esto se creó hace unos 7 años la Iniciativa para la Educación Hispana; porque es necesario que en nuestros días, viendo el gran crecimiento de la población hispana actual y proyectado, hagamos de la educación de nuestros niños y jóvenes una prioridad. Si se proyecta que seremos 21 millones de hispanos en Texas para el 2050 y que sobrepasaremos a la... [continue]

Volunteer-led campus outreach leads to increased connectivity


Crestview Baptist Church, Georgetown Nearby campus: Southwestern University Student population: 1,500 College Ministry: Volunteer led Ministries:

  • Free lunch (Mondays, hosted on church grounds)
  • Booster club to attend sporting events
  • Adopt-a-student
  • Mentoring program
  • Bible studies

Three miles from Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown sits Southwestern University, a small liberal arts college with 1,500 undergraduate students. Two years ago, Jack Phelps, the associate pastor at the time, came to Pastor Dan... [continue]

Focus on discipleship leads to expanded ministry


First Denton Nearby campuses: University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, North Central Texas College Student population: 50,000-60,000 College Ministry: Led by University Pastor Austin Wadlow Ministries:

  • Overflow Worship (Tuesday nights)
  • Equip (Sunday morning discipleship training)
  • Communities (24 student-led small groups in apartments and dorms)
  • Discipleship program with adults and students

Between 50,000 and 60,000 college students are located in Denton County attending the campuses of the University of North... [continue]

Ministering where you are: The power of missional communities


As a softball player at The University of Texas at Austin, Stephanie Ceo spent a lot of time with her teammates on and off the field. One teammate, Rachel, was always kind and encouraging and also professed to be a Christian. Stephanie had been to church before and knew about God, but did not believe He existed. She had great difficulty understanding how God could allow bad things to happen.

In their conversations over four years as teammates, Stephanie noticed differences in the way Rachel treated her and was more open to... [continue]

Family spends summer serving together and helping flood victims


Vaughn, Sunshine, Jax, Lily and Milo Managan took up residence in the small town of Deweyville, Texas, this summer serving as volunteer coordinators for Texas Baptist Men Disaster Recovery. Each member of the family played a valuable part in the work of helping families rebuild their homes following a devastating flood which damaged more than 700 homes.

Throughout the summer, Vaughn and Sunshine coordinated nine different church and association groups, mobilizing over 200 volunteers from 16 different churches or... [continue]

Zacchaeus story teaches much about "sinners" coming to Christ


“Zacchaeus was a wee little man,

and a wee little man was he.

He climbed up in a sycamore tree.

for the Lord he wanted to see.”

This song, burned into the memory of possibly every child Christian in America, is rooted in a story in Luke 19:1-10. Van Christian, pastor of First Baptist Church in Comanche, preached on this story Sunday, Oct. 30, and said some things that need to be heard by many of us.

Two things Dr. Christian said stood out:

1) The crowd tries to keep Zacchaeus from seeing Jesus. Verse 3:

He... [continue]