September 2017

BSM volunteers from across Texas help with Harvey Recovery

By Analiz G. Schremmer

When they walked into this house, one thing was clear to the volunteers from the University of Houston’s Baptist Student Ministry: The homeowner was overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.

“There were dead fish in the house,” said UH BSM Director Shannon Rutherford. “The drywall hadn’t been taken down. No progress had been made yet, even though it had been several days since the storm.

“We asked the homeowners how they were doing. They just stared and looked like, ‘I don’t know.’ So we told them, ‘We can do this together. We can take this out and there is a plan to start over.’”

About 25 students from UH... [continue]

Dreamers need our compassion

By Jesús Romero

Edith Franco was only 8 years old when her family crossed from Mexico into the United States to find work and a better future 17 years ago. She has lived in the U.S. most of her life, and in 2012 she received an immigration benefit known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA provided a work permit that enabled them to get a job, obtain a driver's license and a Social Security card. It was not a pathway to citizenship, but it was temporary legal status.

DACA is the benefit granted to dreamers, or children who, through no fault of their own, had come to the United States with their parents and have... [continue]

85th Legislative Session is Officially Over: A Special Session Report

Gov. Abbott called for a special session, which began July 18 and ended Aug. 15. The special session agenda covered 20 items that the Legislature neglected or ran out of time to pass during the 140-day regular session earlier this Spring. Click here for a list of special session agenda items.

The Christian Life Commission focused primarily on three issues in line with the public policy objectives set by our commissioners last Fall.

Human Life

In accordance with Genesis 1:26-31, we believe every person has an innate dignity and worth given to them by their creator and as such are entitled to abundant life. While this does not... [continue]

Any of us could be the next opioid victim

A few years ago, I lay for three hours on a hospital bed with pain from kidney stones. The first shot of morphine had little impact; the second got me to a much better place.

Now, I read this: “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent,” from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

I simply have trouble fathoming the potency of this drug. I feared the addictive power of morphine, but fentanyl is in another world.

When you hear of the opioid crisis, think of fentanyl. It’s a big part of it but not all of it.

It takes a doctor’s prescription to get this schedule... [continue]

Executive board approves 2018 proposed budget, sale of UT BSM building

DALLAS–During the September meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, directors approved numerous recommendations including the proposed 2018 budget, the sale of The University of Texas Baptist Student Ministry property and a loan for the Baptist University of the Americas.

The proposed budget, which will be presented for approval by messengers to the Annual Meeting Nov. 12-14 in Waco, totals $37.135 million and includes $29.6 million from Texas Cooperative Program, $4.65 million from investment income and $2.88 million from other revenue sources. Jill Larsen, CFO and treasurer, noted that giving is... [continue]

Texas Baptist family circles around new pastor, church affected by Hurricane Harvey

by John Hall, Contributing Writer

Ryan Chandler’s first pastorate began like few – if any – others. To begin with, it began before it started.

Chandler moved to Orange Aug. 26, more than two weeks before he was to become pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Three days later, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 20 inches of rain on the city, flooding homes and destroying cars.

The pastor-to-be and his family evacuated to San Antonio. He returned to a city largely without power or water Sept. 3.

“It was just crazy around Orange,” he said. “Our house wasn’t flooded, thank goodness. But the city was a disaster zone. Streets were... [continue]

TBM/Texas Baptists Volunteer Villages open for groups to serve Harvey-affected areas

HOUSTON–Three Texas Baptist Men/Texas Baptists Volunteer Villages are now open and accepting groups to serve in Harvey-affected areas. TBM and Texas Baptists are partnering to invite volunteer groups to work on homes and churches damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding throughout Houston and East Texas.

Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director, urged groups to participate, saying, “We are open for business, but we can only do as much work as we have volunteers to do it.”

TBM/Texas Baptists Volunteer Village locations include First Baptist Church of Nederland, Sugar Land Baptist Church and Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy... [continue]

FBC Huffman provides shelter, resources and hope in the midst of Harvey Recovery

Even as darkness fell and waters were rising on Aug. 25 when Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the people of God quickly came together to be the glimmering beacon of hope that Texas needed.

The following Sunday, Pastor Mike Martin of First Baptist Church of Huffman made several visits around town before the heavy rains hit. He stopped at the local volunteer fire department and told them the church was available if they needed help. Within an hour, the fire department contacted him and asked if the church could be used as a shelter.

By the time the storms arrived in Huffman, a small town in Harris County, members of the church... [continue]

Sharing the love of Christ in both word and deed at Friendship Baptist Church

The cost of school supplies can add up quickly, and the list is exhaustive. Churches like Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony have aimed to help solve this problem by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through both word and deed.

Every year, the youth department, the health and wellness ministry, members and volunteers at Friendship Baptist Church work fervently to put on their annual Health Fair – Free School Supplies and Back to School Youth Rally.

As it says in the name, this event is so much more than a back-to-school drive. It’s a full day on their church campus that prepares their youth for the back to school... [continue]

National Boomer Ministry Conference compels baby boomers to come and see

“Reaching 50-year-olds is the same thing that reaches 24-year-olds - invite them to come and see. If you personally know the King, then compel them to come in,” said Todd Wagner, senior pastor of Watermark Church in Dallas, at the National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 7.

He continued, “The mark that is going to reach all people of every generation is love. Without love, nothing matters.”

More than 117 church leaders and volunteers from 58 churches and organizations learned skills and techniques to engage the boomer generation in ministry at the fifth annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 6-8 at Park Cities... [continue]


GRAND PRAIRIE –Más de 175 bautistas de Texas se reunieron el 26 de agosto buscando sanidad racial a raíz de un turbulento año de confrontaciones entre estadounidenses blancos, negros e hispanos.

“El Señor puso este evento en mi corazón la primavera del año pasado porque sentí que la iglesia no había hecho lo suficiente para ser parte de la solución”, dijo Kathryn Freeman, Directora de Política Pública de la Comisión de Vida Cristiana de los Bautistas de Texas.

El evento, que se llevó a cabo en la First Baptist Church de Grand Prairie, buscaba equipar a los líderes... [continue]


El huracán Harvey ha causado muchos daños y ahora Irma se aproxima. A raíz de semejantes tormentas escuchamos a la gente decir: “Dios está en control”.

Puede que los teólogos deseen matizar esta frase, pero para la persona común significa que Dios está en control de todo, incluyendo los desastres naturales. En pocas palabras, debido a que Dios está en control, es Dios mismo quien provoca estas tormentas y la destrucción.

Dios creó un mundo perfecto y,a raíz de la ruina en que lo hemos convertido, Dios tiene “el propósito”, como dicen las Escrituras, de que su creación... [continue]

Texas Baptists join with 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative for Speak Freedom Texas

DALLAS–On Nov. 5, Texas Baptists is joining with the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) for Speak Freedom Texas, a statewide day of prayer and awareness-raising for religious minorities around the globe facing persecution.

“We are challenging all 5,300 churches affiliated with Texas Baptists to designate Sunday, Nov. 5, for Speak Freedom Texas,” said Randel Everett, president and founder of 21CWI and former executive director of Texas Baptists.

“When we started 21CWI, one of the main goals was to awaken the church in America to the cries of the persecuted church around the world. Because I am a Texas Baptist and a lot... [continue]

Good news on school administrator pay from Houston area

This story in today's Houston Chronicle is encouraging in two regards. First, it shows that some high school principals are being paid well. And, second, it reveals that women principals are making as much as men, actually a little more.

Education is critical for helping children achieve their God-given potential. And educators must be paid well if we are to attract high-quality people into this profession. Education is not an easy job, so we must compensate well the people who take this responsibility. Quite frankly, I think quality teachers and school administrators require as much or more expertise as many high-paying jobs, and... [continue]

Texas Baptists to support Project: Start for North Texas Giving Day

On Sept. 14, as people across the Metroplex give to various community organizations through North Texas Giving Day, Texas Baptists are encouraging donations to Project: Start, a refugee resource center located in Vickery Meadow.

With over 30 different languages spoken, their needs are as diverse as the community itself.

Over the last 12 months, Project: Start has impacted close to 300 families, either directly with referrals or by creating capacity for others to assist and minister to refugee families.

“We are excited to serve those that come through our doors just as much as we are thankful for opportunities to impact dozens... [continue]

Texas Baptists encouraged to exceed Mary Hill Davis Offering goal to provide Harvey relief efforts

The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 10-17, 2017. With a statewide goal of $3.6 million, the offering will go to support mission endeavors around Texas through strategic partnerships in 2018. In response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in South Texas, all gifts given above the offering goal will be designated to provide disaster assistance to impacted areas through Texas Baptist Men and Texas Baptists.

“Texas Baptists are a generous and compassionate people,” said Carolyn Porterfield, WMU of Texas interim executive director-treasurer. “We believe God will bless every... [continue]

Transformation through unique church-sponsored BSM

For those attending two-year community colleges, a lack of strong Christian community is a prevalent struggle. Whether students commute, work a full-time job or have a family, it is challenging for students to find others to walk through life with. However, churches are seeking to solve this problem by partnering with Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry to start their very own Baptist Student Ministries.

“Due to the large number of college students in Texas (1.6 million), the opportunities are so vast that we need a combination of both church-based and campus-based Baptist Student ministries,” said Bruce McGowan, director of Texas... [continue]

Finding an answer to the call to ministry

By Terry GoodrichAssistant Director of Media Communications, Baylor University

Richard Baggett and his wife, Miwes, were on an RV vacation in summer 2016, standing on Deception Pass Bridge in Washington and marveling at the view. Then Baggett’s phone rang.

The caller, a supervisor with Christian Resort Ministries International, wondered whether Baggett would be willing to tackle a start-up ministry for an RV park in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where “snowbirds” from northern states seek warmer climates in winter.

The year before, at age 70, Baggett had completed a two-year ministry certificate program at Baylor’s George W. Truett... [continue]

Seeing God at work through 50 years of River Ministry

In 1967, the Baptist General Convention of Texas recognized the 2 million people living along the border of Texas and Mexico as an important mission point and launched the Rio Grande Mission Thrust with $250,000 allocated for missions opportunities. Texas Baptists responded to the call of God to minister to those along the Rio Grande river and 50 years later, River Ministry is still vibrant and life-changing.

In September 1967, just six months after the Rio Grande Mission Thrust initiative began, Hurricane Beulah ripped through the Texas and Mexico border resulting in the displacement of 300,000 Americans and Mexicans from their... [continue]

A valley of redemption

Brenda Bermudez and her family are just a few of many who have experienced the Lord’s redemption in their lives in the modest colonia of Mi Sueno in the Rio Grande Valley.

As a single mother of five, Bermudez’s life has been anything but easy. Bermudez has endured the pangs of divorce, financial stress and limited resources and space. She often relied on her own strength rather than the Lord’s, something that would quickly come to a halt.

Though suffering had been a common theme in Bermudez’s life, she continually sought to provide for her children above all else. Upon hearing about a Vacation Bible School happening in a nearby... [continue]

Physical and spiritual healing through medical missions

By Analiz SchremmerContributing Writer

ACUNA - Dr. Luis Arturo Davila has two demanding medical jobs, and also finds time to volunteer at his church, lead a Bible study for his patients and spend two weekends a month doing medical clinics for the impoverished in Acuna, Mexico through Texas Baptists River Ministry.

“We work all morning, sometimes 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One time we saw as many as 200 patients in one day,” said Davila, who serves with his wife, Nurse Imelda Cruz de Davila.

Davila, 50, has worked in the hospital for 26 years and is only two years from retirement, but shows no sign of slowing down.

“Medical work is a... [continue]

Sanidad física y espiritual por medio de las misiones médicas

Por Analiz SchremmerAutora colaboradora

ACUNA—El Dr. Luis Arturo Dávila tiene dos trabajos médicos exigentes, y además encuentra  tiempo para hacer trabajo voluntario en su iglesia, guiar un estudio bíblico para sus pacientes y pasar dos fines de semana al mes haciendo clínicas médicas para los pobre en Acuna, México a través del Ministerio del Río de los Bautistas de Texas.

“Trabajamos toda la mañana, a veces desde las 8 a.m. hasta las 8 p.m. Una vez vimos hasta 200 pacientes en un día”, dijo Dávila, quien sirve con su esposa y enfermera, Imelda Cruz de Dávila.

Dávila, de 50 años de edad, ha trabajado en el hospital durante 26... [continue]

Meet Osvaldo and Vanessa Lerma: River Ministry Missionaries in the Valley

Osvaldo and Vanessa Lerma have served as Texas Baptists River Ministry missionaries in the Rio Grande Valley for a combined 25 years. From the colonias in Mission to the beaches of South Padre Island, the Lermas coordinate ongoing ministry on both sides of the border. Vanessa works primarily in McAllen, Harlingen and Mission, while Osvaldo covers the Brownsville region. They easily put 100-200 miles on their cars each day as they work with different ministry partners across their territory.

Building trust and deepening relationships with local pastors is a key-component of ministry, according to Osvaldo. He checks in each month... [continue]

Snapshots of present-day River Ministry

Training church leaders for impact

Daniel Rangel joined with Mario Gonzalez, director of Texas Baptists Multi-housing and House Congregations, to train house church leaders on ministering to new congregations in Laredo. Church leaders learned skills for small group Bible study, 4xFour evangelism, Study Bible resources as well as help with sermon outlines. Texas Baptists River Ministry missionaries facilitate many training opportunities on both sides of the border. Other training opportunities include “No Mas Violencia,” teaching how to stop physical and emotional violence in families, neighborhoods, schools and city streets... [continue]

CLC’s One conference encourages unity and racial reconciliation among Christians

GRAND PRAIRIE – More than 175 Texas Baptists gathered Aug. 26 to pursue racial healing in the wake of a turbulent year of clashes between white, black, and Hispanic Americans.

“The Lord placed this event on my heart last spring because I felt like the Church had not done enough to be a part of the solution,” said Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission.

The event at First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie sought to equip church leaders and lay members to engage in racial reconciliation in their communities.

“The thing about racial reconciliation is that it’s a process. One... [continue]

God’s plan for prisoners

By Dr. Gloria de la PeñaHealth Care Missionary in Piedras Negras / Acuña, Mexico

I was walking downtown when someone called my name.

It was Nancy. She looked so different outside of her prison uniform.

I met Nancy when she started her ministry to prisoners. We had lost touch years ago, when Nancy was transferred to Las Islas Marías, a prison where people have little contact with the outside world and usually spend the rest of their lives.

Nancy had had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Lord, and this is where he wanted her to be.

He used this time to mold and shape her life. Although she had no Bible, she started... [continue]

Harvey, Irma & God

Harvey has done his damage, and now Irma approaches. In the wake of such storms we often hear people say, “God is in control.”

Theologians may want to nuance this phrase, but for everyday folks it means, “God is in control of everything, including the weather.” In essence, since God is in control, God caused these storms, the destruction.

God created a perfect world and, in the wake of our messing it up, God has “purposed,” as Scripture says, for his creation to be redeemed. Jesus Christ has made possible that final redemption, yet we are still in the midst of this fallen, messed up world seeking to serve God in His redemptive... [continue]


Una hermosa y joven mujer llamada Rhonda obtiene el trabajo de sus sueños. Una importante aerolínea le avisa que ha sido aceptada como aeromoza, y ella sale a celebrar, como cualquiera lo haría en esas circunstancias.

Su sueño se convirtió en pesadilla una noche de 1987. Un accidente automovilístico le provocó a Rhonda fracturas en la columna vertebral y las costillas, y casi le hace perder su pie derecho. “Su pie fue literalmente reimplantado”, dijo su hermana Kathy. “Se encogió de talla y se convirtió en número 3, cuando su otro pie era número 5.

Rhonda no podría haberlo sabido entonces, pero estaba a punto de... [continue]

5 maneras de reducir la demanda de tráfico laboral

By Nell Green

La transportación, la tecnología y la comunicación nos hacen a todos ciudadanos globales. No podemos ignorar la injusticia que marginaliza y victimiza a aproximadamente 14 millones de personas, escribe Green.

Un camión se detiene en el estacionamiento de Wal-Mart en San Antonio en el calor ardiente del mes de julio.

Un hombre sediento, desesperado por un vaso de agua, logra llegar al interior de la tienda a pedirlo. Se descubre que el camión está lleno de gente; ocho ya están muertos, dos murieron más tarde, y otros estaban en condición crítica; probablemente sufrirían daños permanentes... [continue]

CLC Response to President Trump’s Rescinding DACA Protection

Our hearts are saddened today as almost 800,000 young people actively living in our communities have been told they can no longer live among us unless Congress takes action. This announcement throws the lives of these young people into chaos as they are now fearful about their future in this country. These young people have grown up in our neighborhoods, attended our schools and churches and are leaders in our communities.This program allowed them to have legal status, which allowed them to positively contribute to the communities and the country they love.

President Trump’s plan to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals... [continue]

Texas Baptists at work to provide Harvey relief efforts through partnerships

The devastation Ryan Rush, senior pastor of Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, has witnessed in recent days is heartbreaking.

“We’ve seen hundreds of our neighbors lose everything they owned, and the idea of the work ahead is overwhelming. The thing that sustains us, however, is the incredible way this disaster has brought together the Body of Christ as we seek to share the love of Jesus with our community,” Rush said.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas Aug. 25 as a category four hurricane, causing unprecedented destruction. Damage in Texas stretches from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, with an estimated... [continue]

7 Tips for when disaster damages your church building

When storms damage your church building consider these options:

Watch out for live wires.

Be very aware of exposed electrical hazards and submerged live power hazards. Take proper precautions. Keep people out of hazardous conditions.

Watch out for nails. 

Wear strong soled shoes and boots in debris and submerged areas. Soft soled shoes, sneakers and sandals make you vulnerable to stepping on nails.

Consider covering it up. 

Usually you should tarp any openings like roofs, walls, doors and windows to reduce additional rain and water damage to the interior of the building. Be sure to check with your insurer though, since... [continue]

BOUNCE revises schedule to serve in Harvey-affected areas

DALLAS–In response to the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, BOUNCE, the student disaster recovery ministry of Texas Baptists, has revised the 2018 schedule for spring break and summer mission trips to solely serve Harvey-affected areas along the Gulf Coast.

“We have revised our BOUNCE schedule to mobilize student youth groups to Harvey-affected areas for long-term recovery efforts,” said David Scott, director of BOUNCE. “Our BOUNCE Advisory Group agreed this is reason BOUNCE was created. We also had full support from our ministry partners in the cities of Birmingham, Waco, Fort Worth, Lubbock and Bartlesville... [continue]