April 2014


A Missional Legacy


Recently, I attended the funeral of a good friend and former church member who had a great impact on my life and on the life of his church. When I met Gene Willard, he was about 80-years-old and had been at the church I was becoming pastor of for over 50 years. He had a close relationship with several of the pastors and that would also prove to be true with me.

Gene had his opinion on things like music, how we did church and other things. He was never afraid to share that opinion. Gene, along with a few others, also had the ear of the church. He served on the leadership team and had influence that really went throughout the entire...

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Congreso Nation is Everlasting for 50th Anniversary


WACO - Congreso is an experience thousands have encountered over the past 50 years. What began in 1964 as a ministry to Hispanic Baptist students has continued to impact thousands of lives across the state.

This year, from Apr. 17-19, more than 4,000 youth and college students gathered in Baylor University's Ferrell Center for the weekend focused on "Everlasting." Students worshiped with abandon, with 127 coming forward to give their lives to Christ, 51 rededications and 32 feeling called to ministry.

"I am glad to be here because I know I am talking to the future," said Erwin McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles...

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On mission in South Africa


SIBASA, South Africa - "I believe that when biblical principles are put into practice then the biblical results can be expected," said Joe Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Lewisville. "We are mandated by Christ to go and make disciples; if we do our part, Christ is faithful to do His part."

In February 2013, Fields and his congregation at New Beginnings Church were blessed to partake in a mission trip to Sibasa, South Africa. During their stay, they were able to evangelize to all walks of society; senior citizens, youth and children encountered the love of Christ and Field's team shared about salvation with all.

"We walked...

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God moves at a TWU benefit show


Last Friday night we were given the opportunity to host a benefit show to raise money for summer student missionaries. We had planned on having local musicians put on a show for us. Student leaders, a TWU staff employee, and friends came to enjoy this time together.

We also had one of our guys that just started to get involved share some poetry with us that he wrote.

From student BSM leaders, to family and friends, we all sat and listened and enjoyed some dessert and hot drinks made with our new espresso machine for the BSM building.

The night did not turn out how I had planned at all. Usually, this is how most of my stories go.

There...

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Growing to live through hunger offering


GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Hands in Service, an organization that receives funding from Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, provides family garden workshops through missions and churches in the poverty belt around the city of Guadalajara and other communities, as well as in rural areas. These workshops help train and educate people to grow their own food to provide better nutrition at a lower cost.

Family Gardens is a project designed and carried out in cooperation with Manos Hermanas, in Guadalajara and numerous other areas where space is available to train and optimize intensive gardens to benefit those in poverty to help them feed their...

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Eager to learn in Juarez


JUAREZ, Mexico - In 2013, Phil Miller, director of Bible Study/Discipleship, and Daniel Rangel, director of River Ministry and Mexico Missions, traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to bring attention to the growing need in the churches to receive training on teaching and sharing the gospel with others. The main focus of the training was how to have an evangelistic Sunday School.

"Being in Juarez, anyone can see that the need is there," said Miller. "The churches have the need to learn."

Pastor Jose Angel Hernandez, River Ministry Coordinator in Juarez, discussed with Miller and Rangel during their first visit that the people of his...

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WMU reflects on defining moments at annual meeting


GEORGETOWN - Sharing of God's faithfulness in the midst of many trials, Steve McCord stated, "We are not compelled but surrendered to Him who loved us with an everlasting love."

The theme of surrender was tied with the overall "Defining Moments" focus during WMU of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration at First Baptist Georgetown Apr. 4-5. McCord, global research analysis services team leader with the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, was one of many missionaries featured at the meeting, which drew 700 people from across the state for a time of worship, fellowship and learning.

The moving program reflected on...

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Honduras: A display of His splendor


CENICERA, Honduras - The kids here in Honduras have stolen my heart! Last night we attended a worship service at a house church in Cenicera, just a few miles from Gracias. When we arrived, I recognized several of the kids from the day before when we were at their house interviewing their parents. One precious girl named Ruby came up and hugged me, followed by another six I had never met before. They looked up at me with these beautiful eyes and told me their names. I hugged them each back and repeatedly asked, "Como estas?" (the only Spanish I really know).

Ruby is nine and currently suffering from leukemia. Her family receives food...

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Hunger in Honduras: The face of a thankful heart


CATULACA, Honduras - Felipe is paralyzed from the waist down after a tragic accident about five years ago. He has undergone eight surgeries and was forced to sell most of his land to pay for the medical procedures. He was the primary breadwinner for his family of six and now many times they wonder how they will eat. The family raises pigs for income and has many chickens roaming around the yard to provide sustenance.

When we arrived at his house today, Felipe, his wife, daughter and brother were overjoyed to see Shannon Hopkins, a missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries, and his friends. They were also beyond thankful for the food that...

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Reaching Christians in a new method


BROOKSHIRE --- In winter of 2010, after two suicides and 20 drug overdoses from students at Royal High School, Pastor Bobby "Tre9" Herring was asked by the assistant principal of Royal High School and a local missionary if there was anything he could do to reach the youth of Brookshire.

With numerous prayers and support, Herring began with an in-school hip hop assembly motivating and encouraging students to be themselves and make positive choices. That evening he and his wife, Amanda, led an outreach concert in the school auditorium with over 100 students responding to the altar call.

A couple months went by and in early 2011...

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Hunger in Honduras: Bringing hope across a footbridge


GRACIAS, Honduras - Today, we saw the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in action, with three men carrying nearly 60 pounds of food on their backs, across a shaky wooden footbridge to a family in need. Shannon Hopkins and his friends, Kevin and Hugo, carried the load of food to a family of 15, living in extreme poverty.

Shannon serves as a missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries, a ministry that receives funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, and seeks to provide food to those in crisis situations in and around Gracias, Honduras. 61 Isaiah Ministries also partners with Ellis Baptist Association to receive support for the work they...

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'Kumbaya' should be no joke


In 2010, a story in The New York Times noted that the song, "Kumbaya," had lately been "transformed into snarky shorthand for ridiculing a certain kind of idealism, a quest for common ground."

I remember singing the song in the 1960s, and we loved it. It was no joke; it called us toward something better than what we knew. I did not initially know that "kumbaya" meant "come by here" and was meant as a prayer to God.

"Come By Here" is a song "deeply rooted in black Christianity's vision of a God who intercedes to deliver both solace and justice," The NY Times piece said.

The oldest known recording of the spiritual occurred in the spring...

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How to seek God through frustration


GEORGETOWN - Frustration is a theme everyone will journey through at one point or another, according to Dave Edwards, keynote speaker for the Single Adult Rally on Apr. 5, "One is a whole number."

"Frustration occurs anytime our expectations and reality collide," Edwards shared with single adults from across the state.

Referencing Genesis 40, Edwards detailed how Joseph overcame a long season of frustration in his life to come to the point where God could use him most effectively.

"The Bible teaches us how to journey through this season and come out on the other side better than when you came in," Edwards said. "God uses these...

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Muehlhoff speaks on civil communication in CT


Christian author Tim Muehlhoff says believers need to "yield to God's power from outside" themselves in order to communicate in a civil, Christlike manner.

Christianity Today has published a Q&A with Muehlhoff regarding his book, I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love (InterVarsity Press, 2014).

Muehlhoff says that "in the heat of the moment" of a conversation a Christian should remember the advice of A.W. Tozer. "You shall receive power, a potent force from another world invading your life by your consent, getting to the roots of your life and transforming you into someone like Christ." Muehlhoff...

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Hunger offering inspires others to give back


FORT WORTH - This year churches are holding a special offering on Mother's Day to support the Mother's Day Hunger Offering. By uniting the efforts of Texas Baptists, we can raise $1 million this Mother's Day to end hunger one mom at a time. One mom that has received help from this offering is a woman named Kay Schmenk.

Kay Schmenk is a 73-year-old who has been participating in the Senior Supplement Program, a monthly feeding program at Northside Inter-Community Agency (NICA), since 2006. She lives off of her Social Security check each month of less than $700.

NICA, one of several ministries in Fort Worth that receives support through...

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BaptistWay Press to release 14 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples


What can be done to address the discipleship deficit in the evangelical church in America? Perhaps a renewed focus on what it means to be a disciple is in need. BaptistWay Press is speaking into this challenge by releasing a new Bible study this spring, 14 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples.

This study will address habits that should be a regular part of the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Habits to be studied include: Bible study, confession, faith, fasting, fellowship, love, obedience, prayer, purity, service, stewardship, thankfulness, witnessing, and worship. The emphasis of each study is to move from the Scriptural...

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Serving in a party town


SOUTH PADRE ISLAND--- Janelle Daman, student at University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, noticed a young woman, Saira, staring at all the commotion going on in the water. It was a beach baptism. Saira was vacationing in South Padre Island for the week of Spring Break like 75,000 other college students. Janelle was there with her Baptist Student Ministry to evangelize and witness to her fellow college students.

Janelle walked to Saira and asked if she knew was was going on, and she replied,"No." God then opened an opportunity for Janelle to explain to Saira what it meant to be a Christian and know that God loves her and He died for her...

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