Election Day provides opportunity to express citizenship
by Kathryn Freeman on October 30, 2014 in
The Bible exhorts Christians to be good citizens while on earth (Romans 13:1-8). Voting is one of the foundational requirements to good citizenship. With Election Day quickly approaching it is important to head to the polls. We, as believers, should actively engage in understanding the policy issues affecting our communities and neighbors. We should vote in accordance to God's agenda for this world and not just on blind allegiance to a political party or person.
To that end, we should evaluate for ourselves, in accordance with Scripture, which candidates''stated priorities best align with the Word of God. These are some good...
Reaching Waco through the world’s most popular sport
by Leah Reynolds on October 30, 2014 in
WACO—Nearly every fair weather day of the week, grassy soccer fields see an abundance of size three, cleat wearing little leaguers running back and forth while parents and siblings cheer from the sidelines.
Texas Baptists, in partnership with the Waco Regional Baptist Association and the Central Texas Hispanic Ministers Alliance, hosted a City Reach event called the Fiesta Familiar soccer tournament and festival on Sept. 27 as an effort to reach a community that admires soccer.
City Reach is conducted annually as an evangelism event in the host city for Texas Baptists' Annual Meeting. This year's meeting, themed "Live the...
Searching for Answers
by Warren Ethridge on October 30, 2014 in
As someone who spends most of their day on a college campus without going to classes, my heart breaks for the students around me who have no realization that the very God who created the enormities of the universe cares deeply for them and wants to have a relationship with them.
Here at Tarleton State Universtiy, some of our students have felt God call them to equip their fellow peers in how to talk about their faith with students on campus so people can know of this incredible God. Every Monday night, students gather at the BSM, spend time in prayer, and then are sent out on campus.
As we are sent out, we are sent two by...
Live the Difference: around the world
by Sandy Wisdom-Martin on October 27, 2014 in news
This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, had to say:
What does it mean to Live the Difference? Authors Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts say. "If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, He calls you a missionary! You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God's work in you, you are on mission."*
For me, living the difference means being on mission day in and day out.
At WMU of Texas, our passion is also our purpose. We make...
A special weekend for Special Friends
by Leah Reynolds on October 25, 2014 in
CEDAR HILL—The 2014 Special Friends Retreat, hosted by Texas Baptists' Preschool and Children's Ministries, brought lots of smiles and laughter along with the opportunity for participants to share their talents on-stage.
The retreat for the mentally challenged of ages 12 and older took place at two locations - one in Floydada on Sept. 12-13, with about 90 campers, and another in Cedar Hill on Oct. 3-4, with 350 campers.
Participants made crafts, learned about parts of the world in Bible studies, performed their talents in a talent show and engaged in worship and music.
In Cedar Hill, at Mount Lebanon Baptist...
India in Arlington
by Caitlyn Barbee on October 24, 2014 in
The room reaches a sweltering temperature as hundreds of bodies move and collide in circles, jumping and swaying to traditional Indian dance steps. The sounds of drums, violins and melodic pitches fill the room. The DJ plays a current Indian pop song and the crowd roars; the room looks like a musical number from a Bollywood movie come to life. Sweat mixed with condensation from the overtaxed air conditioning system accumulates on the ceiling beams and drips onto the heads of the dancers below, unbeknownst to them. The room feels like a sauna, fogging eyeglass lenses upon entering the room.
Where are you? India, right? Nope. UT...
Praying for opportunities on Engage 24
by Kinsey Cline on October 23, 2014 in
October 14, 2014 was the date for this year's Engage 24, a nationwide campaign for every Christian college student to share the Gospel with at least one person during that one day. Engage 24 falls in the middle of the semester, right about the same time as midterms, and it is a great reminder of the real reason we are where we are. God has placed us right where He wants us, and He wants us to share Him with others (Tweet this). He wants us to spread the Gospel. He wants us to love people.
This year Engage 24 fell on a Tuesday, which was convenient for us because we already have an established weekly outreach booth in the...
Houston subpoenas raise religious liberty concerns
by Kathryn Freeman on October 23, 2014 in christian life commission
The City of Houston gained national attention last week as a result of subpoenas sent to five local pastors seeking "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession."
CLC Director Gus Reyes spoke out against these subpoenas because they appeared to be designed to intimidate pastors and make them think twice about speaking on this critical social issue. Texas Baptists President Jeff Johnson, Executive Director David Hardage and Reyes also joined other Baptist leaders from around...
Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment
by Leah Reynolds on October 21, 2014 in news
ARLINGTON: Youth ministry is a calling that comes along with great trials but even greater rewards, including seeing the salvation of young souls and the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders.
Speakers at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave on Oct. 13-15 focused on youth ministry as a calling and encouraged leaders to recognize it as a divine appointment. Conclave is sponsored by Texas Baptists and supported through the Cooperative Program with ethnic scholarships provided by Mary Hill Davis Offering for state missions.
"It's not about your ability, but your availability," said Ed Newton, Conclave speaker and...
Live the Difference: on a college campus
by Guest Author on October 20, 2014 in culture
This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Jay Leibold, campus missionary at the University of North Texas, had to say:
What is culture? Culture is defined as the beliefs, customs, and values of a particular society, group or place. I came to the UNT BSM my freshman year and have been here just long enough (starting year 5) to see a shift in our culture. We have begun to see a shift in what we value as a campus ministry and what our attitude should be as christians at a large public university. Our culture...
Retreating and embracing the Gospel
by Kinsey Cline on October 17, 2014 in blog
Every fall the BSM at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) takes their students on a retreat, usually somewhere close to campus, but far enough away to feel like we've escaped the bustle of school and replaced it with the serenity of the woods (even if we still have phone reception and Wal-mart is only 20 minutes away, in case we underestimated when grocery shopping). Fall retreat is an opportunity for new students to get plugged in and bond with older students, for old friends to reconnect after the summer, and for everyone to spend time in worship and the Word of God.
For the last few years, we have intentionally planned our...
Now is the time: Texas Baptists winterizing refugees in Lebanon
by Leah Reynolds on October 17, 2014 in great commandment
In Lebanon, millions of refugees are trying to figure out how to survive brutal temperatures as the winter months approach. Through the development of a winterization project, Texas Baptists are sending necessities like blankets and heaters to help refugee families prepare for the winter.
Since early 2011, when the Syrian conflict began, more than 1.5 million refugees have fled to Lebanon seeking safety. At least 10,000 Iraqis have also sought security in the country. Most of them have little money and no place to live.
Lebanese churches from various denominational backgrounds have embraced many of the refugees, displaying the love...
CLC director expresses concern regarding Houston subpoenas
by Ferrell Foster on October 15, 2014 in church state
Gus Reyes, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has released the following statement regarding the City of Houston's subpoenas sent to five churches:
"We are glad Mayor Annise Parker now agrees with critics that the initial City of Houston subpoenas were overly broad.
"The U.S. Constitution protects religious freedom, and that includes the right of pastors and church members to speak on social and community issues without fear of intimidation by the government.
"We now wait to see what city officials do next. We hope they display a renewed commitment to religious liberty and recognize that efforts meant to...
God's plan since the day we arrived
by Guest Author on October 15, 2014 in great commission
I have now reached my halfway point of my time in South Asia. Since the day we arrived in our city, Father placed learning the language on both my teammate's and my hearts. We didn't understand this because there is no way we could have learned the language being a short term "trip." We followed His instructions and found ourselves learning the national language two times a week for two hours each day. We met our national partner Kate* and fell in love with the way she desires to help people with language and her sweet spirit is absolutely contagious.
After about a month of language our supervisor sent us to another city for a...
Texas Baptists prepare to Live the Difference
by Kalie Lowrie on October 14, 2014 in news
WACO – Texas Baptists' annual meeting November 16-18 in Waco will be an opportunity to see what it means to truly "Live the Difference." The meeting, to be held at the Waco Convention Center, is centered on the theme verse from 1 John 2:6 with a special emphasis on ministry opportunities through Advocacy/Care and Chaplaincy, including the Christian Life Commission.
"This is an exciting time for our convention as we pave the way for our future and focus on what it means for us to 'live the difference,'" said Executive Director David Hardage. "In this exciting age of diversity, I think it fitting to focus our attention on what it...
Live the Difference: on social media
by Katie Swafford on October 13, 2014 in news
This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, had to say:
I'm browsing through Facebook this morning when I see the status update of a childhood friend. This friend is describing how she doesn't feel that people treat her as she deserves to be treated.
Makes a few comments about how she perceives herself to be a good person who is fun to be around, yet feels as if the world takes her for granted or just gives her an "ehh, maybe" rating. She proceeded to ask for...
Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response
by Leah Reynolds on October 9, 2014 in disaster
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri - Though media is flooded with news of the Ebola crisis, a calamity nearly as fatal—starvation—has risen in West African countries due to the virus. In response to this dire need, Dallas-based Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), in partnership with Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri, shipped 250,000 meals to Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, Oct. 9, to help bring relief to the crisis.
When the container of food, holding 44,000 pounds of prepackaged meals, arrives to Monrovia in four to six weeks, Liberian Baptist churches will distribute the supplies to rural communities and to hospitals. An...
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering needs end-of-year boost
by Ferrell Foster on October 9, 2014 in christian life commission
Texas Baptists are generous, but our giving to fight hunger and poverty has lagged this year. Through August, Texas Baptists gave $548,395 through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. That's a lot of money, but it is significantly less than we gave last year -- $727,877 or 75.3 percent.
As we give millions of dollars to support church programs, it is important to remember that Jesus said care for the poor is a key indicator that a person is seeking to follow Him. When we seek to follow Christ we will have a Spirit-inspired burden to care for those who suffer. If we don't, something's wrong with our spiritual life.
Despite the lag in...
Christian Life Commission adopts statement on Islamic state and religious persecution
by Leah Reynolds on October 7, 2014 in christian life commission
The Christian Life Commission (CLC) has adopted a statement on the Islamic state and religious persecution, inviting leaders to continue protective efforts and encouraging churches to pray.
The terror group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been coercing people to choose between fleeing their homes and living in fear of oppression that can ultimately lead to death. Media reports have recorded brutal persecution of many individuals living in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, since early June 2014.
CLC Commissioners are monitoring situations of religious persecution around the world. The CLC deals with ethical and...
Feeding the 500
by Guest Contributor on October 6, 2014 in collegiate ministry
So it isn't the 5000 that Jesus fed in one afternoon that we read about in Mark 6, but in the past month the BSM at UTD has fed about 500 students lunch for free! Starting the week after Labor Day, we have had over 100 students come to our free Monday lunches. This number is consistently higher than anything I have seen before at UTD, and it is terrific!
Students are given a free meal and then participate in discussions around their tables, led by one of our student leaders, or a local church volunteer. We try our best to work the Gospel into every conversation, so hundreds of students are exposed to the good news of Jesus each...
Saying thanks to your pastor
by Kalie Lowrie on October 2, 2014 in faith
Being a pastor can many times be a thankless job. One works seemingly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - going from meeting to counseling session to hospital visit. Not to mention the time needed to prepare for Sunday's sermon, Wednesday's Bible study, a luncheon for Senior Adults and a youth fellowship on Friday night.
Between all of the week's activities, there are also opinions from church members on everything from the color of the carpet in the sanctuary to the dessert served on Wednesday night.
Pastor's hear it all - but two words they may not hear very much are "Thank you." Think about it. When is the last time you stopped and...
Idols and open doors
by Guest Author on October 2, 2014 in go now missions
Namaskara! Once again, I am so thankful for your time to read this and your prayers for the ones I love here. His love is so greatly shown and I hope to share this with you through my words. I am so honored to call you Family!
The best way I can describe the past month of life here would be to point you to 2 Pet 3:8-9. He has continued to show me that He will fulfill His promise and He is not slow, but is patient towards us. Father has placed us where we need to be and His promises are being fulfilled daily. Everyday I have to remind myself to place the people of South Asia in His hands, not knowing that they would be the...
Understanding the city and the culture
by Josue Valerio on October 1, 2014 in missions mobilization
Cities are known for their cultures and for their role of influence in societies. Also, there are other forces, which are constantly shaping the city and its cultures. But today, it is crucial for us to understand the city, the communities within the city and their cultures in order to collaborate in ministry and serve the different groups who live, work and visit the city.
I believe the basic elements of culture are languages, artifacts, practices, values, institutions and stories.
We all contribute towards the creation of culture, and culture re-creates the city and its inhabitants. This is why it is important to understand how the...
Executive Board approves purchase of BUA property
by Kalie Lowrie on October 1, 2014 in news
DALLAS - During the September 29 business session of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board, it was unanimously approved for the convention to purchase 12.87 acres of land in San Antonio currently owned by the Baptist University of the Americas. The land will be purchased for $4.373 million, with an additional cash payment of $200,000 to pay off two bank loans held by the university.
“Thank you for walking alongside them [BUA] in this time of need," said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “We will continue to pray for them and seek God to meet their needs. This is a great way to help one of our...