July 2015


Blind, but now I see


When you think of East Asia, what do you see? What do you think of?

Super crowded streets and cities? Buildings on top of buildings? Pollution? Rice and noodles? Split pants? Scooters everywhere? Asian cartoon characters on everything? Chenglish? Poverty?

Millions of people, faces or souls who live without hope daily?

People who walk around living their day to day life looking for satisfaction, meaning and value in anything and all the wrong things because they don't know there is more?

I see people who laugh, cry, drink coffee, take selfies, play basketball, make pizzas, watch movies, have children, get married, work...

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Texas Supreme Court tells Houston that citizens have the right to vote


The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the Houston City Council to either repeal its Houston Equal Rights Ordinance by Aug. 24 or put the ordinance to a vote during the city's November election. HERO amended Houston's Code of Ordinances to prevent all residents of Houston from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Court stated that, "though the ordinance is steeped in controversy, the legal principles at play are relatively simple."

The Houston City Council passed HERO on May 28, 2014. Houstonians have the right to dispute any ordinance filed by the Houston City Council by submitting a referendum...

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It's Time to Learn About West Papua


I hugged three men today. Each was physically smaller than me, but they seemed larger than life. None looked me in the eye before we hugged, but each returned the embrace.

The men did not say anything. All I could say was something like, "God bless you. We will not forget you." It seemed so weak and inadequate, but I didn't know what else to say.

These men live in West Papua, a part of Indonesia. Life is not good in West Papua.

At the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Durban, South Africa, Socratez Yoman presented videos, photos, and information regarding human rights abuses in West Papua. At the end, the moderator described the...

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Young adults (myself included) and the church


At the African American Fellowship Conference in Sugar Land last week, Reverend Tomiko Jones of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield outlined a few important points churches need to make in regards to reaching the 21 to 39-year-old age group.

The biggest discrepancy in the modern church is older members wanting younger people more involved with the church, but not knowing how to make it happen. This is an across-the-board crisis of churches as average ages increase with church attendance decreasing. The answer to this is reaching out to young adults.

As a recent college graduate, I fall squarely in that category. I want so...

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Bounce 2015 Is A Wrap!


The BOUNCE staff is very pleased with the results of the week of ministry in San Marcos and WImberley! We've seen the restoration of homes and hope brought through the service of students. Christ has been reflected well this week in San Marcos. A total of six worksites were completed. Houses got new roofs, walls, insulation, and other improvements. Before BOUNCERS left, they presented their homeowner with a picture of their team as a gift.

Ms. Joyce Adams, an 82 year-old deaf homeowner, was greatly impacted by the flood on May 24 of this year. Through sign language, she explained that the manager of her trailer park tried to knock...

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Missions Is A Lifestyle


BOUNCERS woke up early this morning to eat breakfast and kick off their day with GO TIME! Go Time is a brief meeting where BOUNCERS all meet together in the parking lot at the lodging facility, are prayed for and sent off to begin work. A total of six ministry teams consisting of over 70 students and leaders went out into San Marcos and Wimberley to reflect the love of Christ through their service.

Anna Alvarado, a 14 year-old from Cowboy Fellowship, said she has learned that Missions shouldn't just be here. She lives pretty close to San Marcos, and it could have been them. She stated "Mission work should be a lifestyle, not a task...

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Shining stars and talks of God in Quebec


We've just finished our first week of having residential campers here at Frontier Lodge! Thanks be to God because we had the smoothest week with no hiccups or accidents! Residential camp is for campers who stay with us a week or more, living with us in the cabins and spending time with us all day, all week. Also, this is when the Christian camp starts, so we can talk about Jesus all we want!

My cabin had three girls in it, all age 10, plus my junior counselor who is 15. My girls were named Reiley, Norah, and Kaitlyn (it made me so happy we had the same name, but I couldn't let her know because we all go by camp names, and mine is...

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FBC Carrollton Teenager Wins National Speakers’ Tournament


CARROLLTON – First Baptist Church in Carrollton has an impressive reputation for producing award-winning Bible Drill and Speakers' Tournament students. This year was no different with Hannah Mathes taking home first place in the National Speakers' Tournament in Kingland, Georgia.

Mathes, an incoming junior at Prestonwood Academy, has been a participant in Bible Drill since fourth grade and started participating in Speakers' Tournament in eighth grade.

"Speaking is kind of my talent, so I was able to use that opportunity to show that," Mathes said.

Participants selected a topic from a given list to speak on and then build a speech...

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Bounce San Marcos Is Underway!


BOUNCE staff is happy to announce that all of our BOUNCERS have arrived safely in San Marcos. Students and leaders are excited for what lies ahead. We welcomed about 75 BOUNCERS through the doors of First Baptist Church of San Marcos today. A total of six churches brought student missionaries this week. Churches participating are Lakeside Baptist Church in Granbury, First Baptist Church Canyon Lake, Life Church of San Antonio, Cowboy Fellowship of Jourdanton, First Baptist Church Lampasas, and San Isidro Baptist Church.

Groups had long drives this morning and are excited to finally arrive in San Marcos. They're excited to see how...

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How should I respond when praised?


Twenty-five years ago, I preached my first sermon, and it was a fiery, cliché-driven message about sex, drugs and effects of media. In my estimation, it was horrible. I kept that cassette for years, but after several moves cannot find it. Whether you preach, speak, teach, etc. we find ourselves in one of several moments:

  • Why did I even try?
  • If only I had … it would have been better.
  • Why did no one start chanting?
  • Other people think I did well.

Sometimes we do well; sometimes not. There are those moments when people want to come and tell you how wonderful you are or how great the speech/lesson/sermon was. For years, I struggled with what...

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A call to pray during a time of prayer


I'm living in one of the largest Muslim-populated countries in the world. I'm only here for two months, but my trip is during a really interesting time. I had the opportunity to experience life here before, during and after two of the biggest holidays: Ramadan (fasting month) and Eid al-Fitr (festival of breaking the fast). While I've studied and read a lot about their faith before I came, it's a whole different experience when you are actually surrounded by it day in and day out.

The call to prayer is heard loudly five times a day. It is a common occurrence for my friends to stop what we are doing to go pray, and it doesn't...

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We're Ready To Bounce!


We had a great time in Mineral Wells, Texas last week! Now, BOUNCE staff has arrived in San Marcos, Texas for another week of serving the community. About 65 BOUNCERS will be arriving tomorrow afternoon to kick off our last BOUNCE of summer 2015 in San Marcos. Our participating Churches this week are Cowboy Fellowship of Jourdanton, Texas, FBC Lampasas, FBC San Isidro, Lakeside Baptist Church of Granbury, FBC Canyon Lake, and Life Church of San Antonio. BOUNCERS will be lodged and fed at First Baptist Church San Marcos and worship will also be held each night at First Baptist Church San Marcos.

This week, a total of six teams will...

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How Oregon trees taught me to give God control


As we walked up to the tree, my heart sank. I knew exactly what our next activity was on our trek in the woods with the YD adventures crew. I was so excited about getting to take a group of kids from our apartment buildings out camping for a few days, but as we approached the dreaded tree I began to question the wisdom of that decision. Ever since I witnessed my sister fall from a zip line, I have been a little leery of the idea of jumping out of trees. And these were not just any trees, these were Oregon trees (If you have been here then you know exactly what I'm talking about).

Oregon trees are TALL; however, this particular one...

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BOUNCE Mineral Wells is In the Books!


The BOUNCE staff is very pleased with the results of the week of ministry in Mineral Wells! All worksites have been completed thanks to the hard work of all the BOUNCERS this week. We've seen the restoration of homes and hope. Christ has been reflected well this week in Mineral Wells. A total of six worksites were completed. Houses got new roofs, paint jobs and other improvements. Before BOUNCERS left, they presented their homeowner with a Bible as a gift.

Peter Simpson, Youth Pastor at FBC Copperas Cove said that the kids on his worksite made friends with each other quickly. They fought through the heat and other barriers to...

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Baylor University's continued stance on sexual ethics


Recently the Baylor Board of Regents changed the language of their student conduct policy. This action has been represented in a number of ways through headlines and news reports. Judge Ken Starr, president of Baylor University, sent us the following memo to help us understand the actions of Baylor and to clarify the misunderstandings that have accompanied this action. Please note the following from Judge Starr:

Recent news reports of changes to Baylor's sexual conduct policy have unfortunately employed sensational headlines that have created misunderstandings about our policy.

In fact, Baylor's sexual conduct policy...

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Confessing struggles and insecurities during a heart-felt sleepover


It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Becca and I were walking through the Fountain Park apartment complex and praying for all the people living there. We prayed for a group of preteen girls we'd had the opportunity to meet, but that we were struggling to build relationships with. In that moment, Becca and I both thought about hosting a sleepover with the girls where we could play lots of games, watch movies, get to know the girls and teach them some of God's truths. When we told our supervisor about it, she thought it was a great idea, and we began planning to make it happen.

Fast forward two weeks, and we have another beautiful...

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BOUNCERS Are Drawing Close to God In Mineral Wells


It's the third day of work here and Mineral Wells and BOUNCERS are moving along on their projects very well. They are learning new skills that they may have never thought they would be able to learn. Besides the work, one of the BOUNCERS' favorite things about the week is the nightly worship. During this time, students have had the opportunity to look back and see what God's been doing in their lives and what he may want to do in their lives in the future.

Each night, students hear from Worship Speaker, Randy Beggs about the life of Peter and his failures which were followed by triumphs. He's been emphasizing takings steps of faith...

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Building the Kingdom


This week I spent in my favorite sitting chair, with a fractured leg elevated just so. That's a fun story involving a sense of adventure, no sense of balance and a pushy youth group. In between calcium-rich snacking and glimpsing through that stack of books I spent the last nine months swearing I'd read eventually, I find myself missing one thing--my birch workbench.

In the rack I built onto the back end of my bench, just to the right of my chisels, there are a series of measuring devices- a sliding bevel, a small set of dividers, a marking knife and a marking gauge.

In the old days a craftsmen could use the width of his fingers or...

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Daily Grace (and why it matters)


In a span of 24 hours, I was stopped twice by police officers.

Being the chronic rule follower that I am, those two write-ups were decently defeating and ate at my brain. I deserved both of them, so when the traffic officer told me I could contest the first one in court, I almost laughed. No sir, I definitely went straight through that turn-only lane, but thanks for giving me options.

The second one was because I forgot to buy my ticket on the railway that morning and the officer got off at my stop with me. She told me that she would just give me a warning because I seemed genuine and polite. So while the vote of confidence and not...

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Even ninja turtles and robots are important to God


I looked up in the busy, chaotic room of waiting people. They were gathered in clumps decorated with hyper children. Some of them had been there for nearly an hour waiting for someone like me to grab their clipboard and call their name.

I skimmed quickly over the next person's paperwork and was thankful it was written in English. It was my first day on the job, and out of the all people I had already seen, over half of them spoke only Spanish. Though I could generally figure out what it was that Mission Arlington could do to help them, I struggled to hear their story or really communicate past understanding the words necesito ropa y...

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BOUNCE Mineral Wells is in Full Swing!


BOUNCERS had a great night of rest and were up early this morning to continue on their worksites in Mineral Wells. They were looking forward to going out and seeing more progress made on the houses they were working on. Many BOUNCERS have found it surprising that they've been having fun on their worksites despite the physical demands that the work entails. They are also enjoying meeting and working alongside students from other youth groups.

Students have already learned a lot about service this week. There are several students who are feeling God work in their lives this week. Many are feeling affirmed in calling to missions and...

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How to handle opportunities when they come our way


Choosing Opportunities

Choosing opportunities is an everyday, life-long process. "Have you been praying?" are words I will never forget that have helped me make decisions, and rely on God.

The weekend before our wedding, my husband and I ran into a friend who had asked if he could give our information to a pastor and we said yes. That day was the start of something huge in our marriage because a few weeks later my husband received a phone call from the pastor about scheduling a meeting with some of the members, so we agreed to go for a visit. My first experience ever in a search committee meeting was pretty intense. I didn't think...

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Finding beauty in the mundane, a lesson from Savannah


My time in Savannah so far has been filled to the brim with new experiences, new restaurants, new places and even seeing a couple of celebrities! I am in awe of all I have had the blessing of doing over the past several weeks. However, sometimes it hasn't been all that glamorous. Though my personality drives me to desire to go and do and never stop every second of the day, God is continuing to remind me that there is surely beauty in it all – from the mundane to the hilltop moments.

Work-wise, this week has consisted of sorting through donated clothes at the store, a meeting and taking one of our sweet residents to the dentist's...

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Work in Mineral Wells Has Begun!


BOUNCERS woke up early this morning to eat breakfast and kick off their day with GO TIME! Go Time is a brief meeting where BOUNCERS all meet together in the parking lot at the lodging facility, are prayed for and sent off to begin work. A total of six ministry teams consisting of over 70 students and leaders went out into Mineral Wells to reflect the love of Christ through their service.

Kayla Kemp, a 17 year-old from FBC Copperas Cove said that she hopes that this week strengthens her relationship with God. She also hopes to strengthen her friendships with her Christian Friends. There are young children at the house next door to...

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Sadly leaving Portland, but God continues to work


It's almost been two whole months here in Portland, Oregon. Time seems to be flying by, but you can be certain that God continues to do what He promises. Not only has God wrecked my world, but He has given my team opportunities beyond what we could ever ask for. Relationships have been made, and soon they will be hindered by distance; it's comforting to know that Jesus will continue to move.

So, I apologize for my lack of structure and not getting my update in on time. If you know me then you know just how true that statement is! So let me update you while I have the chance!

This summer has been filled with more than just random...

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BOUNCE Mineral Wells is a GO!


BOUNCE staff is happy to announce that all of our BOUNCERS have arrived safely in Mineral Wells. Students and leaders are excited for what lies ahead. We welcomed over 70 BOUNCERS through the doors of Mineral Wells Jr. High today. A total of four churches brought student missionaries this week. Churches participating are Brazos Meadows Baptist Church of Waco, First Baptist Church Copperas Cove, First United Methodist Church of Farmington, NM and Sharpstown Baptist Church.

Groups had long drives this morning and are excited to finally arrive in Mineral Wells. They're excited to see how God will work in them and through them this week...

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African American Fellowship given a charge to keep, elects 2016 officers


Sugar Land—A lineup of passionate speakers and jubilant worship at this year's African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference (AAFC) made for a spirit of joy and encouragement amongst guests, giving them a "charge to keep," as the conference theme stated.

At The Fort Bend Baptist Church in Sugar Land July 14-16, hundreds of pastors and lay leaders of African American churches gathered together to take part in the conference, which featured a Tuesday night Jim W. Culp, Sr. Banquet followed by two days of worship services, workshops, exhibit displays and the introduction of the 2016 state officers.

At Wednesday...

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African American Fellowship Emphasizes Faithfulness to God


SUGAR LAND – Amongst a chorus of amens, Pastor Oscar Epps of Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto brought a message of God's unconditional faithfulness.

The African American Fellowship Conference kicked off on July 14, with the Culp Banquet, but the following morning brought a message from the president of the African American Fellowship. Epps spoke on Daniel 3, in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are put in the furnace for not bowing to the king.

God is always able to meet our needs in every situation, but Epps challenged his audience to consider what happens in people's hearts and minds if it feels like He does...

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College connection for your high school grad


At the end of the school year, high school seniors are recognized and their future plans are celebrated by family, friends and their local church. In the coming months, many students likely will be taking classes at junior colleges, colleges and universities within the state of Texas. Have you equipped your graduates with information on how to find a local church and get involved in a Baptist Student Ministry on their future campuses?

Of the 158 campuses in Texas, 115 campuses have a local BSM with a director ready and willing to connect with your students. Texasfreshmen.com is a great resource where students can share their...

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What is your growth plan?


If someone were to ask, "What is your growth plan for your life?" – would you have an answer? Many of us may fail to come up with an immediate response, but it is a plausible question to consider.

In the past few years, the Office of Hispanic Ministries for Texas Baptists has observed a desire within the Hispanic Baptist community for growth in leadership development. Last fall, they hosted a successful first "En Sus Manos" conference, which offered leadership trainings for English-speaking adults, Spanish-speaking adults and youth. They are offering the second annual conference this November.

"In this conference, we focus a lot on...

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How the Affordable Care Act affects your church


As a convention, we seek to help meet the needs of our churches. As a church, you, in turn, seek to help meet the needs of your pastor and other ministry staff. One of the ways many of you care for them is through reimbursement for the premiums of health insurance policies. However, due to recent changes in government regulations through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this may no longer be possible beginning July 1, 2015.

If you allow this practice, called Premium Reimbursement Plans, to continue after June 30, your church could be subject to a penalty under the ACA of $100 a day per participating employee. That could add up...

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Sharing a promise from God in Rhode Island


Growing up in the South meant everyone had heard of God and Christianity. That was just the way life was. Even if someone didn't believe, they were well aware of the faith. I hadn't met someone who had never heard of God. No matter where I had served on mission trips, the people I shared the Gospel with knew something about God and the Bible. That all changed on July 13, 2015.

I am currently serving in Connecticut and Rhode Island with church plants and other organizations through Go Now Missions. This summer has been full of soup kitchens and youth clubs where adults and children shared with me what they knew about God. They all...

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BOUNCE Mineral Wells Set to Kick Off


We had a great time in Moore, Oklahoma last week, and now, BOUNCE staff has arrived in Mineral Wells, Texas for another week of serving the community. About 70 BOUNCERS will be arriving tomorrow afternoon to kick off BOUNCE in Mineral Wells. Our participating Churches this week are Brazos Meadows Baptist Church of Waco, First Baptist Church Copperas Cove, First United Methodist Church of Farmington, NM and Sharpstown Baptist Church. BOUNCERS will be lodged and fed at Mineral Wells Jr. High and worship will be held each night at Immanuel Baptist Church.

This week, a total of six teams will be headed out into the city of Mineral Wells...

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HPU students serve God and experience Spanish culture on Costa Rica Trip


BROWNWOOD – Thirteen Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff members visited the country of Costa Rica following the end of the spring 2015 semester. The international experience was led by Carla Hawkins, then assistant professor of Spanish, and Keith Platte, director of HPU's Baptist Student Ministry.

The expedition was HPU's first hybrid trip combining students from Spanish class with mission volunteers of the BSM. However, all students participated in each of the activities during the 11-day trip.

The students and supervisors made their first stop at Hogar De Vida, an orphanage, where they witnessed to others by...

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Moore Students are Geared up to BOUNCE Back Home!


The BOUNCE staff is thrilled with the results of the week in Moore! All the work on the sites has been completed and we could not be any more proud of the hard work put in by BOUNCERS this week and the way they reflected Christ's love in Moore. A total of 15 worksites were completed. Houses got new roofs and paint jobs and some BOUNCERS cleared brush and built and painted fences. Since today was the last workday, homeowners were presented with a bible as a gift from the BOUNCERS who worked on their home.

Tonight concluded with the WRAP PARTY, which covered some of the highlights of the mission, including the BOUNCE Mission Offering...

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Learning truth in South Africa


A few things I've learned (and relearned) from being here in South Africa, reading a bunch of great books and hearing some awesome speakers.

  1. Comfort is my sworn enemy. It also is a great enemy of so many American churches. Jesus did not call us to be comfortable. Having church in a tin shack in the cold with a bunch of youth who speak another language is not something I was initially at ease with. But God is moving there and it is an amazing experience. We make it so much harder on ourselves to spread the Word when we only do it in comfortable places.
  2. A lot of times we like to see God as "a nice, middle class, American Jesus." We
...

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BOUNCE is More Than Just Work


On the third day of disaster recovery work here in Moore, BOUNCERS are working very efficiently. It will not be a problem finishing all of the sites by tomorrow afternoon. After working hard each day, one of the things the students have to look forward to is the time of worship that is conducted each night. This has been a time for students to reflect on what God's been doing in their lives this week.

Students hear from Worship Speaker, David Scott about the life of Peter and his failures, which were eventually turned into triumphs. He has been emphasizing that it will be hard to become who God calls us to be, but it's better to be...

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An introduction to hospitality


My grandmother breathes hospitality in and out all day long. Preparing and serving food for others gives her purpose and happiness. She brings people together, no matter their background, around a common table. I have and continue to learn a lot from her. She inspires me to wonder, dream and imagine what hospitality is and why I, and people in general, struggle with the concept.

In his book "Reaching Out", Henri J.M. Nouwen says, "Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can...

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When photobombing leads to sharing the gospel story


Photobombing, it's not how I typically try to meet strangers, and definitely not how I try to start friendships. But one of the biggest things I've learned in South Asia is how the Father truly can (and does) use all things to bring people to His name. My teammate and I met and befriended a group of girls two Saturdays ago when we photobombed their selfies. It was a rather awkward first impression to make, but ironically, it has turned into a beautiful friendship. We met with them over pancakes (their first ones!) last Saturday afternoon, and the conversations we had with them blew us away. The following is an account of that...

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Disaster Recovery Work Continues in Moore!


After a good night of rest, BOUNCERS were up and working early this morning in the Oklahoma City and Moore area. They were eager to go back out into the community and continue showing the love of Christ to their homeowners. The BOUNCERS are having fun at the worksites as they are able to meet and form friendships with students from all across the state of Texas.

Many media outlets have been covering BOUNCE so far this week. Two television stations, a newspaper and a radio station have all come to worksites to interview students and feature BOUNCE! They've been able to communicate the heart of service that BOUNCERS have to the...

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Work in Moore Has Begun


BOUNCERS were out and about at the crack of dawn to kick off their week with GO TIME! Go Time is a time where all BOUNCERS meet together in the morning, pray and are sent off the begin work. A total of fifteen ministry teams and over 150 students and leaders were sent out into the Oklahoma City and Moore area to spread the love of Jesus to the community.

Topanga Fagan, a 15 year-old from FBC Cisco, says she wants to be a missionary when she grows up. This week, she hopes to hear from God and that she can narrow her choices as far as what, exactly, God will call her to do.

BOUNCERS made it through the hottest day of the year so far...

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Have I told you lately that I love you?


One beautiful summer evening, my family and I went to visit some friends to have dinner and swim together. This family had just moved into their new home and my friend was telling me that during the waiting period of buying the house, it was imperative for her not to begin "mentally and emotionally living in the house" until they knew it was theirs for certain.

"We need to be falling in love with our spouse, not a house," she said without hesitation. Wow, what a powerful statement! In our society today, where so many marriages are both struggling and dissolving all around us, this is such a beautiful and necessary reminder...

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Preaching as Performance: We Live & Die by the Same Sword


Sometimes, I'm overly sensitive to what people say to me about my sermons. I have no idea how common this is among fellow ministers, but I have a particular bent which the Lord continues to hammer out of me. Technically, it is a form of performance orientation, and I come by it honestly in at least two ways. It's not only an extremely common trait in those with my personality type, but I also began performing on stage at the age of 5. In high school, under the tutelage of our debate and drama coach (my dad), I even had the distinction of being awarded first-team all-state in acting, something you probably didn't even know existed!

I...

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Twenty years old, but always a child of God


I am 20 years old. In the eyes of society, I still have a ways to go in life, but I am slowly and surely gaining responsibility and freedom. I can legally drive a car, vote for the politician of my choosing, travel outside of the country on my own, move away to attend college, accumulate student loans, spend the summer doing mission work, and if I wanted to, I could even get married. (Don't worry Mom and Dad–I've got lots of time before I hit that season of life!) In the eyes of our society, I am learning to be an adult and am progressing at a pretty normal rate. However, during my time at the South Texas Children's Home...

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Moore BOUNCERS Have Arrived


All of our participants have arrived safely in Moore! All of them appear to be excited to spend the week aiding Moore residents in long-term disaster recovery. We welcomed 150 students through the doors of Emmaus Baptist Church. We have a total of six churches that brought BOUNCERS this week. The churches participating are Baptist Temple of San Antonio, First Baptist Church Cisco, First Baptist Church El Paso, First Baptist Church Ponder, McQueeny Baptist Church and South Main Baptist Church of Pasadena.

Groups drove for hours to get here and were excited to finally arrive in Moore. They are eager to encounter God this week and to...

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First Disaster Recovery BOUNCE of the Summer Mission Kicks Off Tomorrow!


We had a great week in Waco last week and the BOUNCE staff is excited to welcome our BOUNCERS who will be serving in Moore, Oklahoma! BOUNCERS will be arriving tomorrow afternoon. We are expecting about 150 students and leaders for our Moore mission. Churches participating in this week of BOUNCE are Baptist Temple of San Antonio, First Baptist Church Cisco, First Baptist Church El Paso, First Baptist Church Ponder, McQueeny Baptist Church and South Main Baptist Church of Pasadena. Students and staff will be lodged and fed at Emmaus Baptist Church in Moore

This week, teams will be working in long-term disaster recovery efforts as...

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BOUNCE Waco is a Wrap!


The BOUNCE staff is very pleased with the week in Waco! We are proud of all the BOUNCERS who came this week to reflect Christ's love here in the city. We are very excited to say that all of the houses were completed today! A total of ten homes got either a new roof, a new paint job and even new steps and a new ramp. Most importantly, however, the homeowners were presented with the gospel through the words and service of many students and leaders this week. Homeowners were also given a bible by BOUNCERS.

Kolten Porterfield, a 15 year-old from Kingwood's First Baptist Church said that coming into this week, he didn't know the impact...

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BOUNCE Worship has Been a Success!


On the third day of work here in Waco, some teams have finished the house on their worksite and the end is in sight for all the other groups. Even though students have been spending most of their days working, some highlights from the week have occurred away from the worksites. Every evening, BOUNCERS are able to worship together. In this time, students are able to hear from this week's worship speaker, Brian Pearce, as he encourages them with a message each night.

Brian has been talking about the life of Peter, which includes the failures and the triumphs. He has been encouraging the students to "step out of the boat (Matthew...

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Stubbornness: Is it your greatest asset or weakness?


My junior year of high school, I broke my arm. Caused by a cheerleading accident, the incident ruined all my plans, activities and basically everything I had going. It took surgery, plates and screws to put back together the two bones in my left forearm, and even then I had months of recovery ahead of me.

Basketball season was coming, which I had never been absent from, and homecoming was only two weeks away, but I was a tough-spirited 16-year-old girl who refused to be weak and play by my doctor's rules. During homecoming, I cheered in a sling. Even though the doctor told me it would be eight weeks, I fully recovered from the...

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What happened to the church in the UK and why is it of value?


What is the church? If modernity was boiled out of how I know church, what would be left? What is true biblical community?

These are the question I am left asking after a recent trip to London where I spent a week immersed in fresh expressions of church.

About 20 years ago in the UK, denominational leaders were asking questions similar to these anticipating a generational tidal wave of rebellion from what church had been for the last several decades. And the communities of Christians I experienced three weeks ago are the result of these questions and the movement, which answered them.

What excites me about the movement of a...

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Waco's BOUNCE is in full swing!


BOUNCERS headed out to their worksites early this morning to continue ministering to the city of Waco. Students are learning how to do their tasks and are doing a great job on their sites. BOUNCERS from different churches are getting along well with one another. The common purpose of rehabilitating homes has really united the students to keep pressing on to continue the work at their sites.

Several media outlets have already covered BOUNCE. A television station, a newspaper, The Waco Regional Baptist Association, The City Council and Waco Community Development have all come out to sites to feature BOUNCE over just two days. They've...

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Answered Prayers in Connecticut


I want to share the story of Pastor Josh. Pastor Josh graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1987. When he was 16, he said he went on a mission trip and that summer is when he had a heart for his high school and knew he needed to be doing something for his peers. That next fall, he went back to school, and he and a friend went to the school superintendent and asked if they could start a prayer group on campus and they were told, yes.

It was the first and only Christian group on campus. They were not given a classroom or other meeting spot, so they met outside by the cherry blossoms. Sometimes the group would have 20-30 people show...

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How to find life from death


This is the third article in a three-part series from our Director of Counseling Services on loss, which addresses how to deal with the emotional impacts of loss through grief, compassion fatigue, and finding life in death.

Amid all the awareness of death and loss in the last few weeks, God has proven faithful to show He makes all things new.

On the very day I had heard news of the devastating loss of a family member, a co-worker pulled me aside to chat about a loved one's spiritual growth and awakening. This was the story of a young adult, searching for meaning and belonging, love and acceptance in life. Several weeks...

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BOUNCE'S First Day of Work Is a Wrap!


BOUNCERS kicked off their first day of work this morning with GO TIME! GO TIME is a rally where students participated in warm-up activities to prepare for the day ahead. Following this, BOUNCERS were prayed for and commissioned by Worship Speaker Brian Pearce to head into Dallas to begin rehabilitating homes! A total of ten ministry teams were sent out to work on various homes in the City of Waco.

The weather was surprisingly mild, which made for a great day on the ministry worksites, BOUNCERS worked hard on various activities such as scraping paint, applying paint, roofing, and building steps and ramps. Lunch this week for the...

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Hispanic summer missionaries help encourage youth to reach goals


One goal of Texas Baptists' Hispanic Education Initiative (HEI) is to encourage the pursuit of college education in Hispanic churches. In a unique effort to achieve that goal, HEI hosts a summer missionary program, which gives Hispanic college students the opportunity to serve as mentors for high school students.

These missionaries, after accepting a call from God to help others similar to them, work with the youth in the church one-on-one and in group settings to give them tips, personal testimonies and past experiences when they were also in high school.

"I have a passion for students who don't have the means for getting an...

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BOUNCERS arrive in Waco!


We are excited to announce that all of our students arrived safely in Waco, ready for an action-packed week of BOUNCE! We welcomed 138 Students and leaders from 4 different churches. BOUNCERS this week are from Christoval Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Kingwood, Southwest Park Baptist Church of Abilene and Woodridge Baptist Church of Kingwood.

Students were excited to arrive at Columbus Avenue. They are ready to serve God and see what He has in store for them this week.

Alex Penn, a 17-year-old from FBC Kingwood said that this week she hopes to make an impact on someone's life. She said that she is most looking forward to...

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The powerful truth about our identity


I've been called by many names in my lifetime. Nicknames like Rach, Rae or Cricket. I've been called champion, All-American, ambassador, athletic, healthy and creative. I've also been called names I don't wish to repeat.

I believe names have meaning, names have a distinct purpose. Before we are born our parents mull over name after name until they settle on our unique name. Those names have a specific meaning. My parents settled on Rachel Katelyn, meaning "lamb," and "bright one."

In fact, the first job God gives Adam is to name all the creatures (Genesis 2:19-20). Throughout the Word, God gives names to His people. He called Abram,...

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Week 2 of BOUNCE is Ready to Kick Off!


The BOUNCE staff is busy preparing to welcome all of our churches serving in Waco this week! We are expecting about 145 students and leaders to be coming in for our Waco mission. Churches participating are Christoval Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Kingwood, Southwest Park Baptist Church of Abilene and Woodridge Baptist Church of Kingwood. Students and staff will be lodged and fed at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.

This week, teams will be rehabilitating homes all over the city of Waco. In order to make this happen, BOUNCE has teamed up with Waco Community Development and Waco Regional Baptist Association Churches. We...

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Fireworks & Freedom


I love the 4th of July. We are able to celebrate the independence of our country and come together to barbecue, watch baseball, eat some ice cream, spend time with friends and sing "America the Beautiful." Everywhere you go, people are proud to be American, and to show that pride, we fly flags and can't stop talking about how truly great our country is.

My greatest 4th of July memory is when my family and I vacationed to Washington D.C. and watched fireworks sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I'll never forget this moment which gave me such happiness and a sense of patriotism.

While our nation is so proud to show their...

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Hispanic Baptists urged to stand firm in faith


AUSTIN - An estimated 11 million Hispanics live in Texas, with projections of Hispanics becoming the largest ethnic group in the state within a decade. Currently, there are more than 1,100 Hispanic Baptist churches seeking to share the Gospel with this ever-increasing ethnic group.

This year, Convencion Bautista Hispana de Texas was hosted by Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, June 28-30, with 1,529 registrants in attendance, including 487 messengers. Many area church members also joined for worship services, with approximately 2,100 in attendance on Sunday evening.

"From the challenging messages in the pulpit, to the informative...

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Everyday Advocacy


My desire to advocate has led me to intern with the Christian Life Commission this summer, broadening my compassion in areas such as payday lending, gambling, and human trafficking.

Throughout the Bible, God prescribes advocacy for social injustice, instructing His followers to defend the needy and oppressed. Growing up in a loving and supportive church, I have become well versed in the importance of advocating on behalf of those in need of God's love. As I have grown into my own thoughts, however, I have learned advocacy extends far beyond decorating cards for kids in Peru and packing shoes for orphans, for, while these...

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​Camp Exalted encourages spiritual growth for 290 youth


From amusing games of human foosball to deep-hearted discussions in family groups to spirit-led worship, students at Camp Exalted gained both new friendships and spiritual growth June 22-26.

Nearly 300 students attended this year's Camp Exalted, hosted by Texas Baptists' African American Ministries and located at Camp Copass in Denton, and 32 of them made a profession of salvation.

Camp Exalted has three goals in mind, according to Camp Director Reverend Carlos Francis from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield: "We want to introduce someone to Christ, to make them a disciple and teach them to make others disciples," he...

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Compassion fatigue and guarding your heart


This is the second article in a three-part series from our Director of Counseling Services on loss which addresses how to deal with the emotional impacts of loss through grief, compassion fatigue, and finding life in death.

Within a short period of about four weeks, I've been impacted in some way by about 10 deaths. Each life lost has a story. Each life has family members, loved ones and friends who are grieving and dealing with the reality death brings.

God gifted me with a great capacity for empathy. Rarely does a situation come across my path that I do not try to imagine myself in another person's shoes. Though God can use...

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Keepin' It Real


I had been a Christian for only a couple of years when I met my husband. I was a new Christian, young and ridiculously on-fire for the Lord. He was young and solid and headed to seminary. Boom! Fireworks! Perfect match. We got married after college. I would love to tell you that it was happily-ever-after and nothing but mountain-top experiences full of ministry and love, but in this post, we are keepin' it real.

Life has been hard. Ministry has been hard. But we have learned, and grown, and found joy and purpose in the midst of the realities of life.

I hope you are blessed and free from struggles. But if you're having a real kind of...

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