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News, how-to’s, videos and photos for you


Texas Baptist Hunger Offering and Disaster Recovery help bring relief during Ebola crisis

by Leah Allen — September 29, 2014

DALLAS - Through funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) and Restore Hope are sending food and supplies to areas that are experiencing starvation due to the Ebola crisis.

In Liberia and Sierra Leone, many farmers have contracted the Ebola virus and died causing farm workers to lose their jobs. In-country prices have escalated since less food is being produced.

CNN reported in a recent article that the number of Ebola cases could rise to between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January if there are no additional interventions or changes in community behavior, an estimate derived from…

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Internet Church and you

by Kalie Lowrie — September 29, 2014

Live streaming, podcasting, providing worship services online…there are many different ways for churches today to offer online options for their congregations. What works for one church may not work for another, but there are a myriad of options available for churches interested in providing an online community, connections and resources to their members. Lake Pointe Church in Dallas is hosting the iMinistry Conference on October 14-16 and I will be attending this conference to learn more about options available for our Texas Baptist churches.

I visited with Nate Merrill, Internet campus pastor for Lake Pointe, last…

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Southern Dallas historic freedman town welcomes cowboy culture

by Leah Allen — September 25, 2014

Just six miles south of downtown Dallas is Joppa Community, an area where former slaves gathered to celebrate their first taste of freedom in the 1860s and now is the present-day home of Buffalo Soldiers Cowboy Church.

When the freedmen settled there nearly 150 years ago, they named the area after the biblical city of Joppa, which means “beautiful.” They bought property and built homes on the banks of the Trinity River. Though the area is now less than thriving, the residents embrace the rich culture and history and nickname the community of 17 streets “Joppy.”

On a recent hot August day, some of those residents put…

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Washed Away

by Lauren — September 24, 2014

We flew in to this beautiful city and were immediately overwhelmed with the aroma of His spirit amongst many other new aromas. The first feeling of 110-degree weather with 80% humidity and the beautiful faces making their homes on the sidewalks tells me that I am not in Texas anymore and gives me a great love for South Asia. I cannot doubt His purpose for these people and I hold strong to His mercy and grace. I am already in love.

Orientation was full of new ways of travel, teaching, learning, and loving the world He made. I was taught how to share His story in many different ways and truly love these people. Something…

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Painting Nails with the nations

by Guest Contributor — September 22, 2014

As the doorbell rang, I answered it not knowing what to expect. Although I had participated and planned ministry events as a student, this was one of my first events to host as a brand new Campus Missionary Intern. “Would it be awkward?” I wondered. “Would we find things to talk about?” I, along with my roommates Putti and Caitlyn (who also work at the UTA BSM), was hosting a girl’s night at our house. The idea was simple: we would paint our nails, eat snacks, and just have fun!

Girls on the leadership team invited girls from their dorms, international students, and girls they met at bible study. We made…

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3 ways to guard from a major mess up in a missional lifestyle

by Ryan Jespersen — September 22, 2014

Pet training, or “obedience school for dogs,” is held in a very distracting place for your dog to walk. I am referring to the dog training class at PetSmart. In our class, the trainer is a young man who handled bomb dogs in the military. He attempts to help us train our new dog Marley. While, this is an excellent endeavor and he does a good job in teaching us to train Marley, every 7 minutes he also attempts to sell me a new PetSmart product. I guess we should have probably expected this. The problem is when the trainer tells us to walk Marley dog around the store, we are obviously walking around a pet store, which has two…

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Hand-painted prayer reminders

by Kalie Lowrie — September 19, 2014

ADAMSVILLE – Betty Rials was looking for a way to remind her church members at Adamsville Baptist Church to pray for state missions during the WMU of Texas Mary Hill Davis emphasis week. She looked out in her front yard and found the answer – bricks! Betty became a brick collector about 25 years ago, and knew the value of the bricks made in Ferris, Texas, between 1902 and 1903.

She gathered together 12 bricks and began painting the names of River Ministry Coordinators Mario Garcia, Dr. Gloria de la Pena, and Vanessa Quintanilla on them. After an especially difficult summer along the border, Betty knew the River Ministry…

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Seth’s Story

by WTAMU BSM — September 18, 2014

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Cor 3:7

This picture was taken just a few days ago a little bit north of Taichung in the home of Seth*. Seth (standing) came to West Texas A&M several years ago to study and while there joined the Baptist Student Ministry.

There, he became a Christian. We met through some of our common friends while I was working at Trinity Baptist in Amarillo. Seth began praying that his parents would come to know Jesus. Upon returning to Taiwan, Buddy Young, the BSM director at WT, came to visit Seth and his family in conjunction…

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Texas Baptists responds to the ebola crisis in West Africa

by Marla Bearden — September 17, 2014

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery has been in communication with the Baptist World Aid Alliance, Liberia Baptist Missionary and Education Convention and the Virginia Baptist Convention regarding the Ebola crisis situation in West Africa. All of these organizations are working with ground personnel in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, who have reported that the situation is dire.

Due to the persistent fear of the spread of the disease, there has been a shutdown of schools, government offices, worship services, or gatherings of large groups. There is also an increased crisis of food scarcity…

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Texas Baptists promote educational initiatives for Sept. 18 giving day

by Leah Allen — September 17, 2014

DALLAS -Texas Baptists are taking part in North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 18 by highlighting two initiatives in the North Texas community. Funds given toward the Baptist General Convention of Texas will help build an outdoor classroom at Truett Elementary School in Dallas and a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton.

As stated on northtexasgivingday.org, “North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event that provides nonprofits opportunity to gain expose to—and start relationships with—new donors, and for people in North Texas to come together to raise as much…

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Vision 6000

by Rachel Moreno — September 17, 2014

Church: First Baptist Church of El Paso

Pastor: Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr.

Initiative: “Vision 6000”

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

“Vision 6000” seeks to stir the imagination and dreams of our people to envision touching the lives of 1% of the population of El Paso with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This vision statement challenges us to maximize our effectiveness at our home base, but also to stimulate the desire to plant new churches and ministries across the region. If we don’t think and dream big we will probably settle for business as usual or simply adding to our church. FBC…

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Pastor Oscar Epps

by Rachel Moreno — September 17, 2014

Name: Oscar D. Epps, Sr.

Spouse: Belenthia

Children: Destany, Oscar Jr., Aderius

Church: Community Missionary Baptist Church, Desoto, TX

Number of Years: 21

Attendance: 3,000

Where did you grow up?

Dallas, Texas

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was 10 years old and very eager to be baptized.

Where did you do your undergrad?

Dallas Baptist University

If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?

Honorary Doctorate and am currently enrolled in Dallas Baptist in pursuit of my…

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Japan Ministries Continue

by Guest Author — September 15, 2014

The Japan Mission Trip for August 2014 was a richly rewarding experience for the seven Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery volunteers who participated, led by retired IMB Missionary to Japan, Sherwood Moffett. Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami of northern Japan, teams of Christian volunteers have expended time, money and energy to be the face of hope and the arms of grace to the survivors.

The team spent the first few days in the city of Sendai, the largest city in the disaster area, worshipping with Taitomi Baptist church and participating in ongoing youth fellowships and adult Bible studies. The aim of these activities…

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Tears, Courage and New Beginnings

by Guest Author — September 15, 2014

Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by their kindness, and mainly, by the way they handled a difficult time in…

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THE BIG DOG and 5 ways to effectively knock on doors

by Ryan Jespersen — September 15, 2014

Clap, Clap, Clap, “This will make the dog leave us alone.”  This was trick the pastor of a church meeting in our building was telling me would help keep a very large, very scary, very loud dog from jumping all over us the minute we walked through the gate. At the moment we pensively walked through the gate I certainly hoped this trick, which he learned on the mission field would actually work. We lived through this one without a scratch, and a couple of thousands other doors as a major attempt to reachour neighbors with the gospel of Christ.

Some have said that knocking on doors is not the way you reach people for…

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Conference inspires ministry leaders to “catch the boomer wave”

by Leah Allen — September 12, 2014

More than 250 individuals from churches across the country “caught the boomer wave” at the second annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Hosted by Texas Baptists Bible Study/ Discipleship Team, the conference shed light on the need for better ministry amongst the baby boomer generation.

Conference leaders pointed out baby boomers, born in the years 1946 to 1964, are now turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will continue to for the next 18 years.

Keynote speaker Amy Hanson spoke on various subjects such as the changing landscape of adult ministry, how to begin a…

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Burrito Blog

by Guest Contributor — September 10, 2014

While waiting in line at a Welcome Week event, Jenny and Cole met two international students, Lucy and Yorick, who just recently arrived in Texas from China. They made a discovery - the pair had never before eaten a burrito.

This is Texas. The land of Tex-Mex. Without thinking very long or hard about it, I can name six different burrito and taco restaurants within a five minute drive of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). And for Cole, who eats burritos as often as possible, typically multiple times a week, even being in Texas for just two weeks without having a burrito seemed wrong.

So four of us took Lucy and…

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Racism undermines justice and unity

by Ferrell Foster and Kathryn Freeman — September 9, 2014

“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

A young man has been killed in Missouri. Michael Brown, an unarmed African American man, died from six gunshots fired by a white police officer. Race should not be an issue, but far too many African American men have died under similar circumstances. Black men simply face a different social calculus when it comes to interactions with the justice system in America.

The frequency of such incidents has led some African Americans to have an inherent mistrust of the justice system because it has not consistently protected the…

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Lay down your burdens

by Katie Swafford — September 8, 2014

This story is 3 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse – An uncomfortable phrase for most of us and a horrific experience and reality for far too many. In Christian circles, these words are not talked about very much. Whether it is the fear of the unknown, shame, disgust, naiveté or something else, there seems to be a common theme of silence.

Yet when we see others struggle, we have a tendency to talk about that. Many who have been sexually abused find themselves dealing with issues involving drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, depression…

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Seeds of destruction: the city of West

by Guest Author — September 8, 2014

Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by their kindness, and mainly, by the way they handled a difficult time in…

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​Texas Baptists raise $182,000 for hunger through Mother’s Day Offering

by Kalie Lowrie — September 5, 2014

DALLAS – Texas Baptists gave more than $182,000 to help end hunger and poverty through the Second Annual Mother’s Day Hunger Offering. These gifts are used for hunger relief and anti-poverty programs both in Texas and abroad.

“As Texas Baptists we heed God’s call to minister to those in need, in Texas and around the world,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director.

The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering strives to show the power of God’s love to those in need. Ministries supported through the offering range from feeding programs in local churches to job training for single mothers and improved water and sanitation…

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A fascinating day in the Quilombola village

by Guest Author — September 4, 2014

On August 9, Linda Freeman (a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth) and Bertha Vaughn (a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Houston) joined seven other Texas Baptist church leaders through the African American Ministry. Each followed the call to serve eight days in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Here the team did door-to-door evangelism and held Bible studies for Quilombola villagers under a shade tree. Read Freeman’s and Vaughn’s testimony as they recall unforgettable experiences from the village visits.

Linda Freeman

BRAZIL - It was a fascinating day. We visited two of the Quilombola villages. In the last…

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Becky Holt

by Rachel Moreno — September 3, 2014

Name: Becky Holt

Husband: I will be marrying Steven Barnes this weekend!

Children: None yet

Ministry: Collegiate

Position: Ministry Assistant

Number of years: 14

Where did you grow up? 

Dallas until I was 8 and then Garland

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

I was 7 years old when I became a Christian. I was attending a GA Camp with my church at Mt Lebanon Baptist Camp. They had a puppet show and talked about sin and our need for a Savior. Although I had grown up in church, it finally clicked that I needed to be forgiven for my sins. When I got home I told my parents and…

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North American Baptist Fellowship Disaster Response Network meets in Louisiana

by Marla Bearden — September 3, 2014

On August 26-27, the NABF Disaster Response Network met in Lake Charles, LA, the site of major responses to various hurricanes such as Katrina, Rita and others. Marla Bearden, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery specialist represented the Texas Baptists. The group was joined by local Baptists from Louisiana for this semi-annual gathering. Additionally, the mayor of Lake Charles and a representative of the Louisiana VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) were present for part of the gathering.

Agenda items included a discussion of responses from North America to the Ebola crisis in Africa, and how greater…

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Collegiate Ministry

by Rachel Moreno — September 3, 2014

Department: Center for Collegiate Ministry, Go Now Missions and Texas BSM

Staffers: Bruce McGowan - State BSM Director; Joyce Ashcraft – Ministry and Regional Coordinator; Brenda Sanders – Missions Consultant; Robert Hooker – Evangelism Consultant; Ginger Bowman – Church Life Consultant; Katie Gravens – Leadership Consultant; Rick Spencer/Nick Howard/John Pearce - Regional Coordinators and Ministry Assistants: Peggy Moulden, Cindy Zoller and Becky Barnes

Mission: To engage the 1.5 million college students in Texas to follow Christ and transform the world. We support BSM’s on over 115 campuses in Texas prioritizing…

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No they’re not here

by Ryan Jespersen — September 2, 2014

No they’re not here. No they’re not here. No they’re not here.” This is the response that the folks at Grace Temple Baptist Church of Dallas received as they walked down 10th St. on a hot summer day. They were looking for the apartment managers of the many apartment buildings located on their street. Finally, when they arrived at the very last building, someone was willing to talk with them. 

Grace Temple has a dynamic AWANA Program, which reaches dozens of children each week. They desired to expand this program into the apartments on the same street as their church. They begin to pray and ask God to allow that to…

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Fajita Feed

by Guest Author — September 2, 2014

No, we aren’t feeding fajitas. We are feeding students. About 1,800 of them, in the middle of campus, at lunch time, on the first day of the semester. The Father has blessed the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to be a part of its official “Welcome Week” activities, and Fajita Feed is one of the biggest!

At 9 a.m., the BSM at UTD staff and student leaders began setting up tables and tents and carrying cartloads of water bottles and cookies. We were also blessed with the Texas Baptist Men, who came with the food, and volunteers from local churches who helped serve up lunch so our…

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TBMF celebrates 30 years of making a difference

by Leah Allen — August 29, 2014

DALLAS—The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) celebrated 30 years of giving toward missions and ministries with a luncheon held at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

In 1984, TBMF began as a two-year experiment to raise additional funds for new churches. Thirty years later, the Foundation has worked with over 33,000 different donors to support 250 mission projects all over Texas and around the world.

Outlining the beginnings of TBMF, Dr. Bill Pinson, former executive director for Texas Baptists, described the time when the need to raise more funds first became apparent and the vision began to focus on…

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CCDA vision trip to McAllen

by Gerald Davis — August 28, 2014

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things. Romans 10:15

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery hosted a leadership group of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) on a vision trip to the border which allowed the group to see first-hand the crisis plaguing the unaccompanied minors and family units along the U.S. Border in McAllen, Texas. The group witnessed how God is at work in the midst of the crisis along the border.

Although the situation appears to be bleak and many children, youth and adults suffer through the journey, the hand of God is obviously at work as He carries hundreds of…

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Construction nears completion for 16 Filipino pastors’ homes

by Kalie Lowrie — August 28, 2014

ILOILO CITY, the Philippines – In January, Texas Baptist churches were asked to respond to a great need in the Philippines following damage cause by Typhoon Haiyan. A request was sent out from Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery for churches to help raise $80,000 for the rebuilding of 16 pastors’ homes. Pledges filed in quickly, with the remaining eight being made during the February 25 executive board meeting.

This summer, Civil Engineer Fred Golveo was sent by the First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City to oversee the construction projects for the homes. Golveo and his wife spent three months overseeing the…

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A Church on Mission

by Ryan Jespersen — August 27, 2014

A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new place without the foundation of family and a familiar community—all of us know how hard that would be for a young person. Yet one little girl’s mother, Tasha, was praying and asking God to bring a church into her daughter’s life, a church where she could find Christ and be a disciple in that faith.

Enter the Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland, a Texas Baptist church whose youth group and church body had recently been renewed in its commitment to reach the surrounding neighborhood for Christ. The youth group at Eastern Hills decided that one way they could reach their…

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Where the healing begins

by Kalie Lowrie — August 26, 2014

This story is 2 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse is a sensitive subject and many times hearing about the pain and struggles loved ones have experienced through this type of abuse can be extremely difficult. Many people can be prone to want to gloss over the hard details and look for the silver lining or try and tie a little bow on the story and move on. However, for those suffering from sexual abuse, this is far from what they actually need.

There is power in the spoken word. For sexual abuse survivors like Tricia Martin*, sharing with…

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Attorney named CLC’s director of public policy

by Leah Allen — August 25, 2014

AUSTIN – Kathryn Freeman has been named director of public policy for Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission (CLC).

The CLC helps Texas Baptists, churches, communities and government leaders give voice to critical issues in society from a Christian and biblical perspective. Freeman will lead the CLC’s efforts related to government and legislation.

“I’m very encouraged that we will have Kathryn alongside Dr. Gus Reyes and Ferrell Foster as a strong presence in Austin at the legislative session this next spring,” said David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists.

Freeman earned her bachelor’s…

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For the least of these

by Guest Contributor — August 21, 2014

Johnnie Musquiz serves as Pastor of Iglesia Bautista Houston. Below is a first-hand account of his experience taking a volunteer group from his church to serve Central American family units in McAllen.

Three weeks ago I toured the Catholic Charities in McAllen. I came back and showed pictures to my church about the need and also the opportunity. My son (Timothy) came and shared with me that he wanted to organize a group and go help with the effort at the Catholic Charities. The dates (Aug 15-16) were scheduled and a group of nine volunteers were enlisted. We took brand new clothes that were donated, 200 plastic water…

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Alaska: Making an impact

by Guest Author — August 18, 2014

Allison Dufour, a student at Stephen F. Austin State University, served in Alaska with Go Now Missions.

It has been just over a week since my return home from Alaska back. This last week has been a whirlwind emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I have slowly begun to process the changes in my life since spending a summer in Alaska. I have often thought about how I could impact the people of Anchorage, but what I did not expect is how much of an impact they would make on me.

Since leaving Alaska, I have noticed how much the Lord changed me as a person. One of the biggest ways this happened was God improved my…

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Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem

by Leah Allen — August 18, 2014

VICTORIA - Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.

“We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself,” said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. “The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help.”

Since April 2014, volunteers from Greater Mount Calvary, as well as neighboring…

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Boldly sharing Christ in South Asia

by Guest Author — August 15, 2014

B.B., a student from Texas A&M University, served with Go Now Missions in South Asia this summer.

Well jet lag is a beast. It’s currently 5 a.m. and I can’t sleep because I’ve crossed about 11 time zones to get home, but in this quiet darkness when I find myself alone in my living room, what better thing is there to do than think about the wonderful things that my God has done this summer. So this update will be sort of different than my others, for instance it’s probably going to be a lot longer because I need to tell you about the events of the past three weeks and then sum up what the Lord has been teaching me this…

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The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary

by Guest Author — August 14, 2014

Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.

The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed’s ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan Jespersen at ryan.jespersen@texasbaptists.org or (214) 828-5278.

Oh July…it started…

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New York: Busy summer ends

by Guest Author — August 13, 2014

Sadly, our summer interns are leaving New York City. It was such a privilege to serve with these 15 young adults for two months. I learned so much from them. Helping coordinate this summer internship was a privilege and a blessing. It feels different now that our Metropolitan New York Baptist Association mission house is empty.

The past two months, our associational mission house was full - not only with our summer interns, but also with mission teams from all over the United States. They were here to serve at the different churches in New York City.

Diana Mao, cofounder and president of Nomi Network, spoke to our interns…

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Quebec: Afraid to believe

by Guest Author — August 12, 2014

Trying to communicate camp rules and activities to the French campers was challenging enough. Keeping the campers focused and interested during devotional time is a whole different ball game - especially when I’m trying to discuss a chapel message that was given in a language that I don’t understand.

After starting the week off with uninterested campers begging to go play instead of talk about God, I couldn’t help but be frustrated and growing impatient at my inability to reach my group of girls. I couldn’t understand why my girls were so cold to Christ and why they didn’t seem moved at all by the stories of his love and…

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Embracing Central American families in Laredo

by Leah Allen — August 12, 2014

LAREDO - As River Ministry Coordinator Mario Garcia drives Central American families back and forth from the Greyhound bus station nearly every day, he cannot help but think of the paralyzed man Jesus healed in Mark 2.

“It’s not that he needed to walk. It’s that he needed salvation,” he said. “The people I’m working with need Christ.”

Garcia, director of missions for Laredo Baptist Association and River Ministry coordinator, is one of many Texas Baptists who have opted to embrace the families that have been seeking refuge from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba.

Maria*, from Honduras, told Garcia she fled her home after…

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Because of where you have been

by Kalie Lowrie — August 11, 2014

This story is 1 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Tricia Martin* was a fun-loving preacher’s kid in the 1970s who played outside constantly and never met a stranger. Though she was small for her age, she never felt inferior or out of place, that was just the way God made her. She grew up in a loving, Christ-centered home and knew she was accepted and valued.

When she was eight years old, Tricia was sexually abused by one of the men in her church, a man whom she knew and trusted. She did not understand the things she was asked to do, but it did not…

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Orlando: When the world comes to us

by Guest Author — August 11, 2014

Central Florida is fortunate to be blessed with more than 50 million souls to minister to throughout the year.

Orlando has broken its record of people passing through the city with 59 million people, representing different cultures, ethnicities, languages and races. It is beautiful to imagine the hearts that could be touched, seeds that could be planted and souls that could be saved.

What is even better is the thought that one changed soul can change a nation or area. As we spread the gospel to one person, that one person can spread it in their home, and then “Bam!” From right here in America, we have reached China, North…

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Book Review: Hearing God’s Call

by Meredith Stone — August 11, 2014

Ben Campbell Johnson’s book, Hearing God’s Call (Eerdmans, 2002), is a must-read resource for anyone sensing a call from God.

In Johnson’s words, has God been messing with your life? “God has always called human beings to share in the divine mission in the world - and he still does” (ix). God’s “messing” in our lives, or God’s call, can lead us toward many different ways of participating in God’s work in the world. Our call to participate in God’s purposes can be a calling to a particular job that serves the greater good (lawyer, teacher, doctor, construction worker, etc.), it can be a calling on us to adopt certain…

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A Christian view on the border crisis

by Ryan Jesperson — August 8, 2014

If one were to put 10 Baptists in a room, one would come up with 15 different opinions on something. The political issue of immigration is no different. In this blog, Dr. Ken Coffee points us beyond the politics of the current border crisis situation to an opportunity for ministry. Take a moment to read the perspective of a man who has lived his life in Christian missions.

Read Dr. Coffee’s blog…

Ken Coffee is the Former Associate Director of the State Mission Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas

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Vancouver: A summer of sowing seeds ends

by Guest Author — August 8, 2014

Here in Vancouver, we’ve been hanging out with some university students every Thursday this summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. They’ve let us join in supporting their team, even though not all of us play. They’ve let us come along to dinner with them after games. And now I can finally say that they let us share the gospel.

On a recent Thursday, I talked with three of the girls over dinner about what I believe and how Christianity differs from other religions. I shared with them the gospel and planted seeds of news they hadn’t heard before. We’re making the most of these relationships in our final days here by spending time…

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England: God had other plans

by Guest Author — August 6, 2014

I was super-sad to leave Manchester. I had grown to love the missionaries, my teammate, the church I attended and the non-Christians I had befriended. I was flying back to Texas alone.

I was tired from staying up late saying goodbyes to everyone, and I had an early-morning flight. By the time I got on my flight from London to Texas, I was ready to sleep, watch movies and just shut out the rest of the world for the next 10 hours. That was not God’s plan for my flight.

Even before the plane took off, I was comfy in my seat with my neck pillow. Then the cutest 2-year-old sat right next to me. I thought, “Well, there goes my…

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BSM nears $2 million goal for new facility

by Leah Allen — August 5, 2014

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma has issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete the funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building on the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT). The building, which will cost $2,000,000 to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.

The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation has been coordinating the fundraising effort. “Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin,” said Larry Thomas, vice president of the Foundation. “If we can get the additional…

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Massachusetts: Lessons from a cupcake

by Guest Author — August 5, 2014

It should come as no surprise to me that God is continuing to teach me through the tiny tots I so enjoy being with. But one lesson was far more subtle than usual, and it has taken me a few days reflection on an adorable moment to recognize how childlike we should be when approaching God’s throne.

It was a Thursday. The church was having a party in the park. As usual, I was running around with a few of the kids. One in particular had attached himself to me for the evening. I was carrying him on my hip, running around, doing all kinds of ridiculous things you do when playing with toddlers.

Wanting and not wanting a cupcake

And…

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I am called – what do I do now?

by Joyce Ashcraft — August 4, 2014

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3

You know that God has called you to serve Him – to serve His church by being a pastor, youth or children’s minister, missionary or another role in vocational ministry in some kind of ministry setting. Yet, that seems to be in the distant future. What can you do now? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask yourself what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. Things like a…

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Pastors rally in prayer at the border

by Leah Allen — August 1, 2014

MCALLEN-Over 50 Hispanic pastors, leaders and family members gathered in McAllen July 26, to pray over the current circumstances regarding the Central American families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The prayer event served as the kickoff of “For His Children,” an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Convoy of Hope, Buckner International and Somebody Cares International to help meet physical and spiritual needs of the minors and families.“God’s word affirms His people working, worshiping and praying in unity,” said Gus Reyes, director of the Christian Life Commission…

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Georgia: Well done, my good and faithful servant

by Guest Author — July 31, 2014

These are the words we all long to hear. “You did well my Daughter, come rest with me for eternity to come.” There will be a time that comes when we stand in front of our Maker, as He evaluates the life we’ve lived, and the work we’ve done for His kingdom. If there’s one thing that should stir our affections and spur us on to good works, this should be it. It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m back in College Station, Texas, sitting at my favorite coffee shop, on my favorite couch at Sweet Eugene’s, dwelling on my 6 1/2 weeks at The Living Vine in Savannah, GA. If there’s one thing that rang true throughout my time there it was…

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Following Christ involves welcoming children

by Ferrell Foster — July 30, 2014

Parents will do just about anything to help their children. In Central America, parents are trying to help their children in ways that may seem odd and downright unwise to those of us in the United States, but their circumstances are very different. Their children’s lives are at stake.

Drugs, violence, and lawlessness threaten to engulf their children, so they do what must be heartbreakingly difficult — they send them away on a long, perilous journey to a place that seems to offer hope for their children. Many of those children make it, and they cross the border into their place of deliverance — the United…

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Oregon: What makes us different

by Guest Author — July 29, 2014

For the last nine weeks, I’ve been living in the land of weird. I’ve seen a German Shepard in a stroller, a man wearing the same kilt every day, and piercings I didn’t even think were possible. I’ll be honest it took me a few days to adjust to this city that prides itself on being weird. But the more time I spent here, the more I understood that its uniqueness is why Portlanders love it so much.

We have been so blessed to be able to live in an apartment right in the heart of downtown that is big enough to host a lot of people. Nearly every night we have friends over to hang out, eat, or watch a movie. Many of…

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How do I know I am called?

by Joyce Ashcraft — July 28, 2014

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the LORD said to Samuel: “See I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.”  - 1 Samuel 3:10-11

Samuel grew up in the synagogue. He was under the charge of a priest named Eli who taught him the ways of God. When he first heard God’s voice, he did not recognize the source of the summons. He thought it was Eli who called out to him. Eli, being wise, recognized the voice of God and pointed Samuel in that direction.

It is not surprising that Samuel heard God’s call. His whole life had been a journey of…

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Texas Baptists offer aid for border crisis in Rio Grande Valley

by Leah Allen — July 28, 2014

MCALLEN-The border issue: some call it a crisis, some call it a disaster, but to many Texas Baptists, it is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

All eyes turned to the doorway as Daniela Cruz* and her two daughters, Lorena* and Carmen*, stepped inside Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Volunteers with various religious backgrounds clapped and cheered as the girls entered.

It is a welcoming gesture, said Nadia Chapa, volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities who is hosting the relief center in McAllen. It is how they greet each family who enters the facility, assuring them it is a…

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Georgia: Resting in his hands

by Guest Author — July 27, 2014

It is hard to really describe what we do here at The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home. It is one of those things that you can’t really understand it until you are actually doing it, living it. But I think this story really sums up exactly what is going on here.

Saturday, July 19th, was visitation day. The girls spent the morning doing their chores and then later in the afternoon, they were allowed to go out on visitation with family, if that was at all possible. We had one girl going on visitation, one girl who spent each day at the hospital with her baby in NICU, leaving three girls that we were going to get to take to…

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Connecticut: The Story of Kenny

by Guest Author — July 25, 2014

A few weeks ago I got to have a conversation with a good friend of ours named Kenny at the soup kitchen. Kenny is probably mid-60s, military veteran who grew up in Norwich, Connecticut. When we first met him he shared with us that there were two things that he did not discuss with people: religion and politics. A few days later, we got to hang and chat with Kenny a little bit more and we were just making simple casual conversation. He started to ask what we had been up to the day before, and let’s just say that opened up a huge door.

Zach began to tell him that we were at our weekly Bible study and that we were studying the…

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Book Review: Experiencing God

by Gabriel Cortes — July 24, 2014

The “Experiencing God” book is actually a 13-week study.  It’s all about how to know and do God’s will. It’s Bible based, so there’s a lot of opportunity for God to speak to someone to call them or affirm their calling. It’s full of Biblical and historical examples of how men and women responded to the Lord’s call upon their life and how He did amazing things through them. Besides the Bible, “Experiencing God” has been the way through which God has spoken to me the most.

Blackaby, Henry and Richard. Experiencing God: Day by Day Devotional

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Alaska: Satisfying physical and spiritual hunger

by Guest Author — July 24, 2014

It is hard to believe I have now been serving with Alaska Missions in the Last Frontier for almost two months. There have been many up and downs, but through it all The Lord had moved in miraculous ways. After spending a week serving in Kodiak, Alaska, our team took a ferry back to the mainland, eventually settling in Anchorage. This is where we have been serving for the last 6 weeks and will be until August.

We spend our mornings doing service projects in the community, which include light construction and a lot of cleaning. I would not typically choose painting a strangers office as my first thing to do in the…

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Sixty quilts handmade and delivered with love

by Leah Allen — July 22, 2014

VILLA FRANCA, Spain - Even when verbal communication seems impossible, there’s one language that is spoken by all: love. It can be spoken through hugs, laughter and 60 quilts hand-made by Texas Baptist women.

The quilts were a part of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas initiative “Covered with Love” in which they presented the request for 50 quilts for the Evangelical Baptist Retirement Home in Villa Franca, Spain.

Together women within WMU, Texas Baptist staff, and local Baptist churches, donated their time and their stitching skills to the cause. Within five months, they finished more quilts than needed and prayed over…

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I get nervous!

by Jane Wilson — July 21, 2014

Everyone gets a little nervous when they sense God calling them to do something new. It’s perfectly normal to feel inadequate. Plenty of men and women in the Bible felt the same way.

Philippians 2:13 is a great passage that provides all we need to know to step forward with courage. Here it is in The Amplified Bible translation:

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Wow! What do I take away from this Scripture?

  1. It’s not done in my strength,
  2. He…

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Alliance Education Initiative

by Rand Jenkins — July 18, 2014

Church: Alliance Church, Lubbock

Pastor: Jesse Rincones

Initiative: Alliance Education Initiative

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

We have been working to bring awareness to and address the educational challenges facing the Hispanic community, both inside and outside the church. This “one thing” is actually several different efforts that come under an umbrella that I call the Alliance Education Initiative.

Here are a few of facets that are part of this effort:

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Jay Abernathy

by Rand Jenkins — July 18, 2014

Name: Jay Abernathy 

Wife: Kelle (McHan) Abernathy of Abilene, TX 

Children: Hannah (married to Trevor Brown, youth pastor at FBC Round Rock), Hayley (a Master’s of Social Work student at Baylor), Caleb (a Freshman at Baylor)

Church: First Baptist Church of Palestine, TX 

Number of years: 14 

Attendance: 250

Where did you grow up?

I started in Richardson, TX (FBC Richardson), but some may debate if it’s a completed process yet.

How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?

When I was 7 years old, my grandfather and I went on a walk. While…

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African American Fellowship hosts conference, elects officers

by Leah Allen — July 15, 2014

FORT WORTH — Powerful worship, thought-provoking sermons, and enlightening workshops made this year’s African American Fellowship Conference on July 8-10 one to be remembered.

Over 200 guests representing 35 churches received a challenge at each of the three worship services held at Great Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth to be armed and ready for spiritual warfare. Even children were taught to be ready for battle through daily games and lessons at “Camp Battlefield.”

At the Culp Banquet, Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hills Baptist Church in Dallas, presented a sermon on Ephesians 6…

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Call to prayer: responding to the crisis

by Guest Author — July 15, 2014

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children.

Due to the gigantic nature of this entire issue, most of us become paralyzed or even intimidated by it. By no means do I imagine myself as an authority on this very complex issue, but as one American and Christian leader, I must respond.

As the medical community would sort through the issues as they treat multiple people in a triage unit, we may need to do…

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Colorado: Make the most of every opportunity

by Guest Author — July 15, 2014

I am serving with church planters in Loveland, Colo., this summer. Recently, we had opportunities to put into practice Colossians 4:5, which says, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Usually on Sundays, we get to church two hours early to unload the trailer and set up for worship services in a local elementary school. However, one particular Sunday when we arrived, the parking lot was filled with bicyclists, and we couldn’t park in our usual area. We found out a major round-trip bike ride from Denver to Fort Collins was under way to benefit people with multiple sclerosis. In the…

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Quebec: No language barrier for God

by Guest Author — July 14, 2014

God has shown me recently just how far his love stretches to all people — every language, every age and every race.

Unlike my previous weeks at Frontier Lodge, most recently I worked in the French camp instead of the English camp. I was informed of this exactly one day prior when the kids arrived, giving me plenty of time to fill my head with insecurities and reasons why this would go horribly wrong. I was so quick to forget God’s promise, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

The week began with some obvious challenges such as many exchanges of blank, confused stares between the campers and me as we…

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Excuses

by Leighton Flowers — July 14, 2014

I fear many young people who have been gifted and called into church ministry are simply excusing their calling by saying things like:

  1. “I feel unworthy.” Some young people have the impression that ministers are super spiritual giants who have few if any failures in life. This simply is not the case. What did Abraham, David and Paul all have in common? They were murders. Trust me when I say that the feeling of being unworthy to serve in church ministry is the very feeling that makes you the most qualified. I’d be more concerned if you felt you were worthy of such a calling. Don’t let your past failures, or even your…

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For the Children

by Marla Bearden — July 10, 2014

Our Texas borders are being flooded with unaccompanied children coming from Central America, with an estimated 47,000 coming across since October 2013. The majority of the children are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Find out how you can help…

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My loud mouth and God’s appointments

by Guest Author — July 10, 2014

Surely if you know me well, you have seen the openness in many of my responses that are without thought. From time to time my “loud mouth” has led me to conflict, but recently it opened a door for a friendship with a girl named Enus to continue to grow!

During a conversation, Enus mentioned how she was going to go shopping and immediately the words that came out of my mouth were, “Can we come with you?”

She smiled so big and replied, “Yes!”

So we spent our day shopping with our friend. We were able to shine the light of Christ to Enus outside of teaching English and talking about Isa. We have just loved her for being one of…

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African American Fellowship takes charge to be armed and ready

by Leah Allen — July 9, 2014

FORT WORTH — Applause and “amens” resounded as African American Baptists were charged to be armed and ready during the 22nd annual James W. Culp, Sr. Banquet on July 8.

The African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference welcomed guest speaker Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hill Baptist Church in Dallas, as he challenged the audience to be ready for spiritual warfare.

“When you have an invisible enemy, you don’t have time to get ready, you have to already be ready,” he said. “When we put on the whole armor, we are ready for wherever he is.”

Though struggles come and the…

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Park Ministry in Alaska

by Guest Author — July 9, 2014

The first day in the park we introduced the kids to the Bible. We told them that the Bible is God’s word and that everything in it is true. Every child that stayed for story time was given a Bible that day. As soon as story time was over a group of them ran to the table and started reading Genesis 1. I was blown away!

One of the girls who was a part of that group has stood out since that very first day. We asked for a volunteer to pray and she basically prayed the sinner’s prayer. She is always excited for story time and is so interested in what we are teaching. We have had a lot of conversations about things that she has…

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YEC students learn to get the Word out

by Leah Allen — July 8, 2014

BURLESON — Over 1200 students lifted their hands and hearts in worship at this years’ Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) at Venue 510 in Burleson, Texas on June 27-28.

The theme, “Speak His Name,” was evident as students heard Christian artist Propaganda rap, worship leaders Dara Maclean and For King and Country sing, and speaker Dave Edwards share a message, all about God’s name.

“It’s a call to evangelism,” said Leighton Flowers, Texas Baptists’ youth evangelism director, about the theme. “When we experience God at our events like Super Summer or YEC, whatever happens there doesn’t stay there — You take it…

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Eyes opened, heart broken for refugees

by Guest Author — July 8, 2014

I have been given the opportunity to serve this summer in Nashville, Tennessee for two months. I am interning at World Relief Nashville by helping resettle refugees. Before coming to Nashville, the word refugee was nothing more than a word because I never really knew what it means to be a refugee. I just used the word “refugee” to describe what I was going to be doing this summer.

After orientation, I learned that a refugee is someone that “flees their country and is unable to return due to a well-founded fear based on persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or…

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Being shaped to serve

by Joyce Ashcraft — July 7, 2014

What shape are you? Have you discovered your spiritual gifts, those special abilities that just come naturally to you? These gifts were given to you by the Holy Spirit to be used in building God’s kingdom. Do you think God might be calling you to preach? Ask your pastor or youth minister for an opportunity to speak. It may be at a nursing home or at a junior high youth gathering. However, as you practice the actions associated with preaching, you may find that they are like second nature to you. Your experiences will help you discover your spiritual gifts.

You are also blessed with a personality that will help you express…

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Dallas shelter & ‘For the Children fund’ open doors for Texas Baptists to care for border children

by Kalie Lowrie — July 7, 2014

DALLAS — Seeking to fulfill the commands of Jesus in Matthew 25 to provide for those in need, Texas Baptists have an opportunity to provide care for unaccompanied children who have crossed the border and will soon be transported to Dallas through volunteer opportunities and a new “For the Children” fund.

Dallas County has volunteered to open a temporary shelter in the area to house 2,000 unaccompanied children. On Tues., July 1, Texas Baptist representatives, along with more than 30 faith-based groups in the Dallas area, met with Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Commissioner, and officials from HHS about the temporary…

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Hispanic Baptists focus on discipleship at Convencion 2014

by Kalie Lowrie — July 7, 2014

MCALLEN — Focused on being passionate disciples, the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas gathered in McAllen for their annual meeting from June 29-July 1. A total of 1,374 were registered in attendance, with 490 serving as messengers from Hispanic Baptist churches.

Families enjoyed the three-day event, with activities provide for children and a special track for youth and college students.

“During Convencion we were challenged to be passionate disciples, taking the great commission personally and be faithful to God’s calling in our life,” said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Texas Baptist Hispanic…

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Greeter

by Preston Cave — July 7, 2014

I was saved when I was ten and called to the ministry at the age of fifteen. I remember being very confused about why God would call me to the ministry and I really didn’t know what it meant to be “called” anyway. I didn’t fully understand my calling until God clarified it when I was eighteen. Here is the story:

It was a typical day in a small Texas town as I began my shift at a local restaurant. I would like to think the establishment desperately needed me to be there that day, but the truth is I was just a greeter. Most people would look at the greeter as someone who was working towards becoming a waiter or waitress. Most…

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WBU professor citizenship

by Guest Author — July 3, 2014

PLAINVIEW — For Wayland Baptist University professor Dr. Charles Huang, this July 4 holiday will be like none he has ever experienced before. Of course, having only been in the United States since 2007, Huang and his family haven’t seen too many July 4 celebrations.

For the family, however, this will be their first Independence Day as United States Citizens.

Dr. Huang, assistant professor of exercise and sport science, took the oath of citizenship last Thursday, June 26, completing the process to become an official citizen of the United States. His wife, Yan Wang, took the oath a little more than a month before. Huang said…

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Singing Women of Texas Celebrates 20 Years

by Leah Allen — July 3, 2014

DALLAS — Blissful women’s voices echoed across the walls of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas on June 28 as the Singing Women of Texas (SWOT) commemorated their 20th anniversary with a free concert.

Over 200 women from eight SWOT chapters across the state gathered together for a three-day event of fellowshipping and rehearsing together before Saturday night’s concert where family members, friends and fans packed inside the church.

Uniformly dressed in black attire, the women performed 12 gospel ballads, a combination of songs chosen by the directors from each chapter.

An offering taken up during the…

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Hispanic Baptists seek ways to help border crisis

by Kalie Lowrie — July 3, 2014

MCALLEN — The crisis along the Texas/Mexico border regarding more then 47,000 unaccompanied children was on the hearts and minds of those attending Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in McAllen this week.

“It is necessary for us to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis affecting tens of thousands finding themselves abandoned and in need of basic necessities,” said Jesse Rincones, executive director of Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, during the Monday morning session. “We are here to express our commitment as Hispanic Baptists to provide assistance, awareness and prayer for those in need.”

Hispanic Baptist…

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A particular calling

by Meredith Stone — July 2, 2014

Everyone who feels called to ministry inevitably asks the question - what does being “called” mean? After all, we understand that every Christian is called to live their lives in the service of and as a witness to Christ. So how is a call to ministry different?

Listening to the Puritans can help us understand the distinction of a call to ministry. The Puritans separate calling into two categories. The first is “general calling” which is the call on all Christians to live as followers of Christ. The substance of the general calling is essentially the same for all believers. The second is “particular calling” in which God…

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How I knew I was called

by Gabriel Cortes — July 1, 2014

During a youth camp when I was in college, I went forward to pray for a young person. I heard God calling me through the preacher, and I experienced a burning in my heart while bursting into tears thanking God for His calling. When I was asked to preach and teach, God confirmed his calling through other people. Also, I saw people respond to the messages/lessons that I was led to share with them. The internal satisfaction I felt was also a testimony of this. I knew I was called as I saw God at work in my life, making things happen and opening a way for me to follow Him.

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Discerning a Call Means Continuous Listening

by Meredith Stone — June 30, 2014

Ministry can be a very broad calling. It can encompass church ministry, mission work, chaplaincy, institutional ministry, non-profit ministries and much more. Often we struggle in trying to discern more specificity in our callings than simply “ministry.” We want to know exactly what it is we are called to so we can have certainty about where our lives are going. We want calling to be clean and simple so that we can discern all of the details and move out of the calling phase into the living-it-out phase.

But calling grows with us. If we are faithful to God’s calling, we will continually be in the process of discernment. The…

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Humbled by children’s feet

by Guest Author — June 30, 2014

From day one we were asked by our team leader to be FAT. Of course I had already had a few Brazilian meals by that time and was definitely on board to be fat on this trip, but she had another meaning in mind. FAT: fluid, available and teachable. It seemed easy enough.

Most mission trips require those basic qualities, but it was certainly harder than expected. We really had to learn to “let go and let God” because we never really knew what was in store for us from one day to the next.

We were so blessed to work with Samaritan’s Feet while in Brazil, an organization that distributes shoes to the local children…

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CLC approves Resolution on Immigrant Children Crisis

by Kalie Lowrie — June 27, 2014

DALLAS — The Christian Life Commission has called on Texas Baptists to respond in a compassionate way to the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children and teenagers along the southern United States border.

Commissioners approved a resolution Friday, June 27, outlining the current situation involving immigrant minors who are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. More than 46,000 immigrant children have crossed the border since October 2013. The CLC is the Texas Baptist body which deals with ethical and public policy issues.

In affirmation of the resolution, Texas Baptist Executive Director Dr. David Hardage said…

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Rebuilders of walls, restorers of streets

by Kara Kistner — June 27, 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI – Impact City Church in Corpus Christi was planted by Felix Trevino, a worker at Valero Refinery, and his wife, Sara, as a response to a need for a missional church in the community of South Texas. They are a part of the Corpus Christi Baptist Association and a member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“This was a fairly new concept to the culture of South Texas,” said Felix. “There weren’t too many churches at the time who were focused on building a body of believers on small groups and disciple making versus mass evangelism and the seeker friendly attractive model.”

Along with working…

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A goat run and a divine appointment

by Guest Author — June 26, 2014

So I’d like to tell you a story that happened while we were back in the city after our last trek to the countryside. It will describe just how the Lord makes things happen that he wants to. To do this I’m just going to tell you one of my journal entries for that day, I feel like it’ll explain it best.

Sometime between 12 and 1 we were told that we were going on a walk. So my partner, the pastor (Harry), me, Reed (our translator and national partner), and Suzanna (Harry’s daughter who it feels like she and Reed like each other) all set off on a journey that would end up being hours of walking in the hottest heat I’ve…

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Loving Eagle Pass is well underway

by Gerald Davis — June 26, 2014

On Sunday, June 22, 75 pairs of hands and feet descended upon Eagle Pass, Texas to tackle 16 projects representing families recovering from the June 2013 flooding.

Eager and willing volunteers from Lawn Baptist Church (Abilene), First Baptist Church Pasadena and Oak Ridge Baptist Church – Grace House Ministry (Corpus Christi) responded to the call and are here. Outstanding work is being done in repairing roofs, hanging sheet-rock, painting, mud/muck-out, Vacation Bible School, and more as they are being the presence of Christ across Eagle Pass. Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery is partnering with Iglesia Bautista Peniel…

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Eternal victories through soccer tournaments

by Kalie Lowrie — June 24, 2014

GUADALAJARA — As the little boys gathered around preparing for the final game in their soccer tournament, River Ministry coordinator Pedro Munoz reminded them that this was the moment they had been preparing for over the past month.

“Some of you will be winners today, as your team wins the tournament, but all of you can be winners if you give your life to Jesus Christ,” he said.

Arenas, the area where these boys were playing, can be very dangerous at times. When Pedro was on the street the day before, he encountered teenagers with cocaine and marijuana in hand, not fazed by the public visibility. Located on the…

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Student volunteers help West Bounce to recovery

by Tyler Agnew — June 23, 2014

Ninety-degree weather, manual labor and full workdays all completed with an attitude of bringing restoration in the name of Jesus Christ — that is what Texas Baptists’ Bounce is all about.

“I just really like working hard to help people,” student volunteer Kayla Kemp said. “It makes me feel like I’m impacting people.”

Kemp, high school senior from First Baptist Church of Copperas Cove, was one of nearly 200 volunteers who joined Bounce, a student-focused disaster recovery mission experience, which launched in West, Texas mid-June where the community is recovering from the April 2013 fertilizer plant explosion…

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My calling

by Bill Tillman — June 23, 2014

My first impressions of being called to the ministry were filtered through the church context of which I was a part. The phrase used was “called to preach.” Thinking about being called to preach came as I was in the 8th grade. I spent the time until the summer between my junior and senior years in high school trying to gauge the validity of what I was sensing. When I made my conviction known to the congregation, one of the deacons came by and said, “Some of us have seen this coming.” That one sentence helped a great deal toward firming up my conviction of being called.

Since that time, I have had that confirmation…

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The need for No Mas Violencia in Guadalajara

by Kalie Lowrie — June 20, 2014

GUADALAJARA — People are gathering across the globe in masses to cheer on their favorite team in the World Cup. Watch parties have emerged in several areas in Guadalajara as nationals cheer on the Mexican team, or enjoy watching games like Greece vs. Japan. This week, amongst soccer jerseys and team paraphernalia, individuals wearing black shirts with the simple message “No Mas Violencia” can be found around the city. Churches in the Emmanuel Baptist Regional Association in Guadalajara have handed out 35,000 flyers around the city, promoting the message of peace and many have been very receptive and interested in…

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HPU group travels to Slovakia for cross-cultural mission trip

by Nathan Brandenburg — June 18, 2014

BROWNWOOD — June 13, 2014 — Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, and five students from her spring International Missions Practicum course recently traveled to Važec, Slovakia, for a week-long mission experience. The course, required for all cross-cultural studies majors, is designed to give students firsthand experience in cross-cultural ministry.

The group led ministry activities among the Roma and Slovak people and learned from the missiology of Shane and Dianne McNary, the field personnel with whom they served.

“We spent the semester at HPU learning about the history…

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Child Safety Policy Manual

by David Cook — June 17, 2014

Having a Child Safety Policy Manual can be one of the most important steps a church can take in helping to protect its children and prevent liability. Here are a few of the major things to think about when creating a Child Safety Policy Manual:

  1. First, we recommend that you create a team or committee of highly qualified members from multiple professions (e.g. law, police, education, counseling, medicine, etc.) to craft a Child Safety Policy. These professionals will bring a wealth of knowledge from many different angles that will be crucial in setting forth a working Child Safety Policy.
  2. Second, look at what other churches…

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Major problems churches make when drafting Bylaws

by David Cook — June 17, 2014

Recently, we have had the opportunity to review several churches’ Bylaws and Governing Documents for legal sufficiency. This is an important, but often overlooked area in many churches. So let’s look at a few of the problem areas that I see for churches when dealing with their Bylaws and Governing Documents:

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Why does my church need bylaws?

by David Cook — June 17, 2014

Few pastors want to spend their time on such seemingly mundane things as bylaws and church governance. Most pastors would, instead, rather being doing the ministry activities to which they feel most called: visiting with families, praying with hurting people, preparing sermons, and mobilizing volunteers.

But when trouble strikes, the first thing many pastors think is: “I wish I had spent time drafting some better bylaws for our church!” Why? Because bylaws help lay the framework for what happens in the church—both during good times and bad.

A good way to think about this is that bylaws are somewhat…

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Christian Life Commission announces office relocation to Austin

by Kalie Lowrie — June 16, 2014

DALLAS — The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission has announced a relocation of all offices from Dallas to Austin effective Sept. 1.

“This is an exciting decision that will enhance the effectiveness of the Christian Life Commission,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “Having the CLC in one location in Austin makes it easier for our churches to engage with the CLC’s ministry and mission. It also positions us in close proximity to the state government to better garner support for our legislative priorities.”

The CLC, currently under the leadership of Director Dr. Gus Reyes, has served as the ethics agency of the…

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Follow me

by Jane Wilson — June 16, 2014

Christ’s call is clear:  “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). We do not know the specifics of such an invitation, but we know the Person issuing it.

Every Christian is called by God to serve Him.  Some are called to specific places and specific tasks to which others may not be called.  All Christians are called to share their faith and to be about Christ’s mission in the world, but some Christians are called into what is often referred to as “full-time Christian service”, “a Christian vocation” or “the ministry.”  All of these phrases refer to the calling to a career or vocation that is…

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Called to be different

by Guest Author — June 16, 2014

Different. That’s how I would best describe the past five months of my life since I left Texas, and headed off to live in the Middle East. It’s not a bad different, it’s just different. The people are different, the smells are different, their decisions are different, the sounds are different, viewpoints are different, I’m different.

However, this isn’t a bad thing because in fact we are called to be a different people in a place that believes and practices things contrary to what we believe. We are called to be in the world but not of it, we are called to be different. Sometimes we have to travel halfway across the world…

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Union Association fighting human trafficking

by Ferrell Foster — June 10, 2014

Union Baptist Association, our state’s largest regional body, is taking a leadership role in the fight against human trafficking in Texas. The association’s UBA E-Notes this week highlights two human trafficking items.

The first connects to a YouTube video and a web page titled “Where Do I Start?” The page stresses the three steps of learn, pray and act.

The second item gives information on a Sept. 20 event at South Main Baptist Church in Houston. It will feature presentations by experts, a tour of high-risk local areas, and times of worship.

Thank you, Tom Billings, for your leadership of the UBA in regard to this…

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I don’t fit in this country

by Guest Author — June 9, 2014

I have never, in all of my life, consistently been the tallest person in the room, but that happens here a lot… that is unless my 6’ 8” supervisor is with us. I really have no idea how he does it, because bus seats, taxi roofs, doorways, and even some covered walkways are too small for me. I find myself bending over much more frequently than I ever did in the states, but I guess we all have to make sacrifices for the gospel.

So first I want to explain a little bit about my job here in South Asia because, as always, it’s not exactly what you envision when you sign up. To be honest though, I think that’s a very good thing…

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Spiritual living connects to ethical living

by Ferrell Foster — June 9, 2014

Ethical living and spiritual living are linked; they both connect the believer to the world beyond himself or herself. The spiritual connects one to God, and the ethical deals with how one lives with others.

Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually. Structured prayer is difficult for many of us, but we can still cultivate a spirit of continual prayer — simply praying as we go about our daily activities.

When a person “practices the presence of God,” to quote Brother Lawrence, it is as if God becomes a friend, a companion who goes with you to all places and through all moments. A cynic could say that we are only silently…

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Book Review: Is God Calling Me?

by Joe Loughlin — June 9, 2014

Is God calling you? If you’re a follower of Christ, the answer is, “Yes” of course. All of Christ’s followers are called to serve. But is God calling you to ministry as a job? That is an altogether different question. A question almost every believer asks at some point in their journey of following the Lord.

Jeff Iorg helps you answer that question in his little book Is God Calling Me? Answering the Question Every Believer Asks. And don’t be fooled by the size of this book. It’s a simple and practical guide to help every follower of Christ, especially students and young adults, answer these important questions about God’s…

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14 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples brings renewed focus to disciple-making essentials

by Tyler Agnew — June 6, 2014

As churches seek to fulfill the Great Commission, individual believers must understand and practice what it means to be a disciple.

14 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples, released by BaptistWay Press in May, is a Bible study that provides in-depth discussion and practical application for those seeking to embrace the lifestyle of a follower of Jesus Christ.

“We need spiritually mature people to lead the body of Christ,” Dr. Dennis R. Wiles, co-author and senior pastor of First Baptist Church Arlington said. “The only way for that to happen is for us to partner with God in the process of growth.”

In his 31 years of leading…

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Why I may decide to say no to God

by Miller and Brinkley, from The J Files: Follow Christ’s Example — June 5, 2014

“I believe I know what is best for me.” This may be at the heart of our resistance – expressed in ten words or less. Instead of viewing ourselves as the creation and God as the creator and the one who knows us best, we try to be our own god. We place our knowledge of our well-being above His knowledge of us.

“I think God may not really have my best interests at heart.” We think we may miss out on something good by allowing Him this type of control. (The God who gave everything He had in order to restore fellowship with us isn’t looking out for us?) When we honestly face our feelings here, the error of our thinking…

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Understanding Intentional Interim Ministry

by Kara Kistner — June 4, 2014

DALLAS – The interim period between one pastor leaving and the next pastor arriving can be a special time of God moving in a congregation. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the next person to arrive, the interim time creates a wonderful opportunity to address issues, questions, concerns, vision and the church’s health.

Throughout Texas Baptists there are a total of 88 trained Intentional Interim Pastors, 25 currently in training and 10 active pastors in the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE). Whether a church needs a traditional interim pastor or an intentional interim pastor, Texas Baptist’s Intentional Interim…

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Starting a Legacy

by Rand Jenkins — June 2, 2014

INDEPENDENCE – On Sunday morning, June 1, at the oldest continuously running Baptist church in Texas, Robert E. Dixon and Dr. Paul W. Powell were honored for the legacies they started and what they became through the Texas Baptist Legacy Award.

Bryan Finley, a member of First Baptist Church of Kerrville, led the group in Bible study and posed the question, “When does a legacy begin?” Through scripture and biblical personalities like Abraham, Moses, Joshua and others, he summed up the answer with, “Legacy begins by starting something God directed. It continues when others who are directed by God to join the initiator who…

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Summer Disaster Recovery trips need volunteers

by Kalie Lowrie — June 2, 2014

DALLAS – Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery is looking for volunteers to assist with summer trips responding to areas devastated by floods, wildfires and tornadoes. Recovery efforts will take place in Estes Park, Colorado; Mayflower, Arkansas; Eagle Pass, Texas; and Fritch, Texas.

“Every year, thousands of homes are destroyed and lives are lost by disasters. Recovery from these disasters is long, hard and costly,” said Marla Bearden, disaster recovery specialist. “The goal of recovery is to bring a community back to a new normal after a disaster, restoring both physical structures and the holistic well-being of…

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Work worship

by Leighton Flowers — June 2, 2014

As Christians we must avoid any task that takes our minds off of Jesus. Too many become worshippers of their work rather than true worshippers of God. This is a form of idolatry. This is especially tempting for those whose work is Christian ministry. It is far too easy to rationalize our work in ministry as being worthy of our full attention and worship. This is a recipe for burn-out or something far worse. 

Our efforts to serve the Lord must not become a substitute for our pursuit of knowing the Lord. What is the difference? One focuses on accomplishing tasks and the other focuses on knowing and loving a Person. When the…

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Understanding the Bible for Women Who Feel Called to Ministry

by Meredith Stone — June 1, 2014

Discussions of how women should be involved in ministry and the church in particular have been happening for many years. Many young women who feel called to ministry have grown up in churches that take one position or the other on the concern of women in ministry. These young women, then, may not be aware that different positions from the ones they have been taught exist in Baptist life.

One position on women in ministry in Baptist churches is that women are restricted from certain leadership roles in the church. Some say only the office of pastor is limited to men while others argue that women should not lead or teach men…

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Start something new after VBS

by David Adams — May 30, 2014

Year after year we see that Vacation Bible School is the most effective tool most churches have for leading children to Christ. But how effective is your follow up?

In a Sunday morning conference at Ridgecrest a couple of years ago, a minister of education sitting next to me shared that she was trying something different after VBS. Every year she had faithfully assigned new prospect families from VBS to appropriate Sunday School classes, and each class was to follow up. In addition, each family received a phone call from a phone bank of volunteers who genuinely cared about reaching out to them. I nodded positively as she…

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Crab Fest and conversations about Christianity

by Guest Author — May 30, 2014

The Lord began my summer of service with an amazing week in Kodiak, Alaska at Crab Fest. This week my Go Now Missions team and I served alongside missionaries from Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Missouri. Every year, the city of Kodiak holds Crab Fest, a festival that brings families together to have tons of fun. We partnered with Frontier Baptist Church and Kodiak Island Outreach to hold a booth that gave away free hot chocolate, New Testament Bibles, and small kids toys. What seemed like a simple booth turned into a life changing experience for both the people of Kodiak and myself.

More often than not…

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Risenhoover named associate endorser for chaplaincy relations

by Kalie Lowrie — May 30, 2014

DALLAS – Texas Baptists have named Chaplain Georgia Risenhoover, of Granbury, associate endorser for Chaplaincy Relations. Risenhoover is the first woman to be named to the position and she will also serve as state coordinator of “Hands on Ministry,” a teaching certification program for volunteer chaplains.

“Georgia is well qualified for these positions,” said Bobby Smith, director of Texas Baptist Chaplaincy Relations.

Smith also noted he expects Risenhoover to greatly expand the “Hands on Ministry” program.

Ordained by Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Risenhoover has been endorsed by the BGCT. She received her Clinical…

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Serving those who serve

by Guest Author — May 28, 2014

The first week of being in a new culture has been interesting, to say the least. There’s always so much to adjust to— you really have to humble yourself and accept that you don’t know everything. One of the first times I tried to buy something with British currency was kind of humorous. I was buying a croissant and a water bottle and it cost two pounds. I hadn’t had time to learn all the different coins there were, but I saw a big coin that had a two on it— so I just assumed it was two pounds. I handed the cashier the coin and she just stared at me. I could tell something wasn’t right, so I took the coin back and…

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Beyond the Trip

by Ryan Jespersen — May 26, 2014

The following was written and compiled by members of the Missions Mobilization Team of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. This guide is designed to be used on a mission trip to prepare your group for what you can do when you get back to your community. For more information about this material or about how to get involved in mission work, please contact Ryan Jespersen by phone at (214) 828-5278 or by email at ryan.jespersen@texasbaptists.org. Click here to download this post as a PDF document.

What an incredible joy it has been to serve the Lord together this week. You have been a part of a wonderful journey serving…

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Make an evaluation of your gifts and skills

by Bill Tillman — May 26, 2014

Talk to persons in ministry whom you admire. They will more than likely be a listening ear for your reflections about whether you have the gifts and skills for being a minister. They may initiate an opportunity for you to try out your skills: present a sermon, teach a Sunday School lesson, lead music, provide leadership to a ministry/mission project, include you on ministry visits.

There are personality inventories, for example, the Myers-Briggs Test, which can provide some clarification on your sense of world view and how you make decisions. The Myers-Briggs might be available through your school counselor. It and other…

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The necessity of discipleship

by Guest Author — May 21, 2014

If there is one thing I have learned while serving on staff at the UNT BSM it is the essential need for collegiate ministry in the United States. Over one million students are attending college in the State of Texas. According to a recent poll by Lifeway, 70 percent of freshmen who enter the college world will stop attending church. This generation is among the most biblically illiterate of all generation. This generation simply does not know the Bible or the truth of the Gospel.

These statistics are a small portion of what is truly seen in college ministry today. I have seen college ministry done correctly and disciples are…

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Executive Board approves building sale, agreement with STSCS

by Kalie Lowrie — May 20, 2014

DALLAS -Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board convened on Mon., May 19, and Tues., May 20. Several decisions were made, including the sale of the BGCT’s Dallas facility to Baylor University for $16 million. For more information on the building sale, click here.

“The discussions and sale of the building is a spiritual and stewardship decision,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “As the face of Texas continues to change, so will the way we do church, the way we do convention and the way we collaborate to reach the state with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Twenty-five years ago, God directed our leaders to…

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Texas Baptists announces sale of Dallas facility

by Kalie Lowrie — May 20, 2014

DALLAS – The Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas unanimously approved the sale of the Convention’s Dallas facility to the Baylor University School of Nursing during a meeting on Tues., May 20.

The 100,000 square foot facility, located at 333 N. Washington Avenue in Dallas, will be purchased for $16 million through a combination of monetary funds and in-kind gifts.

David Hardage, Executive Director of Texas Baptists, announces the sale of the Convention’s Dallas facility.

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Final preparations for student missionaries

by Guest Author — May 19, 2014

As I’ve been preparing to serve this summer, I thought there wasn’t anything else to know than what I’ve experienced overseas already. I thought, “culture shock didn’t happen to me, I knew what to expect.” But sitting through the session about it, I realized that I actually had experienced it, I just didn’t know how to label it at the time. This is pretty much how my entire weekend went—with me walking into a session thinking I knew exactly what to expect, and leaving humbled, yet encouraged, with new knowledge.

This past weekend, May 17-19, 198 of the 298 student summer missionaries gathered at Dallas Baptist…

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Pray without ceasing

by Kara Kistner — May 19, 2014

Morgan Wallace, sophomore at University of North Texas, was sitting at the prayer table for an hour or so when she noticed a guy with a backpack awkwardly speed walk by their tent. He took a quick glance at the tent and continued on his way. But then the guy stopped, turned around and walked up to Morgan.

“He asked me to pray for his dog and walked away again,” said Morgan. “But he only got a few steps when he turned around again and said to me, “No, let’s do this right, let’s do this right here’, and we prayed for him on the spot.”

During the month of April, the University of North Texas in Denton, the University of…

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State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament Winners Named

by Kalie Lowrie — May 15, 2014

The 2014 Texas Baptist State Youth Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament was held at the Baptist Building on May 2 and 3. There were 82 participants from 29 churches who competed over the weekend.

Overall, for 2014, there were 991 participants in Texas Baptist Bible Drill and Speakers Tournaments from 130 churches competing in six regional events. The highest-scoring youth from each region traveled to Dallas for the annual state competition.

State Winners included:

Youth Bible Drill (7-9th grades) 1st Place – Zachary Gray, First Baptist Church, Allen 2nd Place (tie) – Megan Shipman, First Baptist Church, Allen 2nd…

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Thank you for giving to Mother’s Day Hunger Offering

by Jay Netherton — May 14, 2014

Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014, marked the conclusion of the Christian Life Commission’s Mother’s Day Hunger Offering initiative. With a goal of raising $1 million on this day, churches from across the state joined hands to help beat the cycle of hunger and poverty not only in Texas, but around the world. Final tallies will be made as donations continue to pour in throughout the month.

Last year marked the first annual Mother’s Day offering as a part of the greater, year-around Texas Baptists Hunger Offering and raised over $250,000. This year, we are eager to see how God has provided for this life-changing ministry through your…

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Into the wood

by Kalie Lowrie — May 8, 2014

BROWNWOOD – Today was a recovery ride for most of the cyclists, with a shorter distance of 59 miles from San Saba to Brownwood. While it may have been less miles, it still proved to be challenging for the riders. Some got dropped in the midst of continuous hills, but all in all, everyone enjoyed another great day of riding and raising awareness and funds to end the cycle of hunger with a great group of people.

We had a few riders join us for the day, including Rodney McGlothlin, pastor of First Baptist Church Brownwood, and his wife, Debbie. Tonight, FBC Brownwood hosted us for dinner along with their congregation and…

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Hundreds attend training in Hong Kong

by Kara Kistner — May 7, 2014

In August 2013, Michelle Chan, minister to children at Kowloon International Baptist Church (KIBC) in Hong Kong, attended a children and family summit at Dallas Baptist University. Here she felt her understanding of the roles Sunday School teacher and children’s minister were renewed and refreshed.

“I was more aware of my role and vision as a Children’s Minister and it is more than just a job behind the desk that deals with lots of administrative works,” said Chan.

After the Summit, Michelle was burdened for her Sunday School workers back at KIBC. She desired for them to share both the experience and training she…

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Rebuilding West

by Guest Author — May 6, 2014

Thanks to World Vision, building supplies have arrived in West, TX for the home of a West ISD Principal whose home was destroyed after the after the fertilizer plant explosion. The supplies have arrived at the build site, the foundation has been poured, and now it’s time for skilled volunteers to pitch in and help this wonderful community servant and family get back into their home and resume a normal life.

Let the home build begin! We are calling for skilled and experienced volunteers to join with the Shalom Builders in making this home a reality. Will you join the Shalom Builders Network by registering here to help…

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Never too young

by Kalie Lowrie — May 6, 2014

FREDERICKSBURG – You don’t have to be an expert cyclist to take part in the week-long Bike Out Hunger event. Our youngest rider this year, Gertie Kate Adair, is only seven years old.

Gertie Kate is from Dripping Springs and she is a proud supporter of her dad, Ben. Last year, when Ben spent the week riding with Bike Out Hunger, Gertie Kate decided that she wanted to join her dad for his next ride.

“I’ve been waiting a whole year for this,” she said. When asked why, she said she really likes to ride her bike and spend time with her dad, and she wanted to help.

She rode 9.42 miles today, right alongside Ben. It was hot and…

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Parents learn skills for raising highly capable kids

by Kalie Lowrie — May 5, 2014

FORT WORTH – Twenty-nine parents from Manuel Jara Elementary School set aside time for 11 weeks this spring to learn tools, skills and confidence to raise healthy, caring, and responsible children through Parent University. A graduation ceremony was held on Wednesday, April 30, to recognize the achievement of the parents.Many officials from the city council, county and school board members were in attendance to celebrate the successful program.

Funded through gifts from Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, the curriculum entitled Raising Highly Capable KIDS – Communities Empowering Families for Success has been proven to…

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Backpacks of food and hope provided through Hunger Offering

by Kalie Lowrie — May 5, 2014

FREEPORT – Most children look forward to 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, signaling the end of school and beginning of the weekend. There are roughly 65 hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning when school starts again. Many kids delight in these hours, but for children who do not have food at home, the hours can be long and hard. While many schools have feeding programs for breakfast and lunch for students in need, the weekends can be a time when food is scarce.

Operation Backpack, supported through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, seeks to step in and provide homeless and chronically hungry students in the Freeport…

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Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery begins response to the Central-Southeast Tornadoes and Floods

by Marla Bearden — May 2, 2014

This week, we have experienced multi-state and location tornados and storms resulting in various types damage. We have heard that these storms are compared to a large hurricane event. When an event is multi-faceted like this, we must wait, assess and seek the Lord’s guidance on when and where to mobilize volunteers. It is times like this when good relationships with other disaster response organizations are so important.

Chris Liebrum, director of Church Ministry Resources, spent the day yesterday with Charles Ray and Ray Higgins of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas. Currently, the largest needs appear to be in…

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Come as you are, boots and all

by Kara Kistner — May 1, 2014

Anyone who has ever visited Greenville, Texas, for a buck out, roping, high school rodeo finals, barrel races or any kind of equine event, knew what the “blue barn” was, or better known as the “Horseman’s Club”.

For many years, the Horseman’s Club was known as the bar to watch the arena events. For the last few years though, the location was vacant, but in 2012 it went on sale again.

That all changed in July 2012, with a core group of 12 individuals and the sponsoring support of Bull Creek Cowboy Church, American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches, Hunt Baptist Association and Texas Baptists, the building was contracted and…

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A Missional Legacy

by Ryan Jespersen — April 28, 2014

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…

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Congreso Nation is Everlasting for 50th Anniversary

by Kalie Lowrie — April 25, 2014

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…

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On mission in South Africa

by Kara Kistner — April 24, 2014

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…

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God moves at a TWU benefit show

by Guest Author — April 24, 2014

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…

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Growing to live through hunger offering

by Kara Kistner — April 21, 2014

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…

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Eager to learn in Juarez

by Kara Kistner — April 17, 2014

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

by Kalie Lowrie — April 16, 2014

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…

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Playing golf to rebuild communities

by Rachel Moreno — April 15, 2014

DALLAS – On April 7, the Dallas Athletic Club hosted the inaugural Texas Baptists Golf Classic, benefitting Disaster Recovery. Special guests included first responders from the West explosion and EF5 tornado in Moore, OK, both taking place almost a year ago.

Chris Liebrum, director of Church Ministry Resources and tournament director said, “We were honored to host first responders from two of the communities that we are currently serving. Their presence at our tournament was a reminder that these disasters involve real people.”

Sitting at the clubhouse proudly donning a West hat and sweatshirt, George Nors Jr., firefighter…

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Honduras: A display of His splendor

by Kalie Lowrie — April 11, 2014

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…

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Hunger in Honduras: The face of a thankful heart

by Kalie Lowrie — April 10, 2014

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…

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Reaching Christians in a new method

by Kara Kistner — April 10, 2014

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…

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Hunger in Honduras: Bringing hope across a footbridge

by Kalie Lowrie — April 9, 2014

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…

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‘Kumbaya’ should be no joke

by Ferrell Foster — April 9, 2014

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…

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How to seek God through frustration

by Kalie Lowrie — April 8, 2014

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

by Ferrell Foster — April 7, 2014

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…

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Hunger offering inspires others to give back

by Kara Kistner — April 7, 2014

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…

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BaptistWay Press to release 14 Habits of Highly Effective Disciples

by scottstevens — April 2, 2014

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…

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Serving in a party town

by Kara Kistner — April 1, 2014

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…

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Women in ministry conference encourages women to embrace leadership

by Kalie Lowrie — March 31, 2014

WACO – Women in ministry should embrace leadership in the areas God has called them to, according to speakers at the Texas Baptists Women in Ministry Conference held at George W. Truett Theological Seminary on Mar. 25.

“As a woman in ministry, you should have a sense of call,” said Bernadine Davis, minister of discipleship and spiritual formation at David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin. “You need to understand the nature of that call, pursue quality education to have a solid foundation for your ministry, and make sure your ministry context supports the nature of your call.”

The conference provided learning and…

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Having a heart for service during Spring Break

by Kara Kistner — March 28, 2014

BROWNWOOD – Watching from the sidelines of the 3-on-3 basketball tournament, Krystal Watson, sophomore at Texas A&M University, saw God moving through the kids at Champs Camp in Brownwood as they prayed with each other before and after each basketball game.

Raj Shah, graduate student at Texas A&M University, had never had the responsibility of taking care of kids, so going into Champs Camp was definitely stepping out of his comfort zone. During that week he met a second grader named Brenden, who he struggled to connect with at first, but at the end of the week, he almost welled up with tears when he had to say…

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God loves the cowboys too

by Kara Kistner — March 26, 2014

Brother Harvey Abke never imagined he would receive a call from Brother Steve Johnson asking him to be the pastor of a new cowboy church Brother Johnson was starting in Caldwell, Texas.

“I have an evangelistic heart to reach people for Jesus but I started to feel complacent,” said Pastor Harvey. “This church would mean I could come back home to my roots.”

Brother Steve Johnson, pastor at First Baptist Church of Caldwell, attended a conference and while there God laid on his heart about reaching out to the lost in Caldwell. While at the conference, Brother Steve prayed about starting a cowboy church in Caldwell…

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Hunger Offering helps family overcome poverty in Bangladesh

by Kalie Lowrie — March 24, 2014

BHALUKA UPAZILA, Bangladesh – Conditions were hard for Asma Khatun and her family of five, living in extreme poverty in a small village in Bangladesh. While her husband, Babul Dhaly, worked hard to provide, they did not own any land to plant crops and they were not able to earn enough income to provide three meals a day for their family.

Asma was looking for a way to help her family out of poverty. She heard about a savings group program for women assisted by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, and soon she began attending classes.

Not only did she learn about business and agriculture, but Asma was also provided with a…

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The Charles Price Endowment for Associational Leadership

by Rachel Moreno — March 21, 2014

“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life . . . Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. . .”

Matthew 28:19-20 The Message

ENDOWMENT MISSION

The Charles Price Endowment for Associational Leadership has been established to provide specialized training to help directors of missions be effective leaders in their associations. The endowment is named in memory of Charles Price who, as a director of missions, dedicated himself to helping fellow directors become successful in leading their associations to fulfill the Great Commission.

The funds will be used to develop…

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True love is worth waiting for

by Kara Kistner — March 21, 2014

The Bible warns we should be careful of the enemy whose only mission is to kill, steal and destroy, even the innocence of our children. The African Evangelical Baptist Church’s Lifted Youth of Grand Prairie is seeking to bring awareness to sexual abstinence with an event that they have hosted for three years entitled, ‘True Love Waits’.

“What started out as a silly idea turned into an elegant occasion,” said Adenike Adeyemo, event coordinator. “Each year the program doesn’t receive the response that we hope to, but this year was by far different than any other year.”

True Love Waits is an event that started over 20…

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Helping a house, helping a community

by Kara Kistner — March 20, 2014

WEST – After a year of rebuilding from a tragedy that shook its little part of Texas, the town of West is still remembering, but a sense of change has overtaken the emotions of sorrow and remorse. As you walk the streets, you can see lots where homes used, now being cleared of blown debris and stones. You can see houses being built and refurbished for families to return to.

“I think they are doing a whole lot better than they were a year ago,” said Mike Rhodes, volunteer for Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery. “Between when the explosion happened to now, there is a huge change.”

Often times, relief teams will respond…

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Serving in West Africa

by Guest Author — March 17, 2014

Our Savior did not stay where it was comfortable. He did not stay where it was safe. Rather He left the throne of Heaven to meet us here and come into our mess. So, we too must follow the example of our Beloved and go to Him “outside the camp.” Don’t assume this means you must move to another country and culture in order to live this out. It may be for many of you. But at the core, Jesus is calling us to leave our normalcy, our Christian circles, and our storehouses of self-preservation and go to those who are waiting outside the gate. We do not wait for them to come to us, rather we run to them! We do not wait for an…

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Trafficking — the difference between victims and criminals

by Ferrell Foster — March 13, 2014

The Dallas Morning News carried an excellent opinion piece in its Feb. 23 edition about children and prostitution. The article, by Malika Saada Saar, expresses a broad national perspective. In Texas, we are actually doing better than reflected in Saar’s article, but we still have lots of work to do.

Saar points out that about 293,000 U.S. children are “at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex, according to a 2011 FBI report on trafficking. Most are girls ages 12 to 14. They often are abducted or lured by pimps and traffickers, beaten into submission and sometimes even branded with the pimp’s name.” She tells of one…

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Connecting religious liberty and evangelism

by Ferrell Foster — March 12, 2014

Evangelism and missions can be conducted openly and forthrightly only in an environment that fosters and protects religious liberty. The United States, with its constitutional protections, is a shining example of this reality, while nations with limits on religious expression are examples of the opposite.

Brent Walker, in the January Report from the Capital, develops the link between religious liberty and evangelism. Americans are “able to practice our religion as we see fit and free to go tell others about it,” said Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty.

One person’s freedom, however…

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Letter from Haiti student missionary

by Guest Author — March 11, 2014

Bonjou zanmi m! Hello my friend!

Since my last update much has happened. I have spent more time in Fond des Negres and have been able to get to know some of the kids in our area. It seems nearly impossible for me to walk anywhere outside of my house without at least one child by my side. The children are so eager to give and receive love; they have so much joy. One thing they lack is discipline. The people in our area are so poor. Many of the children that come around our compound show signs of malnutrition and most don’t have shoes or proper clothing.

I spent two and a half weeks in Grand Goâve at a different…

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Hunger funds help mom find a shoulder to lean on

by Kalie Lowrie — March 11, 2014

NEW BRAUNFELS – Gloria Mata needed help. Medical bills from her daughter’s illness stacked up, and the single mother realized she no longer had enough money to put food on the table for her family of six.

Deliverance came in the form of a voucher from her daughter’s school that referred Mata to the Harvest Food Pantry, a ministry of New Braunfels Christian Ministries, which is funded in part through Texas Baptists’ special Mother’s Day Hunger Offering.

“When I came here, I didn’t feel like I was receiving a hand-out. I found a shoulder to lean on,” Mata said. “As a mother, it meant so much to me to look in a bag of groceries…

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Miracles don’t just happen in the Bible

by Kalie Lowrie — March 6, 2014

Joseph Parker, pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, in Austin, received a heart transplant on Jan. 23, 2013, following more than ten years of heart issues. Two weeks ago, he was able to meet the family of the donor who saved his life. He shared his story with the Executive Board during their meeting on Monday, Feb. 24.

One of the nurses asked when the doctor came into my room, “Where was the heart from?” The surgeon said, “Not far, I just need to go get it.” The only thing I knew was that there had been some vehicular accident that lead to the death of my donor.

So I received that new heart and went through…

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ISAAC is there to help

by Kara Kistner — March 5, 2014

SAN ANTONIO – Arina Popovici is the first immigrant to be assisted by the Immigration Service and Aid Center (ISAAC) to obtain legal permanent residency within the United States. She never dreamed that she would have this opportunity in her lifetime, but with the help of the ISAAC Project, her dreams are finally coming true.

Seven years ago, Arina Popovici came to the United States from Italy as an international student. While her student visa expired, she did not want to go back to Italy because her family was already here. After residing in the US. for a couple of years, Arina married and was soon pregnant with her…

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The invitation to service

by Guest Author — March 4, 2014

When I was 12-years-old, I felt called to ministry. While the specifics of my calling were unclear, I knew I was supposed to spend my life engaged in some type of vocational ministry or mission work. Despite the lack of clarity in my calling, I was able to easily identify and explain my life’s purpose to others because of what the church referred to as: the call to special service.

But somewhere along the way many (or if we’re being completely honest, most) of us have stopped heeding the special service call. For some unknown reason, we believe people are simply going to hear and discern their calling for themselves – and…

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It all starts with faith in yourself

by Kara Kistner — February 28, 2014

GARLAND – On January 14th, Nayely Vallejo received a call, the call she had been waiting for for a long time. “Congratulations” is all she heard and she knew that all her praying and putting her faith in God paid off. The call she received was recognition that she had been one of four selected to serve as a National Acteens Panelist, and the only one selected from Texas.

“I began to cry happy tears,” said Nayely.

With the start of her senior year, she could feel that God was going to do great things in her life. Following that one call, good news keep coming: she never could have imagined that it all started with gaining the…

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Executive Board adopts Engage24 as emphasis for Texas Baptists

by Kalie Lowrie — February 26, 2014

DALLAS – During their Feb. 25 meeting, the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted to adopt Engage24, challenging every Texas Baptist to share the gospel with at least one person on Oct. 14, 2014. This day of intentional evangelism will be held in conjunction with a National Collegiate Ministry initiative to share Christ on campuses across North America

“This is a chance for us as, Texas Baptists, to show the power of 24 hours,” said Nathan Buchanan, a member of the Baptist Student Ministries committee and pastor of First Baptist Church Mineral Wells.

This conjoint resolution was brought before the board by…

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Write your senator and representative

by Ferrell Foster — February 25, 2014

Bread for the World has announced its 2014 Offering of Letters to United States senators and representatives. Bread does not send these letters; Bread encourages and empowers individual Christians to conduct this annual letter-writing campaign, and this often occurs through churches.

This year’s effort asks lawmakers to reform United States food aid in times of crisis and to foster long-term solutions to hunger. Specifically, it asks for legislation to pursue three goals:

1) Improve efficiency in international crisis aid by allowing more food to be bought in or near the country where it is needed and by reducing sales of…

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Texas Baptists endorse first oil patch chaplains

by Kalie Lowrie — February 25, 2014

DALLAS – Texas Baptists endorsed Hollas and Nelda Hoffman as the first Oil Patch Chaplains on Monday, February 24, during a meeting of the Executive Board. The Hoffmans, of Gonzales, will serve on the oil fields of South Texas as chaplains.

“Endorsement lends integrity, character, responsibility and accountability to a pastoral ministry in a specialized setting,” said Bobby Smith, director of Chaplaincy Relations. “Chaplaincy is a respected program of Texas Baptists. Endorsement provides a sense of worth and accountability and provides connection with a faith group.”

Hollas, an ordained minister and pastor for more than 30…

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Help provide an accurate compensation baseline among churches

by Nathan Brandenburg — February 21, 2014

The 2014 SBC Church Compensation Survey helps determine fair pay for church pastors and staff. All submitted information is kept private and no individual reporting is created – it just creates ranges for compensating ministers fairly.

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“Toma” on Margarita

by Kara Kistner — February 21, 2014

MARGARITA, Venezuela – A “Toma” is a “taking” in Venezuela, a term used for an invasion of a territory. Paul and Delia Lozuk have used this strategy for evangelism on Margarita Island, invading the area for Christ as a rescue mission. A man named Omo came out of this “toma” on Margarita.

On a Friday afternoon, the missions team divided into groups began going door-to-door to share with those who wanted to hear the word of God. A man answered at the first door. They told him the plan of salvation and he gave his life to Jesus.

As they were leaving the house, they looked to the left and saw Omo sitting under a tree, so they…

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Church Strategists: Connecting and helping meet needs across Texas

by Kalie Lowrie — February 19, 2014

On April 17, 2013, an explosion at a fertilizer plant forever changed the community of West, Texas. Richard Mangum, Texas Baptist church strategist for Central Texas, was in the town talking with local pastors and helping assess needs in the area within a few hours of the disaster.

As a church strategist, one of Mangum’s primary responsibilities is to connect with local pastors and help them in times of need. By being on the scene quickly after a disaster, strategists like Mangum can be the serving hands of Texas Baptists and help communicate needs to a broader audience. Several of the strategists have had the same…

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Record number of students respond to ‘Who will go?’

by Kalie Lowrie — February 17, 2014

MIDLOTHIAN – Who will go? That is the question that Go Now Missions has been asking college students around the state for the past year. This weekend, 205 students responded to that question with willing and able hearts as they attended Discovery Weekend, an interview and application weekend for summer and fall student missions.

“This is the largest group of students we have ever had,” said Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now missions. “We have been praying that students would hear God and obey. This is the first step in obedience.”

Discovery Weekend was hosted at First Baptist Church of Midlothian from February 7-9. Students…

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Doctrine and Dialogue

by Guest Author — February 14, 2014

Every Friday Students at the University of North Texas BSM and discuss different topics of Christian belief in an activity called Doctrine and Dialogue. At Noon students come together and talk about a chapter from the book Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem. In this book students are taught systematic theology in short chapters… and when I mean short they are super short. At most these chapters are six pages. In SIX pages students, believers can have an understanding of tough theological beliefs and topics found in the Bible. Last semester we covered the following topics:

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Texas Baptists give record $953,000 toward Hunger Offering

by Kalie Lowrie — February 13, 2014

DALLAS – Texas Baptists gave more than $953,000 to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in 2013 to help address hunger and poverty issues around the world. This is the largest amount raised through the offering since its creation in 1995, and an increase of $200,000 from 2012.

“I am humbled by the generosity of churches and individuals around the state who chose to give to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering,” said Dr. David Hardage, executive director. “Without them, we, as an organization could not do what we do. Thank you to all of you who gave of your resources. We are extremely grateful. Your gifts are changing lives across…

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Sent to serve

by Guest Author — February 12, 2014

BUTTE, Montana – One Friday night, as I was getting ready for bed, I looked outside and realized that I would be spending Saturday morning shoveling snow from the church sidewalks. Again. This made four days that week and three in a row. I set out a reminder for myself in the morning, knowing what my temperament would be.

The first thing I said that morning was, “Do I really have to get up to shovel snow?” Then I saw my towel. It was a Go Now towel from a couple of years prior that said, “Sent to Serve.” It reminded me that even Jesus said that He was sent to this earth to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28). I didn’t come…

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Mission Drippin’ – A model for community outreach

by Guest Author — February 11, 2014

Mission Drippin’ is a week-long community outreach ministry of First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs. Read about the practical ways that their church implemented this ministry, so you can similarly create a model like this in your church. Click here to read the background, mission and vision of Mission Drippin’.

The Practicals of community outreach through Mission Drippin’:

Leadership: A leadership team is formed, placing a team lead with each ministry project for the week.

Kick-Off Worship Service: We have a worship and prayer service with the intent of preparing ourselves for a week of ministry.

Prayer Days: On Monday…

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Wilson named director of church evangelism

by Kalie Lowrie — February 6, 2014

Dr. Charles Wilson has been named director of church evangelism for Texas Baptists.

Through his work, Wilson will coordinate ENGAGE evangelistic conferences across the state, as well as assist associations and churches in helping to inspire and equip individuals to be more effective in evangelism.

“Our vision is to help Texas reach Texas for Christ,” Wilson said. “We want to work within the Baptist family on the state, associational and local level to more confidently and comfortably present the Gospel to every segment of our culture.”

A pastor for more than 30 years, Wilson served at First Baptist Church Sunnyvale for 26…

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House church evangelism on the border

by Kara Kistner — February 5, 2014

As he watched his three-year-old daughter, Rachel Beth, go from door to door in a small neighborhood in Laredo, Ryan Jespersen saw the love of Christ overflowing from her enjoyment of preaching to people that stopped to listen as she told them that Jesus loved them.

Jespersen, director of urban missions, and his family were members of a mission group that ventured down to Laredo over Christmas break to do mission work through a partnership with Go Now Missions, Texas Baptist River Ministry, and Hope 1:8 Missionary Initiative.

He and his wife, Joanna, along with their daughters, three-year-old Rachel Beth and one-year-old Mary…

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Help Texas Baptists rebuild pastor homes in Philippines

by Chris Liebrum — January 31, 2014

Michael Rama, his wife, and their 11-month-old son are homeless. Michael is the pastor of the Estancia Evangelical Church in the coastal town of Estancia, the Philippines. Michael and his family watched helplessly as the roof of the church parsonage and most of their belongings were shattered by Typhoon Haiyan. He is one of the 15 pastors that we have identified whose homes were lost in the 200 mile-an-hour winds and water that raked the island of Panay on November 8, 2013. They need our help. When something this big hits it is sometimes hard for disaster responders to know where to start. There is so much damage and so…

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From Texas to Montana

by Guest Author — January 27, 2014

My name is Justin Langford, and I am serving this semester in Butte, Montana, through Go Now Missions. The main portion of my ministry here is with college students at Montana Tech through both the Baptist Student Union and Park Street Baptist Church. Up until now, I had lived in Texas all of my life, and the most I had ever been away was probably no more than 2 weeks. I have just finished my second week here, and, in case you didn’t know, Montana is very different from Texas. The ministry I’m involved with looks different than what I had imagined. However, different isn’t bad – it’s just different.

I’m living literally…

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Giving their break to serve

by Kara Kistner — January 23, 2014

While working the hat stand in a Ukrainian market, Emma French, a student at University Mary-Hardin Baylor, met a boy named Dennis. He was looking for a warm hat to take back to his village for another child who needed it.

“I was a little taken aback so I asked, ‘This hat is not for you?’ He told me, ‘No, I already have one hat, I don’t need another. But I know some people who do’,” said Emma. “Dennis broke my heart and humbled me that day. His generous, caring, and selfless heart brought me to tears.”

With his one hat, Dennis understood the true meaning of need. He was the epitome of selflessness.

“I pray for a…

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Antoine named bivocational pastor ministry director

by Kalie Lowrie — January 22, 2014

DALLAS – Texas Baptists named Ira Antoine director of bivocational pastor ministry.

With a growing number of pastors serving in bivocational ministry across the state, Antoine will serve as a resource for these ministers.

“The mission of this ministry is to serve as a resource to Texas Baptist churches and associations in developing a model for Bivocational Pastor Ministry that will result in a significant increase in available, truly-called, and well-equipped bivocational pastors,” Antoine said.

In his new role, he will coordinate and oversee training seminars, theological education, and bivocational pastor conferences.

Many…

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Mission drippin’ – reaching out to our community

by Guest Author — January 21, 2014

Six years ago, First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs burned to the ground at the hands of an arsonist. Many people at that time left the church. There were about 50 people left to determine the next step. The small group hired a great interim pastor that helped the church through a healing process.

At that time they also determined they would come together in unity to rebuild the church. Gradually, the church began to grow and they brought on a full-time pastor, Craig Curry and his wife, Fallon.

During our second year we began looking for ways to help our church engage in outreach and missions again. For a while, the…

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‘Simple touches’ in Huntsville

by Ferrell Foster — January 15, 2014

The Hospitality House in Huntsville ministers to the families of those who are incarcerated, and Texas Baptists help support this effort.

Executive Director Debra McCammon said, “The simple touches, conversations, hugs and smiles help us to share the love of Christ with them.”

She also wrote:

“Loving those who are hurting is always about the little things we do: small craft gift on their pillow, a ‘Welcome’ picture postcard sitting on top of their linens, providing a sewing kit when their dress has torn, putting a candle in the brownies, cakes or pies on their birthdays and presenting them with a small gift, or especially a…

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Reyes Named Director of Christian Life Commission

by Rand Jenkins — January 13, 2014

DALLAS – Agustin “Gus” Lucas Reyes, PhD., was named the new director of BGCT’s Christian Life Commission (CLC).

The CLC’s role within Texas Baptist life is to speak to ethical issues and how they impact our lives and legislation.

“Dr. Reyes’ work with education and immigration reform on a state and federal government level has proven his passion and ability to give a voice to those who have no voice,” Dr. David Hardage, Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas said. “After receiving applications and conducting interviews from a national search, we discovered the person God has placed before us for this…

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Trusting in the hard places

by Kalie Lowrie — January 12, 2014

Go Now missionaries returning home from a semester of serving around the world sat in a panel discussion across from new students preparing to go during their January retreat in the BSM at the University of Texas at Arlington. The nine college students returning from service were in a time of debriefing, while the eight students preparing to go were part of orientation.

The unique nature of the night was that all of the students in the room had the same heart for sharing Christ with the world.

As the new semester missionaries asked questions like, “What was the hardest thing you faced on the field?” they were able to hear…

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Students learn ‘God can use my life’

by Kalie Lowrie — January 10, 2014

EDINBURG – On a sunny Friday afternoon, five freshmen students walked across campus at the University of Texas – Pan American pulling a wagon filled with lemonade, musical instruments and salvation tracks. Their destination was the courtyard in front of the campus library, where they set up tables and began serving drinks and playing worship music with the intention of reaching out to their fellow students.

These students were part of the Baptist Student Ministry at UTPA and are just a few of the many that reach out to fellow students on a daily basis to share the love of God across their campus. Outreach is the heart of the…

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Texas Baptists provide testimony at federal hearing on arbitration

by Kalie Lowrie — December 19, 2013

DALLAS – Two Texas Baptist pastors raised concerns about payday and car title lending practices during meetings with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leadership in Dallas on Dec. 12.

Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce and president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and Steve Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, addressed CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other staff members of the federal body which oversees consumer financial products and services.

“Wise federal oversight and regulation are sorely needed.” Johnson said during a public hearing. “I encourage you…

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Texas team brings supplies, assesses disaster in Philippines

by Kalie Lowrie — December 17, 2013

ESTANCIA, the Philippines – Pastor Michael Rama huddled with his wife and their 11-month-old son in the Estancia Baptist Church parsonage as the winds and waters from Typhoon Haiyan pounded their home in the coastal town of Estancia. The winds soon took off their roof and they rushed into the adjoining church sanctuary, where they found 100 church members and friends seeking refuge. God protected their lives that day and Pastor Rama continues to praise the Lord for His blessings since the storm ravaged their town.

Rama was one of many pastors that the Texas Baptist disaster assessment team met with during their weeklong trip…

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Philippines Typhoon: Be still and know

by Kalie Lowrie — December 6, 2013

AJUY, the Philippines – During Typhoon Haiyan, many people were forced to evacuate their homes to seek higher ground or safer refuge. Villagers from Bobog needed to escape the remote area they were living in because of the great danger from the many trees around them and falling structures. As they were walking, Pastor Enlyn Rubrico shared with us that the fish ponds on either side of the road were rising up and they were not sure how they would cross. Suddenly, as they reached the crossing point, the waters receded and there was dry land for the villagers to cross. As soon as the last one made it past the pond, the water…

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Philippines Typhoon: Refuge and Strength

by Kalie Lowrie — December 4, 2013

ESTANCIA, the Philippines – Touring the coastal city of Estancia today was heartbreaking and overwhelming at times. The reality and the gravity of the situation hit each of us at different points and it was a very emotional day. The damage seemed to be even more severe than what we saw in Concepcion yesterday.

Houses have been reduced to rubble. Uprooted trees are everywhere you turn, some completely stripped of their bark, showing the powerful force of the winds and the water. Power lines are down on many streets and some homes have turned them into makeshift chords to hold their laundry. Not only are many of the houses and…

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Philippines Typhoon: Smile through the storm

by Kalie Lowrie — December 3, 2013

CONCEPCION, the Philippines – Pastor Noel and his family sat together in their home, praying that the Lord would protect and deliver them from Typhoon Haiyan. While they were huddled together, the storm blew around them and they heard a large crash and fall just yards away from their home.

When the rain stopped and the wind died down, they walked outside to see Hillside Gospel Church completely demolished. The pile of wood, metal and concrete that remains is a visible representation of the destruction of the storm, but it is also a testimony of God’s provision as their lives were spared that day. Pastor Noel was so grateful…

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Philippines Typhoon: Arrival

by Kalie Lowrie — December 3, 2013

ILOILO CITY, the Philippines – We arrived safely in the Philippines on Monday after many hours of travel. We were greeted at the airport in Manila by several friends of the Dagohoys who treated us to a delicious Filipino lunch and then transported us to our final airport for the flight to Iloilo City. One of their friends, Mae, is a local doctor and director of the Ruth Foundation for Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care in Manilla. Less than two weeks after the typhoon struck, she traveled to Concepcion with her foundation to provide medical relief to people on one of the islands. Their relief work was described as the…

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Truck Stop Church (at least for a few minutes)

by Ryan Jespersen — November 27, 2013

Recently, we were on a trip across Texas, something I love to do, especially with my family. Joanna was feeding Mary Kate in a Loves truck stop, sitting in the booths that were for the Subway restaurant. In this particular truck stop, the booths were right next to where all of the truckers came in. Rachel Beth was walking up and down the long bench by the windows and stopped at the other end. When she stopped, she began telling me to hurry because church was about to start.

Mommy asked her who was preaching today and she named a little boy in her class.This went on for a little while and it made me think. This was not…

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Churches partner to feed children in Haiti

by Kalie Lowrie — November 27, 2013

GONZALES – Baptist churches across South Central Texas joined together this holiday season to prepare 128,000 meals to feed needy children in Haiti. The area-wide packing event began as an idea more than a year ago through the Gonzales and Gambrell Baptist Associations’ annual meeting.

Several churches had prior involvement in clean up efforts and disaster recovery trips to the impoverished nation, still rebuilding from the earthquake that devastated the country three years ago. Associational leaders agreed to have special offerings in their churches throughout 2013 with the intention of coming together in November to…

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Philippines Typhoon: Preparing to go

by Kalie Lowrie — November 26, 2013

Our disaster assessment team of six leaves for the Philippines in four days to respond to the disaster that has affected so many following Typhoon Haiyan. Comprised of BGCT staff, disaster assessment “yellow caps” from Texas Baptist Men, and a Filipino pastor and his wife, we are all going with the hope of helping those in need.

Pastor Ernest Dagohoy has done a wonderful job working with friends and family in the Iloilo province and the Convention of the Philippine Baptist Churches to plan our itinerary. While we are in the province, we will be visiting three cities that were drastically impacted by Typhoon Haiyan…

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Providing spiritual nourishment for those in need

by Kalie Lowrie — November 25, 2013

CORPUS CHRISTI – Juan Rena was hungry and hurting when he came to the Crossbridge Fellowship Church food pantry. He had no idea how the Lord would change his life in the following year and lead him to become the director of the ministry that impacted him in so many ways.

Addicted to cocaine and meth for more than 25 years, Juan wanted to find a way to turn his life around and find meaning again. He was also in need of food, which led him to Crossbridge’s food pantry just a few streets away from his home where he could come twice a month for essential needs.

As Juan and his girlfriend, Tina, received food each month, they…

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My preference? No peas, please!

by Tim Studstill — November 21, 2013

No peas, and never canned green peas. That is the one menu request I made of my soon-to-be-wife some three decades ago. She has never served them to me, thank you very much!

My aversion to this spherical, colorful starchy vegetable began in elementary school. Something about the aroma and texture of the drab green veggie on my plastic lunch tray turned my stomach. I decided one of the privileges of adulthood would be the choice never to eat another canned green pea.

However, my mother occasionally brought home a brand of canned peas packaged in a silver label with a fancy French name. Those were tolerable. I also…

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Bringing God to soldiers and soldiers to God

by Kalie Lowrie — November 21, 2013

FORT SILL, OK – Twenty-four soldiers dressed in PT uniforms sat on the chapel stage on Quarry Hill before Spiritual Formation classes began. From varied backgrounds and more than 20 states across the country, the soldiers had little in common. This day, Sept. 29, however, would be a day they would each remember – it was the day they were going to be baptized.

Each stood before a room filled with their peers and shared their testimony: how they knew they needed Christ, how God has changed their lives and what they are going to strive for in their new walks with Him.

Then, they followed Texas Baptist Chaplain Kevin Burton…

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It is all possible

by Guest Author — November 20, 2013

As I prepare for each lesson daily, I pray that God speaks through me and says to each child what he or she needs to hear. Each day that passes, I get closer to leaving. This makes me work harder because I want to make the most of my experience.

When I got here, I told each child that we were going to be learning a verse from the Bible each week. I told them it would be a total of 11 verses. They all looked at me and said, “Miss that is too much! I will never be able to memorize so much!” I told them, “I know you all are capable of doing so! Do not complain, just do it! How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a…

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Building community one house at a time

by Kalie Lowrie — November 18, 2013

PEÑITAS – Down a road devoid of many street signs, and yet to be tracked by Google maps, stands a brand-new purple house shining at the end of the block. This house now belongs to the Lozada family – Miguel, Julia, Hosea (14) and Miguel, Jr. (4) -built with love by 25 women in Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas

The third consecutive year to construct a house in Peñitas, WMU has partnered with Buckner International and the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association to build a better way of life in this small colonia in South Texas. The home, which cost approximately $22,000 in supplies to build, was hand built by women…

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Texas Baptists increase giving to SBC by 2.7%

by Kalie Lowrie — November 15, 2013

DALLAS – Texas Baptists’ giving to the Southern Baptist Convention for 2013 has increased by 2.7% as compared to giving reports from the same time period in 2012.From January through September of 2013, Texas Baptist churches gave $8.5 million to support the SBC Cooperative Program, compared with $8.3 million in 2012.

Trends in annual giving to the SBC had been declining since 2007, according to Texas Baptists Treasurer Jill Larsen.

“The increase shows that Texas Baptists churches treasure our affiliation with the SBC as a national and international missions partner,” Larsen said.

Additionally, giving to other designated funds…

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War through the eyes of faith

by Ferrell Foster — November 14, 2013

War powerfully shapes a person’s understanding of the world, including one’s faith. World War II created in many people a veneration of the United States that caused love of country to sometimes override love of God or to conflate the two into one love. The Vietnam War then brought about a mindset of distrust, and since love of God and country had often been melded the two could be dismissed together by some.

It is not surprising that war shapes understandings of faith, but it is surprising that faith does not more often shape understandings of war.

The other day I ran across an article written by Charles Colson in July 2001…

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Hearing from you: new site in the works

by Texas Baptists — November 13, 2013

Hello Texas Baptists! My name is Joshua Minatrea and I work in the communications department here at the Convention.

Over the next few months our web team will be working hard to build a new and improved texasbaptists.org, and we’d like to hear from you!

While we have some plans for improvement, we don’t pretend to know all the answers. That’s where you come in. If you frequent our site and have some thoughts on how we could do better, we would be delighted to hear from you. And we’re making that as easy as possible.

First, you can complete this brief survey. We’ll gladly take your input into consideration as we move forward…

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Hunger for More

by Guest Author — November 13, 2013

Thank you all for your prayer! I can see the mighty hand of God firing up the hearts of the town. As I took my seat next to the people that usually attend the evening Sunday service, I started seeing more people come in. I was surprised to see thirty people in the service! That is eighteen more people than usual!

What joy it was to see the church fill up! As the service was about to start, I started praying for each of their hearts and for God to open their eyes to the unconditional love and protection he offers to those who let Him.

This past week I had asked three of the kids from the program if they wanted to help me paint…

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Texas Baptists prepare response to Typhoon Haiyan

by Nathan Brandenburg — November 12, 2013

Multiple thousands of people are feared dead in the Philippines, killed by what many are calling the worst storm ever recorded in the country.

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Engaging Students in Sharing the Gospel

by Kalie Lowrie — November 11, 2013

ARLINGTON – Christian college students across the nation set out on Oct. 10, with a common goal in mind – to share Christ. Through Engage24, students involved in Baptist Student Ministries were each encouraged to engage one person in a conversation about Jesus, and that is just what they did.

Morgan McAree, a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington, shared her faith for the first time and it made all the difference in her life, and in the life of the fellow student she talked with on campus.

Prior to Engage24, Morgan knew Jesus as her personal Savior but never considered herself an evangelist. In fact, she was rather…

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Memorial set for HSU Senior Taylor Huff

by Kalie Lowrie — November 11, 2013

Memorial service arrangements for Taylor Huff have been set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at the Church on Rush Creek: Green Oaks Campus, 2350 S.W. Green Oaks Blvd., in Arlington, TX, 76017.

Huff passed away in a pedestrian/vehicle accident in Abilene early Sunday. He was a member of the Hardin-Simmons football team and was a senior exercise science major.

“These guys will honor Taylor by taking the field,” said Hardin-Simmons University head coach Jesse Burleson in a news conference this morning as he discussed the difficulty of thinking about football after losing a long-time member of the Cowboys.

Burleson…

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Couldn’t You Carry Me?

by Guest Author — November 7, 2013

One day a teenage friend of mine, who is moving closer to knowing Christ, and I were playing basketball in the park, and he seemed to be moving slower than usual.

When I asked what his problem was, he showed me a huge painful-looking blister that took up a small section on his foot. I suggested we go back to the house to give his wound a rest. He offered no objections. He was moving even slower as we walked home, so I carried him on my back for the last stretch of the trip.

After lounging around the house for a while with some of the other summer missionaries, we realized it was time to go to an evening prayer meeting at a…

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Central Texas Flooding

by Nathan Brandenburg — November 4, 2013

Flooding in the Austin area has affected over 1,600 homes. Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery, working with our State VOAD partners, is assisting in the cleaning out of homes and first response case management.

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Gospel Focused Free Lunch

by Guest Author — October 29, 2013

Some days serving at the University of North Texas are just plain hard. UNT is very different, in comparison to the college I attended. Most students do not care about God or want to engage in spiritual conversations. This is not because they don’t see the reason for believing in God, but because they really just don’t care. I am learning that when you make the conversation about meeting their needs and hearing about their lives, the Holy Spirit moves.

Each week the Baptist Student Ministry serves free lunch on Wednesdays at noon. A different church provides each meal and help serves hundreds of students on campus. I see new…

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Business Leadership Principles Translate into the Ministry

by Kalie Lowrie — October 28, 2013

ARLINGTON – Leadership principles from the business world can be translated to ministry principles as youth ministers across Texas learned during Leadership Tuesday at Youth Ministry Conclave. Colleen Barrett, president emeritus of Southwest Airlines, addressed attendees in an interview on Tues., Oct. 15, at the Arlington Convention Center, providing leadership strategies she learned through her time at the successful Dallas-based airline. The number one customer at Southwest Airlines is the employee, followed by the client and then the shareholder, according to Barrett. By caring for employees’ needs first and…

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Survivors Struggle on in Japan

by Jaclyn Young — October 28, 2013

For most of the world, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 is old news. Explosions, tornadoes, hurricanes, wars, and rumors of wars have shuffled Japan’s troubles further and further behind the proverbial front page. But, for many victims, the disaster that stole their homes and neighborhoods is anything but a harmless memory. This fall, a retired International Mission Board (IMB) missionary to Japan named Sherwood Moffett led a team of Texas Baptist volunteers to Japan. Working in close conjunction with local IMB missionaries, they visited several Temporary Housing Communities established and…

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Crawling, Walking, Running with BGCT Missions

by Ryan Jespersen — October 28, 2013

Right now our youngest daughter is learning to crawl and our older daughter, who is three, is walking as well as her mom and me. As children, we know that we crawl before we walk, and walk before we run. The same is true in your church when it comes to being on mission. Many times people need to do something small before they are ready to do something larger. Here at the BGCT we have mission opportunities for people at every level. Whether it’s you or your church looking to get started, we want to help.

We have Disaster Recovery trips for people of all ages. Next summer we will be launching a new program that gets students…

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DBU Students Respond to The Calling Conference

by Guest Author — October 23, 2013

Dallas, TX – Nearly 400 DBU students gathered together for The Calling Conference, an event geared to help college students discern their calling to ministry and determine the next steps for them to take along that journey. Sponsored by Texas Baptists and coordinated by Dr. Bill Tillman, director of the Theological Education Division of the BGCT , the meeting brought together seasoned ministry professionals to share with the students knowledge and insight gained from years of ministerial work within local churches, college campuses, and denominational bodies.

The event began with a special chapel service held for students…

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Youth ministry: A calling well worth it

by John Hall — October 23, 2013

ARLINGTON – Youth ministry isn’t easy. It requires long hours, unending energy, incredible patience and deep commitment.

That’s precisely why it requires a calling from God. No matter the trials those who minister to youth face, they must continue, said speakers during Texas Baptists’ Conclave, made possible by gifts to missions through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program.

“Our business is kingdom business, and our gaze should always point true north,” said Mike Satterfield, teaching pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington.

As youth ministers interact with young people, their parents and church leaders, there will…

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A Heart for Christ

by Guest Author — October 23, 2013

The kids in the feeding program I work with have been selected from families most in need. They burst through the classroom doors each day with so much energy and excitement. It does not matter how the weather is; they are always here. Seeing the kids, and their involvement in my classroom, makes my heart sing with joy! Though at times I feel drained and nearly lose my voice, I feel satisfied knowing God is using me.

The kids in the program come with an empty stomach. If it were not for this program, many of them would not eat. Either their parents work too much, and are never home, and/or there is not much to eat. While the…

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Let Our Lives Burn for You

by Guest Author — October 23, 2013

This past Sunday, after church, the pastor brought a small grill he wanted to use. He had never grilled in his life, and I had never started a fire in my life. This was a new experience for all of us. Using coal, wood, and cardboard, we tried to start the fire. The material would burn fast, but the coal would not light. It was embarrassing how long we took to finally get the coal burning. Once we got it burning, it continued to burn. This got me thinking about the church members.

I see members come to every service, but it is always the same people. I see no growth or true communion between the members, and no one wanting to…

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We Need More Glue

by Tim Studstill — October 21, 2013

If you are falling apart, you need more glue! According to Kathleen Chapman, keynote speaker for our upcoming Children’s Worship University, “The glue is worship – worshipping God!” She presents this challenging concept in her book, Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for Life.

Decades of children’s leaders have enticed kids to attend, memorize, perform, etc., using fun gimmicks that produce immediate results. Yet a disheartening percentage of these well-taught children end up walking away from God as youth or young adults. Why? How do we connect the energy and excitement so appealing to children…

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Students to help communities ‘Bounce’ back after disasters

by John Hall — October 18, 2013

DALLAS – Texas Baptists are turning to students to help communities “bounce” back after disasters.

This fall, the convention is launching Bounce, a pre-packaged missions experience through which students minister in the wake of disasters. Bounce makes taking youth teams on mission easy, working out logistics for leaders such as where a group will stay, what they will eat and what they will do on mission.

Students will serve communities through debris removal and cleanup, construction and other ministry projects that will accelerate the bounce back recovery process.

“A lot of folks have a sense of hopelessness after disasters…

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Community Resurrection

by Kalie Lowrie — October 16, 2013

WACO – The resurrection of Christ continues to reverberate throughout inner city communities across the nation, according to presenters at the No Need Among You Conference.

“We are part of a beautiful movement committed to making God’s love manifest,” said Shane Claiborne, who ministers in Philadelphia. “Resurrection wasn’t just an event that happened 2,000 years ago; it is something we participate in every day. Now we can live in the confidence that life is more powerful than death.”

The author and founding member of The Simple Way said God has revitalized the area in which he lives as believers have reached out to their…

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God is Not Limited

by Guest Author — October 15, 2013

There are three things you might notice when driving into Crawford, Texas. Perhaps you’ll notice the billboard featuring George and Laura Bush, our most famous property owners. Perhaps you’ll notice the welcome sign from First Baptist Church, or perhaps you’ll notice the city limit sign, which reads, “Pop. 717.”

The Crawford community sits about 20 miles west of Waco. Yet, Crawford does not share the big city features of its larger neighbor. Crawford has one post office, one blinking light, one restaurant, and one high school. You get the idea.

Yet, First Baptist Church is a unique blend of business owners, stay-at-home moms…

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Life is so good

by Guest Author — October 10, 2013

Truthfully, I do not know how else to describe the change that has taken place in my life. Through it all, God has still been faithful. I have recently moved to Denton, Texas to serve as the Campus Missionary at the University of North Texas. I have been blown away by how blunt people are in Denton, how exhausting campus ministry is, and how God works all things together for his good.

That last one blows my mind. God is truly blessing my ministry right now. He is literally bringing people to my feet.

My first couple of weeks in Denton were really slow. I was transitioning and getting the hang of things. Most students were not…

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A world away, a single bag in hand

by John Hall — October 9, 2013

DALLAS – The world is coming to Texas, landing at the airport with a single bag.

Texas is the leading point of arrival for refugees, who often land with all of their belongings in an issued bag. With this small cache of items, a family will begin a new life in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar customs.

“There’s gold in those bags,” said John Parsons, World Relief regional director. “Actually, what’s in there is worth more than gold.”

Beyond the sentimental value of the objects, the bags contain the paperwork needed to live and work in the United States. As refugees settle in a land where little is like the society they fled…

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Texas Baptists’ chaplaincy releases guidelines regarding same-sex issues

by John Hall — October 9, 2013

DALLAS – Texas Baptists’ Chaplaincy Relations Office issued guiding principles to its endorsed chaplains regarding same-sex issues in the wake of the military repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Supervisors have asked many of Texas Baptists’ approximately 200 military chaplains for guidelines from their endorser regarding how they can minister to same-sex couples.

Chaplains must follow military regulations, but also are bound to the guidelines set forth by their endorsing body, which the military has pledged not to infringe upon. The Baptist…

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North Texas Team Works in Piedras Negras

by Guest Author — October 7, 2013

A team from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, just completed a very successful health clinic in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The team worked in cooperation with Iglesia Fuente de Vida and mission coordinator Gloria de la Pena to minister to the needs of the people of the city. The clinic was focused in the four areas of wheelchair ministry, eyeglass ministry, dental care, and health screening.

As a result of this clinic, 53 people received wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Our dental team provided care for 120 people in cooperation with a great team of dental professionals from Piedras Negras. The health screening…

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Fight rages beyond battlefield; chaplains on frontline

by John Hall — October 3, 2013

WAXAHACHIE – Military personnel’s fight rages well beyond the battlefield, and chaplains are on the frontlines.

In 2012, military suicides hit a record high since the armed forces began tracking such tragedies. Self-inflicted military deaths outnumbered deaths that took place in combat. The rate is down slightly in 2013 – 161 potential suicides happened this year – but a military suicide takes places about every 18 hours.

Many times, chaplains are the first wave of defense against suicide, said U.S. Navy Chap. Fred McGuffin, who is assigned to the Marine Corps in New Orleans. Junior chaplains “deal with it often.”

Military…

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We Did Not Meet by Chance

by Guest Author — October 3, 2013

When I was young, I struggled with being social and outgoing. I sit and wait around until someone would come and play with me. As I grew older, that started changing. As I got more involved in church activities, Christ starting removing timidity and all shyness from my life.

From the moment I opened my life to Christ, the transformation in my life began. Just the other day I, as I prayed before starting my devotional I was giving thanks to God for surrounding me with such amazing people. I have made close friends, and the pastor’s family has taken me in as their daughter. Everything is in place, and God has placed me exactly…

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A Life Changed Through VBS

by John Hall — October 2, 2013

For those who serve in church Vacation Bible Schools across the nation, what you do changes lives. Krystyne Aleksandr, author of A Secret Star, shares how a Bible she received during VBS at First Baptist Church in Amarillo became her rock through a difficult upbringing. Krystyne will be one of the presenters at Texas Baptists’ Preschool and Children’s Ministers Retreat. Click here to register for that event today!

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‘Go Now’ to the ends of the Earth

by Kalie Lowrie — October 1, 2013

Standing on a street corner looking towards the Financial District in New York City, Leilani Estrada could hear five languages being spoken at the same time.

“God really has brought all the nations together in NYC,” she said. “It is just amazing to see so many nations brought together on a little island called Manhattan.”

Leilani served as a Hispanic church planter in Queens, New York, for the summer through Go Now Missions, the student missions program for Texas Baptists. She and her partner, Erika Perez, both students from the University of Texas-Pan AM, were able to use their Spanish skills to reach the population in the…

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The Main Thing

by Ryan Jespersen — October 1, 2013

Jim Collins is known for a couple of different books, Good to Great, and Built to Last. However, there is another short little read he has called “How the Mighty Fall.” This particular volume talks about the rise and fall of really huge companies.

As a pastor, and now a denominational employee, I could not help but see in this book several ways where the church could learn a great lesson. One of the biggest ways Collins points out that the mighty fall is when a company stops tending to the thing that made it great. He gives several examples of this and it is worth the read.

The church of Jesus Christ is to be a place where…

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Executive Board approves 2014 convention budget

by John Hall — September 26, 2013

DALLAS – The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board approved a $40.4 million 2014 budget for the convention.

The budget reflects essentially flat church giving through the convention’s Cooperative Program, $2.29 million in investment income and $1 million less to be raised by the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation.

Total Cooperative Program from Texas Baptists for 2014 is forecast to be $48.95 million, including $11.3 million to the Southern Baptist Convention, $1.0 million to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and $1.8 million for worldwide portion of the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program. The Board also approved the…

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‘The Art of Black Preaching’

by John Hall — September 25, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – The energetic call and response style of African American preaching garners the attention of those who have witnessed its finest practitioners.

But “the art of Black Preaching” is found in the heart of its message: transformation is possible through Christ.

Pastors call African American churches to cling faithfully to Christ, no matter how difficult circumstances become, Kinney said. Historically, African American preachers have done this well through trials and struggles.

“The black preacher never loses focus that I am to take what’s broken and provide a word to bring it back together,” John W. Kinney, dean of…

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Lebanese partnerships spread hope and aid to Syrian refugees

by Kalie Lowrie — September 23, 2013

Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis.

With the escalating disputes in Syria, many are fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. Media reports depict the great suffering and desperation, yet “God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis,” said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. “The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before.”

Costa acknowledges that the situation is extremely dangerous, but he has also seen God working in mighty ways and His name being glorified.

Youtube | MP4 | 3:00 | 71 MB

“God…

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Baby Boomers: A harvest waiting to take place

by John Hall — September 20, 2013

ALLEN – The largest cohort of Americans also happens to be the one that’s living longer than all those who came before it.

That’s no coincidence, claims Amy Hanson, the featured speaker at a conference entitled “Catching the Baby Boomer Wave,” sponsored by Texas Baptists’ Bible Study/Discipleship Department, First Baptist Church in Allen, Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

“I don’t think that’s by accident,” she said. “I think God is up to something. He’s raising up a generation.”

As Baby Boomers continue entering their retirement years, they have the time to…

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Ignite Your Passion Outreach

by Guest Author — September 16, 2013

The Ignite Your Passion Outreach was a huge success this past weekend. Pastors and Church Leaders in Eagle Pass, Texas had hoped to have a prayer meeting spanning across the bridge (between Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico) which serves as a walkway across the border. They had received permission from city officials but the decision was rescinded at the last minute and therefore the group met in the parking lot at the border and prayed for the border violence and needs of both cities.In spite of this development, over 300 from the community participated in the outreach. The event consisted of a block party…

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Christ shared around pizza boxes and guitar cases

by Maritza Solano — September 11, 2013

There are two kinds of people in our town: people who like the smell of church and people who don’t. That is not to say that they are not open to Jesus, but their perception is that the church comes with pews and weird music. So our church’s leadership has been exploring non-traditional types of Christian education by building faith community into other activities that don’t smell like church.

Our inaugural effort was to come up with a way to creatively have a study using the Alpha Course (www.alphaUSA.com). The Alpha Course is designed to approach questions of faith in Christ in a non-threatening and non-religious manner…

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ISAAC Projects opens center to directly minister to immigrants

by John Hall — September 5, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – The Immigration Service and Aid Center opened its doors on the Baptist University of the Américas campus Aug. 30 to directly help people with their citizenship issues.

The ISAAC center is Texas Baptists’ first effort to directly help immigrants work within the law and navigate the complicated path toward citizenship. In addition to helping people resolve their citizenship status, the center will serve as a training institute for people who desire accreditation to help immigrants.

In recent years, the ISAAC Project, a collaborative ministry of BUA and the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has focused on…

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May Christ’s mandate determine our work

by Daniel Rangel — September 5, 2013

Osvaldo Lerma, River Ministry Coordinator in Brownsville, TX and a few other River Ministry Coordinators were invited to go on a mission trip to Ciudad Victoria the Capital City of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico (about 180 miles from the Texas border) with Lakepointe Baptist Church. Lakepointe has been doing ministry for years in this town but they had not traveled on the road to this town for years because of the threats of violence. Recently the reports of violence have subsided. During the Spring many of the roads on the border that were once unsafe to travel were now free of violence and well protected by the Mexican…

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Community Partner Program helps churches offer access to state assistance for those without Interne

by stephen.reeves — September 3, 2013

There is now a new way your church can partner with the State of Texas to help meet the needs you see every day. Many of our churches have already engaged in a similar partnership by helping the Texas Department of Agriculture feed hungry children through their Summer Food Service Program. Now the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is looking for churches and other nonprofit organizations to help make sure folks are getting all the benefits for which they are eligible.

As a recent article in the New York Times demonstrates (A Push to Connect Millions) some people lack Internet access and the consequences are often…

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Church baptizes 85 in Guadalupe River

by John Hall — September 3, 2013

BOERNE – The waters of the Guadalupe River stirred Aug. 17, gathering hundreds. Only this time, floating the river was the last thing on visitor’s minds.

Nineteen:ten Church in Boerne baptized 85 people that day as roughly 350 witnesses lined the shore as part of the congregation’s annual end of summer celebration.

Children, teens and adults entered the water for the ordinance. Fathers baptized sons. Husbands baptized wives. Bible study leaders got to see people they’re discipling take a public step of faith. The event provided an opportunity for those who made the decisions during the church’s various camps and outreach…

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Are you thinking about missions in Mexico?

by Daniel Rangel — September 3, 2013

For the past four years we have not had Texas Baptist Churches working with us during Spring Break on the Mexican side of the border. This year Lamar BC of Beaumont, TX and FBC Vidor, TX decided to take a step of faith and go to Reynosa, Mexico in the spring. They had a medical clinic and VBS. They attended to 251 people in the medical clinic and had an average of 75 children attend VBS. 29 people made professions of faith, 6 were baptized and 1 new organic church was planted.

Here is a short letter from one of the mission team members:

On Friday we went to a small church, not far from where we were staying. We had an…

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We Care Haiti

by Marla Bearden — August 30, 2013

Partnership with Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery and Texas Baptist Men

How did it Begin? James Cundiff, a McKinney businessman and volunteer with Texas Baptist Men, was among the first responders to the Haitian earthquake in January 2010.

“We began to pray that God would provide food,” recalled Cundiff, “And God was faithful. At first it was a few meals, then a few hundred meals, then thousands, then tens of thousands of meals. I realized then that God had a much bigger plan here than I did.” James Cundiff founded We Care Haiti the next day.

What’s Happening Now? We Care Haiti remains active, providing not only physical…

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Executive Board votes to sell Glorieta Texan Lodge

by John Hall — August 30, 2013

The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board unanimously voted to sell the Texan Lodge at the Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico and invest the revenue in convention-sponsored youth camps.

The board voted to sell the lodge for $100,000 to Glorieta 2.0, a Christian camp group that is buying the conference center from LifeWay Christian Resources. The BGCT will then create a “quasi-endowment” with the funds, which will produce $4,000-5,000 year to support BGCT youth camps such as Camp Exalted and Camp Fusion.

Texas Baptists’ Treasurer Jill Larsen said the endowment would continue the type of work the funds were…

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Eagle Pass: Rebuilding Houses, Rebuilding Lives

by Marla Bearden — August 30, 2013

What Happened? Eagle Pass is a South Texas city located on the Rio Grande border, linked via bridge to the Mexican city of Piedras Negras. In June, this community suffered a bought of extreme flooding. No deaths were reported, but many people had to be evacuated from their houses during the disaster. More than 300 homes were damaged or even destroyed, and two months after the disaster, this community is only beginning to recover.

What is Being Done?

The Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association (DRUBA) is partnering with local churches to support the citizens of Eagle Pass as they continue to rebuild their city.

On September…

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He redeems my wayward thoughts

by Guest Author — August 29, 2013

It’s my first morning in this apartment. I am aware of the presence of the Spirit and I let my thoughts wander. I feel a wave of thankfulness rush over me. I have such a homey space to live in for the next year. It’s old and dated, definitely doesn’t smell new, it has an interesting paint job from the previous BSM intern, mismatched furniture, stained carpet, and the ceiling looks like it’s falling down in the bedroom.

But my mind’s on something else. I’m imagining the fellowship that will happen in this space. I think of those who’ll meet here weekly and do life together, our time in worship, the revelations that’ll occur…

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Mobberly Baptist declares ‘I am not ashamed!’

by John Hall — August 28, 2013

LONGVIEW – In a pair of jeans and a black and green t-shirt, Pastor Glynn Stone asked people participating in Mobberly Baptist Church’s worship services to proclaim one simple yet powerful message through action: I am not ashamed.

They did it in droves.

Eighty people were baptized Aug. 18 after the pastor explained the significance of the ordinance and provided biblical examples of getting baptized as a public display of a decision to follow Christ.

“Baptism is a sermon of you committing your life to Jesus Christ,” he said. “Today, we get to celebrate that.”

The church attempted to remove all barriers that may make people…

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Down to get a free snow cone

by Guest Author — August 28, 2013

At Texas A&M University-Kingsville, our BSM has been blessed with close relationships between our staff and the University’s personnel responsible for all freshman orientations, welcome week and student affairs. Because of this friendship, we have been given the opportunity to serve the incoming freshman week after week while they are in town for two days going through orientation.

Each night that we are at freshman orientation, we have the privilege of serving snow cones, ice cream or coke floats to 100-200 students, and we are the only student organization to do so.

With this, we are able to connect with many students and…

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Changing one life at a time

by Guest Author — August 27, 2013

Over the last couple of months, as I have prepared to serve as a Campus Missionary Intern this school year, God has been teaching me a lot about myself and the mission He has called me to. For someone my age I look at the world I live in and see so many big issues but I also see God moving in big ways.

I was sitting thinking yesterday about how I am moving away from my family and the close friends I have been blessed with while in college in order to serve at a new campus in a new town. As I began to think about the life that I am leaving behind, I was reminded of what my pastor said last Sunday. I will probably never cure…

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Back to School

by John Hall — August 26, 2013

School started today for many young people across the state. Through a partnership between your church, Texas Baptists and Dallas Baptist Association, one school received an extra boost. Watch Video Now

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Tears in Shoreditch

by Guest Author — August 26, 2013

Never thinking God would challenge me as I walked the streets of London alone taking pictures of the less likely thought as art, creativity that covered the walls from street to street.

Feeling as I should walk passed my train station to go home and since it wasn’t too dark I could see a little more before having to head home. My legs ached and exhaustion crept in, but I felt a tug to keep going and said to my self I will just walk a little past the tunnel (below where the train crossed). Saw some great art on the walls and took some great pictures!

Then…

Thinking I was going to just walk past and continue to take pictures as…

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How do our churches minister to schools?

by Guest Author — August 26, 2013

1) How did your church first get started working with your local schools?

We have been working with the local schools for over 10 years. – Tom G. Revilla

It started with our geographic location right across the street. After unsuccessful attempts to interact we prayed for openings to collaborate. When a new principal came on we began to partner together to do an event. We gathered a group of members that are teachers by profession and brainstormed ideas of how we can interact and support the schools in our neighborhood. – Adam Griffin

2) Were there any obstacles to overcome when you first started? If so, what were they?

The…

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Church born from tragedy to serve students

by Guest Author — August 22, 2013

In the wake of two teen suicides and 20 student drug overdoses in the 2010-2011 school year, Hip Hop Hope Missions, an outreach program of Eyes On Me Inc, responded to a call from a local missionary, pastor and High School assistant principle and reached into a community to serve the students of Royal High School. They connected with the students through music in a general assembly that encouraged and entertained them during the school hours. In the evening they held a concert where they preached the gospel and over 100 students responded to the Gospel that evening.

From that point they began to meet students’ needs through…

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Serving as the eyes and ears of Jesus in Oklahoma

by Guest Author — August 21, 2013

Gary Henneke, Pastor of Frelsburg Baptist Church of New Ulm, Texas joined 140 volunteers who served during the recent “Loving Oklahoma” event. Gary is a trained NOVA Chaplain and joined to see how his training could be of assistance on the field. Gary wrote the below account of his experiences and concluded that Chaplains are very much so needed as Disaster Recovery teams continue to serve in areas affected by disasters. Gary stated “We certainly need to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus during these times but we must not also forget to be the “eyes and ears” of Our Lord during these recovery events.” Gary worked with “Field…

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Practical ways your church can share Christ’s love in schools

by Guest Author — August 21, 2013

Mounds of glue sticks, construction paper, pencils, and backpacks line store shelves, signaling the fast approaching start of a new school year. For churches, these first signs point to much more than the end of the busy summer event schedule and the start of high attendance season for Sunday School. The start of the new school year marks the start of a unique and much needed opportunity to share Christ’s love with our local schools.

Popular belief might lead you to believe that school doors are padlocked and chained against anyone associated with a church. This is certainly not the case. Schools today are facing many issues…

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Truett Elementary: God still cares

by John Hall — August 20, 2013

More than 96 percent of the students at George W. Truett Elementary School in Dallas are economically disadvantaged. Many of them come from refugee families who come to the area with very little. As a result, nearly 70 percent of them are considered “at-risk.”

In many ways, the more than 1,000 students – above what other public elementary schools serve – who attend school there have been ignored. Until recently, the school buildings had become dilapidated. Portables meant to help the situation also became run down.

The start of the school year opens an opportunity for Texas Baptists to show these students that they have not…

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FBC Dripping Springs brings foreign missions home

by John Hall — August 20, 2013

DRIPPING SPRINGS – To share the gospel overseas, churches do construction projects, prayer efforts and service initiatives.

First Baptist Church wondered: Can’t it do something very similar in its own community?

Out that spirit, the congregation birthed Mission Drippin’, a weeklong effort to invest in their community. This July 28-Aug. 4, mission teams met in homes across the area to pray for their neighbors and neighborhoods. The next day, they prayed specifically for the schools their children attend.

Then they took to the streets, cleaning up part of the Dripping Springs from which the city’s name is derived. They cleaned…

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How is your church serving schools in your city?

by Brian Dusek — August 20, 2013

In Acts 1:8 Jesus gives an undeniable and inescapable mandate for all believers to be on mission in their city, their state and country, and all over the world. I would like to clarify that when I say missions or missional, I am referring to churches and believers intentionally proclaiming—with anyone they come in contact with, wherever they find themselves—the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and testifying to the transformational work God has done in their lives.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of…

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Loving Oklahoma volunteers help victims rebuild and restore

by Guest Author — August 15, 2013

A series of tornadoes in May of this year devastated parts of Oklahoma, taking lives and flattening houses. Two and a half months later, residents still have needs as they try to restart their lives.

On August 5-10, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and World Vision to help meet many of those needs through the recovery effort Loving Oklahoma.

More than 130 volunteers scattered across a widespread area from El Reno to Shawnee, Okla. to aid in debris pick-up, house construction, donation sorting and other needs. Many came in church groups and some came as individuals.

According to…

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Lay cowboy church pastor, wife save two drowning children

by John Hall — August 15, 2013

GARNER STATE PARK – Rebecca Strange prays for God to use her and her husband “for your will.”

On Aug. 6, it was God’s orchestration of small events that led them to be exactly where God wanted them, the couple said. Visiting Garner State Park on their honeymoon, Richard and Rebecca decided to stay a day beyond their initial plans. They were enjoying the trip, and one more day would be wonderful, they thought.

The extra time gave them a chance to go fishing that evening. They hadn’t caught or seen anything of significant size, and the couple was about to pack up for the night. Then Rebecca spied “biggest bass I’ve ever seen…

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Heart notes about my time with Russian orphans

by Guest Author — August 15, 2013

June 1 – While in the city we have been given the opportunity to volunteer at a local hospital. Children who are removed by social services from problem homes or Russia’s streets are taken to this hospital. Here the children are evaluated and diagnosed medically. It is then decided whether the children will enter into something similar to foster care, go to an orphanage, or be placed in any other kind of institution that houses children.

June 2 – At the hospital, a few of the children stuck out in my mind. One of them was Anya. She was two years-old and had a sister that was with her at the hospital. Her name was Nastia, and…

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Uniforms: They’re elementary

by John Hall — August 13, 2013

DALLAS – Join Texas Baptists, Dallas Baptist Association and First Baptist Church in Dallas as they partner to provide uniforms and Bibles for every student of George W. Truett Elementary School.

The three partners are working together to raise $15,000 to provide a uniform and Bible for each of the more than 1,000 students enrolled at the school, which is named after a legendary Baptist statesman and former pastor of First Baptist Church.

The uniforms would be a significant to help to area families, said Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage. More than 96 percent of Truett Elementary students are economically…

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Hard knock life

by Guest Author — August 13, 2013

The only men inside the orfanitorio are the security guards. 80-or-so children play within the fenced courtyard; they are shielded from outside dangers and void of inside comforts. The orphanage is an institution rather than a home. A ‘mother’ cooks for the children, but no mommy dotes on them. A man guards the door, but no father walks through it. These children were removed from fractured homes, but not given a replacement.

In the midst of such circumstances, the children wonder as to their worth and struggle to define their dignity.

One gordita girl revels in our attention. Sitting in my lap is a particular…

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“The Show Must Go On”

by Tim Studstill — August 12, 2013

Did you hear the one about the three staff members comparing notes after their meetings with the finance committee? The youth pastor was a little glum about being asked to reduce his budget by ten percent. The education minister was pleased to find he could keep his proposed budget at 100 percent. While hearing the other two discuss the issue, the music minister sat uncharacteristically silent. When asked how his meeting had gone, he tried to change the subject. Finally he reluctantly admitted that the committee had raised his budget proposal by 25 percent! Stunned, the other two asked for an explanation. In response, the…

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Three keys to sharing the gospel with your children

by Guest Author — August 8, 2013

Parents prioritize laying a solid foundation for their children early on that will undergird the rest of their lives. Parents know that early awareness, habit formation and discipline of sport and music helps their children develop. To that end, parents invest their time, energy and resources to give their children the best possible start.

Parents must have that same kind of passion for laying a proper spiritual foundation, including sharing the gospel with their children. In many ways, the same principles for coaching youth sports teams apply to sharing the gospel with children.

Be a coach. Coaches are always there for…

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Tell me the stories of Jesus

by Guest Author — August 8, 2013

On Friday, we taught Religion class and I was designated “narrator” of the story of David and Goliath while Ashley “played” David and Taylor, Goliath. (Note: I learned after getting some funny faces it is pronounced Go-lee-ath in Kenya!) It really is rather convenient when telling the story of the little shepherd boy David and the giant Goliath to have team members who are a foot apart in height! We learned that “God is BIG” and “God is STRONG” (with VBS-like actions of course) and I wrote a simple song the night before that tells how we praise God by dancing, praying, waving, playing instruments, etc. We sang while the…

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On mission in Mission

by Guest Author — August 6, 2013

Buckner Project Go! volunteers travel all over the world and dedicate one or two months of their summer to minister to orphan children, caregivers, in-country staff, and short-term mission trip groups.

A team of five students through Project Go! served the month of June in Mission, TX through VBS and warehouse work at a Buckner Community Transformation Center, laying a foundation and beginning on the base for the floor of a home for a family in the community.

Are you looking for a place to serve? You can find mission opportunities like the ones available through Project Go! on Be On Mission. You may also toggle between Open…

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Sharing God in Alaska

by Guest Author — August 5, 2013

A new mission team has settled in to the projects in Anchorage this week. They have meticulously prepared stories, crafts, and games for our kids to enjoy after we finish serving them the orange and white boxes of government-sponsored food. On the blue tarp, the kids wiggle and whisper their way through story time. We finally finish learning about Pharaoh and his unwillingness to let the people of Israel go, and just as we start to enter in to a time of questions (with candy rewards, of course), the maintenance man comes….and he has a sprinkler. Instantly the kids run over to the spraying water like they are being pulled…

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Needs from disaster area apparent as school starts

by Gerald Davis — August 5, 2013

The pastors in Eagle Pass are intent on helping families recover from the recent flooding in Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras. Their immediate need is to supply families with needed items like household goods, furniture, bedding, school supplies & back packs to replace items that were lost in the flood. Eagle Pass is also in need of volunteers to help replace sheet rock and reconstruct homes that were damaged by the flooding.

Donated supplies should be sent to: Iglesia Bautista Peniel Pastor – Felipe Garcia 1595 Juanita Drive Eagle Pass, Texas 78852

Pastor Garcia is identifying families in his community that need the help so…

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Courageously Caring

by John Hall — August 2, 2013

Courageous Church, a Fort Worth congregation started with the help of Texas Baptists, hosts a “Party in the Park” for the homeless where individuals received help, encouragement, prayer and a free meal. Courageous Church, another Texas Baptist congregation deeply rooted in Christ and in their community. Watch Video Now

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Go Now Missions: A new understanding of Father

by Guest Author — August 2, 2013

It is Ramadan here in South Asia. Ramadan is a month long fasting for Muslims. Honestly, it is epitome of a works based system. Islam is a spiritual power that exerts control over this time. Muslims are repressed into Islamic traditions. Many Muslims blindly follow strict fasting due to extreme fears.

Satan has strongholds on these traditions and fear. It is overwhelming the extent of darkness during this time. It is heartbreaking. This past week, my friend and I were invited into a Muslim home to break fast for the evening.

I was blown away by her interest in the Good news in HER home. She invited us in her home so she could…

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Bible Study: What is Open Group?

by Phil Miller — August 1, 2013

When we examine the Great Commission passage of Matthew 28:19-20, several important words are customarily highlighted – “go,” “teach,” “observe.” The word rarely mentioned is “them.” What an incredibly important word that should draw our continued attention as Sunday School leaders, focusing our efforts toward reaching the lost in our neighborhoods.

The Open Group concept in Sunday School is foundational to a successful Bible study ministry in our churches. Over time, it’s easy for people to focus their small group toward their own wants and needs, and less on those who are outside. As Sunday School leaders, we must continue…

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Home is where the heart is

by Guest Author — August 1, 2013

We’ve heard this phrase time after time. Everyone knows it. We think of home and certain things come to mind. It’s different for everyone, but for me it’s things like family, love, comfort, and familiarity.

But what about the people who don’t have a home? What about the kids who have never known family, or even love? Not only are they “houseless”, meaning they don’t have the four walls or comfy bed, but they are truly without family or community. What about the orphans?

“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend…

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Go Now Missions: Overcoming fear

by Guest Author — July 31, 2013

Honestly, there were many things coming into South Asia that made me extremely fearful. I was nervous about the darkness, depravity and strongholds. I was terrified about my extensive traveling schedule.

But, I think majority of the fear that consumed me was feelings of inadequacy for my role in South Asia this summer. This summer, I have been doing media over the summer missionaries here in South Asia. My role was to create mobilization and awareness materials from summer students. I desired to utilize my talents in cinematography to capture God’s work on film so others can join in the work that the Father is already doing…

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Conference set to gear churches for boomer wave

by Guest Author — July 31, 2013

The baby boomer wave is upon senior adult ministries, and people from all across the country are registering to “catch it” with the National Boomer Ministry Conference Sept. 5-6.

At First Baptist Church in Allen, participants will have a full schedule of breakout sessions, general sessions and entertainment.

Baby boomers remain the largest population group, now ranging in ages 49-67, said Keith Lowry, Texas Baptists’ single adult/family ministry/senior adult specialist. They tend to have a different mindset than the previous generation when it comes to finding a church home and often are turned off by the term “senior adult…

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Texas Baptists give more than $230,000 for hungry through Mother’s Day offering

by John Hall — July 31, 2013

Texas Baptists gave more than $230,000 to help the hungry through last Spring’s Mother’s Day offering.

Congregations donated $234,164 through the Mother’s Day emphasis for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which feeds and assists hungry people through 210 projects including 115 in Texas.

Texas Baptists’ Executive Director David Hardage thanked Texas Baptists for their generosity, believing this was a great first step toward the convention’s goal of eventually raising $1 million for the hungry on Mother’s Day.

Texas Baptists willingness to give throughout the Spring shone brightly as churches not only gave to the Mother’s Day…

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Go Now Missions: Seeing past the labels

by Guest Author — July 30, 2013

Special needs boy, disabled boy, different boy…so many labels are attached to him by society confusing what he has with who he is. When I look at him I see him and his name is who he is. The limitations he has do not define who he is.

Of all the ministries I knew I would be apart of in Missions Centers of Houston, I would have never guessed that God would use me to minister to special needs individuals in a community where they are being ignored.

These past few weeks one of the focuses of our prayers has been God showing us how to minister to the special needs individuals in our community. God has definitely been hearing…

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Texas Baptists set to help tornado victims by “Loving Oklahoma”

by John Hall — July 29, 2013

Texas Baptists are preparing to help people affected by last Spring’s tornados through “Loving Oklahoma,” five-day concentrated service effort to assist those around Oklahoma City.

Volunteers and teams will be working Aug. 5-10 on projects identified through local long-term disaster recovery officials. The ministry will vary from cleaning up debris to working distribution centers to light construction.

The mission opportunity is made possible by Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery, through a partnership with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Disaster Response. Officials aim to bring aid, encouragement and the hope of Christ to…

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Texas cooking draws people in – even in Italy

by John Hall — July 29, 2013

The smell of Texas barbecue tickles noses, makes mouths water and attracts a crowd.

Even in Italy.

A mission team from Coastal Bend Fellowship in Kingsville discovered Texas barbecue is an ideal way to bring Italians together. Partnering with Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board missionaries Charlie and Shannon Worthy, the Texans held two barbecues during a June 7-17 trip.

The team held a barbecue for the missionaries in their neighborhood, where as many as 150 curious people – at least half of whom were non-Christians – came to experience a taste of Texas. The missionaries were in the process of relocating…

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It’s never too late

by John Hall — July 29, 2013

Many a pastor has said it while giving an invitation: It’s never too late to turn to Jesus. He’s always there with open arms. He calls each of us.

It just takes some people longer to respond to His love than others.

A Unitarian, Jim had always been interested in spiritual matters. He’s a man who likes to ask questions and look for explanations. He has done plenty of both.

But answers never got him closer to God. In some ways, that’s how life is. You can know all the answers, but never really know the God who has all the answers. That can only happen through a relationship with Him. And that changes everything.

Just like it…

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CLC 83rd Session Report

by Ferrell Foster — July 26, 2013

Christian Life Commission Final Report: 83rd Regular Legislative Session

During each legislative session, the Christian Life Commission (CLC) works to promote sound public policy on a variety of fronts important to Texas residents. The following is a list of bills the CLC actively followed, supported and, in some cases, opposed during the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature.

In this edition: Predatory Lending Food Policy Gambling/Texas Lottery Human Trafficking Public Education Adult Education Immigration Advanced Directives Stay Informed

PREDATORY LENDING http://predatorylendingclc.com/

In the 83rd Legislative…

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Go Now Missions: What am I doing with my life?

by Guest Author — July 25, 2013

This is a question that I often use in jest, but that I also often ask myself and ask God. And from each I often get no answer; why should I worry myself with the future, when the present has enough problems of its own that request my attention?

But at the same time, whenever I ask this question, I always get the same response about the present: I am letting God use my life for His purposes.

I felt the call to go to Russia for about a year before I was connected by crazy circumstance to a team going from Texas A&M. It has been almost two years since I first felt that call, and now I am here, in Russia, letting God use my life…

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Pray. Just pray.

by Guest Author — July 24, 2013

Have you ever felt like a catalyst? A catalyst is “an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action”. So put simply, a catalyst is something that helps the bigger something happen faster.

I feel as if I’ve been that for the past 6 weeks. I say this not to boast, but to share how God has humbled me. Here in East Asia, there are already people working to make God’s name known and I feel that God just picked me up and placed me in the middle of it all and said “Pray. That is all. Just Pray.”

“Pray Continually” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 17

There were many times when I would sit down and pray for God to allow us to share…

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Hispanic Baptists in Texas Looking Toward Future

by Guest Author — July 23, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – Hispanic Baptists are well-positioned to focus on what God has laid on their hearts for the convention’s future, said Jesse Rincones, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas executive director.

“I thank God I’ve had the opportunity to serve for the last three years,” Rincones said of serving as president and more recently executive director. “It’s been a historic time, a time of transition.”

Since signing the unification agreement with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2010, Hispanic Baptists have celebrated their centennial, made changes to some of their bylaws, established the volunteer position of…

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Texas Baptist Camps: Made to glorify Him

by Guest Author — July 23, 2013

After leaving my work at Camp Chaparral last summer, I knew I wanted to return to work there again. I loved the atmosphere and the fulfillment of serving God there.

This year as a returning staffer I was so excited to start work and my expectations were set high. I was nervous at first because I learned that most of my friends that I worked with last year weren’t returning but God has definitely exceeded my expectations this year. So far I’ve gotten to celebrate with two kids that gave their hearts to Christ. One of them is the child of a good friend!I’ve made several new life long friends in my coworkers.

Working here has…

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Hospitality House comforts during loss

by Rand Jenkins — July 22, 2013

People face decisions every day. Some have little affect. Others impact every aspect of life, friends and family.

Almost 20 years ago, he pled guilty to a crime that the state of Texas deems worthy of the death penalty. And it’s set for 6:00 tonight.

In the meantime, some siblings and relatives sit around a game table playing Monopoly next to a large fish tank. Just before lunch, other family members come out of their rooms. One is wearing a t-shirt with the printed image of another relative who died recently due to illness. She looks as if she’s ready for all of this to be over but hopeful nonetheless for a stay of…

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Go Now Missions: Planting the seed

by Guest Author — July 22, 2013

All morning we spent setting up for our community wide block party with help from the three hundred strong Prestonwood youth choir. The morning turned to noon and things became frustrating as the large bounce house inflatable failed to blow up. As I walked away feeling frustrated, God reminded me why we were setting up bounce houses and giving away five hundred hot dogs in the first place – to engage the community of Richmond, BC with the truth and life of Jesus Christ.

I redirected my heart and steps and introduced myself to a Chinese family enjoying hotdogs in the shade. They were inviting and had questioned why so many…

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Family Gathering volunteers help bring new look to San Antonio church

by Guest Author — July 18, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – Volunteers ripped out paneling and combined their handiwork skills to assist a church during the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

The 91-year-old Harlandale Baptist Church building has been in need of an updated interior and exterior for some time, said Dan Trevino, who has been the church’s pastor for 10 years.

Texas Baptists teamed up with San Antonio Baptist Association to provide a group of volunteers who signed up for the mission opportunity in the exhibit hall of the Family Gathering.

The volunteers prepped the worship area for a new paint job, which Trevino said will bring openness to the room. He hopes the…

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Texas Baptist camps: HLCCC shares story through social media

by Guest Author — July 18, 2013

Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center serves guests all year long, but they are right in the middle of their busiest season and they are sharing their story in all the ways that they can.

You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SmugMug to see how they are sharing the gospel this summer with thousands of campers. You can also watch a live stream of some of their worship services here: http://www.hlccc.org/summer-camps/live-stream/.

Here are some of the things that you will see:

Please pray right now! for our worship service at Highland Lakes Camp Journey Youth Camp. The Clayton Tyner Band is ready to go and Read more...


Unified, Texas Baptists seek to carry out Great Commission

by John Hall — July 17, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – Fulfilling the Great Commission requires Texas Baptists to work united for the cause of Christ, according to presenters in the final worship service of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

The Great Commission is Christ’s command to His followers, said Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. They are to be doctors for the sick, people who bring the ill to a place of healing.

“I believe that’s our mandate,” he said, preaching from Romans 12:3-4. “I believe that’s our call. I believe we must be passionate about bringing men and women into the kingdom of the most high God.”

There are people in…

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African American Fellowship visions future, studies new age statistics

by Guest Author — July 16, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – African American Baptists were challenged to look into the future with a new set of lenses as they gathered together at this year’s Culp Banquet, celebrated during the Texas Baptists Family Gathering.

Photo: From left to right: Oscar Epps, President; Ponce L. Brown, Vice President; Glen J. Samuels, Secretary; Elmo Johnson, Treasurer; Michael Evans, Former President

Nat Irvin II, professor of management at the University of Louisville, recalled a childhood memory when an unfortunate incident with glass caused blindness in one of his eyes.

“Just because you have eyesight doesn’t mean you aren’t blind,” he said as…

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God has called Texas Baptists to a mission

by John Hall — July 16, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Baptists have been called to reach the state for Christ – a task that must be completed.

Featured speakers from the second evening worship service of the Family Gathering, reminded meeting participants that God has called Christians to reach their communities, their state and beyond.

To do that requires believers to have an intense focus on the mission at hand, said Bedilu Yirga, pastor of Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church in Garland. Each action they take, every work of ministry they perform must help expand God’s kingdom. To maximize their impact, Christians must work together in a spirit of…

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The sweatiest job I ever loved

by Guest Author — July 16, 2013

From standing over the steam table to serve chicken-fried-whatever with gravy to running around with day campers to life-guarding to cleaning the entire camp in a few hours for the next group that was coming, they are some of the hottest, hardest but most treasured memories that I have.

But more than the heat, I remember who I served with and how God used these people and their examples in their faith, their work, their growth and their love to mold parts of me and who I am today.

We were a team of college students and high school volunteers that spent hours doing hard, dirty and hot work. Our sun up to way past sun down…

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Breaking the chains of darkness, revisited

by Guest Author — July 16, 2013

This summer, I have reverently been praying for divine appointments in South Asia. Honestly, my heart hurts deeply for this place. My biggest prayer is for His truth to be shared and embraced in the darkest corners of South Asia.

Last week, we were prayer walking around a Hindu temple in the city. These temples are incredibly dark places. Imagine yourself walking into a temple where people are convulsing and chanting to the daily animal sacrifices.

Darkness is heavy on your chest as you walk barefoot on the “holy”, blood, and dirt stained floor. Hundreds of people are shoving you to make their daily sacrifices to their idols…

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2013-2014 Officers Elected to the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas

by Guest Author — July 15, 2013

Hispanic Baptists elected the first female convention president in their 103-year history this morning.

The announcement came after two rounds of voting. The first – a race between Daniel ‘Tiny’ Dominguez, current president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention; Bea Mesquias, member of United Baptist Church in Harlingen; and Manuel Rios, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Monte Calvario in San Antonio – did not result in a clear majority.

The runoff was a close race; Mesquias won with 100 votes, versus Rios’ 97.

Mesquias has a long resume of accomplishments in Baptist life. She has served on the boards of the Woman’s Missionary Union of…

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Hardage: Thank you, Texas Baptists

by John Hall — July 15, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – The breadth of Texas Baptists’ ministry is wide, and its commitment to sharing the gospel is deep.

For all that they are doing, Texas Baptists’ Executive Director David Hardage gives thanks. Because congregations are generous with their resources in their communities and through Texas Baptists, ministry is possible.

“You make a difference, Texas Baptists,” he said. “On behalf of the lives you touched and the lives you helped, let me just say ‘Thank you.’”

Speaking during the Baptist General Convention of Texas business session of the Family Gathering, Hardage shared glimpses of what Texas Baptists are doing…

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Messengers grant board authority to consider building sale

by Guest Author — July 15, 2013

SAN ANTONIO — Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting elected officers and granted the BGCT Executive Board and an ad hoc committee authority to consider sale of the Baptist Building in Dallas.

In the second day of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering and during the first BGCT business session, messengers re-elected Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, to a second term as president by acclamation.

Messengers also elected by acclamation Kathy Hillman of Waco as first vice president, René Maciel of San Antonio as second vice president, Bernie Spooner of Coppell as secretary of…

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Go Now Missions: The nations in New York

by Guest Author — July 15, 2013

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and find him through he is not far from any one of us.” Act 17:26-27

This bible verse is the driving force of the kind of perspective that I have as I take a look of New York, because the nations are here. I have interacted with people from India, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, and Dominican Republic on a daily basis. This has become my norm. It’s amazing to see how a state within the U.S. serves as a home to the nations!

By…

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Guarneri: Bible calls Christians to embrace diversity

by Guest Author — July 14, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – The bible calls believers to embrace diversity, not just tolerate it, according to Julio Guarneri, who presented the Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting sermon July 14. Using Acts 1:8 and Revelation 7:9 as his guiding texts, Guarneri, pastor for Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, preached that God’s heart and vision for the church is inclusivity. Acts 1:8 delivers Jesus’ stated purpose for the church: to reach “the ends of the earth,” Guarneri said. This can – and often does – mean crossing geographic boundaries, but it also means crossing cultural boundaries close to home. Samaria was…

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Common Ground at the Cross of Christ

by Guest Author — July 14, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – Christians should seek unity because of their desire for and delight in the Lord, Earl Grant, pastor of Covenant Church in San Antonio, shared in the opening session of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

“Diversity is a given because diversity is the inherent mix,” he said. “It is the inclusion or intentional integration that makes the mix work well.”

“You need to know you are saved, and because of your salvation you can handle it,” Grant explained. “You have been called and cleansed by God. You have been washed in the blood.”

He went on to share that as Texas Baptists, “we come to a common ground at the cross…

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Johnson discusses Dr. Seuss and diversity

by Guest Author — July 14, 2013

SAN ANTONIO — With children gathered around and a Dr. Seuss book in hand, Baptist General Convention of Texas President Jeff Johnson added a metaphorical twist to this year’s presidential message.

Johnson began his message at the Texas Baptists Family Gathering, an event that brought together the diverse Texas Baptist family, by reading The Sneetches, a Dr. Seuss story where the sneetches learn a valuable lesson about peaceful coexistence between one another regardless of their diverse appearance. Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, grasped the children’s attention on the stage as the screens displayed…

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God’s power shown through His church, people

by John Hall — July 14, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – God’s plan for expanding His kingdom entails working through the lives of people in His church in such a way that they testify about Him, according to Victor Rodriguez, pastor of Life Church of San Antonio.

The former Baptist General Convention of Texas president was the featured preacher during the Hispanic rally that kicked off the Family Gathering, a bringing together of the diverse body of Texas Baptists.

The rally was filled with energetic worship and Rodriguez’s poignant preaching, which encouraged Texas Baptists to share the gospel in their communities. God desires a relationship with every person. To do…

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Senator cites BGCT letter in arguing for stronger abortion restrictions

by John Hall — July 13, 2013

AUSTIN – A senator cited a letter from Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Director David Hardage as lawmakers passed stronger restrictions on abortions across the state.

Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, shared three paragraphs of a letter that Hardage wrote to every Texas legislator that presented Texas Baptists’ affirmation of life. The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission staff delivered the letter early in the Texas legislature’s discussion of bills that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Senate passed the provision July 12 by a vote of 19-11, with Lucio as the sole Democrat to vote for…

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Executive Director’s Letter on Abortion Legislation

by David Hardage — July 12, 2013

Dear Legislator,

With the recent addition of abortion-related legislation to the call of the special session, I write today to remind you of the position of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and urge your careful consideration of bills intent on reducing abortion in Texas. Read more?

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Go Now Missions: Divine appointment

by Guest Author — July 12, 2013

From the moment I stepped foot through the doors I knew this place was different from any that I had been in all summer. I have been doing missions work everyday for three weeks but when I entered this portable building I knew the presence of the Lord was at work there stronger than I had felt it anywhere else. I looked out the window and saw a crowd of people in a line the wrapped around the building and into the parking lot of First Baptist Church Orlando.

Each face was a face that was in desperate need of help. They were here as a last resort. They had found their way to this church on this rainy Wednesday morning to ask…

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Welcome to the Family Gathering

by John Hall — July 12, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Baptist family is gathering July 14-16 like never before.

The African American Fellowship of Texas, Texas Fellowship of Cowboy Churches, Vietnamese Baptist Fellowship of Texas, Lao Baptist Fellowship, Chinese Baptist Fellowship of Texas and Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas are holding their respective annual meetings in conjunction with the Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting for the first time, setting the stage for the most diverse gathering in the convention’s history.

On top of the ethnic diversity, the meeting also features opportunities for Texas Baptists of all ages…

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One = Three = Six!

by Linda Wear — July 11, 2013

Can you believe it? You can provide 6 people with a nutritious meal for just ONE DOLLAR! Between now and August 31, you can anyway. The David M. Crowley Foundation has issued a generous $100,000 matching challenge to friends of the North Texas Food Bank. On an average day the NTFB personnel can turn $1 into three nutritious meals for food insecure individuals who live in the 13-counties they serve—an amazing feat in itself. By donating as part of the matching challenge, you can turn those three meals into six! Let’s see…$5 means 30 meals; $10 means 60 meals; and so it goes. Who of you can resist an opportunity to feed…

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Jespersen named urban missions director

by Guest Author — July 10, 2013

DALLAS — Texas Baptists has named Ryan Jespersen director of urban missions.

With a majority of the population living in urban, inner-city areas, Jespersen believes these communities need more outreach, which he plans to encourage through his new position.

“You’re typically not going to have as strong of churches in the inner-city,” he said. “My goal is to eventually ‘call out the called’ of young people who want to pastor and work in urban churches.”

In his new role, Jespersen will provide leadership and guidance for short-term, mid-term and long-term volunteers who can help strengthen existing urban churches and plant new…

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Go Now Missions: Breaking the chains of darkness

by Guest Author — July 10, 2013

Earlier this month, I was sobbing because I was so overwhelmed by the deep chains of darkness here in South Asia. I struggled because I wanted desperately for these people to come to know and embrace our sweet savior Jesus Christ. I wondered why the Holy Spirit was not working faster.

Later that day, my partner and I grabbed coffee with a girl we had met on the metro. We shared the gospel and our stories and I was amazed to see how Jesus stirred her heart in mighty ways.

When we met with her just two days later, she said she was overwhelmed by our message and it had completely changed her heart. She keep saying, “I am a…

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The same roots

by Guest Author — July 10, 2013

Sitting on couches overlaid with colorful quilts, university students from Dallas Baptist University and the University of Sao Paulo each sang to the tune of “Amazing Grace” in their own language. I was one of the individuals in the room who identified with the Brazilian students, being from Spanish descent; however, I differed in the language in which I sang. To hear voices raised singing in English, Spanish and Portuguese was a beautiful picture of God’s glory in both the unity and diversity in the Kingdom of God. The same beauty is reflected in Texas Baptist congregations across our state.

When I entered college, I began…

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I Have Arrived!

by Tim Studstill — July 9, 2013

Have I mentioned before that I really love to travel? I thrive on new experiences, opportunities, restaurants, scenery, people and places. I have often found, however, that the first time I go someplace can be a little frustrating, perhaps even intimidating, until I get my bearings in a new environment.

Driving is my preferred manner of transportation around Texas, but my tight schedule this past year has necessitated many flights to get me there and back again in time to go somewhere else and back again. Again. But there is a silver lining to all of this flying: I am now a frequent flyer with one of my favorite airlines! As…

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Opposing abortion in a world of vulnerable people

by Ferrell Foster — July 9, 2013

The Christian Life Commission has received a couple of questions about why it honored Texas Sen. Wendy Davis with its Horizon Award in 2012. As virtually everyone knows, Davis was thrust into the national political spotlight in June with her filibuster in opposition to a bill supported by many Texas Baptists, including me.

The CLC honored Sen. Davis last year for her support of various issues that are important to Texas Baptists, including opposition to predatory lending practices. The senator from Fort Worth has been vital to the legislative effort to limit immoral payday and auto title lending practices, which are…

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Continue on with the challenge

by Guest Author — July 8, 2013

At the age of 21 sitting in a room filled with about 6,000 Hispanic youth and young adults at Congreso, my heart pumped quickly, my lungs needed to inhale deeply and a non-stop stream of tears came down my face. It didn’t take long before realizing the altar call was for me! Right then and there, it could not be clearer; I needed to answer the call as a bilingual Hispanic pastor in Texas and to respond with being on mission for God along with encouraging others to do the same.

You either are living on mission or you are not. Please keep in mind there is no in-between. If we are to change the future of this world, let alone…

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Go Now Missions: Trust and Obey

by Guest Author — July 8, 2013

When we arrived in North Africa, we were told by our host missionaries that the next day we would be going to an area on the outskirts of town to spend the night.They told us that they had never taken a team here and they really were not sure why we were going. All they knew is that as they prayed about the schedule for our team, the Lord had said to go here. They told us that this area had lots of worship of Satan and that Wednesday was a day to “celebrate” Satan with alters, sacrifices and worship. Trusting and obeying, we all loaded up on Sunday and headed out! Our only plan was to have some good team time in preparation…

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A beautiful mosaic

by Guest Author — July 4, 2013

Diverse…We all would love to use this word to describe our worship experience. But is that the true depiction of what we see on Sunday morning?

Texas Baptists is no doubt an ultra diverse association of Baptist churches, but what about each church individually? If we ALL were to assemble in one place, we would resemble a beautiful and grand mosaic art piece. But, this is not what I see in my neck of the woods.

In my city and in most of Texas, Sunday morning worship still is the most segregated hour. We publicly endorse social progression, but then we allow our services to travel back in time to the 1950s. Just being part of…

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Depression in a world of faith

by John Hall — July 3, 2013

Across this state, ministers are smiling on the outside while withering inside. Many don’t know what to call what they’re experiencing. They struggle even to put it into words.

Related articles: Symptoms of depression | Minister burnout and depression: Proactive steps

Counseling professionals know precisely what to call it: depression. Research indicates as much as 68 percent of ministers are dealing with symptoms related to depression.

Ministers and depression has been the topic of increased discussion in recent months following the suicide of the son of Rick Warren, possibly the nation’s most prominent evangelical leader…

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Symptoms of depression

by John Hall — July 3, 2013

Related articles: Depression in a world of faith | Minister burnout and depression: Proactive steps

Wondering if your suffering from depression? If you’re feeling several of these symptoms, you may be fighting depression, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Minister burnout and depression: Proactive steps

by John Hall — July 3, 2013

Related articles: Depression in a world of faith | Symptoms of depression

Burnout or depression can happen to any minister under certain circumstances. Katie Swafford, director of Texas Baptists Counseling Services, suggest ministers and churches look at the following proactive steps to ensure ministry – and ministers – remain strong.

  1. Set boundaries. Ministers believe they must be accessible at all times, but it simply isn’t realistic. Rotate who is on call between staff members. In smaller churches where the pastor is the only staff member, encourage deacons to pick up evening calls several days a week. Rotation…

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Go Now Missions: The Power of Puzzles

by Guest Author — July 3, 2013

Fridays are busy nights at the Hospitality House. I stepped out of the main room to video chat with one of my best friends who is also on a summer mission trip. Just as I finished talking to her, my partner Myriam charged into our room. “I love puzzles!” she exclaimed. She began to tell me about the conversation she had just shared with a young boy staying at the House tonight.

Months before this trip, I found Bible story puzzles at the dollar store and picked them up to bring to Huntsville. Tonight, Myriam and four or five boys stretched out on the floor to work on the puzzles. As they worked, she asked one of them what he…

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A safe place in the storm

by Guest Author — July 3, 2013

Moore, Oklahoma is a town we will not soon forget. The nation looked on in stunned silence at the devastation from the violent tornadoes that visited this community. Too many realized too late that a truly safe place was all that stood between life and death.

Storms often come without warning. Some are more severe than others. Some storms threaten our physical safety while others wreak havoc on our emotional wellbeing. Preparation is key for storms not to be too costly. As the people of Moore discovered, everyone needs a safe place.

As a pastor’s wife of 24 years, finding a safe place in the midst of ministry was my greatest…

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View the latest Church Giving Report

by Jim Reed — July 2, 2013

Just in time for the Family Gathering down in San Antonio, the most up to date 2013 Church Giving Report is now available for your viewing pleasure. You may click to view the file, or right click to download the file to your computer.

Church Giving Report (PDF) as of March 13, 2013.

To view this report alongside current receipts and past budget information, please check out this page.

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A little bottle of “fixes everything”

by Guest Author — July 2, 2013

Change, whether good or bad, is difficult. The Kennedy clan has just moved from the shores of Alabama to the mountains of Colorado. Are our new vistas awesome? Yes! Has the move been exciting? Yes! Am I grieving? You bet!

One of the last things I did was make that final hair appointment with my hair dresser and dear friend of 15 years. When it came time to get that last “Everything-I-can-get-done-to-my-hair-that-will-last-me-for-as-long-as-possible,” she fixed me up, including giving me a little bottle of “Fixes Everything.” Really? Everything?

I can think of some broken areas of my life that could use some fixing…

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Praying for the Family Gathering

by Steve Vernon — July 1, 2013

As you prepare to fellowship with your Texas Baptists family later this month, pause and take a moment to pray. Below are thirty reflections written by Texas Baptists staff. May you be blessed as you ready your spirit for the Family Gathering. See you in San Antonio!

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Go Now Missions: Purpose

by Guest Author — June 29, 2013

I have had several of my close friends email me saying things like “I hope you’re having a great time” or “I am so glad you’re happy.”

I am not here to have a great time.

Living here is not easy. I don’t like being unable to understand anyone. Foreigners are not treated like celebrities here. I accidentally bought pig’s neck lunch meat at the grocery store. I miss my family. I miss my Christian community. I miss everything I’ve ever known.

But I am not here to have a good time or because it makes me happy*. I am here in Russia for the same reason that I am here on Earth.

I am here because God created the world and everything in…

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Simply Speaking—Simply Sharing

by Linda Wear — June 28, 2013

Are people in your community really all that hungry? Let’s find out. Go to this website provided by Feeding America. http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx

Click on your state and your county. Read the information found there. Think about it. Pray about it. Is your congregation doing something about it? Many of you are; but if not, please consider how you can become involved in the solution.

One way is to go to the Texas Food Bank Network website ( www.tfbn.org ), click on “Need Food?” and then “Find Your Food Bank.” Click on your county on the map to find the food bank for your area…

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Love for neighbor should compel us toward immigration reform

by Ferrell Foster — June 28, 2013

The U.S. Senate has shown both courage and wisdom in passing the sweeping immigration bill. In order to get bipartisan support, the bill had to reflect the concerns of people across the political spectrum, and this has resulted in a bill that addresses the needs of security, business and immigrants.

Scripture teaches us to care about the “stranger” in our midst, and it also teaches us the importance of honoring laws. As a result, those of us who are Christians can rejoice in the fact that these two principles are being honored.

We know, of course, that there are many good people, including Christians, who are concerned about…

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Parenting PKs

by Guest Author — June 28, 2013

All of us in ministry know what it is like to live in a fish bowl. While it is hard on us, it is harder on our kids. Too many PK’s (preacher’s kids) grow up with a deep resentment toward the church, Christians, their parents and sometimes God because of all the expectations placed on them. We have raised four children in that fish bowl and I have spoken to hundreds of pastor’s wives, some of whom carry a broken heart over their kids. As I look back on those child-rearing years, there are a few thoughts I would like to share.

The first thought is that God chose us to be the parents of our kids. Do you believe that? We all…

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Go Now Missions: Christ be lifted high!

by Guest Author — June 27, 2013

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

I had been praying this verse over this past week as many obstacles advanced back to back on us. We faced a huge shortage in our food pantry, lack of volunteers, and health inspector coming to check our facility.

Christ has answered the many petitions so clearly showing that it was his handy work. Our food should not have lasted the whole week for pantry but the food was stretched and…

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Overcoming fear with thanksgiving

by Guest Author — June 27, 2013

Fear came roaring in. I could have let the fear overwhelm me, control me, inhabit me, become my constant companion.

Two years ago my husband, Larry, came down with a terrible case of shingles. Sores covered the right side of his face from his chin, up over his ear and deep into his eardrum rupturing it 70 percent and leaving him in excruciating pain. In the end, it also set off another attack of his neurological disorder called NMO (Neuro-myalitis-optica) and left him barely able to use his right arm. Many people who have NMO are blind and in wheelchairs. Larry is not, and we have been very fortunate. But I will never forget…

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Leaving the familiar

by Guest Author — June 26, 2013

I remember as a little girl when my father was contemplating assuming the role of music leader in a neighboring community church. I was too young to know all of the discussions that took place, but one I do remember was when my parents talked to me about this possibility which would mean we had to attend another church. I probably didn’t respond the way they had hoped. I remember having a pouty expression and saying “No, I don’t want to go. All my friends are here.”

Though attending another Baptist church was probably not a huge deal in the larger scheme of life, it seemed like a really big deal to me at the time. Why would…

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Go Now Missions: Deep into the forest

by Guest Author — June 25, 2013

During one of our many trips deep into the forest to bring back boards that one of the locals had cut from a tree, God began to convict me of my lack of understanding as well as lift me up and show me that he made me who I am for a reason!

Each morning, we would go over a Bible story so that we could share it with others through out the day. That morning, we had studied the “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25. Little did I realize that God had orchestrated that story for me personally that day. We studied that set of scripture on a morning when I was feeling rather homesick and thus, it was hard for me to really see what…

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Seasons of surrender

by Kaitlin Warrington — June 25, 2013

I fought long and hard not to make this move. I liked the way my life was. I finally felt settled – I knew the flow of my job after more than three years in my position. I had finally made good friends, and I felt at home when I was with my life group at church. I had found my place in ministry, discipling girls through the Baptist Student Ministry where my husband worked part time and teaching GAs at our church. I even knew the traffic patterns so well that I could maneuver the streets of this big metro area like the best of them!

But last fall, something changed. Deep down inside I heard whispers saying this season was…

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Loving West volunteers help city move forward

by Guest Author — June 24, 2013

WEST — Media outlets across the nation have told the world how an explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked this small Central Texas town.

But that’s not where the city’s story ends. Thanks to Texas Baptists, in some ways that’s where the story begins. The convention has partnered with First Baptist Church in West to help with recovery efforts since the blast. On June 15-22, hundreds of volunteers from across the state, armed with shovels and servant hearts, partnered for Loving West — a week-long recovery effort coordinated by Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery.

“One of the greatest ways God is blessing us is…

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Video: Loving Christ, loving West

by Texas Baptists — June 22, 2013

Members of First Baptist Church in San Marcos minister in West following an explosion at a fertilizer plant. They see every project they do as a way to love Christ and in turn love the residents of West.

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Go Now Missions: A common scar bonds

by Guest Author — June 20, 2013

Lindsay Lawson is a student at UNT and served in England through Go Now Missions. Listen to her as she shares her testimony below. You can read more stories from Go Now Missionaries at http://texasbaptists.org/category/share/.

Are you looking for a place to serve? You can find mission opportunities and others like the ones available through Go Now Missions on Be On Mission. You may also toggle between Open, Ongoing and Completed projects on the map by using the color pins above the search tool.

Be On Mission is an online global missions locator that allows users to Search, Submit, and Share about mission…

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For What It’s Worth

by Tim Studstill — June 20, 2013

It seems I am more frequently taking notice of celebrations honoring both the living and the deceased. (is it my age?) Both of these celebrations cause me to contemplate several things, one of which is, “Is it worth it?” My brain also filters this through my lens of ministry in the church.

A common theme comes into focus, a common element in the lives of people who have lived life well: They focus on other people.

They spend themselves serving. Ministering. Giving. Loving. Encouraging. Mentoring. Supporting.

These heroes also tend to be growing. Learning. Changing. Evolving. Winning. Losing. Discovering. Trying. Living.

That’s…

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Video: Picking up the pieces

by John Hall — June 19, 2013

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery volunteers sort through the rubble left behind by a fertilizer plant in West as they seek to help people find keepsakes and mementos.

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Go Now Missions: Behind the barbed wire fence

by Guest Author — June 18, 2013

As we walked on the first full day of training, the city skyline expanded before us with no random giant buildings or billboards blocking the view. It is such a sight to behold.

That image is what hundreds of men, women and children get to look at every day from behind a barbed wire fence. Downtown Houston, a city that promises days full of life, art and culture, separated from a community by a barbed wire fence.

It’s not that the people behind the fence have a different viewpoint, though. The people here see that opportunities for a different life are out there, but they also see that there are barriers that prevent them…

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Will your church be one of them?

by Linda Wear — June 17, 2013

It’s really getting close now! You don’t want to miss this. JULY 6-13 IS THE WEEK. Faith-based groups are beginning to reserve their times to volunteer. Will your church be one of them?

The once-a-year Full On Faith Week is time set aside by the North Texas Food Bank for faith-based groups to take over all their volunteer spots—and that is a lot of volunteers! The time slots on Saturdays fill up first. It’s even better if you have a group that can come on a weekday. Shifts are 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. If your church is in one of the counties served by NTFB, then this is your opportunity! Sign up now if your church is…

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Soccer and salvation

by Kaitlin Warrington — June 14, 2013

When Rolando Rodriquez was a kid, he breathed soccer, and it changed his life. It’s through a game of soccer that he met a missionary kid who shared about the love of Jesus with him. Through this, Rodriquez chose to follow Christ and the gospel flowed to his family as well.

Fast forward to three years ago. Rodriguez was pastoring Cockrell Hill Baptist Church in Dallas. Rodriquez became friends with the coach for the El Salvador national soccer team who was living in the area then. He shared about the hope of Christ with him and it changed his life. Soon after this, the coach approached Rodriquez and wanted to serve in the…

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On a Mission in Mission

by Guest Author — June 13, 2013

By: Molly Livingstone

For many, the Saturday before Memorial Day means going to the lake, grilling burgers and relaxing with friends and family. However, for a group of students in Texas it meant driving to south Texas, checking blood pressure, and attempting to overcome language boundaries.

The group consisted of 11 people; including one doctor, and eight students from Texas Women’s University, The University of Texas, The University of Texas Medical School and the Baylor College of Medicine.

“We are able to connect the churches with the community,” director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Rice University and University…

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The little things: God uses volunteers to answer big prayers in Oklahoma

by Guest Author — June 13, 2013

By: Molly Livingstone

LITTLE AXE, Okla. – Dressed in a long-sleeved gray shirt ornamented with a small orange OSU emblem, Zach Rowell, stood in the bed of his white truck as the sweltering summer sun beat down relentlessly. Carefully, he pushed a large, maroon corduroy recliner to the back of the bed, securing it with yellow bungee cords.

Rowell traveled June 4 to Little Axe with a youth group of about 25 people from University Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater to help with tornado relief efforts. The group does a service project each Tuesday and chose to help the tornado-ravaged communities. He ended up being an answer…

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Youth Evangelism Conference 2013

by Texas Baptists — June 13, 2013

YEC will take place June 21-22, 2013 at College Park Center in Arlington, TX. Tickets are still available. YEC provides a life-changing, faith building, motivating worship experience to empower students as they live for Christ in today’s world.

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Go Now Missions: Follow us on Instagram!

by Guest Author — June 13, 2013

Track collegiate summer missions with us! If you’re on Twitter and/or Instagram, watch for Go Now Missions through these hashtags: #GoNowTexas #BeOnMission and #GoNowMissions and follow @gonowtexas. Here are just a few images that you will see!

Are you looking for a place to serve? You can find mission opportunities like the ones available through Go Now Missions on Be On Mission. You may also toggle between Open, Ongoing and Completed projects on the map by using the color pins above the search tool.

Be On Mission is an online global missions locator that allows users to Search, Submit, and Share about mission opportunities…

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Coaching to mentor

by Kaitlin Warrington — June 12, 2013

As athletes grow older and out of the ranks of high school and college sports, many turn to younger teams and begin coaching – sometimes for fun and sometimes as an occupation. For some, coaching comes through other natural connections, becoming the parents who coach their son or daughter’s team.

Coaching, whether it’s out of a desire to stay involved with sports or because your children need a team leader, can be a wonderful opportunity to mentor students and to be involved in your community. For several hours a week through practices and games, these young athletes are in a coach’s care. A coach is there to give…

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Snapshot from the field

by Guest Author — June 12, 2013

May 18-20, 200 Go Now Missionaries gathered at Dallas Baptist University for Orientation. They were prepared for service through worship, training sessions and seminars. On Sunday, May 19, family and friends were invited to attend a Commissioning Service. Below is a peek into orientation from some of our students. Our Go Now student missionaries will be serving from 2 weeks to 10 months in 13 different states and 21 countries. We are scattering Texas student to the nations!

Ready to Go!

“Go Now Missions Is” Instagram challenge Sharel (UNT), will serve the fall semester in the UK. “I left orientation ready to go! Although I…

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Go Now Missions: Contentedness in Christ despite earthly pain

by Guest Author — June 11, 2013

The people of Nueva Candalaria live on $6 per day and have received no aid prior to the arrival of Living Water. The constant hard work of the pastor and the obvious effects of poverty on the children made it easy for me to view the people purely as victims.

Continued interaction with the villagers showed me glimpses of pride, obsession with sex, and selfishness. Working next to them throughout the project helped me to see the people as they are, not helpless victims of a world pressing them down, but as real, flawed people in need a Savior.

It hurt me to see the conditions in Guatemala throughout the week. For the first…

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2013 Annual Meeting Messenger Information

by Coleen Robbins — June 10, 2013

I’ve heard that some of you have questions about messenger cards as they relate to this year’s Family Gathering in San Antonio. Below is a little information taken from the Messenger Information page of the Annual Meeting web site. You may read below, or click here to visit the page. If you have any questions, please contact me at coleen.robbins@texasbaptists.org or 214-828-5228.

Every church affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas is encouraged to send messengers to the organization’s Annual Meeting. Messengers participate in the gathering, fellowship with leaders from around the state, experience…

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Go Now Missions: Last minute choice and provision

by Guest Author — June 6, 2013

In late March during one of our weekly BSM Bible studies, an Alaskan missionary named Brenda Crim began speaking about her ministry and the Alaskan culture that she is trying to reach. I began to think to myself, “If I were to actually do any summer mission, this would probably be the closest to perfect for me.” Well, that feeling grew the entire time that Brenda spoke.

After she was done, we had a worship break and I was wrestling with the thoughts of school, work and money while the band went through a few songs. Cody, our BSM director, begins with his message on Jonah and his disobedience to go to Nineveh. It was…

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Make plans now to attend The Family Gathering

by Coleen Robbins — June 5, 2013

Hello all! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the latest updates to the Annual Meeting website (texasbaptists.org/annualmeeting). This week we’ve posted additional information about workshops, meals & receptions, and mission & ministry opportunities. Also, the BGCT hotel block closes Tuesday, June 11, so if you plan to join us but haven’t made arrangements, you may want to do so between now and then.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me, Coleen Robbins, at coleen.robbins@texasbaptists.org or 214-828-5228.

Thanks, and see you San Antonio!

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Go Now Missions: Go until the whole world hears

by Ashli Young — June 4, 2013

The months of summer bring the time and willing hearts for students to walk outside of their normal paths and be able to share the love of Christ across the world. Go Now Missions mobilizes students from Texas Baptist churches and campus Baptist Student Ministries to sending Texas university students to do just that with the theme Go Until the Whole World Hears.

The student missions program began in 1946 with four students sent to Hawaii to conduct a youth revival and Vacation Bible School. Since that beginning, over 7000 students have been sent around the world as student missionaries. Furthermore, students throughout Texas…

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Women in Ministry Conference encourages women to work in courage

by Kaitlin Warrington — March 1, 2013

ABILENE – Being a woman in ministry requires both courage and encouragement, said speakers at the Texas Baptists Women in Ministry En{in}Courage conference held at Logsdon Seminary Feb. 22. The conference focused on helping women identify or remember their ministry calling from the Lord and to walk courageously.

“We named the conference En{in}Courage to emphasize both the encouragement that women in ministry and those who support them need, but also to respect the fact that women in ministry and their supporters are living in courage as they step out and follow God’s call,” said Meredith Stone, Texas Baptists’ Women in…

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Baptist churches have women in ministry, panelists insist

by Ken Camp — October 29, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI — Women minister in most Texas Baptist churches; they just don’t always carry the job title, speakers noted in a panel discussion held in conjunction with the Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting.

“Titles are important, but we shouldn’t get hung up on them. The important thing is being true to your calling,” said Barbara Hessong, minister to children at Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi.

However, she felt “validated” in her calling when Second Baptist licensed her to the ministry. Second Baptist also called her “minister to children” – not “children’s director” as another church had…

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The Eve Contention

by Meredith Stone — June 19, 2012

Jim Henderson’s recent book, The Resignation of Eve: What if Adam’s Rib is No Longer Willing to Be the Church’s Backbone? (Tyndale House Publishers, 2012), brings to light some startling statistics concerning decreases in women’s church involvement. According to research conducted by the Barna group, over the 20 years between 1991 and 2011:

  1. There has been a 20% decrease in the number of adult women attending church services
  2. 29% less adult women attend Sunday school
  3. The number of women who volunteer at churches has dropped 31%
  4. The proportion of un-churched American women has risen 94%

Though Henderson’s book offers…

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