Archive for September, 2015

Comments deserve hearty ‘Amen’

September 29, 2015

One of the reasons the Southern Baptist International Mission Board may be cutting its missionary force is Southern Baptists’ lack of support for missions education for its children over the past two decades.

GA&RA-LogoThat’s the sentiment of Wanda S. Lee, executive director of Southern Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union, based in Birmingham, Ala.

Lee was one of several Southern Baptist leaders  who expressed dismay at the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee meeting last week in Nashville about the IMB’s downsizing of 600-800 missionaries.

“We can lament the churches that haven’t given; we can lament many things. But one thing we have failed to do in our churches is to embrace the missions assignment of helping our children and our youth understand God’s field,” Lee said.

Amen!

Lee observed that too many churches have abandoned Wednesday night missions activities in deference to youth sports.

Again, she is telling it like it is. I have seen this happen.

“We sacrificed our adults of 20 years ago,” she continued. “We sacrificed them when we said, ‘Well, I guess we can’t have RAs (Royal Ambassadors for boys) and GAs (Girls in Action) because kids have got to go play soccer.’ ”

Amen, again.

Lee is absolutely right when she says we have a generation of adults who do not know why they give. “They don’t give sacrificially because they don’t know the field. They don’t know the depth of lostness,” she observed.

I have maintained for a long time that our decreased emphasis on missions education would come back to haunt us and it is coming true. As Lee points out, we have a generation who did not learn about Southern Baptist missionaries and the Cooperative Program.

If your church has abandoned Southern Baptist missions education programs, bring those programs back. The future of Southern Baptist missionary efforts depends on an understanding who we are and why we do what we do through the Cooperative Program by upcoming generations.

Southern Baptist missions education is imperative to reaching a lost world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

A sign of the times

September 18, 2015

I was glancing over Baptist Press this week and saw an announcement they posted from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The seminary is co-sponsoring a conference on transgenderism on Oct. 5 on its campus in Louisville, Ky.

When I began working with the denomination 35 years ago, I never dreamed I would one day have to write about transgenders, homosexuals, etc. Those were the days when people’s sexual preferences stayed “in the closet.” It was nobody’s business and everyone liked it that way.

Times have changed — and certainly not for the best.

The conference by Southern Seminary is just another sign of the times. Heath Lambert, executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and one of the speakers for the conference, observed, “Christians today are confronting issues that would have been unfathomable even a decade ago.” So very true.

But, like same-sex marriage, movements are underway to “normalize” transgender behaviors. We have schools that are already allowing transgenders to use the rest room of their “chosen” sex without regards to the feelings of those who legitimately belong in those rooms. Transgenders want tax dollars for their transgender surgeries. It’s only to get worse.

I applaud Southern for taking a step in addressing an issue that ultimately will be further ingrained in our culture and will eventually filter down to our churches. It’s just sad to see valuable time be spent on an issue that shouldn’t even be on our radar.

Heaven help our nation. God is truly our only hope.

Dealing with life’s “bad calls”

September 9, 2015

By now, I imagine most people have heard about the two high school football players in Texas who attacked an unsuspecting referee in a football game last weekend.

I heard about the story but did not realize how bad it was until I watched the video replay.

A referee was watching his area on the field when the play began. One defensive player came up and knocked the official to the ground and the other player speared him with his helmet. I watched the video several times to see if it could have been an accident. It definitely was not an accident or a case of mistaken identity. The guy had on a striped shirt, not a football jersey. Those two players deliberately targeted this official.

According to a news report the players said they were frustrated with perceived bad calls and that one official had used racial slurs.

Let’s get this one out of the way. If an official used a racial slur he doesn’t need to be officiating football games any more. End of story.    But even if he did, that is no excuse for what transpired.

As to bad calls, that’s part of the game. It’s the human element. I have never refereed football, but I have refereed basketball and umpired baseball. Officials will miss calls occasionally. We are human.

What those two players did is inexcusable. The official could have been seriously injured or even killed. Whether he made a bad call or not doesn’t matter.

While there is talk about possible criminal charges, that is speculation at this point. What needs to happen is to make sure that those two players are never allowed to play football again. Too harsh? Not when you consider a man could have been paralyzed or killed by their reckless action.

My prayer is that parents and youth leaders in our churches will use this as a teaching moment. Show the video to youth groups. Teach them what sportsmanship is about. Life is not always going to be fair. Bad things will happen. Just read John 16:33.

John 16:33 makes it clear we will face adversity. But it also reminds us of a promise from Jesus Christ Himself: “Fear not, I have overcome the world.” With a promise like that we can deal with life’s “bad calls.”

Would you go to jail?

September 3, 2015

Would you go to jail for standing up for your Christian beliefs?

Kim Davis apparently will. Baptist Press reported today (Sept. 3) that a federal judge has ordered her to be taken into custody because she refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

The judge noted that her “good-faith belief is simply not a viable defense.”

It may not be in his court, but in HIS court, I beg to differ.

Pray for this brave woman and her family. She has taken a stand for her Christian faith.

That brings me back to the original question. Would you go to jail for standing up for your Christian beliefs?

All of us probably want to say, without a doubt, yes. But my feeling is that  we really will never know until we are faced with that decision.

My prayer is that we all will be found faithful.