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‘I Stand Sunday’ draws 6,000-plus in Houston

November 5 2014 by Bonnie Pritchett, Southern Baptist TEXAN

As pastors embroiled in a lawsuit against the city of Houston rallied thousands Sunday for the cause of religious liberty and with chants of “Let the people vote,” their cohorts in the battle also were crying out for the church to repent for its retreat from the public square and its role as the public conscience.
 
Part revival meeting, part civics lesson, the “I Stand Sunday” rally Nov. 2 in Houston drew more than 6,000 people to Grace Community Church, led by one of five ministers subpoenaed for their role in a legal fight against city hall. An additional 300 churches and 765 homes logged into the live stream webcast.
 
“We are in this place in America today not because of the mayor of Houston. It is not because of what she did. It is because of what so many people in our churches have failed to do,” Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and a former Baptist pastor, told the audience.
 
The lack of civic participation on the part of Christians has resulted in cultural conflicts arising throughout the nation, with Houston as a flashpoint in the national clash between religious liberties and government policies.
 
And though Mayor Annise Parker has directed city attorney Dave Feldman to withdraw subpoenas against the five ministers, the mayor’s critics called the court order an act of political intimidation that could not be undone with the removal of the subpoenas. For the pastors, and more than a dozen speakers gathered on their behalf, the primary issue remained – the city administration’s unauthorized dismissal of thousands of signatures on a referendum that thwarted the residents’ right to vote on the issue.
 
The ordinance that sparked the legal battle was passed by Houston’s city council in May to give civil rights designation to individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. More than 50,000 signatures were gathered on a referendum to put the ordinance to a vote in Houston. And though enough signatures were verified by city secretary Anna Russell to put the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot, Feldman disqualified thousands of pages of signatures for reasons not prescribed in the city charter.
 
The coalition sued the city to have the signatures certified and the ordinance put to a vote by the city’s residents. As part of their defense, the city subpoenaed five ministers, calling for their sermons, speeches and other communications with their church members.
 
“It’s not about the issue of transgender rights. It’s about the fundamental issue: Do all citizens have equal rights? And those rights include the right to vote,” Huckabee said in a news conference prior to the rally.
 
The issue is all the more profound for three of the five subpoenaed pastors. As immigrants or the child of immigrants to America, they spoke passionately about fleeing the abuses of communism and enjoying religious and civil liberties as Americans.
 
Khanh Huynh, senior pastor of Vietnamese Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church, was among the 2 million “boat people” refugees seeking asylum in America in the 1970s.
 
“The freedom of speech and freedom of religion were among the first to be lost in Vietnam. And now I’m facing the same marching boots of tyranny right here where I live,” Huynh told the audience.
 
Magda Hermida, founder of Magda Hermida Ministries, told how she and her husband left Fidel Castro’s Cuba nearly 50 years ago where they lived under the scrutiny of a police state.
 
“We never thought we would see what is happening – that is now happening in this country – here in Houston, in our beloved America,” she said.
 
The son of South American immigrants, Hernan Castano, pastor of Iglesia Rios de Aceite, said pastors should be able to speak about the issues of society from a biblical perspective without being afraid “to be condemned, to be subpoenaed, or to be intimidated.”
 
“I stand here today so that no government will abuse the power that people gave it to come against the church,” Castano said to a standing ovation.
 
There were many such ovations during the rally.
 
The lead sponsor of I Stand Sunday, the Family Research Council, demonstrated through videos and speakers the growing conflict between Christians living out and speaking of their faith in the public square and government policies and social pressures that seek to silence them. The images were stark, but the church is not held blameless for the state of affairs.
 
“In this country that means we have not just the right to vote but, if we love God, we have a responsibility to vote and to be the salt and the light for our nation. And we have failed,” Huckabee said.
 
Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council and one of the subpoenaed ministers, noted that just over 10 percent of eligible Houston residents voted in the 2013 mayoral election. Less than a month after Parker’s re-election, she began development of the Equal Rights Ordinance.
 
“We cannot blame the people who do not love God,” Huckabee said. “We’d better look inwardly and say, ‘It’s because we’ve told our people that they could effectively be wonderful Christians just going to church and reading their Bibles and praying, and voting wasn’t that important.”
 
Prominent Southern Baptist pastors drove that message home calling on Christians to repent of their apathy and to recognize that cultural change does not happen at the ballot box but in the hearts of those who call on Christ in faith.
 
Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, said, “This gathering will be construed by a lot of people as a political gathering [saying], ‘They were here mad and militant and violent,’ but we are here as worshippers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
 
Young added that Christians pray for those in leadership, including Parker.

Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, drawing his comments from Revelation 3:22, asked what the Spirit of God is saying to the church of America.
 
He concluded, “It is time for the church in America to look at its own sin, to repent of our own apathy. … It is time for us to wake up from our slumber. It is time for us to understand that our greatest problem is not in the White House, nor is it in the statehouse, but it is in the church house of Jesus Christ. We must get our lives right with the Lord.”
 
And with that Floyd called on the audience to take a posture of prayer, leading them in a prayer of repentance and revival “to do only what God can do.”
 
“That our heartbeat would not be simply to see a culture changed but to see millions and millions and millions of lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because that is our hope.”
 
Also among the rally’s speakers: Phil Robertson, patriarch of “Duck Dynasty” fame, and his son, pastor Alan Robertson; brothers David and Jason Benham; Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Erik Stanley; pastor Willie Davis, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Parker; FOX News commentator Todd Starnes; and Vision America President Rick Scarborough.
 
Tony Perkins, president Family Research Council, said just one person contending for the faith in the face of political and societal scorn can encourage others to do the same.
 
What to do with the political opposition that seeks to silence and even punish Christian voices?
 
“We need to lift up the Word of God with one hand and the love of God with the other,” Floyd said. “And we need to stand unwaveringly, unapologetically, but always compassionately with those who choose to disagree.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE - Bonnie Pritchett is a correspondent for the Southern Baptist TEXAN (www.texanonline.net), newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.)
 

Related Stories:

Houston mayor to drop subpoenas of ministers
Floyd: Stand up for Houston pastors

11/5/2014 12:29:16 PM by Bonnie Pritchett, Southern Baptist TEXAN | with 0 comments



Worshipping: a year after Front Street bus tragedy

November 4 2014 by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor

Six members of Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville were killed Oct. 2, 2013, in a three-vehicle accident 30 miles east of Knoxville, Tenn. Two others were killed and another 12 were injured. Front Street Baptist’s Young at Heart senior group was driving home from a conference in Gatlinburg when a tire blew out on their bus.
 
In a blog post a few weeks after the traumatic event, Kenny Lamm wrote, “The 18 people on board were all very good friends of mine – many very close friends. … I had served on staff at Front Street Baptist Church for 23 years before coming to my position at the Baptist State Convention, and many of these dear people had shared life with my family most or all of those years, celebrating births, mourning with us in deaths, helping us raise and disciple our son and daughter, and ministering beside us in local, domestic and international missions. Now we knew that some of them were gone and others were in critical condition.”

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Contributed photo
Doris Swain, a member of Front Street Baptist Church who was involved in the 2013 accident, was told by doctors she might lose her hand. On. Oct. 6 she played during the celebration.

 

Lamm, senior consultant of worship and music for the Baptist State Convention, said that some of the leadership from the N.C. Baptist Singers & Orchestra came to him around February and asked if they could dedicate a night of worship to Front Street.
 
A Mighty Fortress is Our God” became the theme for the anniversary service Oct. 6 at Western Avenue Baptist Church in Statesville.
 
Lamm said the songs were intentionally chosen to speak of God’s faithfulness and His sustaining power. The N.C. Baptist Singers & Orchestra are predominately comprised of North Carolina worship leaders and pastors. These 135 members present sacred music that is representative of many styles. 
 
The music and production of this event was very specific to the people involved in the bus accident, said Lamm. Every survivor attended the event, and those who died in the accident had family representing them.
 
One young lady whose mother died in the accident approached Lamm and said she honestly didn’t look forward to the event.
 
But, she told Lamm, “I want you to know I’ve cried more tonight than on the anniversary date, but after tonight I am able to put this behind me and move on with my life.” She confessed to Lamm that God had worked through that service to release her. Lamm said he believes the highlight of the night came with “No More Night,” a song about eternal worship. Eighty additional singers from Western Avenue and Front Street choirs joined the N.C. Baptist Singers & Orchestra. Doris Swaim, who was injured in the accident along with her husband, was told by doctors a year ago that she might lose her hand. Even though she didn’t, Lamm said, “She played magnificently with full orchestra – 200 people going together at one time. It was rapturous. It was such an emotional time for everybody, and the congregation was equally pulled into that.”
 
Tim Stutts, senior pastor of Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, said the concert was an incredibly moving and meaningful time of worship. He said, “Over the last year, Front Street has experienced an outpouring of God’s grace. He has brought comfort in the midst of our grief and strength to those recovering from injuries sustained in the tragedy.”
 
He said the concert greatly impacted the members of Front Street that night: “It was a time to remember, a time to heal and a time to worship. It meant so much for our church to worship alongside those who have consistently prayed for us and ministered to us over this past year. … We are forever grateful for the many ways the body of Christ has supported us through this time. Our prayer is that God would use this tragedy to point people to Him.”
 
Individuals from Front Street who died and remembered that night were: Cloyce Matheny, Brenda Smith, Marsha McLelland, Barbara Morrison, Randy Morrison and John Wright.

11/4/2014 11:57:42 AM by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments



BCH sets $1.5 million offering goal

November 4 2014 by BSC Communications

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) has offered homes to countless boys and girls through its more than 125 years of ministry.
 
“I didn’t know a lot about hope when I was 10 years old,” said Joe Knight, who was helped by BCH when he was a child. “I didn’t have any hope. I didn’t know what hope was.”
 
Now Knight serves the Thomasville campus through his landscaping business.

 
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Besides children’s residential care, BCH offers family care for single mothers and their children, homes for developmentally disabled adults, weekday education and a resource-based program for aging adults.
This year’s Thanksgiving Offering is scheduled Nov. 16-23 but churches can collect the offering year round.
 
The BCH staff serves all of North Carolina’s 100 counties through its 23 facilities in 19 communities scattered across the state. The goal for this year’s offering is $1.5 million and the theme is Redeemed, based on Psalm 107:2 – “Let the REDEEMED of the Lord say so...”
 
Share the Baptist Children’s Homes story with your church. Promotional materials and videos are available at bchfamily.org. You can also order copies of most materials at (800) 476-3669, ext. 1209. 
Prayer guide for BCH offering:

  • Sunday. Pray for North Carolina children and families.
  • Monday. Pray for the hundreds of children and families BCH serves each year through its 19 statewide locations.
  • Tuesday. Pray for the dedicated houseparents, residential care givers, chiefs and social workers who give of themselves around the clock to care for our boys and girls.
  • Wednesday. Pray for the Good Shepherd Children’s Home, BCH’s new orphanage in Xela, Guatemala.
  • Thursday. Pray for those who live at BCH’s nine statewide homes for developmentally disabled adults.
  • Friday. Pray that you will be sensitive to hurting children in your community.
  • Saturday. Pray for BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell as he leads the ministry.
  • Sunday. Pray that BCH’s residents will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

 

Related Stories

Foursome discover redemption through Children's Homes

11/4/2014 9:23:46 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Mars Hill Church to dissolve, sell property

November 4 2014 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Mars Hill Church, the Seattle-based network of congregations founded by controversial pastor Mark Driscoll, will dissolve, sell all church assets and encourage its 13 campuses to become independent congregations.
 
Dale Braswell, a Southern Baptist church planter in the Seattle area, told Baptist Press the dissolution is both sad and hopeful.
 
“It’s sad seeing an organization like Mars that’s reached so many people and done so much good working in the Seattle area” dissolve, Braswell, pastor of Lifepoint Church in Lynnwood, Wash., said. “But there’s hope in the sense that a lot of new churches are going to be autonomously started. And, Lord willing, those churches are going to start churches ... and the impact can kind of continue.”
 
By Jan. 1, each of Mars Hill’s campuses must decide whether to become an independent self-governed church, merge with an existing church or disband, according to an Oct. 31 letter posted on Mars Hill’s website by primary teaching pastor Dave Bruskas.
 
As part of the transition plan, all of Mars Hill’s properties will either be sold or the loans on the individual properties will be assumed by the new independent congregations. The church’s corporate headquarters is listed for $7.75 million while three other properties are for sale for a total of $20 million, the Seattle Times reported.
 
All central Mars Hill staff members will be paid and then released from employment, and any remaining funds will be gifted to the new independent congregations, Bruskas wrote. Then the Mars Hill Church organization will cease to exist.
 
“The board of Mars Hill has concluded that rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities,” Bruskas wrote. “This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams.”
 
Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Oct. 14 after an internal church investigation found that he had been “guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner,” according to a letter from the church’s board of overseers obtained by Religion News Service.
 
Beginning in August Driscoll had taken a break from the pastorate and temporarily suspended speaking engagements and media interviews. Also in August the Acts 29 church planting network, which Driscoll founded, removed him and Mars Hill from its membership.
 
At its peak, Mars Hill had 15 campuses in five states with some 14,000 attendees. The congregation does not cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention.
 
“It’s sad for Mars Hill the entity,” Braswell said of the dissolution. “But in the scheme of God’s Kingdom, I think there’s always hope because Jesus promises us that the church is not going to be defeated.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

11/4/2014 9:20:43 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Resolution in support of religious liberty

November 4 2014 by BSC Communications

The Committee on Resolutions and Memorials met via telephone conference call Oct. 30 to consider the “Resolution in Support of Religious Liberty.” 
 
The resolution was approved unanimously by the Committee and will be presented at the Annual Meeting Nov. 10-11 as part of the committee’s report.
 
Whereas the Holy Scriptures state, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and,
Whereas a group of pastors in Houston, Texas, having taken a stand upon this scriptural truth, publicly opposed legislation in their city known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance which focuses on gender identity, and
 
Whereas the legal counsel representing the City of Houston, Texas by issuing subpoenas for the pastors’ public opposition to the ordinance, demonstrated a gross misunderstanding of the religious liberty afforded pastors by the Constitution of the United States of America to speak without interference from the governments of this nation, and
 
Whereas the legal counsel representing the City of Houston, Texas rescinded the subpoenas of these pastors’ sermons, emails, texts, and other documents on October 29, 2014, therefore
 
Be it resolved that the messengers attending the 184th meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina join the growing chorus of voices that support these pastors in Houston, Texas, and the freedom all pastors possess to speak out against such legislation, and
 
Be it further resolved that the messengers denounce any government’s efforts attempt to intimidate the speech of pastors, and to imply that pastors forfeit their freedom to protest the actions of governments when they enter their pulpits, and
 
Be it finally resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to the following individuals indicating our shared sentiments as each of these leaders have already signed a letter of protest that was sent to Mayor Parker’s office dated October 16, 2014:
 
SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee President Russell D. Moore,
Baptist Joint Commission Executive Director Brent Walker,
SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page,
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter,
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Director Jim Richards,
Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Director David Hardage,
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention President Jimmy Pritchard,
Baptist General Convention of Texas President Jeff Johnson,
Houston Baptist University President Robert Sloan and
Baptist General Convention of Texas Christian Life Commission Director Gus Reyes

11/4/2014 9:18:09 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Durham church hosts Strength Team for 5-night crusade

November 4 2014 by Randall Floyd, Grey Stone Baptist Church

Grey Stone Baptist Church in Durham recently partnered with the Strength Team in a unique approach to evangelism and disciple-making. During the week of Oct. 8-12, the Strength Team led 25 school assemblies in Orange and Durham counties, sharing positive messages ranging from anti-bullying to “The 6-P’s” – Prompt, Prepare, Polite, Positive-Attitude, Participate and Produce.
 
The Strength Team partners with local churches to provide a family-friendly, high-energy event. The team catches the attention of attendees by breaking concrete blocks, ripping phone books, bending iron bars and driving nails through boards with their bare hands. Testimonies and personal stories are then shared between feats of strength, along with a personal evangelistic message and an invitation to follow Jesus Christ.
 

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Contributed photo
A member of the Strength Team breaks bricks with his arms. The team spoke at school assemblies in Orange and Durham counties and invited them to Grey Stone Baptist Church in Durham. The church held a five-night crusade coinciding with the school visits.

Strength Team founder, Mike Hagan said, “We’re not here to brag about how strong we are or how tough we are. Big deal if you can break a brick! We’re here to share that God is the strength of our lives. God is only concerned with one muscle, and that is a person’s heart. God loves every person in this room!” Hagan has been organizing strength-oriented events for over 18 years.
 
Former NFL running back and first-round draft pick William Green lifted two teenagers hanging on each end of an iron bar before bending it into the shape of an ichthus (the Christian fish symbol). Then he took eight minutes to share his story and moments of fame when he helped the Cleveland Browns go to the national playoffs. But having thousands of fans and millions of dollars, he said, didn’t take any pain away in his life.
 
The life transforming power of Jesus Christ is what made the difference, he said.
 
Over the course of three weekdays, the team spoke to over 10,000 students and invited them to the free event at Grey Stone each night. For Strength Team member Herb Hartso, this is an unparalleled opportunity to reach teenagers through his ministry.
 
Hartso is the student pastor at Grey Stone and also a former All-American University of Washington athlete.

Wearing his Strength Team jersey, Hartso was able to build solid relationships with administrators, teachers and students after enlisting assemblies with school principles through a secular website, www.topschoolassembly.com.
 
“The mission field is the campus,” Hartso said. “Students see me at lunch and say, ‘Hey! There’s that Strength Team guy!’ Then I get to have conversation and share a meal with them in their cafeteria. I want to reach them all for Christ through the ministry at Grey Stone.”
 
Over 85 personal decisions and rededications were made at the nightly events.
 
Grey Stone is following up with all the decisions, holding a reception and inviting them to follow-through with baptism at future scheduled services. Thirteen adults, teenagers and children were baptized the Sunday following the event. Most of the attendees were results of seeing the team at the school assemblies.
 
“This really was an evangelistic revival,” said Randall Floyd, Grey Stone education pastor. “The Strength Team was a triple-threat! The schools got a much-needed positive message from professional athletes, our church family was blessed with volunteers in preparation and execution of the event, and a lot of people in our community got to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ multiple times! It was win-win-win all around.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Randall Floyd is the education pastor at Grey Stone Baptist Church in Durham. For more info about the Strength Team, visit www.strengthteam.com.)

11/4/2014 9:05:18 AM by Randall Floyd, Grey Stone Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Caraway, Fruitland plan for future

November 3 2014 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

North Carolina Baptists recently dedicated and broke ground on new facilities near Asheboro and in Hendersonville.
 
Caraway Conference Center dedicated the Jim and Nancy Nell Jacumin Lodges on Oct. 28 while Fruitland Baptist Bible College broke ground Oct. 23 on the Nancy Nell Jacumin Family Apartments.
 
“God has blessed us,” said Jimmy Huffman, director at Caraway. The lodges are “going to be a great asset not only for Caraway but for God’s Kingdom.”
 
Both Caraway and Fruitland held ceremonies recognizing the generosity of Jim Jacumin, former state senator, and the late Nancy Nell Jacumin, his wife, as well as the rest of the Jacumin family.
 
Jim Jacumin is a member of East Valdese Baptist Church in Valdese and was honored earlier this year with a Heritage Award through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
 
“They have done as much with what God has entrusted to them of anyone I have ever known personally,” said Don Warren, who referred to the efforts the Jacumins have made across the state to educate the next generation of church leaders and missionaries.
 
Warren, a member of Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia and chairman of Caraway’s New Beginnings capital campaign, said he called on Jim Jacumin as soon as he joined the campaign.
 
Warren said he wanted to “engage his mind” as well as ask him for a contribution. “God has blessed this man in unique ways because Jimmy has honored God,” he said.

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BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Jim Jacumin, center, cuts the ribbon for the Jim and Nancy Nell Jacumin Lodges at Caraway Conference Center with his son Marty Jacumin, far right, and his granddaughter Ashley Moody, far left, daughter of Mitzi Lane, Jim Jacumin’s daughter. Second from left is Morgan Jacumin, Marty’s daughter, holding Brody, great-grandson to Jim Jacumin. To the left of Marty is his wife, Lori, and their daughter, Sarah.

 

Warren and his wife, Mary Ann, were responsible for another recent addition to Caraway: a house for pastors to retreat.
 
The inscription on a plaque in each of the lodges says: “The Lord who blessed us with the gift of giving, is the same LORD who wants to make your life special for [H]is [K]ingdom.
 
“It is our wish that your stay here will be an encouragement for you to surrender to His calling for your life.”
 
“It’s the attitude of service that we are giving unto God,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, referencing Matthew 25:40a: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these … ye have done it unto me.”
 
The new facilities fit well into the BSC’s strategy “Impacting Lostness Through Disciple-making” because the buildings will allow Caraway to reach and disciple more people, he said.
 
“It’s a place where people can come, and they will hear the gospel here,” Hollifield said.
“They will be prepared to face a culture that we’re living in today that is just so unknowledgeable about Jesus Christ.
 
“I think we need to do all we can to prepare the next generation for the culture that they will be a part of so that we can all continue to be faithful to the Great Commission that God has given to us.”
 
Jim Jacumin shared his excitement about seeing his children “carrying it forward” with their involvement in giving.
 
He shared about the history of his son, Marty, at Camp Caraway. In 1977 at age 9, Marty, who now is senior pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Jim Jacumin’s daughter Mitzi Lane and granddaughter Ashley Moody visited Camp Mundo Vista.
 

Caraway improvements

The lodges at Caraway are a total of 7,000 square feet and provide space for 40 beds each as well as handicap- accessible bathrooms and meeting space. It is the first lodging built in 10 years.
 
The process started three years ago and was originally slated to be one building. The design and location have changed several times, Huffman said, because of a variety of reasons.
 
Originally the deadline for the lodges was over the summer but issues with the septic and electrical systems caused a delay. Now, a group of handicapped adult men are booked for a retreat the week after Thanksgiving.
 
The lodges are located in Acorns Village, a mini campus named after Caraway’s Awesome Children’s Outdoor Recreation and Nature Study (ACORNS) program. It is an environmental education program used mainly by elementary school groups (third through fifth grades) but also private and homeschool students. ACORNS has grown from a day program to include overnight options for schools.
 
Some schools use the option to stay overnight and combine it with a trip to the N.C. Zoological Park in Asheboro. A facility is under construction to serve as an activity center for this program.
 
Huffman said Caraway wants to add a 12- to 16-bed free-standing building near the main conference center. Some of the bedrooms already have sponsors to help pay for the construction. The goal is to revisit this project in the spring.
 
Construction on Hollifield Auditorium, which is being built in front of the main conference building, began in August and is scheduled to be completed in May in time for the BSC Board of Director meeting.
 

Fruitland building

The main pastor that influenced Nancy Nell’s spiritual formation was A.V. Ledford, a 1949 graduate of Fruitland.
 
“I grew up hearing my mother speak so fondly of Rev. Ledford,” said Marty Jacumin in a BSC story. “He taught my mother to love the Lord Jesus Christ, to love the church and to do whatever is necessary to take the gospel around the world.”  
 
Naomi Dougherty, Ledford’s daughter, was part of a group from Penelope Baptist Church in Hickory visiting Fruitland’s campus that day as well.  
 
The facility will include four student apartments. Two units will be approximately 1,100 square feet each and have three bedrooms.
 
The other two units will be two bedrooms of approximately 800 square feet each. Volunteers from local churches will be constructing the facility.
 
Fruitland Baptist Church has begun work on the foundation. They will be joined by the Carpenter’s Hands Ministry volunteers from Mud Creek Baptist Church.
 
The goal is to have the facility dried in before Christmas with a major push by Carpenter’s Hands volunteers to complete a significant part of the construction during the Christmas break.
 
The anticipated completion date for the entire project is March 2015. 
 
“The materials for the entire project have been made possible by the generous donation of the Jacumin family,” said David Horton, Fruitland’s president.
 
“Their gift, coupled with the volunteer labor, will allow this facility to be built debt free – which is the way I intend to complete these kinds of task from now on here at Fruitland.”
 
Brian Davis, BSC associate executive director-treasurer, said the facility would be a “laboratory for disciple-making. My prayer is that this will be a place where husbands and wives grow as followers of Jesus, and in turn, they disciple their children. I am praying that as these student families build relationships with others, on campus and in the community, that these rooms will be where Fruitland students engage other families with the gospel.”

11/3/2014 12:41:59 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments



Tommy Adams makes disciples through sports

November 3 2014 by SEBTS Communications

Tommy Adams, a former professional basketball player, found strength and direction to unite his love of God and basketball through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SEBTS) discipleship groups. He became connected to SEBTS through Seth Bible, whom he met playing basketball at the Factory in Wake Forest. During his time off from professional basketball, Adams trained in the area.
 
Adams began working out on campus and running Ball 4 All, a training program for young athletes. While on campus, he met Mark Liederbach, professor of theology, ethics and culture at SEBTS. “Eventually, we became family,” Adams said. “Next thing I knew I was auditing moral ethics and learning that I can’t speed.”

 
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SEBTS photo
Tommy Adams credits Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest for his spiritual formation. The former professional basketball player is now planting a church in Chicago.

Originally from Northern Virginia, he became a Christian at 16 and rededicated his life to Christ in his early twenties. He didn’t grow up going to church but became interested in Christianity when he heard a person being interviewed on TV thanking God.
 
After graduating from Hampton University in Virginia, Adams played on and off in the National Basketball Association for three years as well as internationally.
 
Southeastern has made a significant impact on Adams while being in Wake Forest for seven years, especially the discipleship groups he has been a part of.
 
“The seminary has been a huge blessing in my life,” Adams emphasized. “It helped me with my basketball career, and the long-term decisions that I make. Even in the financial area, I was guided every step of where I was going.”
 
Adams has been most influenced by his discipleship group (D-group) at SEBTS. “It has allowed me to start teaching and helping others,” he said. “Graham Michael, one of my leaders, showed me how to break down the Bible in a different way and then to be able to do that for others. They saw me as more than just a basketball player at that point.
 
“One of my greatest joys is when I see someone ‘get it,’” he said. “To see others like Cody Evans, who I met through AAU (Amateur Athletic Union of the United States), have confidence after D-group to go teach others is really rewarding.”
 
Liederbach, also vice president for student services and the dean of students, said, “Tommy is not only an outstanding man of God but one that is hungry to know God and make him known. He may be one of the best examples of how a non-traditional student can have his or her life transformed by being a part of the SEBTS community. I am thrilled to see how his training in disciple-making here will impact the world for Christ! It is an honor to call him a friend.”
 
Adams serves in youth ministry at his local church, runs basketball camps for youth in the area and is a personal trainer. He sees basketball as a way to reach out to today’s youth. Some of his events took place in the Ledford center with members of the SEBTS family.
 
He advises others to be ready to forgive and learn.
 
“People are going to mess up, we are all sinners and live in a fallen world,” he said. “If you are dealing with the body of Christ, you have to deal with people, and they are going to mess up. We are all going to.”
 
In September, Adams, his wife Nichole and three-year-old son, Tommy Jr., moved to Chicago as a part of his job with Gatorade. He hopes to implement the same discipleship group format he learned from SEBTS in Chicago.
 
He desires for these groups to be “F.A.T.T.”– Faithful, Available, Teachable and Transferable.
Adams seeks to use Gatorade, basketball and his ministry for God’s glory. “It is what God put me on the earth to do,” he said.
 
Looking toward the future, Adams said, “For me now, it’s not about me, but to see my son grow up and be who he is supposed to be. I look forward to seeing the lives that I’ve touched being able to go do what they want to do.” 

11/3/2014 12:35:53 PM by SEBTS Communications | with 1 comments



Former Wolfpack basketball player empowers youth

November 3 2014 by Roman Gabriel III, BR Sports Q&A

Tynesha Lewis grew up in North Carolina where she was one of the most sought after student basketball players coming out of high school. During her college career at North Carolina State University she starred as guard on the Wolfpack basketball team under legendary women’s coach Kay Yow.
 
Following her successful collegiate career, she was selected the 21st overall pick by the Houston Comets in the 2001 Women’s National Basketball Association draft. She also played for the Charlotte Sting and Minnesota Lynx before retiring in 2007.
 
In 2003, Lewis started a non-profit organization called ITSDOABLE, Inc., which features motivational speaking and youth programs. She has also been a successful schoolteacher in Robeson County.
 
I‘ve had the opportunity to minister to youth across North Carolina several times with Tynesha.

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Contributed photo
Tynesha Lewis talks to a group of students. The former North Carolina State University player went on to play professional basketball. 

I consider her a good friend, and a great example of a young lady who uses her athletic and academic talent as a wonderful platform to influence young people to be their very best.
 
We spoke about her love for God, her great pleasure to be mentored under coach Kay Yow and her passion for inspiring this next generation of students.
 
Q: Tell us about your efforts to raise money and awareness for the Kay Yow Cancer Foundation through the upcoming Basketball Jamboree in Fayetteville, N.C.
 
A: As you know most of us have been touched in some way, shape or form by cancer. This is a great opportunity to rally around those who are fighting against cancer, and those who lost loved ones to cancer. We really want to celebrate them. I know it’s called a basketball jamboree event, but we really get to spend a week carrying the burden for those with cancer.
 
Q: Most people in North Carolina know about coach Kay Yow. You had the opportunity to play for one of the greatest college basketball coaches ever. What was special for you about your coach?
 
A: I grew up in North Carolina. Everybody else knew about University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, so if I was going to go to N.C. State there had to be something amazing about Coach Yow.
 
The thing that changed everything for me was the letter she sent me saying the only reason that she was here today was because of her faith [in God]. She wanted us to learn that life is not about me, and that it’s bigger than me. It’s is about playing for others with the platform that God’s given you. It’s all about giving back to somebody else who may not have the opportunities you had. I’m a product of what she poured into me. She was a remarkable person and an outstanding coach. What she did for me as a person, it just can’t be measured.
 
Q: You talk about the importance of spiritual and life guidance. It sounds like Coach Yow was and still is that mentor to you.
 
A: There’s no way you could come in contact with Coach Yow and not be changed. I live by the same mantra she did which is, “If you meet me, then hopefully something that I’m going to do will spark something in you.” She made you feel like you could do anything or be anything. I can remember calling her when she was struggling with her cancer fight to ask how she was doing. She said, “Well not doing too good today but everything is going to be alright.” By the end of the phone call she had encouraged you.
 
Q: Tell us about your foundation “ITSDOABLE,” and your great passion for this generation of young people.
 
A: I am completely indebted to young people. In the toughest time of my young life God sent young people to encourage me. I have to give back to them because they’re the reason I’m here. My brother and I started ITSDOABLE in 2003. In the summer we work in the low income Raleigh-Durham area where some kids might not be able to get a meal. Unfortunately, sometimes the only meal these kids get is when they go to school. In the summer we provided meals and gave about 2,500 book bags to kids who needed them. My parents told my brother and I that to those who much is given, much is required. 
 
Q: You talk a lot about your order of priorities in life: Faith, family, and basketball. What’s that all about?
 
A: My mom and dad did a great job of raising my brother and I in church. So that was instilled in me from a very early age, and to have your own personal relationship with Christ changes how you look at the world. You’re not always trying to take something from the world, you’re trying to give something back to the world. Coach Yow instilled those things in me along the way. Faith and family are the most important things in my life. I want to make sure that any person or any kid knows that if you place God first He’ll direct your path, and things in your life will work out.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The Nov. 15 Basketball Jamboree is open to the public, and will be held at the Freedom Court Sportsplex in Fayetteville. All proceeds will go to the Kay Yow Foundation. For more information about Tynesha and her foundation, visit www.itsdoable.org. Roman’s Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. He is an evangelist and motivational speaker. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook: Roman Gabriel III; connect on Twitter: romangabriel3rd. Contact at (910) 431-6483 or email: soldoutrg3@gmail.com.)

11/3/2014 12:26:14 PM by Roman Gabriel III, BR Sports Q&A | with 0 comments



Planned Parenthood pushes TN for abortion

November 3 2014 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

Out-of-state Planned Parenthood groups are pressing Tennesseans to reject limitations on abortion – more than $1.3 million in pressure in the nation’s most contentious abortion standoff on the Nov. 4 ballot.
 
Tennesseans are seeing a plethora of TV ads and direct mail pieces targeting a state constitutional amendment to enable the legislature to enact restrictions on abortion such as basic medical standards for abortion facilities and a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion.
 
Planned Parenthood groups are but part of a “Vote No on 1” campaign that outspent proponents of Amendment 1 by nearly a 3-1 margin in October, The Tennessean daily newspaper reported Nov. 1.
 
“Amendment 1 is of interest to Planned Parenthood because abortion is big business,” said Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, with offices in Nashville.
 
“They want an unregulated Wild West of abortion in Tennessee so they can shore up their bottom line,” Moore said in a Nov. 1 statement to Baptist Press.
 
Amendment 1 is an opportunity “to demonstrate that human dignity is not something that should be bought and sold,” Moore said.
 
Seattle’s Planned Parenthood affiliate has contributed $750,000 to defeat Amendment 1, according to The Tennessean.
 
Three Planned Parenthood chapters in California combined for a $500,000 contribution against the measure, while two Florida chapters contributed $101,000, the newspaper reported.
 
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s top abortion and secular sex education provider, the organization states on its website, which lists 325,000 abortion procedures in 2012, the latest year for which statistics are available.
 
Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee also have given $50,000 to defeat Amendment 1, while the American Civil Liberties Union was a $100,000 contributor during October, The Tennessean reported.
 
The Vote No campaign spent $3.4 million in October in behalf of abortion, counting just over $2 million raised in October and earlier fundraising. The “Yes on 1” campaign, meanwhile, spent just over $1 million during the month, including a $150,000 donation by a pharmaceutical company CEO, John Gregory, and smaller donations by churches, individuals and pro-life organizations.
 
Amendment 1 states: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”
 
The amendment is a pro-life remedy to a Tennessee Supreme Court decision in 2000 that the state constitution implies a right to abortion.
 
Because Tennessee borders on eight other states, it has become “the abortion Mecca in the deep South,” as one commentator put it, for residents of other states where various abortion regulations are in force.
 
States surrounding Tennessee already have “common sense restrictions in place,” Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Baptist and Reflector state newspaper wrote in an Oct. 31 Internet email. “That is why we have become an ‘abortion destination.’ It is too easy to get an abortion in Tennessee and that needs to stop.”
 
In 2012, 23.6 percent of abortions in Tennessee were performed on women residing out of state, Wilkey had reported in an earlier article, citing the Tennessee Department of Health, Division of Policy, Planning, and Assessment, Office of Health Statistics, 2012.
 
In addition, Wilkey noted The Tennessean had reported earlier in the year that Tennessee ranks third nationally in the percentage of out-of-state abortions.
 
“Tens of thousands of lives hang in the balance,” Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, said in a letter coauthored with fellow Baptist advocate Gene Williams mailed to every pastor in the state in September.
 
Also in the balance: “the health, safety, and well-being of women and girls who can be better protected with the passage of Amendment 1,” Davis and Williams noted.
 
Because the issue is “a matter of policy,” the two men noted, compared to candidates running for office, “it is appropriate for you to encourage your congregation to vote yes on this amendment without fear of adverse scrutiny.”
 
Amendment 1, however, could face a second challenge stemming from state voting law, Wilkey, reporting in the Baptist and Reflector, has noted.
 
In order for Amendment 1 to pass, it will need 50 percent of the votes in the governor’s race cast plus one. For example, if 1 million people vote in the race for Tennessee governor on Nov. 4, Amendment 1 must receive 500,001 votes, according to cautionary information from Amendment 1 supporters.
 
Several examples, Wilkey noted, demonstrate the challenge:
 
Example 1

  • Votes cast for governor: 1 million

  • Votes cast on amendment: 900,000

  • Votes FOR amendment: 480,000

  • Votes AGAINST amendment: 420,000

Amendment FAILS because the Amendment did not garner minimum of 500,001 votes (half the votes cast for Governor, plus 1).
 
Example 2

  • Votes cast for governor: 1 million

  • Votes cast on amendment: 1.1 million

  • Votes FOR amendment: 500,001

  • Votes AGAINST amendment: 599,999

Amendment FAILS because it did not get a majority of the votes even though it did garner the required minimum number of votes of 500,001 (half the votes cast for governor, plus 1).
 
Example 3

  • Votes cast for governor: 1 million

  • Votes cast on amendment: 900,000

  • Votes FOR amendment: 500,001

  • Votes AGAINST amendment: 499,999

Amendment PASSES because it garnered a majority of the votes AND garnered the minimum required number of votes 500,001 (half the votes cast for governor, plus 1).
 
The challenge has not deterred pastors across Tennessee from advocating for life.
 
Clarksville pastor Larry Robertson, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, observed that “nail salons in Tennessee are regulated and inspected, yet abortion clinics don’t have to be? How crazy and confused is that?”
 
Steve Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church, was among several dozen pastors who spoke out Oct. 29 in a news conference at one of the city’s Catholic churches. “The main ones that we’re representing today are the unborn,” Gaines said.
 
On Twitter, Gaines had urged, “Speak on behalf of unborn children who literally cannot speak for themselves. #true-social-justice.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.)

11/3/2014 12:19:55 PM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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