March 2011

Oklahoma Natives preapre for The Gathering

By Karen L. Willoughby

OKLAHOMA CITY – The difference between reaching Native Americans in the past and in the future could well be determined at The Gathering, in early March.

At this gathering of Native American leaders of Southern Baptist churches across the United States and Canada, the discussion will center around how to more effectively than ever before reach Native peoples on reservations and in urban areas with the gospel of God’s personal love for them. 

“Southern Baptists have been working with us for more than 100 years, and we are still an unreached people group,” said Eddie Lindsey, a Creek Indian and church planter strategist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, in a conversation with the Baptist Messenger. “No way can the gospel that was brought to us be bad, but there are better ways to do it” that would be more effective than previous efforts.


Louisiana COM members vote to host 2012 National rally

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

WOODWORTH – During their recent workweek at Tall Timbers, Campers on Mission members voted to host the 2012 Campers on Mission national rally.

Louisiana-based Mission Service Corps self-funded missionaries, and Baptist Builders, all volunteers, will be asked to help with the logistics of the rally, set for July 16-20, 2012, at the city-owned Rayne RV Campground in Rayne.

Mission Service Corps and Baptist Builders from across the nation will be invited to participate in the national volunteers rally.


Tom Elliff nominated as next IMB president

By Erich Bridges, Baptist Press

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – Thomas (Tom) D. Elliff, longtime Oklahoma pastor, Southern Baptist Convention leader and former missionary, is the unanimous recommendation of a 15-member trustee search committee to be the next president of International Mission Board.

[img_assist|nid=7126|title=Elliff nominated|desc=Tom Eliff|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]The nomination of Elliff – who served as a missionary to Zimbabwe with his wife, Jeannie, in the early 1980s – will be presented to the full board of trustees for consideration and a possible vote when they meet March 15-16 in Dallas.

If elected, Elliff would succeed Jerry Rankin as leader of the mission board, which coordinates the work of more than 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries worldwide. Rankin retired as IMB president July 31, 2010, after 17 years at the helm. Veteran missionary and Executive Vice President Clyde Meador currently serves as interim president.


XMA grows relationship by relationship

By Karen L. Willougby, Managing Editor

RAYVILLE – How did Randy Pierce get from the jungles of Honduras to the barren desert lands of central Asia?

One relationship at a time.

Pierce was in the air conditioning business in 1997 when he was recruited by Southern Baptist Pastor Tom Smith (now retired) of Macedonia Missions Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit construction ministry based in Rayville,  to help build a church in Honduras.


Frank Page, inaugurated as 6th Executive Committee president, sets 'biblical vision'

By Erin Roach and Mark Kelly, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – Executive Committee members, Southern Baptist Convention entity heads and other guests gathered in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 21 to inaugurate Frank Page as the SBC Executive Committee's sixth president.

[img_assist|nid=7129|title=Frank Page|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=73|height=100]Page officially assumed the position Oct. 1 after serving 30 years as a pastor and in various denominational roles, including SBC president. Guests were led in worship in the Van Ness Auditorium at LifeWay Christian Resources by Travis Cottrell, and several of Page's colleagues spoke and prayed for him.


Roger Spradlin, chairman of the Executive Committee, presented Page and his wife Dayle with a certificate of inauguration, listing his many accomplishments within the Southern Baptist Convention through the years.


Are the lives of poor children not worth living, also

By Kelly Boggs, Message Editor

What is more preferable than being a child born into a poor home? According to Rep. Gwen Moore the alternative is being aborted – killed in your mother’s womb.

Children in poor homes, particularly single-parent homes, are subjected to “eating Ramen noodles” and “mayonnaise sandwiches,” Moore said during a debate in the House of Representatives over a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood of federal tax dollars.

The Democrat from Wisconsin also strongly implied that aborting an “unplanned” child is preferred because poor children must endure substandard education and grow up with the stigma of being poor. The House debate was televised Feb. 17 on C-SPAN.


Some may need a CPA to sort out Federal and State income taxes

By Wayne Taylor, Executive Director Louisiana Baptist Foundation

This year you have a few extra days to file your federal and state income taxes.

The deadline to file your 2010 federal income taxes is Monday, April 18, 2011; your Louisiana income taxes are due Monday, May 16, 2011.

The United States Congress waited later than usual (mid-December 2010) to pass some changes to the federal tax laws.


The importance of biblical archaeology

By Dan Warner, Special to the Message

Biblical archaeology has always been a critical tool for the study and understanding of the Bible, primarily because archaeology has been our foremost source of new information.                    

For the last 150 years, biblical archaeology has continually supplied a rich array of texts and cultural materials that have assisted in the contextualization of the Bible.

This is strategic, since teachers of the Bible are responsible to make sure that what they teach is accurate and true to the biblical text. There are rules for interpreting the Bible.


Questions we've pondered

By Bill Warren, Professor of New Testament and Greek

Question: What do we know about the personal prayer life of Jesus?

Bill Warren response: The Gospels mention several occasions when Jesus prays and also contain passages reflecting general Jewish prayer practices, thereby giving a solid picture of Jesus’ prayer life. The content of Jewish prayers often came from the Old Testament, ranging from the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:5-6) to passages from the Psalms to “blessings” thanking God and seeking God’s favor. For example, Jesus prays on the cross by citing Psalm 31:5, “Father, into your hands I place my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

First-century Jewish daily prayers (two or three times daily) are addressed specifically in Matthew 6:5-13. Jesus criticizes those who use the daily prayer times for gaining status by religious showmanship versus truly addressing their prayers to God. As a way to keep the daily prayers focused on God, Jesus teaches his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus would have been raised praying daily at set times and most certainly would have keep this daily prayer emphasis throughout his life, with it being his assumed practice even when not emphasized explicitly.


The big picture of Native American ministry

By Karen L. Willoughby

OKLAHOMA CITY – Eddie Lindsey, a church planter for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and a Creek Indian, says he sees at least two barriers to reaching the 67 tribal groups across Oklahoma, 39 of which are federally-recognized.

“We have tried to change him [the Native American who comes to Christ] but God is the one who changes him,” Lindsey said. “The problem we have faced was dealing with our culture. We were taught, to become a Christian, you had to put away your culture. … One man told me the other day that his father-in-law said, ‘if they didn’t want us to throw everything away, we would have become Christian a long time ago.’

“The thing we have to understand is that not all pow wow is bad,” Lindsey said. “We have to look at all cultures individually. Some dances are social, while other dances have a form of worship. Indian churches have struggled in addressing this problem.”