February 2012

Abortion and the power of love and forgiveness

By Dwayne Hastings, ERLC Communications

There have been more than 52 million abortions performed in the U.S. since the ignominious Roe v. Wade court decision in 1973. And for every abortion there is a woman who to some degree – knowingly or unknowingly – is complicit in the taking of her baby’s life.

While those around her may have tried to convince her that it was in the baby’s “best interest” not to live and that it was good for her well-being that she abort her unborn child, the reality is that no one walks out of an abortion clinic totally whole.

 Abortion doesn’t just impact the unborn child. The emotional – and sometimes physical – damage to its mother is severe and long lasting, even if the mother herself denies it. The ring of damage extends to the baby’s extended family, including his father and grandparents, particularly if they advocated for the abortion.


Iranian pastor facing execution any day, but supporters still hopeful

[img_assist|nid=7966|title=Yousef Nadarkhani|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=438]By Michael Foust, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP) –The White House Feb. 23 increased the international pressure on Iran to release a Christian pastor sentenced to death, as several reports seemed to confirm his execution order had been issued.

The pastor, Yousef (also spelled Youcef) Nadarkhani, was sentenced to death in 2010 for converting from Islam to Christian in a case that began in 2009.

The statement from the Obama administration is its strongest yet from the White House in Nadarkhani’s case.


Pastor, churches, others repairing hearts and homes in Lake Providence

By Quinn Lavespere, Message Staff Writer

[img_assist|nid=7968|title=Repairing homes|desc=In addition to repairing houses (and roofs), First Lake Providence has been blessed by God through the repairing of hearts because of its drive to save its town.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=480]LAKE PROVIDENCE – A battle is being waged for the soul of a town filled with broken hopes and terrible poverty.

Pastor Mitch Minson, his congregation, and those helping them out have dedicated their lives to rescuing the town of Lake Providence, once referred to by TIME magazine as “the poorest place in America.”

“Seeing what we see day after day, our hearts simply cannot take the struggles we see these people go through,” Minson said.  “We cannot just sit back and watch while this town and its people are mired in such terrible conditions.”


LC, South Korea OK exchange agreement

By Karen L. Willougby, Managing Editor

[img_assist|nid=7970|title=Listening to the good news|desc=A group of South Korean students listen intently as Man Chai Chang, governor of education in southwest South Korea, explains the benefit of a good education. “To be leader you have to have a good and right mind,” Chang told them in Korean. He later translated his own words for the Baptist Message.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=427]PINEVILLE – Soccer stars David Kam and Youngsup “Ron” Soh until recently were the only South Korean students at Louisiana College.

But in early February they were joined by 18 high school students and three teachers from South Korea, on campus for three weeks to practice their English and experience an American college.

On Feb. 13, they were joined by Man Chai Chang, governor of education in southwest South Korea.


Churches reconcile, bless lake community

By Staff, Baptist Press

[img_assist|nid=7972|title=Lake St. John Community Church|desc=Lakeshore Baptist Church and Lake St. John Community Church, reconciling after a 35-year split, are symbolically burying a hatchet in concrete during the 10:45 a.m. worship service March 4. Both congregations will meet as one in Lake St. John’s building, seen above.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=480]DELTA BAPTIST ASSOCIATION – Less than one mile but a lot of bad blood separated the members of Lakeshore Baptist Church, started in 1957,  and Lake St. John Community Church, started in 1982.

Yet the cause for two churches dividing 35 years ago has been lost to  history, and the two congregations are again becoming one.

A special ceremony during the 10:45 a.m. service March 4 at Lake St. John will include the burying in concrete of an actual hatchet, bought specially for the occasion.


Hankins to chair state execs NAMB study committee

By Tim Yarbrough, Baptist Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP) – David E.  Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, was named chair of a special committee to evaluate relations with the North America Mission Board.

The committee was appointed by state convention executive directors during the mid-February annual meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., of the Fellowship of State Executive Directors. State executive directors meet each year for fellowship and to discuss issues related to Baptist state convention work.

The name of the state executives’ special committee is “A Study Committee on Implementation of NAMB Initiatives with State Conventions.”


Church surmounts crisis, emerges as a CP leader

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

[img_assist|nid=7975|title=First Baptist Black Forest|desc=First Baptist Church in Black Forest, Colo., on the cusp of Colorado Springs’ urban sprawl, is a growing church, as pastor Bob Bender puts it, committed to do “what non-growing churches refuse to do: Pray and work hard.”|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=511]BLACK FOREST, Colo. (BP) – A church that dwindled to 10 families in the 1990s then rebounded by prayer, faith and diligence has become a perennial leader in Cooperative Program giving in Colorado.

“Growing churches do what non-growing churches refuse to do: Pray and work hard,” said Bob Bender, pastor of First Baptist Church in Black Forest, located on the cusp of Colorado Springs’ urban sprawl. “We strive to make evangelism [and] missions the point of the spear in penetrating the lostness of Colorado.”

In a state where missions researchers say 86 percent of the population is unchurched, Bender noted that “you have to be highly relational. You pretty much have to earn the right to talk with someone about their faith.


Louisiana Milestones

By Staff, Baptist Message


Richard (wife Norma) Arceneaux is new as pastor of Bellevue Jena.

Jay Miller, new as pastor of Hopewell DeRidder.

Jackie (wife Joanie) Gestes, new as pastor of First Many.