March 2012

Louisiana Disaster Relief makes second post-tsunami trip to Japan

By Staff, Baptist Message

BATON ROUGE – A 9.0 earthquake that resulted in a massive tsunami along Japan’s coast on March 11, 2011, continues to crack the reserve of Japanese people.

They are seeing in the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers a difference that comes from the love of Christ that flows through them to the hurting Japanese.

Five Disaster Relief volunteers from the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge were to leave March 14 for an 11-day mission trip to tsunami-ravaged Japan.


Nation Briefs: Senate Rejects Blunt Amendment

By Staff, Baptist Message

But conscience protection bill did gain some Democratic support

(WNS) – The Senate shot down the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, also known as the Blunt-Rubio amendment, on March 1. The legislation would have given religious employers expanded conscience protections from President Obama’s contraceptive/abortifacient mandate.

The Senate tabled the amendment 51-48, a narrow vote where Republicans won the support of three Democrats and kept the votes of most of the moderate female Republicans, belying the narrative that the amendment was something only extreme right-wingers would support.


Retirement: It’s not just a number, it’s about life

By Wayne Taylor, Director of the Louisiana Baptist Foundation

[img_assist|nid=7993|title=Retirement|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=511]Planning for retirement typically centers around numbers; either saving an amount of money or attaining a certain age to receive Social Security or a company retirement plan. There is a TV commercial for a financial company that promotes the idea that retirement is a number: accumulating the amount of money we need to live comfortably without a paycheck from employment.  I confess that I viewed retirement that way, until recently. 

But while reading Billy Graham’s new book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well, which is primarily about aging gracefully with purpose and preparing for death, I was surprised to find that Dr. Graham tackled the issue of retirement in Chapter 2, “Don’t Retire from Life.”

Dr. Graham said, “No matter who we are, retirement presents us with two choices. Either we can use it to indulge ourselves, or we can use it to make an impact on the lives of others. In other words, the choice we face is between empty self-indulgence and meaningful activity.”


Retirement plans: Still an opportunity for giving

By Jerry Love, Director of Planned Giving LBF

[img_assist|nid=7995|title=Chart on Giving|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=306]With the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 through the end of 2011, individuals had the opportunity to use their Individual Retirement Accounts to make gifts directly to charitable and ministries.  Under this provision, Charitable IRA Rollover, the IRA owner could instruct the custodian to make a distribution directly to a church, college or other charitable organization.  There was no tax deduction for the gift but the donor did not have to claim the distribution as income.

 Provision expires, but opportunities for giving still exist

This Charitable IRA Rollover provision was allowed to expire at the end of 2011.  However, it does not mean that retirement plan assets should be overlooked as a funding source for charitable gifts. In fact, the income tax treatment they receive can make gifts of these assets a good choice during lifetime and at death.


Church answers pastor’s challenge to Awaken

By Pam Ford Davis, Special to the Message

DELHI – Pastor Kelly Wayne Clark of New Hope Baptist Church in Delhi received his Awaken 2012 information in early December.

It came from the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s Evangelism and Church Growth team, which sent a sample copy to each of the LBC’s 1,600 affiliated churches.

“I immediately made a challenge to the deacons and congregation to participate,” Clark said. “We set a date on the church calendar for this special prayer emphasis.”


Louisiana Milestones

By Staff, Baptist Message


Gary (wife Alexa) Ashworth, resigned as minister of families at Simpson Baptist. Pastor: Jeremy Blocker.

Bill Calloway, new as Associate Pastor of Glenmora Baptist. Pastor: Falis Holloway.

Terry Rutherford, new as music director at Glenmora Baptist. Pastor: Falis Holloway.


Music and Drama Festival attendees praise the Lord

By Holly Jo Linzay, Special to the Message

[img_assist|nid=7999|title=Drama instructions|desc=More than 200 participants attended the two-day Music and Drama Festival held at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria recently. Music and drama workshops, such as the one pictured above, were offered throughout the event.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=480]ALEXANDRIA – High-energy drama, choreography and uplifting music stirred the hearts of the attendees at the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s recent Music & Drama Festival.

More than 200 participants received hands-on training during the workshops and learned new expressions of worship at the two-day event Feb. 24-25 at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria.

“This whole festival has been a life-changing experience,” enthused Logan White, 15, of Walker Baptist Church. “I learned so much about using your emotions to help usher people into the presence of God.”


Kingdom Builders for the Lord renovate Storefront Ministries

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

[img_assist|nid=8001|title=Renovations on the Storefront|desc=Renovations by Kingdom Builders for the Lord Inc. give a facelift to the front of Ferriday’s Delta Storefront Ministries.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=424]FERRIDAY – About half the population of this Mississippi delta town lives in grueling poverty, the kind where kids wear flip-flops in mid-winter because their feet outgrew their school shoes from last fall, where supper might be a bit of rice sprinkled with tomato sauce, because that’s all that’s left in the cupboard, where clothes stay piled on beds for the family to crawl under, to thwart the chill left from a too-thin blanket in a house that might not have much – if any – heat.

Delta Storefront Ministries helps.

It’s been helping since 1989, when it was started in a rented building on Ferriday’s main street by a pastor and his then-WMU-president wife: Preston and Ruby Holder.


Alaska church reaches the world via the CP

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

[img_assist|nid=8004|title=FBC Delta Junction|desc=A layer of snow and the bluish look of a cloudy day in Delta Junction, Alaska, fail to hide the readiness of First Baptist Church members to share the Gospel through missions and ministries supported by Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=442]DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska (BP) – “We’re a small town in a remote area,” Alaska pastor Dave Becker says of Delta Junction, where he leads First Baptist Church.

As a Southern Baptist congregation, however, the church has a global reach.

“We believe the best and most effective way to be involved in what Jesus told us to do – which is to reach the world – is with our support of the Cooperative Program,” said Becker, First Baptist’s pastor since 2000.


Santorum: God called me to be president

By Mark H. Hunter, Regional Reporter

BATON ROUGE – Presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum told several Louisiana Baptist congregations that God called him to run for the presidency.

Santorum, a Republican from Pa., spoke to packed sanctuaries at First Baptist Church in Bossier City and Calvary Baptist in Shreveport the morning of March 18, and then again that Sunday evening to more than 1,400 crowded into Greenwell Springs Baptist in Central, near Baton Rouge.

“I came to the United States Senate and found the Lord,” Santorum, a lifelong Catholic, said during a question and answer time at Greenwell Springs Baptist, hosted by Dennis Terry and conducted by Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.