May 2012

God’s movement at Northside results in baptisms

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

[img_assist|nid=8100|title=The Northerns|desc=The Northern family – Jerry, Charlie, Dee, Shala and baby Shannon – stand with Pastor Kevin Billiot (in glasses) in the baptistry at Northside Baptist Church in Montgomery.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=373]MONTGOMERY – One of the many stories emerging from the Awaken movement is of two families baptized at Northside Baptist Church.

[img_assist|nid=8101|title=The Pools|desc=The Pool family – Jillian, Cyndi and Bill – stand with Pastor Kevin Billiot (in glasses) in the baptistry at Northside Baptist Church in Montgomery.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=373]Kevin Billiot brought with him into this, his first pastorate, a commitment to fasting and praying, and to being an active partner in the Louisiana Baptist Convention, which includes about a half-million people in about 1,600 congregations strewn across the state.

“I was thrilled when the LBC started this 21 days of prayer and fasting,” said Billiot, who was called as pastor in November 2010 from the laity at First Baptist Church of Ponchatoula. “Prayer and fasting is, well, the fasting half of it is almost a forgotten discipline – but it seems to be experiencing a resurgence.


Wave of Prayer crests on Capitol steps

By Mark H. Hunter, Regional reporter

[img_assist|nid=8103|title=Prayer on Capitol Steps|desc=Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins addresses several hundred Baptists participating in the final “Awaken” prayer service, which took place at the State Capitol April 29.|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=431]BATON ROUGE – The Awaken Wave of Prayer washing across Louisiana since early March crested on the Capitol steps the evening before the state officially celebrated its bicentennial.

Several hundred Baptists from dozens of churches joined David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and other state and convention officials on April 29 to worship in song and to pray for a state and national revival. The Capitol steps event culminated meetings in all 64 parishes to celebrate the Convention’s bicentennial, nearly all of which Hankins personally attended.

“We’ve had good prayer meetings every place we’ve been,” Hankins said in a brief interview prior to the final service. “We’ve had anywhere from a dozen or two to more than a hundred in several places. I’m glad I did it. I’ve had a great time, I’ve met a lot of great people and I’ve been encouraged everywhere I’ve gone.”


Bullying and sexual politics: the two don’t go hand in hand

By Kelly Boggs, Baptist Message Editor

The word bully, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as a person or persons who “intimidate or persecute [someone weaker].” Though the practice has likely been around since the beginning of mankind’s existence, the advent of the Internet and proliferation of social media has given bullies new and innovative ways to torment their victims.

Situations have occurred where the bullying has been so relentless and intense that victims were driven to commit suicide, a practice that is now referred to as “bullycide.”

Bully, a documentary by Lee Hirsch that calls attention to the harsh reality of bullying, is currently showing in select theaters in the United States. The film focuses on students victimized by bullies and the families of children who committed suicide in response to being bullied.


Wicker: Remembering Chuck Colson, the church member

By Hayes Wicker, Senior Pastor First Baptist Naples, Fla.

While multitudes mourn the death of Charles Colson, probably the best-known and most influential American Christian other than Billy Graham, I experience a profound sadness as his pastor of 20 years.

I first met Chuck while in view of a call. I presented an audacious covenant to the First Baptist Church of Naples which was attached to the secret ballot, challenging the church: “You cannot separate a man from his message and his methods; a vote to call me is a vote to confirm this covenant.”

While not a member yet, Chuck came to me and affirmed this action and asked permission to put my covenant in his next book, The Body.


Decisions, decisions ... Why Vacation Bible School matters

By Andy Johnson, Pastor Cross Roads Baptist Church Farmerville

The vast majority of Baptist churches throughout Louisiana – and across the country – will hold Vacation Bible School during the upcoming summer months. Some even do it twice a year.

Whether it revolves around alligators, pandas, apples, or big pirate ships, there is always a ton of work to be done to transform pristine sanctuaries and educational facilities into a broad array of sounds, colors, and themes designed to widen the eyes of children – ranging in age from 3 years old all the way to 12.

There are lessons to be learned, videos to watch, games to play, crafts to construct, cookies and punch to be consumed. There is also music to sing and gyrate to, and humor to be enjoyed.


Why we have gone to court against the Obama mandate

By Joe Aguillard, President of Louisiana College, William Armstrong, President of Colorado Christian University, Ken Smith, Geneva College

We are presidents of three private, evangelical colleges throughout the country. Our colleges enrich each of our communities. We educate young men and women for virtuous and productive roles in society. We engage in service and charitable outreach. We provide jobs to many hundreds of citizens and provide their families generous health insurance.

But the Obama administration has passed a rule that will penalize our colleges with faith-based fines merely because we center our beliefs about the sanctity of human life on the Bible, not on the demands of federal bureaucrats. The administration’s mandate that religious employers provide coverage of abortion-inducing drugs for their faculty, staff, and students is a bridge too far in America.

This “conscience tax” is a blatant violation of the freedoms of religion and speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and affirmed by federal laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This mandate would be unjust even if it applied only to those who accept government funding, but it does much more than that. It applies to private, religious employers just because they exist in American society, regardless of whether they receive government funding.


Boniface: Monk, missionary, and martyr

By Rex Butler, NOBTS

When Pope Gregory II commissioned the missionary known as Boniface, he said, “You seem to glow with the salvation-bringing fire that the Lord came to send upon the earth” as cited by Mark Galli in 131 Christians Everyone Should Know).

Gregory gave him the name “Boniface” (“doer of good”), a name to which Boniface lived up to by his hard work and impacting preaching in eighth-century Germany.

Boniface was born about 680 A.D. as Wynfrith (or Winfrid) in Wessex in southern England, to Christian parents. His family entertained a number of monks coming to establish Christian institutions in the region, and young Wynfrith was so taken with their way of life that, at the age of five, he determined to dedicate himself to God’s service.


Questions we've pondered

By Archie England, NOBTS

Question: Judaism uses the term “Shema” to refer to their theological understanding that God is one (and not a Trinity). Where is this in the Old Testament, and what does it mean?

 Archie England responds: “Shema” is a Hebrew word that means “hear!” and it’s the first word of Deuteronomy 6:4. What follows this imperative verb in verses 4-9 has become known as the “Shema.” The passage is used in their morning and evening prayer service, and it is explained by Judaism as expressing the monotheistic essence of God (as opposed to our Christian doctrine of Trinity).

 Deuteronomy 6 immediately follows Moses’s second recounting of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-21). As such, its emphasis is the first commandment: “No other gods before me.” To accomplish such spiritual purity of relationship with the Lord God of Israel, God commanded Moses to teach (6:1) Israel His commandments, statutes, and judgments. Only by discipling Israel in such knowledge would Israel become capable of fearing (a kind of fear that results in worshipful reverence) the Lord God and living in obedience to Him (6:2). This fear and obedience was the centerpiece of Israel’s covenant relationship with God. Moses explained via the Shema that Israel would only be blessed and prosper so long as they single-mindedly clung to their God, who is the One God! (6:5). To allow the worship of God to include any other expressions of deity was expressly forbidden (6:13-14).


LBC Youth Ministry forum dubbed ‘the best ever’

By Philip Timothy, Message Staff Writer

Too often youth ministers/ministries just “let it happen.”

Andy Blanks, co-founder of youthministry360 and author of 7 Best Practices for Teaching Teenagers the Bible, pointed out to his audience that statistics reveal a larger than imagined percentage of youth ministers do little or no planning for their small group Bible study time with their youth  … they just let it happen. Not good.

“Events, big or small, are good, but too often youth ministers miss the opportunity to lead teenagers to know God and His ways through small group Bible studies,” Blanks said. “Regrettably, it’s an opportunity that’s unfortunately wasted.”