June 2013

CIA agents spread not-so-secret message of love

Billy Williams (center) shares an embrace with CIA agents Dianne Stratton (right) and Doris Dowden. CIA has been visiting Williams, who is blind, since 2004. Williams typically meets them at his door, smiling broadly.

By Tammy Sharp, Special to the Message

LEESVILLE – The CIA is taking Jesus at His word.

Compassion in Action (CIA), a group of people based at East Leesville Baptist Church where John Hebert is interim pastor, have determined to both obey Jesus’ command to love one another and to follow his example of showing compassion to those in need. No special spying skills are needed.


Message launches new, interactive missions map for Louisiana

By Brian Blackwell, Marketing Director

ALEXANDRIA – The Baptist Message has launched a new, interactive way to see where Louisiana Baptists are on mission this summer.

Found on the newspaper’s website – baptistmessage.com – this missions map shows where churches are taking trips to carry out the Great Commission throughout the summer months.


Louisiana Milestones



Jerry (wife Bayne) Pounds, new as pastor of Baptist Temple Alexandria.

Jimmie Rodgers Herring, 83, former pastor 23 years of Bonita Road Baptist in Bastrop, died March 28.

Mitch Minson resigns as pastor of First Baptist Lake Providence for a California pastorate.

Cory Taylor, associate pastor of youth and children at First Baptist Lake Providence, was ordained to gospel ministry May 19.





Texas prosecutors investigate Gosnell-like center in Houston

By Staff, World News Magazine

HOUSTON – Just days after a Philadelphia abortionist learned he will die in prison for his horrific late-term abortion practices – including snipping the spines of babies born alive – a Houston abortionist’s former employees are accusing him of similar criminal acts. 

On May 22 the Harris County District Attorney’s office confirmed to Houston’s local KHOU 11 News that the allegations were indeed under investigation and are “very similar on the surface” to the Gosnell case, which ended in three life sentences. 


Young pastor finds God on a frozen mountainside

Pastor Zack Williams – shown here with his wife Summer – found God during a Utah moutainside retreat. “God can take anyone ... if we only submit,” Williams says.

By Butch Blume, The South Carolina Baptist Courier

Three years ago, Zack Williams, a struggling drug addict and alcoholic wandering through a spiritual void, found himself alone on a barren Utah mountainside in the bitter, sub-zero cold of November.

The York native, after 10 years of addiction and four rehab stints, had gone West in a last-ditch attempt to turn his life around through a wilderness substance-abuse recovery program. Part of the regimen meant spending three days alone on the mountain.


New Orleans’ jazz drummer Geoff Clapp on a mission to be light in a community

Voted Best Jazz Drummer by New Orleans Magazine in 2008, Geoff Clapp has been performing, touring and recording as a drummer since the age of 12. He grew up playing in the church and still loves to play and grow as an artist. With a very unique and wide palette of musical styles, Geoff is equally comfortable playing with a Sunday morning worship team as he is on stage with his jazz contemporaries. In this photo, Clapp is being filmed by CNN in front of the Ruby Slipper in New Orleans.

By Marilyn Stewart, Regional Reporter

NEW ORLEANS – For New Orleans’ Jazz drummer Geoff Clapp, the journey from the church pew as a child to performing with some of Jazz’s greatest musicians was marked by pitfalls and detours that led away from faith and into a dark valley of substance abuse.


Now sober and committed to Christ, Clapp is on a mission to be light in a community that often sees Christianity and a heart for Jazz at opposite poles. 


Cooperation, revival sought by SBC leaders

Messengers of the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention in Houston cast votes to approve a resolution on the Boy Scouts that expresses “opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to change its membership policy” to allow homosexual members.

By Michael Foust, Baptist Press

HOUSTON (BP) – Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention June 11-12 re-elected Fred Luter, the body’s first African American president, to another one-year term and heard him deliver a rousing challenge to Southern Baptists to unite and pray for revival.

The call for cooperation and revival was delivered by other leaders, including Executive Committee President Frank Page and from members of a Calvinism advisory committee who spoke in the exhibit hall the day prior to the convention.


Luter reflects on his first year as SBC President

Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter shares a laugh during the annual Crossover in Houston. Luter says travel to so many places has been one of the challenges of the office.

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor

NEW ORLEANS – He’s seen progress but, “We’ve got a long ways to go,” says Fred Luter Jr., newly re-elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, among the largest of the churches affiliated with the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

Luter spoke with the Baptist Message a week before the SBC annual meeting June 11-12 in Houston.


Learning to prevent suicide, one person at a time

By Kelly Boggs, Message Editor

In recent months many media outlets have drawn attention to the fact that suicide among America’s military members is on the rise. However, not nearly as much attention has been given to the fact that suicide is on the increase among the general population.

In 2010, worldwide deaths from suicide (883,715) totaled more than the combined deaths from war (17,670), natural disasters (196,018), and murder (456,268), according to data quoted in The Daily Beast.


OK, stop your whining

By Jeff Iorg, President Golden Gate Seminary

Spending time with a modern day warrior has reminded me how good my life is and how much I need to stop whining about small problems.

The young man in question has spent the past several years in the most violent places on earth, dealing with people driven to destroy as many people as possible.

His stories are sobering and the personal price he has paid – relationally, physically, and spiritually – is humbling.