As surely as the swallows return to Capistrano each year, GAs are flocking to Camp Pinnacle for a summer of outdoor recreation, Bible study, and missions education. But this year, for the first time in nearly a decade, there will be a new face to greet them in the role of camp administrator.
When up to 800,000 bikers gather in Sturgis, S.D., in early August for the annual bikers rally, it might be the last place they would to expect to find a Georgia Baptist minister. But Phil Pilgrim, dressed in black leathers and riding his Harley Davidson, will be right at home – sort of – as he shares the gospel with the unique subset of American culture.
Georgia Baptists joined 1,000 other volunteers from around the nation for a weeklong Crossover emphasis prior to the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in mid-June. The evangelistic event culminated in a massive two-day soul-winning extravaganza on June 9-10.
In order to keep the debates going I open with a question, “Are we in a war we cannot win?” I am not talking about the war against terrorists being fought in the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. I am talking about the illegal immigration war. Depending on the person doing the talking we have upwards from 1 to 40 million people in our country illegally. There is a process that allows for entrance into our nation. We have laws established that places a certain process on those people who desire to make this their country of residence and work. Somewhere, it seems, we have decided that there must be around 12 or 13 million people that we can count who are in this nation without proper papers.
One of my basic tenets of life is that when you listen long enough to politicians you will hear them tell the truth. Listening to many people who offer themselves for public office you discover they are all over the map with their answers. Depending on the group to whom they are speaking they have a ready scripted answer to the questions posed to them. Listening long enough, however, one can uncover deeply held truths. An example of truth coming out was unveiled in news reports telling us that recently Howard Dean, the head of the Democrat Party, announced the best way to get the truth from politicians is to ?“...bar the press.”
Someone has said that courage is the ability to act in spite of fear, not the absence of fear. Once, I taught an adult public speaking class. One of the class members was a war veteran who led men into battle where life and death was determined by his ability. He had a great outgoing personality, comfortable with people from various strata of society. The first night he appeared in my class, he entered the room looking pale. As he introduced himself to the other members of the class he was able only to get his first name out before he passed out from fear. After this tough specimen of a man revived, he sat for the remainder of the class in silence. The day following the incident in this first class, this man called my office with determination to withdraw from the class. We met a day or two later in my office. He was open, calm, and easy to express his embarrassment as a result of having passed out trying to speak to the room filled with strangers. I led him through several possibilities that would allow him to save face in withdrawing from the class. Finally, he said, “There is no way I can live with myself if I drop this class.” He admitted to being more afraid to stand in front of a group of strangers making a speech than going into combat where it could mean death if he made the wrong decision. The decision was made; he would stay in the class. He made me promise that I would not go easy on him. After four weeks, this man turned into one of the most articulate and calm public speakers I have ever coached. What made the difference? He was a man of enormous courage. Fear never left this man when he would stand to speak, but he learned to use the fear to his advantage. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to act in spite of fear.
Southern Baptists meeting in San Antonio June 12-13 re-elected Frank Page as president, focused on a call for repentance, and passed a motion identifying the Baptist Faith and Message as the denomination’s “only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs.”
Louis L’Amour, the popular and prolific American author of Western fiction, describes one of his cowboy heroes as “A big man, wide-shouldered, with the lean, hard-boned face of the desert rider. His toughness was ingrained and deep, without cruelty, yet quick, hard, and dangerous. Whatever wells of gentleness might lie within him were guarded and deep.”
Australian aborigines finally have the Bible in their own language, thanks to the efforts of more than 100 translators working almost 30 years. The “Kriol Baibul” opens the way for most of the country’s 500,000 indigenous people to understand the gospel message in a far better way.
One of the joys of attending the Southern Baptist Convention is the opportunity it affords of renewing old acquaintances and establishing new friendships. While in San Antonio for last week’s annual meeting of the Convention, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Daniel Sanchez. Sanchez, a professor of missions at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, is a native of San Antonio.
Throughout the six decades of Billy Graham’s career, his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, served as the only true constant in his life other than his faith.
The Open Door By J. Robert White, Executive Director, GBC Published June 21, 2007
I recently received communication from Terry Sharp with the International Mission Board, regarding the final accounting of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions for the year 2006. I am happy to report to you that Southern Baptists exceeded the 2006 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal with the largest gift ever given in the 118-year history of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This is great news for Southern Baptist ministries across the world.
I would like to respond to Dr. Harris’ editorial in the June 7 edition of The Christian Index. Dr. Harris’ editorial is both timely and true! Preachers have never been called to “fill the pews,” we have been called to, “preach the word.” Unfortunately, pragmatism in ministry is creeping in, and “filling the pew” is becoming the focus instead of “proclaiming the word.”
Jesus failed? By Winburn Davis (retired pastor), Roberta Published June 21, 2007
Whoa! Jesus, the Son of God, never “failed miserably” in anything He ever did while performing His earthly ministry. You owe Jesus an apology.
Maybe I need more clarification in what the International Mission Board is trying to say but it appears that they need to read I Cor. 14:39, especially paying attention to where it says “... forbid not to speak with tongues.”
This strategy sounds exciting and encouraging to me as a tool to spread God’s Word. The Camel Method appears to be able to remove barriers up front encouraging the hearers to have an open mind early on in the witnessing process.