Baptist Life

Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway to heaven with angels going up and down on it. The imagery of a stairway to heaven has been picked up in our culture in examples such as a song by the rock band Led Zeppelin, a name for cottages in the Smoky Mountains, and an iconic structure in Seaside, Florida.

For over a quarter of a century, from 1895 to 1921, the Woman’s Missionary Union of Georgia published a monthly paper called The Mission Messenger. In the beginning, it was written and published by a small band of volunteers, mostly state WMU officers. They understood the need to inform and inspire the Baptists women of Georgia to support missions. The early editions were four pages long, and a subscription cost 10 cents a year.

FRANKLIN , Tenn. — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams are helping transport hay to Texas to aid the recovery efforts after recent wildfires in North Texas. Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, was contacted last weekend by Kentucky Disaster Relief state director Ron Crow.  Crow informed Jones that they had been asked to send hay to Texas in response to the fires. The Kentucky teams had collected hay from donations, but did not have any trucks or trailers to haul it. 

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — As part of the royal priesthood of believers, theology is for all Christians—not just those teaching in the academy or serving in vocational ministry. It’s the call and privilege of every believer to know, love, and worship God. But how do we help the people in our pews see themselves as theologians? And how can we equip them to think rightly about God so their knowledge of God will lead them in greater love for God?

MILLEN, Ga. — Child trafficking is a global concern that occurs to some degree in every country in the world. Global Relief Association for Crisis and Emergencies, Inc. (GRACE) is a Millen based non-profit that actively addresses the issue in Pattaya, Thailand, which is known as the child sex trafficking capital of the world. The organization was founded in 2012 in the United States by Jon and Angie Sullivan to bring awareness to the issue.

BOSTON – “What’s someone like you doing in a place like this?” When Faith Garland goes where she goes, that question is bound to come up eventually. And perhaps the best response she can give is this: Sometimes, it takes a prodigal to know a prodigal.

CLEVELAND, Ga. — Truett McConnell University hosted a Friends and Family Weekend on Friday and Saturday for students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, and partners for a variety of exciting activities. The featured speaker for the special weekend was Riley Gaines, who was introduced by University President Dr. Emir Caner as a 12-time All-American swimmer for the University of Kentucky with 5 SEC titles.

The second essential element of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the understanding and acceptance that our problem is the choice we have made to rebel against God. The problems we have today were created by us or by some other person(s) choices in the past. It’s like what Peter M. Senge wrote, “Today’s problems come from yesterday's solutions.”

PINCKARD , Ala. — “I’ve taught Sunday school for a lot of years, and one thing I’ve always taught is we come to church for two major reasons. One is the corporate worship as saints. The other one is equipping the saints,” Chris Smith says. “But once you’re equipped, you get outside the church.”

When Michael (Mike) Rubino started attending Calvary Baptist Christian School on Long Island as a fourth-grade student, he never imagined God would one day call him to pastor the church that housed the school and then share with them a vision for church multiplication. Today, however, that’s exactly what has happened.

SUWANEE, Ga. — Georgia Baptist churches have been posting some impressive numbers when it comes to baptisms and Cooperative Program giving. W. Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said Cooperative Program giving was up 10.6% in January and February compared to the same two months last year, and that the baptism count was up more than 40% in the past year.

ATLANTA, Ga. — Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson’s announcement that he has been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver has triggered an outpouring of prayer from his fellow Southern Baptists across the state. Thompson, a member of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, said he will provide updates on his health as they become available.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Josh and Beth Glymph are different, but not in the way people might expect. It’s true, their family photos are eclectic and multi-colored. “That’s because we have two biological children,” Josh says, “and we also have three adopted children.” And it’s also true that four years ago, they planted a church.

Manith Sanchez, a Cambodian refugee who fled Pol Pot’s brutal dictatorship in the late 1970s, had never heard the name of Jesus. But as she recalled her escape, the evidence of God’s provision for her was unmistakable.  “I was almost killed so many times,” Sanchez said.

BOWMAN, Ga. — A spiritual movement that began in Georgia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing in Bowman where 60 people made salvation decisions at a Wednesday evening wild game dinner. “It was incredible,” said Chris Pritchett, pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where some 550 people had tickets for the meal that included bison, duck, wild boar, rabbit, and alligator,

PHILADELPHIA – The rain came at the worst possible time. Every Saturday afternoon at precisely 2 p.m., the Chery family drags amplifiers and mic stands and folding chairs and extension cords out the front door of their house, loads them into all the trunks and back seats they can round up, and then they drive across town to a rented storefront in the Philadelphia suburb of Lansdowne.

When a group of eight Send Network church planters traveled to Bogotá, Colombia, to learn from and work alongside International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries for a week, they had no idea the kind of lasting impact their collaboration could bring. As part of the week’s activities, the planters co-labored with a new Colombian church plant and IMB missionaries to distribute food bags funded by Send Relief, the compassion ministry of Southern Baptists, in an impoverished neighborhood south of the city.

We were on our knees in the aisle and surrounded.  I could hear some whisper, “Jesus,” and “Yes,” as they prayed.  These were our people, our church family, and they were sending us out.  What a wonderful thing to be supported by our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Tears flowed down my face. 

SUWANEE, Ga. — After a couple of stress-filled years, the majority of America’s pastors are feeling better about their ministries. That’s according to research from the Barna Group, an organization that monitors cultural and religious trends in the U.S. In an article last week, the Barna Group said 90 percent of pastors surveyed said they felt more confident in their calls to ministry than they did when they first started, a sure sign that the nation’s preachers are no long feeling “discouraged, depleted and defeated by their day-to-day work.”

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe police on Wednesday said they have arrested a man claiming to be a prophet of an apostolic sect at a shrine where believers stay in a compound and authorities found 16 unregistered graves, including those of infants, and more than 250 children used as cheap labor.

I am not a fan of flying at all!  I have to really pray and talk myself into getting on an airplane.  We just got back from a trip out of the country.  Our flight was close to 10 hours long.  Needless to say, the flight out of the country was not smooth at all. 

CLEVELAND, GA – John Yarbrough has one of the most impressive ministerial resumes imaginable.  He has been a successful pastor. He has academic credentials to be envied. His denominational engagement on the associational, state, and national levels is extraordinary. His preaching opportunities have taken him to 48 states and seven foreign countries.

More than 1,300 pastors and other Christian leaders gathered for the Called to Witness evangelism conferences, which have been held at locations across the state over the past month. The latest conference was held at Northside Baptist Church in Tifton.  Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. said the annual evangelism conferences play an important role in inspiring the state’s 1.4 million Georgia Baptists to reach out to the estimated 7 million people in the state who don’t go to church. They made gains in that work over the past year, with Georgia Baptist churches recording nearly 21,000 baptisms, the largest number since 2016.

The first essential element of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the understanding and acceptance that we are all accountable to God.  Many today would balk at the idea of accountability to God. Most today would say that we are accountable to God for just the “big” things, like the Ten Commandments. But just to be absolutely clear, I am not merely stating that we are accountable to God for just the “big” things.

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – The congregation of a coastal North Carolina church is grieving the loss of its senior pastor’s wife, who died six days after her family’s car was struck by the driver of another vehicle who was seeking to elude police during a chase. Suellen C. Leonard, 44, died on Saturday, March 9, as a result of injuries sustained in a crash that happened Sunday, March 3. Leonard is the wife of Nate Leonard, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Morehead City.

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