Baptist Life

TULSA, Okla. — Harrison Moseby is a Tulsa firefighter, a husband and a father. He is also a dedicated follower of Christ and an active member of his church, Owasso, First. What makes the journey of this young man especially noteworthy, though, is that Harrison was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that he has been battling since 2022.

Many moons ago, my beloved was sharing a difficult situation with church consultant Dan Garland.  Things had been going splendidly…then they were not. Dan is a treasure.  He has been a Godsend to us.  Since our friendship began in 1999, he has shared from his heart stories of wonderful experiences from his days as a pastor and also gut-wrenching hard times that I am so thankful God brought him through.  Over the decades, he has shared insight, encouragement, and laughs with us.

Christmas is just a few days away. The younger grandchildren at my house are definitely excited. Presents were wrapped and put under the tree, and it is killing them to know what they are. I think I have heard, "Can we open just one present?” numerous times a day. 

Churches across Georgia have been celebrating the Christmas season with candlelight services, Nativity scenes, and theatrical productions, all geared toward heralding the birth of Christ. Here are photos churches have posted to Facebook in recent days.

Over 400 volunteers gathered in New York City and Jersey City, N.J., last weekend to distribute more than 9,600 coats as part of the largest-ever Coats for the City initiative since its inception in 2011.  The outreach event, which took place the first week of December, saw teams from 32 churches across North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama partner with the New York Metropolitan Baptist Association to distribute coats at more than 30 distribution centers throughout the region.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Japan is one of the most unreached countries in the world when it comes to the Gospel being spread there. With this fact in mind, 18 students and one faculty member from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary took part in a mission trip to Nagoya, Japan, to both share the Gospel and lead a biblical counseling conference in early December.

ATLANTA — Inside the Capitol rotunda, a towering Christmas tree shines with thousands of lights. Red poinsettias line the staircases. Long strands of garland hang from railings. And a children’s choir sings about the birth of Christ. That was the scene when Gov. Brian Kemp and his family kicked off the Christmas season in Georgia earlier this month with the lighting of the state Christmas tree, a clear signal that it’s still politically correct to celebrate Christmas as a Christian holy day in the Bible Belt.

“If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like for 150 plus Christ followers to get together and do something meaningful and impactful, you’re looking at it,” Tony Wolfe, SCBaptist Executive Director-Treasurer, said. This year, SCBaptists, partnering with several other faith communities in South Carolina, processed 16,500 Prisoner Packets that will be distributed by chaplains to each of the inmates across the state.

Christmas Eve came on Monday in 1951. My dad and I went to the church that morning to pack “goodie” bags for all the children who would be coming to church for the annual Christmas pageant produced by our church. Families would come to watch the rather pedestrian depiction of the Christmas story unfold in mid 20th century Western North Carolina fashion. The shepherds wore bathrobes. The wise men also wore bathrobes, but theirs were made of silky-looking robes. I often wondered if they had borrowed them from their wives.

Merry Christmas! As we grow older, Christmas takes on new and deeper meanings. For each Christian around the world, we take heed to the meaning of Christmas and find solace in its significance. Without Christmas, there is no Easter. The birth of Jesus is the most important and defining moment in history.

Luke’s narrative of the birth of Jesus highlights both theological and historical aspects of the event. Luke’s account connects the birth with world history but also proclaims the birth of Jesus in theological terms. Neutrality is not possible regarding the person and ministry of Jesus. As a historian, Luke anchors the ministry of Jesus in the context of world history.

SUWANEE, Ga. — The story of a 19-year-old aspiring preacher who baptized most of his teammates on the East Georgia State College baseball team amassed more readers in The Christian Index than any other news article in 2023.Analytics show Index readers have an affinity for stories about people turning to Christ. Of the newspaper’s most-read news articles of the year, all involved people turning to Christ.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board spent 2023 serving Southern Baptists in their efforts to reach North America with the gospel through church planting, compassion ministry, evangelism and chaplaincy. In 2023, NAMB celebrated a milestone in church planting—more than 10,000 new churches started since 2010—and a record-setting total of $70.2 million given to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Ongoing wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters captured international attention in 2023, and Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm of Southern Baptists cooperatively shared by the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, dedicated itself to the task of meeting needs for the sake of seeing lives changed through the power of the gospel.

VALDOSTA, Ga. – It would appear to the most casual observer that Northside Baptist Church in Valdosta exists to reach unbelievers. Northside’s Pastor, Robby Foster, is a Gospel preacher and has led his church to focus on the value of the reaching the unreached.

NEW ORLEANS — With upward trending enrollment numbers, campus renovations completed, and academic milestones marking the year, Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College, looked back on 2023 with gratitude and joy. “At NOBTS and Leavell College, we are in a wonderful season of time,” Dew said.

ONTARIO, Calif. — Following the recognition of graduates (the conferring of degrees) at winter commencement on Dec. 9, Gateway president Jeff Iorg charged graduates to “live the gospel,” in a world in turmoil. “Live a transformed life that is so unusual, remarkable—even radical—that people look at you and say, ‘That person is truly different,’” he said.

Most American Christians have been following the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Ultimately, they say they want negotiations, Hamas to be subdued, and a result that benefits both Israel and Palestinians. Almost 9 in 10 self-identified Christians in the U.S. have kept up with the current war between Hamas and Israel, according to a Lifeway Research study sponsored by The Philos Project. More than 2 in 5 say they have been following the events closely since the war began (44%).

A Christmas carol first published in a hymnal in 1812 was titled The Star of Bethlehem. The author, Henry Kirke White (1785-1806), had been a skeptic before his conversion. His career path was redirected from the law to the ministry. Already an accomplished poet, his life held great potential. Then tragically, at age 22 while a student at Cambridge University, Oxford, England, he became ill and died.

In one nation in sub-Saharan Africa, repeated terrorist attacks have created a refugee and internally displaced people crisis stretching across four countries. At the resulting makeshift refugee camps, women have no opportunities to further their education or learn a trade that would help support their families during this trauma-filled interim.

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Midwestern Seminary hosted two unique study experiences for students this fall, including a study tour to New England and a doctoral seminar in Romania. Each trip sought to expand educational horizons and surpass academic expectations for a variety of programs at the seminary.

People from across Georgia were featured in The Christian Index in 2023. Some are old. Some are young. Some are somewhere in the middle. All are busy impacting their communities for Christ. Here’s a look back at a few of those people.

James Howell, the son of a Welsh clergyman in the 17th century, was a writer and historian; and he is the one to whom the quote, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It is also true that for those in ministry “all work and no play” can create burnout and exhaustion. Grace Harris, a native of Georgia and former member of Burnt Hickory Baptist Church in Powder Springs, is on the staff of the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association. She admits to being extraordinarily busy this time of year and decided to get a ticket to go to the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

ATLANTA — Groups of Georgia Baptists took part in a series of prayer tours of the state Capitol over the past week.  Mike Griffin, public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, led tours, providing insights into how state government operates. As the groups made their way through the Capitol, they made multiple stops to pray for government leaders.

TYRONE, Ga. — Pastors need to be aware that they’re involved in ongoing spiritual warfare and that they must be on the lookout for  attacks that could end their ministries and bring shame to Christ. That was the message Georgia Baptist Convention First Vice President Stephen Dervan preached to more than 100 members of the state Executive Committee Tuesday at Dogwood Church in Tyrone.

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