Top stories

SBC Executive Committee faces criticism for layoffs of Asian, Hispanic ethnic relations leaders

A group of Asian American church leaders are expressing their “profound concern, dismay and disappointment” following staff cuts by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee that included two associate vice president positions responsible for overseeing ethnic relations.
'Small-town Billy Graham’ sees 1,600 commitments to Christ in south Georgia crusade
BAXLEY, Ga. — Hundreds of people streamed out of the bleachers at Jimmy Swain Stadium on Wednesday, responding to a call from evangelist Rick Gage to get right with God. In a scene that harkened back to  evangelistic crusades of yesteryear, they crowded around the platform where the man dubbed the “small-town Billy Graham” had just wrapped up  a fiery gospel sermon that warned of judgment for unrepentant sinners and promised eternal life for those willing to turn from their sins and commit their lives to Christ.
East Cobb Baptist is a church that knows God can
MARIETTA, Ga. — On April 8, 1906, the Rev. Charles S. Wing preached a sermon that was published in the New York Tribune. As a part of his sermon, he referred to the “Story of the Engine that Thought it Could.” Despite the steep climb and heavy load, the engine slowly succeeded in pulling the train over the high mountain while repeating the phrase, “I think I can.”
150 students respond to gospel during chapel service at Brewton-Parker College
MOUNT VERNON, Ga. — An estimated 150 students made spiritual decisions during a chapel service at Brewton-Parker College on Tuesday in a scene that President Steve Echols described as amazing. Between 60 and 80 of the students made first-time salvation decisions while others rededicated their lives to Christ. “The Holy Spirit was moving in a way I have never seen before,” said Echols, a longtime preacher and educator. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have seen some marvelous things of God. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more precious than this.”
Dan Summerlin withdraws from consideration as SBC Executive Committee interim president
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A retired pastor described as “beyond reproach” withdrew his name Tuesday from consideration as interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. Dan Summerlin, the longtime pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church near Paducah, Ky., offered no public explanation for his decision, though Executive Committee Chairman Philip Robertson of Louisiana said Summerlin cited his wife’s health as a primary reason.
Harp's Crossing Hollonville bounces back from pandemic with baptisms, salvations
WILLIAMSON, Ga. — Dixie Gilbert was nauseous during worship on Sunday morning and was thinking she needed to go back home. “I was not feeling good at all and was super dizzy and lightheaded,” she told Pastor Chris Watson at Harp’s Crossing Hollonville. “But something kept telling me to stay.” She understood why when, near the end of the service, her 13-year-old daughter prayed to receive Christ.
Baptist Life

Warren and Mary Faye Moore encourage ministry to Ugandan poor

In 1894, Uganda became a protectorate of the British Empire, and in 1962 the United Kingdom granted independence to Uganda. Since that time, the landlocked country in East African has suffered extreme poverty and untold hardship. According to World Vision, many older adults will remember “the brutal eight-year reign of Dictator Idi Amin whose regime killed up to 500,000 people, persecuted Christians, and left Uganda a broken nation.”
In spring 2021, I was visited by an unwelcome guest — the coronavirus. The first two or three days after the diagnosis felt like mild flu. Then, for a few days, I felt fine. However, when days nine through 12 arrived, my situation took a nosedive. I became dehydrated, ran a high fever, hallucinated, went to the hospital and had terrible fatigue. I pretty much lived in my recliner for four days. There was one person who kept me company and was safe from my contagious condition. His name was Peter Falk, better known as Lt. Columbo.
One of the foundational missions verses in the Old Testament is Genesis 12:1–3. God tells Abraham that all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through him. In the first century, the Jews, for the most part, neglected to be missional. In this passage, Jesus not only provides food for a poor woman. By His example and teaching, He communicates important missional concepts.
NEW ORLEANS — The “Abre Mis Ojos” conference, Spanish for “open my eyes,” yielded salvations as more than 800 guests from the Hispanic community gathered at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for the second annual event earlier this month. The conference was developed as an intentional way for NOBTS to engage the Hispanic community.
ATHENS, Greece — Ever-rising numbers of refugees and migrants, a smaller than 1% evangelical population and recent fires and floodings make Athens, Greece a city ripe for gospel outreach through compassion ministry. Earlier this month, more than 65 Serve Tour Volunteers from 13 churches joined Greek local churches to bring physical help and gospel hope to a diverse city. 

At least 360 Georgia prison guards have been arrested for contraband since 2018, newspaper finds

ATLANTA (AP) — At least 360 employees of Georgia's state prison system have been arrested on accusations of smuggling contraband into prisons since 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, with 25 more employees fired for smuggling allegations but not arrested. The newspaper finds that nearly 8 in 10 of Georgia Department of Corrections employees arrested were women, with nearly half of them 30 years or younger, when ages could be verified.

Georgia students again beat national average on SAT performance

ATLANTA – Georgia public-school students outperformed their counterparts in the nation’s public schools on the SAT this year for the sixth year in a row. The Georgia public-school Class of 2023 recorded a mean SAT score of 1045, 42 points above the national average for public-school students of 1003.

Former President Jimmy Carter makes appearance at peanut festival ahead of his 99th birthday

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, on Saturday made a surprise appearance at the Plains Peanut Festival in their Georgia hometown, the Carter Center wrote in a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Murder charges dropped after fight to exonerate Georgia man who spent 22 years behind bars

ROME, Ga. (AP) — A judge dismissed a murder charge against a Georgia man who spent more than 20 years in prison, ending a decadeslong legal fight to exonerate him. The Floyd County judge dismissed the case at the request of the district attorney, who decided not to bring Joey Watkins to trial again after his initial conviction was vacated. The Georgia Innocence Project and other attorneys waged a lengthy fight to overturn the conviction.

Lahaina residents begin returning to sites of homes destroyed by deadly wildfire

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Some Lahaina residents returned to their devastated properties Monday for the first time since the Hawaii town was destroyed by wildfire nearly seven weeks ago. The prospect of returning has stirred strong emotions in residents who fled in vehicles or on foot as the wind-whipped flames raced across Lahaina, the historic capital of the former Hawaiian kingdom, and overcame people stuck in traffic trying to escape.

Jury selection set to open in terrorism trial of extended family stemming from 2018 New Mexico raid

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Jury selection is set to open Monday in federal court as members of an extended family face kidnapping and terrorism charges stemming from a raid of their squalid New Mexico encampment in 2018 by agents seeking a sickly, missing 3-year-old boy.

NASA's first asteroid samples land on Earth after release from spacecraft

NASA’s first asteroid samples fetched from deep space parachuted into the Utah desert Sunday to cap a seven-year journey.

Lahaina residents brace for what they'll find as they return to devastated properties in burn zone

Soon after one of Maui's Japanese Buddhist temples, the Lahaina Hongwanji Mission, burned in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, its resident minister was desperate to go back and see what remained.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet commander among 34 killed in a missile strike in Crimea, Ukraine claims

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The missile strike that blasted the Crimean headquarters of Russia's navy last week killed 34 officers, including the fleet commander, Ukraine said Monday, though it provided no evidence to support its claim. Ukraine's Special Operation Forces said on the Telegram messaging app that its strike on the main building of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the port city of Sevastopol had wounded 105 people. The claims could not independently be verified and are vastly different from what Russia has reported.

A trial begins in France over the killing of a police couple in the name of the Islamic State group

LYON, France (AP) — It wasn’t the deadliest attack in Europe linked to the Islamic State group, but it was among the most disturbing: One evening in 2016, an assailant killed two police officers in their family home, in front of their 3-year-old son. On Monday, a trial opens in a French counterterrorism court over the attack in the Paris suburb of Magnanville.

Libya's top prosecutor jails 8 officials for potential negligence in the deadly collapse of dams

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s chief prosecutor said Monday he ordered the detention of eight current and former officials pending his investigation into the collapse of two dams earlier this month, a disaster that sent a wall of water several meters high through the center of a coastal city and left thousands of people dead.

A Taiwan golf ball maker fined after a fatal fire for storing 30 times limit for hazardous material

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan authorities fined a golf ball manufacturer 2.4 million New Taiwan dollars ($75,000) on Monday and warned of criminal charges for storing 30 times the legal limit of hazardous material and other violations after a major factory fire killed nine people and left one other missing.
The cure for whatever ails a Baptist church is more baptisms. Since we only practice believer’s baptism (meaning an individual must personally profess faith in Jesus prior to their baptism), baptisms are a sign that conversions are happening in the context of a church’s outreach ministry. Since baptisms symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, they are a church’s opportunity to dramatize the gospel on a regular basis. Baptism is an excellent way to celebrate and commemorate new life in Jesus.
It’s been nearly 38 years. God has taken my husband Jimmy and me on a journey through three pastorates and several aspects of denominational work. Like many, we have had our share of highs and lows. One thing I know, it’s worth it. Over the years, I have gained perspectives of ministry from several angles, and it is apparent – the need for ministers to be affirmed, encouraged, and appreciated is great.
Presbyterian Pastor Alexander Lang caused quite a stir recently when he published his blog, “Departure: Why I Left the Church.” Lang never imagined how many hits he’d get when, with full transparency, he laid out the pressures and unrealistic expectations of the pastorate. One commenter wrote, “Whiner.” He hasn’t walked in Alexander’s shoes. I have, maybe not in his specific circumstances, but I can certainly relate.
As we approach the 2024 election cycle, I have some thoughts and concerns. We are clearly in a spiritual battle, not flesh and blood as we seek to restore our American constitutional republic. As American Christians we need to remember that building, raising up foundations, repairing breaches and restoring paths for America’s constitutional republic is a noble and worthy cause.
Let’s confess. We worry. We fret. We sometimes sweat the small stuff. Concern is appropriate when it produces action. If the warning light comes on in my car, I’m prompted to get the mechanic to check it out before I have major issues. A concerned person acts to address a problem. Worrying, on the other hand, is unproductive.

Writers' union reaches tentative deal with Hollywood studios to end historic strike

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Screenwriters’ union leaders and Hollywood studios have reached a tentative agreement to end a historic strike after nearly five months, raising hopes that a crippling shutdown of film and television filming is near an end. Actors remain on strike, but movement on the writers' demands could mean that the actors will find a resolution soon as well.

Rising oil prices are making gas more expensive for US drivers and helping Russia's war

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Oil prices have risen, meaning drivers are paying more for gasoline and truckers and farmers more for diesel. The increase also complicates the global fight against inflation and feeds Russia's war chest. That poses problems for politicians as well as the people having to spend more to get to work, transport the world's goods or harvest fields.

Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic in growing tech battle

Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in Anthropic and taking a minority stake in the artificial intelligence startup, the two companies said Monday. The investment underscores how Big Tech companies are pouring money into AI as they race to capitalize on the opportunities that the latest generation of the technology is set to fuel.

Why the US job market has defied rising interest rates and expectations of high unemployment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last year's spike in inflation, to the highest level in four decades, was painful enough for American households. Yet the cure — much higher interest rates, to cool spending and hiring — was expected to bring even more pain.

With the threat of wildfires rising, so are artificial intelligence solutions to fight them

LONDON (AP) — Wildfires have ravaged communities from Maui to the Mediterranean this summer, killing many people, exhausting firefighters and fueling demand for new solutions. Enter artificial intelligence. Firefighters and startups are using artificial intelligence-enabled cameras to scan the horizon for signs of smoke. A German company is building a constellation of satellites to detect fires from space. And Microsoft is using artificial intelligence models to predict where the next blaze could be sparked.

MLB-leading Braves are dealing with an ailing rotation as the playoffs loom

ATLANTA (AP) — Baseball's best team has some major pitching concerns heading into the final week of the regular season. Two of Atlanta's key starters — Max Fried and Charlie Morton — have landed on the injured list in recent days, raising questions about just who'll be available for the Braves in the playoffs. Spencer Strider (19-5) and Bryce Elder (12-4) are the only two regular starters who appear certain to pitch in the NL Division Series, which starts Oct. 7.

Braves reach 100 wins again, beat Nationals 8-5 behind Strider to secure doubleheader split

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spencer Strider earned his major league-leading 19th win and the Atlanta Braves got their 100th victory of the season Sunday night by defeating the Washington Nationals 8-5 for a doubleheader split. Kevin Pillar and Forrest Wall homered, and Orlando Arcia drove in three runs for Atlanta (100-56), which has won 100 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2002-03.

AP Top 25: Colorado falls out of rankings after first loss and Ohio State moves up to No. 4

Colorado and Deion Sanders fell out of The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday after a resounding loss in one of the weekend's showcase games, and the teams toward the top of the rankings were shuffled and tightened. A season-high six teams received first-place votes, the most since the 2016 preseason poll. Georgia is still where it started at No. 1 in the AP Top 25, but it is down to 55 first-place votes out of a possible 63.

Atlanta Falcons baffled by offensive collapse in 20-6 loss to Detroit Lions

DETROIT (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons were confident they would be able to move the ball on the Detroit Lions. After a 20-6 loss, they still felt the same way.