Did God reject Esau in spite of his tearful repentance? This question was asked me this morning, while quoting Hebrews 12:16-17:  “And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal.  For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance.”

Though many debate the origin of Valentine’s Day, here in the U.S. its observance is synonymous with love and romance. This week, tangible expressions of love and celebrations of relationships will be commonplace. These demonstrable acts will warm hearts and brighten days as we verbalize our concern for and commitments to others. Some will emphasize it more than others, but the nature of this holiday exposes our abiding desire for relationships that matter.

When we look at our world, at times it seems hopeless with all the evil and chaos. Yet we know one day God will bring an end to evil and bring this earth back to the plan He had from creation—yet even better. Our people need a shot in the arm to encourage them during these turbulent times.

Truth seems to be in short supply in our world today, even in our beloved nation. That is unfortunate, because while our wonderful Lord is the truth (John 14:6), Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He told Eve a lie in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4), and the great prevaricator has been bearing false witness and inspiring others to do likewise since the dawn of creation.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the power to protect the unborn has been given back to the American people (mostly) through your elected state representatives. All state capitols have now become a critical battleground for protecting life. That is why we need you to march at the Georgia State Capitol to bring a voice for the voiceless.

The community orchestra prepared for the annual Fall concert for nearly five months. At the final dress rehearsal, the conductor took time during a break to thank everyone who had helped over the past months. He thanked the sponsors, the press, the ladies who had helped with the costumes, and everyone else he could think of.

Commentary: Count me with Caleb!

What we are experiencing today in America with public policy challenges is nothing new. There are Biblical and historical examples we need to consider and ponder. Let's take religious liberty as an example. Is there a Biblical example where certain leaders and the people were ready to give up their religious liberty to the control of the government?

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — For many churches, dates for Vacation Bible School are among the first placed on the church calendar each year. Churches give VBS high priority because pastors recognize VBS as one of the most important evangelistic events for the entire church year. In some churches, a volunteer serves as the VBS director. Other churches may have a children’s ministry staff person who’s responsible for coordinating VBS.

Just before the recent Republican caucuses, TV journalist Tony Dokoupil was in Iowa asking voters two questions: What do you love about America? And why do you think love of America is fading for some people, mainly those of younger generations? Several people were stumped for answers, but one woman did not hesitate to answer the second question. It’s a change in families. “I don’t think people sit on the porch enough, … and they don’t know the American way,” she said, then added: “The internet took over and built a bunch of idiots.”

Recently, our young adults spent their Winter Retreat focusing on reading the Bible together aloud. No special speaker, no DVD teaching. They simply gathered and read as much of the New Testament as possible over the weekend. They read through I Corinthians, completing 149 chapters. They have 111 to go. Good for them, for Bible engagement makes a difference in our lives.

Georgia Baptists are once again looking forward to recognizing our “Legislators of the Year” at the 10th Annual Georgia Baptist Pastors Day at the State Capitol on February 6. Each year, Georgia Baptists recognize a Senate and House member with an award, thanking them for their extraordinary service to Georgia and God’s Kingdom here on earth.

In the relentless whirlwind of duties and responsibilities that is modern ministry, as pastors, we can sometimes forget that the most important ministry we’ve been entrusted with is the one that happens within the walls of our homes. We understand the importance of our calling to the church. Still, today, I want to talk to you about the importance of us, as pastors, spending quality time with our children, and then I want to suggest some practical ways to make those moments matter.

David Brooks writes that “many young people are graduating (from our most elite colleges and universities) into limbo … plagued by uncertainty about who they are and what is their purpose in life. In response to this problem, Yale University began a course ten years ago designed to help students answer those questions. 

A recent article in The Christian Index explained that if churches have a desire to grow, they need to make reaching the next generation a priority. It would be unwise and impractical to disagree with that astute observation. And yet there are countless churches across America that are agonizing over the fact that there are no children and youth in their fellowship.

I was licensed to “the gospel ministry” by my home church in North Carolina 65 years ago – December 14, 1958. Two years later I was called to be the pastor of the Beulah Baptist Church in Sparta, Georgia; and the good people of Beulah requested my ordination, which also took place in my home church in North Carolina on January 29, 1961.

For almost a decade, the Georgia General Assembly has been dealing with the issue of expanding gambling in Georgia. Every year, the proposed legislation has failed to pass out of the House and the Senate. This year, once again, gambling is being discussed at the Capitol. In fact, on the second day of the 2024 legislative session, enabling legislation for sports betting (SB 172) without a constitutional amendment was brought back up in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee and voted out to go to the Senate floor for a vote.

In the push to reach all Georgians with the gospel, the state’s pastors are thinking and working outside the box. Take David Wheeler for example. He’s using people’s fascination with old cars as a way to tell them about Jesus. Nearly 6 million people have tuned in to watch Wheeler and his family restore rusted clunkers on their YouTube program Revstoration. In his discussions about ball joints, brakes, and batteries, he weaves in the Bible.

The life of a pastor has never been easy, but today's pastor undoubtedly faces unique challenges from previous generations. However, despite today's many challenges, many joys come from God's calling on our lives and the blessings of seeing lives changed by Christ.

Reading a book a friend gave me about his father, I began to conjure up memories of my own, memories of adventures with our two daughters, Michele and Marcia, as they danced and tiptoed through their young lives. Here are a few of those gems.

For more than 250 years, Botsford Baptist Church has been shining the light of Christ in Georgia, establishing itself as a wonderful example of a congregation bent on reaching lost souls.

The 2024 legislative session has already kicked off in Atlanta. We are beginning the second year of a two-year legislative cycle. This means bills that did not pass last year are still available for consideration this year. In 2023, the Public Affairs Ministry of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board was monitoring approximately 27 pieces of legislation on a wide range of social and moral issues, such as religious liberty, gambling, child protection, alcohol, pro-life, foster care, and adoption.

 I was recently asked about Lottie Moon’s last name, because it’s not a very common name for people of European ancestry. As a researcher and writer, I typically include genealogical research on the people featured in my columns, paying special attention to a family’s spiritual roots. Religious beliefs were the driving force for many early immigrants’ journey to America. It shaped their family’s views of government and religious freedom for generations. People are often surprised to discover the role of faith in their own family’s story.

Missions and theology are meant to be kept together because the Bible never separates them. The testimony of Scripture is that biblical theology fuels missions and biblical missions fuels theology. That is why it should be no surprise to us that the greatest Christian missionary was the greatest Christian theologian. It is also why we must work especially hard to reintegrate theology and missions in our lives and in our churches.

President Ronald Reagan proclaimed on January 13, 1984, that January 22 would be the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. That date was the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion-on-demand in the U.S. in 1973. This month reminds us of the 51st Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which led to the deaths of over 60 million babies in the United States alone.

I heard about the men who went deer hunting and separated into pairs for the day. That night one of the hunters returned, staggering into camp under a 12-point buck. They asked, “Where’s Harry?”

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