File: Current News March 4
*The Healthy Church Podcast
Larry Barker – The first episode of our new podcast is out, and we are praying that it will be an encouragement to you and your church. We do not have all the answers, but we do have a lot of years of experience and have figured out a couple of things not to do. The heart of this came out of a burden for pastors and church leaders, with a desire to provide a place where you can know you are loved and someone does care. Lance Witt in Replenish says, “Inadvertently, we have marginalized the soul side of leadership.” Bill Wellons in What Really Matters would agree with this focus.
*How Do You Know When It’s Your Time to Go?” (pg. 1)
Anders Lee – Tough subject isn’t it? Leaving a church is never easy. This isn’t one of those topics that I looked forward to covering, yet it is one that merits discussion. I have always had one or two in my circles who were discussing this very thing, trying to discern the will of God for their life. I’ve touched on this before in previous articles and hesitated to revisit the matter, but since I’ve been specifically asked to write an article on this, here we go! I took my first church in January 1990 when I was 18 years old. In 1993, I came to a point where I knew I could not move that church forward where I was serving because of my lack of experience. Bless their hearts, they sure were patient with that super young guy. So I started praying about moving on and where God would have me land. I spoke to Dr. Gerald Kellar for some sage advice and he sure gave it to me. Of course, I asked my Dad, too.
*Service and Support Animals (pg. 1)
Brotherhood Mutual – A policy can provide guidance when someone wants to bring a service dog or emotional support animal to church. Increasingly, people with anxiety and other conditions are turning to emotional support animals for comfort and relief. Since these animals require no formal training, the law treats them very differently than service dogs. Understanding the difference between service and emotional support animals can help your organization respond fairly, consistently, and lawfully when someone asks to bring an animal to church or ministry activities.
*Student Ministry = Family Ministry (pg. 2)
Dan Carson – If you are involved in student ministry, there is little doubt that you love students. Why else would you put up with girl drama and stinky middle school boys? We see their openness to the gospel and get excited to share the truths of God’s Word with them. We get to be there for them in ways that others don’t. It is really a special place of ministry that God has given to us. However, we are should not be their primary discipler. We may feel that falls to us; but ultimately, that is a role that should be fulfilled by Mom and Dad. They are the ones who should be pouring God’s Word into our students. Our job should be to come alongside and strengthen what they are learning at home. We only get 1-2 hours out of their 168 hours per week. Parents are with their children a great deal more than that.
*Are There Others? (pg. 5)
Editor -I received a photo from Beth McCarty at Russell Baptist Church in Russell last week. The church recently recognized “long-standing deacon” Bart Taylor on his 94th birthday. It is a well-deserved honor and I am glad to run it, but it got me to wondering if there are other deacons who are over 90-years-old who are still serving in our BMA churches? If your church has one (or more) of these faithful servants, would you please send me their photo (jpeg format, full size), the name and location of the church, the deacon’s name and age and how long they have served as a deacon? The photos and information should be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 25. Then we’ll run a collage of these photos in the April 1 issue to acknowledge their service to our Lord and to our BMA churches.
JTC Disaster Relief Ministry Update (pg. 1)
Lavon Haden -During the Christmas season, Just the Crumbs was blessed to deliver 17 boxes of canned goods and several frozen hams, pork loins and pulled pork to families who needed a helping hand. During the week of Feb. 22-29, Just the Crumbs fed and provided shower facilities to Team Acts as they did some rebuilding in the area hit by Hurricane Michael near Panama City, Fla. We are visiting the Jackson and Columbia areas affected by the Pearl River flooding. We will assist with meals in the area where we feel called to serve, as soon as our equipment and workers return from Florida. Your prayers play a major role in our ability to serve the hurting. Please continue to hold us up with those prayers.
CBC Students Compete In Ark. NATS Student Auditions (pg. 2)
Terry Kimbrow – The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Arkansas Student Auditions were held on Feb. 28-29. NATS was founded in 1944 and is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members worldwide. The NATS Southern Region consists of more than 200 voice professionals from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The recent auditions were held during the Arkansas Spring Conference at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. (Also see CBC Sports, pg. 2)
The Incomparable Christ (pg. 2)
Frank S. Page (Baptist Press) – Our world has a very inaccurate view of who God is. Some see Him as an absentee landlord; others see Him as The Man Upstairs. It has always been the plan of Satan that our world not have a clear perspective of who God is. We are so fortunate to live on this side of the cross. We can show the world what God is like because we can show them God through Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews declares that in many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets (1:1). God spoke through holy men moved by the Holy Spirit to communicate His will for all mankind. Through Moses, God gave His people the law. Through Isaiah, God spoke concerning His sovereign holiness. The message of Heb. 1:1-3 declares that in these last days, God has spoken through His unique and divine Son, who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. It is in Jesus Christ that God has given His full and final self-disclosure to the hearts and lives of men and women. Let us look at what this passage in Hebrews tells us about Jesus…
Rise in Church Violence: Your Church Ready? (pg. 3)
Larry Page – It is a sad and sobering fact of life that America’s churches are not immune from the violence — particularly gun violence — that seems to have become routine in our nation today. The numbers bear this out: between 1999 and 2017, violent church incidents have increased almost 2,000%. Numerous examples of church gun violence that ended in tragedy can be cited, and all of us are aware of many of these. I will share just one: On Nov. 5, 2017, a man entered the First Baptist Church at Sutherland Springs, Texas and began shooting. He encountered no armed opposition, so he had what was, in effect, a gun-free zone and a target-rich environment. By the time he exited the church, he left 26 dead and 20 wounded. Now, even though gun violence has increased at an unsettling rate, it still is not statistically likely to happen in any given church. However, it can and does happen in some. So the advice security experts offer is to pray that it won’t happen in your church, but prepare as if it might.
Praying Over the Churches (pg. 4)
Editor – Last Wednesday, I mailed the Special Emphasis packets to the BMA of Arkansas churches. As I was explaining the overall Special Emphasis process to my Timothy (Jeff Herring), it occurred to me that I might not have shared the most important part of the process with the rest of you. Although I do all of the Special Emphasis mailing myself (except that Jeff took it to the Post Office), my favorite part is always putting the postage on the packets. No, it’s not because that is almost the end of the process. It’s because of what I do while I’m putting the packets through the postage meter — I pray for each church individually.
Trumpet Notes (pg. 4)
Israel To Unleash COVID-19 Vaccine; “47% of Mainline Pastors Support Same-sex Marriage;” Animated Movie Pushes the LGBTQ Agenda; Court Upholds Trump Abortion Rules
Epic Church NWA Has Launched (pg. 5)
Jake McCandless -Last fall following a difficult season, Turner Street Baptist Church in Springdale made the commitment with 12 in attendance to replant as Epic Church NWA. (This was shared in the Oct. 16 issue of the Baptist Trumpet.) After months of planning and working together Epic Church NWA officially launched at the end of January. It was a great start, with 45 in attendance. Throughout the process of “practice” and “preview” services and continuing after the launch, guests continue to come to each service. Everyone is all-in and working together to use their gifts and strength to keep the outreach going. Epic’s goal is to help one another and develop a sincere and robust faith in Christ. In the months leading up to the launch, the launch team went through the Activate program. This was done in Sunday School, the worship service and in special meetings. The discussions from that process are continuing through monthly churchwide planning meetings. Epic Church extends an invitation to any Trumpet reader who may currently be without a church to come visit.
First, McNeil to Mark 160 Years of Service (pg. 5)
Becki Talley -On March 22, First Baptist Church at McNeil will celebrate her 160th anniversary. Homecoming services will begin at 9:45 a.m. Danny Bullock, who served as the church’s pastor for over 28 years, will bring the message, and Mike Goodwin will serve as song leader for the service. A potluck lunch will be served at the Bowman Brasher Center. For more information, call (870) 562-1030.
“End of Life” Conference (pg. 5)
The Preserving the Sanctity of Life at the End of Life Conference will be held Saturday, March 21, at the CHI St. Vincent Center for Health Education, #2 St. Vincent Circle, Little Rock. The event, sponsored by Arkansas Right to Life, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Little Rock and Family Council, is “a result of the targeting of Arkansas by Compassion and Choices in 2019 to amend the law banning physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas,” said Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life.
Worth the Wait (pg. 5)
Valarie Fish – The newly betrothed bride watches her bridegroom ride away over the hill and sighs. Now the waiting begins. Depending on the circumstances, the wait time between an ancient betrothal and the wedding could stretch from months to years! We know that Jacob served Laban for seven years before he could marry Rachel and another seven years after he realized he had been tricked into marrying Leah instead. Genesis 29:20 says those seven years seemed like just a few days to Jacob because of the love he had for Rachel. Sometimes I wonder how long it felt like to Rachel.
Why Be a Baptist? (pg. 6)
Tom Mitchell – I was just thinking about a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times — “Tom, why are you a Baptist?” That’s a fair question, especially since there are so many different denominations from which to choose. For a number of years, I could have answered, “I am a Baptist because my parents are Baptists.” Some others might answer, “I am a Baptist because it is the only church in our community.” Those statements might be true, but they are not truly the best answers. So, let me again pose the question in this fashion, “Why be a BMA Baptist?” While some vehemently state that Baptists were the original church, I am afraid that attempting to “connect the dots” back to the Jerusalem Church might be rather difficult. Indeed, our ancestors and predecessor churches have not always carried the Baptist moniker.
Why Aren’t Baptists… Baptizing? (pg. 6)
J.D. Greear (Baptist Press) – Editor Spriggs’ Note: Although this article pertains to Southern Baptist churches, the writer’s points might also apply to BMA churches. The past few years have been challenging for many Baptist churches. Across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as a whole, the number of baptisms we’ve seen has been steadily declining. And while there are some notable exceptions within the SBC — churches that are seeing people come to Christ and follow Him in baptism — we have to come to grips with the fact that something is awry. Those of us who own the “Baptist” label ought to see declining baptism numbers as a problem in urgent need of gospel solutions. We need to ask some difficult, though faith-filled, questions.I think the primary problems are spiritual:
Who is Really Free? (pg. 7)
Paul White (Part 5 of 5) – If you remember a few weeks back, I asked the question: “Is there any hope?” Let’s take up where we left off last week. The jailer was about to take his own life when he heard a cry out of the dust and ashes: “Do not harm yourself. We are here.” There was hope — not all hope was lost — and those two Jesus guys knew its source! (Acts 16:29-30).In a reversal of roles, the captive jailer asked the freed missionaries, “How can I get what you have?” (Acts 16:31-34). He asked how he could be saved — how he could have what they had — and their answer came back, “Believe in Jesus.” Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the way. Paul and Silas began to share the Word of the Lord with this jailer and his family; and as they did, something miraculous happened. More amazing than prison doors flying open on their own, this jailer and his family were set free! The burden of sin was lifted. The punishment for sin was lifted. Jesus rescued them from their lost and hopeless lives. Jesus set them free, and if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.
Be Wary of Tax Refund Anticipation Loans (pg. 8)
As April 15 approaches, advertisements for tax refund anticipation loans (RALs) are ramping up. RALs are high-interest loans that must be repaid by the actual tax return proceeds, essentially borrowing your own money. Car dealerships and other businesses selling high priced items often offer to use RALs as down payments. While offers of immediate cash are often attractive, the products could ultimately reduce the total amount of your refund and may even cost you extra money. “Reading the fine print is critical to not fall victim to a scam or be deceived by a promotion for a refund anticipation loan,” said Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge. “If you estimate your tax refund incorrectly when using the RAL as a down payment for a large purchase, you are still responsible to pay the difference that your tax refund does not cover.”