Current News – 7-29-2020

*From the States (pgs. 5-8)

*Senior Adult Conference Cancelled (pg. 1)

Nick Jacobsen — After much thought and prayer, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 National Senior Adult Conference because of safety concerns with COVID-. The decision was not an easy one, but the safety of our friends and family is very important to us. Although we will not be meeting this year, plans are already in the works for National Senior Adult Conference 2021. Mark your calendars for the 2021 National Senior Adult Conference, Nov. 15-17 2021 at the Chateau on the Lake, Branson, Mo. (

*Fall Ark. District Meeting Schedule  (pg. 1)

Editor — In the July 8 issue, I asked our district clerks and moderators to let me know if their district still planned to hold their fall meetings and if the information I listed was correct. So far, I’ve only heard from 3 of the 16 districts — BMA of the Ozarks and Mt. Calvary Associations have indicated that their meetings are still scheduled, and Judson Association has canceled their meeting.

*The 71st Annual Session of the BMA of Arkansas (pg. 1)

Tom Mitchell — I was just thinking about the numerous calls, texts and emails I have received, asking about the 2020 BMA of Arkansas meeting. An associational meeting on the campus of Central Baptist College is always a wonderful experience. President Terry Kimbrow and his staff are exceptional hosts for the messengers and guests from the churches comprising the association. CBC always goes “the extra mile” in planning and preparing for the meeting. Such preparation is done in conjunction with the associational officers. However, at this point, we have little idea what the meeting is going to look like — if we are able to have it at all. I have corresponded with the Governor’s office and, as of today, we are urged to continue planning. However, COVID-19 has proven that it is no friend to large gatherings in our state.

*Clarification (pg. 1)

Paul White, Chairman BMAA Coordinating Council — What happens when an officer or committee member leaves the BMAA? I hope this will answer some questions I have personally been asked concerning this subject: Regardless who the person might be, when they leave our association and are no longer a member of a BMAA church, their position(s) automatically become vacant and will be filled at our next annual associational meeting or as stated in our Articles of Agreement.

*Things I Learned at Camp in 2020 (pg. 1)

Anders Lee, (via Mississippi Baptist) — Yes, I said camp! Most associational camps were canceled, for obvious reasons. However, StoneRidge Baptist Camp in Smithville, Ark. worked very hard with the Arkansas State Health Department (ASHD), and they were able to open, with specific guidelines, in the month of July. Central jumped at the opportunity to plan a camp with them, and seven other BMA churches joined with us to create a teen camp out of three BMA local associations. We ended up hosting 105 teens and 19 sponsors. The stage at camp was decorated for “Christmas in July,” and each teen was asked to bring a Christmas Shoebox for the Baptist Medical Missions International project.

Can COVID-19 Stop Us? (pg. 2)

Jordan M. Tew — Dear friends, I am concerned about the current state of our churches. Consider what has become “normal” for us: we are barely meeting for weekly worship, some congregations have eliminated singing praises to our Lord, most churches are not actively going out into their communities to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, and Sunday School classes are off the table in a growing number of churches. What in the world is going on? Now before anyone takes offense at these words, let me assure you that I understand there are churches and individuals that have decided to cancel various meetings and have made changes to better protect their health and safety. I applaud that, and I understand that those decisions are difficult for churches and individuals to make. I also understand that there is a need to abide by the law of the land, if possible and if it does not go against the commands of the Bible.

Lifelong Learner (pg. 2)

Dan Carson — A year ago, I checked out the possibilities of continuing my education. I wasn’t really sure what it would look like, considering the degree I earned from our seminary and since being in school last (May 1998), but I wanted to check it out. You see, I have always dreamed of earning my Doctor of Ministry degree. Even when I was working on my Bachelor’s degree at Central Baptist College, I was thinking about the future and how an advanced degree might be useful as I served the churches of the BMA of America. I was young and a bit of a dreamer at the time, but it was still a dream worth having.

My Decision in 1985 (pg. 2)

Holly Meriweather attended CBC from 1985-1986 as an English major. Now she is the lead writer for the BMA. Read about her decision in 1985 that changed her life — The 1980s was a great decade. Movies like “Top Gun” and songs like “Walk Like an Egyptian” defined that era. Nike and Polo brands were king. Ronald Reagan was president, and we chewed Hubba Bubba gum, went through the TCBY drive “thru,” and saved our quarters to play Pac-Man. But it was really all about the hair… Guys, girls and rock bands had hair that will probably never come back in style: curly mullets for guys, spiral perms and the-bigger-the-better hair for girls, hairspray for our stiff bangs and hair scrunchies for our side ponytails. For me personally, it was the decision I made in 1985 that defined the rest of my life. That was the year I graduated from Conway High School and began attending Central Baptist College.

Healthy, God-Focused Churches (pg. 3)

Larry Barker — Activate is a church health ministry of the BMA that desires to help you “Activate God’s Church God’s Way!” Please know that this is for healthy churches and unhealthy churches, growing churches and struggling churches, inclining, reclining and declining churches. It is not focused only on churches that are struggling, declining or dying. It has resources, trainings, systems and a support team for churches that need a little bit of tweaking and encouragement, all the way to church revitalization and/or replanting. Whether you are thinking one ministry or all of your ministries, there is help.

Part 3 of 3: The Beatitudes (pg.; 3)

Tony Cleaver (Matt. 5:9) — Peace does not break out or “bust out” on its own. Wars, fighting, quarrels and animosity break out with little effort or no encouragement. One cannot be a quarrelsome person and be a peacemaker. One cannot be a grudge holder and be a peacemaker. One cannot have a selfish attitude and be a peacemaker. One has to have the heart of Christ to be a peacemaker! The heart must have the peace of Christ to be at peace with self, much less to enable peace in others. Many like to think themselves sons or daughters or children of God. Yet Jesus tells us the blessedness of being in His family is one of bringing peace to workplaces, to neighborhoods and substantially to families.

Trumpet Notes (pg. 4)

Church’s Order Draws Dissent, Canada Euthanasia Increases 26%, China Censors Christian Films, 14th Texas City Becomes “Sanctuary for the Unborn”

Should We Keep Looking? (pg. 9)

Valarie Fish — John the Baptist asked the question from his prison cell: “Are you the One who was to come, or should we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). The nation of Israel had been waiting for a very long time. They began the wait when the promises were made to the patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. Hundreds of years passed before they saw a deliverer in the form of Moses. He led them, taught them and gave parameters to the covenant promises. But their answer did not come with the patriarchs.

Raines Honored On 67th Anniversary (pg. 9)

Becky Rogers — Sunday, July 26, was a special day and was celebrated by North View Baptist Church in North Little Rock as they honored James Ray and Ann Raines. This day marked the 67th anniversary of when Bro. Raines answered God’s call to the ministry. He was only 15 years old on Sunday, July 26, 1953 when he surrendered to the ministry at Farmville Baptist Church, and he preached his first sermon that night.

Bobo Serves 60 Years in Ministry (pg. 9)

Kenneth Bobo marked 60 years in ministry June 25, 2020. He was born near Hope in 1939 and received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior in July 1957. He and his wife, Shirley, have been married 61 years. They have three children, six grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. He surrendered to the ministry June 25, 1960 and was ordained by Providence Baptist Church in Hope the same year. He attended Columbia Bible School in Magnolia; Memphis Bible College in Memphis, Tenn.; and has done extensive studies at Central Baptist College.

Tom Battenfield Passes Away (pg. 9

Thomas Edward Battenfield, 73 of Clinton/Walnut Grove community, died July 27 at his home. Survivors include a son, Michael Battenfield, pastor of First Baptist Church at Cave Springs. Tom graduated from White Hall High School, and honorably served in the US Air Force. He went on to a full career as a draftsman-engineer with Varco Pruden and American Buildings, finally retiring in 2006 to enjoy his newly-built, self-designed and engineered home in the Walnut Grove community just outside Clinton, where he enjoyed serving on the Volunteer Fire Department.

Miss GMA Wants to Speak (pg. 9)

Hello churches, my name is Lydia Dunlap, and I have recently been honored with the title of National Miss GMA. I would like to speak to BMA churches or groups — not only GMA groups, but also WMA/BMA district and state meetings, youth groups and church services.For GMA groups — I have a heart for missions, which is precisely what GMAs is about! I could come and give a missions lesson for a forward step, talk about GMAs or teach a forward step lesson.

To Sing or Not to Sing? (pg. 10)

Singing is a passionate expression of the soul and an integral part of worship for many faiths. As ministry leaders make plans for in-person services, the issue of singing has been an unexpected outcrop of the COVID-19 virus. Your ministry may be weighing whether worship singing is safe, when to allow it and how. The issue of singing came up when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) posted a report in May 1 involving choir members in Skagit County, Wash. exposed to the virus during a practice. In the report, a member who attended both practices tested positive for the virus. Within a few days, 53 people also tested positive out of a 122-member choir and became sick. Two people died.

Scam Artists Targeting Social Security Numbers (pg. 10)

As Arkansans adjust to the new normal during the pandemic, the lull from robocalls has ended and bad actors are again seeking the Social Security numbers of our most vulnerable. The Attorney General’s Office has seen an increase in complaints where scammers are pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and threaten consumers into providing personal information or asking for money.

There’s Still Time! (pg. 11)

Paul White — Last Sunday was the official Special Emphasis Day for State Missions. We are thankful to those who rose to the occasion to help our men on the field. Your offerings not only supply them with much-needed assets, but also serve as a tremendous encouragement to them in this time of craziness. I was blessed to be with Bethel #1 Baptist Church in Rison Sunday and bring the Word of God. I would love to come to your church and share the work of your State Missions! Just give me a call, and we’ll set up a time.

Pause Before Posting (pg. 11)

Brandon Porter • Baptist Press -Everywhere I turn, people are talking. In some places they’re even talking about how people are talking. Have you heard it? I hear people say things like:Everyone is looking for a reason to be offended.People are so volatile right now.Why are so many people angry?Maybe it’s the stress of a pandemic and the disruption of our routines and expectations. Another factor may be how we’re using social media. Short, direct and snippy comments seem to be common on many social media platforms I visit. I’ll admit that I rarely leave social media feeling encouraged or built up.

Everlasting Smiles Announces Drop-Off Regional Locations (pg. 12)

Angela Rice — This year, more than ever, Baptist Medical Missions International (BMMI) is excited to send out our Christmas shoeboxes. These boxes are packed with lots of love, and many prayers are prayed over them. There are many fun things that children will enjoy in each shoebox, but the most important thing we can give any child is the opportunity to know Jesus. Our prayer is that through the ministry of Everlasting Smiles, we will open doors for our missionaries to tell families about Jesus and that the Bible inside each box will bring them closer to Him. We are moving forward with our shoeboxes and are ready to receive them. However, this year we have a few changes we want to share with you. Because of COVID-19, we are being careful to do our part and follow guidelines that different locations have put into place. We are thankful that we now have four regional drop-off stations for your boxes.

God of the Valleys (pg. 12)

Jeff Swart — Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, accompanied by 32 kings and their horses and chariots, sent an ultimatum to Ahab, king of Israel, to surrender his gold, silver, women and children or he would attack Israel (I Kings 20:1-3). King Ahab did as Ben-Hadad asked, hoping to avoid a war. But the king of Syria was not satisfied and sent a second message to Ahab that “about this time tomorrow” his soldiers were going to search and loot the king’s palace (I Kings 20:5-6). As Ben-Hadad was preparing his army to attack (I Kings 20:12), God sent a prophet to Ahab, telling him that God would give him the victory so that the king would know that Yahweh was the Lord (I Kings 20:13). God told the king to attack the Syrians, and when they did, the army of Ben-Hadad fled in defeat (I Kings 20:14-21).

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