Month: November 2003

SBTC theme interpreters address victorious living

CORPUS CHRISTI?”The message that we must boldly share with this culture is the same message that John shared with his culture and that the church bore witness to in the first century,” said Scott Camp, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mansfield, in the opening theme interpretation of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s annual meeting.

Camp reminded listeners that Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of who God is, citing John 1:1.

“Jesus is equal with and equal to God and yet distinct from God the Father,” Camp said. “This is the crux of our faith.”

Camp expressed his own burden that biblically-based doctrinal preaching has fallen on hard times.

“We’ve replaced it with slick power presentations and stand-up comedy routines, self-help therapeutic pop psychology. If we ever move away from preaching the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ we have forfeited our right to be called New Testament Christians.”

Ronald Byrd, who is blind and the pastor of Sweet Home Baptist Church in Round Rock, proclaimed that “God can always see more than we can see.”

Byrd implored pastors and lay leaders gathered for the SBTC meeting not to give up on their call to ministry. Recounting Paul’s journey from Athens to Corinth and the change in his disposition during that time, Byrd said the apostle wanted to give up.

Paul felt like a failure, he was fatigued, and he was frustrated, said Byrd, reading from Acts 18:9-10 and I Corinthians 15:57-58. Proclaiming the gospel boldly in Athens, Paul wanted to throw in the towel by the time he arrived in Corinth.

There was a sense of failure when faced with the overwhelming opposition in Corinth, Byrd noted. He had walked 300 miles and was fatigued. The people of the city were in organized opposition to the preacher. Pastors today can feel the same but Byrd reminded them of what God told Paul.

“I am with you,” he said reciting Acts 18:10. Byrd reminded the pastors, “What God has assigned to your hand to do no one else can do.” He said God also promises to protect those he calls. “Paul, you are immortal until I say your work is done.”

For a man who cannot see what is in front of him, Byrd encouraged his fellow workers to see what is ahead of them. God’s word promises future possibilities. Paul saw Corinth as a city of sin and deprivation but, Byrd said, God saw it as a town filled with future missionaries and pastors.

“If you can’t see the invisible you can’t do the impossible,” Byrd declared. As Byrd closed he encouraged conference members to stand fast to remember their victory is in Jesus. As he finished the convention hall rose to give the enthusiastic pastor a standing ovation.

Living a life of victory in Jesus as a pastor cannot be accomplished without having victory in the family, said Steve McMeans, pastor of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood.

McMeans remarked, “If you don’t have victory in the family, you’re lost ? What does it profit a man if he gains the whole Baptist world and loses his family?”

McMeans said as a pastor he understands the stresses and the issues that weigh upon church leaders and how it can drain them of the physical and emotional ability to give to their families. Associates complain their churches are so demanding that they do not have time for their families.

But McMeans countered that there is always something that can be given up in favor of the family (i.e. TV and golf). The gift of time spent with their wives and children is one way pastors show their love.

The gift of touch that a father gives to his wife and children reassures them of his love and care, McMeans said.

“We need to touch our wives all during the day, not just late at night.” Watching their parents touch affectionately, McMeans said, assures kids of the strength of their marriage.

Giving children hugs, kisses, and snuggles can build self-confidence in them, especially girls. McMeans said his ninth-grade daughter does not feel she needs to chase boys in order to get special attention from a guy because she has a man at home who will give her loving affection.

It is with the gift of time and touch that families are bonded to one another in victory, he noted.

Closing out the theme interpretations was a young pastor named Bil Cornelius. Though his appearance and age?Cornelius is 30 years old?was different from the other preachers, his message of victory in Jesus was as pertinent and poignant.

SBTC messengers approve $16.3 million budget

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CORPUS CHRISTI?Messengers to the sixth annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention adopted a $16.3 million budget for 2004 and marked the SBTC’s fifth anniversary, which included a surprise greeting via fax from President Bush.

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The convention elected its officers unopposed, including Chris Osborne, pastor of Central Baptist Church of Bryan, as its president. The convention elected Dt1:PersonName>avid Galvan, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Garland, as first vice president for a second term and elected first-termers Bill Sutton, pastor of First Baptist Church, McAllen, second vice president, and Brenda Wills of First Baptist Church, Fort Worth, as recording secretary.

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Osborne succeeds George Harris, who retired last year as pastor of Castle Hills First Baptist Church in San Antonio.

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In nominating Osborne, Gil Lane, pastor of Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo, said Osborne has many admirable credentials, “but it’s not his credentials that impress me; it’s his character,” Lane said. Osborne served as SBTC Pastors’ Conference president in 2003.

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The convention registered an attendance of 1,370, including 831 messengers and 539 visitors. The SBTC has 1,380 congregations.

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The SBTC’s 2004 budget of $16,339,576 is an 18 percent increase, or $2.47 million, over 2003. The majority?52 percent?will go to Southern Baptist Convention causes, such as the International and North American mission boards and the SBC’s six seminaries. The remaining 48 percent will fund church planting, missions and related ministry within Texas, reported Joe Davis, the SBTC’s chief financial officer.

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No other Baptist state convention sends a higher percentage of receipts to Southern Baptist Convention ministries through the SBC’s Cooperative Program missions funding channel than the SBTC, Davis noted.

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The 2004 budget is “aggressive,” Davis said?requiring $68,000 more per month in Cooperative Program receipts than in 2003?and we “believe this budget continues our practice of being good stewards with your Cooperative Program gifts and we are anxious to see what God will do in 2004.”

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Of the SBTC budget, 29.49 percent will go to missions and 9.29 percent for evangelism (formerly part of the missions category). The remainder includes 14.19 percent for minister/church relations; 13.78 percent for church ministry support; 11.57 percent for affiliated and fraternally related ministries; 10.93 percent for operational and financial services and 10.75 percent for communications.

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Gerald Smith, outgoing executive board chairman, reported to messengers that because of the “generous gifts of God’s people” the SBTC is building debt-free a 30,000 square foot office on 3.8 acres in Grapevine, set for completion next April. Owning a building will save the convention about $200,000 a year, according to a feasibility study, Smith said.

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Throughout the two-day gathering, which featured the theme “Victory in Jesus,” numerous platform guests noted the SBTC’s fifth anniversary. The convention began in 1998 with 120 congregations and now has more than 1,370 affiliated churches.

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During the Oct. 28 session, SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards stepped to the podium and read a greeting from President Bush, congratulating the convention on its five-year anniversary. The fax was to be accompanied by an official letter being sent by mail from the White House.

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“I send greetings to those celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention,” the president wrote.

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“Faith plays an important role in the lives of many Americans and in the fabric of our country. Throughout our history, people of faith have helped shape our character and have contributed to the vitality of our Nation.

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“By celebrating and sharing your faith, you help to sustain a spirit of compassion in our country. Your dedication to loving and serving others reflects the strength of America.

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“Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a memorable event. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.”

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Richards remarked to the convention, “That was quite a surprise and I think Dr. (Richard) Land may have had his hand in that. We appreciate anyone who was responsible for notifying the president of our fifth anniversary celebration and we do thank the President of the United States for thinking of us at our time o