Month: August 2015

Let”s fight for them like we would for us

This week I watched the fifth video depicting the barbarism that is taxpayer-funded abortion in America. My stomach churned as I watched a scene that belongs in a MA-rated horror movie: A full-grown human hand approaches a glass dish from the right side of the frame, tweezers positioned between the fingers where chopsticks would go. The tweezers pinch a pink fleshy limb, captured clearly by the camera. It is a hand, a wrist and an arm; no shoulder is attached. In the dish below the tiny, suspended arm, I see a leg. Eyeballs and lungs are among the other baby parts identified in the video.

I hope you watched the videos and that they made you sick, shocked and trembly. Horrifyingly, some admit they watched but remain unfazed. More than once, Scripture refers to this as people who have “eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear,” (Ezekiel 12:2).

If you watched the videos and remarked, “How can anyone watch this and not be devastated?” then you’re familiar with “eyes to see but do not see.”

You and I elected many with these unseeing eyes to Congress, and so, on Aug. 3, when they had a chance to pass a game-changing, life-saving bill, they didn’t. Be assured, however: This spiritual-physical battle is not over.

So long as you and I are breathing, we must fight for those whose first breath is under siege—

–For the boy who cannot scream from within the womb when a metal instrument approaches to dismember him.

–For the girl who cannot scoot away from her med-school-trained attacker because she’s in a dead-end scenario.

Until we have made abortion unimaginable for every sane American, we follow Paul’s directions:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Christians, we don’t have the option of apathy or the validation of excuses, of which there have been plenty: “I’m not political.” “I’m busy.” “The videos are gross.” “Someone else will do it.” “It’s not my business.”

Oh, but it is your business. Fleshy-hearted humans don’t let other humans do this to each other.

So, while those with power, money and influence line up against us like a fifth-year senior linebacker set in his stance across from a string-bean freshman with porcelain bones. We. Press. On.

Do you recall that with the Lord’s help scrawny David fought beastly Goliath … and WON?

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

And one thing is for certain: If God is for us, we dare not be against ourselves. Do not acquiesce to the temptation of putting a trendy spin on this “issue” for the sake of—well anything at all. It may be cool in your circle to be self-deprecating and to apologize for everything under the sun in order to appear relatable. But please, don’t apologize for me.

This “issue” is zero percent about my understanding the thought process of those who find abortion acceptable. It is 100 percent about saving the lives of the babies who will be aborted today. And tomorrow. And this weekend.

Ponder this: If you were standing with a gun barrel to your forehead, would you take the time to tell the person holding a finger on the trigger that you empathize with what may have led them to think about killing you? Would you apologize for not understanding where they’re coming from? I highly doubt it.

I would not. I’d be crying and hyperventilating and sweating from every pore in my skin. Frantically, I’d beg for my life. And my begging wouldn’t necessarily convey anger, but desperation. Perhaps later I would be angry, and I bet you’d be willing to understand that. After all, it was unjust that someone held the gun to my forehead, meaning I was righteously angry.

Christian friends, there is such a thing.

“Be angry, and do not sin.” (Eph. 4:26)

By no means is this an easy task, but children’s lives are certainly worth our trudging through the muck and maneuvering this tight rope to defend them.

I implore you: Beg in desperation for these lives as fervently as you would your own half-lived life. Philippians 2 tells us to think of others as better than ourselves and to look out for the needs of others before our own. This is one way we live out that passage.

This is not merely an “issue of our times,” a platform on which to campaign, a hot-button blog topic or a re-tweetable hashtag.

THIS is laying down our lives for those of our unborn brothers—something Christ did perfectly when he died on the cross for me and for you… and for those who have believed a lie and stolen life. If any of us would turn from our wicked ways, Christ will save us and redeem us (1 John 1:9).

We have a duty to fight for the earthly lives of the unborn and the eternal lives of those who are convinced that the choice of one should trump the chance of another.

“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”  (Psalm 31:8,9)

Do not give up. Do not accept defeat.

Resolve that we will be the generation that roars, “NO!”

No, we will not let you kill our brothers and our sisters. We won’t pay for it with our money, and we will fight for it with everything on the line. You may call us names, say we’re ignorant, blast our reputation or threaten us to pieces, but we will stand firm. We will stand for life. We won’t passively allow this to continue in our nation while we go on with the comforts of life, stick our heads in the sand and make weekend plans.

We, the army of the Lord, will fight until our commander calls us home.

Haitian siblings plan to share gospel with community where father was kidnapped, tortured, murdered

The day before Jude, Barbie and Vanessa—all Haitian siblings—left their home country and their parents to travel to the United States of America where they could complete their high school education, their father reminded them it was the Lord’s plan.

“I can still hear the voice of my dad with authority and firmness responding to our repeated question ‘Why do we have to leave tomorrow for the United States of America?’

“‘You are leaving tomorrow because it is God’s plan for you to leave tomorrow,’” Jude recalls his dad saying the day before they left Port-au-Prince.

Yet no one in the family expected the plan to entail the harrowing journey ahead.

“None of the five of us knew that that night would have been the last night the five of us were to be together on earth,” Jude says. “Two months later, on the nights of Nov. 22 and 23, 2013, my father, pastor Serléus Simon, president of the Evangelical Union of Haitian Baptist Churches, was kidnapped in the back yard of our house, tortured, murdered, and his body was dumped in a corn field not far from our private residence. My mother, Margarette Simon, was shot and left to die while the bandits were looting the house.”

Jude’s father died. His mother, although badly wounded, survived.

Making its way across the ocean and up the Eastern Seaboard to Coastal Christian School in Maine, where the three Simons were studying as international students, the news quickly created an upheaval out of what had moments earlier been an average day. 

“Confused, my sisters and I were speechless, breathless and full of questions to ask God,” Jude recalls. “I felt [I was] being engulfed by a cloud of darkness bringing to my mind all kinds of thoughts such as hatred, vengeance and the likes. I did not feel like talking to God, to people [or] even to myself. I wished I could become Superman, then fly to Haiti at the moment and destroy all those who have caused so much turmoil in my life.”

Little by little, God supernaturally replaced Jude’s anger with peace and forgiveness.

“I bowed my knee,” he recalls. “I said, ‘God, you gave, you took away. Blessed be your name.’”

Though the gravity of the tragedy is never far from Jude, he said the Lord has allowed him to have eyes that see the bigger picture and a glimpse at the perspective God has from heaven—one he acknowledged does not always make sense to those on earth.

Jude says the Lord has worked through their entire journey to bring his sisters and him to America where they can become equipped to return to Haiti to educate the people and continue ministering to them the way their father did up until his death. The three completed their schooling in Maine and then made their way to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where they recently graduated from the English Intensive Program. All three have received scholarships to begin studying in the College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in August. 

While in Fort Worth, the siblings have been able to live with friends their father made before Jude was ever born—Azer and Johane Lilite—and become part of Travis Avenue Baptist Church, which the siblings consider their “big family.” Jude says the Lord has faithfully demonstrated that his sovereignty extends into every aspect of their lives.

“[The Lord] is in control,” Jude says. “He never sleeps, and he never slumbers. He is omnipresent. Nothing can surprise him. He knew he was going to call my father home. He knows he is not failing me despite the greatest uncertainties invading my life.”

With this trust in the Lord and his goodness, Jude now sets out to train as a minister of the gospel at Southwestern.

“I’m sure that God is calling me to ministry,” says Jude. “Even to go back to the place where they killed my dad, to have a ministry there. They did something bad, but I truly believe God will change everything for his own purpose.

“No matter how bad the situation is, we know for certain God never fails his children, and he knows what he’s doing.”

Even as he looks forward to returning to Haiti where his widowed mother still lives, Jude says his real hope is in Christ’s soon return. That knowledge, he says, keeps his heart from going “down and depressing.”

“This is a big thing to me,” he says. “I know that God saved me, and I will be with him someday.”

That is the message Jude has been sharing with international students at TCU and that he will one day share among those whose injustice forever changed his earthly family.

Missions partnerships bear fruit in Montreal, Boston, Utah, Turkey

GRAPEVINE—The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s multi-year partnerships in four regions—Montreal, Boston, Utah and Turkey—will formally end in 2015, and “There is cause to celebrate all that has been accomplished,” says Barry Calhoun, SBTC director of mobilization and fellowships.


In April 2015, the executive board of the SBTC approved a $150,000 grant to the North American Mission Board to assist missionary volunteer Woody Wilson in coaching church planters and student missionaries in Montreal, Calhoun said. The board also re-designated a $250,000 grant for use in the development of a church planting center located at La Chapelle Church, a 2013 church plant that grew to more than 900 attendees, with more than 80 baptisms and 200 decisions for Christ, by 2014.

“Thanks to the generous partnership of the SBTC and the faithful leadership of pastor David Pothier, La Chapelle is now on track to plant one church per year until 2045,” NAMB Regional Mobilization Specialist for Canada Chad Vandiver said.

“They are redefining church for their culture” and are eager to be trained to transform their generation through the gospel, Vandiver added.

“Montreal has been incredible,” Calhoun affirmed, noting the ongoing support of church planter Michael Akinpelu by North Garland Baptist Fellowship as another result of the SBTC’s partnership in Montreal.

“We have only just begun to send out church planters. We need more SBTC churches to partner with us,” said Vandiver, noting that Send Montreal will host vision tours Sept. 7-9 and Nov. 9-11 at the La Chapelle Church Multiplication Centre.

More information is available at

“I am very grateful to Dr. Richards for traveling to Montreal and sharing his wisdom and experience with our team of church planters. His friendship on the field and his investment in the lives of the Québécois believers has been a tremendous encouragement to us,” Vandiver said.


In the United States, much has been accomplished through the SBTC’s partnership with the Utah-Idaho convention along the Wasatch Front, a 100-mile strip of land containing Utah’s major metropolitan areas: Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden.

The Wasatch Front is home to 2.8 million people, more than 80 percent of the state’s population.

“The SBTC partnership … has been an incredible blessing in our church planting work,” said Rob Lee, UISBC director. “SBTC churches have assisted our church plants in providing funding, personnel, mission teams to help start new plants and assist in outreach events, even church plant team members who have moved here.” Several new church plants this year were made possible by the support and prayers of SBTC churches and members, Lee added.

“Partnering with the SBTC has been like doubling the size of our state convention missionary staff,” Lee said, emphasizing the SBTC’s crucial role in assisting the UISBC’s priorities of sharing Christ, starting churches and strengthening churches.

Among the most successful church plants is Lifestone in Herriman, Utah, started by Texas church planter Ben Helton and a team from Weatherford’s StoneWater Church.

“The SBTC has always been ready, willing and able to discuss any needs we may have when I’ve contacted them. Jim Richards has been a good friend to me personally and has gone out of his way to speak to and pray for me when we see each other at various meetings,” added Send Salt Lake missionary Travis Kerns.

Boston and Turkey

Other SBTC partnerships concluding in 2015 include those with Send Boston and Turkey.

In Boston, SBTC involvement has served mostly to “maintain and strengthen churches,” Calhoun said.

“We’ve seen an increasing quality and health of the church plants, what we believe are going to be sustainable, ongoing, reproducing plants,” said Curtis Cook, pastor of Hope Fellowship in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and city coordinator for Send Boston. Plano’s Prestonwood Baptist Church has supported Hope Fellowship since the church plant began in 2003 and continues to be involved in supporting area church plants financially and through mission teams.

Regarding Turkey, SBTC missions consultant Terry Coy said a SBTC church planter attending an initial vision trip there felt called to relocate to the region and has done so with his family. El Paso’s Cielo Vista Church has come alongside the ministry to Turkey to provide support, Coy added.

Ongoing and Future Partnerships

As for the future, an SBTC partnership in Bangalore, India, will continue through 2016. Calhoun called this a “five-year plan to mobilize churches, help with IT infrastructure and encourage home churches.”

Bangalore missionary Donald McKinney (name changed), reported that the SBTC has helped by providing mission teams and training for nationals.

“SBTC volunteers went where almost no one else is willing to go!” McKinney said, noting that Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth provided assistance in the construction of a second floor training hall for the Indian Baptist Society. When construction costs unexpectedly escalated, the SBTC provided funds or its completion and furnishing, McKinney said, noting, “The facility is used three to five days per week to teach evangelism, doctrine and church ministry to laymen and pastors.”

A one-time SBTC grant of $100,000 to fund expansion of training into remote areas will bear longterm results as the Indian Baptist Society leadership has put that money into a “guaranteed perpetual endowment that is drawing 9.5 percent annual interest,” McKinney said.

“When Barry Calhoun and a team of pastors came to our city to visit and serve … they ‘jumped right in’ and joined in our labors,” McKinney said.

“Most of all, they left us with the assurance that lots of prayer would be coming for us. We are indebted, grateful and joyful for all that the SBTC has invested in our work.”

As for this hemisphere, Calhoun identified two mission trips to Ecuador planned for August and November 2015 to be led by Tony Mathews, pastor of North Garland Baptist Fellowship. In anticipation of these, in February 2015, the SBTC sponsored an Ecuadorian summit in Arlington, Texas.

The mission target will be Afro-Ecuadorians, Spanish-speaking descendants of former slaves. As SBTC partnerships end in Montreal, Boston, Utah and Turkey, new partnerships have been established with Australia and Send Seattle.