REACH TEXAS

According to the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, 13 million people in Texas profess no relationship with Jesus Christ. Many of those are among the 600,000 people who immigrated from other countries to Texas between 2000-2004. They are also among the 140 language groups that live here.

Since 1998, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has helped start more than 300 churches in Texas. The SBTC state missions offering?”Reach Texas”?funds such work and has as its goal for 2005-’06 $1 million to help reach the state’s growing diversity of people.

“The offering is the ‘booster rocket’ for kingdom work in Texas,” said Robby Partain, SBTC missions director. “The Cooperative Program launches and sustains us each year. The Reach Texas Offering sends us to the next level. More churches are started and more souls are saved because of this special offering.”

Like seasonal offerings that help fund Southern Baptists’ national and international missions, everything given through Reach Texas is used in Texas missions and evangelism, Partain noted.

Of the Reach Texas Offering:

4450 percent funds church planting;

4425 percent funds missions work within Texas;

4425 percent funds evangelism training and events.

Each Reach Texas prayer guide, sent to churches in a promotional packet this month with resource order materials, contains eight daily devotionals. Each day also features “A God Story” of how SBTC churches and members who have benefited from Reach Texas have helped reach people for Christ.

The Reach Texas week of prayer is scheduled for Sept. 18-25. For additional information on the Reach Texas Offering, visit www.sbtexas.com, call the SBTC missions team at 817-552-2500 or e-mail cassyp@sbtexas.com.

A GOD STORY

“Shedding a Huge Weight”

The following is an excerpt from this year’s Reach Texas devotional guide.

When David and his girlfriend Blanca first came in contact with church planter Jeff Burkart and Bridgeway Fellowship, they were not ready to make a commitment to Christ. They had a hard time believing that Jesus would forgive them, that he had died for them personally. But they felt welcomed in this new church and got involved. Eventually they did make private decisions for Christ but were hesitant to publicly identify themselves as Christians. When they asked Pastor Jeff if he would conduct their wedding ceremony, Jeff used this opportunity to open the Bible and share with David and Blanca what it means to be saved. He showed them God’s promises about complete forgiveness and his amazing grace. David and Blanca had thought they needed to become “worthy” of the name Christian before publicly identifying themselves with Christ. Now they realized that it was the blood of Jesus and God’s free gift that provided all the worthiness that was needed.

Blanca says, “After that Sunday I felt as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I guess it was hard to accept that God could forgive me when I did not feel worthy of forgiveness. But now David and I have been chosen to put Christ in the center of our lives and our marriage. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I can start over with a clean slate. I would not trade that for anything!”

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