A Year of God’s Blessings

Christmas and the New Year are upon us. When I was a child, summertime was the best. Baseball, swimming, and no school made June through August almost heaven on earth in those early years. Now December affords me family time, reflection (which is more important the older I get) and a little down time to relax and plan. I have come to love this time of the year more than any other.

Let me review 2002 with you for a moment. This has been a very challenging and rewarding year in many ways.

  • The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention passed the 1000 mark in affiliated churches in January. Throughout the last eleven months churches have affiliated at a rate of two churches every three days. We will enter 2003 around 1225 congregations.
  • Cooperative Program gifts surpassed anyone’s expectations. Churches gave enough in the first eight months to meet the annual budget. Over $13 million dollars will be disbursed through the CP giving channel. There were new churches started, seminarians supported, annuitants assisted and many lives touched.
  • A sweet spirit prevailed at the annual meeting, Executive Board business sessions and committee gatherings. God has been pleased to let us be positive and forward looking. Thank you for praying for the staff and ministry of the SBTC.

On to my family. There is nothing I like better than to talk about my loved ones.

  • God gave me a precious wife who loves me. She is a tremendous support in my ministry. I could not do what I do without her.
  • Our three children continue to bless our lives. Rachel is active at FBC, Dallas and works for the Annuity Board. Rebekah and her husband, Joe Lightner, are involved with Apartment Life Ministries, while Joe attends seminary and preaches every opportunity he gets. Nathan is in the 6th grade. Although he is our child, we dote on him as grandparents would a grandchild. It is neat to have a little boy in our house. No empty nest syndrome here.
  • Our extended family of my mother and June’s parents give us joy as well. The Richards pray that you will have a blessed Christmas this year. May you have a wonderful time with family andor friends in celebrating our Lord’s birth.

Finally, (The Apostle Paul said that and went on for two more chapters) let’s look to the future.

  • What will happen in 2003 is known only to the Lord. Perhaps this is the year that Jesus will come. If we are given this year to live for Him, there are things to do.
  • My desire is to see the SBTC help churches reach people for Jesus. The Evangelism Conference January 13-15 at the Arlington Convention Center will kick off a full year of events designed to accomplish my goal. As God’s people give through the Cooperative Program, more churches will be started than ever before. Throughout 2003 many Southern Baptist churches in Texas will make the choice of whether they want to be Southern Baptist or something else. The SBTC will stay the course theologically and remain on mission with a Christ-like spirit.

I hope you have a great December. It is a wonderful time of the year. Enjoy your family, kick back a little and get ready for a tremendous 2003.

It is my joy to remain,
Your servant in Christ

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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