Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Putting it all on the line

April 29, 2010

It’s one thing to talk about the need to help hungry people. It’s better to give to an effort that helps them. The greatest commitment is the one many churches across Texas are making: directly helping the hungry through food outreaches.

First Baptist Church in Gatesville is one of the congregations that has stepped up to the plate to help the hungry. Roughly half the town’s kindergarteners and first graders are at or below the poverty line. Many students are on free or reduced lunch programs, finding their only meals at school.

In response, the church provides about half a ton of food assistance a year in the community. The church works so every child has something to eat. It’s clearly an issue close to Pastor Steve Dominy’s heart.

“It ticks me off that Texas is hungrier than any state in the nation. Texas is the greatest state in the nation, and there is no way that that should happen. And I am willing to bet that 99 percent of the population doesn’t know about that. So I hope they raise awareness about hunger issues in the state and mobilize some people to get off their butts and do something about it.”

Texas

August 10, 2009

In Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin get most of the attention. And rightfully so. sabinalblogMost of the people in the state live in these major metropolitan areas.

But to me, that’s not where you find the fabled heart of Texas.

The spirit of Texas is found in the hearts of the people living in small towns across this state. There we find the pioneering spirit. There we find the willingness to help one another. There we find the friendliness that is legendary here.

That essence was on full display recently in Sabinal, where the town’s seven churches came together to host an event in the park meant to share the gospel with the community. It embodied the Texas Hope 2010 initiative.  

Hundreds of people from the 1,500-person city turned out for the event that featured quilting demonstrations, children’s games, worship and a guest speaker who shared his testimony.

People were introduced to the One who gives hope for today and for eternity. Smiles sprawled across faces; hugs were scattered about. People cared about each other and for each other. It was a little slice of heaven in the lone star state.

I shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, it’s a local call from any small Texas town to heaven.

For a slideshow of shots from the park, click here.

Give Texas something to say grace over

May 18, 2009
When 1.4 million Texas children woke up this morning, they woke to the sound of grumbling stomachs. Some of these children did not have dinner last night. They may not have had breakfast today.
 
And they have no idea where they will next find food.
 
More than 22 percent of children in Texas do not know where they will find their next meal. That’s more than one in five Texas children, the highest percentage in the country.
 
You can help give hungry children something to say grace over by giving to the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger.
 
Click here to visit the offering’s web site where you can discover more about the offering, give online, work through a prayer calendar or find promotional items that can be used in your church to help feed hungry people around you.

Hispanic Baptist leaders gather at capitol

April 30, 2009

On April 21, roughly 24 Hispanic Baptist leaders gathered in Austin to speak with legislators about steps that could be taken to help hei-at-the-capitol-004Hispanic students attain their educational goals. The effort was the first action of the BGCT’s Hispanic Education Initiative, which is led by Gus Reyes. Gus shared the other day that the time in Austin was outstanding:

I believe that this group gave the Christian Life Commission help providing legislators with information and an understanding of the priority placed on Hispanic Education as a priority for our Executive Board. I believe that the voices of  these Texas Baptists regarding their concern for education was heard by our legislators. Baptist church leaders from across the spectrum of the 5,600 BGCT churches came to Austin. The group included laity and clergy from five regions of the state, from Anglo and Hispanic churches and from urban and rural congregations.

While the effort focused on the needs of Hispanic students, I am pleased to say that progress made on the bills supported will help African American, Hispanic and all students needing academic opportunities.

 If you’d like more information about the BGCT Hispanic Education Initiative, call Reyes at 888-244-9400.

TwoGether in Texas marriage initiative in trouble

March 12, 2009

Keith Lowry, BGCT family specialist, shared this note with me a few moments ago. Apparently Texas legislators are considering dropping funding for the TwoGether in Texas premarital education program.

Urgent!  Your phone calls are needed to save the TwoGether in Texas Initiative! Calls needed within the next 48 hrs.

We need people to call/email their Senators in the next 48hrs.  What we are asking them to do is simply let the State Senators know that they are residents of Texas who support and understand the great value of marriage education, and ask/urge/request that they do what they can to make sure Texas continues to fund programs that support “Healthy Marriages” like the TwoGether in Texas program.

If they have any personal stories on the impact of marriage education, or if they have participated in the Twogether in Texas program by taking a class that would be great to share as well. In most cases, if you call you will leave a message with someone on the Senators staff, but that is OK.  They compile a list of daily calls on issues and report to the Senator. 

If you call, just ask for someone in the office to share your concerns for loss of funding for “Health and Human Services Healthy Marriage Programs.”

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Preaching from the rooftop

February 24, 2009
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Gus Reyes to lead effort to help Hispanics attain education

February 24, 2009

Late this morning, the Executive Board affirmed the BGCT Hispanic Education Task Force’s motion to empower a BGCT staff person to work on helping Texas Hispanics attain more education. That effort will be led by Gus Reyes.

In speaking to the move, BGCT Executive Director Randel Everett indicated helping Hispanics acheive higher education is a priority for the BGCT. He praised Reyes educational and marketing background, noting he is someone who knows Hispanic Texas Baptists and has a heart for helping them.

Clearly this is a large issue that is critical to the future of Texas and will require many people working together. We ask for your prayers and help. Together, we can accomplish much.

There is a wave moving across Texas

February 24, 2009

Last week I reported that Texas Baptists have stepped to say they will lead Scripture distribution efforts in more than half of Texas’ counties. As part of Texas Hope 2010, Texas Baptists are attempting to place Scripture in every home in the state.

Well that report is old. It was probably old shortly after I posted it. I know it was old the next day. This morning, Ron Herring shared Texas Baptists have now stepped forward to want to lead Scripture distribution efforts in 180 of Texas’ 254 counties. Herring said people are stepping forward for leadership positions each day.

Texas Baptists want to work together for a great work of God. Young pastors particularly have voiced excitment about what Texas Baptists can do if they work together, Herring said. May God move through this state in a way larger than any of us can imagine.

Marriage seminar being broadcast now

June 25, 2008

Just a reminder, we’re broadcasting a premarital education seminar right now. It can be seen by clicking here.

Hall describes his vision for the BGCT

November 30, 2007

A lot of folks in the blogosphere have been talking about what the BGCT should be. And there have been a lot of different visions presented.

Yesterday, Buckner President Ken Hall provided his thoughts on his blog. I’ll post a portion below. What do you think of what Ken has to say? Is he on target? What do you think the future of the convention should be?

Because we need to be reminded that the denominational part of the BGCT was and is about the institutions of the convention. That’s why the churches came together in the first place, not so they (the churches) could be served, but so that they could serve (through their institutions).

But something has happened over time. We’ve turned our convention into a denominational form of fast-food service in order for the bureaucracy to meet the needs of the churches. We’ve trained our churches to ask the Baptist building, “What can you do for us?” But that’s not how it was set up more than a hundred years ago by our Baptist forefathers. Instead, they asked the questions, “What can we do for others? What can we do for orphans and widows? How can we educate more young people in a Christian setting? How can we start more churches across our state? How can we win more people to Jesus, even if they don’t join my church?”

A recent theme of the BGCT has been “Together We Can Do More.” Amen. But I’m afraid the too many in our BGCT family interpret that as being, “Together we can do more for my church,” when it should be, “Together we can do more for others.”

I’ve heard a lot of people say recently that we need the convention to be closer to the SBC, or the CBF, or the New Baptist Covenant. That’s not the convention’s decision. That’s a local church decision. What we need is for the convention to be closer to the institutions it was established to support in the first place. That’s what our churches want. They want to see orphans served; widows taken care of; lost people saved; churches started.

I heard the late Baptist comedian Grady Nutt say once that Baptists just can’t stand silence. His example was that if there’s more than a minute of silence in a Baptist church service, the organist gets up and starts playing. And historian Walter Shurden has written a terrific book about Baptists called “Not a Silent People.”

The longer I live and observe Baptists, the more I’m convinced that we degenerate into denominational politics because we just can’t stand silence. But if we were busy about Kingdom business like Jesus taught us, we’d be too busy to get sidetracked with that stuff. Maybe that explains why the BGCT as a convention is so caught up in politics – because we’ve lost the focus of what we’re supposed to be doing. Wouldn’t it be great if all those Baptist pundits out there talked about the needs in our world instead of focusing on denominational politics?


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