Archive for February, 2009

Theiss Jones is home

February 26, 2009

John Hall and I met Theiss Jones in a place he loved doing what he loved to do. We found him in New Hampshire in 2005 on yet another mission trip with a group from First Baptist Church, Temple. Theiss received his mail in Temple but that was not his home. His home was wherever God called him to be at the time because Theiss loved Him and the people He sent him to minister to through music but mostly with his smile.

Theiss went to his eternal home last night after a brave battle with a cruel disease. We grieve for our loss yet celebrate his life and ministry and look forward to the day we will join him in the choir before the throne in heaven.

Enjoy this short video we put together from our visit back in 2005 and thank God for giving us Theiss Jones for a while.

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When we care, we have the chance to share

February 26, 2009

One of the joys of my job is that I get to meet a lot of really interesting, devoted followers of Christ. Those encounters not only bring me great joy, they encourage me to follow Christ.

And every once in a while we get to share a glimpse into those folks’ ministries via video. This time, we share the hearts of the folks at the New Braunfels Volunteers in Medicine, which was started by Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels.

Many thanks to the people there who took time out of their busy days to visit with me. And thanks to Joshua Minatrea who makes my camera work look a lot better than it really is. 

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The wave surges

February 26, 2009

map-blogOn Tuesday I shared that 180 of Texas 254 counties now have people who have volunteered to lead Scripture distribution efforts as part of Texas Hope 2010. That post also indicated more people were coming on board the effort each day.

Little did I realize how accurate I was.

That day, leaders stepped up in 15 more counties, to bring the total to 195. Among the 15 were three Executive Board members who were joining some of their fellow board members to want to lead the charge in their counties. People want to be involved in this effort.

At this point, we can’t update the web site map quick enough to keep up with the changes. The map posted here is the most up-to-date one I could get my hands on. What a great problem to have to figure out.

If you’d like to lead an effort to place Scripture in every home in your county, call Ron Herring at 888-244-9400.

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ETBU to hold conference on restorative justice

February 26, 2009

Mike Midkiff sent me this event from ETBU, which may be helpful for you. In order to share the hope of Christ with the entire state, Christians are going to have to go places they may not have considered before. One of those places is the prisons that dot our state.

Here’s the information from Mike on the ETBU conference. If you can’t make this one, Tomi Grover told me today there will be a national restorative justice conference in San Antonio on May 2. You can find more information on the May conference by clicking here to read the UTSA press release.

ETBU To Host Restorative Justice Ministries Conference March 28

MARSHALL, Texas (2/24/09)- East Texas Baptist University will host the Central Northeast Texas Regional Restorative Justice Ministries Conference on Saturday, March 28, beginning at 8:30 a.m., in Edwards Conference Center located in the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center.

Restorative Justice is a theory of Criminal Justice that focuses on crime as an act against the individual, rather than the state. It is a new concept in our society that seeks to restore and rehabilitate the offenders by encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions, and for the harm they have caused others. The victim, in many instances, receives an apology from the offender. This end result can only be achieved through a co-operative effort by the community and the government.

The conference will begin with breakfast and a keynote presentation by 71st Harrison County District Judge William T. Hughey. Dr. Jeph Holloway, Professor of Religion at ETBU, will also address the conference with a presentation on biblical mandates for Restorative Justice. 

Emmett Solomon, Director of Restorative Ministries Network, will present his ideas for why he believes it is time for Restorative Justice. There will be two concurrent workshops that cover faith-based restorative justice and interfaith ministry ideas. 

Admission to the conference is $30, which includes breakfast and lunch, or $25 for lunch only. Students are admitted free of charge with proper college I.D.; however, meals are not included.  For more information contact Dr. Bob Benefield at

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Executive Board wraps up

February 24, 2009

The BGCT Executive Board meeting wrapped up its work this afternoon at about 1:00. If you checked out the video stream, we appreciate you doing so. We hope you tune in again in the near future.

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.

Board approves preparing for recession

February 24, 2009

BGCT Treasurer Jill Larsen outlined the general financial health of the BGCT this morning. Overall, churches are giving slightly below what they gave last year, which is outstanding considering the economic conditions that are going on in our nation. However, Larsen noted the economic environment does create some concern. January giving ran at a clip of 79.88 percent of budget. Early February reports indicate stronger giving, Larsen said.

In response to the concern, the board approved a motion that authorized the possibile expenditure of as much as $2.5 million in funds that are set aside for “drastic” economic situations. At this point, leadership does not see a need to dip into those funds, but as the economy evolves, that need may arise. If the need does arise, Larsen indicated she hopes not all of those funds will be needed. The board will be informed in the event that some of those funds are used.

The generosity of Texas Baptists remains amazing. The harder times become, the more they seek to help those around them. I see that in my friends. I see that in my church. And I see it in churches I visit across the state. Thank God for your desire to want to serve others and share the hope of Christ.

And we’re off and running

February 24, 2009

The Executive Board meeting has started. To watch the meeting via the internet, click here.