Archive for the ‘Baptists’ Category

Go Now Update- A New Global Perspective

December 23, 2009

As Joshua, an international studies major at Texas Tech University serving on a Go Now Missions Christmas trip in the Middle East, spent the last 10 days in the Middle East, he shared that his world view of the area has drastically changed. Many times, mission trips not only provide a way for students to share the hope of Christ to changes others’ lives but also their lives and views of the world are bettered in the process.

In Joshua’s update, he mentioned believers must allow God to provide their world views and not the media, noting how prevalent that is in American society. Below is some of what he shared.

First Impressions: First and foremost, American media gets a grade of F for representing the Middle East.  It is definitely not a complete desert.  Nor is it primitive or nomadic.  The people are not all extremists. And it is definitely not dangerous. In areas where wars are and have been on-going for 30 years, people, even Americans, are comfortably and safely living.

I would say that the downtowns or ghettos of most larger American cities are more dangerous than these areas.  Where in America can one leave one’s cell-phone at a mall bench and be confident it will still be there in three hours or leave one’s house or car unlocked?

Yet, for some reason, I doubt that even if I shouted this messages from the rooftops in America, people would remain skeptical.  It has become ingrained in us the images we conjure up when we hear the words “The Middle East.”

So, what can I do to remedy this misinformed view? Not much unfortunately…You must make the decision to be informed.  All I can do is share my story, and highly recommend you go and see for yourself what the Middle East is really like.  It will change your view and most likely your life.

Unique Christmas Gift

December 7, 2009

 Are you looking for a unique Christmas gift this year?

Would you consider a mission trip?

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to go with the Singing Men of North Central Texas to Ukraine April 18 – May 1, 2010.

Travel will be up the Dnieper River aboard the Viking river cruise ship, Lomosonov from Odessa to Kiev. Each mission partner will serve on a ministry team supporting the 10 evangelistic concerts.

For more information please contact me, or

Don Blackley, or


Loss of possessions but increase of faith

October 14, 2009

Below is a blog post by Rand Jenkins who has been serving with the disaster relief team in Manila since Oct. 7.

Felicisimo and Marieta Cables and their neighbors have fewer possessions but greater faith in the wake of the flooding in Marikina City. Felicisimo is the bi-vocational pastor of Hope Baptist Church there and lives just a few blocks from the church.

Pastor Cables got a text message from his daughter that was intended for his wife. The text read, “Waters rising. Get on the roof. You’ll be safe.” After receiving this, Felicisimo rushed out of work and started home. By the time he got close to home, all routes had been blocked.

So he swam. He swam across 800 meters of raging flood water along with cars, bits of houses and countless possessions from hundreds and thousands of homes. He made it home, only to find their house full of water.

Marieta noticed the waters rising and was quite the resourceful and determined Philippine lady. First, she went to the second floor of their house. There the flood waters rose to her chest, and she began thinking of options. She sloshed her way to the upstairs front window and yelled to her neighbor on their third-story roof.

marieta cables and sonMarieta does not know how to swim. She climbed out of her window and onto the telephone pole that, at this point, still had live wires and then grabbed a rope thrown by the neighbor. Once on her own roof, she walked in water while holding tight to the rope until reaching the safety of her neighbor’s taller roof where they held a worship service praising God.

“I still have my family and my faith, which is what matters and what got me through this time,” said Pastor Cables. “One item I’d like to find is my favorite Bible,” he continued. “Missionary Bob Harwell, from Texas, gave me his in 1992 and it was filled with notes and encouragement. That Bible gave me the inspiration to finish seminary.

“The fact that people traveled so far to help us clean up is a great encouragement to me, our church and just simply reminds me of the salvation we have in Christ,” he added through tears.

One of the first projects of the Texas Baptist Men disaster response team sent through Baptist Global Response was to mud out the Cables’ house and a church across the street, not where he pastors.

“In talking with Felicisimo, I learned his story and that he lost a Bible that meant a great deal to him,” said Ernie Rice, Texas Baptist Men team leader. “So I gave him mine that Sunday when I preached in his church.”

While several of the volunteers led and attended area house churches in the area hit by flooding, four went with local missionaries to distribute food in some of the poorest of the poor areas. One of the stops on Oct. 11 was the first disaster relief the area had received since the September 26 typhoon. At this location seven people accepted the Lord.

Metro Manilla, made up of several cities, received a month’s worth of rain in one day of typhoon Ondoy after days of rain had already saturated the ground.

TBM is there serving at Baptist Global Response’s invitation and working with 20 other volunteers in mud out disaster relief alongside Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, Baptist Men of Kentucky and Baptist Men of Oklahoma. The TBM volunteers on the mission trip are Ernie Rice, Miguel Tello, Leo Vega, Harold Patterson, Bill Gresso, Jack Vawter, Russell Sheik, Rey Villanueva, Rand Jenkins and Stan Knight.

Being Strategic

May 20, 2009

It was a rather normal day at the office but one that would cause me to ponder not only what I do but how I do it.  After 25 years in the ministry I’m moving toward a new perspective.  One that doesn’t focus so much on “success” but rather “being strategic.”  Here’s what got me thinking.

For seven months I was the Church2Church Missions Coordinator working with affected churches damaged by Hurricane Ike.  My role was to partner those who wanted to help with the affected churches.  A call came in one morning asking which affected churches could use a strong partner.  The helping church wanted to invest in a ministry that was strategic to its community.  With a prayer asking for God’s leadership, I began my work. 

A director of missions was most helpful by sending the names of the three most damaged churches in his association.  What caught my attention and stopped me dead in my tracks was his description of one church.  His words were something like this, “This church is strategic in our association because if we lose it, no one else ministers to drug addicts, prostitutes, and the desperately poor.”  He was honest in his description of the problems the church faced but it was those words, “This church is strategic” that caused me to ponder my own ministry.

My first thought was, “If my own church ceased to exist, would anyone notice?”  My second thought was, “What’s the difference between being busy and being strategic in our ministries?”  You see “strategic” means doing those things that gives you the advantage in reaching a desired end.  As I spent time in evaluation, I had to admit that much of what I’ve been about in the past is “busy” but not necessarily strategic because we didn’t seem that much closer to the end toward which we were aiming.

Texas Hope 2010 is the challenge before us and we must fill these days with strategic action, not just busy activity.  Praying for our state, caring for hungry people, and sharing the good news of Christ with over 23 million people by Resurrection Sunday 2010 is doable if we are strategic. 

Let’s all take a minute to consider the difference between being “successful” and “being strategic.”  Going forward my goal is one of strategic ministry.

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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Time for some training

August 7, 2008

Many of us remember a time when Training Union taught us what it means to be a Baptist, writes Bill Jones in the latest newsletter of Texas Baptists Committed.

Many of us do, but many of us don’t. And that’s related to Bill’s point. Since most churches did away with Training Union and its successor, Church Training, fewer and fewer Baptists know what it means to be a Baptist.

“Many members of Baptist churches know no reason for being Baptist except that the Baptist church is the closest… or the one with the most comfortable worship style… or the one with the best youth program for their kids,” Bill says.

Now those are acceptable reasons for attending a church, but why would someone want to drive past a closer church to attend a Baptist congregation? Or why would someone pass up one church’s worship service for one that is meaningful but less comfortable in another church? Or why would someone choose a church with a good youth program but maybe not the best?

There was a time not too long ago when many people would do such things, and there are still many such people today. There are good reasons to make such choices, and they are not just about old habits or family traditions.

I often tell the Sunday School class I teach that I am a big-tent Christian, that we’re going to share space in heaven with the Presbyterians across the street and with other followers of Christ. I’m a great respecter of people of all faiths; but, again, there are reasons to be Baptist beyond tradition, convenience or comfort.

Texas Baptists Committed understands this and wants to help more Texas Baptists learn what it means to be a Baptist. Teaching members of Baptist churches the “importance of historic Baptist distinctives — such as soul competency, the priesthood of every believer, and separation of church and state — is the responsibility of the free and faithful Baptists,” Bill writes.

BGCT Executive Director-Emeritus Bill Pinson has long been involved in this conversation, as well, writing and speaking eloquently about the importance of our Baptist distinctives.

I applaud these efforts. Those distinctives are important for a number of reasons, but they are most important because we believe they enable people to more clearly hear and respond to the call of God upon their lives and to make a difference in the world around them.

We Baptists exalt only one — Jesus, the Christ. We shouldn’t exalt the name Baptist; but we should understand what it means to be a Baptist and how Scripture supports this understanding of being the body of Christ at work in the world today.

Thank you, TBC, Bill Pinson and other Texas Baptists who understand that being a Baptist-type of Christ follower has real meaning and is important to teach to members of our congregations, especially the young and emerging leaders.

New video

August 2, 2008

Here is another video from Leipzig. Click here or on the video to play.

Leipzig Invaded!

August 2, 2008

Morning clouds and showers gave way to a sunny afternoon perfect for Leipzig Live Saturday as over 6,000 young people flooded the city center of Leipzig for music, evangelism, and fun.  BGCT Texas Baptist All-State Choir and Band presented a short program on the outdoor stage at Augustusplatz for an enthusiastic audience.

As the choir and band were preparing for the concert Whitney Newman, of Frisco and BGCT’s Tim Studstill were greeted by Uwe Albrecht, Leipzig Mayor for Economic Affairs at City Hall where Whitney presented the Mayor with gifts from Texas on behalf of the group.

Whitney Newman, Frisco presents gifts on behalf of Texas Baptist All-State Choir and Band to Uwe Albrecht, Leipzig Mayor of Economic Affairs

Whitney Newman, Frisco presents gifts on behalf of Texas Baptist All-State Choir and Band to Uwe Albrecht, Leipzig Mayor of Economic Affairs


Sunday morning we attend the closing session of the 15th Baptist Youth World Conference then travel to Berlin for a 7:30 P.M. (12:30 P.M. CDT) concert at International Baptist Church. If all the technical stuff works we will stream the concert from Berlin and you can watch here.

Thank you for your prayer as we travel tomorrow and present the gospel in Berlin.

Guten tag! part zwei (2)

August 2, 2008

“You will be amazed at the German that your students will be speaking when they come home! Speaking of home, many of the students (and sponsors) are ready to get back to home – family, friends, pets and computers.

You would be so proud of them. They have been singing so beautifully and have been having many new experiences. I have been so proud to be connected with your students, especially this week. We received compliments from the conference stage managers on how well your students handled themselves during the sound check and rehearsal for our conference session. This made the job so much easier. We have also received compliments from the waitstaff at restaurants about how beautiful and polite the students are. Thank you for your part in encouraging your students to be like Christ in our world.

At the conference we are divided into small family groups. It has been so exciting to see students visiting with other students and listening to their experiences – did you know that teenagers in Germany watch YouTube, use MySpace and Facebook? They also struggle with spiritual issues and long to make a difference in the world for God!

Yesterday we met a young man who had been our interpreter in Puebla, Mexico when Texas Baptist All-State was there several years ago! He still has the shirt we gave him and remembers the names of several of the students. He even remembered some of the songs we sang that year!

Does Texas Baptist All-State make a difference in students lives? Ja! Yes, it does! The experiences, musical and spiritual cannot be measured, but they are life changing!

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your prayers! Thank you for sharing your students with us! Danke!”

Tim Studstill; Director, Music and Worship, Baptist General Convention of Texas

32 Years and Onward!

August 2, 2008

Beginning in 1976 when Royce Dowell and Sam Prestidge drove to El Paso to listen to a skinny teenager with long hair sing tenor, and many years later having sponsored, directed the band five times, driven trucks, and sending two of my children, Baptist All-State has been a vital, energetic force in my life and countless others. My early experiences ultimately shaped and propelled me to a life in Christian Higher Education that has allowed me the opportunity to use music as a ministry tool in both churches and schools. Now 32 years later, as I watch my youngest son Jordan who orchestrated “Heart for the Nations,” worship, perform, and “dive deeper” into the Word and the teachings of Christ, and see him making friends from all over the world at the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference in Leipzig, Germany, I am humbled and honored to be a part of this God-given institution called Baptist All-State Choir and Band.

Here I sit amidst over 5,000 students and adults excited once again about worshiping God and building our loving relationship with Him that will extend to all our activities to which we apply ourselves. It is our hope and prayer that we will use this marvelous opportunity to be a witness and a servant for Him not only in Leipzig, Germany but throughout the world as well as our hometowns in particular. Perhaps this microcosmic event will become a mega manifestation of Christian action that will be contagious and infectious to thousands or millions.

So we use our God-given gift of music to express our love, our appreciation, our joy, and our faith in this beautiful country that has opened its doors to the Baptist World Alliance. Performing in churches, hearing great music, seeing the people, eating the food, and living the German life all add up to an experience that will never be forgotten by our students. We are charmed by the culture, charged by the spirit, and challenged by God to continue to dive deeper in our relationships, our knowledge, and our love.

Today and tomorrow promise to be even better. Thanks for your prayers and your support of Baptist All-State 2008 as we continue to make music and be witnesses in Leipzig, Germany.”

Robert Tucker, Sponsor

Howard Payne University