Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Unconditional love brings atheist to Christ

ARKANSAS BAPTISTS are making a difference in one of America’s most unchurched areas through their service and the financial support of the Cooperative Program (CP).

Kim Menon was a staunch, outspoken atheist. As a child, her parents brought her to church, but no one could satisfy her with the answers she sought.

“I thought believers just weren’t intelligent enough,” Menon said.

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Noah’s Ark park may ease religious requirements for workers

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. – The leader of a group that successfully sued Kentucky to get tax incentives for a Noah’s Ark-themed attraction said on Saturday that the religious organization may hire individuals who do not completely share his religious beliefs, Reuters reported.

Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, said during a tour of the 510-foot (155 meters) boat that officials are still working on the employment criteria for its Ark Encounter attraction located in the northern Kentucky city of Williamstown.

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Falls Creek dedicates event center & new lodge

DAVIS, Okla. (BP) – The newest facilities at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, including a state-of-the-art events center and new lodge, were dedicated Feb. 2 by leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, which owns and operates the nationally known ministry, founded in 1917.

BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan noted at the dedication ceremony, "In all, we have completed more than $55 million in revitalization of existing facilities, infrastructure and the construction of new buildings," including the 7,000-seat R.A. Young Tabernacle that opened in 2007 and the new Mathena Family Event Center, Thompson Family Lodge and Jordan Welcome Center.

"Sixteen years after we began this journey of updating Falls Creek, I am thrilled to announce with the pledges and cash in hand, we have oversubscribed our capital campaign goal, and the remaining debt on the R.A. Young Tabernacle has been paid in full," Jordan said. "God did it through us. And this has been accomplished a full year before we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Falls Creek in 2017.

"To God be the glory! We stand in awe of what our great God has accomplished through us," Jordan added. "I do not know how to express to our God how awesome, how amazing, how incredible He is. And, to quote a good friend, I don't know why our God chose to place His grace and mercy and faith in the old Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma in a little dusty place called Falls Creek."

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Study Bible scholar Charles Ryrie dies


DALLAS (BP) – Charles C. Ryrie, a scholar whose name abounds on Ryrie Study Bible editions with more than 2.6 million in print in multiple languages, died Feb. 16 in Dallas at age 90.

Known for his end-times theology of dispensationalism, Ryrie was a longtime systematic theology professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Dallas.

At FBC Dallas, Ryrie became close friends with the current pastor, Robert Jeffress, and his predecessors at First Baptist, O.S. Hawkins and Mac Brunson.

Hawkins, now president of the SBC's GuideStone Financial Resources who served at First Baptist from 1993-97, said in comments to Baptist Press: "If ever there lived a man whose life was immersed in the Bible it was Charles Ryrie. This is evident not only in the legacy he left in the Ryrie Study Bible, his amazing collection of rare and antique Bibles and books, but his passion to never stop studying even into his ninth decade of life.

"What many do not know," Hawkins noted, "is that he was a great churchman" who attended regularly.

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Trafficking hotline calls up 24% in 2015

NEW YORK CITY (BP) – Human trafficking victims are reaching out for help in increasing numbers, according to an advocacy group that operates a national text and phone call center.

More than 1,600 survivors of human trafficking reached out for help in 2015 -- a 24 percent increase over 2014, according to the nonprofit anti-trafficking organization Polaris. The hotline also takes calls from concerned friends, family and bystanders who witness suspected human trafficking incidents.

"From the domestic servant forced to work for little pay who required emergency shelter to the young girl made to sell sex online against her will who texted us for crisis support, survivors of human trafficking are reaching out to the national hotline more than ever," Polaris CEO Bradley Myles said.

Contact with the national hotline can be made by SMS to 233733, texting "help" or "info," or by phone to 1-888-373-7888.

The website for the Polaris-operated National Human Trafficking Resource Center is www.traffickingresourcecenter.org.

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