Spiritual Help

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Southern Baptists to meet in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – When Southern Baptists depart St. Louis after their annual meeting June 14-16, convention president and Arkansas Pastor Ronnie Floyd said he will be praying they do so with a “deep burden for our nation, a new commitment to racial unity and an extraordinary commitment to evangelize America.”

The annual meeting will be held at America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza, in St. Louis.

The theme of this year’s is Awaken America: Reach the World – Agree, Unite, Pray. Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, points to passionate prayer as a critical tool for a “nationwide and global spiritual awakening.”

“I pray that our SBC messengers encounter the living God through moments of worship, preaching, challenge and prayer,” Floyd said.

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'Spiritual profundity' on big screen

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) – "Am I not worthy? Doesn't God love me?"

A "no" response to those two questions isn't really reflective of God's nature. Indeed, countless Bible verses indicate God's love and caring for us. Guilt over past misdeeds can raise these depressive/destructive accusations; but more often, our faults and foibles are used by Satan to accuse us, or distract us, or separate us. Plain and simple, such feelings are satanic attacks.

It's rare to get spiritual profundity at the movies, but occasionally, Hollywood is helpful. The 2002 film "The Emperor's Club" points out that a person's character is not formed by one negative act. Nor, for that matter, one positive act. A life is made up of moments that reveal character – moments that allow for development of that character. You're going to goof up. It's what you do upon realization of your wrongdoing that points to your character.

Name a biblical character other than Jesus who didn't at some point behave poorly.

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Anglican rift over same-sex marriage widens

NAIROBI, Kenya (BP) – Conservative Anglicans reiterated their frustration with the U.K.-based Anglican Communion over the growing divide on same-sex marriage.

Six primates with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), an organization representing archbishops and their provinces around the world, met April 18-21 in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the group's future and its ongoing response to the January meeting of Anglican bishops in Canterbury, England.

"We went to Canterbury out of a desire for unity," the GAFCON primates wrote in a statement issued after the meeting. "In our hearts we desire to see the tear in the fabric of the communion mended. The sanctions passed at that meeting were the mildest possible rebuke to only the worst of the offenders, but they were one step in the right direction. Regrettably, these sanctions have not been upheld. This is disappointing, but sadly not surprising."

During the Canterbury meeting, the Anglican Communion voted to sanction The Episcopal Church for violations of institutional protocol instead of a lapse in scriptural fidelity. The U.S.-based province voted last year to change its canon on marriage to accommodate same-sex unions.

The conservative members of the communion wanted to see stronger actions that would bring the U.S. church back to "the plain teaching of Scripture" in relation to marriage.

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Atheists plan billboards against Ark museum

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (BP) – A small group of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana atheists has launched a campaign to buy billboards mocking the message of the Answers in Genesis Ark Encounter museum and its July 7 opening.

The 1,500-member Tri-State Freethinkers have raised $10,000 to post negative billboards near the life-sized recreation of Noah's Ark and to, as their Indiegogo funding page asserts, "drive our billboard around the Ark Encounter every weekend for the entire summer."

Others not specifically identified with Tri-State Freethinkers have attacked the Ark Encounter with posts on Twitter, accusing God of genocide and questioning the plausibility of the Genesis account.

Conversely, the AiG apologetics ministry has raised $62 million from a bond offering and $33.5 million in donations to build the museum and other attractions just 40 miles from its Answers in Genesis museum that has attracted 2.5 million visitors since 2007.

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Target transgender policy boycott grows

NASHVILLE (BP) – With nearly three-quarters of a million people signing on to boycott Target over the retailer's transgender restroom policy, evangelical leaders are discussing whether consumer boycotts are an effective means of cultural engagement.

Many conservative evangelicals apparently disagree with Target's policy of allowing customers to use whichever restroom or fitting room corresponds to their perceived "gender identity." Yet some – like the American Family Association and the watchdog group Faith Driven Consumer – have urged a boycott while others – including Southern Baptist Convention entity heads R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Russell Moore – have discussed the limitations of boycotts and asked whether one is appropriate in this instance.

The discussion stems from an April 19 news release from Target stating, "We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."

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