440 seniors answer call to prayer for revival

LITTLE ROCK – Since being organized as part of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s (ABSC) Prayer, Revival and Spiritual Awakening Task Force, the ABSC Senior Adult Prayer Force has seen an influx in participants, seniors who are passionate about working hard to bring about revival and spiritual awakening in America and around the world.

Don Moore, former ABSC executive director, recently joined the ABSC executive and administrative team as a contract worker in order to better facilitate the mobilization of these Arkansas Baptist seniors. 

MooreOver the past three months, nine church and associational meetings have resulted in 440 Arkansas Baptist seniors making commitments in writing to pray daily for themselves, their pastors and their churches to experience revival.

“Senior adults are grasping the seriousness of the hour and committing to pray daily for revival and awakening. Nine church or associational groups have addressed this matter with a special emphasis,” said Moore.

“The seniors involved have been specifically challenged to pray weekly with another person or persons about this matter,” he said. “On a monthly basis they have been asked to pray with someone outside their fellowship for God to send revival and awakening to our land.”

Moore emphasized that senior adults are wellaware of the crises faced by the nation and by churches. 

“As secular and anti-Christian forces wield a wider influence with most of our evangelical churches declining, they realize that ‘church as usual’ will not stop the bleeding in the Body of Christ,” said Moore.  

“The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these people are becoming victims of the godless culture that surrounds them. … Aware that seven out of 10 young people 18-29 years of age who have been reached by the church leave during this age span, they realize the options for reclaiming them are limited.”

Moore added, “The hope is not in another adjustment to worship styles, slick programming, hyperactive ministries or dynamic personalities paraded before them. Such efforts have largely failed in the past.” 

Moore said the options are clear. 

“Only a supernatural movement of God can save the day for the nation and for our churches. Such events in the past have been called ‘revival’ and ‘awakening.’ Before every great awakening, God has prompted a group of people to persevere in prayer until the heavens open with showers of blessing. When Israel cried out to God, the Bible says, ‘He heard their cry and came down to deliver them,’ said Moore, referencing Exodus 3:7-8.

“Senior adults are crying out to God for Him to come down,” said Moore, going on to quote Isaiah 64:1 (NIV), which says, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”

A Senior Adult Prayer Gathering will be held at Hot Springs Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Oct. 9-10.  Space will be limited, and reservations are required, said Moore.


Rugged Cross Cowboy Church experiences God's faithfulness

Jessica Vanderpool
Arkansas Baptist News

MAGNOLIA – What began as a vision of 15-20 people has grown into a thriving cowboy church – known as Rugged Cross Cowboy Church – with an average of 185 in worship service.

The journey between these two points has been filled with steps of faith and signs of God’s faithfulness – and Mike Launius, pastor of Rugged Cross Cowboy Church, has witnessed it all firsthand.

Launius remembers the first interest meetings held to discuss starting a Bible study. He agreed to help with the Bible study, which launched in fall 2010, and soon afterward, the group decided to become a church.

Launius was trained as a church planter through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC); and Rugged Cross Cowboy Church was constituted in 2011, holding its first service as a constituted church on Easter Sunday.

The church reaches out to nontraditional people who love the Western heritage and don’t feel comfortable in a traditional church, explained Launius.

He said he thinks the reason cowboy churches reach people that other churches don’t has to due with the propensity of cowboy churches to truly accept people just as they are.

“And it’s nothing against the traditional church by no means,” Launius said, “but we’ve got people (who) come in from turkey hunting with their camouflage on. We’ve got people (who) come in from rodeos at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning and they come on to church and got their spurs and boots on and they have mud on their boots. … We truly accept people as they are. … We’ve got people in our church who haven’t been to church in 15-20 years and sure wouldn’t have ever thought about singing in church or being a leader in the church, and now they’re leaders of the church and they’re singing and taking a leadership role. And that wasn’t going on three years ago in their life.”

Read the rest of the story in the 6-26 edition of the Arkansas Baptist News.


Arkansas Baptist DR responds to Jonesboro area following damaging storms

JONESBORO – Arkansas disaster relief volunteers responded within hours June 5 following damaging winds and thunderstorms that swept through the north and northeast portion of the state – killing two people.

Thousands of people were reported to be without power as a result of the storms, which packed 80 mph “straight line” winds, downing trees, damaging roofs and at one location derailing a freight train. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management reported there is damage in Jackson, Independence, Craighead, Lawrence, Mississippi and Poinsett counties.

Joe Garner, disaster relief director for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC), reported that teams from Walnut Street Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Tri-County Baptist Association, Wynne, Balboa Baptist Church, Hot Springs Village and Rock Bayou Baptist Association, Franklin, responded with volunteers. In all, 23 Arkansas Baptist disaster relief workers were involved with recovery efforts, completing 58 recovery jobs and two tarp jobs.

Thirty-five ministry contacts were made by volunteers, four evangelistic contacts and two professions of faith reported, according to ABSC officials.


Attorneys seek fees in Ark. same-sex case

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports in today’s edition (May 30) that the attorneys who prevailed in the lawsuit challenging the state's gay-marriage ban asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza to make the state and county defendants pay them at least $500,000 for their work in the case, an amount both "reasonable" and "substantial." 

Attorneys for the state of Arkansas responded immediately, calling the request premature at best, considering Piazza's decision to overturn the same-sex marriage prohibitions is on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court. They've asked him to wait to make a decision until the high court rules, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

It is not known when the high court will make that ruling, as a transcript of the proceedings in Piazza's court has not been filed. Once filed and both sides submit written arguments, it is a process expected to take months, if not a year.

But if Piazza doesn't want to wait until the Supreme Court's decision, the state's lawyers want him to make the plaintiffs' attorneys show evidence to support their request, with the possibility of having a hearing on the question of payment, court filings show, the newspaper said. 

Plaintiffs in the case are 21 same-sex couples, including eight who were legally married in other jurisdictions and a single woman seeking to divorce a spouse she married in New York, the Democrat-Gazette reports. Defendants include the state departments of Health, and Finance and Administration, and county clerks in Pulaski, White, Lonoke, Conway, Saline and Washington counties, where some of the plaintiffs have been refused marriage licenses, the filing states.

The first same-sex marriage in Arkansas occurred on May 10 at the Carroll County Courthouse in Eureka Springs, according to the Democrat-Gazette. Hundreds of weddings followed, many of them at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock where clergy members volunteered to perform the ceremonies after the gay couples obtained marriage licenses.

Marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Arkansas for a week – from the day after Piazza's ruling May 9 until May 16, when the high court issued a stay. During that week, only a few counties, mostly those listed as defendants in the lawsuit – issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

Same-sex marriage is prohibited in 33 states, with each ban being challenged in court. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, judges in 21 states have ruled that their states' gay-marriage bans are unconstitutional (Link to the full text of the decision PDF). Three such decisions have occurred since Piazza invalidated the Arkansas law three weeks ago.

Piazza ruled that Arkansas' prohibition, enacted through statute in 1997, and a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2004, violate guarantees of equal protection under the state and federal constitutions, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

Read the article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (subscription required).


Ronnie Floyd: ‘We’ve got to make a difference’ (part 2)

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News

SPRINGDALE – This is the second of a two-part interview with Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and a candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). In this installment, Floyd is asked about his church’s commitment to giving through the Cooperative Program (CP) and how churches today should support CP giving, his small church roots, his involvement in LifeWay Christian Resources curriculum, the role of state conventions and associations and the question of Calvinism in the SBC.

ABN: The first time you ran for SBC president in 2006 your church was criticized for not giving enough through the Cooperative Program. Since 2006, you have led Cross Church to increase its CP giving. Can you explain? Why the change? (Editor’s Note: Cross Church is now the top giving CP church in Arkansas. In 2013, Cross Church had $17,209,876 in total undesignated receipts and gave $716,827 – 4.17 percent – to CP).

FloydFloyd: Well, first of all for clarification, we were at times not represented in what we were truly giving through the Cooperative Program. Our church had made a decision, two or three years earlier maybe, that we give a smaller portion through our convention and then the larger portion toward the other (missions causes). Well, by Southern Baptist definition of the Cooperative Program, at least at that time, they did not count the other (causes). They counted only what came through the SBC state conventions. That word never got really out there, fully, what we were doing. But I want to make it real clear – we were not doing what we needed to be doing. I’m not by any means saying we shouldn’t have done more. Through all that, I came back from that convention and, if I am not mistaken, within 30 to 60 days, we recommitted … because there were also some things going on at the state convention that were encouraging to us and I lead our men and made a strong appeal. And slowly we started making a track through this, and when GCR (Great Commission Resurgence) was brought about, … we were already making a starter commitment. … And when GCR was passed, one of the major things we did was that I chose to get off national television so that we would have quicker money accessible toward allocating toward and through the Cooperative Program. We got off national television. I stood up and told my church we were doing that. I’d been on national television since the early 1990s. So, we made that commitment and will continue to excel in that and we will continue next year’s budget excelling in that. (We) have done that in the worst economy that has ever affected this region in my 27 years. But we’ve done it convictionally, and the Lord has just blessed, unbelievably.

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