Wednesday
Oct312012

Hollingsworth: ‘live on the edge of urgency’

CABOT – The word “now” presents “the question of urgency,” Gary Hollingsworth, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, told messengers and guests during the convention sermon Wednesday during the final session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting held at First Baptist Church, Cabot.

Gary HollingsworthHollingsworth preached from 1 Peter 4:7-11 and addressed the conference theme of Now.

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Wednesday
Oct312012

Churches honored at Cooperative Program breakfast  

CABOT – With more than 30 percent of its budget dedicated to the Cooperative Program last year, First Baptist Church, Sparkman, is the top church in Arkansas in overall percentage giving. The church was recognized along with other top givers, during the Cooperative Program Breakfast held at First Baptist Church, Cabot, during the 2012 Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting on Oct. 31.

The church also was recognized for per capita ($1,350 per person) given to the Cooperative Program. 

 

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Wednesday
Oct312012

John McCallum: ‘Missions starts with feet’

CABOT – John McCallum, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, challenged messengers to “just walk” to share the gospel at the 2012 Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting Oct. 31.

John McCallum“The time is now to take the good news to the world,” McCallum said. “Since you’re walking anyway, take the good news with you as you go.” 

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Wednesday
Oct312012

Resolutions approved at ABSC Annual Meeting at FBC, Cabot

The following six resolutions were approved by messengers attending the Arkansas Bapitst State Convention Annual Meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot:

RESOLUTION NO. 1:

APPRECIATION 

Whereas, this year’s annual meeting has been guided prayerfully, fairly, and effectively by our President, Dr. Greg Addison, with the support and assistance of Dr. Emil Turner, Executive Director, and the other dedicated staff and leaders of the Convention; and

Whereas, the staff and laity of First Baptist Church, Cabot, have provided excellent service and arrangements for the annual meeting; and 

Whereas, the one hundred and fifty-ninth session has been ably organized by the Program Committee; therefore be it

Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 30-31, 2012, express our deep appreciation to our president, executive director, convention officers, the staff and members of First Baptist Church, Cabot, and the Program Committee for their diligent and sacrificial service in the successful preparation and guidance of the one hundred and fifty-ninth session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. 

RESOLUTION NO. 2:

Emil Turner

Whereas, Emil Turner, Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, has served in that role with distinction for the past sixteen years; and

Whereas, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention has achieved unprecedented levels of achievement under his inspired leadership; and

Whereas, the Cooperative Program budget has increased during his tenure from $16,000,000 to $20,000,000; and

Whereas, some state conventions have chosen to decrease their giving to the Cooperative Program, Dr. Turner has led Arkansas Baptists to a continuing increase toward Cooperative Program causes beyond Arkansas; and 

Whereas, he led the reorganization of the convention from a departmental structure to organizational teams, which resulted in more efficient use of resources in serving Arkansas Baptists,

Whereas, he led in the relocation of the convention from downtown Little Rock to its new location on Remington Drive, Little Rock, with no expenditure of Cooperative Program funds and without incurring debt; and

Whereas, in his compassion for missions, he has led our convention to increase giving so that in 2011 the Annie Armstrong Offering was over $1,900,000, the Dixie Jackson Offering was over $1,300,000 and the Lottie Moon Offering was over $5,900,000; and 

Whereas, the Arkansas Baptist Convention has seen a per year average of 28 new church starts with 9 of them involving other ethnicities, so that on any given Sunday Arkansas Southern Baptists are worshipping in nine different languages; and

Whereas, he has been faithful to preach the Word of God with power and without compromise all across our state; therefore be it

Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 30-31, 2012, express our love and appreciation for Emil Turner. 

RESOLUTION NO. 3:

ON THE PROPOSED ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT

Whereas, at the November 6, 2012, general election, Arkansas voters will be asked to vote on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA); and

Whereas, the AMMA is bad law in the following particulars: 

  • LIFETIME PASS TO SMOKE MARIJUANA
  • ALMOST ANYONE WILL BE ABLE TO QUALIFY AS A PERMITTED PATIENT
  • PHARMACIES WILL NOT BE INVOLVED
  • THOUSANDS WILL BE ALLOWED TO GROW THEIR OWN MARIJUANA
  • ACTIVITIES PERMITTED BY THE AMMA WILL REMAIN CRIMES UNDER FEDERAL LAW
  • MARIJUANA USERS WILL HAVE TO BE TOLERATED BY EVERYONE
  • THE LAW CANNOT BE ENFORCED

And whereas, the AMMA is based on bad science in the following particulars:

  • THE AMMA MASQUERADES AS SOUND MEDICAL PRACTICE
  • MASKING PAIN OR OTHER SYMPTOMS DOES NOT NECESSARILY MAKE AN ILLICIT DRUG AN APPROPRIATE MEDICINE
  • THERE ARE SAFER AND MORE EFFICACIOUS WAYS OTHER THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA TO DELIVER ANY BENEFICIAL COMPONENTS OF MARIJUANA
  • SMOKING MARIJUANA IS UNHEALTHY AND DANGEROUS

And whereas, the AMMA is driven by bad motives in the following particulars:

  • THE AMMA IS REALLY ABOUT LEGALIZING MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE AND NOT ABOUT COMPASSIONATE HEALTH CARE FOR SUFFERING ARKANSANS
  • THE BACKERS OF THE AMMA ARE FOLLOWING FAITHFULLY THE PLAYBOOK

Therefore, be it Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 30-31, 2012, strongly encourage voters to reject the notion that the largely unsupervised cultivation, marketing, distribution, and smoking of marijuana is compassionate and sound medical practice, to recognize the AMMA as a clandestine attempt to take the first step toward the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Arkansas, and to soundly reject the AMMA at the ballot box. 

RESOLUTION NO. 4:

ON EXPRESSING GRATITUDE AND PROMISING PRAYER FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’S ARMED FORCES

Whereas, for over 200 years, America has stood as the best hope for those throughout world who long for liberty and seek real freedom from oppression, tyranny, and despotism; and

Whereas, the courageous and selfless nature of those who have served and are serving with distinction and honor in this country’s military apparatus are largely responsible for the freedom that flourishes here and in many other places on this globe; and

Whereas, members of the various military branches of the U.S. forces have been and are engaged in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and are deployed in outposts and on the seas all around the world to guard and preserve our strategic and valuable alliances and assets and to protect and defend those who incapable of doing so for themselves; and 

Whereas, we want to encourage our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and other members of the United States’ defense organizations; and

Whereas, we want to buoy the morale and confidence of those young men and women; therefore, be it 

Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 30-31, 2012, will pray for and encourage all those within our spheres of influence to pray for everyone serving in our armed forces, those who supply and support those brave young men and women, and for our elected and appointed officials who lead and are responsible for our military and its members; and be it 

Resolved, that we take no partisan political positions here, but only seek to let those know who lay their lives on the line for the defense of this nation, for protection of their fellow Americans, for furtherance of democracy, for the Godly principles declaring the worth of each human life and the freedom that everyone should be accorded, that we will seek God’s providence, protections, blessings, and deliverance for them.  

RESOLUTION NO. 5: 

ON CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CIVIC PARTICIPATION

Whereas, on November 6, 2012, voters in Arkansas and across America will be deciding many important policy issues and making decisions about the candidates they choose to serve in positions of leadership; and 

Whereas, God has ordained government to provide an ordered society (Romans 13); and

Whereas, Christians are charged with the task of being “salt” and “light” (Matthew 5:13-16); and

Whereas, the scriptures assure us that “Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34); and

Whereas, the Baptist Faith and Message affirms that “. . . every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.” (XV. The Christian and the Social Order); and

Whereas, a representative democracy operates at its optimum with an informed and involved electorate; therefore, be it 

Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 30-31, 2012, encourage all believers to engage the culture, being informed and proactive citizens, voting in all elections, and by participating appropriately in civic matters, guided by scriptural precepts.  

RESOLUTION NO. 6:

MARRIAGE 

Whereas, we readily acknowledge that the institution of marriage is in serious trouble in America; and

Whereas, all the reliable indicia reveal the depth of the problem; and

Whereas, we recognize that God’s design for marriage – one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:1-9) – should be the ideal and the pattern for marriage that we believers adhere to and model for our children and for the world; therefore be it

Resolved, that we, the messengers to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, meeting at First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, October 30-31, 2012, reaffirm the biblical definition of marriage and strongly encourage believers to proclaim and model the biblical truth by showing Christian love to everyone.

Wednesday
Oct312012

Turner recognized for service at ABSC

Jason Noel, right, presents Emil Turner with letter from LSU coach Les Miles.CABOT – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) executive committee, operating committee, team leaders, and Thomas Hammond member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, recognized retiring ABSC Executive Director Emil Turner during the 2012 ABSC Annual Meeting Tuesday evening, Oct. 30.

Hammond said Turner talks cooperation, but more than talking, he lives it.

“The churches that he (Turner) pastored all experienced record baptisms,” Hammond said.

Hammond said that the average ratio of baptisms in the churches Turner pastored was 13:1 and that the national average is  “In fact, the average ratio of baptisms in those churches was 13:1. The national average is 19.5:1.

“That tells you that he has an evangelistic heart, but not just a heart for the local community, but also for the nation and the world because not only did they go out and share the gospel, but they enabled others to do the same by giving to the Cooperative Program,” Hammond said. “The churches he pastored averaged 15 percent of their undesignated funds to the Cooperative Program, and the last church he served designated 20 percent.”

Turner has served the ABSC for more than 16 years.

“That’s a lot of miles, that’s a lot of sermons, that’s a lot of tears, a lot of prayers, that’s a lot of times of sharing your faith, being out late, listening and encouraging pastors, blessing them (pastors), and so it is my privilege, on behalf of Dr. Frank Paige and the executive committee of your Southern Baptist Convention to present to you (Turner) this resolution of appreciation.”

Hammond then gave Turner the framed resolution and said that it “spells out the amazing accomplishments that God has done through his servant Dr. Emil Turner.” 

After presenting the resolution of appreciation to Turner, messengers gave Turner a standing ovation that lasted for nearly a full minute.

“In my tenure of serving the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, you have been good to me and to Mary (Turner’s wife),” Turner said. “We believe that the church is what God uses, and the church, working with other churches, reaches the world.” 

Turner went on to say that he has made a lot of mistakes over the years, such as being a smart aleck, answering before listening, changing directions too quickly, but said that the one thing he did right over the years is hire well.

“I am grateful to have worked with such great people,” Turner said. “I have been the beneficiary of their skills, gifts and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much.” 

Jason Noel, president of the ABSC Executive Board and pastor of East Side Baptist Church, Paragould, then introduced a video to honor Turner. 

“When Dr. Turner announced his retirement, we immediately knew that we wanted to recognize him and we wanted to express our gratitude to him for his service to our state convention, but we did not just want it to be just the executive board. We wanted Arkansas Baptist to have an opportunity to express their gratitude,” Noel said.

The video featured Jimmie Sheffield, retired associate executive director and interim pastor Cullendale Baptist Church, Camden; Clint Ritchie, pastor of First Baptist Church Hampton, and chairman of Convention Nominating Committee; Clay Hallmark, pastor or First Baptist Church, Marion, past president of ABSC and past president of executive board; Gary Watkins, retired pastor, former pastor of Turner in Bowling Green, Kentucky; R.E. Clark, associational missionary for Northwest Association, Bentonville; Billy Kite, retired associational missionary; interim pastor Second Baptist Church, Russellville, chairman of the search committee that called Turner; Don Moore, retired executive director, interim pastor of First Baptist Church, Dumas; Melvin York, pastor of First Baptist Church Des Arc, former executive board member; and Rex Horne, president of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Turner’s former pastor.

At the conclusion of the video, Noel presented Turner with a certificate on behalf of Tom Elliff and the International Mission Board that recognized his service.

Noel also presented a framed letter written to Turner by Les Miles, head football coach at Louisiana State University, where Turner attended college.

Noel also presented Turner with a fly fishing rod and reel for Turner to enjoy in his retirement from the ABSC executive committee.

“There’s an agreement that goes along with it though,” Noell said. “We expect to see lots (of pictures) of fish on Facebook as a result of this gift,” Noel joked.

Turner was also presented with a gift box with the inscription “More people in Heaven and fewer people in hell.” 

“You (Turner) have made an indelible mark on our lives … and there is a room full of Arkansas Baptist who would concur … but the thing that you taught us the most is to love Jesus and to love lost people and we want you to know that we deeply love you and we thank God for your influence on our lives,” Noel said.