Thursday
May032012

Churches give back

It is the world that is always asking for money. When did you go to the supermarket and the checker fail to ask you for money? Your mortgage company asks for money with unfailing regularity. Each month brings bills. Are any of them from the church? Uncle Sam withholds a percentage of every dollar you earn; your Father does not.

Attend worship every week and there is no admission charge. The church is there when you need it, with nursery provided. You can make full use of it and never have to pay one cent.

If you are sick, the pastor will visit you in the hospital. Where else can you get free counseling when you need it? Bulletins and newsletters are published weekly. No one receives a subscription notice “asking for money” as with other publications. What do you do when your loved one dies? What will it cost? The undertaker will certainly charge for his services. Your church will not.

You pay taxes to provide your children “free” public education; your church operates a Sunday school that gives quality Christian education at no cost.

There’s no membership fee, no annual dues. Is there any other organization that functions that way?

Consider this paradox. Compared to the government and the bill collectors, the church almost never asks for money. Yet of all the things your money could be used for, none are more important than ministry.

The church shares the love of Jesus Christ. Our money goes to serve Him and help our fellow man. The church provides ministry in Jesus’ name to everyone whether they can afford to contribute or not. Isn’t that something you would like to be a part of? Think about it!

Steven G. Tiner
North Little Rock

Thursday
Apr192012

Baptist building should close on Good Friday

I have always been a Southern Baptist. If there is one thing that I have learned from my parents it is that respect for our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ should be automatic. I believe that if we truly love Him and want to lead by example, we must always show respect to Him.

As we live our daily lives, it becomes increasingly hard to be the example. As people turn further and further away from Christ, our job becomes harder. As we try to witness to unchurched people, we get to hear how hypocritical the church can be. We also tend to let self take over instead of God.

Several of the companies that I have worked for have surprised me. They were run by people who did not claim to be Christian but honored employees by closing their doors on Good Friday. Without knowing it, they are giving tribute to a King they don’t really believe in or don’t know.

However, it is with a sad heart that I found out that our own Arkansas Baptist building does not close for Good Friday. Why? There is no amount of earthly gain that is worth telling people in this state that Good Friday is not worth closing for. How do you explain to someone that we should have ultimate respect for our Lord and Savior when our own people don’t show it? In my opinion this should be changed immediately. To continually be witnesses for Christ, we must always put Him first.

You have to ask the question, “Are we exalting Christ in all we do?” I believe in what our Arkansas Baptists do and support them fully. Please help me understand why our Baptist building does not close on Good Friday.

John Johnston
Hot Springs

Thursday
Mar222012

Reached by California Southern Baptists

I was raised in California by Southern parents. What a strange combination, I know!

My parents, Victor and Fluella Koone, were from Arkansas and went to California in the 1950s with plans to “make a fortune” and return to Arkansas. My mother was a Christian, a Southern Baptist, but my father didn’t find the Lord until a Southern Baptist missionary in northern California invited him to a revival. He let the fact that my mother was Southern Baptist slip out, and Bro. Kendall was at their house that evening. On the third day of the revival, my father accepted Jesus as his Savior!

Within two years, my father felt the call to the ministry. He spent the next 30 years spreading the gospel in northern California, planting churches and pastoring until the church could afford to hire a pastor, while making his living in the timber industry. I say all this to tell you that the name “Southern” in the Baptist is less of a problem than many people try to make it. I think that this subject is just one more way that Satan is using to get us away from the focus of winning souls to the Lord. By the way, my parents did finally get to retire to Arkansas, where he was active in many small churches around the Conway and Clinton areas.

Vicki Koone Coons
Brookland

Thursday
Mar082012

How ‘Southerners’ do it

May I add my two mites worth to the discussion about removing “Southern” from the name of our denomination? Supposedly, the term is regional and creates difficulty when planting churches outside the South. However, what is more positive than Southern hospitality, a Southern belle or a warm Southern afternoon?  

Imagine a long table under a brush arbor laden with garden vegetables, fried chicken and homemade bread all done Southern style. Imagine another table with sweating glasses of sweet iced tea and another with home-baked cakes and pies. A slab of Southern pecan pie is good anywhere!  

A preacher once spent a summer traveling the South preaching in Southern Baptist churches. In Southern Baptist fashion, he ate with the folks where he was preaching. By summer’s end, he had eaten so much Southern fried chicken that on his first night back home he just rolled up his mattress and roosted on the slats.  

The word “Southern” is synonymous with hospitality, kindness and warm friendship. It is the lifestyle Jesus advocated. If the sign over the door says “hen house,” you expect to find eggs inside. If the sign says “Southern Baptist,” you expect to find hospitality, kindness and warm friendship. No other word says it so well. 

I suggest that each church, association, state convention and our national convention calculate the costs of removing “Southern” from our name. There will be new signs, logos, letterheads, business cards and an advertising campaign to promote the change. Then, give that amount to our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering or our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. 

Finally, calculate the man hours needed to determine the new name and its implementation and apply those hours to doing the things that our name “Southern” implies – showing the hospitality, kindness and warm friendship of Jesus to a hurting world.

Bob Loyd
Dardanelle

Thursday
Feb232012

Blessed to read the ABN

I would like to continue to receive the Arkansas Baptist News, and would also like to have it sent to someone else, too.

We moved here from Alabama, and most all churches there provided The Alabama Baptist for all church members. I am saddened that some churches in this area do not seem to. And some of the churches are rather large churches. I am blessed to still receive The Alabama Baptist from First Baptist Church, Selma, Ala., where I served for several years on staff and grew up in that wonderful church. I have certainly been blessed by subscribing to the Arkansas Baptist News since moving here a few years ago. My husband and I are almost homebound, so we do treasure this way of “keeping up” with Southern Baptists!

Thank you again for your fine paper!

Norma Pee
Russellville

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