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  • Who’s on your list?

    by Jerome Taylor BURTON, MI – I’m about to admit something awkward. It may not be easy to digest so you have your warning now. There are portions of Scripture that I have had a tendency to gloss over from time to time. At points in my life, they seemed rather pointless. This seems quite strange since all of Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). So how is it that certain segments of Scripture can be so easily dismissed in their importance during certain points of our lives. I submit for me; this was due to a lack of understanding the immense kindness God shared through his providence of true brothers and sisters in Christ. Take Romans 16 for a prime example. The apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Rome under the authoritative direction of the Holy Spirit, writes of the glorious gift of the gospel with such passion and purpose. But in this same letter, he mentions no less than 28 people for whom he is thankful in how they have played a significant role in his life and ministry. Some of these have no other introduction or narrative in the unfolding revelation of Scripture than here. This is not the only place you can find mention of people who have been influential instruments of grace in the mission of the church, some named and others not so much. However, in our case and for the sake of brevity I only point to Romans 16. God has used this and other often dismissed lists of names in the Bible to remind me of a gracious and glorious treasure we all may call to mind as reasons for thankfulness. We have been granted the gift of brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the past, now in the present, and in the days the Lord is pleased to provide us for the future. As I type this article, my mind recalls those who have been instructive, encouraging, and formative in my conversion, discipleship, and ministry. I am also amazed that in the last 9 years of my pilgrimage within the land of Michigan, God has brought alongside a band of brothers that I honestly don’t know how I could have persevered without their prayer, edification, co-labor, and shaping. And I would not do justice by attempting the full list today, but I am no less grateful for each of you. Think about the people you can thank God for and in your remembrance of them in prayer (Philippians 1:3), be renewed in encouragement towards the Lord Jesus who has brought people into your life so that the good work began in you would be brought to completion. Then, seek the Lord’s help for you to be that same person in the life of another. You may not ever have your name recorded on some semi-significant list for all posterity. If not, you are just as valued by the Lord Jesus and can be used by His grace to be influential and memorable to those whose good He means to cultivate by your brotherhood or sisterhood. Be blessed my brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ for whom I am so thankful. Let us labor on together by His grace, through His gospel, and for His glory. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jerome Taylor is the pastor of Eastgate Baptist Church, Burton. He is the husband of Melinda and father of Abigail, Jackson, Hannah, and Naomi. He is the current Recording Secretary for the BSCM, a leader in the Genesee Baptist Association, the Michigan trustee for Gateway Seminary, and a Past President of the BSCM (2016-2018). #NOVEMBER22

  • Thankful to serve

    by Matt Carter HOLT, MI – “Why am I even here? I just want to go back to bed.” It was early and I hadn’t had any coffee. Worse, it was Saturday: the one day free of hustling school-aged kids out of the door in the morning, usually reserved for sleeping in. But not today. On that morning I was awake, busy, and grumpy. What pulled me from my cozy bed and put me in such a splendid mood, you ask? I was in the kitchen at our church building, cooking breakfast casseroles as a gesture of appreciation to our volunteers. In about an hour, these faithful saints would arrive, and I would speak to them about-you guessed it- the joy of serving Jesus. Pastor-of-the-Year, right here. Somewhere between chopping bacon and loathing the inventor of alarm clocks, the Lord graciously convicted me. He brought to mind the words I was about to teach in 1 Peter 4: if we are serving the Lord (and not ourselves) we can do so without grumbling because we serve in His strength, for His glory. It was as if the Lord asked me, “Who are you really serving right now?” I stopped what I was doing, repented, prayed, and asked the Lord to give me a heart of thankfulness as I served Him. I desperately needed that reminder that it is a privilege to serve the Lord Jesus and His people. Psalm 100 calls us to “Serve the LORD with gladness…Enter His gates with thanksgiving.” When we are thankful to serve God and others, we are living like Jesus. After all, Jesus came not to be served, but to serve His people by giving His life for them (Mark 10:45). Jesus did not go to the cross grumbling about you and me. Quite the opposite. Scripture tells us that it was for the joy set before Him that Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Joy, gladness, and thanksgiving. These are the marks of Christlike service. When we serve the Lord with gladness, He fills us with His joy. Serving the Lord with gladness and thanksgiving draws us closer to Jesus. On the one hand, it reminds us of His greater service to us. When we think of the cross and empty tomb, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with overwhelming gratitude. That Jesus would serve a sinner such as me by dying in my place is simply stunning. “Thanksgiving” almost feels too feeble a response. But it isn’t. It is the God-honoring response. On the other hand, we can serve with thankfulness because Jesus gives us the strength to serve (1 Peter 4:11). Serving makes us more like Jesus because it connects us to His power. Serving deepens our love for Jesus because He carries us through it. Getting more of Jesus is reason to give thanks, indeed. Serving the Lord with gladness and thanksgiving is worth it, because when we do, we get the blessing of His presence and grace. Even early on a Saturday. Press on, my friends, in thankful service to the Lord. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Matt Carter serves as the Lead Pastor of Cedar Street Church in Holt. Prior to coming to Cedar Street, he served in various roles at several churches in North Carolina. He holds an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matt and his wife Anna have four kids and one marginally tolerable dog. #NOVEMBER22

  • DR chaplaincy teams offer ‘spiritual counseling’ at FEMA request

    by Jane Rodgers FORT MYERS BEACH, FL – One Hurricane Ian survivor found dealing with the pressures of the storm and the storms of life almost unbearable … until she spoke with Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief chaplains at Fort Myers Beach. Fort Myers Beach, an oceanfront community on Estero Island—an insular strip in the Gulf of Mexico some 16 miles south of the city of Fort Myers—was a thriving vacation spot before Ian hit in late September. On Saturday morning, Oct. 22, SBTC DR chaplain Lowell Warren of Mexia, director of missions for the Bi-Stone Association, arrived to serve survivors. He learned from the county sheriff’s department that Estero Island would be closed to outsiders for two days, beginning Monday, Oct. 24, so that major cleanup operations could occur. Homeowners who elected to leave Sunday evening would not be permitted to cross the bridge from the mainland to access their damaged property until Oct. 26. By order of local, state, and federal authorities, the only people allowed on the island for two days, besides residents already there, would be city contractors, first responders, health care workers, recovery workers, Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel, and representatives from other social service agencies, Warren said. Then FEMA officials recognized needs among the survivors that even the most helpful social service providers could not meet. A ‘high demand’ for prayer “There was such a high demand for prayer. People were asking, ‘Is there anyone here who could pray with me?’” Warren said he learned from the FEMA representative, who asked the chaplain if the Southern Baptists would establish a spiritual counseling presence at Fort Myers Beach, both during the two-day restricted period and after. It was a deal no chaplain could refuse. “He asked us to be available to provide spiritual guidance to people who are struggling to make some sense of what life looks like for them after the storm. He asked us to be here to pray for those who come in seeking prayer and encouragement,” Warren said. Five SBTC DR chaplains set up a table with Bibles and tracts in Spanish and English and began praying and talking with survivors at the FEMA site on Fort Myers Beach on Oct. 24. “They aren’t handing out tracts and Bibles, but they are making them available for people to pick up,” said Sue Robinson, a SBTC DR administrative volunteer from Huntsville who is onsite at McGregor Baptist in Fort Myers. “We expect to stay here as long as needed,” Warren said. “People are very receptive. The fields are white unto harvest,” he added, noting that the chaplains talked to 25 people on Oct. 24 and prayed with 15, supplying Bibles and tracts to all who asked. They prayed with struggling first responders, survivors, and even agency personnel. They also spoke with Paula (name changed), who came into the FEMA tent after speaking with chaplain Colin Hext, a retired firefighter. Another fireman had brought Paula to meet Hext, saying, “I need you to talk to this lady.” “[Paula] was ready to give up,” Warren said. “She had even thought about ending her life. She said she had stood on her fourth-floor balcony contemplating suicide.” Chaplains learned that Paula was a believer. “Life had just been dumping on her before the storm,” Warren said. After visiting with several chaplains for a while, Paula recalled the joy of her salvation. “I would start a Scripture and she would finish it,” Warren said. “The Lord started bringing it back. All of the stuff going on in her life she just couldn’t handle anymore. The Holy Spirit took control. She left with a sparkle in her eye and hope in her heart.” Paula agreed to return to pray with the chaplains the following day and as often afterward as needed. FEMA has requested chaplains in the past during other disasters, SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice said. But DR chaplains were busy even before the FEMA request. Warren told of meeting Pat Marchan, a Fort Myers Beach resident and joyful Christian who proudly displayed a devotional book miraculously preserved from her flooded home. The book had comforted Marchan following the death of her son six years before. Its survival without any water damage reminded her that God had protected her family although all else was destroyed. Recovery work goes on Disaster relief work continues in Florida as Southern Baptist teams from across the nation serve. After preparing more than 73,000 meals distributed by the Texas division of the Salvation Army, the SBTC DR mass feeding unit operating out of McGregor Baptist in Fort Myers ceased operations begun nearly three weeks ago, on Oct. 4. “Yesterday [Oct. 23], the final meal count for the day was 1,950,” Stice said. A quick response kitchen unit manned by Dee and Doug Cates of Pampa is serving DR workers housed at McGregor Baptist in Fort Myers, as are shower and laundry units from Calvary Baptist in Beaumont, Arkansas DR, and Florida DR, Robinson said. Some 100 families from McGregor Baptist were directly impacted by Ian, Robinson said. “They’ve lost homes and roofs; some have been displaced. Even though it’s a large church, 100 families is a significant number.” Even so, “this church has just opened their arms to everybody. It’s just been amazing,” she added. SBTC DR teams have joined other SBDR crews to help with the massive clean-up efforts needed after the storm. Volunteers are committing to two-week stints. Among these, Mike Phillips led an SBTC DR chainsaw and recovery team from First Baptist Bellville. David Dean continues to direct a recovery team from First Baptist Pflugerville while a team from Spring Baptist Church under the leadership of Bill Zaffos is also working out of McGregor, Robinson said. To date, SBTC DR volunteers served 754 volunteer days and contributed 7,054 hours of service, rotating in and out of Florida, doing a variety of tasks from feeding to mud out to chainsaw work to chaplaincy, Stice said. Other state Baptist DR teams involved in Florida have included California, Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas Baptist Men, Stice confirmed, adding that additional teams from Hawaii, Mississippi, and Kansas/Nebraska are expected the week of Oct. 31. Donations for Hurricane Ian relief efforts can be made here. #NOVEMBER22

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  • Archives | Baptist Beacon

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  • Cooperative Program | Baptist Beacon

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  • Baptist Beacon

    Telling the story of Michigan Baptists TOP STORIES Who’s on your list? Thankful to serve DR chaplaincy teams offer ‘spiritual counseling’ at FEMA request Vegas church-planting legacy supported by Send Network, Cooperative Program COLUMNS 8 minutes ago 5 min Thanksgiving: Where did it go? by Tim Patterson PLYMOUTH, MI – The question I have is, where did it go? You know, Thanksgiving. Back to school sales were displayed in... 8 minutes ago 2 min Send Network president Pitman announced changes by Tony Lynn PLYMOUTH, MI – Last month during two warm and sunny October days in Alpharetta, Georgia, approximately 275 field personnel... 8 minutes ago 2 min Revitalization by Mike Durbin PLYMOUTH, MI – Michigan Baptists are making church revitalization a priority in 2023. The entire Frances Brown State... 9 minutes ago 3 min An invitation to solitude and silence by Coye Bouyer LANSING, MI – Suddenly, out of nowhere she was consumed with thoughts that led her to believe she was functioning in... 9 minutes ago 2 min There’s always something to be thankful for by Mick Schatz ROSCOMMON, MI – Here at Bambi Lake we have a sign in our lobby that reminds us “there’s always something to be thankful... STARTING STORIES Vegas church-planting legacy supported by Send Network, Cooperative Program Send Network president Pitman announced changes NAMB’s Champion Jorge Altieri on mission in Michigan More STARTING stories… STRENGTHENING STORIES Who’s on your list? Thankful to serve A cheerful heart The attitude of thankfulness Discipleship opportunities for women More STRENGTHENING stories… SENDING STORIES DR chaplaincy teams offer ‘spiritual counseling’ at FEMA request First-Person: More are answering the call. Now what? Pray for gospel transformation More SENDING stories… MICHIGAN STORIES Who’s on your list? Thankful to serve A cheerful heart The attitude of thankfulness Classified Ads More MICHIGAN stories… SBC & OTHER STORIES DR chaplaincy teams offer ‘spiritual counseling’ at FEMA request Vegas church-planting legacy supported by Send Network, Cooperative Program First-Person: More are answering the call. Now what? Pray for gospel transformation Gloria Gaynor of ‘I Will Survive’ shares God in sacred, secular music How actions and attitude equal success! More SBC stories…

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