Prayerwalking in the State Capitol

Because the 2015 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting was just 15 miles from Frankfort, one of our Friday afternoon activities was to take a group to the State Capitol to prayerwalk.  About 200 of us rode buses to Frankfort to participate. We gathered first in the Rotunda for a time of singing and prayer, then spread out around the building to pray.  Susan Bryant, our state WMU president who worked in state government for many years, provided a prayer guide.

In preparation for our time of prayer, I shared brief remarks about why we had come and several scripture passages that teach us to pray for our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (HCSB) says, “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Then in verse 8, Paul writes “Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.”  1 Peter 2:13-15 reminds us, “Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.”  We went to do good by praying.  

Perhaps you would like to take others and go pray at the Capitol. The following prayer guide will help you. Remember that as elected leaders change, this guide will need to be updated but the basics of the building and what takes place remains the same.

KY State CapitolCAPITOL PRAYER GUIDE

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR – SUITE 100 – STEPHEN BESHEAR, GOVERNOR
The Governor is the head of the executive branch of Kentucky state government.  He also serves as commander in chief of the Kentucky National Guard.  The governor enforces state laws, and has the power to veto bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly.  He may convene special sessions of the General Assembly and grant pardons.  The Governor also has the power to reorganize state government.
     Prayer suggestions:  The election of the new Governor this year, pardons to be considered by Governor Beshear before leaving office, decisions based on Christian principles.

OFFICE OF THE LT. GOVERNOR – SUITE 142 – CRIT LUALLEN,  LT. GOVERNOR
The Lt. Governor is a constitutionally elected official who is the second ranking officer of the Executive Branch.  Lt. Governor Crit Luallen was named to this office in November 2014 after former Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson resigned.  The Lt. Governor serves under circumstances similar to that of the Vice President of the United States and has responsibilities and duties as the Governor shall assign or delegate.
     Prayer suggestions:  Lt. Gov. Luallen as she works to promote Kentucky.  Pray for wisdom in the election of the Lt. Governor during this election year.

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL – SUITE 118 – ATTORNEY GENERAL JACK CONWAY
The Office of the KY Attorney General offers various consumer protection and victims advocacy programs for residents of Kentucky.  Additionally, it serves in an advisory capacity on child support enforcement.  It has various divisions which include an administrative hearings division, communications office, KY Bureau of Investigation and Medicaid fraud division.  The Attorney General also provides legal opinions to public officials to assist them in the performance of their duties.
     Prayer suggestions:  Pray for wisdom of the Attorney General in the various duties perform by this Office.  Pray for wisdom in the election of a new Attorney General during this election year.

SUPREME  COURT – ROOM 235
The Supreme Court is composed of 7 judges who are elected for 8 year terms in non-partisan elections.  The Supreme Court is the court of last resort and the final interpreter of state law.  The court does not retry cases; it receives oral and written briefs from which it makes its decisions.  Cases involving the death penalty, life imprisonment, imprisonment for 20 years or more are reviewed by the Supreme Court as a matter of right.  The Supreme Court is also responsible for establishing rules of practice and procedures for the Court of Justice which includes conduct of judges and attorneys.
Supreme Court Justices include: Bill Cunningham (1st District), John D. Minton, Jr. (2nd District), Daniel Venters (3rd District), Lisabeth Hughes Abramson (4th District), Mary Noble (5th District), Michelle Keller (6th District), and David Barber (7th District).
     Prayer suggestions:  Pray that the Justices will make wise decisions of the cases coming before the Court.  Pray for Christian principles to be upheld in all decisions.

KENTUCKY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Kentucky General Assembly convenes on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January.  It meets for 60 days in even numbered years and for 30 days in odd numbered years.  The House of Representatives and Senate create new laws, amend existing laws and enact the State budget.  Interim joint committees meet when the legislature is not in session.

House of Representatives
The House of Representatives consists of 100 seats.  Representatives are elected for 2 year terms with the entire House elected every two years.
     Prayer suggestion:  Pray for the election of a Christian to each House seat during this election cycle. 

Senate
The Senate consists of 38 seats.  Senators are elected for 4 year terms with half of the Senate elected every two years.
     Prayer suggestion:  Pray for the election of a Christian to each Senate seat during this election cycle. 

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Collections that Count

Churches enjoy collecting items that meet a ministry need. There are many opportunities to collect items for ministries in your own community and when you do, please deliver them in person and spend time with the people at the ministry site.  Be sure to take pictures and share the experience with your church. Before sharing, have the next ministry project or a return visit to the featured ministry planned so that you can immediately offer an opportunity for involvement when people show interest. The involvement of your church in the local ministry will make the collection of needed items more meaningful both to your church and to the local ministry.

Backpack Video picAnother opportunity for collecting and making an impact in Kentucky is through the LoveLOUD Christmas Backpacks. The North American Mission Board is seeking to collect 40,000 backbacks for children to be distributed through Appalachian Regional Ministry and Mississippi River Ministry. Both of these ministries touch Kentucky. If your church would like to participate in the backback collection, visit the web site (www.NAMB.net/backpacks) to learn more. There are specific instructions on the web site about what each backpack should include. To partner with a ministry for distribution of backpacks you collect, please fill out and submit the Partnership Agreement on the web site. The collecting and delivering date will need to be coordinated with the ministry site you partner with for Christmas. All backpacks need to be collected by and delivered to the site no later than December 10, 2014. Please preview and download promotional materials and participation forms from the web page. If you have questions, email Bill Barker: [email protected] or call 606-316-4298.  Be sure to see the video about the Christmas Backpacks that features Keith Decker, Kentucky Missionary of the Year for 2014.

10636756_754039074642682_325525768514784248_oThe Bucket Project with Baptist Global Response is a collection project that will touch many lives in Sub Sahara Africa.  While you may not have the opportunity to personally take a bucket to a person suffering with AIDS, you can know that every bucket is being delivered by a Christian believer who will share a gospel witness.  A great opportunity to participate in the Bucket Project will take place on November 11 at the Kentucky Baptist Convention.  We will have a truck at the convention and we have a goal of 800 buckets, enough to fill another shipping container for Africa.  Lori Funderburk, Bucket Project Prayer Coordinator, will be with us at the state convention.  There are promotional videos about the bucket collection available which you can download and show in your church.

Bucket Project video by Dr. Paul Chitwood
Bucket Project video by Joy Bolton

If you would like someone to come to your church to share information about the Bucket Project, we have people available. Kentucky WMU sent a team to South Africa last December to lead Bible Clubs and deliver buckets. Experience 1:8 college students went to South Africa in July and delivered buckets that had been collected at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting in April.

Collections that count include prayer and a gospel witness. Pray over the items you collect, asking that they be used by the Lord to meet needs and share Jesus with the lost or bring a word of encouragement to a believer in need. Pray for those who will use the items in ministry and for their witness. Pray for opportunities to share the good news of our Savior and for the boldness of those who witness. Pray for your own opportunities to be part of these ministries and for your personal witness every day.

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Life Changing Commitments

IMG_2760In our Monday morning WMU staff meeting, we always pray for the missionaries on the prayer calendar and then share personal prayer requests and praises. Today Jon shared that Terry Thomas had contacted him to share the good news of his son’s commitment to Christ. Tyler has attended both Camp Courage and Mission Adventure Camp several summers. Terry wanted to share the good news and to also say thank you for the experiences that had contributed to his son in making a profession of faith.This was not a quick decision, but rather one that came from the teaching times at his church as well as gospel centered camping experiences.This young man has been taught the truths of the gospel, absorbed them, thought about them, and came to understand that they applied to him. Thank you Jon and all who have been a part of faithfully sharing the gospel. (There’s more to this story and I will share Tyler’s story in another blog.)

Evangecube activityDuring the Girls in Action Overnight for girls in grades 4-6 and their leaders this past weekend at Jonathan Creek, the girls participated in Bible Storying. The girls not only heard the gospel, but they also learned to share the gospel with others through making their own evangelism cube. How important it is that we not only share the gospel with children, but that we also equip them to share Jesus with their friends.

Excel2014At the three Excel WMU Training events (July 19, August 16, and September 13), we are offering a conference entitled “Witnessing at Any Age.” The purpose of this class is to equip children and adults to share faith in Christ with others because a “silent witness” is not enough. Participants will learn how to tell the gospel story and teach others to do so, too.  We are offerig this conference because in WMU we want to encourage people of all ages to share their faith, including children and youth.  Our students have access to the place that most of us do not – our schools.  Kids who are equipped and encouraged to share their faith can do so when they are playing with friends, talking on the school bus, etc.

Steve Coleman preaching
The reports from our first three weeks of Kentucky Changers are exciting.
June 7-13, Hopkinsville: 16 churches represented with 151 students and 83 adult volunteers for a total of 234 participants.
June 21-27, Lawrenceburg/Frankfort: 18 churches represented with 174 students and 77 adult volunteers for a total of 251 participants.
July 5-12, Richmond: 24 churches represented with 214 students and 90 adult volunteers for a total of 304 participants.
July 13-18, Louisville: 7 churches represented with 75 students and 35 adult volunteers for a total of 110 participants.

Witnessing to a homeownerThat gives us a total of 65 churches with 614 students and 285 adult volunteers for a total of 899 participants. We are very pleased with this first year of Kentucky Changers in the WMU family.  The final numbers are not yet in for decisions made since the Louisville project is still under way and we also like to confirm any decisions made as students returned home that were a result of Changers, but the preliminary report for the first three weeks is that there were 24 salvations, 29 commitments to ministry, and 37 rededication decisions.   We will give a final report in a few weeks.

During Kentucky Changers, students lead a devotional each day on the job site. Our videographer, John Richards, captured a student sharing his testimony with the others. Jackson’s testimony on brokenness is a wonderful story of redemption. Pray for our students as they share Christ with their friends and classmates. What a mission field in every community!  Pray for those who have made professions of faith this summer through VBS, camps, and experiences like Kentucky Changers. Pray that they will be dynamic witnesses for Christ

Seeing people make life changing commitments is the goal of all that we do in WMU. Whether this happens is in the groups we teach in our churches, through the events that we sponsor, or through prayer and financial support of missionaries around the world, we want to see lost people saved and believers grow in their faith. Sounds like the Great Commission to me!

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EBO at Work

EBO is at work this summer!  We have just finished our first week of Kentucky Changers with 220 participants working in Hopkinsville on 18 projects.  The projects included roofing, siding, painting, decks and handicap ramps.    Three more Kentucky Changers projects will take place in Frankfort/Lawrenceburg, Richmond, and Louisville.  Pray for Peggy Murphy, all the adult volunteers, student participants and homeowners who will be helped this summer. Pray for the witness of students and all participants during each week of Kentucky Changers.

We are in our second week of camp at Cedar Crest where campers are experiencing a “Missions Safari” as they learn about missions in Africa.  Stacy Nall, Jon Auten, and a 1:8 Leadership Team are working with our children to provide a wonderful time of learning, Bible study, interaction with missionaries, fun in the great outdoors, and all of the special things about camp (like a campfire and ‘Smores!).

Because of your generous gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering, we receive many thank you notes from ministries across Kentucky that receive grants provided by the offering. Robin Reeves, Kentucky MSC missionary of Corbin wrote: Dear friends, Just wanted to say thank you for the recent Eliza Broadus grant ($1,100.00) that I received this year. We’ve used some of it to purchase some Gospel of John and Romans booklets (300+), mailed over 500 witnessing dolls out since the middle of January, and a portion was used for that. Some will be used for Bible Club supplies and also for our evangelistic Back-to-School block party in July! It was such a blessing to again be an Eliza recipient this year!

Robin’s note does not begin to tell the story of her ministry which is called Christians By Choice – Clown and Creative Ministries. In addition to the witnessing dolls that Robin and ladies from her church make, they enlisted children in making “Dolls on Mission” at a Kingdom Kids event with MSC missionary Stacey Burton.  Robin had her first Bible Club of the summer the first week of June at her house. Not only does she work with volunteer teams that come to help, but Robin involves others in a sewing and quilting ministry. This group now meets up to three times a week for prayer and to make witnessing dolls and lap quilts for the cancer center at a local hospital. The sewing ministry has also expanded to include ladies from the community who are invited to come for Quilt Club Day on the second Tuesday of each month where they can learn to sew and quilt. The Quilt Club gathering includes a monthly lunch and Biblical Quilt Block series with supporting Bible study.

Salvation dollMany other ministries are at work this summer putting EBO dollars to work to share the gospel. Pray for these ministries and for all of our efforts as Kentucky Baptists to reach out to children and families during the summer.

 

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Linda Cooper Elected National WMU Recording Secretary

Linda Baltimore 2014Linda Cooper, immediate past president of Kentucky WMU, was elected Recording Secretary of Woman’s Missionary Union, SBC on June 9, 2014 during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Baltimore. Linda is from Bowling Green where she serves as WMU Director for Warren Association of Baptists. She and her husband, Jim, are members of Forest Park Baptist Church. Linda served as president of Kentucky WMU from 2010-14.

Linda’s election as Recording Secretary is only the second time that someone from Kentucky has served as a national WMU officer. Carolyn Ellis of Shelbyville served in this role from 1975-81 when Christine Gregory was national WMU president. National WMU officers must have served on the Executive Board of WMU, SBC prior to election. (All state WMU presidents serve on the board as vice-presidents of national WMU.)

A contingent from Kentucky was present for the election though most did not know that Linda Cooper was being nominated. Kentucky WMU sponsored a bus tour to Baltimore with 44 people, plus others had flown or driven up for the national meeting. The Baltimore meeting included a Missionary Commissioning Service as well as a tour of Annie Armstrong sites around Baltimore. The meeting was the conclusion of a two-year celebration of the 125th birthday of Woman’s Missionary Union, founded in 1888.

Cooper flags Baltimore 2014 croppedLinda brings a wealth of WMU knowledge and experience to this new role. In addition to her WMU experience at the church, association, state and national levels, she is a capable writer, having written articles for national WMU publications as well as columns for Kentucky Notes. Linda is also a popular speaker and communicates well with WMU and other audiences. Please keep Linda in your prayers as she serves as a leader with national WMU.  We are “Kentucky proud!”

Read more about the WMU meeting in Baltimore on Baptist Press.

 

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On the Road Again!

Baltimore adOn Friday, June 6, Kentucky WMU will take a bus tour group to Baltimore to attend the National WMU Annnual Meeting. It will be a wonderful week of connecting with WMU friends and WMU history.  We will even throw in a bit of American history.  Forty-four people will be going on the trip. Roger McCurry, owner of Koinonia Travels and Tours, will be our driver.

Here’s our schedule for the week.  Pray for our group and pray for the National WMU meeting next Sunday and Monday, June 8-9.  The meeting includes a Missionary Commissioning Service on Sunday afternoon and a tour of Annie Armstrong sites around Baltimore on Monday afternoon.

Friday, June 6  –Travel to Hagerstown, Maryland.
Saturday, June 7  – Travel to Baltimore; tour Fort McHenry.
Sunday, June 8 – Worship with Jesus Our Redeemer (new church plant); Attend Missionary Commissioning Service.
Monday, June 9 – WMU Annual Meeting & Missions Celebration; Conferences; Bus Tour of Annie’s Baltimore.
Tuesday, June 10 – Attend SBC session / visit exhibits; Travel to Richmond; Overnight at the International Learning Center
Wednesday, June 11 –  Tour of International Mission Board & worship time with IMB staff; Travel to Crew, VA to visit Lottie Moon exhibit and gravesite at Crewe Baptist Church.
Thursday, June 12 – Return travel.

It is a busy summer for Kentucky WMU.  Camp staff training takes places this week with our first campers coming in one week. Campers will be going on a “Missions Safari” as they learn about missions in Africa. Our first Kentucky Changers project begins Saturday in Hopkinsville with 220 participants expected and 18 projects planned. Overnights at Jonathan Creek will provide a camping experience for girls in Western Kentucky and over 200 volunteers are expected for Familyfest in 19-25 in Boone’s Creek Association.  Boys will learn about Teamwork during Camp Courage and Excel training for WMU leaders will take place in three locations this summer.

Remember that the Eliza Broadus Offering will be at work in these WMU sponsored missions activities as well as through the many ministries of Kentucky missionaries over the summer. Pray for children and families to be saved, teenagers to grow in their faith, and for new missions commitments to take place.  We are on the road again. Go with us in prayer!

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Call to Prayer for Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

IMBDr. Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board, has called for a day of special prayer for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering on March 13. Wanda Lee, executive director of national WMU has assured Dr. Elliff that WMU will join in this day of prayer. Here is the letter that Wanda received from Dr. Elliff.

Dear partners in this great task,
The Lord reigns over all nations and we affirm in humble submission that He reigns over all of our plans. In the weeks to come, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts for 2013 will be finalized while, shortly thereafter, overseas personnel and IMB leadership will be developing budget plans for 2015.

Will you join overseas field personnel and staff in a voluntary day of prayer and fasting on March 13th as we express thanks and seek His direction as wise stewards?

KEY POINTS FOR PRAYER:
1. Lottie Moon Christmas Offerings are a sacred gift which we receive with humility and gratitude.
2. There are many individuals and congregations who are still receiving Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or International Missions gifts. Pray for an outpouring of the Lord’s blessing as Southern Baptists give an offering of themselves and of their possessions.
3. As overseas personnel and IMB leadership develop budget plans for 2015, pray that they will be wise stewards. Ask the Lord to instill a global context in the hearts of each individual as they request funds so that they will keep the needs of the world in mind while uniquely focusing on their own projects.
4. Effective communication—concise, creative, memorable—is crucial in keeping the call of missions before Southern Baptists. Church and Partner Services (CaPS) team members are already developing the theme and resources for the Annual Meeting of the SBC and the next Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Intercede for the design and implementation teams as they seek God’s vision.
5. As a global organization under the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, we move forward in this transition period. Ask God to bless the Presidential Search Team with unity and discernment as they act with prayerful and tireless deliberation. Intercede for Tom and Jeannie Elliff as they continue in prayer and labor. Pray for the person who will become the twelfth IMB president to have ears to hear the Lord’s calling.

praying handsJehovah Jireh, we express thanks for every blessing and submit our future needs to You.  We do not shrink back but press in to our calling to reach all peoples for Your glory. AMEN.

On our knees,
Dr Tom Elliff

 

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Focus on WMU and EBO

SMALLState Missions graphic 2013Since 2007 Kentucky Baptist gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering have been amazing. That offering year we exceeded the million dollar mark and have never looked back! In response to the great needs across our state and your generous giving, we kept raising the goal so that we could do more for Kentucky missions.  More Than Ever, Jesus calls us to pray for laborers in the harvest, pray for the lost to hear the gospel, and give to provide missions ministries. More Than Ever we each need to be personally involved in ministry and telling people about Jesus.

While our state missions emphasis is held each September, gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering are received all year.  We are grateful for the contributions that come in each month.  Any time you would like to know how we are doing in reaching our goal for the year, just go to www.kywmu.org/ebo.  There you will find the current year graphic that changes from grayscale to color to represent our progress towards the goal.

The Eliza Broadus Offering funds missions across our state through the Kentucky Baptist Convention, by grants to Kentucky Baptist Associations and Special Ministries, and through the work of Kentucky WMU in missions education.

The Special Ministries portion of the offering provides grants of $500 to each of our 70 Baptist associations ($35,000) as well as grants to various ministries that apply directly to Kentucky WMU.  Last week our Executive Committee approved grants totaling $95,000 to ninety different ministries. Letters and checks to these ministries will go out in the next few weeks.

The Eliza Broadus Offering helps Kentucky WMU provide missions education resources and events including things like RAMCON, GA JAM, camps, overnights, retreats, and much more. The impact of missions education in the lives of children lasts a lifetime! Who knows what will happen in the future of Kentucky missions because we touched the lives of children today!

Because the Eliza Broadus Offering is sponsored by Kentucky WMU, make EBO a part of your Focus on WMU observance. If you take an offering among WMU members during Focus, give it through the Eliza Broadus Offering to support Kentucky missions as well as Kentucky WMU ministries.

If you have not shown the More Than Ever DVD, Focus on WMU is a wonderful time to have a state missions emphasis. Contact Kentucky WMU for copies of the DVD, additional prayer guides and offering envelopes. All videos and print materials are also available online at www.kywmu.org/ebo.

Gifts for the 2013-14 Eliza Broadus Offering will be received through August 31, 2014. Please make checks payable to the Kentucky Baptist Convention, notate EBO on the check, and mail to Kentucky WMU, PO Box 436569, Louisville, KY  40253-6569.

As Kentucky WMU members,  let’s do More Than Ever to reach the $1,250,000 goal for state missions.

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The Insanity of Obedience

Nik Ripken‘s new book, The Insanity of Obedience, incorporates some material from his first book, The Insanity of God, but takes the reader to a new level of discomfort. This book is not an easy read in the sense that western readers will see themselves and our churches in ways that make us squirm.  But if we are willing to be uncomfortable, even convicted, the book has much to offer those who are serious about sharing the gospel.

I bought the book for my husband for Christmas, then promptly started reading it after he had opened his gift.  A few days later I bought a Kindle version and started reading my own copy so he could read his.  It’s hard for me to read without highlighting and I do like the highlight feature in the ebook version.  Here are some of my highlights.

– You do not have to come back; you simply have to go.
– “Bible women” in China…There boldness was almost scary. Their ability to share the Good News of Jesus Christ every where they went was inspiring. Wanting to understand more…I listed to these women explain: “God has chosen men to pastor the house church with a mixed audience.” Then with sheer joy radiating from their faces, they added, “Look how good God is! God has given men the ministry of the church and He has given women responsibility for the rest of the world!”
– One enlightened brother said every Body of Christ who have a heart for the Nations needs four types of people: (1) Those who go, (2) Those who send, (3) Those who raise support for those who go, and (4) Those who welcome the Nations in their midst to their homes. Evaluate the obedience level of your church by these statements. Evaluate your commitment.
– What percentage of your time is spent being “sheep among sheep” or as “sheep among wolves”?
– We came to realize that believers could be unwittingly complicit with the  persecutors by simply refusing to share their faith.
– We sometimes thank God that we live in countries where we are “free to worship.” It is interesting that public prayers are rarely uttered thanking God that we are “free to witness.”
– While we must find creative ways to stand with our brothers and sisters who are in settings of persecution, our primary way of identifying with them is by being consistent witnesses in our own environments.  It is impossible to replace witness with money.
– Perhaps this is a brand new thought, but is it possible that persecution is simply the normal way of living for those who choose to follow Jesus?
– Perhaps the crucial question is not: How can I keep persecution from happening? Perhaps this is a better question: Why am I not being persecuted?  If Jesus said that His followers should expect persecution, then why am I not being persecuted?
– What if the worst persecution today was having little or no access to Jesus? Am I a persecutor when I keep my faith to myself, only within the environment of the church?
– Census Christian? Member Christian? Practicing Christian? Committed Believer?  Hidden Christian?
– Based on budgets, time and resources, what does our church or denomination care most about? Who do I care about? How many spiritual conversations do we have each week? How is success ultimately measured?
– The hardest task of all may be sending: giving and blessing our sons and our daughters to serve the Nations.
– Fear is the deadly enemy of the church. Your fear is the greatest tool you will ever give to Satan. Overcoming your fear is your greatest tool against Satan.

I am stopping this list of highlights with chapter 7. A lot of folks will stop reading at Chapter 7, “Lies, Lies, and More Lies” because Nik challenges a great deal in our church culture. These are not all of my highlights, just a few I chose for this blog.  You need to read each of them in context to appreciate what Nik has to say, and to feel the discomfort.  There are 24 chapters.  I’ve got a lot more highlighting to do.  More importantly, I have a lot more witnessing to do.

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Friendship International – Reaching the World in Kentucky

“More Than Ever, Make a Difference” is the Eliza Broadus Offering theme for the year.  More than ever, our gifts are needed to support ministries across Kentucky in sharing Christ.  At this time of year when Southern Baptists focus on international missions, let me share some of the international impact of EBO right here in Kentucky through three Friendship International sites in Lexington, Louisville and Paducah.

Friendship International of Elkhorn Baptist Association reaches out to international women in the Lexington area. Through a ministry of cross-cultural friendships where 80% of the participants are not Christians, American ladies are sharing Christ one-on-one. The ministry provides food and fellowship each week and various classes such as English as a Second Language, crafts, exercise and cooking. The ministry has also been able to distribute left over bread from a local restaurant to Chinese and Muslim families. One Muslim lady said, “My husband was without a pay check for three months this summer, but we have always had wonderful, delicious bread. It was a gift from God and we are so grateful.”

The Lexington area Friendship International usually meets only during the school year, but this past summer continued with a Bible study taught in Mandarin. About 50 men, women and children attended each week.  Probably about one-third were Christians, one-third were seekers, and one-third came out of curiosity.  The Chinese Christians found great encouragement. Several of the seekers became Chrisians.  Others are closer to the Kingdom.  One man, visiting his family here explained that since he is a government official in China, he is not a Christian but said, “I have experienced a special love in this place.”

Friendship International of Long Run Association meets on Wednesdays during the school year at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville. Through this ministry, internationals from every part of the world have learned English, Bible, citizenship, and participated in creative activities such as scrapbooking, crafts, quilting, crocheting, knitting and sewing.  Mary Lou Crutcher of Hurstbourne Baptist Church is this year’s director and said on the accountability form for last year’s grant that “Through ‘Friendship’ our Baptist women and men volunteers reach out in love to all who participate, building relationships which allow us to share our Christian faith. Each session begins with Scripture and prayer.” The EBO grant was used to provide child care, English as a Second Language materials, and other supplies. 

Friendship International of West Union Association provides a witness to internationals in the Paducah area, offering English classes and provides students with free textbooks, Bibles, videos, childcare and transportation if needed.  The Paducah area Friendship International has classes using the Bible as the textbook. At break time they provide refreshments and a devotional from the Bible, sing, and pray.  This they have had students from Peru, Nigeria, Columbia, Thailand, Russia, South Korea, Honduras, Lithuania, Spain and Mexico.

More than Ever, EBO is making a difference to people around the world right here in Kentucky!

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