George Ross
Ed Stetzer
A page from Gale Trussell’s handmade prayer book describes what the book is to be used to do. In the last two years, Trussell has sent more than 2,400 of these books to the sick and the hurting.
Working with the Baptist Union of Bulgaria, Cedar Crest Baptist Church of West Monroe and Blackaby Ministries teamed up to put on a national conference for 127 Bulgarian pastors and leaders in Bulgaria. Among the group making the conference happen were (from left) Tom Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries, Cedar Crest Baptist Administrative Pastor Lynn Wilson, Richard Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries, Senior pastor Greg Clark, and Cedar Crest’s Mission Pastor David Moreland.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS – George Ross understands the God-sized task that is before him in the New Orleans area.

From 2013 to 2023, Southern Baptists have set a goal to plant 120 churches in a city where evangelicals comprise 11.6 percent of the 998,644 people who live there. The ratio of Southern Baptist churches for every resident in metro New Orleans is 1:8,011.

Those statistics are according to the North American Mission Board, where Ross serves as the agency’s SEND North America city coordinator for New Orleans.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

SHREVEPORT – Today, 75 percent of Southern Baptist churches in Louisiana are either plateaued or declining.

While this may look like grim news, hope is on the horizon with RESET: a Revitalization Conference, which is the theme of next month’s Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference. Organizers are hoping this conference will help those churches find encouragement and some solutions to grow.

By Philip Timothy, Managing Editor

ALEXANDRIA – A prayer, a phone call, a visit, or possibly better yet a greeting card are all powerful tools that can help lift the spirits of those who are sick and hurting, especially during the holiday season.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and happiness but for many, however, it can be a time of pain and despair.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

WEST MONROE – A Louisiana Baptist church has obtained the exclusive publishing rights to the Experiencing God book in the nation of Bulgaria.

And by doing so, Cedar Crest Baptist Church in West Monroe hopes this is just the beginning of many changed lives in this East European country.  

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

PINEVILLE – Sixteen men lined up at the Louisiana Pecan Festival recently, with one goal in mind – earning the title of World’s Fastest Redneck.

The path to earn the distinction included barrel and lawnmower racing, deer shooting, turkey bowling, eating a donut that was hanging from a twine and pole cat climbing.

At the end of the day, the winner took home a new Browning BPS Medallion 12 gauge pump shotgun by completing the course in the fastest time, 1 minute, 20 seconds.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

Each summer, Louisiana State University student Matt Branch normally works a job to earn money to help with expenses for the upcoming semester but not this year.

Branch joined seven other college students for the first-ever all-Louisiana Baptist Collegiate Ministry disaster relief team and in the process of doing so received one of his greatest blessings.

Special to the Baptist Message

ALEXANDRIA – Believe it or not, the year 2014 is almost over. 

If you are considering a gift to your church, other ministry or a favorite charity the IRS has published a few reminders for year-end gifts. 

The Louisiana Baptist Foundation would like to remind Louisiana Baptists  about six these IRS tips for year-end gifts to charity.

By Kelly Boggs, Message Editor

America’s slow slide toward secularism has been taking place for some time now. I would argue for at least three decades and the Christmas season has been a clear indicator of our country’s penchant for secular style over traditional substance.

The essence of Christmas, the reason for the season, is the birth of Jesus Christ, nothing more and nothing less. It is distinctly and exclusively a religious holiday – a time when Christians around the world commemorate the birth of their Savior, the very reason for their faith.

By Trey Graham, Pastor First Baptist Church in Melissa, Texas

In 1991, Andrew did what dozens of pastors and scholars only hoped to do. My friend Andrew, with no theological training or philosophical expertise, unwittingly but unmistakably showed me the true meaning of Christmas.

By Joe McKeever, Pastor, Author, Cartoonist

I’ve been to Bethlehem. It’s fairly indistinguishable from many other Judean towns, except for the Church of the Nativity built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.

Bethlehem is located on a ridge some 2500 feet above sea level, and five or six miles southwest of Jerusalem. Why, with all the grand locations in the world to choose from, did God choose for His Son to be born in Bethlehem? I can think of three good reasons.

TO FULFILL PROPHECY

By Jimmy Draper, President Emeritus LifeWay Christian Resources

Joseph, the husband of Mary, is the forgotten man of Christmas.

He never speaks a word in the biblical record. He is Joseph the silent. He ranks only slightly higher than an extra in the cast.

Although 15 U.S. cities are named for Joseph, he remains the forgotten man of the Christmas story.

But Joseph deserves more than that.

By Bob Nigh, Managing Editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention Baptist Messenger

“O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blatter! Du grunst nicht nur zur Sommer-zeit, nein auch in Winter, wenn es schenit.”

For those of you who don’t speak German, the English equivalent of the lyrics of this familiar Christmas carol basically say, “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how steadfast are your branches! Your boughs are green in summer’s clime, and through the snows of wintertime.”

By Eric Hankins, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.

For years, I have loved re-reading Dylan Thomas “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” during this time of the year. It opens with a line so evocative of my memories of Christmas: 

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

ALEXANDRIA – The Baptist Message board honored its outgoing editor while looking toward the future at its last board meeting of 2014.

Kelly Boggs, who became editor of the Baptist Message in January 2006, announced during the 2014 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting he was retiring from the position to become development director at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He graduated from the school in 1985.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

KENNER – Jennifer Nelson was 19 when she made the choice to abort her child.

Ten years later, as she was four months into her pregnancy and married, Nelson began to relive the decision she made as a teenager. Immediately, she fell to her knees, asking God’s forgiveness – and the beginning of healing through Christ.

By Julie Walters, WMU Communications

BIRMINGHAM – When Helen Henley, a member of Sunrise Baptist Church in Midland, Mich., heard Missionsfest would be in Toledo, Ohio, she “felt it was too close not to be a part.”

Henley was familiar with the city and the three-hour drive since her son had attended the University of Toledo in 2000–2004. He lived in downtown Toledo until 2007, just a few blocks away from her ministry assignment.

By Staff, Baptist Message

ON THE MOVE

Duane (wife Lisa) R. Moreno new as Pastor at Magnolia Baptist Church, Saline.

LAGNIAPPE

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, DeRidder: That Night in Bethlehem, a drive-through nativity experience, Dec. 19, 20 and 21 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Come drive through the streets of Bethlehem and observe what life was like when Jesus was born. Maximum height of vehicle entering Bethlehem is 9 feet. Pastor: Danny Wilson.