By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Before it Hits the PressI am always amused when I read stories about people who get upset over the consequences of something they caused.

Most people probably have heard about the lawsuit McDonald’s faced years ago when a customer spilled coffee on herself. If I remember correctly, she won the case.

Just recently, a woman in Charlotte, N.C. claimed she suffered second degree burns after she spilled chili from Wendy’s on herself. [Read more…]



By Randy C. Davis
TBMB Executive Director

It’s right there in the red letters:  “That my joy may be in you …”

This is a statement of fact made by Jesus Himself, and yet I’ve encountered so many pastors who haven’t experienced joy in a long time. The man behind the pulpit carries both pastoral and personal burdens, and it can be overwhelming. What once was a thrill becomes drudgery, and one day, pastor, you realize you’ve lost your joy. I know the feeling. Been there.

While I was a pastor, I signed articles and letters with the salutation, “It is a joy to be your pastor.” Once, however, the slightest typo slipped through — a single letter — and communicated something completely different: “It is a job to be your pastor.” [Read more…]



By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

baseball-and-gloveA few years ago I was umpiring a high school baseball game in Nashville. The home team’s catcher was really good — strong arm, could hit with power. He had the tools to play college baseball and perhaps even professionally.

Between innings we engaged in a brief conversation and I asked where he was going to play college ball. His answer stunned me. He said he was done with baseball after high school. Even though he had God-given talent and ability, he basically was burned out on the game. [Read more…]



By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R

cross-silhouette-sunrisePassing a shop filled with Easter gifts, I noticed cuddly lambs, soft yellow chicks, and other baby animals in pastel shades. Nearby, the traditional Easter lilies filled the air with their distinct aromatic scent. Across the street, a bakery displayed hot-cross buns and pretzels focusing on the Easter season. And as a reminder of Jesus being raised from the dead in a glorified body, a beautiful butterfly fluttered above.

  These are only a few of the representations associated with Easter. Perhaps, as adults, we are familiar with these signs, but do our children know the reason for these symbols? Do they know the ancient roots going back to the death and resurrection of Jesus? Look at a few of the traditional symbols of Easter and what they represent:  [Read more…]



By Steve Gaines
SBC President & Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova

resurrection-of-christ-illustrationThe angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you’ ” (Matthew 28:5-7 NASB).

Springtime is here. Dogwoods and daffodils bloom as winter retreats and warmer days are welcomed. 

Across America, churches will soon be packed on Easter Sunday. 

Why? [Read more…]



Jason Allen
President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo.

cplogoThe Cooperative Program ought not be a sacred cow, but it is close to one for me. Begun by Southern Baptists nearly a century ago, it has proven to be a most effective and enduring way to support our collective ministry and missions work. I often visit with leaders of other evangelical denominations who are envious of the Cooperative Program. And they should be; there is nothing like it in American Protestantism.

I was reared in a Southern Baptist church, so I grew up with a general awareness of the Cooperative Program. But it was not until I sensed God’s call to ministry that I became fully aware — and fully appreciative — of the Cooperative Program. [Read more…]



By James Porch

James Porch

James Porch

My season of ministry with Phyllis Bates (18 years) was a continued learning experience. The “classroom settings” included day-by-day office agenda and hours of preparation for annual meetings and numerous committee meetings, accompanied by her ever present wisdom during the many occasions of interruptions. I cannot overplay Phyllis’s initiative of insight with a long view of how our decisions could influence and/or affect the future of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. [Read more…]



By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector singing-together-family

Johnnie Godwin has been writing a column for the Baptist and Reflector since 2003. I knew of  Johnnie long before he sent that first column to me for consideration but did not really know him. Over the course of time Johnnie has become a dear friend and mentor.

As I read through his column this week, he mentioned that he recently turned 80 years old. That triggered something in my mind and I realized that, besides Johnnie, there are at least three other people who have played a major role in my life who either have turned 80 this year or will in the next couple of months. There could be a few more that I’m not even aware of. [Read more…]



By Johnnie Godwin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

toddler-training-wheelsI’m not easily irked, nor am I easily jerked around. Yet, there are two types of ad questions that irritate my soul. One of those questions is this: “Will you outlive your money?” The other question asks, “Will you live to be 80?” Both questions are out to get you in one way or another. One may want your money or want to tell you how to invest it. The other question may deal with your lifestyle and telling you how to live to be 80. What irks me is that both questions deal with anxieties and answers that only God knows. The Bible teaches planning ahead but not worrying ahead.

The futility of worrying about life points. Scripture repeatedly points out the futility of anxiety about what is only temporary or has to end in death on earth. Read Matthew 6:33. The verse does not guarantee a free ride on what we need in life; rather, it deals with the anxiety factor in life and how God in Christ tells us to focus on priorities. “The kingdom of God” here basically means the will of God. Your monetary plans and your longevity plans are totally up to God and His will (see James 4:13-17). However, we are accountable to God for what we do and how we live within time. Hebrews 9:27 reads, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” More simply, get saved by grace through faith in Christ; or we suffer eternal punishment (John 3). Jesus underlined the importance of stewardship of our gifts in all of life. Matthew 25:14-30’s nutshell teaches that it is wickedness to do nothing with what we have. So life is God’s gift to us, and we’re responsible for what we do with it all the breathing days of life. [Read more…]



By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Before it Hits the PressIf there was any doubt what’s most important to Americans, legislators in North Carolina cleared it up.

On March 30 North Carolina legislators repealed House Bill 2, a law that required individuals in state buildings to use restrooms corresponding to the gender indicated on their birth certificates. See article.

Last year at this time people were praising the legislators for their courage in standing up for morality and Christian values. What a difference a year makes.

Legislators bowed to the pressure of the NCAA which had mandated the state overturn its restroom bill or lose the opportunity to host championship events in 2018-22. [Read more…]