COUNSELOR PUTS ADVICE INTO PRACTICE

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Weslee Hill, right, in a happy moment with her mother, Susie Edwards, a longtime staff member of the Baptist and Reflector who died last March after a battle with cancer.

Weslee Hill, right, in a happy moment with her mother, Susie Edwards, a longtime staff member of the Baptist and Reflector who died last March after a battle with cancer.

MARTIN — Weslee Hill has counseled people through stressful times in their lives for the past 10 years as the counselor for Weakley County Baptist Association, based in Dresden. She is now putting into practice advice she has been giving to others for the past decade.

Hill has especially walked with despondent clients through holidays including Christmas.

The despondency quite often is dealing with the loss of a loved one, but it can involve a number of things including broken and fractured relationships, Hill said. [Read more…]

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HOW TO CHOOSE LIFE: ‘MAX THE DASH’

By Johnnie Godwin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

Johnnie Godwin

Johnnie Godwin

A friend of mine heard the only thing that matters between birth and death dates is the “dash.” So he challenged himself with a motto on his cell phone: namely, “Max the dash!” A baby named Lottie Moon was born on Dec. 12, 1840 and died Dec. 24, 1912 at age 72. But, oh, how she maxed the dash! You may not hear the SBC mission goal for 2015 in her name is $175 million. But that’s just money. Her dash was cause and effect! I’m writing about that.

Why? and How? Greats from Nietzsche to Frankl have said, “If a person has a ‘why,’ almost any ‘how’ will do.” Today, we look at chaotic effects over all the cosmos and ask, “Why?” Other than writing off all senselessness to sin, we don’t know why people do the evil they do. Cause and effect are elusive and puzzling. But for Lottie Moon, her ‘Why?’ was Christ; and her answer was yes — to give her life to follow her ‘Why?’ It was Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 9:23. [Read more…]

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BETHLEHEM EXPERIENCE DRAWS 987 PEOPLE

Baptist Association sees 10 people make commitments to Christ, 44 in three years

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Ramona Reardon of First Baptist Church, Whitley City, Ky., explains to visitors of the Bethlehem Experience the spices and herbs she is selling. With her is Gracie Cotton of New Haven Baptist Church, Oneida. — Photo by Connie Davis Bushey

Ramona Reardon of First Baptist Church, Whitley City, Ky., explains to visitors of the Bethlehem Experience the spices and herbs she is selling. With her is Gracie Cotton of New Haven Baptist Church, Oneida. — Photo by Connie Davis Bushey

WINFIELD — Just like a time traveler, one enters the stone-walled streets filled with residents of another time.

Cloaked women carry baskets of wares as robed men go about their business. Many are working at stalls and discussing their products. Roman soldiers stride among them, unsmiling. Soldiers also monitor the census takers and tax collectors.

A visitor from modern times, a young man, is called up to the census table where two Jewish men are working. The workers demand his papers and one comments that he will soon be of age to be a soldier. A Roman soldier interjects in an authoritative voice that the boy will be required to serve in the Roman military. The young man, with a shocked expression, quickly rejoins his group. [Read more…]

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WHERE IS JESUS? MINISTERS’ WIVES AND CHRISTMAS

By Donna Gaines
Member, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova

Donna Gaines

Donna Gaines

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And yet for those of us in ministry, it can be stressful, overly busy, and can leave us exhausted as we roll into a new year. How do we prepare for the season in such a way that it doesn’t leave us depleted? How do we prevent our schedules from crowding out the very One we are celebrating?

When our children were small there was a popular character in children’s books by the name of Waldo. It was always a challenge to find him. He was hidden in the midst of very “busy” pictures with a multitude of things taking place. I remember their excitement when with a squeal of delight they let us know they had located him! There he was, hidden in plain sight. [Read more…]

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PRAYING FOR A MIRACLE THIS CHRISTMAS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

More than two thousand years ago the God of the the universe performed a miracle that is unmatched.

He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem.

Webster’s Dictionary defines miracle as, “an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws and is hence thought to be due to supernatural causes, esp. to an act of God.” A virgin birth certainly classifies as a miracle, and of course, it happened during the time we now refer to as Christmas.

Miracles did not end with the birth of Jesus. During his short time on earth, Jesus performed several miracles, including bringing people back to life after they were presumed dead. [Read more…]

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NO PLACE LIKE CHURCH FOR THE HOLIDAYS: SURVEY

By Carol Pipes
LifeWay News Office

151216lifeway-christmas1NASHVILLE — Christmas is a great time to invite someone to church, according to a recent study by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. In a recent poll of 1,000 Americans, LifeWay Research found six out of 10 Americans typically attend church at Christmastime.

But among those who don’t attend church at Christmastime, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them.

“Regular churchgoers may assume the rest of America has already made up their mind not to attend church,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research. “In reality, many would welcome going to a Christmas service with someone they know.” [Read more…]

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ADVENT REDISCOVERED BY SOUTHERN BAPTISTS

Baptist Press

151212adventNASHVILLE (BP) — Late preaching professor Calvin Miller once quipped to Christianity Today that many Southern Baptist churches “probably could hardly spell Advent” in the early 1990s.

Not so anymore.

LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention has published Advent devotional books and includes tips for observing Advent in at least two holiday magazines this year. North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder newsjournal commends Advent to its readers, offering them a list of Advent resources. And Southern Baptist congregations across America light Advent candles weekly — many of them purchased from LifeWay.

So why the shift? [Read more…]

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DON’T LET A COFFEE CUP DIM HIS LIGHT

By Todd Brady
Todd Brady, Vice President for University Ministries, Union University, Jackson

Todd Brady

Todd Brady

Since Starbucks released its plain red 2015 holiday season cups, a social media storm has been brewing among two groups of Christians — those who find themselves offended and those who couldn’t care less. Starbucks has said that simplicity motivated their seasonal design while one news agency responded to their latest style of holiday cups by exclaiming, “War on Christmas: Starbucks Red Cups are Emblematic of the Christian Culture Cleansing of the West.”

Each year at the beginning of the Christmas season, Starbucks changes the color of their coffee cups from white to red (a genius marketing idea). After enjoying several Pumpkin Spice Lattes throughout the Thanksgiving season, I always look forward to drinking a Peppermint Mocha in a Christmas cup — complete with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls. [Read more…]

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AMERICAN GIRL, STARBUCKS PROMPT ‘BOYCOTT’ TALK

Baptist Press

151118sbux-amer-girlNASHVILLE — As retailers open the Christmas shopping season, One Million Moms is calling for a boycott of American Girl products and the parent company Mattel, because American Girl Magazine’s November/December cover features a gay couple and its four adoptive children. The morality watchdog group’s call comes even as various media outlets report that some Christians are opposed to the new Starbucks holiday cup, although no Christian group has been specifically identified as calling for a Starbucks boycott. Instead, Christians have decried news of a boycott of the coffee chain.

The American Girl controversy arose after the magazine featured a story about an 11-year-old girl and her two adoptive dads, whom she refers to as “Daddy” and “Dada.” The magazine could have spotlighted adoption with a family that promotes biblical values, One Million Moms said. [Read more…]

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