Top stories

A God story: Tabernacle Baptist Church in Macon interprets for first deaf worshipper

MACON, Ga. – Melissa Wells, a certified sign language interpreter, was expecting a Deaf co-worker to show up at Tabernacle Baptist Church on a recent Sunday morning, so she  was prepared to sign the songs and sermon.
Mission Georgia initiative helping churches, parents minister to traumatized kids
MARIETTA, Ga. – Training church leaders and volunteers in how to help children and teens suffering from trauma has quickly become one of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s most popular ministries. Foster care mobilizer Tera Melber said more than 350 people have undergone the training being offered through Mission Georgia, a Mission Board initiative that seeks to help the state’s most vulnerable populations.
Eastside Baptist in Marietta takes a long look into the future
MARIETTA, GA – Corporations rarely cast a twenty-year vision and churches may never look that far ahead, but Dr. John Hull, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta is doing just that. A committee or task force is being formulated to do the groundwork to chart a course to make the church as effective and productive as possible in 2043. Pastor Hull has been urging the church to become a maximum church by emphasizing that Eastside exists for the purpose of connecting people to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
Coach Tommy Bowden tells Georgia pastors, politicians to stand strong for Christ
ATLANTA – Longtime college football coach Tommy Bowden challenged Georgia pastors and politicians on Thursday to always take bold stands for Christ despite the fallout they may face as a result. “You’re in a battle with Washington D.C,” he said. “You’re in a battle with Hollywood. You’re in a battle with print media. You’re in a battle with tele-media. You’re in a battle with social media. I mean, man, if you take a stand for Christ, it is tough.”
Northeast Georgia pastor Terry Meeks to retire 3 decades after starting church in funeral home
HARTWELL, Ga. – Pioneering church planter Terry Meeks is retiring more than 30 years after joining a group of Hartwell families to launch what would become one of northeast Georgia’s premier congregations. Meeks and the others started Cornerstone Baptist Church in the unlikeliest of places, a defunct funeral home, but it worked out beyond their wildest imaginations.
Marietta pastor and church planter is all about reaching neighbors and nations
MARIETTA – Brandon Nichols is a church planter who thinks like a missionary, has a heart of compassion, a deep sense of God’s calling upon his life, and his finger on the pulse of the moment. Nichols is pastor of Mercy Hill Church in Marietta, a work he started in 2016. He is a native of Warner Robins, and a graduate of the University of Georgia and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to the north side of Atlanta to plant a church, Nichols was the student pastor at Central Baptist Church in Warner Robins. He began giving some thought to planting a church in 2013, knowing that starting something new would not only require a spirit of adventure, but would likely be fraught with formidable challenges
Baptist Life

Youth Ministry Conclave helps student leaders navigate ministry challenges, call out the next generation to leadership

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Hundreds of Southern Baptist student ministry leaders came together in the Chattanooga Convention Center for the annual Youth Ministry Conclave to refocus, reset and recharge as they prepare to further their ministry to students across the nation. “Conclave is a partnership of multiple state conventions,” said Chris Trent, next gen catalyst for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. “Every year, it feels like worship is special because it provides that opportunity where leaders can be in the room, but they don’t have to worry about [leading] anything.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Eleanor Gorin, born on March 5, 1921, grew up in the first house built on Cherokee road in Louisville and received Christ after meeting Corrie Ten Boom, the famous Holocaust survivor. It was the late 1960s, in the middle of the Jesus movement, when Gorin says “the Holy Spirit jumped across the water,” all the way to the Isle of Bermuda, where she and her husband were living at the time. There, Gorin became involved in a seven-person prayer group of “hungry, thirsty, cultural Christians.”
ONTARIO, Calif. -- Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg spoke on the tension of maintaining pastoral integrity, while practicing forgiveness and restoration for leaders who engage in egregious behavior in the school’s first chapel service of the spring semester.  “When a pastor behaves in an unethical or immoral way,” Iorg said, “our response must be biblical, practical, balanced, and measured.”
DALLAS — GuideStone has released one of its most popular publications, the annual Ministers’ Tax Guide. The publications includes tax highlights includes information about annual contribution limits, standard business mileage rates, and key features from The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. It also provides  step-by-step filing instructions for ministers’ personal taxes and comprehensive examples and sample forms.
GHENT, Belgium--A big blue bear sits on a park bench, arm extended to the side as if inviting people to come and talk. Writing on the bench does just that, invites passersby to sit and talk because “Warme William listens.” While people sit and talk with the inanimate bear, an International Mission Board missionary parks a bicycle pushing a small cart, starts a generator and turns on an espresso machine. The missionary is also ready to listen. The big difference is that the missionary can actually hear, build a relationship and most importantly, introduce a loving Savior. The bear can’t do anything.
Georgia

Despite 'Cop City' protests, Atlanta moves forward with plan

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta-area officials reiterated Tuesday that they are moving forward with plans to construct a huge police and firefighter training center. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens held a news conference to announce that the city had signed a memorandum of understanding with DeKalb County to build the $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. He also said officials have pledged to enact certain environmental protections after consulting with a “community advisory committee.”

Banker tops Ralston widow in Georgia House race; Watson wins

ATLANTA (AP) — A north Georgia banker defeated the widow of late House Speaker David Ralston to win Ralston's old House seat in a Republican runoff Tuesday, while a Republican former House member cruised to victory in a state Senate seat in south Georgia. In other final, unofficial results from four legislative special elections, two Republicans will advance to a Feb. 28 runoff in a northeast Georgia House district, while a Republican was unopposed in winning a south Georgia House district.

Firefighters put out flaming breakfast at their own station

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The smoke was coming from inside the fire station. Firefighters in suburban Atlanta returned from a call Sunday to find their own breakfast was in flames. The Times of Gainesville reports that a Hall County fire crew accidentally left the stove on when they left the station to respond to a house fire on Sunday morning.

Voters to make choices in 4 vacant Georgia legislative seats

ATLANTA (AP) — Voters in three Georgia House districts and one state Senate district go to the polls Tuesday to fill vacant seats. Two contests will be decided Tuesday, while two contests with three or more candidates could go to Feb. 28 runoffs if no one wins a majority.
Nation

Police fatally shoot armed man in Target store in Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A man with an AR-15-style rifle and more than a dozen ammunition magazines opened fire inside a Target store in Omaha, sending panicked shoppers and employees scrambling for safety before he was fatally shot by police Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. No injuries were reported. The man in his 30s, who has not been identified, fired multiple rounds as he entered the store but it wasn’t clear if he fired at anyone, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said.

Prosecutors file charges in set shooting by Alec Baldwin

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist have been formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico movie set, according to court documents filed by prosecutors Tuesday. Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed the charging documents naming Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who supervised weapons on the set of the Western “Rust.”

Winter weather cancels flights, leads to death in Texas

DALLAS (AP) — Winter weather brought ice to a wide swath of the United States on Tuesday, causing the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights nationwide, bringing traffic to a standstill on an interstate through Arkansas and knocking out power to thousands of Texans. Numerous auto collisions were reported in Austin, Texas, with at least one fatality according to the Austin Fire Department. In Travis County, Texas, which includes Austin, police and sheriff’s deputies have been responding to new crashes about every three minutes since 8 a.m., according to the Austin-Travis County Traffic Report Page.

Police: 10 wounded in drive-by shooting in central Florida

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Ten people were injured during a drive-by shooting in a central Florida neighborhood, police said. Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor said during a news conference that two of the victims were critically injured Monday afternoon, while the wounds of the other eight victims weren't considered life-threatening. The victims were males between the ages of 20 and 35.
World

From the mission field: In Haiti, gangs take control as democracy withers

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Jimmy Cherizier zips through Haiti’s capital on the back of a motorcycle, flanked by young men wielding black and leopard print masks and automatic weapons. As the pack of bikes flies by graffiti reading “Mafia boss” in Creole, street vendors selling vegetables, meats and old clothes on the curb cast their eyes to the ground or peer curiously.

Death toll from Pakistan mosque suicide bombing rises to 74

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — The death toll from the previous day's suicide bombing at a mosque in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday jumped to 74 after rescuers retrieved 15 more bodies from the rubble, police and rescue officials said. Bilal Faizi, the chief rescue official, said they were still removing the rubble after the mosque's roof caved following the attack.

Russian shelling kills 5 in tough eastern Ukraine combat

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian shelling killed at least five people and wounded 13 others during the previous 24 hours, Ukrainian authorities said Monday, as the Kremlin’s and Kyiv’s forces remained locked in combat in eastern Ukraine ahead of renewed military pushes that are expected when the weather improves. The casualties included a woman who was killed and three others who were wounded by the Russian shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city in the country’s northeast, according to regional Gov. Oleh Syniyehubov.

Pakistan mosque suicide bomber kills 59, wounds over 150

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber struck a crowded mosque inside a police compound in Pakistan on Monday, causing the roof to collapse and killing at least 59 people and wounding more than 150 others, officials said. Most of the casualties were police officers. It was not clear how the bomber was able to slip into the walled compound, which houses the police headquarters in the northwestern city of Peshawar and is itself located in a high-security zone with other government buildings.
Perspectives
My dad did the grocery shopping for our family. For him, it was a social thing. He loved running into friends and visiting in the aisles. He must have influenced me. I do most of our grocery shopping and still go inside the store. No outside pickup for me. I do some of my best ministry inside when I run into church members, prospective members, and other friends.
For more than eight years the Georgia General Assembly has been dealing with the issue of expanding gambling in Georgia. Every year the proposed legislation has failed to pass out of the House and the Senate. This year, it is once again being discussed at the Capitol. I expect to hear a familiar argument, “Just let the people decide.” However, the people in one way have already “decided.” We are also hearing that there will be an attempt to go through the Georgia Lottery to legalize sports gambling. This means legislation would only be required to have a majority vote in both chambers, rather than a two-thirds majority with a constitutional amendment.
More than we’d like to admit, life changes and it never goes back to the way it was. Yet, if life were a coin, there would be two sides. There would be the side of “I don’t mind losing these things” and then there’s the other side of, “I wish I could go back to the way it was.” Maybe we just want things to be normal again. But there is no “normal again.” There is only what we can do now. It is what we can do now that leads us into a better future.
In my years as a published author, I have encountered countless people who talk about writing a book, yet few follow through. If you’re one of those dreamers who have a book in you, it’s time to buckle down, bite the bullet, and get the job done. Why?
On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that January 22 would be the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. January 22 is the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion-on-demand in the U.S. in 1973. This month marks the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which led to the deaths of over 60 million preborn children in the United States alone. But this year, on the National Sanctity of Human Life Day we will be celebrating last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on a Sunday. This will be the first time in 50 years.
Business

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing bids farewell to an icon on Tuesday: It’s delivering its final 747 jumbo jet. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA's space shuttles, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft. It revolutionized travel, connecting international cities that had never before had direct routes and helping democratize passenger flight.

Carrier Emirates test flies Boeing 777 on sustainable fuel

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Long-haul carrier Emirates successfully flew a Boeing 777 on a test flight Monday with one engine entirely powered by so-called sustainable aviation fuel. This comes as carriers worldwide try to lessen their carbon footprint. Flight No. EK2646 flew for just under an hour over the coastline of the United Arab Emirates, after taking off from Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, and heading out into the Persian Gulf before circling back to land. The fuel powered one of the Boeings two General Electric Co. engines, with the other running on conventional jet fuel for safety.

US inflation and consumer spending cooled in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge eased further in December, and consumer spending fell — the latest evidence that the Fed's series of interest rate hikes are slowing the economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 5.5% year-over-year increase in November. It was the third straight drop.

AmazonSmile's end is alarming, say nonprofits that benefited

Amazon's surprise decision to shut down its AmazonSmile donation program has left thousands of its nonprofit beneficiaries disappointed and concerned about finding ways to replace the funding. The e-commerce giant had launched AmazonSmile in 2013, contributing 0.5% of every purchase made by participating customers to the charity of their choosing. As of 2022, the company said it has donated $449 million to various charities. Before it ends the program next month, Amazon says, it will provide a final donation to each of the 1 million-plus nonprofits that used AmazonSmile, equivalent to 25% of what the charity received from the program in 2022.

Norfolk Southern profit up 4% as rates, performance improve

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern railroad delivered 4% more fourth-quarter profit even though the number of shipments it hauled dipped slightly because it collected more surcharges for higher fuel prices and raised the rates it charges. The Atlanta-based railroad reported fourth-quarter profit of $790 million, or $3.42 per share even though volume was down 1%. That’s up from $760 million, or $3.12 per share, a year earlier.
Sports

Falcons hire Gray from Packers as assistant head coach for defense

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith continued to reshape his defensive staff by hiring Jerry Gray as the assistant head coach for defense on Tuesday. Gray, 60, brings 26 years of NFL coaching experience to Atlanta, including eight as a defensive coordinator and 16 as a defensive backs coach. In those 24 years as a coordinator or defensive backs coach, his defenses have ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense 10 times and in passing defense 13 times.

Brother vs brother: Kelces prepare for Super Bowl showdown

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donna Kelce is going to have to pull out that now-familiar custom jersey — the one with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce's front stitched to Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce's back — one more time this season. At least this time, she'll get to see her boys in person.

Braves pitcher O'Day retires following 15 seasons for 6 major league teams

ATLANTA (AP) — Right-hander Darren O'Day, who posted a 4.15 ERA in 28 games with the Atlanta Braves in 2022, announced Monday he is retiring after 15 seasons for six teams in the major leagues. O'Day said on his Twitter account “it's finally time to hang 'em up.” “The mental, physical and time demands have finally outweighed my love for the game,” O'Day said.

Georgia finding new hope in Southeastern Conference under first-year coach White

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Mike White is making an impact in his first season as Georgia's coach. After five consecutive losing seasons in Southeastern Conference games, the Bulldogs are 14-7 and 4-4 in the league under White. Georgia has made its way to the middle of the conference standings by beating three of the four teams tied for last place. The good news for White is the Bulldogs no longer rank as one of the bottom teams, one year after finishing 1-17 in the conference.