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In 1980, two years after Charlotte and I got married, I started my MDiv program at one of our sister seminaries. I remember our excitement in those days. Even though we were poor (like most seminary students) and did not know how the Lord intended to use us for his mission, we were passionate to serve him. That is why I chose the MDiv program.

When the centuries-old church was written off by the Diocese of London, God provided a miracle from unlikely places. Once again proving God, and God alone, has the final word in the affairs of mankind and His church. It was a beautiful bright Sunday afternoon in London in the fall of 2019, a few months before the pandemic shuttered the cities of the world. The morning was spent attending church, the London museum, and several other points of historical interest in the area around St. Paul’s Cathedral. Realizing there was extra time before meeting up with my traveling companion, another history nerd, later in the day, I decided to walk the mile and a half down Fleet and Strand Streets to Trafalgar Square.

On January 9 the Georgia General Assembly will convene for its 2023 legislative session. This year is set to begin what will be the first of a two-year legislative cycle. Therefore, new legislation will be introduced to the Georgia General Assembly. It is not uncommon that over a two-year period, Georgia Baptists will monitor anywhere from 25 to 30 pieces of legislation, covering approximately 18 or more subject headings.

Georgia Baptists pull together through Mission Georgia to share the gospel with some of the state's most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people. Fueled by the generous giving of Georgia Baptists, Mission Georgia provided nearly $392,000 in 2022 to ministries that provide direct care to children, mothers-to-be, victims of human trafficking and international refugees.

Commentary: Prayer makes a difference

Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, wrote, “The greatest undiscovered area in the resources of God is the place of prayer . . . at the judgement seat, the most embarrassing thing the believer will face will be the smallness of his praying.” The Bible tells us prayer is important. God calls us to pray (Jeremiah 33:3). We also know prayer makes a difference in our lives and impacts the lives of others (James 5:16).

Bells clanging, bodies burning, smoke rising — I’ll never forget my first experience of the Aarti along the banks of the Ganges. People were passionately worshiping. Not the Most High God, but the goddess of the Ganges River. Every year hundreds of thousands of worshipers make the pilgrimage from around the world to Varanasi. Every night thousands gather along those banks and in small boats on the river to experience this unique and well-choreographed worship service.

DULUTH, Ga. – Georgia lawmakers will see a renewed effort from the state’s largest religious group to protect biblical definitions of gender and to oppose efforts to expand gambling when they convene next month in Atlanta for the start of the 2023 legislative session. Messengers to the 1.4 million-member Georgia Baptist Convention approved a series of resolution last month, including one that reiterates their opposition to allowing male athletes to compete as females in sporting events.

The Georgia Baptist Pastors Day at the State Capitol will take place Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. Combining the annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast and Pastors’ Day into one helped make last year’s event such a success. Because of that, this year’s event, hosted by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Public Affairs department, will once again combine the two. We encourage you to join us at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and to hear from legislators, public policy experts and activists.

“Will you make the first and most expensive Christmas gift this year a gift to our Global Missions Offering?” Sitting in the sanctuary of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston Salem, North Carolina, on the first Sunday of December, I heard Pastor Will Toburen ask that question of his congregation.

Most people no longer get a tax deduction when they donate to charity. That shouldn’t keep you from making donations, but you may want to change your approach. Typically, only taxpayers who itemize deductions can write off charitable contributions.

America’s largest Christmas tree is no longer found at Rockefeller Center in New York City. America’s tallest Christmas tree now resides in Enid, Oklahoma, standing at 140 feet, 75 percent taller than the Rockefeller Center tree. Last year’s tree, dubbed the “Christ Tree,” was ringed with 20,000 multi-colored LED lights, decorated with 10,000 ornaments, and circled with 12 smaller trees.

Georgia’s largest religious organization is still growing both numerically and ethnically. In November, 17 new congregations joined the Georgia Baptist Convention, which has some 1.4 million members in about 3,600 churches.

The ruling that overturned Georgia’s heartbeat law on Tuesday risks the lives of countless unborn babies whose best hope at this point is that the attorney general’s office prevails on appeal.

As we think about all elections, we need to remember that it is imperative that Christians vote and be engaged in this process. It’s one of the most basic rights that we have as Americans and one of the great responsibilities we have as followers of Christ.

Count your blessings, and not just once a year

It’s always something. Last year supply chain issues caused a turkey shortage. This year bird flu (Avian Influenza) is running rampant and impacting chicken, eggs, and turkeys as our Thanksgiving dinner approaches. Hormel tells us to expect a turkey shortage of at least 20 percent, which will drive up turkey prices.

Once again people can get a close-up look at the Christmas decorations at the Georgia state Capitol during a series of Christmas prayer tours which are scheduled starting December 7th. We welcome you to join us! Our prayer tours are designed to give participants the opportunity to be informed about what happens at the Capitol and to pray for those who are making public policy decisions.

International Baptist Church of Debrecen, a collaborative effort church plant between International Mission Board missionaries Gary and Carolyn Miller, national believers and other Christian workers, has grown to reach 50 people each week. In this international city, the church focuses on college students and young adults who come to Debrecen to make their home while studying.

One of the easiest things to find for many people is fault.  There’s always a critic.  In fact, criticism is the one thing many believe is more blessed to give than to receive.

In Bible times, the name was more than a label, but was given to communicate character or designate mission. When the angel told Mary she would bear a son and call his name Jesus (Luke 1:31), he told her how great Jesus would be. Philippians 2:9 says His name is a name above every name, the most important name in all the earth.

Only a few decades ago, the Bugkalot people were one of the fiercest tribes in the Philippines, known for beheading their enemies. No outsider who contacted the tribe survived, and the people around them lived terrified of them. Then, in the 1950s, the gospel slowly took root in the tribe after some of the leaders met believers and came to faith.

NAKURU, Kenya – If you are looking for an example of humility, you can find it in Pastor David Mwangi. He was the Provincial Education Officer for the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and the pastor of the African Inland Church in Nakuru, perhaps the most prestigious church in Kenya where the second president of the nation was often in attendance.

Commentary: Getting beyond the storm

Hurricane Ian, the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the U.S., made landfall September 28 with sustained winds of 150 mph, almost category 5 status. Over a hundred people died, over one thousand were …

The Christian Index has had nearly a quarter of a million people log in to read articles so far this year. Google analytics track that for us, and I’m encouraged by the trends that suggest the nation’s oldest religious newspaper remains relevant to our Georgia Baptist community. Newspapers across the country have been in decline for several decades. Subscriptions and advertising have been in free fall, and industry executives have been at a loss as to what do about it. We’ve taken a number of steps to ensure the Index remains strong.

As Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close, it seems fitting to reflect on some of the victories and opportunities we have seen in terms of reaching the lost among the Hispanic communities, both inside and outside the U.S.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. – In God’s remarkable plan of creation He made man in his own image. Every person has the privilege of daily writing a new chapter of his/her life on beautiful parchment pages provided by God. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where sin abounds. Consequently, our lives are scarred by sin, failure, guilt, heartache, disappointment, pain, sorrow, loss, and death; and as we daily write the chapters of our lives, the pages are often tattered and torn by those experiences that cause us to stumble and fail.

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