Perspectives

In a recent breakfast meeting with Pastor Todd Wright of Midway Church in Villa Rica, our conversation turned to the importance of leaving a legacy for those who will come behind us. It was a meaningful discussion for many reasons, but I was reminded of the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 13:22: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (NKJV).

Recently, my wife, Carolyn and I were eating a sandwich for lunch in one of our favorite restaurants. We were quietly talking about a lot of things when suddenly my wife pointed out a little bug which was sitting on the window ledge.

More than 2 million people flocked to northern Italy in 2015 to take a rare glimpse at the Shroud of Turin, purportedly the burial cloth in which the crucified Christ was wrapped and which now bears His image. Around the same time, CNN featured the shroud in the first of several documentaries attempting to uncover the “historical Jesus” by examining such relics.

We are once again looking forward to our 2024 public affairs training events. Our theme for this year’s training will be the same as last year, "Living for Christ in the Public Square."

There have been serious debates as to whether preachers should include humorous quotes and illustrations in their sermons. Some parishioners want their preacher to be prim and proper and preach with a sense of earnestness and gravity.

Celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday is the highlight of the annual Christian calendar, and rightly so. I love the expectancy around the holiday. I am grateful that many unbelievers will don their brightest colors in order to attend a worship service at the local church in their town. I appreciate the enthusiasm and attention of believers who may not be as energized the 51 other Sundays of the year.

The young woodpecker left the nest and flew out to his first tree. He picked the tallest, straightest tree in the forest and started pecking away. Just as he began, a lightning bolt struck and split the tree in half, hurling the woodpecker to the ground.

This was my 17th year working at the Georgia Capitol on legislation dealing with social and moral issues. This year had the most issues I have ever dealt with. And there were a lot of ups and downs when it came to this kind of legislation. As Georgia Baptists, we were monitoring a lot of legislation through the two-year cycle that started in 2023.

Social media has the power to transmit ideas and information to those you minister to almost instantaneously, sometimes triggering a flood of opinions and reactions from the public. Whether you post an announcement about a schedule change, broadcast a debatable opinion or share results from an outreach activity, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of church social media to use it wisely.

Let’s be honest. Having patience as a leader doesn’t always come naturally. The pressures of creating, decision-making, and working with others can test the limits of our patience. Sometimes just the passion we have for the vision and mission of the ministry can cause us to move forward too quickly, alienating team members and damaging trust. We can easily become frustrated and overwhelmed.

Miners always filled the bottom of the lunch bucket with water so that if they were trapped underneath the ground, they would have water to live on for a couple days. And every night before my dad got on the elevator to ascend 200 feet to the top, he would throw out the water in his lunch bucket and fill it up with miner dollars, or pyrite disks. He wasn’t stealing. This was allowed by the coal mine.

Georgia Baptists have been monitoring up to 54 bills since this legislative cycle began in 2023. Now that we have made it past crossover day (the 28th day of the session) we are focusing on at least 19 bills. Our primary focus has been pro-life, religious liberty, gambling, child protection and alcohol bills.

Easter Sunday represents a pivotal moment for churches worldwide, celebrating Jesus’ resurrection and offering a unique opportunity for pastors to engage and inspire both congregants and visitors. The day is charged with excitement, presenting a prime occasion to extend invitations for a response to the gospel. Here are strategic steps to enhance your Easter service’s response time, ensuring your message of Christ’s resurrection and the hope it brings resonates deeply.

What happens to missionaries once they leave our churches? We should all be asking this question when we launch missionaries from our congregations. However, for too many churches, the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” rules the day. We still care about those we send. We probably pray for them, and, if their parents are in our churches, we get periodic updates. But eventually, the busyness of life and the pressing needs of our local community push out all thoughts of missionaries.

Serving as editor of The Christian Index has been a great privilege and a labor of love. Giving that up isn’t easy. I took the job three years ago with hopes of pumping new life into the nation’s oldest religious newspaper, now 202 years old. With that mission accomplished, it’s time for a new challenge. So, I’ll be leaving the Index at the end of March.

Commentary: We need Easter!

 In June of last year, physicians in Ecuador declared Bella Montoya dead, but as family members gathered for her wake, she suddenly showed signs of life as she rested in her coffin. Four months earlier, workers at a Long Island nursing home pronounced an 82-year-old woman dead, but three hours later, funeral home staff discovered she was still alive and breathing.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) SB180), authored by Sen. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) along with 25 senator sponsors, is running out of time! Next Thursday, March 28, at midnight, is the final day of the 2024 legislative session. The RFRA has strongly passed the Senate, but at this time it still has not even had a hearing in the House.

​A transformational pastor is supposed to influence, motivate, stimulate, and consider all their congregants individually. These pastoral leadership components are derived from the theory of transformational leadership, which was developed by Bernard A. Bass & Bruce J. Avolio in their book, Improving Organizational Effectiveness Through Transformational Leadership in 1994.

I recently made a wallpaper image for my phone, computer and external monitor. It reads: “Jesus is Lord. I am not.” I’m not bragging or super spiritual. I’m confessing. I need help focusing on the most important thing. I need a way marker.

With many churches now having worship online, how will your church empower volunteers to help you relationally address this platform? It seemed like a distant past nearly four years ago when many pastors used their phones, laptops, tablets, and anything else that could connect online for streaming services.

Forced pastoral exits are crippling thousands of churches every year, as these sobering statistics prove.

Not since 2016 have Georgia Baptist churches reported so many baptisms — more than 21,000 of them in the past year. And the good news is the number continues to grow as more congregations report. The baptism numbers represent a more than 30% increase over the past year and a more than 90% increase since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic had the state in its clutches.

State Representative Todd Jones said two years ago in a press conference that it is intellectually dishonest to talk about the benefits of gambling without talking about the detriments. Notably, Rep. Jones was the co-author of the mental health legislation that was passed in 2022.

Several years ago, NASA launched its unmanned rocket Antares that was tasked with bringing supplies to the International Space Station. Six seconds after take-off, Antares suffered a “catastrophic anomaly” and exploded. ​One early newscast suggested the rocket was veering off course and scientists on the ground destroyed it. That report proved inaccurate.

What is going to happen to Israel and where does Israel fit into God's plans? That question was asked in a recent Bible study as the war between Hamas and Israel continues to rage in Gaza while a rising tide of anti-Israelism has spread throughout much of the United States, Israel’s primary ally. My wife Joanna asks, “Has goodness been compromised to the point that evil values and behaviors are going to finally win?”

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