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Texas Baptist Voices

In Touch: September events approaching

Hello, Texas Baptists. I had a great Sunday a couple weeks ago at First Baptist Church of Mount Vernon in the morning and Bisbee Baptist Church that evening. I am thankful to both churches for their kind hospitality. It was a blessing to worship alongside them.

hardage david130David HardageMore recently, I spent a Sunday morning at First Baptist Church of Liberty. Thanks to Pastor Steve Bean and the rest of the church for allowing me to be there.

Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd will host Pray for the Nation on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s campus in Fort Worth Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. If you are in the area and available, I encourage you to attend.

The Boomer Wave is almost here! Catch the Boomer Wave, the national baby boomer conference, Sept. 4-5 at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Exciting breakout sessions and speakers are lined up, so I hope you make time to be there.

Join senior leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance for a lunch meeting Thursday, Sept. 4 from noon to 2 p.m. at Northwood Church in Keller. This organization represents more than 600 million evangelical Christians from around the world, and speaks as a trusted evangelical voice to media, the White House, other national governments and the United Nations. Please RSVP by Sept. 2 to attend.

Youth ministers and youth workers, mark your calendars: Conclave is Oct. 13-15. Conference descriptions have been posted online, and it looks like it is going to be a rewarding and impactful event you won’t want to miss! Early bird pricing ends at midnight Sept. 15, so register.

The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation had a wonderful donor luncheon at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. Thanks to all of the donors who were able to attend. We can’t do what we do without them, and we are grateful for their generosity.

texas baptist voices right120North Texas Giving Day is Sept. 18, and we are excited to participate in a big way. This online giving event is a great opportunity for you to show North Texas communities the love of Christ. This year, we have two initiatives focusing on education. We are raising funds to construct an outdoor classroom for the students of Truett Elementary School in Dallas. This area will be a fun, engaging space for children of Truett, many of whom come from underprivileged homes. We also are in the home stretch of fully funding the new Baptist Student Ministries building on the University of North Texas campus, and these students need your help to make it happen.

Be on the lookout for more information in the coming days on these projects, how to give and what you can do to join the movement. Be sure to follow @TexasBaptists on Facebook and Twitter or got to www.texasbaptists.org/ntgd for the latest updates.

David Hardage is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board.

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Texas Baptists ‘do good’ for people in need

Serving as director of missions of the Tri-Rivers Baptist Area and as executive director of the Bivocational/Small Church Association, I have had the privilege to explore ways churches can reach out and win the lost for Christ.

richard ray130Richard RayIt may come in the form of planning mission trips and outreach opportunities locally or abroad, or assisting in putting together a Vacation Bible School, daycare center or food pantry. Mission opportunities are vast and wide and make an impact for the kingdom of God. However, I am reminded of what God’s word says: “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the right of widows” (Isaiah 1:17).

We as a church and association of churches must come together in unison to do good. To do good is a learning process. And as with anything we learn, it must be done repeatedly. It is not enough to do good once or twice a year; we must do good every day.

I am so glad for organizations such as the Christian Life Commission, which seek justice by helping Texas Baptists, churches, communities and government leaders give voice to critical modern issues that are often overlooked or ignored by society.

We have such wonderful organizations that defend the orphans and support our aging, such as Baptist Child & Family Services, Buckner Children and Family Services, Children at Heart Ministries, South Texas Children’s Home Ministries, Baptist Community Services, Park Place Towers/Continental/Ware Memorial, Baptist Memorials Center, Valley Baptist Health Center and Buckner Retirement Services. I am so proud of how our Cooperative Program giving through our churches reaches beyond our church walls and impacts lives all across the world.

texas baptist voices right120However, God also called us to help the oppressed. It has been a blessing for our associational office to be a drop-off location for donations made to assist the Sacred Heart Relief Center in McAllen. This center ministers to those who have crossed the border to escape oppression. To witness our churches helping the oppressed in such an overwhelming way has touched my heart. When we help the oppressed, we are fulfilling God’s call on his church, and we are furthering the kingdom of God.

I am thankful to be a part of the Texas Baptist family as we together do more than we could ever do alone, and we do it all for the glory of our Lord, who has commanded us to do good. Let us as Texas Baptists and as associations of churches continue to meet the needs of others as God has instructed us and let us never stop learning to “do good.”

Remember, God has called you to serve, but God has not called you to serve alone. Let us be your advocate, your resource and your prayer partner as you fulfill your calling. Until next time, please visit our website www.bivocational.com.

Richard Ray is executive director of the Bivocational/Small Church Association and director of missions for the Tri-Rivers Baptist Area. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Down Home: Sundays, oxen and a peppercorn cannon

Down Home: Sundays, oxen and a peppercorn cannon

Sometimes, the most carefully devised plans blow up like a peppercorn cannon. At least that’s what happened the other Sunday afternoon.

2nd Opinion: Entertained by angels?

2nd Opinion: Entertained by angels?

When my friend told me his story of getting help from a mysterious stranger in a Honduran airport, I thought of a Bible verse.

Editorial: Let’s be sure to feed our hungry Texas neighbors

Editorial: Let’s be sure to feed our hungry Texas neighbors

More than 18 percent of Texans are food-insecure, meaning they do not have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food, according to the Texas Hunger Initiative. That’s what makes supporting your local food banks and church feeding pantries so important.

Letters: Work for justice at every level of society

Letters: Work for justice at every level of society

Thank you for your comments regarding the challenge we continue to face in America related to racism and injustice. You were on the mark, and you spoke a difficult truth clearly.

Guest Editorial: A few sanity-savers as school gets under way

Guest Editorial: A few sanity-savers as school gets under way

If not already, pretty soon, the sunscreen-shined SUV seats will be covered in permission slips, after-school snacks and random articles of clothing shucked en route to after-school activities.

Texas Baptist Voices

Jeff Johnson: Faithful economics & the Baptist Foundation of Texas

I majored in business in college and minored in economics. Yep, my university experience was sated with market shares, flow charts, interest rates, stocks and bonds.

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Workforce skills apply to ministry

I will never forget Labor Day, because I was born on Labor Day in 1965. As I look back over my soon-to-be 49 years of life, I realize I never have been unemployed for more than a week.

Dallas: A whole new world

Dallas: A whole new world

Student Missions Blog: During the last few weeks of preparation, people have told me working at a junior college is going to be different. “Ministry is going to be like nothing you have done before,” they said. “Expect a challenge.” Well, everyone was right.

2nd Opinion: Has humanity entered a new depth of degradation?

2nd Opinion: Has humanity entered a new depth of degradation?

Warfare never is pretty. Hatred and intolerance are nothing new, even in a land supposedly founded on tolerance and respect. “Man’s inhumanity to man” is a recurring theme in every age.

Editorial: Let’s do something about race in America

Editorial: Let’s do something about race in America

After Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election in 2008, I believed the worst of America’s racism had subsided. What a foolish thought.

Denton: Lending a hand and being the hands of Jesus

Denton: Lending a hand and being the hands of Jesus

Student Missions Blog: The school semester hasn’t even started yet at Texas Woman’s University, but my director and I have been busy preparing for the students to arrive.

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