ANOTHER VIEW: There'll always be a Christmas_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

There'll always be a Christmas

As one grows older, the valuables of life become more treasured. Friendships are rooted more deeply in the soil of human need. Homes are marked within and without with meaningful "hand-me-downs," pictures of the children and grandchildren, reminders of visits by joy-bringers, gracious serendipities that have added so much to the journey.

We would be hard-pressed to place pricetags on the presence of special individuals, who at trying times have felt voicemail was hardly sufficient. They knew that we needed broad shoulders to lean upon and how to adjust in the crowded world we live in.

BO Baker

There have been the constant pressures to downgrade our moral values; plus a mindset equipped to deal with the gray climate brought upon us by the terrorist who cannot have the priceless gift of peace, nor properly evaluate hope for international brothering.


DBU offers master's-level credit for participants at Epicenter conference_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

DBU offers master's-level credit for
participants at Epicenter conference

Dallas Baptist University is offering master's-level credit for participants in Epicenter, the Baptist General Convention of Texas' annual evangelism and missions conference.

DBU students in the Gary Cook Graduate School of Leadership and Christian Education can earn three hours of course credit for attending all Epicenter sessions, making reports and creating plans to implement ideas learned during the conference.

Students must enroll in the "Local Church on Mission" class and pay the standard DBU tuition. Matching grants for tuition assistance are available. Class assignments will be submitted online.


DOWN HOME: He's pathetic or just blessed_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

He's pathetic or just blessed

Every year about this time, I wind up in the same ol' doghouse. Or, considering the season, maybe it's the reindeer house.

That's because I never can come up with a Christmas wish-list of sufficient length to satisfy my wife.

"Marv," she said the other day. (Come to think of it, about the only time Joanna calls me by my name is when I'm in trouble.) "You haven't given me a single idea about what to get you for Christmas."


EDITORIAL: Avoid shepherds' temptation: Leaving baby in a manger_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

Avoid shepherds' temptation: Leaving baby in a manger

Whatever happened to the shepherds?

The Gospel of Luke describes how they became eyewitnesses to the birth of Jesus. The evening started like any other. They camped "out in the fields" of the Judean hillside, herding their flock. Then all heaven started breaking loose: An angel popped up, scaring them out of their sandals. Realizing their fear, the angel told them to calm down and announced that the long-awaited Messiah--"a Savior who is Christ the Lord"--had just been born in Bethlehem. As proof, the angel said, in effect: "If you don't believe me, go see for yourself. He's a baby, bundled up, bedded down in a feed trough." Next, they heard the best concert ever, sung by an angel choir that proclaimed glory to God and promised peace. And then, when the angels sang their last note, the shepherds ran to Bethlehem, where everything the first angel told them came true. They hovered over the manger, ogling the Baby, amazed that the angel described everything to a T. After that, of course, they hurried back to their sheep, all the while "glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."

That's it. The shepherds get 13 brief-but-beautiful verses in Luke 2. And then they pass off the scene as fast as fifth-grade "shepherds" sling off their bathrobes after a church Christmas pageant. We never hear from the shepherds again.


El Paso Baptists' 2004 church-starts nearly double previous year's number_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

El Paso Baptists' 2004 church-starts
nearly double previous year's number

EL PASO--Baptists in El Paso already held their annual church-planting banquet, but they've got room at the table for others who want to help them start churches.

They had plenty to celebrate at this year's banquet, reported Josué Valerio, director of missions for El Paso Baptist Association.

"In 2003, we started 16 churches, but by the end of this year, we will have started 30 churches in 2004," Valerio said. "This is a remarkable accomplishment for one association with limited ministry resources in an impoverished area. We thank God for this blessing."

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