René Maciel: Don't quit now!

Maciel: Don't quit now!

It is not a sprint. It is a journey, run with endurance. It is a race God has set before you.


Richard Ray: Every pastor needs an advocate

Every pastor needs the help of another who will provide assistance in his time of need. Simply put, every pastor needs help.

Person taking a selfie

René Maciel: Longing to find our selfies

Maybe we take these photos because we are searching for ourselves. We want others to take notice. Can you see me? Whatever the reason, it has become a popular phenomenon in our culture, maybe even an epidemic of a search for self.


In Touch: Churches, Congreso, golf, floods, BaptistWay, leadership

Kathleen and I had a great time at Blue Ridge Baptist Church near Marlin as the congregation celebrated its annual May Day. This annual singing has been going on since 1887. Thanks to Pastor Darin Davis for the invitation.

david hardage 130David HardageI also had a great time preaching at First Baptist Church in Denton. Pastor Jeff Williams was a gracious host. I enjoyed attending the groundbreaking ceremony for an adult conference center at Latham Springs Camp and the fund-raising banquet at the University of North Texas Baptist Student Ministry

I also had the privilege of attending Congreso, where more than 300 professions of faith in Jesus were made in just one night alone. Thanks to Joshua del Riscio for his great leadership and to our Great Commission Team, led by Delvin Atchison, and to everyone who had a part in this time of evangelism and discipleship.

texas baptist voices right120Our 2016 Texas Baptist Golf Classic was a great success. We had 262 golfers show up on a beautiful day to play at the Dallas Athletic Club. This tournament would not be possible without the help of all our sponsors. Funds raised will go to our Texas Baptist Counseling Services. Special thanks to our sponsors:

• Title: BCFS

• Platinum: Baptist Credit Union

• Gold: HighGround Advisors

• Silver: Dallas Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University, Truett Theological Seminary, Bruner Auto Family, Austin Baptist Association and Saville, Dodgen and Company

Thanks also to all our hole sponsors and to everyone who played! 

In recent days, spring floods affected a number of communities in Southeast Texas. Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery will be looking to assist with long-term recovery efforts in the area. You can support the work by donating to Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery at our website.

Faith > Fear is the newest Connect 360 Bible study from BaptistWay Press. This study explores the causes and consequences of fear and suggests remedies for defeating fear through faith in God and his word.

We are in the process of recruiting cohort No. 2 for Leadership Texas Baptists. The first cohort has been a great success for both us and the participants. The link to participate is now live and can be found on its website. Please share this with your networks, and let me know if you have a good candidate. The focus this time is 21- to 35-year-olds to strengthen up-and-coming leaders. 

Every June, Texas Baptists honor two individuals who have left a legacy and are continuing to leave one through their everyday lives. This year, we are pleased to present Sam W. Prestidge Jr., founder of Singing Men of Texas, and Tillie Burgin, founder of Mission Arlington, with Texas Baptist Legacy Awards. These outstanding individuals will be honored Sunday, June 5, at Independence Baptist Church near Brenham at 10 a.m., with a lunch to follow.  If you wish to attend the ceremony and lunch, contact Becky Brown at (214) 828-5301.

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


Ray: Don’t miss the 30th Small Church Conference

To those serving on the small-church mission field, I invite you and your church to attend two wonderful events on the campus of Dallas Baptist University July 15-16.

richard ray130Richard RayOn July 15, we invite pastor and their congregations to a banquet honoring Texas Baptist small churches and those called to serve on the small-church mission field. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a catered meal, followed by the gospel sounds of The Hubbards.

Our keynote speaker will be author Terry Caffey, who will share his story of the brutal Texas murders that destroyed his family and restored his faith, while shocking the nation. His story will encourage you and your church, while strengthening your faith in Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) will take on a completely new meaning in your life.

texas baptist voices right120On July 16, we invite pastors and their servant leaders to attend the 30th annual Texas Baptist Small Church Conference. You and your servant leaders will have the opportunity to be encouraged, engaged and educated in the following areas:

• “Biblical Interpretation of Both the Old and New Testament”

• “How to Reach Youth for Christ”

• “Sermon Preparation From Text to Sermon”

• “Certificate of Ministry Program”

• “Small Church/Big Worship”

• “Launching a Children’s Program in Your Church”

• “Minister’s Wife Engaged”

During the Saturday lunch, you will receive a cater meal along with entertainment by Christian humorist Lyndy Phillips, “Laugh with Lyndy.”

I encourage you to mark these dates on your calendar. You do not want to miss this special gathering of those who have been called to serve on the small-church mission field.

Registration is open. Click here to register and to view the complete conference schedule.

Free on-campus housing is available.

If you would like any additional promotional material, please contact us. We are here to serve you as you serve the Lord. Remember, the Lord has called you to serve, but he has not called you to serve alone. Visit our website for more information on how the Bivocational/Small Church Association can minister to and serve you. For more information, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Richard Ray is executive director of the Bivocational/Small Church Association and director of missions for Tri-Rivers Baptist Area.


Maciel: Mother provides example of God’s love

This year is moving along so fast. It seems like only yesterday that 2016 was beginning. Now it’s May! Where did those four months go?

rene maciel headshot130René MacielI have been extremely busy at work, attending convention meetings, teaching at my church, training for running events and trying to take care of my big yard. One addition to my calendar is preaching at different churches throughout our convention, which I thoroughly enjoy much more than taking care of my yard. I guess the year is moving fast because I am moving fast.

I thank God he made me a high-energy person, always on the go. I like being busy, but I also realize I really do take life and all God has given me for granted at times. There are also times God has to slow us down—to take some time, to enjoy the moments, to stop and smell the roses. And when we finally do take those moments to focus and be still and be quiet, then we understand he is watching over our every step, like a mother cares for us.

texas baptist voices right120The Apostle Paul gave us a wonderful picture of a mother who cares for her children. It’s an example of how we are to care for others, with tenderness and compassion. It’s a picture of God's care for us. He wrote these words: “Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

In spite of all of our busyness, God cares for us and watches over us. Even when we take life for granted and our lives are moving fast, he holds me and comforts me and reminds me I am his child. For me, he has shown his care and reminded me of his love by the incredible mother he gave me. She has shown me how to care for others, how to nurture and watch over them, how to hold them and feed them, how to listen and speak to them, and, most importantly, how to teach them about God's great love.

I can think of no greater way God has cared for me than with the mother he has given me. It was my mom who first took me to church. She was the one who brought the church into my life, and therefore opened my life to God and his care. Even as she is about to turn 92, she still wants to cook my favorite meal and cake when I go see her. She still is caring and still a constant reminder that even in my fast-paced life, God cares for me.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for your example of God's care for me.

René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and president of Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.


Mount Fuji, a "fall to grace" and a miracle

"As I prayed, I died. Those in the station covered my face and radioed down that I had passed away. However, God had another plan."


DBU’s Cook reflects on 28-year “sacred trust”

"All of us at Dallas Baptist University are so pleased to be a part of the Baptist family. Our trustees, faculty and staff are committed in the years ahead to serve our Lord faithfully alongside our Baptist brothers and sisters around the world."


HSU’s Hall reflects on three decades in Christian higher education

"I thank God for Texas Baptists and for the wonderful three decades of service (in Texas Baptist higher education) he has given me. "


Armes reflects on ministry in churches, education

"My dad said, 'Paul, if God calls you to a task, he has promised somehow to equip and empower you to accomplish that task—no matter how inadequate you may feel.' That word has given me comfort again and again, both as I have served as pastor of four Texas Baptist churches and as president to two Baptist General Convention of Texas educational institutions."


BGCT president: Be encouraged by churches

Be encouraged that there are many Texas Baptist churches living out the Great Commission and touching lives. They are speaking boldly by their actions and by their service. They represent the body of Christ. They are churches that have grown into a mature body, a unified body, a healthy body. They are churches where each part does its work.


Avoid ministerial burnout by resting in Christ

Give Christ your burdens and your stress, and you will find joy in the ministry, just the way Christ intended.


In Touch: Preaching, BSM, Welcome Pastor, music, [un]Apologetics, annual meeting, WMU, kids

God is working in ministries, events and congregations across Texas.


BGCT President: Together

We are missing something when we choose not to come together. We are busy and life is full, but God created us to be together.


BGCT president: Christ goes ahead of us

Now that we have celebrated a wonderful Holy Week, what does Christ expect us to do next?

rene maciel headshot130René MacielHe was crucified on the cross, buried and laid in the tomb for three days, and then he rose from the dead. Then the Scripture says, “He is not here; he has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you.”

It was a beautiful celebration. The weather was perfect, cool and comfortable. The worship service was diligently directed and thoughtful. And being around my family was a blessing. The whole day was a gift from God.

Now what? What is our next step? The Scriptures say the disciples went to Galilee to see him and meet with him, and he went ahead of them.

texas baptist voices right120The imperfect disciples, 11 of them, obeyed, and they saw him and worshipped him, and then Matthew 28:7 also says “some doubted.” Like me at times, they doubted it was him. They doubted his power. They doubted his existence. Maybe they doubted their own eyes.

This wasn’t the first time they doubted him. On the lake, they thought he was a ghost, and they doubted he could calm the waves. Peter doubted and began to sink. I have doubted him many times, and he still proves himself to be the risen One, and yet he still goes before me.

He goes before us, and he tells us like he told them even in spite of our doubting ­to go—go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey everything he commanded. Then the wonderful promise, “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Even in our doubting and imperfection, he has called us to be disciples, to be followers, and to go and make other followers. That is our next step: “Go”—an action word. We are called to move forward in the building of the church, and he goes before us. He is in front. He is with us. We have a mission, even in our doubt and struggles, even in our little faith, even when we become discouraged and feel like Christ is dead and in the tomb. He has risen, and he goes before us.

It is the body of believers that has been called to go and make disciples. I know many churches struggle and have lost their vision for Christ, but the church is his bride, and the church is the way he has called all nations to come and worship him.

The purpose of the Texas Baptist convention is to care and support the local church body—to strengthen and build, to plant and grow more churches, to go and make disciples. I ask you to continue to pray for our convention to move forward in supporting the body of Christ and that even in our imperfection and doubting, we will go to meet him and worship him.

What's next? It's time to go. He is going ahead of us.

René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.

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