Baptist Press Archive

Friday, June 27, 2014

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  • Former thief finds forgiveness and new life as ordained pastor

    by Dana Williamson/The Baptist Messenger, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (BP) -- When George Aguilar broke into and vandalized a Baptist church, the last thing he expected to find was love and forgiveness. But that November night in 2004 changed the 20-year-old man's life forever.

    The Baptist Messenger
    That year, Aguilar, a native of El Salvador -- who at age 10 came to live with his father in the U.S. as a legal resident -- found himself without a place to live. He moved in with some young men in Tulsa who were involved in stealing items and converting them to cash.

    An impressionable young man who lost his job and needed to send money to help support his mother and younger brother back in El Salvador, Aguilar said he thought the only thing he could do under his circumstances was to steal.

    Aguilar and two other men robbed and vandalized 11 churches in the Broken Arrow/Tulsa, Okla., area during a span of four months. They took cameras, computer modems, guitars, amps and other electronic equipment. They damaged approximately $250,000 worth of church property. At First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, the men caused about $25,000 in damages to the building and trashed what they didn't take.

    The church had just completed a debt-free multi-purpose building that included the worship center.

    "All of us were angry that anyone would do that to a church," Pastor Nick Garland said. "It was especially painful for us because we had worked so long to see the completed structure so soon damaged senselessly. I wanted the person(s) caught who did that and wanted them punished."

    After the thieves were apprehended, Aguilar wrote a letter of apology to each of the churches he had vandalized.

    "His letter broke my heart," Garland said. "He conveyed a genuine repentant spirit and requested that he be forgiven. I felt ashamed that I had been quick to want to condemn him without knowing anything about him. When I read his letter, God moved my heart to show me how poorly I had responded to George's actions."

    Through the help of a police officer who was a member of the church, Aguilar was brought to Garland's office to meet with him.

    "When I walked in, he was seated at a conference table with his head in his hands," Garland said. "He impressed me with his demeanor and decorum."

    Garland said Aguilar stated in his letter that he did not think the pastor could forgive him, that the church could forgive him or that God could forgive him for what he had done.

    Garland began the conversation by asking Aguilar to look at him. Then the pastor asked the young man to forgive him for the harsh feelings he had against Aguilar without even knowing him. Read More

  • Court protects free speech of pro-lifers

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a unanimous and encouraging victory for the free-speech rights of peaceful pro-life advocates outside abortion clinics. Read More

  • Survey: Domestic violence rarely addressed

    by Bob Smietana, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- A new survey from LifeWay Research found most Protestant senior pastors say they know victims of domestic violence and believe stopping abuse is a pro-life issue. But, according to the study, those pastors seldom address domestic violence from the pulpit -- and less than half have been trained in how to help victims. Read More

  • Never too late for sexual purity, author says

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    HOUSTON (BP) -- Sexual purity isn't taught in the homes of many teens Leah Holder addresses through Going Higher Ministries, an outreach she founded to teach Bible-based sexual abstinence to singles. But the 25-year-old virgin believes it's never too late to learn. Read More

  • Panel: Diversity for the sake of Kingdom

    by Joni B. Hannigan, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    Photo by Bill Bangham
    BALTIMORE (BP) -- While economic woes have slowed the growing ethnic diversity at state levels in the Southern Baptist Convention, panelists at the Cooperative Program exhibit, held during the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore, discussed intentional efforts to include ethnics in Convention leadership. Read More

  • 2nd VIEW: Abortion protest buffer zone struck down

    by Gregory Tomlin, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    Image: iStock
    NASHVILLE (BP) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday (June 26) unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law which prohibited anti-abortion protests on public sidewalks within 35 feet of an abortion clinic or hospital. Read More

  • CALL TO PRAYER: Sweet hour of prayer

    by Ralph Tone, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    Former missionary Ralph Tone describes how a one-hour prayer vigil can energize and strengthen the health of a local church, undergirding efforts to impact the community with the Gospel. Read More

  • FIRST-PERSON: The faith of Patrick Henry

    by Kelly Boggs, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- On July 4 the United States will celebrate its 238th birthday. Dedicated secularists and some atheists continue to push the idea that a preponderance of America's founders were, at best, only nominally religious. Read More

  • 'Estrategia tarjeta amarilla' comparte a Cristo en el evento deportivo más grande del mundo

    Por Alan Brant, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    RÍO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Con 64 juegos de futbol disputados por 736 jugadores de 32 equipos en 12 ciudades, la Copa Mundial Brasil de la FIFA de un mes de duración es el evento deportivo más observado en el mundo.

    Además del billón de personas sintonizadas en todo el mundo, un estimado de 600.000 visitantes convergen en Río de Janeiro y en las otras 11 ciudades anfitrionas de Brasil para mirar y animar al equipo de su país. Otros visitantes, sin embargo, tienen otra meta en mente ---- compartir el mensaje de Jesucristo con aquellos que nunca han oído el evangelio.

    Un equipo de 11 estudiantes universitarios bautistas del sur y dos líderes de ministerio estudiantil viajaron a Río de Janeiro para la Copa del Mundo como parte de un esfuerzo de movilización estudiantil de la Junta de Misiones Internacionales para unirse a bautistas brasileños en el alcance durante el mundialmente famoso torneo de futbol. Los estudiantes, sus compañeros brasileños y algunos misioneros de IMB están pasando dos semanas testificando en comunidades alrededor de Río y evangelizando cerca del estadio Maracaná de la ciudad, donde decenas de miles de fanáticos asisten a los juegos de la Copa del Mundo dos veces a la semana durante la competencia del 12 de junio al 13 de julio.

    "Estrategia tarjeta amarilla"

    Después de llegar a Río, los estudiantes voluntarios pasaron tiempo aprendiendo sobre una técnica especializada de testificar desarrollada por la Junta de Misiones Bautistas Brasileñas. Diogo da Cunha Carvalho, coordinador de estrategias de evangelismo de los esfuerzos misioneros nacionales de los bautistas brasileños, ayudó a desarrollar la "Estrategia tarjeta amarilla" para que las iglesias brasileñas la usaran en la competencia regional de futbol en 2013.

    En futbol, explicó Carvalho, una tarjeta amarilla es mostrada por un árbitro como advertencia o amonestación a un jugador en relación a una conducta que lo podría llevar a expulsión del juego (representada por una tarjeta roja). Read More

  • Sena nombrado asesor de relaciones hispanas

    Por el personal, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- El por largo tiempo evangelista y líder Bob Sena ha sido nombrado asesor de relaciones hispanas del Comité Ejecutivo de la Convención Bautista del Sur, ha anunciado el presidente del Comité Ejecutivo, Frank S. Page. Read More

  • Estudiantes comparten de Cristo durante la Copa Mundial

    Por Alan Brant, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    Foto por Lina White/IMB
    RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- No había flashes o cámaras de televisión, solamente compañeros de equipo -- la mayoría niños de la mitad de su estatura y descalzos -- celebrando y rodeando a Dane Van Ryckeghem después de que ayudó a anotar un gol durante el partido. El alboroto del futbol soccer de la Copa Mundial no se comparaba con los jubilosos niños brasileños de los barrios aledaños que jugaban en contra de un equipo de visitantes de los EE UU sobre un empapado campo en las afueras de Rio de Janeiro. Read More

  • EDITORIAL: Una Esperanza Viva

    Por Mike Gonzales, posted Friday, June 27, 2014 (3 years ago)

    En este mundo hay muchísimas personas que viven sin esperanza o sin ningún propósito para sus vidas. La Palabra de Dios nos habla de una esperanza viva. 1 Pedro 1:3-4 dice --

    "Bendito el Dios y Padre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, que según su grande misericordia nos hizo renacer para una esperanza viva, por la resurrección de Jesucristo de los muertos, para una herencia incorruptible, incontaminada e inmarcesible, reservado en los cielos para vosotros."

    Si ponemos nuestra mirada totalm... Read More