Monday, December 17, 2012Download All Stories
Funerals begin in Connecticut, Obama cites Bible, vows action; Luter points to God's house
NEWTOWN, Conn. (BP) -- Funerals were held today (Dec. 17) for two of the 20 children shot to death last Friday in the presumed safety of a Newtown, Ct., elementary school."We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end."At nearby Southbury Baptist Church, pastor Bryan Sims met Monday with Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers drawn to the community to speed healing and offer salvation. The church is serving as a base for Southern Baptist responders. The leaders encouraged Southern Baptists to pray for Newtown and suggested financial donations be sent to the Baptist Convention of New England's Victim Relief Fund.
-- President Obama"... If revival is going to happen in our nation, it MUST start with the people of God."At Sunday's interfaith prayer vigil in Newtown, President Obama offered the assurance of 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1 in his remarks.
-- Fred Luter
"Scripture tells us: '... do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,'" President Obama said at the vigil, quoting from the passage. "'So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.'"
Friday in the town of 30,000, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at home, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults, before committing suicide.
Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter said the mass murder should be a wake-up call.
"What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School could happen at any school in America. No town, city or state in America is exempt from the demonic attacks of the enemy," Luter said. "As president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I would like to call on Southern Baptists across America to do three things in the aftermath of this tragedy in Newtown, Ct." -- to pray for spiritual revival; share their faith; and be "lights in a dark world" and "salt in a salt-less society."
"If revival is going to happen in America it is not going to happen because of who is in the White House, the governor's house, or the mayor's house; but revival will happen because of who is in God's house," said Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. "The Bible is very clear that if revival is going to happen in our nation, it MUST start with the people of God."
Like so many pastors across the nation, Sims preached on the tragedy in his Sunday (Dec. 16) sermon.
"I do trust that God will bring good out of this ... thing. For a God who created a universe out of nothing, nothing is impossible," Sims said.
Sims is keeping the congregation updated through the church's Facebook page, telling of three Mississippians trained in trauma ministry who were en route to the church.
"Along with [North American Mission Board disaster relief chaplaincy coordinator] Enio Aguero, they will use our church as a home base to coordinate efforts for ministry to Newtown and beyond," Sims wrote. "They will also help us develop a plan for the future ministry to the community." ... Read More
At Sandy Hook, chaplains pray, offer hope
NEWTOWN, Conn. (BP) -- While Enio Aguero has ministered to families of service personnel killed in action, only God's grace could prepare him to comfort those who lost their children in the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Read More
Huckabee answers, 'Where was God?'NEW YORK (BP) -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took to his Saturday show on Fox News to answer the question of where God was during Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct. Read More
Collegians trek to N.Y. to tackle hurricane survivors' mud-out needs during winter breakNEW YORK, N.Y. (BP) -- Southern Baptist college students are spending their winter breaks making homes livable again for residents spending Christmas in dwellings damaged by superstorm Sandy.About 325 students are working with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts through Jan. 22 on Staten Island and in other affected areas. At least 27 groups of students will gut homes, haul debris and minister while living in a tent village at Staten Island's Zion Lutheran Church. Read More
Religious freedom for military being negotiated by Senate-House conference committee
WASHINGTON (BP) -- A congressional conference committee is negotiating whether the federal government will protect the religious freedom of military chaplains and armed services members regarding homosexuality and same-sex "marriage." Read More
Christmas music enjoyed by 70% of AmericansNASHVILLE (BP) -- Christmas music is nearly inescapable every December and most Americans enjoy it.
According to a new LifeWay Research study, 70 percent of Americans enjoy hearing Christmas songs in December and 86 percent believe school choirs and bands should be allowed to perform religious Christmas music. Read More
'O Come, All Ye Faithful' atop LifeWay carols
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Every year, new Christmas songs are written and performed by popular artists from nearly every music genre, but inside churches, the classics still reign.
The most popular Christmas songs downloaded or sold through [URL= http://www.lifewayworship.com/]LifeWayWorship.com[/URL] are:
1. O Come, All Ye Faithful
2. Joy To The World! The Lord Is Come
3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
4. Angels We Have Heard On High
5. Christ Has Come
6. Silent Night,... Read More
Attorney: City laws against churches on rise
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Cities increasingly are viewing churches as a financial drain, writing laws that make it difficult -- and expensive -- for congregations to build new properties, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney said at a Conference on the Culture in Nashville.
Kevin Theriot, senior counsel with ADF, said churches "are beneficial to society" but that governments don't always see it that way.
"You would no more tax a church than you would tax a public park," Theriot said at the a... Read More
Stephen Mansfield: 're-engage the culture'
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Christian evangelicals have a prime chance to influence the culture for moral change in the face of declining cultural values, author Stephen Mansfield said at a Conference on the Culture in Nashville.
Mansfield offered hope and direction in reengaging a culture he described as "in the wrong arms," speaking on the role of faith in politics at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's annual Conference on the Culture in November.
"I'm no... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Mental health & the Newtown tragedy
Shannon Royce, president of ChosenFamilies.org, a nonprofit organization for families living with hidden disabilities, echoes a desperate mother's plea for a discussion of mental health struggles that can lead to tragic consequences such as those in Newtown, Ct. Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Rachel weeping for her children
Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. writes about how Christians should process and speak about the murders of children in Connecticut. Read More
BP Ledger, Dec. 17 edition
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger will not be published Dec. 24 or Dec. 31.
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
Open Doors USA
University of Mobile
Joni and Friends
North Korea: Christians Still Intensely Persecut... Read More