by David Melton

I’m a history guy, not only by innate interest but by training, so I always cringe when a student here in Boston gives me the “I don’t like history” line.  Ugh.  I know they DO like history…they just don’t know it.  Everybody likes history.  If you bother to look at your pay stub to be sure they got your salary right, you are looking at a historical document.  Ever celebrate a birthday?  You are celebrating history!  Even if you try to remember what you wore two days ago, you are doing historical analysis.

Nothing proves that we are ALL historians to some degree better than the growing interest in ancestry.  The website searches, the DNA profiles, the nostalgic television shows…all of those and more address our desire (I would argue our “need”!) to understand where we come from – as a part of who we are.  A friend of mine had me rolling recently when he told me about his trial membership on an ancestry website.  He got back three of four generations only to find that the limbs on his family tree crossed awkwardly…two cousins turned out to be spouses!  My friend ended his search and canceled his membership immediately.

I find students and others who sometimes treat church history similarly.  A quick look can be confusing, even maddening, so we stop.  Bad move.  More and more we all agree that our physical health cannot be best understood without knowing our genetic history.  Why would we think our spiritual health would be otherwise?  Church history is rarely simple or tidy or embarrassment-free.  But it is our story.  And it is HIS story.  Our ancestry is what it is, mingled with dollops of grace.  You can’t “not like history.”

I recently attended David Lingo’s funeral. David served for many years as a missions professor at Baptist Bible College. Based upon the crowd and the testimonies shared, he was a huge influence for Christ. This stirred my heart as I realized the profound importance of those that serve here at BBC.

Alumni around the world tell of the impact and motivation they received from their college professore. Every year, BBC has been blessed by loving, helpful, interested and godly men and women that have dedicated their life to helping train a new generation.

It is my privilege to observe the effort, time, love and concern our professors have for their students. These godly men and women set an example with their lives and teach from experience. I love and appreciate them.

BBC is blessed. Not only are our professors committed believers, but so is our staff. The people that serve in offices and maintain facilities are able to share the things of the Lord and encourage our students. Those that shine the floors, fix the pipes and make sure the lights work are at BBC because this is their ministry. I am sure I have neglected to give them the great appreciation they all deserve.

I am blessed – we all are – to have such sacrificial servants that give their life to help educate and train these spiritually hungry and determined students.

Would you take just a moment and reflect on someone that made an impact on your life? If there was a professor, a staff member, or a local pastor that made an impact on your life, would you write a note about it and share it with us through email or Facebook?

I am so thankful for the great professors that poured their words and their very heart into me. I am thankful that this continues today. Please pray for BBC and for God to use this year in a great way.

In a life of over 55 years of ministry, one of the greatest lessons I have learned and one of the best pieces of advice I could ever give a church planter would be to just be yourself. Don’t be a copycat. Be you. No one is more vital to your ministry than you. It is you that God has called to do this ministry of church planting.

Do not try to copy another’s success. Don’t try to be something or somebody else. No one can be you except for you. It’s not the way they dress that makes them successful. It’s not the music they play that makes them successful. It’s not the way they put their hands in their pockets, the Levi’s they wear or the shirt and tie. It’s not their delivery, it’s not their method, it’s not their style, but it is them being themselves.

Discover who you are, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your passions. God’s calling on your life is more important than somebody else’s personality or method in your life.

Yes, study the success of others. Explore different approaches and styles, gather information, read and collect as much knowledge and wisdom as you possibly can from others, but be yourself. God has a designed a ministry for your life, for your talents, for your gifts, and for your vision. No one else can perform this vision and mission that God has given you but you.

Apart from integrity and loyalty, one of the greatest characteristics that people follow and admire is authenticity. Someone has well said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” Another has said, “You can spot a phony a mile away.” Just be you because no one else can.

It is estimated that nearly 50 million migrants currently reside in the USA. This diasporic population shift has prompted the government to be creative in addressing the various challenges that arise as these people transition to life in the United States. God has set before us an unprecedented mission opportunity to which we can ask, “What can we as Christians do to effectively reach these communities with the Gospel?”

God’s redemptive plan is for EVERY nation. He is now bringing the mission field to us. We need to respond by seizing the opportunity to prayerfully consider ways to reach these people living outside their native land. For years, our primary focus has been sending missionaries to reach the lost on the foreign field, yet we cannot neglect to also extend our scope to those in our own country. There is no difference between reaching out to the Vietnamese in Dallas, the Ethiopian in Washington D.C, or the Honduran in San Diego.

Hundreds of people groups in the world have no Gospel witness and many are scattered throughout our nation. In order to reach them, we must:

  • See the need,
  • Ask God to give us a desire to minister to them,
  • Develop a plan,
  • Equip our people,
  • Go out and meet them,
  • Learn about them,
  • And bring them to Jesus.

With the right attitude and an effective plan, God can use us to spread His Gospel among the people groups who find themselves far away from their familiar cultural influences. Imagine the possibilities of God calling those reached on US soils to take the Good News back to their home country. What an amazing opportunity churches have in reaching both an accessible mission field right here and sending a potential mission force into unreached places of our world. God is bringing them to us – is your church considering them?

As I think about the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church there are a few things that come to mind. First, that the Bible alone is our highest authority. Second, that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ and by the grace of God alone.

Growing up in the Philippines in a BBFI missionary family, I got to see first-hand the preaching of the Gospel to people immersed in religion and ritual. I observed the biblical truths that are often associated with the Reformation at work in people’s lives.

In those days, few people had Bibles. One challenge my parents encountered was the mindset the Bible was only to be read by priests, not ordinary people. It was amazing to watch someone who had never read the Bible begin to read it themselves. We witnessed the power of Scripture to bring light and understanding to many people.

When my wife’s father, Bob Hughes, realized that people did not have Bibles, he launched an ambitious project to print one million Bibles. His ministry was known as, “What does the Bible say?” The passion for the Word of God led to a vibrant and enduring church planting movement in the Philippines.

Religious rituals and good works were the accepted path to salvation. I will never forget watching three people literally nailed to a cross in what appeared to be a heroic act of penance and good works. Our message was clearly focused on the freeness of salvation because of the finished work of Christ and the grace of God. The simple truth of Ephesians 2:8-9 brought freedom and salvation to all who would receive it.

As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is celebrated, the world will revisit these important biblical truths. I am grateful to be a part of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International where these truths have been the foundation of our message since the beginning.

by Sharon Hoffman

When my daughters were young, it wasn’t unusual to find me poolside at a dear friend’s house during the summer months. One afternoon, Betty must have noticed the weariness on my face from her kitchen window. It wasn’t long until she appeared at my side with napkins, lemonade, and cookies. Betty listened as I poured out my heart about the weight of motherhood, being pulled in too many directions, and an overload of ministry responsibilities. [click to continue…]

by Carla Slayden

My husband and I have been blessed with four children, and are now enjoying being Grandma and Papa to 12 grandchildren. They range in age from 15 years to three months. As I reflect on my days of raising children, there are a few adjustments I would make. [click to continue…]

by Mary Herman

Investing is the best way to prepare for the future. This is true financially as well as spiritually. My parents taught us to pay God, pay ourselves (savings), and adjust our choices so we could live on the remainder. Those lessons have proved to be invaluable as life has unfolded, and especially as the retirement years grow closer. [click to continue…]

LIVING OUT YOUR CALLING TO THE FULLEST

by Karen Baird

Do you remember, as a child, being asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? If you were like me, many answers came to mind. As adults we’re asked, “If you could do anything what would it be? [click to continue…]

by Sheri Quidley

Saturday, August 31, 2014, began like any other day in our home. I got up early to have coffee and Jesus time. About an hour later, Scott came downstairs ready to head to the church for his normal weekend workday. But, as we stood in our kitchen talking, I could tell he was short of breath. “Do you feel ok? Why are you taking such shallow breaths?” I asked. [click to continue…]