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Showing posts from June, 2010

2010 Vacation Bible School

Here's a summary of last week's Vacation Bible School. This article and photo appeared in today's edition of the Hi-Desert Star.

Children entering First Southern Baptist last week were greeted by a 12-foot barn, pine trees, western murals, and a life-size ranch fence. The words “Saddle Ridge Ranch” were emblazoned across the large archway, welcoming kids into the 2010 Vacation Bible School.

On June 21-25, the church hosted games, crafts, music, and a Bible story each morning for local children. Families were invited back Friday night at 6 pm for Family Fun Night. Over 120 people attended the free BBQ followed by a closing concert and awards ceremony.

“This was a very special year for us,” said Pastor Stephen Jones. “We had record-breaking attendance and were able to make many new friends in the community. Both the kids and their parents were so enthusiastic. We give all the glory to God.”

Throughout the week, boys and girls competed to see who could bring the most mission…

Resolved 2011 Discount

I didn't get to attend the 2010 Resolved Conference which finishes up today, but they're offering an incredible rate of $100 for early registrants to next year's conference. This discount expires tomorrow. I presume it's going to be in Palm Springs again, though I don't know this for sure. Here's the announcement:

Resolved 2011 will be held June 24-27, 2011. Act fast to lock in your 2011 registration at a promotional rate of $100 per person.  This promotion is only available from June 25th thru June 29th.

To register at this discounted price, you will be required to first create a Resolved account if you do not already have one. Each registrant must register individually as group registrations are not available during this promotion.

Theology to a beat

The 9Marks ministry announced this morning that they have teamed up with Lampmode Records to produce a new hip hop album called The Church: Called & Collected. This looks great. Here's a description from Lampmode:
We understand both the seemingly controversial nature of "the Church" (especially among the Hip hop contingent), and well as the biblical imperatives concerning the Church's importance. We are simply offering our contribution to the conversation fueled a 9 Marks' book, "What is a healthy church?", written by Mark Dever. 9 Marks is an organization that helps pastors think more biblically about the church through emphasizing key values that the bible ascribes to a healthy church. So along with the Lamp Mode family, we teamed up with Trip Lee, Tedashii, Flame, Evangel, and more, to bring the contents of "What is a healthy church" to the hip-hop community. This is our attempt at communicating that valuable information to, …

Bryant Wright, our new SBC president

The passing of the Great Commission Resurgence Report was undoubtedly the most newsworthy item last week in Orlando. But we can't overlook another important moment: the election of Bryant Wright as our next SBC president.

Ed Stetzer has written a great article explaining Bryant's positions and what his leadership might look like in the next year (or two, if re-elected for a second term). Here's an excerpt.
"Beyond GCR Structural Change / Focused on Spiritual Change” would have been the best way to describe Bryant Wright’s position.  Had he been leading the GCRTF, the changes would have been more radical.  He has called for a dramatic increase in funds going directly to the global field, has led his church to restructure its Cooperative Program funds to contribute directly to IMB projects, and he clearly communicated that the GCRTF report was a start, not the conclusion.You can read his whole article here. Personally, I am thankful for the diligent labor of Johnny…

Update from Ronnie Floyd

Here's an update from Ronnie Floyd, Chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. It will be very interesting to watch what transpires in the year ahead. Our prayers are no less needed now than they were in the past year.

We praise God that the Southern Baptist Convention adopted all seven recommendations of the GCR Task Force in an overwhelming manner.  With a 75-80% vote that affirmed these recommendations, Southern Baptists enter into an aggressive strategy to penetrate the lostness of North America and the world.  The hand of God led us through the challenges of the day that brought us to this defining moment.

God moving in response to the prayers of our faithful prayer partners for the past year is the reason for this incredible response from the Southern Baptist Convention.  The Spirit of God moved greatly among us and He was faithful to lead us through many challenges and over many obstacles.  Without question, the power of God was manifested among us ove…

GCR passes

As you've probably heard by now, the Southern Baptist Convention passed the Great Commission Resurgence Report late Tuesday afternoon in Orlando, Florida. Tom Ascol has a good summary of yestserday's dramatic and historic events. Here's an excerpt:
I am convinced that the kindness and goodwill of Dr. Hunt and others on the platform ultimately won the day for the report. When the final vote was taken, it was an overwhelming majority that voted to adopt the report. I would estimate at least a 70%-30% margin.I encourage you to read the whole thing here. And if you're still trying to figure out what the GCR report is all about, go check it out at 

Tomorrow, I'm going to the HolyLand Experience theme park with my host family. Should be a relaxing day after the past week's very demanding schedule. I'm bracing myself for the TBN influence. And having spent a semester in Israel, I know a theme park can't begin to compete. But I expect it will sti…

Second SBC open forum

On May 18, the officers of the California Southern Baptist Convention hosted our second open forum. It's taken me a while to get around to this, but I still wanted to give a recap and reflection before the big National Convention in Orlando next week.

The purpose of these open forums is to continue the discussion Walter Price initiated last fall in his thought-provoking president's address. There is no real agenda. We're just trying to learn why many young people are tuning out from the SBC. We are reevaluating our goals and methods of cooperating. And we are simply trying as officers to put a finger on the pulse of our state and ascertain people's perceptions of the status quo.

Our second meeting in Fresno was very well attended, due in part to the many state staff who were present. But I was also pleased to see a number of central valley pastors and associational staff there. Walter Price, Blake Withers, and myself facilitated the meeting as officers. Perhaps the m…

God's wisdom revealed

Last week's Q&A and the previous week's message on Baptism are now available on our podcast site.

After this short detour from our regular exposition, we're heading back to 1 Corinthians next Sunday. We're getting ready to launch into chapter three, and I think it would be helpful to give a quick summary and review of the previous chapter:

"Preaching With Power" (1 Cor. 2:1-5). God not only chose the "foolish" message of the cross to save us (1 Cor. 1:18), but He also chose a "foolish" method of delivering that message. Rather than using the clever rhetoric and slick packaging available in Paul's day, God deliberately chose preaching -- a completely counter-cultural method -- to communicate gospel truth. We saw that just as in Paul's day, our biblical preaching must be plain, Christ-centered, humble, and yet powerful. You can listen to this sermon here.

"God's Wisdom Revealed" (1 Cor. 2:6-13). If God's message a…

West Coast Missions Forum

Our Southern Baptist Cooperative Program is a brilliant way to fund missions, but the sheer size of the IMB and NAMB can make it difficult to know how a local church can get more involved. To help overcome some of these barriers, Immanuel Baptist Highland will be hosting a Missions Forum in September. This three-day forum would be a wonderful opportunity to learn more and network together. Here's the full news release...

We gladly embrace The Great Commission, but it is a challenge! To find help in meeting this challenge please join us for Missions Forum 2010 West at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, CA on September 20 – 22, 2010.

What is Missions Forum? Is for missions leaders whatever their title may be; pastor, missions pastor, minister of missions, lay missions leader, etc. Topics vital to missions ministry will be addressed. It is a time to share common challenges, victories, and to learn from one another. Missions Forum is a cooperative effort of Immanuel Baptist…

Need help with the California primary?

If you're like me, you've pretty much blocked out the sound of the phone ringing at dinner time due to all the automated political ads. That being said, we've got a very important primary election next Tuesday, June 8, and I believe it is our duty to research the candidates and participate in the political process. Where should we start?

After sorting through all the political mail I've collected over the past few weeks, I visited the California Family Council website. They have not produced an actual voter guide this year. However, they do summarize each state proposition and link to two helpful websites: and Robyn Nordell's California Election Website.

IVoteValues is a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. You can find your own local election guide by clicking here. It is still quite vague since the ERLC cannot endorse any political candidates, and it does not give much information regarding local el…

What the GCR means for California

Leading up to the final days before the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, the Pray4GCR team has been releasing a number of articles supporting the final Great Commission Resurgence Report.

These articles are now streaming in via blog and email on a daily basis, from authors all across the country. They remind me of the federalist papers written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay circulated over two hundred years earlier, which supported the ratification of our U.S. Constitution. Like our Constitution, the GCR is a significant break from the status quo, but one that is urgently necessary. Unlike our Constitution, the stakes are eternal.

Yesterday, California Southern Baptists were privileged to have our viewpoint represented by Walter Price, current president of the California Southern Baptist Convention. Here is his article in full, which gives one of the best endorsements of the GCR Recommendations I have heard yet. Thank you, Walter, for your thoughtful analysis.
Last June I sat in…

Kids worship CDs

Last week in our parenting class, I mentioned a couple great resources for children’s music. Here’s some more information:

1. Seeds Family Worship

Seeds Family Worship was planted when worship leader Jason Houser was asked to write some songs to help kids remember the verses from his church’s summer Bible school. Jason began writing songs and singing them for the kids and families at church. The songs were well-crafted, catchy, and taken straight from scripture. Families liked them. . . a lot.

From just a handful of songs, Seeds Family Worship was planted – providing God’s Word set to music for thousands of families all over the world. We are gladdened by stories of worship times at home, scripture memorized, and object lessons taught using Seeds songs. The fifth Seeds Family Worship album – The Power of Encouragement – has just released. In total, Seeds has grown to 58 portions of scripture set to music!

You can stream and sample some of the songs online for free. You can purchase thei…

A special event for Yucca Valley graduates

The following article appeared in today's Hi Desert Star. As a member of our local Pastors Fellowship, I have been honored to support and be part of this service the past few years.

Everyone is invited, and I encourage you to attend. This year, one of our own church families will be having a graduating senior. We are praying this will be a great opportunity to praise the Lord and honor our local graduates.
YUCCA VALLEY - Graduating seniors from Yucca Valley area high schools and their families are invited to attend  a baccalaureate ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Yucca Valley High School multipurpose room.

Graduates should arrive by 3:45 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Basin Wide Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship and organized by the 2010 Baccalaureate Committee.

The baccalaureate is a Christ-centered celebration to honor the graduating seniors and their hard work, commitment and accomplishments throughout their high school careers.

Dress is nice casual and a dessert reception…