Child Abuse Prevention Month

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April is designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time when our nation turns its attention to the scourge of child abuse.

You probably know the statistics. Every year in our country, more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children. On average, 4 to 7 children die every day because of abuse and neglect. On any given day, there are well over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. Given the number of kids in and out of the system over the course of a year, the number of children who require protection from the state is even higher. For example, in 2015, over 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care.

What does any of that have to do with you and me?

The psalmist wrote, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3)

Mark records that Jesus “took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me’” (Mark 9:36).

Matthew quotes Jesus as saying about children who were in his presence, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

As Kentucky Baptists seek to live out the teachings of Scripture, we recognize that we have an obligation to acknowledge, welcome, and do all we can to protect children, especially those who are vulnerable or have already been victimized. One of the ways we meet that obligation is through our financial support of the ministry of our Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, known today as Sunrise Children’s Services. Every church giving through the Cooperative Program and/or through the special Thanksgiving Offering supports Sunrise.

What more can we do?

  • Raising our awareness to signs of abuse and neglect and being proactive about reporting anything that looks suspicious is a good place to start.
  • With 8,700 victimized kids in the state system in Kentucky, let’s consider adopting a child or training to be a foster parent.
  • Most of us could provide respite care for a foster family, which means you keep a child overnight or over the weekend.
  • Any of us could become a mentor and visit a girl or boy who lives in an institution without anyone in their lives who ever interacts with them except those who are paid to do so.
  • We could serve as a CASA volunteer—a “Court Appointed Special Advocate” who has volunteered to be assigned to kids in the court system to help them navigate the bureaucracy and trauma.
  • Maybe you could start an orphan care ministry in your church.

These are just some of the many ways we can help protect at risk children and seek to heal the hurts of those who have become victims. In light of James 1:27, might the Lord find us striving to practice pure religion before Him!

 

 

 

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KY Baptists needed to help bring ‘Hope for the Mountains’

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I wanted to personally let you know about an amazing opportunity to impact the Appalachian region for Christ through what we’re calling the Hope for the Mountains crusade, which we’ve scheduled in conjunction with the KBC annual meeting in November.

Hope for the Mountains is set for Nov. 11 at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. For it to be a success, we need your help. First, we need you to pray, asking God’s blessing on this initiative. Second, we need you and your church to get involved as counselors, ushers, and greeters for the service.

Evangelist Jon Reed from Dacula, Georgia, will be preach that evening. And the Jason Lovins Band will provide the music.

Jon Reed will be in the state in May to provide training for volunteers. I encourage you to RSVP for the training at www.kybaptist.org/hope.

Dates and locations for are:

MAY 14 1:00-2:30 pm Local Time
Texas Roadhouse (meeting room)
501 Winchester Ave in Ashland

MAY 14 6:00-7:30 pm Local Time
Peking Chinese Restaurant (meeting room)
Glyn view Plaza, Glynview Plaza in Prestonsburg

MAY 15 8:00-9:30 am Local Time
Airport Gardens Baptist Church
32 Sumac Avenue in Hazard

MAY 15 11:00-12:30 pm Local Time
Peking Chinese Restaurant (meeting room)
Coal Run Village, 4533 N Mayo Trail in Pikeville

KBC will provide free meals for those who attend one of these meetings.

If you don’t live in the region, you can still volunteer to serve in a host of ways during the crusade. Please reach out to Todd Gray ([email protected]) or Andy McDonald ([email protected]) to learn about ways you and/or your church can support this effort. Hope for the Mountains is a tremendous opportunity for Kentucky Baptists to come alongside our sister churches in the mountains to encourage and bless them in their work.

We hope to see you there!

Posted in Annual Meeting, Evangelism, Leader Training | Leave a comment

A Greeting from KBC President Charles Frazier

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On November 14, 2017, I was elected to be President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. I am honored to be able to serve Kentucky Baptists in this capacity. In the past few months I have been able to meet with numerous pastors from Paducah to Pikeville. It has also been educational for me to attend KBC committee meetings in Louisville.

I am very excited about our upcoming annual meeting in Pikeville on November 13.  On the Sunday night before Convention, we will have an evangelistic crusade called, ‘Hope for the Mountains.’  We will need 200 pastors to be Decision Time counselors for we are asking and expecting the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way.  We are praying that we will have 3500 in attendance on that Sunday evening.

Our Lord said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NJKV). Jesus preached timeless messages and was sympathetic for those whom he met. On multiple occasions, he taught his disciples the important role of servanthood as a leader. We are blessed to have many wonderful servants of Jesus and of his churches as pastors in our state. Following the example of our Savior, I desire to serve those pastors and all Kentucky Baptists during my time as KBC president. God has placed me in this position for such a time as this.

I once heard John Maxwell bring a message at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. He quoted the adage, “People do not care what you know until they know how much you care.”  Serving as a pastor for over 25 years, God has taught me the truth of those words and the value of caring for those to whom God has called me to minister. I care about the 2,400 churches and 750,000 Kentucky Baptists.

If you have social media, friend me on Facebook so we can connect as fellow Kentucky Baptists.  I can also be found on Twitter at @cookingpastor. Social media is a good tool for pastors to keep up to date and a tool that I have used. Connecting on social media will also provide me the opportunity to pray for you as you labor for the Lord.

I have one prayer request for you. I serve as pastor at Zion’s Cause Baptist Church in Marshall County where the high school shooting occurred on January 23rd.  Please continue to remember our community. Pray that our Kentucky Baptist churches and pastors can continue to minister in this difficult situation. The road to healing will be long and difficult. We trust in the Lord that healing will come.

Blessings,

Charles Frazier, D.Min.

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A Prayer for the International Mission Board

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The International Mission Board is celebrated by Southern Baptists as the largest overseas missionary sending organization in the history of evangelicalism. As they leave everything familiar behind and set out to share the gospel among the nations, IMB missionaries are our denominational heroes. And rightly so. The risks and sacrifices faced by these faithful souls have often proved to be ultimate, with many of our beloved missionaries becoming martyrs for our Lord.

To support the work of these soldiers for Christ, Southern Baptists sacrificially give more than $200 million each year through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the IMB’s portion of the Cooperative Program. Individual SBC churches, associations, and state conventions provide additional resources to the IMB through special overseas partnerships and projects, as well as promotional efforts, to ensure that our missionaries have what they need to fulfill their mission. In addition to financial resources, Southern Baptists spend countless hours in prayer for our missionaries, their work, and the indigenous believers and churches who labor alongside them to make disciples.

Last week, David Platt announced his plans to leave the presidency of the IMB and again commit himself to the pastorate. Platt, who has served just over 3 years in the role, followed Tom Elliff, whose tenure as president was roughly the same. With such an enduring and significant investment, Southern Baptists have much at stake in the ongoing transitions of the IMB. While new strategies and structures hold much promise, the loss of an executive leader leaves no one to shepherd the lengthy process of transitioning a huge, international organization. As the IMB trustees begin searching for a fourth president in less than a decade, tenured missionaries with whom I have spoken are trying not to be discouraged but wondering what the future holds.

Kentucky Baptists love and believe in the IMB. And we thank God for the way He has used giving and going Southern Baptists from across the nation to shine the light of Christ to the ends of the earth. Let’s pray for God’s hand to guide our IMB trustees as they do their work, asking specifically that what Luke observed of the work of the early church would be true of the work of the IMB and of Southern Baptists today. Luke writes:

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:32-33).

 

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Pastors: They are there in good times and bad

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We waited and waited. For hours. Hundreds of families were packed into the middle school cafeteria hoping to hear the name of their teenager called, anxious to see them and know they were okay. Besides those families, the first responders and school staff were there. And one other group was welcomed into North Marshall Middle School on Tuesday: the pastors.

A sleepy farming community had been jolted awake by sirens, frantic teenagers running out onto Highway 68, and, tragically, the sounds of gunfire in the hallways of the local high school from which they fled. I was in the area visiting with a local pastor when my phone buzzed. A state official quickly informed me of the unfolding tragedy and hung up to make his next call.

I shared the news with the pastor and heard the pain in his voice as he replied, “I have kids in that school.” “Family?” I asked. “No, my church kids.” As his voice began to shake, I knew that, to him, there was no distinction. Those kids are his family. “I’ll take you there,” I said.

We arrived at the school board office adjacent to the Marshall County High only to see another pastor had made it there first. “What do you know?” I asked. “I’m being told the kids still in the school will be bused to North Marshall Middle where they can be picked up by their parents.” We were off again.

The staff at North Marshall Middle School was working diligently to see that only those who had kids coming to the school were allowed in but when one of the ladies saw a Bible in the hands of the pastor with me she said, “If you are ministers and can talk to these families, please go in right now.” So we did. Within a few minutes, other pastors arrived.

Like shepherds looking for missing sheep they walked through the gathering crowd hoping to spot the familiar faces of those who sat in their sanctuaries each Sunday. And when they did, there were hugs and tears. And there was gratitude.

Why were the pastors there at time like that? Because they are supposed to be there. Because they are always there in those sacred moments when lives are forever changed.

They are there when new life is welcomed into the world. They are there when vows are exchanged and two lives become one. They are there when the eternal vow is made, a life committed to Christ through the waters of baptism. They are welcomed alongside the sickbed and the deathbed. Their voice speaks words of hope and comfort even at the graveside. Why wouldn’t they be there when a frantic mother waits, hoping to receive word that her daughter wasn’t the girl that was killed at school that morning? They were there.

But not all of them. Some of them were already at the hospitals, having learned that one of the “their” kids was hurt and on an ambulance.

One of them was driving to Nashville. He had heard the terrifying news that one of “his” kids was being flown to Vanderbilt. Dropping everything, he raced to the hospital. Upon seeing him enter the hospital counseling room, the grieving father could only say, “Pastor, he’s in a better place.” And while they wept and wept, their pastor was there. Why? Because he’s their pastor.

Posted in Culture, Denominational Life, Family, Pastor | Comments closed