KY Baptists ‘impact’ 2018 laws on abortion, adoption and more

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The combined efforts of Kentucky Baptists’ legislative agent, Tom Troth, our news service, Kentucky Today, and our state chaplain, Steve Weaver, have created an elevated platform from which to impact state government for the sake of Christ. Here’s a quick review of some of the more significant pieces of legislation passed during the 2018 General Assembly:

1) A bill passed banning an especially barbaric abortion procedure scientifically known as dilatation and evacuation. In English, that means abortionists dismember the unborn baby and bring it out of the womb piece by piece. The procedure was used 537 times in Kentucky in 2016 alone.

2) In a major victory for abused and neglected children, House Bill 1 passed unanimously in the Senate and received only one no vote in House. Now signed into law, this legislation reduces wait times for adoption, creates greater accountability for the Cabinet, removes some of the bureaucracy of the system, and increases pay for social workers, as well as other provisions.

3) Casino supporters thought the financial climate was in their favor for getting an expanded gambling bill through the Legislature. With the pension system for state workers and teachers nearing the point of insolvency, gambling interests made the argument that casinos could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund pensions. Not only would the end result of funds in all likelihood been far less than that, the thinking is in error because the pro-gambling folks didn’t factor in the hundreds of millions of dollars state government would be out for government programs to help families broken by gambling addictions and to help children from those families. Thankfully, none of the proposals gained traction.

4) Medical marijuana proponents also used the argument that taxes from legal sales could help solve the state’s financial problems. Lawmakers wisely saw through that argument and stood their ground. Our KBC Public Affairs Committee has taken the stand that the Food and Drug Administration, not politicians, should be the ones to determine which drugs are legal and permissible.

5) At the 2017 Annual meeting, KBC messengers passed a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment which would enshrine in our state Constitution the rights of victims of crime: 1) to notice of proceedings, 2) to be present, 3) to be heard, 4) to have proceedings free from delay, and 5) to protection from the accused. Marsy’s law was passed early in the session and will appear on the ballot in November. If ratified by the voters, it will become a new section of our Kentucky Constitution.

6) Legislation was enacted to permit prisoners in county jails to participate in religious charitable community-based service projects, such as Habitat for Humanity, if authorized and supervised by the county jailer.

7) Legislation passed that would allow private home school sports teams to participate in public school athletics under certain conditions.

8) On the human/child trafficking front, legislation was passed to make it clear that sex offenders are prohibited from using the internet to gather information or communicate with or about minor children and to prohibit the distribution of sexually exploitive images of children via the internet or otherwise. Laws like these are required to keep up with those who prey on kids in this digital age.

Once again, Kentucky Baptists are making a difference.

Posted in Abortion, Culture, Education, Foster care, Government, Kentucky Today | Leave a comment

KY Baptists are doing more together, even as the world becomes more divided

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If you support the cooperative mission work of the 2,400 churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention by tithing in a church that gives through the Cooperative Program, by giving through the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions, and/or by serving in a KBC ministry, thank you! For 181 years, Kentucky Baptists have remained committed to working together for the cause of reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ. Thankfully, there’s no indication of a waning devotion to this cause. Evidence, in fact, points to the contrary, as Kentucky Baptists are pulling together and doing more in a day and age when polarization, strife, and division seem to characterize just about every facet of life. The tangible impact of our unified convention is remarkable and historic. I want highlight two aspects of our work.

 

First, Kentucky Baptists are headed to the mountains! More than two years ago, when we began dreaming about taking the 2018 KBC annual meeting to Pikeville, we were hoping the effort would be an encouragement to churches in the Eastern Kentucky. As we’ve met with pastors, DoMs, and state missionaries, that dream has become a plan called Hope for the Mountains, a one-night crusade event scheduled for Nov. 11, the Sunday preceding the KBC annual meeting in Pikeville. We are praying that God will use this event as a time of eternal harvest for those being evangelized by churches throughout the region. We’ve already had two churches, one from the region, First Baptist Pikeville, and another from as far away as you can get (and still be in Kentucky), First Baptist Lone Oak in Paducah, make a very generous financial commitment to this effort. If you, your church or association want to help bring hope to the mountains, donations can be mailed to KBC and designated to “Hope for the Mountains.” The address is 13420 Eastpoint Centre Drive, Louisville, KY 40223. You can also give online to “Hope for the Mountains” at www.kybaptist.org.

 

Second, Kentucky Baptists are working together in the state capitol. As you may already know, the combined efforts of our legislative agent, Tom Troth, our news service, Kentucky Today, and our state chaplain, Steve Weaver, has given us an elevated platform from which to impact state government for the sake of Christ. God is granting us great success with significant pieces of legislation passed during the 2018 General Assembly to safeguard unborn children, battle against human trafficking, protect the rights of crime victims, provide better support for foster children, expedite adoptions, and hold back the plagues of casinos and legalized marijuana.

 

Working together, Kentucky Baptists are doing more. We are caring for more abused and neglected children through Sunrise than we’ve ever cared for in our history, approximately 1,200. More than 14,000 teens and older children will hear the gospel in our Crossings camps this summer, more ministry couples will be encouraged at Shepherding, more churches will be planted, more broken lives will be touched through Disaster Relief, refugee ministries, homeless ministries, and collegiate ministries. More pastors will be encouraged and equipped by our regional consultants and trained by our Evangelism Team, and more churches are being connected to mission opportunities in Kentucky and around the world through our Mission Mobilizations Team. More for Christ.

 

 

Posted in Adoption, Annual Meeting, Crossings Ministries, Culture, Disaster Relief, Eliza Broadus Offering, Evangelism, Foster care, Government, Hope for the Mountains, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Kentucky Baptist Foundation, Missions, More for Christ, Sunrise Children's Services | Leave a comment

Make disciples, not duplicates

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Editor’s note: Dr. Paul Chitwood’s column features a guest article from Nathan Bishop, Kentucky Baptist Convention First Vice President and senior pastor of Forest Baptist Church, in Louisville.

By NATHAN BISHOP

Nathan Bishop

If you know my father, you would know I am my father’s son. I talk like my father, have the same mannerisms as my father, and have a similar work ethic. Though his goal in life was not to make me his “mini-me,” his faithfulness and godliness has definitely been a tremendous influence. Sometimes when we set out to make disciples for Christ, we can have the idea that good disciples should look like, talk like, and act like us. In many ways this is true, however, in Christian discipleship, the goal should be Christlikeness over and above “my likeness.”

 

As we are engaged in the disciple-making process, we must ask if we are more concerned with making disciples for Christ or making duplicates for ourselves? Within our gospel communities there is the temptation to believe that assimilation or conformity to one’s cultural ideas of piety and moral rightness equate to faithful obedience to the Lord. This unfortunate error occurs when we place unbiblical expectations on individuals as they come into the faith, e.g., dress, speech, or other cultural norms. From our personal conversations and convictions, we can mistakenly create an environment that says if you don’t always agree on the practical application of the gospel or vote for a particular political party, then you can’t be a faithful Christian. Apart from the grace of God working in our own lives, we will always create false gods in our own image and expect others to take part in our false worship.

 

How can we guard against this temptation?

 

First, by asking God to search our own heart for sinful motivations: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Continually ask the Lord for His divine perspective in order to see the blind spots in your own life. Before, we can make disciples for Christ, we must be faithful disciples of Christ.

 

Second, we must guard ourselves against the temptation to make duplicates and not disciples by asking God to make us others-focused: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). If we genuinely put others before ourselves then we will be looking for ways to help those we disciple realize their full potential in Christ instead of trying to make trophies for ourselves. May God get all the credit for the “good works” for which He has saved us.

 

Third, to guard ourselves against the temptation to make “mini-me’s” in ministry, let’s ask God to help us to not settle for less: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers”

(Romans 8:29). When we try to make duplicates instead of disciples, we are actually settling for a lesser image of righteousness. We need to be so overwhelmed with the grandeur of God that we would want nothing less than conformity to Christ within the lives of those we disciple.

Posted in Christianity, Evangelism, Great Commission | Leave a comment

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!

 

 

 

Posted in All Posts, Family | Leave a comment

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