Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
GO TELL Ministries
Southern Evangelical Seminary
The Christian Index
World News Service
Evangelist Rick Gage sees harvest of 1,900 souls
PARIS, Texas (GO TELL Ministries) -- During the Red River Valley GO TELL Crusade in Paris, Texas, about 1,000 people made spiritual decisions for Christ in four nights "and two of those nights were hampered with cold and rain," said Joe H. Iglehart of Paris, Texas.
Of GO TELL Ministries, Iglehart added, "This organization is incredibly organized and does a fantastic job of working with the local people. The big key to having a successful Crusade is having good local leadership that will properly prepare with prayer and fundraising. The music is awesome and the preaching powerful, making for an incredible worship experience."
As Prayer Chairman of the Free State GO TELL Crusade in Van, Texas, Dr. Mike Burns, senior pastor of Victory Church in Canton, Texas, for 23 years, said 158 people signed up for the prayer team. "We had nine prayer walks at the stadium and schools, where the events would be held. There were prayer captains from different churches who led prayer meetings in their churches as well as at weekly home prayer meetings. Before each night of the Crusade, prayer meetings also were conducted" at Van Memorial Football Stadium.
Ashley Simms, one of the 350 counselors in Van (with 300 more in Paris), recalled, "An excitement filled the air on the first night, especially after we watched a storm that had produced tennis ball-sized hail in the surrounding areas split in two and go around the stadium where the event was hosted. God was already showing off, and we loved it!"
Dr. Burns said, "We wanted the kind of prayer that brought results. Souls saved. Families restored. Freedom and restoration in hearts and lives. Youth and churches set ablaze. This is what we wanted for our county. And this is what we got!"
Concerning the hundreds of salvation decisions instead of the rededications he was expecting, Dr. Burns observed, "I was so grateful, but somewhat surprised, at how many 'first-time' decisions for Jesus Christ were made during the Crusade. This revelation has made me reevaluate what biblical content I am preaching and to whom I am preaching on Sunday morning and any other time for that matter."
Shelby Davidson, principal of Van Middle School, recalled, "What a joy to see people in our community and adjoining communities worshiping and praising the Lord together. At the invitation the first night, the response was overwhelming. I was amazed at watching the invitation each night as hundreds came forward to make decisions. On the last night of the Crusade, our home side of the stadium was almost filled to capacity of over 3,000 for the first time ever. I told my 15-year-old son, on the way home that night, that in my 50 years of living in this community, I had never seen anything like this."
The next morning at his school, Mr. Davidson said, "One of my teachers eagerly shared with me that she had led three of her students to Christ the night before as a counselor at the Crusade. Students were bringing their Bibles and having Bible study at lunch. What an awesome outpouring of God's Spirit on this community. I can only hope and pray this is only the beginning. I also look forward to future crusades.
"Thanks to Rick Gage for being faithful in God's call in his life. God has used him in a mighty way in our little community. To God be the glory!" he added.
Also, 17 people made commitments to Christ at the jails and over 60 made spiritual decisions at the pre-crusade youth rallies.
Gage, an international evangelist for 26 years, said of both Crusades, "We really had a great move of God' with people of varying ages telling him they "had never seen anything like it" in their communities. Gage, of GO TELL Ministries in Atlanta, was joined by guest speakers Scott Camp, Adrian Despres and Ken Freeman.
Musical guests were Chuck Sullivan, GO TELL's music director and worship leader for the past 20 years, at both crusades. Sullivan was joined by Malissa Smith at the Van crusade and Joy Fowler at the Paris crusade.
Accompanied by the Real Encounter BMX Bike Team, Gage and his team spoke to more thanks 7,000 students at every middle school and high school in the counties about the dangers of drugs, alcohol abuse and premarital sex.
Regarding the Van Crusade, Cynthia Harris said, "There has been such a concern for the youth in our area. We have had several young people take their lives over drugs or teenage relationships or just plain hopelessness. I am hopeful that the effects of many decisions for Christ will give renewed hope to youth and their families across our county. We are now involved in plugging people into churches and following up with them. None of that would have come about without the GO TELL Crusade.
"I personally know one mother in her 30s, who was saved during the Crusade and who, since then, has had a very serious brain surgery for cancer. It was thrilling to know, when she went into surgery, that she was saved! Thanks to God, she is recovering from the surgery and they got 85 percent of the tumor," she said.
Mrs. Harris stated, "One thing I really thought was wonderful regarding the GO TELL Crusade effort was how all the churches, NO MATTER WHAT DENOMINATION, worked TOGETHER in unity to share the Gospel and bring people to Christ! I believe that is what the Body of Christ is for, thus, GO TELL! The Crusades are such a wonderful tool to bring unity to area churches and believers as they carry out The Great Commission."
Rhea Lene Nations said, "The Crusade was the MOST powerful event Van has ever seen. The response to Jesus was overwhelming. God only knows the true impact that was made in the lives of those who came. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would see responders to Christ lay prostrate out on the football field! Amazing."
Mrs. Simms said she and her husband Elmer were able to talk to a young man who had been among the 100 who had attended a former free gym at their church that they had coordinated. "Oftentimes, we didn't get to see big transformations, but the whole time we knew God was doing more than what we could see. When I found Elmer, he was talking to one of the boys who attended our gym for a while. Immediately, I knew this boy's life had been changed that night. There was no denying it because his face shined with excitement! I said, 'Keaton, you made a decision for Christ tonight, didn't you?'
"He then told us his testimony. That evening, Keaton was on his way home from work when he almost got into a car accident. He didn't even know about the GO TELL Crusade until he saw a sign on the side of the road. He knew he should go but talked himself out of it. He was tired from his labor-intensive job and was still in his dirty work clothes. He told himself he would go on the next night. Then he said he got about a mile down the road before immediately turning around and driving straight up here."
Paris Crusade Youth Chairman Nathan Law of the First Baptist Church of Paris said one young teen, who had been reared in a Muslim family, decided to trust in Jesus for salvation during the Crusade. "How awesome is God for this change." The girl had been forced to quit school by her parents, Law said, and is now living with her aunt.
A retired Nazarene preach and a son of a Baptist preacher, John D. Hansen of Grand Saline, Texas, said of the Van Crusade, "It was phenomenal and beyond words what was accomplished. I attended every service to see hundreds find Jesus. It was extremely exciting to observe what God was doing in a town I love."
Going forward, Dr. Burns said, "Finally, a lasting effect of the Crusade is the unity among the churches and pastors in the region. This is phenomenal. Already, since the end of the Crusade, pastors have met twice for prayer and discussion as to 'where do we go from here.'
To follow up with the 847 people who made decisions for Christ in Van, "GO TELL Follow-Up" includes pastors who will be meeting at least once a month for prayer and discussion about how to follow up and work at unity and a GO TELL Follow-Up Prayer Walk at the Van Memorial Football Stadium, site of the Crusade, that met on May 18.
As he did during each of the ten weeks before the Crusade, Dr. Burns will continue to send out Go Tell Follow-Up Prayer Blasts through emails each week through the summer.
Also, Rick Gage plans to return to Van for a Go Tell Follow-Up Rally on June 8 at Community Christian Fellowship.
Dr. Burns said he has been invited to visit and share with churches and pastors from several different denominations who are located in two counties south but were not involved in the Crusade. "They have heard and want to know more. God is up to something in East Texas, and it is good. The Fire is still burning, and we are doing all we can to fan the flame. BUT we all know it is the work of the Holy Spirit, who fills us daily, that is working in the hearts of people and pastors."
Richard Land's program 'Bringing Every Thought Captive' debuts today on the Bott Radio Network
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Southern Evangelical Seminary) -- Earlier this year, Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), began encouraging listeners to "Bring Every Thought Captive" through his daily radio features on the American Family Radio Network. Today, Land's program also begins airing on the Bott Radio Network, bringing the total number of radio stations airing Dr. Land's program to over 300.
"Bringing Every Thought Captive" airs Monday through Friday and features Dr. Land as he comments on current events and issues from the perspective of the Christian faith. The nationally syndicated radio feature airs on American Family Radio's (AFR) at 1:20 p.m. EDT on AFR's Inspirational Network and at 2:30 p.m. EDT on AFR's Talk Network.
"As Christians, we are commanded to 'demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ,' as the Bible tell us in 2 Corinthians 10:5," Land said. "I look forward to engaging with a new group of listeners as 'Bringing Every Thought Captive' has been added to the Bott Radio Network. We hope and pray that this program will help listeners to think about current issues and events from a new and fresh perspective and always through the lens of a biblical worldview."
For tune-in information on Bott, visit www.bottradionetwork.com to stream content live or to discover regional programming by zip code.
"Bringing Every Thought Captive" also airs locally in the Charlotte area every weekday and is available as a podcast daily on the free SES mobile app. For more information about stations, times, downloads and more, visit http://ses.edu/about-us/bringing-every-thought-captive.
SES is gearing up for its 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, set for October 10 and 11 at Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte.
Registration is open for the conference that will focus on "Defending a Never-Changing Faith in an Ever-Changing World" and equipping Christians to answer questions about their beliefs rationally and intelligently as they explore the various facets of apologetics—God and Science, Christianity and Cultural, and Historical Apologetics. Apologetics becomes ever more important as it becomes ever more crucial for Christians to defend their faith in an ever more hostile secular society. An early bird rate continues through Aug. 1. For more information on this fall's conference, visit http://conference.ses.edu/.
Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor's degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families.
Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the thousands who have already downloaded the SES interactive app for Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today's best defenders of the Christian faith -- William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.
SES is a leader in apologetics education -- teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.
Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked No. 1 for its General Christian Apologetics Graduate Program by TheBestSchools.org's "Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics." For more information, visit www.ses.edu or call (800) 77-TRUTH.
For more information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Deborah Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.
Former Georgia Baptist pastor Jody Hice elected to Congress
By Scott Barkley
DULUTH, Ga. (The Christian Index) -- Longtime Georgia Baptist pastor and conservative radio host Jody Hice won the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat July 22. The election paves the road for Hice's first term in Congress to represent the district heavily populated by his party.
Hice won with 54.32% of the vote and will face Democrat Ken Dious, an Athens attorney, in the November midterm election. The winner will replace Paul Broun, a member of Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart who resigned from the Congressional seat for an unsuccessful bid for Saxby Chambliss' U.S. Senate seat.
During the runoff for the GOP nomination – Hice had taken first place in the May primary -- Broun had endorsed the former minister as his replacement to represent the 10th District.
Hice had served as pastor of The Summit Church in Loganville, a Georgia Baptist congregation, until April. Before that he was senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Barrow County.
"I cannot express how grateful I am for all your hard work and dedication to our campaign," Hice said to his staff in a released statement, reported The Athens Banner-Herald. "We have taken a giant step toward reclaiming our nation and keeping this seat in conservative hands."
Hice became known for his political stances when in 2003 the American Civil Liberties Union sued Barrow County, where Hice pastors, over a posted copy of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse. That led to the formation of Ten Commandments-Georgia, founded by Hice and dedicated to "posting copies of the Commandments in homes and public buildings, teaching moral living to the next generation, electing like-minded individuals, registering like-minded voters, and educating voters on responsible jury service."
In 2008 Hice entered in to a national dispute over pastors' rights to endorse political candidates from the pulpit. On Sept. 28 of that year Hice was among some 33 other evangelical pastors nationwide to take part in pulpit Freedom Sunday, backed by the Alliance Defense Fund. The statement was the first direct challenge to the Johnson Amendment of 1954, which stipulated the Internal Revenue Service could revoke tax-exempt status of any church whose pastor endorsed a candidate for political office.
Scott Barkley is production editor of The Christian Index, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
CCCU's new president praised for her humility and deep faith
By Sophia Lee
WASHINGTON, D.C. (World News Service) -- The Council for Christian College and Universities (CCCU) announced Shirley V. Hoogstra of Calvin College as its seventh president on July 30 closing a painful chapter that included some public and controversial stumbles with its previous president. Hoogstra, CCCU's first female president, will take over her new position on Sept. 29.
Hoogstra has been the vice president for student life at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., since 1999 and before that served four years on Calvin's Board of Trustees. She worked as a lawyer for 13 years in New Haven, Conn., until she found "a calling" to transition from legal duties to higher education, she told The Christian Post.
"I'm excited for this opportunity because I am passionate about Christian education generally and Christian higher education specifically," Hoogstra said in a statement. "The world is increasingly complex, and the liberal arts education that CCCU institutions offer prepares students to understand why faith deeply matters to people. And the Christian faith gives hope and meaning when hope and meaning in life can seem illusive."
Hoogstra's experience in both law and higher education gave her a leg up among the list of candidates, especially during today's tense atmosphere in which Christian higher education constantly has to fight anti-Christian political and social currents. While at Calvin, Hoogstra helped CCCU plan and facilitate several Leadership Development Institutes, and served as an officer on two CCCU commissions.
Charles W. Pollard, chair of the CCCU Board of Directors and president of John Brown University, said Hoogstra now "knows firsthand the heartbeat of the organization and its membership." He called her "a person of deep faith, humble courage, intuitive judgment, legal insight, and convicted civility." Her experience "will enable her to represent the CCCU winsomely and effectively in Washington and elsewhere," he predicted.
Advocacy in Washington isn't the only challenge the 119-member, 55-affiliate association must tackle today. The controversy with Hoogstra's predecessor, Edward O. Blews Jr., has also eroded the organization's credibility. When CCCU fired Blews after just 10 months in office, he lashed back with a $2.2 million lawsuit. The case was settled out of court in April, according to court documents, but neither side publicized the details of the agreement.
Hoogstra will need to provide a new vision for CCCU's financial model. The group's biggest money-maker, the Best Semester Program -- a study-abroad program that at its peak drew about 750 students per semester --now faces significant competition from its own member institutions. Enrollment in Best Semester programs has dropped dramatically, leaving three-fourths of CCCU's total budget hanging on a thread.
Though supporters have praised Hoogstra's legal expertise and experience with higher education, Calvin also recently suffered some financial missteps, for which Hoogstra apologized to her faculty. She pledged to learn from the fiscal mistakes and to "work harder and hopefully wiser than ever."
Rick Ostrander, provost of Cornerstone University, a school near Calvin, said he was "pleasantly surprised" to hear about Hoogstra's appointment and called her "an excellent choice." Other than her legal experience, Ostrander praised her for being humble and compassionate and having "a heart for people."
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