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Short, sweet and to the point. Let’s go!

  1. Concern about SBC and Religious Liberty

I took some calls earlier this week from people who heard that Southern Baptists were going to help Muslims build mosques. This is not true, but it is a conclusion derived from Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore taking a position regarding religious liberty in America.

Moore gives an excellent explanation in his piece “Is Religious Freedom for Non-Christians Too?

Here are two takeaway quotes, and there are many more (meaning: it would be worth your while to read the whole thing):

“When we say—as Baptists and many other Christians always have—that freedom of religion applies to all people, whether Christian or not, we are not suggesting that there are many paths to God, or that truth claims are relative. We are fighting for the opposite. We are saying that religion should be free from state control because we believe that every person must give an account before the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

“Religious liberty is never an excuse for violence and crime, nor has religious liberty been so construed in American history. The United States government should fight, and fight hard, against radical Islamic jihadism. But the government should not penalize law-abiding people, especially those who are American citizens, simply for holding their religious convictions, however consistent or inconsistent, true or false, those convictions are.”

I cannot add any more to this subject, other than to say, I wish more people would look to Russell Moore for his insight.

  1. The Passing of Muhammed Ali

I had a brief encounter with Muhammed Ali when I was a sophomore in college. It’s similar to many who have encountered “The Greatest.” We were on the same plane.

I was travelling with the Liberty University football team as a sports information student assistant. Ali was in first class; the rest of us were in coach. But I remember the LU strength coach Dave Williams going up to him while in flight, shaking his hand and offering him a Gospel tract. Ali, in return, offered him a Muslim tract.

Many things could be said about the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, and there will be many things said on this day of his memorial service. He was faithfully committed to his religion. In the clips I have seen and heard about Ali’s death, they all seem to have some form of reference to his devout Muslim faith. Oh that we Christians would show similar devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and share the Gospel to everyone.

Baptist Press wrote about Ali’s encounters of hearing the Gospel. You can read it here.

  1. Falls Creek, CrossTimbers encouraging campers to share the Gospel

The opening sessions of summer camp are concluding at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center and CrossTimbers Children’s Missions Adventure Camp, both near Davis, Okla.

I went down to experience the first days of both camps and was encouraged from what I saw. Of course, both camps offer much fun and excitement for all students, elementary to high school, and they are always solid in biblical teaching, spiritual development and missions emphasis. This year, both camps are providing an extra emphasis on evangelism, encouraging and training campers how to share their faith with friends and classmates.

If you get to experience either camp this year, I think you also will be pleased. Shout out to the camp program directors, Glenn Barber (CrossTimbers) and Andy Harrison (Falls Creek) for having a great program this summer. May God bless both camps and all who participate this summer!

  1. Special time with a special camp speaker

While at Falls Creek, I had the chance to interview Ed Newton who unofficially may be the most popular camp speaker in Falls Creek history. I realize that can be debated, but I’m basing my conclusion on the number of times Newton has spoken at Falls Creek. Every year since 2009, Ed has been a camp speaker, and in the last five years, he has taken two weeks. No one can come close to that record.

I wrote an article about Newton for next week’s Baptist Messenger, sharing that the former evangelist is now a pastor. Since Jan. 10, he has been the pastor of Community Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas.

I got a lot of great material from Ed that I couldn’t get in the Messenger article because of space. He shared his fondness of Falls Creek, saying “It’s where Heaven and Earth kiss.”

One thing he shared was his reason for making the effort to be personable and accessible to all the campers the week he speaks at Falls Creek.

“I think the greatest sermons ever preached are never on a stage,” he said.

Newton elaborated saying when he was a camp counselor while in college, and he remembered the camp pastor making the effort to come to the cabin to meet him and the campers who were staying there. He said he doesn’t remember a single sermon the pastor preached that week, but he remembers the pastor coming up to him and the campers, asking for their names and spending time with them.

I encourage you to find out more about Ed Newton. He is an amazing speaker who relates well to all age groups, and I’m excited for his new church. Also, Ed will be speaking again at Falls Creek later this summer for Week 7 (July 18-22).

  1. An important reminder this political season

Check out Trillia Newbell’s article “Politics aren’t Worth your Friendships.” This is a much needed piece for this time of year. She even quotes one of my favorite verses, Prov. 17:17.

  1. Meet me in St. Louis!

I’m heading to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting bright and early Monday morning, June 13. It will be in St. Louis this year, which is a meaningful city for my family. In fact, I have a cousin who lives there. Mom grew up in the southeastern part of Missouri, so there’s many Cardinal fans in the brood.

If you’ll be in the city of the Arch, let me know. I would be happy to meet you in St. Louis… but I won’t meet you at the fair.