Acts 8:1-8

the-persecuted-churchActs 8

1 And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.

“Francis of Assisi” Class in The Great Courses

Saint_Francis_of_assisi_in_his_tombI recently completed the 12 lectures on Francis of Assisi made available through The Great Courses series.  I specifically listened to the lectures through Audible via Kindle, where I believe you will be able to purchase them more cheaply than if you get them through The Great Courses directly.  The lectures are engaging and are delivered in a tag-team and largely conversational manner by William R. Cook and Ronald B. Herzman, both of the State University of New York in Geneseo.

Here are the twelve lecture topics:

What Went Right in Baltimore

sbc14logoartHaving already expressed some concerns about what happened in Baltimore at the annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention, I’d like to share some thoughts on the things that struck me as right, good, and encouraging.  I am not offering these to try to offset my earlier critiques.  On the contrary, it struck me at various times during the week that, despite my own cynicism, I really am happy to belong to the family called Southern Baptists.  At numerous points I turned to my wife and said, “That’s just awesome.”  I thought I’d share some of the reasons why I felt that way.

Concluding Thoughts/Questions on the Situation at Southwestern Seminary

Yesterday, as the 2014 annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention approached its conclusion, Dr. Paige Patterson, President of my alma mater, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave his report.  It was a much-anticipated report because of controversy that has been surrounding Dr. Patterson as a result of his decision to admit a Muslim student into the student body of Southwestern Seminary against stated admissions policies.

A Copy of the Workbook on St. Francis Used at the 2014 Central Baptist Men’s Retreat

319From June 6-7, a number of men from Central Baptist Church, North Little Rock, spent time in a retreat at Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas.  This was the first of what I intend to be annual “Mighty Men of God” retreats in which men consider the lives of great men from Christian history.  This year we considered the life of Francis of Assisi and what his example can show us about what it means to follow Jesus.  To that end, I put together a workbook highlighting four episodes from Francis’ life.  I am providing the Leader’s Guide of the workbook here, as a pdf.  I hope it encourages and challenges you.

SBC Executive Committee Chair Ernest Easley on Article III of the SBC Constitution

sla11I’ve written about internal Southern Baptist Convention issues more than I care to recently (here, here, here, and here), but the proposed changes to the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention are noteworthy and significant.  As SBC Messengers prepare to travel to Baltimore for the annual meeting, the summer edition of SBC Life, the news organ of the Executive Committee, touched again on the issue, and, in particular, on the controversial proposed changes to Article III.  The entire article can be found here, but I will provide the relevant portion here: