I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Bible and Giving: Christian Responsibility in Light of God’s Amazing Grace

By Daniel Akin, Preident of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.

Giving in response to God’s amazing grace is a vital and essential aspect of true and
genuine Christian Discipleship.  The manner in which one gives, both in attitude and
amount, will be a reflection of the condition of the heart.

When Jesus spoke to this issue, He encouraged His disciples to do more than what was
required under the Old Testament with what was called the tithe (Matt 23:23; Luke
11:42).  It is clear that our Lord was concerned not only with what we give but how we
give.  In other words, issues of the heart are at the heart of giving.

The most expensive section on giving in all of Scripture is found in 2 Corinthians 8-9.
Here Paul lays down basic principles of New Testament giving.  Again, as did the Lord,
Paul makes it clear that giving as we ought is a matter, not so much of obligation, as it is
of gratitude, of grace.

Throughout my 30 years in ministry I have instructed the students under my watch-care
in what I call “Grace Giving.”  Quickly walking through this classic passage in 2
Corinthians, what are some basic questions we should follow as we express our gratitude
to God for what He has done for us through His Son Jesus?  I note 12 things:

1) Outward circumstances and personal difficulties should not prevent generosity in
our giving (8:1-4).
2) All financial giving should be preceded first by the giving of oneself to the Lord
3) Those who follow Jesus should excel in the grace of giving (8:6-7).
4) Generous giving is an expression of the love one has for Jesus (8:8-9, 24).
5) There is an intimate connection between the “Grace of God” and the “Grace of
Giving.”  The former naturally leads to the latter (8:8-9).
6) A willingness to be generous in giving is more important than the amount given
7) We should give to churches and ministries that handle God’s money judiciously
and responsibly (8:16-21).
8) Generous giving out of gratitude to God will encourage others to do the same
9) The attitude in which we give is important to God.  He loves willing and cheerful
givers (9:5-7).
10) Generosity in giving moves God to supply more and meet our genuine needs (9:8-
11) Grace giving will result in praise and thanksgiving to God (9:11-14).
12) Generous giving is the natural response to God’s gracious gift of Jesus (9:15).

Paul understood how important Christian stewardship was to true and genuine Christian
discipleship.  He knew that giving cannot help but reveal the spiritual life of those who
call Jesus Lord.  He knew that how we give is a commentary on our love for Christ, His
Church, and the lost.

Myth-busters' Clarification

Task Force releases 'myth busters' clarification By Joe Westbury, Managing Editor Published November 5, 2009

DALLAS, Texas — Taking on the role of myth busters, the Great Commission Task Force released a statement following their Oct. 27 meeting clarifying their role in calling for denominational renewal.
The series of year-long meetings, which originally were to be open to the public, have been closed to media and others and resulted in widespread speculation about the group’s dealings – especially when it comes to restructuring the Southern Baptist Convention.
Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the group, said the press release was meant to clear the air on a half-dozen high profile myths that have been circulating since the Task Force’s first meeting in Atlanta in early August. The myths have been so rampant, Task Force member and Southeastern Seminary President Daniel Akin recently began a myth-busting blog and Index Editor Gerald Harris addressed the issue in the Oct. 22 issue of the paper in an editorial titled “You’re only as healthy as your transparency.”

Southern Baptists start churches among a variety of people groups ranging from ethnics to cowboys to the homeless in North America. The GCR Task Force, meeting in Dallas on Oct. 27, went on record to say that it has no intentions of partnering with non-Southern Baptist entities, such as Acts 29, to further its church planting efforts. Cody Huffman, above, prepares to share a message with the crowd gathered just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, for a worship service coordinated by Circuit Riders Motorcycle Ministries and Rushing Wing Church.
The six myths addressed in the document dealt with the role of the Cooperative Program; partial out-sourcing of the denomination’s role in church planting; influencing the presidential search committees for the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, and SBC Executive Committee; diminishing the role of state conventions or associations; addressing theological issues such as Calvinism; and the timing of the release of the Task Force’s findings.
The statement, as released by Floyd, said the Task Force:
1. is not considering any abandonment of the Cooperative Program.
“We are asking questions about how the Cooperative Program can remain our central system of missions funding, not whether it will remain so. We were charged to ask the hard and most strategic questions about how Southern Baptists can more faithfully fulfill the Great Commission together – and together means together. We want to encourage churches to give even more enthusiastically and to see and celebrate a great increase in stewardship at every level.”
2. is not considering any recommendation that Southern Baptists partner with any parachurch or non-Southern Baptist ministry, specifically Acts 29.
“We are thankful for what every Great Commission church, denomination, and ministry is doing for Christ,” Floyd said, “but we are assigned the task of looking at how Southern Baptists – very specifically – can work together more faithfully.”
3. is not trying to determine the work of search committees and trustees currently seeking new leadership for their SBC entity.
“Presidential searches are now underway at the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, and the SBC Executive Committee. Given our assignment, we can’t ignore the obvious,” asserted Floyd.
“This is an historic moment for Southern Baptists. We have an assignment focused [on being released at] the SBC in Orlando [in June 2010]. These boards have their own ongoing assignment, leadership, and stewardship. We will do our own work, and pray for others as they do theirs.
“Will our work as a task force have any effect on these entities? Our determined goal is to do more, not less, for the Great Commission in every area. I am sure each of these boards shares that very same goal.”
4. is not seeking to diminish the work of either state conventions or local Baptist associations.
“To the contrary,” Floyd corrected, “we want to forge a future that maximizes Southern Baptist work at every level – and change is happening at every level. Our concern is to see every Southern Baptist work encouraged and even more fully engaged for the Great Commission.”
5. is not devoting its time or energies to a discussion about specific theological issues discussed within the Southern Baptist Convention.
“This is not about Calvinism, anti-Calvinism, or any other ‘ism.’ This is about faithfulness to the Great Commission – period. That is our theological agenda,” he reiterated.
6. is not planning to wait until Orlando to release its report and recommendations. “Our avowed intention is to bring as much as we can to the February meeting of the SBC Executive Committee,” Floyd continued in the prepared statement.
“This is a huge challenge, but we are pushing ourselves hard. Orlando is our ultimate deadline, but only for the final form of our report.”

Open discussion, huge responsibility
Also during the meeting, Task Force members received input from state executive directors who released their own set of concerns. Twenty-two of the denomination’s 42 state leaders attended the meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. See related story on this page.
Bill Mackey, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, chairman of the Fellowship of Southern Baptist State Executives, introduced David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, who made a major presentation to the Task Force. Members then entered into a period of open discussion with the state executive directors.
Speculation about the work of the Task Force and questions about its eventual recommendations framed at least part of the background for the discussion with the state executives, Floyd acknowledged.
“We were looking for an honest conversation and a meeting of hearts and minds. The state conventions are vital to our total Southern Baptist work, and this dialogue was vital to the work of the task force.
“Let me be clear. We are dealing with big questions and big ideas here,” Floyd said. “We need every consecrated Southern Baptist mind and heart sharing with us in the process.
“We will be listening to Southern Baptists all the way to Orlando, and we welcome every voice. This is a huge responsibility.”
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Katherine Callaway Hart is honor graduate at Clemson Univ.

Katherine Callaway Hart received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting, magna cum laude, with departmental honors from Calhoun Honors College in commencement exercises at Clemson University December 17, 2009.

Hart is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. Hart of Columbia, S.C., and the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Callaway of Washington, Mr. and Mrs. Russell E. Hart of Spartanburg, S.C., and the late Frances Garner Hart. She is the niece of Mr. and Mrs. E. Turner Callaway of Rayle. [Katherine  is my late wife's great niece.]

While at Clemson, Hart was named to Beta Alpha Psi, the national honor society for business and financial information students and professionals; Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society; and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She was also a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, a supplemental instructor in accounting for the Clemson Academic Success Center, and a whitewater raft guide on the Chattooga River for Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gresham Family Gathering

Gathering around Sara Gresham during a Thanksgiving celebration are all of her great-great-grandchildren, Ashlyn, Morgan, Camryn and Jaclyn Johns and Kaye Lynn Gresham of Marietta, Luke and Gresham Davis of Birmingham, Ala., Aileen Cain and Brooke, Zachary and Emma Grace Harris, all of Calera, Ala.

[This is an article from the News-Reporter dated December 31, 2009.  Sara Gresham  is the widow of my first cousin William Johnson Gresham, great-great grandfather of the children. His children (my first cousins-once-removed or second cousins) are their great grandparents. His grandchildren (my first cousins-twice-removed or third cousins) are their grandparents. His great-grandchildren  (my first cousins-thrice-removed or fourth cousins) are their parents. Wow!]

Friday, January 1, 2010

Anne Griffin Patterson

Anne Griffin Patterson presented at debutante ball in Orangeburg, S.C.

Anne Griffin Patterson
Anne Griffin Patterson of Orangeburg, S.C., was presented at the 49th Annual Debutante Ball of The Assembly of Orangeburg, S.C., on Friday evening, December 18, at The Cinema.

Miss Patterson was among the eight debutantes presented.

She is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Steven Griffin Patterson of Orangeburg and the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Eugene Callaway [my brother-in-law] of Washington, Mrs. Grady Leslie Patterson and the late Mr. Patterson of Columbia, S.C.

Miss Patterson was presented by her father and escorted by James Andrew Ballard of Spartanburg, S.C. Both Miss Patterson and Mr. Ballard are students of Wofford College in Spartanburg.

Guests were received by the debutantes and their mothers prior to a social hour. Their parents joined the debutantes in the Grand March before the presentation and figure. A champagne dinner and dancing followed.

Dr. and Mrs. Patterson enjoyed hosting eight of Miss Patterson’s Wofford College friends for the Ball, overnight stay and brunch on Saturday. Also enjoying all the festivities were their older daughter, Laura Callaway Patterson, and her escort, David Wood Banks of Duluth, both also Wofford College students.

[This article was in the News-Reporter edition dated December 31, 2009. The subject of the article is my late wife Louise Callaway Johnson's great-niece and the daughter of  our niece Katherine Callaway Patterson.]