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Kieve, Ukraine SEND Initiative by Steve Hemphill

Second Baptist Church has voted to partner with Revival Church in Kiev Ukraine in the “100 Happy Kids” project. The Pastor, Nickolay Ponomarev, tells of the horrible orphan crisis in Ukraine, made much worse by the war with Russia in the East. The estimates are 100,000 children being warehoused in very bad conditions. 

The church has perhaps 150 in attendance on a Sunday morning and has initiated the project “100 Happy Kids” which envisions 10 church couples to adopt 10 children each. Hence, “100 Happy Kids”! LET THAT SOAK IN!

They have already enlisted three families to participate in this project. In fact, the second family adopted five siblings and then another set of seven siblings, making their family increase from two to fourteen in a few months! It is exceptionally humbling to be in the presence of such sacrificial Christians. Now we all can help. I will be returning to Ukraine in September and hope some 2BC folks will join me. You too can be inspired like never before. 

In a way of background, in the early 2000’s, the Second Baptist Missions Committee believed in the concept of supporting these vulnerable children by supporting families and communities instead of orphanages when possible. Working with CBF Heartland, we supported the building of an Integrated Child Development Center in Kenya. The center, built by a local church, committed to improving the education of vulnerable children during the preschool years. And, in 2013 a group of fifteen individuals from Second Baptist participated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in a study called Faith to Action to understand best practices for churches wanting to engage in orphan ministry around the world. “Children need love, a sense of belonging, the experience of family, and connection to a community in order to thrive into adulthood.” The study posed the question, “Wouldn’t it be best to find ways to help children access education, food, and shelter from within families?” The study affirmed the trend of supporting family care for orphans as the best choice.  

This Ukraine church is taking a very real leap of faith in this unique attempt to help these vulnerable children and we are glad to join them as they support another family. We will continue to learn more and you can be a part of it. In September 2BC will be sending a SEND team to Kiev, Ukraine in partnership with the "100 Happy Kids" project. Steve Hemphill will lead the trip. If you are interested in joining Steve to visit with this church and sense what they are trying to accomplish contact Steve Hemphill or Mike Lassiter. Read more about the project here.

 

 
The Revival Church in Kiev, Ukraine   One adoptive family.
     

 

at Friday, June 22, 2018
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The Snapshots of Life by Angie Fuller

To My Teenager and Your Peers,

You’ve anticipated turning 13 for a long time. Truth be told, you probably don’t feel any different than yesterday when you were still 12, but there’s a mental component to milestone birthdays. Perhaps you have new expectations of what life will be like for you, or you sense that others’ expectations of you have changed. Some of those expectations are valid, and some are misconceptions. Regardless, it’s an exciting day!
You know how much I love using a camera to record special moments… recently this habit more frequently makes you roll your eyes and groan. But I think you’d agree that photos bring us joy. They awaken forgotten memories, help us realize how things have changed, and trigger smiles and laughter. When it comes to the art of photography, I am a true amateur, but a few basic photographic principles relate to some thoughts I want to share with you as you navigate the years ahead. 

The Impact of Black and White

Black and white photos have a timeless quality, and certain objects stand out without the distraction of color. These photos are more effective when there are defined areas of rich black with a few muted grays, as opposed to an image full of many subtle shades of gray. You will be faced with numerous issues and situations that feel like subtle grays – awkward, unknown, and difficult. There doesn’t seem to be a black-and-white answer or opinion, and you feel immersed in gray – not really knowing WHAT you think! You aren’t alone. When your peers seem sure of their beliefs, a lot of times they really aren’t… or their opinions change. Yours may, too. Don’t be afraid to ask others you trust where they stand—whether it’s a respected peer, youth group leader, teacher, coach, or family member. Other times you feel there IS a black-and-white answer or opinion, but you’re the ONLY person on your “side!” Be courageous. Trust in your beliefs shaped by those whom you respect. And be motivated by how you can impact others in good ways. But always listen respectfully to those with whom you disagree. God loves them, too. You don’t need to “win” or prove you’re right. Sometimes you show great compassion by agreeing to disagree and moving on. So stand up for what’s right, but do it with humility.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Utilize Portrait Mode

In portrait mode the subject of a photo stands out distinctly; it’s sharp and clear while the background is blurred. I didn’t use this setting enough over the years, but when I did, the outcome was priceless—curly wisps of hair, tiny freckles, or your toothless grin seem to pop right out of the photo. Through your experiences with people, places, and media in the years ahead, you will be saturated with images, information, ideas, and opinions. While those things themselves don’t make you loving or unloving, they become the blurry background of your life. How you can make choices about what you are exposed to and what you spend your time on to prevent certain things from becoming part of your background? Guard your mind and your heart. When possible, choose NOT to participate, watch, or click on something that you know you don’t really want in your background. And when you have no choice, and you’re exposed to negative things you can’t control, ask God to keep you pure—to “erase it from your head,” as you said when you were little. Most importantly, consider what words and actions you want to come into focus. What habits and beliefs will show clearly in how you live with love?
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.

Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Philippians 4:8-9, The Message)

Pros and Cons of Cropping

Cropping is a well-used technique in modern photography to remove what is deemed unnecessary or unwanted. We can quickly delete photos that don’t look the way we desire or crop things that detract from the subject of the photo. The problem is that too often the ordinary or the ugly never show. When I look at my childhood photos, a toy on the floor, a piece of furniture, or something hanging on the wall triggers many memories beyond the subject of the photo. So as I’ve cropped photos I’ve taken of you, I’ve occasionally left a few peripheral things showing or saved images of you crying or rolling your eyes because these represent reality. Our society is highly skilled at cropping! Both individually and publicly we see and hear clips of only the very best or the very worst of each other. They’re named “clips” for a reason… they’ve already been cropped so the ugly, boring, or awkward things don’t show. Recognize that what is awkward or ugly is reality—and probably has something to teach us. What is boring is also reality. Don’t allow society’s norm of cropping to alter your self-image or what you know is true. Don’t let it make you think you’re not good enough at something, don’t look as good as others, or don’t have enough experience with something. Lead by example in being genuine. Look behind the images people portray and see them for who they are and how they live.

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (I Samuel 16:7b, NLT)

Selfies

This relatively new practice in photography certainly has its merits. We easily record our expressions and experiences in creative ways when our own camera captures our face in its surroundings. We save images of a shared life with friends and family who bring us much joy. But, dare I say, it’s overused and can lead to unhealthy habits. With the camera frequently turned on ourselves, we forget to look at others. We become consumed with our appearance or circumstances. We take photo after photo trying to get the “right” one and become prideful or consumed with self-pity when we compare ourselves with others. Meanwhile, the world passes us by. We miss the wonder of all that God created—in fellow humans and in nature. So look up. Look around. Notice. Appreciate. Admire. Give thanks. Experience. God’s kingdom surrounds us, and there is so much for us to give and receive if we take our eyes off ourselves.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

Utilize Contrasts in Color

Remember your preschool years when you loved to use every marker in the box? In the years ahead, as your body, thoughts, and emotions continue to mature, it will seem like your feelings span the rainbow, too. In the course of just a few hours, you can feel angry red, calm blue, creative purple, happy yellow, sad black, energetic orange, and empty white. You are normal. There’s nothing wrong with tears erupting unexpectedly or at a time when you think they’re totally unnecessary. Sometimes one seemingly insignificant event or conversation makes all the emotions you’ve been holding inside erupt powerfully! Don’t be frustrated with yourself. Let it out (without hurting anyone else or their feelings). You’ll feel better afterward. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling several emotions at once—even ones that seem to conflict. All these emotions are one of God’s amazing gifts. Life would be boring without them! Don’t suppress them… embrace them—including the ones that stink. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Recognize when you feel sad and empty. Savor the calming view of a lake or waterfall. Cry the hard, ugly cries. Follow spurts of creativity. Jesus felt all of these, too, and walks with us through every color.
And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying.

For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will.  And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. (Romans 8:26-28, TLB)

Framing

A unique technique to enhance the subject of a photo is to creatively frame it with things like tree branches, shadows, or architectural lines. It adds depth and structure to a photo and helps emphasize the subject. But it’s tricky. If not done well, it is distracting or clutters the image. The same is true of the people with whom you surround—or frame—yourself. They can add depth and structure to your life, or they can distract you from your convictions and the unique way God created you. Distance yourself from those who thrive on pressure, humiliation, or greed. Instead, surround yourself with people who value your God-given personality and gifts. Choose friends who strengthen you with encouragement and refine you through honest, wise advice.

You use steel to sharpen steel. And one friend sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17, The Message)

Seek Professional Training

Amateur photographers with a passion to cultivate their skills look for resources and teachers to guide them. If we are passionate followers of Christ, we also need to seek guidance to grow closer to Him and to understand His will for our lives. This growth can’t happen if we just hope and wait for it. His arms are always open to draw us closer and speak to us if we actively pursue Him. Seek guidance through God’s Word, faithful prayer, and a commitment to gathering regularly with other disciples on this road of life with you. The guidance doesn’t always come easily, conveniently, or clearly, but God is faithful and won’t let you down.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word, we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, The Message)

As you continue down your life’s path, savor your “professional photos”—the important milestones and memorable events. But emphasize the daily “snapshots”—the countless images of the ups and downs of a maturing follower of Christ, for it is of all these snapshots that are shaping you. And take delight in the “outtakes”—the hilarious, surprising, and awkward moments that bring you joy. 
Love God, and love others. May your life show that you do both of these… not without failure, but with faithful perseverance. And through it all, remember that you are never alone. We will always be ready to listen, talk, laugh and walk with you. We will constantly pray for you, and above all: know that you are held closely by God’s warm embrace.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Smile!
With love always, Mom and Dad

at Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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Missions at 2BC Where We Believe, Belong, Become

We have commissioned four SEND Initiative teams this summer and plan to commission one more before the summer is over. Also, there are trips planned to Ukraine and Thailand soon. Mission is an important part of what we believe at 2BC. As you strive to belong, believe and become at 2BC understanding that philosophy and participating in an active way with our mission efforts will help you become all that God has planned for you to be.

The Missions Committee at 2BC exists to seek out and engage in partnerships for missions and ministry for the Second Baptist faith community. We begin with the notion that the gospel still speaks to the deep need of people to have a personal relationship with God and that we must rely on the power of God and the Holy Spirit and not ourselves. We understand that as a faith community we are part of the larger dream of God and so forming partnerships keep us in greater community as we seek to meet God at work in the world. As we consider these partnerships we desire to: 

  •  Promote Relationship 
  •  Use the asset-based model 
  •  Make our motivation clear and transparent 
  •  Anticipate mutual growth. 
  •  Provide Long-term sustainability 
  • In addition, we consider how the following might be reflected in the partnership: 
  • Relationship

…we approach our partnership in a holistic way…we will learn and incorporate genuine expressions of concern and trust. 

Reconciliation

…we trust the Biblical mandate to be “reconciled to each other” and will seek and consider good ways for that to happen during the partnership. 

Respect

… partnerships can be cluttered after all we are human …we handle changes, unfulfilled expectations, cultural differences, or disappointments with a Christ-like attitude. 

Reciprocity

…our partners are invited to spend time with us. Our greatest asset is each other and what God has called us to do together.

 If you are interested in learning more about the SEND Initiative, or our partnerships you can do so on the Serve pages of our website. We hope you visit them often as information changes frequently. Scholarships are available for those who participate in their first SEND trip. Contact Mike Lassiter or Jeff Buscher for more information about missions at 2BC. 

   

 

at Friday, June 15, 2018
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