Posts Tagged friend

Jimmy Allen, visionary denominational leader, dies*

BOB ALLEN | JANUARY 8, 2019 – BaptistNewsGlobal

Jimmy R. Allen, the last moderate president of the Southern Baptist Convention and executive director emeritus of the New Baptist Covenant, died early Jan. 8 at Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Georgia.

His pastor, Tony Lankford of First Baptist Church of St. Simons Island, said the 91-year-old had been in failing health. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Jimmy Allen

Named in 1999 one of the most influential Baptists of the 20th century, Allen served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1978 and 1979, the two years before conservatives took over control of the nation’s largest Protestant body in a move they called the “conservative resurgence.”

In 1990 he presided over the Consultation of Concerned Baptists in Atlanta, forerunner to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In 2008 he agreed to become program chair and coordinator for the New Baptist Covenant, a pan-Baptist gathering promoting racial unity spearheaded by former President Jimmy Carter.

In 1995 Allen wrote the book Burden of a Secret, a personal account of his family’s battle with AIDS.

A pioneer in religious broadcasting, he led the Southern Baptist Convention’s Radio and Television Commission from 1980 to 1990, hosting a national cable talk show called “Life Today.” In 1988 he won an Emmy as producer of a show produced for ABC television filmed in the People’s Republic of China titled “China: Walls and Bridges.”

Always interested in ethical concerns, Allen led the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 1960 to 1968. In 1962 he helped plan the first state workshop on Christianity and race relations in Southern Baptist history. During the Johnson administration he helped plan the first White House Conference on Civil Rights.

From 1968 until 1980 Allen served as pastor of First Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas – at the time the sixth largest church in the SBC – leading the urban congregation to establish new social ministries while at the same time expanding its evangelism and nurturing ministry base.

As SBC president he launched Mission Service Corps, a pathway for adults to serve as missionaries, and was chief promoter of Bold Mission Thrust, a plan to take the gospel to every person on earth by the year 2000.

In 1993 Allen joined Los Angeles Times journalist John Dart in a prize-winning report on the relationship between news media and religion called Bridging the Gap.

He once served as a non-governmental observer at the United Nations and led a fact-finding mission to Iran during the hostage crisis at the United States embassy in Tehran in 1979-1980.

In later years he served as chaplain of Big Canoe Chapel, a multi-denominational chapel in the north Georgia mountains, before moving to St. Simons Island in retirement. Lankford, who began serving at First Baptist Church in St. Simons Island in 2015, called it “an honor to get to know him.”

“He blazed a trail of ministry in such a way that younger men and women could follow,” Lankford said. “Many people, including me, are grateful for the life and ministry of Rev. Dr. Jimmy Allen.”

Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, said she has “known, loved and respected Jimmy Allen” her entire life.

Paynter called Allen “a visionary Baptist leader who believed in the power to convene good people for the surprising work of God.”

Paynter said Allen “engaged in honest dialogue and true cooperative ministry” and “brought a strong voice of encouragement and expectation to any endeavor.”

“I am so grateful for this pilgrim of faith,” Paynter said.

Hannah McMahan, executive director of the New Baptist Covenant, described Allen as “a man of vision and compassion” who will be “sorely missed.”

“He dedicated his life to the steadfast work of the gospel and was a shining example of a life well-lived,” she said. “Under his leadership, the inaugural meeting of the New Baptist Covenant in 2008 reminded our entire Baptist family what we are capable of when we lean into the best of who we are.”

*I first met this wonderful man in 1986 when I went to be interviewed on the Acts Network in Ft. Worth. Years later he graciously agreed to write a chapter in my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. I was blessed to attend the first meeting of the New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta. His vision and leadership will be missed.

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Be Thankful – FBC – Week Two- Say Something Nice Sunday

Scripture Focus: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:18

I didn’t recognize my friend. He has changed significantly since I last saw him a year ago. I learned that he suffered three light strokes in the past year that have primarily effected his central vision and his mobility. In telling me about his experience only after I inquired about his condition, he said, “I am blessed to work for a company that has continued me on full pay until I reach retirement age later this month. I may be unable to drive my car, but I can still mow my lawn. God is good to me.”

He kept his walking cane beside him. He moved among the crowd slowly but with assurance. He was quieter than I remembered. He added, “I had decided not to talk about this unless someone asked me. Other people have troubles of their own.” He is not bitter nor has he allowed his ordeal to make him angry. The first words he said to me were, “I am blessed.” On the other hand no one would mistake him for a Pollyanna. He takes life as it unfolds. Rather than concentrating on what he has lost, he counts his many blessings. He is thankful for what he can do.

The Apostle Paul reminds us to be thankful in all circumstances not for the circumstances. When we are overcome with our own problems and feel that life has dealt unfairly with us, all we need do to regain our perspective is to take a look around us at the sufferings of others. My friend is thankful for what he is still able to do. He praises God for his goodness to him.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, never let me forget that you are in charge. Let me take a lesson from my friend and praise you in all circumstances. Amen.

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Encourage One Another – Week Two – FBC – Say Something Nice Day

Scripture Focus: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

My friend has been unable to have full use of his right arm since having open heart surgery a few months ago. On the way back from lunch he said to me, “I can complain about all the things I can’t do with my right arm or I can be grateful for all the things I can do with my left arm. I choose to be thankful.” Wow! These words came from a man who has just lost his only daughter to a rare lung disease. His faith and courage under such circumstances gave me courage to walk back into my own house where my wonderful wife is plagued with Alzheimer’s disease. Carol taught in the public schools for twenty-eight years. She holds a Master’s degree plus thirty more graduate hours. She is the only person I have known who received more money on a grant request than she asked for. Five years ago she helped me edit my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. She loved singing in the Sanctuary Choir. When our faith grows weak we can lean into the faith of someone’s whose faith is stronger. Peter Gomes said it best in his sermon for Christmas Day, “The House of Bread,” “The miracle of Christmas is that God cared enough to send the very best and that he continues to do so in the gifts now given to us in one another.” God has blessed me with friends whose faith helps me strengthen my own.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, thank you for all the wonderful people you have sent into my life. You have blessed me beyond measure. Amen

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Delete Proof

This is one of the devotionals for Say Something Nice Sunday published by First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC.

Delete Proof
Scripture Focus:
“I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able
to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
— 2 Timothy 1:12.
I just read a post that starts, “If you get deleted in the next week.”
Isn’t that our universal fear in life? We are afraid of being deleted.
We are afraid that we don’t count and that others don’t need us,
don’t see us, and/or don’t value us. We want desperately to belong.
That is the wonderful message of our Christian faith. We do
belong. We are a part of the family of God. No one can pluck us
out of his hand or delete us from the Book of Life. You can easily
delete me from your circle of friends. You can unfriend me on
Facebook. You can even cut me off from any future contact or
communication with you. You have the power to cut me out of
your life, but no one can interrupt my connection with God.
There are those who think that they can establish the criterion for
who is in and who is out of God’s family, but those decisions are far
removed from their realm of control. They are powerless to set the
rules. God alone has established the criteria and no human being
can alter it. “ …whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but
have ever lasting life.” There are no modifiers. We all belong if we
believe. Whatever our particular demographic, we belong. God is
love. It doesn’t get any more basic than that. God loved me long
before I loved him or even knew who he is. I do not need to worry
about whether or not I will be deleted from his great contact list.
He calls me by my name. My place is secure and so is yours.
Prayer Focus:
Dear God, thank you for the assurance that nothing can separate
us from your loving care. Amen.
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