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Lance challenges Baptists to be ‘life changers’comment (0)

November 21, 2013

By Grace Thornton

Lance challenges Baptists to be ‘life changers’

Martha Myers grew up in Alabama, but when a gunman ended her life in Yemen, her body stayed there in the Middle Eastern country. She was buried on the hill next to the hospital where she served for 25 years.

“That indicated something to everyone — that she considered herself to be from Yemen,” said Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.

Myers had given her life there for years before she died, and she’s “among the pantheon” of those who have been “life changers” for the kingdom of God, he said.

Alabama is full of life changers, Lance said, and during his report Nov. 12 he encouraged those present at the Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting to follow in their footsteps, whether that be through giving, praying or serving.

Life changers “have eternal importance,” he said.

Using selected passages in Acts, he explained why Barnabas was a life changer.

“Everywhere Barnabas went, he changed lives. He’s known for changing lives by the way he gave to others,” Lance said.

And Alabama Baptists have taken Barnabas’ lead, he said — they remain the No. 1 contributor to the Cooperative Program and No. 2 in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

“You don’t realize it, but when you electronically or physically write out that check you become a life changer by giving to others,” Lance said.

Life changers also are known for believing in others, serving others and reaching others, he said. “What if next year and in the coming years we prayed evangelistically in our churches for lost people? We are busy planning for the next Sunday or the next event, but there needs to be time in our churches to pray evangelistically,” Lance said. 

In 2013 as part of the Praying Across Alabama emphasis, Baptists made prayer a priority by gathering together at courthouses in every county across the state.

“Alabama Baptists gathered in a way that said to communities we are not just people who meet under a steeple — we are a people of prayer who pray for people,” Lance said.

He challenged those present at the annual meeting to share Jesus intentionally with one person each month over the next year.

Lance noted that Billy Graham is an example of a life changer with a passion to share the gospel — a passion Alabama Baptists should strive for.

“Billy Graham wanted to have one last opportunity to preach on the only hope we have, which is in Jesus Christ — the message of the cross,” Lance said. “He’s poured himself into preaching the simple message of the cross. My prayer is that we, like him, would preach unashamedly the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

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