Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Baptist Temple sets fast pace for summer

Summer has reached the Baptist Temple Campus. Jubilee Academy is out for the summer but things have not quieted down. Care Warriors have begun their summer program to help young people with developmental disabilities build life skills that lead to greater independence. The program includes music and crafts and working at the thrift store. During the summer, the thrift store will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays and run by Care Warriors. Our usual Tuesday/Thursday schedule will also be maintained.

Our Early Learning Center is hopping as well with 110 enrolled. Summer day camp has filled in the gap created by the end of after school care.

Crosspointe Inc, a nonprofit organization that helps people reintegrate into society, was here on the first Saturday of June, moving a large mound of mulch into the community garden. The mulch is a beautiful way to suppress the weeds on the pathways. A crew of BT folks cut down the dead citrus trees around our Long Mission House. The trees were victims of the recent freeze.

A mission team from First Baptist Church of Tulsa arrived this week to lead to VBS for our Early Learning Center and at Highland Park. They also brought a construction team to work on a couple of projects. One was to seal 17 of our first story windows, providing increased security and insulation. Another was to prepare a space for, soon to arrive, Fletcher Seminary. They built bookcases, ran electrical and computer network wiring, painted the walls. They helped to set a fast pace for our summer.

We do not have any more groups scheduled for the summer. COVID fears discouraged churches from making summer plans but many are starting to venture out. Past experience and flexibility will allow us to maximize opportunities as they present themselves.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Spiritual and physical health make stronger disciples.

Installing the gym floor in 1967

The Baptist Temple gym was completed in 1967 as a way to provide physical fitness opportunities for our community. BT has a long and storied history of sports activity. Our oldest trophy is dated 1936 for a softball championship. Since then, there have been numerous championships in multiple sports.

The gym has been used for a variety of activities including basketball, volleyball, badminton, martial arts and more. However, as the membership of BT aged, gym usage declined. By the start of the 21st century it was rarely used.

When the church resolved to increase its community involvement, things began to change. A new charter school used the gym daily during the school year and our summer day camp used it when school was out. In the evenings, we had karate. On the weekends a variety of recreational activities.

As word got out, youth basketball teams started using the gym for practice in the evenings and, occasionally, for tournaments. Additionally, mission groups that stay on our campus overnight use our locker room showers.

Today, the gym is used day and night, seven days a week all year long. Along with the youth basketball clubs, four adult recreation groups use it as well.

San Antonio has a higher than average number of diabetics and its related problems. Fighting childhood obesity, a nation-wide problem, is key to preventing “lifestyle” diseases, including diabetes. Organized recreational activity is not only improves physical health but, also, provides a healthy after school environment. In fact, studies consistently show a connection between activity and better school performance.

As to be expected, the years have taken their toll, so we are launching a fund raising campaign to renovate the gym. The highest priority is repairing and re-striping the gym floor. Beyond that, we, also, need to repair the surrounding tile, remodel the restrooms and update the showers. As funds allow, we will also renovate the back staircase.

The fundraising effort began with a special Mother’s Day offering and will include a variety of events and grant applications. We want to partner with as many people as possible who want to invest in the physical and spiritual health of our community.

You can contribute online here or send a contribution to Baptist Temple, 901 E Drexel, San Antonio, TX 78210.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

I am thankful for water

I have lived near water for most of my life but I rarely had to think about it. That was until I moved to San Antonio. While not a desert, it is a place where people text each other when it rains on their block. We watch the evening news to learn how high water is in the Edward’s Aquifer and our current water use restriction.

The Bible has a lot to say about water. There are 500 references to water not including rivers, rains, wells, floods, seas and storms. Mary’s water broke and Jesus was born. Water came out of Jesus’ pierced side and he was dead. The Hebrews crossed the Red Sea into a new life. We are baptized as a symbol of our new life. God destroyed the world with a flood. Jesus told the woman at the well that he gives us Living Water.

Water is a big deal. Our bodies are 70% water. The surface of our planet is 71% water. However, 97% is in the oceans. Only 3% of earth’s water is fresh (not salty) but only 0.5% of it is accessible. So, 2.5% of the earth's fresh water is unavailable: locked up in glaciers, polar ice caps, atmosphere, and soil. Some is highly polluted or lies too far under the earth's surface to be extracted at an affordable cost.

One out three people in the world do not have access to clean water. On the other hand, the average American family uses 300 gallons of water per day. FEMA recommends that, in an emergency, each person will need one gallon of water per day. We use 3 gallons of water when we brush our teeth with the water running. That’s three days of water by FEMA’s calculation.

Water is essential for all life and is one of God’s gifts to all humanity. We ought to consume it with thanksgiving and be mindful of those who lack it. The simple act of not letting the water run while we brush our teeth can be one small way we can show our gratitude for this precious resource.

Friday, April 16, 2021

After Easter. Now what?

For most churches Easter is the BIG DAY. We celebrate the risen Lord. Not only do we prepare for a standout worship service, we send postcard invitations to every potential first time visitor we can. Most of our regulars will be there, as well as our intermittent attenders and some first time visitors as well. Everyone in their Easter best.

After it’s all over the church staff takes a much needed and well-earned rest. Things slow down. The excitement and stirrings of faith begin to fade in the hearts of first-time visitors and occasional attenders.

Weariness tends to follow surges of adrenaline but this is the time to increase our efforts. The church year begins now.

Jesus’ first followers had experienced the emotional devastation of his crucifixion followed by the elation of the resurrection. At one point they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6 NIV)

This is a good question. In their understanding, this was the whole point. Jesus’ next words must have been a shock. He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8 NIV)

Before they could respond, he was gone but they knew what to do. He had previously given them their marching orders. Words we commonly know as the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Furthermore, he promised them Holy Spirit power. This is the after-Easter message for all who are followers of Jesus.

The Monday after Easter is the time to follow up with folks who filled out visitor cards. It is the time to encourage attenders to join Bible study groups. It is the time to carry out the discipleship command we have been given. We must strike while the iron is hot.

Monday, March 01, 2021

New Direction Church joins the BT Campus family of churches

When Oliver Moffett was 10, he and some cousins spent a week of spiritual reflection at his grandparent’s house. His grandfather was pastor of Free Mission Baptist Church in New Orleans. For a week, without television or distractions, they were to pray for spiritual breakthrough. Oliver committed his heart to Christ that week.

While serving under Pastor L.C. Griffen at St. Stevens Baptist Church in San Antonio, Oliver became more involved in the church’s ministry and dug deeply into God’s Word. He had a hunger to serve and to learn. One night, he felt a clear calling to ministry. Several people, including his pastor, confirmed Oliver’s call. He preached his first sermon at St. Stephen’s in April 1980 and was ordained at Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church, San Antonio, in 1984. He was mentored by Pastor Griffin and, also, Pastor Smith of Golden Gate, as he studied the Bible and spent much time in prayer and meditation.

In 1994, Oliver started New Direction Church in his home with seven people. As the congregation grew, the young church worshiped outdoors in a park and then, at the Davis-Scott YMCA. Continuing growth led them to rent a warehouse in the Eastside in 2000. There they grew to 200 in worship with room to expand. New Direction was not able to hang on to the warehouse and moved first to the Eastside Boys and Girls Club and then, back to the YMCA.

In 2020, New Direction moved onto the Baptist Temple Campus. COVID-19 had taken a toll on their attendance, but they soon outgrew their small space and plan to begin using the Baptist Temple Chapel.

New Direction’s mission is building and rebuilding families back to God. They are a welcome part of the multidimensional ministry of the Baptist Temple Campus.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

God showed Anna how to use her pain to minister to others who suffer.

Anna Cortinas was raised in a Christian home in Beaumont, TX. She committed her heart to Jesus and was baptized at sixteen in Templo Bautiusta of Beaumont. In 1987, she enlisted in the US Army and served as a records clerk for four years in Germany. Following her military service, she worked for the Social Security Administration as a claims representative for ten years.

She enrolled at the Baptist University of the Americas (BUA), pursing a call that seemed unclear at the time. There, she began to grow spiritually as she gained a deeper knowledge of the Bible. God was changing her and giving clarity to her call. It was her participation in BUA’s first Latina Leadership Institute group that helped her find her ministry voice. She credits Dr. Nora Lozano with giving her the encouragement to break the shackles that limit so many women in ministry. 

She was a gifted teacher but had been restricted to teaching only women by her fundamentalist church. Anna accepted this constraint because she had never seen an alternative. When she preached her first sermon, she found a greater confidence in her calling. Following her graduation from BUA, in 2008, she continued to teach and preach and served as hospital chaplain. She even preached at her home church, where she had once been told that women aren’t allowed to preach. Still, she felt a strong call to something more in her ministry.

Being at her brother’s side and caring for him in the final stages of his life reinforced Anna’s gift of mercy, expressed by caring for suffering people. She grew in her understanding of how God can use the hardship and trauma in her life to help others in their time of need. 

In 2018, Anna enrolled in the Master of Theology program at Dallas Baptist University, preparing for the next phase of her ministry. She currently serves as an intern at Baptist Temple, where she will apply her organizational and interpersonal skills, along with her spirit of encouragement to help serve the spiritual needs of our community. She will take the lead in developing support groups and helping hurting people to discover God’s unconditional love and healing.

Anna has three children and five grandchildren.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Nate Clark shares the gospel and teaches others to do the same.

Nate Clark grew up in rural Iowa and has lived in San Antonio for almost 10 years. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in pottery from Graceland University in Lamoni, IA, he served as a chef in fine dining restaurants for 13 years until God called him into full-time ministry three years ago.

Nate says, “There was a time in my life when I was very angry, hurt, and had no sense of self-worth, mostly because my dad didn’t love me. I hated everyone and everything and myself most of all. I contemplated or planned suicide or suicide bombing on several occasions. My life absolutely sucked.

“Then, when I was 16, I read the Bible. I learned that God loves me and that he showed his love for me in Christ. He put His money where His mouth was and proved His love for me. It wasn’t just a hollow claim. He loves me so much He died for me. And not just that- but His love for me was so wholesome and so complete that His death also gave me forgiveness for my sin. The death I very justly deserved for being the absolutely terrible person that I was, was paid for in Jesus’s sacrifice. And as if that wasn’t enough, I got the Father I always wanted. Because of what Jesus has done, and because I have received Him and believed in Him, I have the right to call myself a child of God because that is what I am!

“When I learned this, it absolutely blew my mind. It totally wrecked me. I chose to accept Jesus’s love for me and follow him. Now my life is completely different than I ever imagined it could be. I have a wife who God uses every day to test me and try me but also to remind me of His great love. And now I’m a father! I have a son who I get to love and be an example for.”

Nate credits Ben Hanna for mentoring his spiritual development and equipping him to do the work of the Great Commission. His life changed in a way he never would have imagined. He, then, began his ministry of sowing the seed of the gospel and teaching other believers how to obey Jesus, by committing themselves to the work of the gospel.

Nate works closely with a global network of disciple-makers, missionaries, and church planters called No Place Left (NPL), who focus on using simple, biblical, and easily reproducible tools to facilitate God’s movement into all the peoples of the world. His partners include a network of traditional and non-traditional churches, the Baptist General Convention of Texas and E-3 Partners.

Along with his wife Alison and son, Keith, Nate has moved into Baptist Temple’s Olaya Long House as Missionaries in Residence. They will practice hospitality evangelism in our neighborhood and help equip God’s people to be soul-winners.