Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Reaching out to the neighbors
First Baptist Church of Waco adds Sunday services in Spanish
By Mike Copeland
Tribune-Herald staff writer
First Baptist Church of Waco is taking another step to reach out to its South Waco Spanishspeaking community by offering a Sunday service in Spanish.
For years, the church offered its “Habla” Bible-study program, sports leagues and classes teaching English as a second language.
“This is another opportunity to worship with and serve the people in our community,” said First Baptist Church Pastor Matt Snowden, noting the high percentage of Hispanics living near the facility’s location at 500 Webster Ave.
While about 500 people attend regular services Sunday mornings in the church sanctuary, Spanish-speaking people wanting to worship will gather at a nearby chapel.
“We do not look at this as a separate church or a separate entity, but another service in our church family,” Snowden said. “We have a lot of ministries for Spanish-speaking people and we have added this to our menu.”
Delores Melendez, who oversees the activities ministry at First Baptist, said the church works hard to overcome doubts that people in the neighborhood may have about attending a large church founded in 1851.
“First Baptist Church has a big heart and it has reached out to the community in more ways than just offering services in Spanish,” Melendez said. “A lot of people look at First Baptist and think, ‘I could never be a part of that.’ “But we are trying to get people away from that wa y of thinking and have been for many years.”
Melendez said First Baptist Church sponsors basketball and soccer teams that attract Spanish-speaking youngsters and other minorities.
It charges a small fee for parents to sign their children up to play in leagues and provides coaches as well as pays to have officials supervise the games and buys T-shirts and other equipment youngsters may need.
“Many of these children never played in a league because their families couldn’t afford it,” Melendez said. First Baptist is targeting these parents as it spreads the word about its new Sunday service in Spanish.
“Some say their children are asking about God for the first time,” Melendez said. Jaime Cortez, 26, hails from Veracruz, Mexico, and attends George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. He said he enjoys preaching to Spanish-speaking congregants at First Baptist.
“There is need everywhere, but I see a huge need here,” said Cortez, who is married and has a 10-monthold child. “We have a lot of socialwork programs, and we have basketball leagues and soccer leagues that attract Spanish-speaking people. But there was nobody to share the Bible with them.
“I saw that as an opportunity.”
He said he and others approached Snowden about starting a Sunday morning worship service.
“He said, ‘If you want to go for it, go for it,’ ” Cortez said.
Cortez received his bachelor’s degree in theology from the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, where several professors urged him to pursue advanced degrees at Baylor’s Truett Seminary.
Cortez hopes to serve as pastor of a church someday in either Mexico or the United States.
“I don’t know where yet, wherever God leads me,” Cortez said.
So far, attendance at the Spanish services, which began about a month ago, has been sparse.
“We have started very small, but we have great hopes the ministry will continue to grow,” Snowden said.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
A robust understanding of sin and evil is one of the most practical things we can possess. R.T. Kendall said, "A solid, sound doctrine of evil is essential both to good theological foundation and also to practical Christian living." I hope you'll join us at FBC Waco this week as we begin the long walk to the empty tomb. We start on the piccacle of the temple.
Text: Matthew 4:1-11
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
by the incomparable Dr. Seuss
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.
No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!