Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Great Commission and Discipleship

By: Barry G. Allen

Early in Matthew’s Gospel (4:18-20), Jesus called the first two of his disciples, namely, the fishermen brothers, Peter and Andrew. He called them to leave their nets and to follow him to become fishers of men. Matthew’s Gospel closes dramatically and forcefully with the resurrected Jesus giving his eleven disciples the Great Commission.

As critical as the concern for man’s salvation is in the Great Commission, we in the church have been so preoccupied with the lost world we have failed to focus on that aspect of the Great Commission that is the call to be brought under Christ’s discipline and to be taught to obey all that has been commanded by the one to whom all authority had been given. The call to discipleship is the call to submit to the kingly rule of God in our lives (6:33).

Therefore, we in the church must realize a lot of spiritual maturing had to take place between Jesus’ call to Peter and Andrew to become fishers of men and his commission to them and the others to go and make disciples of all nations. The same is true for us today. There’s a huge amount of teaching from Jesus between Matthew 4 and Matthew 28. Before we can effectively go and teach others to be obedient to Jesus and all he commanded, we ourselves must become obedient, and we have not.

I agree with Henry Blackaby’s assessment of where we are as Southern Baptists and where we ought to go from here. He has said, “If Southern Baptists want to see a Great Commission Resurgence, we need to focus on the relationship between disciples and the living Lord Jesus, not launch a new emphasis on evangelism. Southern Baptists have focused on evangelism and missed discipleship. The heart of the Great Commission and discipleship is to teach them to practice everything I have commanded you.”

Finally, at the heart of discipleship is financial stewardship for Kingdom advancement about which Jesus had more to say than any other discipline (6:19-21, 24).

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

Barry Allen is the retired President and CEO of the KBF and currently serves as a consultant to the interim management team. This article published in this week's Western Recorder also appeared in a previous edition of the paper. The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Estate Stewardship Through Kentucky Baptist Foundation

By: Laurie Valentine - Interim President, Trust Counsel and COO
Using the Kentucky Baptist Foundation to accomplish your estate stewardship objectives can benefit both you and the Baptist causes you wish to support.

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is the trust agency of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. It can receive lifetime gifts and/or gifts at death for the support of all Kentucky Baptist and Southern Baptist causes. The Foundation, as a “member of the family”, has a special appreciation and affection for the mission and ministry of the causes that will be supported through your gifts. This connection assures you, as the giver, the Foundation has each cause’s best interests in mind as it manages the gifts made for that cause’s benefit.

Many givers want to benefit more than one cause and realize that dividing their gift may result in lower total support. A single fund can be set up with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation to provide support to more than one Baptist cause. This can result in more consistent levels of support for all----each cause will have the benefit of the same level of competent investment management oversight services and the economies of centralized fund management.

Making the Kentucky Baptist Foundation the manager of your gift assures the causes you want to support are left to do what they were called to do---missions, Christian education, child care, evangelism, disaster relief, etc. You relieve their board, trustees and/or staff from day-to-day investment research, analysis, decision-making, transacting and reporting, and place those responsibilities with the organization whose mission is to provide competent, prudent financial management for the causes designated by its donors.

Let us help you discover how you can practice your financial stewardship at a deeper level.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wise Foolishness

 By: Barry G. Allen-

            In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 the Apostle Paul contrasts human and divine wisdom.  To understand his argument one must pay attention to the shifts in the meaning of the word “wisdom.”  When he uses it for human reason apart from God it has a negative connotation, which is “wisdom of the world.”  When he uses it of God it has a positive force, which is something like “God’s wise plan of salvation.”  Since God’s plan of salvation is ultimately revealed in the cross of Christ, the word is personified.  In other words, Christ on the cross is the ultimate wisdom of God.
            Thus, the contrast is between wisdom as human intellectual striving to attain the ultimate and wisdom as revelation, God’s gift.  The cross is the divider which separates those who are on their way toward salvation and those who are perishing.  “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (v 18).
            In verses 19 -20 Paul establishes the premise that God has rendered worthless all human-centered attempts at salvation: “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”  Not only did God reject the fruitless striving of human wisdom, but also He chose a means of revelation actually contradictory to that wisdom, namely, the foolish proclamation of a crucified Savior: “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (v 23).  But those whom God has called are able in faith to understand Christ is the ultimate wisdom and power of God (v24).

            “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (v 25).  Therefore, let us demonstrate in our lives this wise foolishness about which Paul wrote, which is the true wisdom of the cross that reduces to foolishness everything the world values, and let us be faithful in living sacrificial lives as we share the Gospel to a culture to which the Gospel seems foolish.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

Barry Allen is the retired President and CEO of the KBF and currently serves as a consultant to the interim management team. This article published in this week's Western Recorder also appeared in a previous edition of the paper. The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Strategic Time

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

Although the KBF has been serving Kentucky Baptists since 1945, its time has just arrived.

Given the significant challenges of financing in the future the missions and ministries of every component of our larger Baptist family, and given the demographic, economic, social, cultural, technological and denominational trends and their collective impact on charitable giving, the role of the KBF in the future of Kentucky Baptist life will be ever more critical.

It takes money to do missions – and – it will take more in the future than in the past. Our churches, the Cooperative Program and other Kentucky Baptist related ministries, including associations, are where money is transformed into ministry. And, more than any other time in our history there is a tidal wave of opportunity in securing legacy gifts, but the window of opportunity for many will not be open for long.

Therefore, before it’s too late, the older generation of Kentucky Baptists must be challenged to leave a legacy through their churches and other Kentucky Baptist and Christian ministries that have been near and dear to their hearts. The younger generation of Kentucky Baptists must be taught how to live according to the biblical principles of the Christian discipline of financial stewardship.

We Kentucky Baptists are involved in the greatest business in the world – the Great Commission business! Amen? The late A.M. Vollmer, the first full time executive of the KBF, said it best in his final report to the board of directors upon his retirement in 1964 after 18 years of service: “the Foundation has been in the past and will continue to be in the future my first love among all of our Kentucky Baptist projects. This is true because it lives to strengthen all the rest.”

The KBF believes every adult Kentucky Baptist should have a Christian estate plan the fruits of which will make a lasting difference in the world for the cause of Christ through one’s church, the Cooperative Program and one or more of his/her favorite Baptist cause(s).

Please give us the privilege of assisting you and your church in facilitating your estate stewardship plan. Laurie Valentine, our trust counsel. Is awaiting your toll-free call.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It’s Inventory Time

By Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

As 2014 has ended and 2015 begins, each of us should take an inventory of our lives. The Apostle Paul offers some helpful guidance in Philippians 3:12-16.

Much like the Philippian church of Paul’s day, we find ourselves in a world that does not place a premium on spiritual values. Instead, contemporary society invites participation without restraint in various kinds of immorality. By some modern-day standards, there is no “right” or “wrong.” Seemingly, every individual has the privilege of doing what is “right” according to his or her standards. As a result, our society is “slouching toward Gomorrah.” Regretfully, we are living in a world bent on decay.

In contrast to our contemporary American scene are the Apostle Paul’s words, which specify the values and goals of a Christian. Instead of seeking to satisfy self-desires and carnal pleasure, Paul encountered self-denial and commitment to Christ as his life’s purpose. His values were spiritual, and his goal was Christ. The intensity of his desire was expressed in such vivid language as “press on”, “straining for” and “seize.” The most important aspect of his life was his relationship to Jesus Christ. Christ, instead of self, was at the center of his being.

If we, then, honestly evaluate Paul’s perspective, these questions arise: Are our values in the right place? Is Jesus Christ the goal of our lives? Has our spiritual progress been deterred because of self-centeredness? Do we have the courage to struggle with our sin and the sin of the world?

As Christians in today’s world, we are challenged prayerfully to consider our values, our goals and our commitments. Let these words of Paul help you meet the challenge: “Not that I have already attained all of this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stewardship Truths- #12

A 12 part series discussing stewardship.

By: Barry G. Allen
Leave a legacy like Abel, who offered God a more acceptable sacrifice than his brother Cain

Hebrews 11:4: "By faith Abel offered God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain did. By faith Abel was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And, by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead."

Abel's offering was made in faith. His outward gift revealed his inward faith and righteousness for subsequent ages to see. His example of faith - his legacy - speaks to every generation, not simply as an immortal memory, but as a stimulus for each of us to follow Abel's example and leave a lasting legacy of our faith beyond our lifetime.

Contact Laurie Valentine or Barry Allen for assistance in how to "leave a lasting legacy" through your estate plan for the benefit of your church and other causes near and dear to your heart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12 Steps For Christian Estate Planning

By: Laurie Valentine- COO & Trust Counsel

A Christian estate plan is one you develop by determining how God wants you to: (1) provide for your family and other “dependents” at your death and (2) have your finances managed and decisions made for you if you became incapacitated and no longer able to do those things for yourself.

Step #12 Don’t Wait! Failing to plan is really planning to fail. And, failing to keep your plan up-to-date may be even worse.

You don’t have to have all the answers to get started. Most estate planning documents are changeable. So, you can start with fairly simple documents and then “tweak” them from time to time throughout your life as you sense God’s plan for how you should provide for your family and other beneficiaries changes.

And, make sure to review your plan on a regular basis (every three to five years) and also when there are significant changes in your family (births, marriages, deaths, etc.) and/or in what you own. Look at everything---your estate planning documents; how all assets are titled; and beneficiary designations. Determine if: (1) the alternate beneficiaries for the shares of beneficiaries who have died are still who you want; (2) the possibility you might have more children/grandchildren was provided for in your existing documents; and (3) the persons named to serve as executor, trustee, power of attorney are still willing and able to serve in those capacities.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.