Dana Williamson

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From prison to pastorate for Oklahoma pastor

COWETA, Okla. (BP -- Adam Mask grew up in a loving home with wonderful parents, but it was not a Christian home. “Although it was a loving home, Jesus was not the center of our lives,” Mask said. “My mother was a believer, who demonstrated a degree of fruits, but my father was not. I had heard about Jesus and was familiar with some of the stories in the Bible, but they were no more real to me than Aesop’s fables were.”

‘MY316 Road Trip’ underway in Okla.

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)--Oklahoma Baptists are on the go via a "MY316 Road Trip" taking the convention's evangelism leader, Tim Gentry, and other co-workers to every Baptist association in the state between the 2010 and 2011 annual meetings of the convention.

Okla. City bombing gave him ‘deeper gut feeling’ about life

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BP)--When Dennis Purifoy came to, he called for help.       "I couldn't figure out why no one was coming to help me," he recalled.       Purifoy had been sitting at a computer screen moments earlier. The last thing he remembered was a flash across the screen. Now, he was sprawled on the floor with a 5-by-5-foot ceiling tile covering him.       "I thought my computer had blown up," he said. "It was pitch dark, and for a minute, I thought I was blind."       It was shortly after 9 a.m. on April 19, 1995, and what Purifoy didn't realize is most of his co-workers were also covered in debris, injured or even dead.       When a co-worker finally helped free Purifoy from the ceiling tile, he realized that more than his computer had blown up.       "I knew it was some kind of explosion," Purifoy said. "A few weeks before, we had evacuated the building because of a gas leak somewhere downtown. A lot of people thought there had been a gas explosion."       Purifoy worked in the Social Security office of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, where 16 employees and 24 customers in the office died on that cloudy spring day. He was among 2,000 people who attended the 2010 commemoration at the Oklahoma City National Memorial site where, 15 years earlier, 168 people were killed and more than 600 others injured.       With the Social Security office on the first floor of the building, Purifoy said the experience there was different from those working on the floors above after the bombing.       "A good part of the front of the building was blown away, and there was all this light coming into the building, but on the first floor, the rubble piles from the collapse of the building were so big, we were in total darkness."       Purifoy said he suffered only minor injuries -- bumps and bruises and had to have a couple of stitches on one ear. He was back at work even before the Social Security offices reopened at Shepherd Mall just a month later, even though he said he was not at full effectiveness.       Purifoy said his wife got aggravated with him when people asked how he was doing in the days after the bombing.       "I said I was doing OK, but she said I wasn't," said Purifoy, a member of Church of the Good Shepherd in Yukon, Okla., who grew up in First Baptist Church in Tulsa and Mayfair and Portland Avenue Baptist churches in Oklahoma City.

From the front door to ends of the earth

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BP)—Southern Hills Baptist Church believes missions begins at its front door. Members are involved in local missions, including a Bible study for men and women who are either going into prison, coming out of prison or awaiting sentencing; an outdoor ministry for disabled children, teaching them such things as archery and fishing […]

Family called to adopt special needs kids

MOORE, Okla. (BP)--On the first of Chris Malone's 14 mission trips to Ukraine, the people of that country stole his heart -- and he didn't want to go home.       On one of his next trips, Malone had an opportunity to visit several orphanages, one of them for special needs children ...

Church gives building to another congregation

TULSA, Okla. (BP)--In the early 1970s, Valley View Baptist Church in Tulsa was running 400 in Sunday School. Then the neighborhood began to transition and membership spiraled downward.

Best friends: Christ’s love in a child’s eyes

HOOKER, Okla. (BP)--Seven-year-old Gabe Flanagan is Jon Marc Roebuck's best friend. He makes him laugh. He loves to help him. People who know them are deeply moved by the unusual compassion that marks Gabe's friendship with Jon.

ETHNIC CHURCHES: Engaging Native Americans

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BP)--It's the Christmas story like you've never seen it before.       All the participants are meticulously dressed in Native American regalia. Tribal chiefs portray the Wise Men. The shepherds who come to worship the Christ child are seen as hunters.       Across the packed auditorium at Glorieta Baptist Church, members and guests watch as "A Native American Christmas Story" unfolds.       This is one of the more popular outreach activities at Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., a 350-member congregation that is 90 percent Native American.       The church conducts a wide range of activities to engage its community and mature people in Christ, says Emerson Falls, who grew up just a few miles from the church and this past fall was elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.       But of all the initiatives the church undertakes, Falls says the most important thing they do is pray. Like many other churches, the Wednesday night schedule begins with a meal, but then the rest of the evening focuses entirely on prayer.       "Whatever we do comes out of a dynamic relationship to God," Falls says. "We encourage members to read Scripture daily and keep a journal of what God is saying to them. We have to be connected with God before we can do anything."       One of the major changes the Lord led the church to make since Falls became pastor five years ago was to move its Sunday evening service to 2 p.m. and change it from a time of worship to a focus on discipleship training. That helped them involve more church families, many of whom travel to the church from all over the metropolitan area.       Falls tries to use the afternoon session to equip members for witness and ministry.       "We recently did Becoming Contagious Christians, and we revisited Experiencing God," Falls says. "We also train our people in the 'Roman Road' plan of salvation once a year."       But the church also works to get people in the pew so they can hear the Gospel.       "The No. 1 reason people come to church is because they know someone," Falls says. "Therefore, our outreach tends to be relational."       Toward that end, the church launched "Give Friday Nights to Jesus," a non-threatening social time -- a cook-out, game night or other event -- where unchurched people are special guests.

In the pipeline: Chaplaincy takes Gospel to oil fields

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)--In a state with oil rigs on its state capitol grounds, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is developing an oil field chaplaincy program.       "There are 60,000-plus people in Oklahoma employed in the oil and gas industry," said Tom Beddow, who is coordinating the new outreach in conjunction with BGCO chaplaincy specialist Paul Bettis.       Wherever there's an oil and gas field in the state, Beddow said, there is a Baptist church.       "And in those churches are men and women who have or are currently working in the oil and gas industry. We want to find them, train them and send them into the community as chaplains," Beddow said.       The mission statement of the new chaplaincy ministry is to be available anytime, anywhere to be a caring and supportive presence in the lives of oil and gas industry personnel and their families.     nbsp; Beddow, in addition to serving on the BGCO staff, has been appointed by the North American Mission Board. He previously served as director of counseling and family ministry at First Baptist Church in McAlester, Okla.

New Veggie Tales movie to hit theaters

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)--A gourd, a grape and a cucumber who risk limbless life on the 17th Century high seas to save a princess are the featured characters in a new Veggie Tales movie, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything," appearing in movie theaters Jan. 11.