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BP Ledger, Aug. 31, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
National Organization for Marriage
Chuck Colson Center

Australia team works with
local church to evangelize Brisbane
by Katie Coleman

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BRISBANE, Australia (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) — Southwestern students and faculty partnered with City Tabernacle Baptist Church in Brisbane, Australia, July 7-23, to engage the city with the Gospel. Located in Brisbane’s inner city, the church is just a few blocks away from one of the city’s most popular shopping districts. The church’s proximity to such cultural attractions positions it to reach thousands of people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The Southwestern team engaged in more than 130 Gospel conversations and saw four people profess faith in Christ. One such experience took place when Bachelor of Science student Daniel Brown saw a young man, Camilo, sitting alone at the Queen Street Mall, the main shopping area in the popular Brisbane Central Business District. Brown passed him twice without thinking much of him, but he later sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to talk to Camilo.

At first unsure of what to say, Brown approached him and simply asked, “Do you know of a good place to get breakfast around here?” Although a seemingly ordinary question, their conversation quickly progressed into a discussion about religion. After presenting the Gospel, Brown asked Camilo if he wanted to give his life to Christ, to which Camilo replied, “Of course!” After ensuring that Camilo understood the Gospel and the implications of following Christ, Brown walked him through a prayer of salvation.

Throughout the trip, the Southwestern team was also involved with various ministries of City Tabernacle. One such ministry, called “Tab Tots,” provides an opportunity every Wednesday morning for mothers of young children to gather and fellowship with other mothers. Welcoming more than 100 women each week, the ministry has increased in popularity as international families have moved to the city and are now looking for ways to meet people.

In addition to assisting with childcare, the Southwestern team was able to talk with the mothers and share the Gospel with them. After numerous conversations, two mothers who had already been connected with the church’s ministry for several weeks prayed to receive Christ.

“It was great to see that a majority of the professions of faith during our trip came from people who had already been touched by City Tabernacle,” Doctor of Philosophy student Brandon Kiesling says. “One of the hardest things to do is follow-up. It’s great to know that the church will be able to follow up with these women because they have already connected with them several times.”

The team also hosted two conferences for church members, including one focused on evangelism. After the conference and after church members joined Southwestern students in the afternoons for evangelism, many were encouraged to learn that evangelism is not as intimidating as they once believed.

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Kiesling, who led the evangelism seminar, says that many people approached him afterward to tell him they never realized how easy it is to evangelize. “I think a lot of people think evangelism is difficult because of the many misconceptions we have,” Kiesling says. “If we can work through those misconceptions, we can realize it is not that difficult a task. It was encouraging to see these church members get excited about that.”

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First-ever Boyce College soccer team fuses sports with passion for missions
By Robert Chapman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) — The Boyce College Bulldogs soccer team will kick off its inaugural season in September. In recent weeks, the program hired an experienced head coach, finalized its roster of players and secured a location in downtown Louisville for its home games.

But the work to start the program began more than a year ago with the persistence of three students who had a vision for playing soccer to glorify of God and share the Gospel with others.

“I wanted to start a team because playing at Boyce College is the best way to utilize a sport that you love to glorify a God that you love,” said sophomore Nicholas Kampouris, a business administration major from Stoughton, Mass. “Growing up I viewed soccer as a way to glorify myself, so having an opportunity to approach soccer in a way that is not self-glorifying is why I wanted to play here.”

Kampouris said he sensed the desire to start the program as a means for ministry early in his freshman year. He said word spread around campus after he opened a Facebook page for Boyce soccer and eventually the administration of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary approved the program, which will compete in the NCCAA Division II Mideast Region. In 2006, Boyce formed a basketball team which also competes in the NCCAA. Boyce is the undergraduate school of Sotuhern Seminary.

Sophomore teammates Luiz Moreira of Campo Grande, Brazil, and Samuel Johnson of Buchanan, Mich., helped Kampouris form the vision for the program and share his desire to glorify God through Great Commision faithfulness as their ultimate goal. Moreira, a global studies major, said the worldwide appeal of soccer is an avenue for international missions.

“I want to use soccer in missions because it is the most known sport in the world,” Moreira said. “In any country you go into, we might not even have a language that we can communicate with, but soccer is a language in itself. It can break barriers and infiltrate societies for missions.”

Dennis Brooks, who has more than 10 years of coaching experience and recently founded the soccer program at Louisville’s Christian Education Consortium, assumed head coaching duties in July. Brooks said he became interested in the Boyce post because of his dual interests in coaching soccer and teaching young men.

“I am very passionate about pouring into guys and talking to them about becoming godly men, and soccer presents the opportunity to teach a lot of life lessons through the game,” Brooks said. “So the two things are perfectly aligned in this setting, to have that passion of pouring into guys in a godly environment with the game that I love.”

Brooks said he believes athletics teams perfectly align with Boyce College’s mission to train future Christian leaders and advance the Gospel.

“God gives us all different abilities and talents, and some of those are abilities and talents in the world of sports. In America it is a sports crazy culture, so if we can use soccer as a vehicle to reach the culture then I am all for that,” Brooks said. “What better way to try and reach the culture than with something they are crazy about, but we do it from a godly perspective with the idea that it is a mission trip every time we go out on the soccer field.”

Brooks said the team has already fused together its love for soccer and passion for missions. During the team’s Aug. 17 morning practice at Louisville’s Seneca Park, Brooks said a young man playing soccer alone asked if he could practice with the team.

“He did not know who we were, but he spent an hour and a half with us. And at the end of practice I heard one of our players sharing the Gospel with him,” Brooks said. “I do not know what the result of that will be, but that is what this is all about. And if all we accomplish this season is that young man, then the season was a success before we even play our first game.”

Boyce will open its season Sept. 4 against Warren Wilson College and host its first home game Sept. 12 at Champions Park in downtown Louisville. For more information on the Bulldogs soccer team, visit boycebulldogs.com.

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NOM identifies marriage champions
in Republican presidential field
By Paul Bothwell

WASHINGTON (Christian Newswire) — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) recently identified four Republican presidential candidates they have dubbed “Marriage Champions” for having pledged to the American people that they will take several specific actions as president to restore marriage to the law and protect people of faith from discrimination because of their support for traditional marriage. NOM said that Sen. Ted, Cruz, Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Dr. Ben Carson have emerged as the top candidates for marriage supporters.

“Electing a president in 2016 who is a true champion on marriage is a critical priority, something that is essential if we are to overturn the outrageous, illegitimate decision of the US Supreme Court imposing same-sex ‘marriage’ on every state in the nation,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “While many of the GOP candidates talk the talk about supporting marriage, these four candidates have distinguished themselves as true champions, having pledged to the American people to take very specific actions to advance the cause of marriage. NOM is committed to educating people about the importance of electing a true marriage champion as President of the United States.”

NOM’s presidential pledge that has been signed by candidates Cruz, Santorum, Jindal and Carson makes several specific commitments to preserve marriage and restore a thriving marriage culture, including:
1. Support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

2. Work to overturn the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision that illegitimately imposed same-sex ‘marriage’ on every state in the nation, including nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

3. Conduct a review of actions taken by the Obama Administration that have undermined marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

4. Support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.

5. Direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

“NOM has invited every candidate for president to sign our pledge, and we encourage those who have not yet signed to do so as soon as possible,” Brown said. “We will not support a candidate for president who has not pledged to the American people to take specific actions in support of restoring marriage to our law and protecting people from government discrimination over their beliefs that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

Brown said that several candidates have issued strong statements in support of marriage but have decided not to sign any pledges as a candidate. Governor Mike Huckabee covered marriage in his own pledge to the American people and Gov. Scott Walker has promised to support a constitutional amendment restoring true marriage.

“It’s unfortunate that some candidates have adopted a blanket position against signing pledges because it puts them at a tremendous disadvantage in seeking our support when there are strong candidates who have pledged to us and our supporters to take very specific and important actions as president. We are far past the point where we will simply rely on generalities and broad statements from a candidate; we need to know with specificity what actions they will take as president. As President Reagan once said, we must ‘trust, but verify.’ Accordingly, we urge these candidates to reassess their stance and sign NOM’s pledge,” Brown said.

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John Stonestreet to lead
Chuck Colson worldview center
By David Carlson

LANSDOWNE, Va. (Chuck Colson Center) — John Stonestreet has been appointed president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. A gifted communicator on areas of faith and culture, published author, and a popular conference speaker, Stonestreet is the anchor for “The Point” and “BreakPoint This Week” radio broadcasts. Since the death of Chuck Colson in 2012, Stonestreet has served as co-host with Eric Metaxas on Colson’s daily radio program, “BreakPoint.”

Regarding his appointment, Stonestreet said, “Working with Chuck Colson was one of the greatest honors of my life. I believe deeply in his vision of Christianity as the fundamental truth about reality and the task of Christians to be the restorers of culture.”

Colson invited Stonestreet to join the Colson Center staff in 2010, specifically with an eye to reach a new generation of Christians. “It’s a tough, confusing world for Christian young people,” Colson said on a “BreakPoint” broadcast. “The problem’s compounded by the fact that we older Christians aren’t particularly adept at communicating our faith and worldview to younger Christians.”

Colson then announced how pleased he was “that we’ve added one of the truly fine, leading, young worldview thinkers and teachers to the ‘BreakPoint’ fold.”

Stonestreet is the co-author of three books — the latest being “Restoring All Things” (with Warren Cole Smith). He remains a featured faculty member of Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and has engaged deeply in collegiate life, lecturing frequently on college campuses and formerly serving on the teaching faculty of two Christian colleges.

Best-selling author and radio host Eric Metaxas praised Stonestreet’s appointment: “After working with John and co-hosting ‘BreakPoint’ for the past three and a half years, I have no doubt that John is God’s choice to take the Colson Center forward. I congratulate the board on this important decision and rejoice to think what lies ahead for the Colson Center under John’s leadership.”

The Colson Center also announced the appointment of Steve Verleye as executive director. Verleye spent nearly 35 years in the technology industry with roles including chief administrative officer of Coinstar/Redbox and CEO of Applied Microsystems. A graduate of the Colson Center’s Centurion Program, Verleye also serves as chairman of the board for Pioneer Human Services, a nonprofit that helps former prisoners with housing, treatment and job skills training.

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