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God & families top priorities, Texas speakers tell conference

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Christians should treat their family relationship second only to their relationship with God, speakers told the Texas Baptist Family Reunion at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center.
“Aside from your relationship with God through Jesus Christ his Son, there’s only one thing that matters, and that’s intimacy with your family,” said Howard Batson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Amarillo, echoing a theme heard throughout the week-long conference.
More than 1,700 attended the Texas Baptist Family Reunion, July 4-10, which featured more than 100 family related conferences.
The family will stand or fall on the basis of its members’ ability to communicate with each other, Ellis Orozco, pastor of Corpus Christi Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, told the reunion.
Communication in the family requires commitment, courage and compassion, Orozco said. “Communication with your family is the most important thing you will ever do.”
It takes work to create a spiritual atmosphere in the home, according to William M. Pinson Jr., executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
“Happy homes don’t just happen,” Pinson said. “They have to be developed.”
A Christian home should be like a healthy church, characterized by worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry and missions, he said.
While hard work is essential, family building also takes know-how, said Pinson, Bible study leader for the conference.
Couples need to recognize marriage as a natural, sacred, sexual, exclusive and lasting union, he said. God designed marriage to provide companionship, to stabilize society and to bring children into the world and bring them up in the faith, he added.
Christian parents have a faith worth teaching, a love worth sharing and a task worth doing, said D.L. Lowrie, pastor of First Baptist Church, Lubbock. The primary responsibility for instilling spiritual truth in children rests with parents, he emphasized.
“The church is a wonderful, wonderful partner for the Christian family, but a terrible substitute,” he said.
Abraham left a legacy of faith for his children and their descendants, teaching by example how to live with blessing and with adversity, said Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church, Wichita Falls.
The greatest lessons that the Old Testament patriarch taught Isaac and the generations that followed involved the sovereignty of God — “nothing happens by accident” — and the sufficiency of God — “God will provide,” Jeffress said.
A near-capacity crowd packed Holcomb Auditorium for the opening session of the Texas Baptist Family Reunion, as more than 365 youth with the Texas Baptist All-State Choir, Band and Strings presented the patriotic musical, “Nation: It’s Time to Pray.”
Building upon the Independence Day theme, featured preacher Levi Price Jr., pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso, challenged Texas Baptists to act as salt and light in a dark and corrupt society.
“When God’s people are righteous, God can deliver an entire nation,” Price said. “Let’s be the kind of people who can bring God’s blessings to our land.”
God has blessed the Texas Baptist family with abundant resources, but there are three things they must do to receive his promises, according to Paul McBride, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, Frisco.
“We need to pray, we need to pray and we need to pray,” he said.
Midway through the week-long reunion, denominational leader Charles McLaughlin addressed the group, offering thanks to his Texas Baptist family for their prayers and sharing his testimony of a life of faithfulness.
McLaughlin, longtime director of the BGCT state missions commission, has been in home hospice care since last October with terminal cancer. He described an encounter with Michelle, a hospice nurse.
“She wanted to know if I was ready to die,” McLaughlin recalled. He asked how to recognize the physical signs of life’s end and be prepared for them.
Then he reversed roles, asking the nurse if she were prepared spiritually for death. When she acknowledged that she was unprepared, McLaughlin presented the plan of salvation to her.
“Michelle took my hand and talked to the Lord,” he said.

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  • Ken Camp