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SBC DIGEST: Psalm 139 ultrasound placement in Florida; Jimmy Pritchard dies of COVID-19; David Dykes announces retirement

Psalm 139 Project donates ultrasound machine to Florida pregnancy resource center

By Elizabeth Bristow/ERLC

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has donated an ultrasound machine to Care Net of the Treasure Coast in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The pregnancy resource center held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new location in an underserved portion of the Port St. Lucie community Sunday (Feb. 28).

Care Net of the Treasure Coast serves an average of 200 women per month in its current locations, said Sue Chess, the executive director. The Psalm 139 ultrasound placement will serve residents at the organization’s newest location in an area highly populated with abortion clinics.

“We know that 86 percent of our clients will choose life if they see an ultrasound,” Chess said. “The power of this window into the womb cannot be overestimated.”

The Psalm 139 Project focuses on aiding pregnancy resource centers by securing ultrasound machines and providing training for their use. The centers use the machines in their life-saving work to support women and families in crisis pregnancy situations, helping many to make the choice for life.

“It is such a privilege to partner with organizations like Care Net of the Treasure Coast to save lives and serve the vulnerable,” said Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations and life initiatives. “Thanks to the generosity of individuals committed to the pro-life cause and the support of our churches, we are able to bless these centers with these life-saving machines at no cost to them. That way, their resources can be directed to the women and families in crisis. This is just more evidence of the essential work being done by the ERLC to stand for life.

Read the full story here.

Former SBTC President Jimmy Pritchard dies of COVID-19

By Tammi Reed Ledbetter/Southern Baptist TEXAN

FORNEY, Texas (BP) – Jimmy Pritchard, 65, former president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, pastor of First Baptist Church of Forney, and a leader in the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention nationally and in Texas, lost a brief battle with COVID-19 and pneumonia Feb. 24, after being hospitalized a few days earlier.

The church announced his passing at the Wednesday night prayer vigil where members had gathered to pray for healing, having received the crushing news from the family just an hour earlier. Four days later, the Sunday morning crowd at Forney wept for their loss, but offered praise that Pritchard was healed through his passage to heaven.

Many in the congregation had sat under his ministry since he was called to First Baptist in 1994 and led the church through significant growth, welcoming more than 6,000 new members, baptizing more than 2,600 new believers, and seeing 38 people answer a call to full-time Christian vocations. International, North American, and Texas missions has been a hallmark of his tenure, including work in Scotland, Hungary, Lebanon, Uruguay, Thailand, Czech Republic, India, Cuba and Ethiopia, various projects in the U.S., and birthing a new church in nearby Talty, Texas.

His messages to Southern Baptists often called for spiritual awakening born out of prayer and motivated toward missions. While president of SBTC he led times of prayer in every region of Texas throughout 2015, accompanied by SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards.

“We are spoiled,” Pritchard said in his 2014 sermon to messengers in Fort Worth. “The Great Commission has shifted to be the Great Convenience. Our problem is not in structure. It’s in our heart.”

A year later in Houston, he drew from his study of the history of U.S. missions to cite the Haystack Prayer Meeting of 1806 as an example of acting upon a desire to see the lost saved and discipled.

“It’s almost like we’ll pray and cross our arms and say, ‘OK, God, now do something really wild because we’ve prayed,’” Pritchard said. “He might. But it is more than likely we need to add to our praying a bit of resolve like those five young college students who said, ‘We can do this, if we will.’”

“Those regional Pastor Prayer Gatherings typified Jimmy Pritchard’s desperate cry for revival, renewal and awakening,” Richards said of the denominational leader. “Brother Jimmy knew that every spiritual awakening has been preceded by prayer and obedience. He could see the goal line of making disciples of all nations. And now, in glory, I think he has an even clearer vision of the countless number of souls redeemed because of his obedience to that cause that he championed.”

Richards recalled Pritchard welcoming representatives from the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas while he was SBTC president in 2015, recognizing the group’s mutual commitment to biblical inerrancy.

SBTC Executive Director-Elect Nathan Lorick described Pritchard as a friend to many.

“The way he loved the Lord, his family, his church and his friends set such a great example for all of us, Lorick said. “Personally, my life has been enriched because of our friendship. He was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.”

Read the full story here.

David Orlo Dykes to retire as pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church

TYLER, Texas (BP) – David Orlo Dykes, senior pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, announced Feb to the congregation Feb. 28 his plans to retire on Aug. 31, 2021. Dykes has been pastor of Green Acres since March of 1991. He is the longest-serving pastor in the church’s 66-year history.

Green Acres has more than 17,000 members and is known for its mission involvement locally and around the world. Dykes started preaching in 1970 and served three churches in Alabama before coming to serve in Tyler. He has led mission teams to more than 30 countries, and he and his wife Cindy have guided more than two dozen tours to Israel.

Dykes is the author of 19 nonfiction books including: Handling Life’s Disappointments; Do Angels Really Exist?; The Spiritual Powerbook; Ten Requirements for America’s Survival; Daniel: Character out of Chaos; Angels Really Do Exist; Finding Peace in Your Pain; No, That’s Not in the Bible; Revelation: God’s Final Word; What Healthy Churches Do; What Healthy Pastors Do; How Healthy Disciples Live; Jesus: Storyteller; Hope When You Need it Most; Following Jesus in the Holy Land; Lord, Heal Our Land; Pastor David’s Travel Guide to Heaven; The Inside Job; and Starting Over in a COVID World: Lessons from the Story of Ruth.

Under the name David Orlo, Dykes also has written a trilogy of action novels – The Cloudstrike Prophecy, The Jerusalem Protocol and The Masada Proposal.

Read the full statement here.

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