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I appreciate the prayerful advice and unanimous support for the classic worship service I received from the deacon body, the Board of Trustees, the pastoral staff, and key senior adult leaders. You were all a blessing to me as I prayed about the best way to lead our congregation. Your godly counsel was invaluable to me. I am truly excited about this opportunity to minister to our members as well as reach more people of all ages with the Gospel!
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." (John 20:19-23 ESV)
Big Idea: If you are a saved one then you are a sent one.
1. Jesus Emboldens Us With His Presence (20:19-20).
2. Jesus Employs Us With His Purpose (20:21).
3. Jesus Enables Us With His Power (20:22-23).
“We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.” (James 3:3–12, NLT)
As church members, we can all get so upset about things that truly do not matter in the light of eternity. How sad and tragic when what breaks the Lord's heart is not what breaks ours. What breaks His heart? What moves Him with compassion?
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”” (Matthew 9:35–38, NKJV)
Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive us for not seeing the lost world around us through your eyes of compassion. We become so easily distracted with our own plans, preferences, pleasures, and priorities that we become calloused to what moves your heart. You came to seek and to save those who are lost. We often come seeking to save our traditions or creature comforts. Please forgive us. Forgive us for getting more upset when things are not just the way we want them in the "barn", while being callous to the harvest of souls waiting in the fields just outside. Break our hearts with your compassion for the billions without you as their Shepherd. Thrust us out of our comfort zone with the Gospel message into the fields that are ripe for harvest. Grant that we can be a part of a wonderful harvest of souls for your Kingdom! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
I am excited about a new
opportunity to better reach our community. I have stressed many times over the years
that we are a church that helps people love God, love others, and serve the
world. Everything we do begins with the commission of Jesus to reach the lost
with the Gospel. That is why we desire to be a church that unchurched people
love to attend. And thanks to the support of our church body we are seeing that
happen. Over the last few years we have seen a record number of people
baptized, and over 600 people connected to a LifeGroup on a weekly basis. We
have become one of the largest churches in East Arlington. We even had eight
additions to the church last Sunday! We are baptizing several new believers this Sunday!
However, we are aware that there is a
group in our community that will never be reached effectively in our current
worship format. Nearly eighty percent of our surrounding community falls within
the parameters of the group our current format is designed to reach; young families and those under the age of 55. However, there is another group
that we can now effectively target, the 20 percent of our community that is
over the age of 55. Because Fort Caroline Baptist has been so diligent in doing
whatever it takes to reach the great majority of our community, we are now at a
place to reach out to this smaller, yet still very important group. To help us
in this endeavor we will be adding a new classic worship experience here at
On May 12 (Mother's Day), we will
begin to reach into this age group in an effort to win as many to Christ as
possible. A large portion of this age group wouldn't necessarily be comfortable
in our church in its current worship format. And as we have said so often, "we want to be all things to all people that by all
means some may be saved" (see
1 Corinthians 9:19-23). This new format will help us in that mission.
The staff and I have prayed for a
while about when would be the best time to begin this type of worship setting.
We feel that time is now. But we need your help. We are not doing something
just to please our people, although we are certain many of the people who have
sacrificed so much over the years will be thrilled to be able to worship God in
the language of their heart. This must be a truly evangelistic effort. Time is
running out and we must do all we can to reach as many as possible with the Good News of Jesus. Will you
help us? Will you pray and work towards seeing more people than ever being influenced by the Gospel in a relevant way?
The classic service will be held every Sunday at 8 a.m. beginning May
It will be traditional in its style.
Hymns that are known and loved will be sung.
Hymnals will be used rather than video projection for lyrics.
The hymns will be accompanied by piano and organ.
There will not be a choir weekly but the Senior Celebration Choir
will sing at times throughout the year.
Special music in the form of solos as well as piano or organ pieces
will be used as well.
The service will last an hour.
Nothing will be radically different about this service other than
the style and selection of music.
The same sermon will be preached in all three services by me or by the speaker of the day.
The other two services will be reduced to an hour in length as well.
The second service will begin at 9:30. The third service will begin at 10:45.
LifeGroup schedules will also move to the new schedule.
Childcare will be offered for the classic worship service for birth to 2-years old. The childcare options for the other two services will remain in place as they are. Childcare options may increase at the classic worship service as the demand dictates.
am willing to do whatever it takes to reach the lost. I need your help. I am asking for your
support as we continue to follow God’s will. No matter which service you attend, I need you to invite the people in your sphere of influence to join you. And remember that we are one congregation with multiple services and styles of worship. Let us remain united in our effort to serve our one Master, Jesus Christ, by fulfilling our one Mission in the world as we share the one Message, the Gospel!
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:1–6, NKJV)
I like what R. Kent Hughes wrote in his book, Disciplines of a Godly Man.
“You must remember this: You can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly because you cannot be profoundly influenced by that which you do not know. If you are filled with God's Word, your life can then be informed and directed by God — your domestic relationships, your child-rearing, your career, your ethical decisions, your interior moral life. The way to a Christian mind is through God's Word! (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 77.)