One of the greatest joys of coming to the Pastor’s Conference every year is simply encountering the people of First Baptist Church. Now I will say unequivocally that I have the privilege of pastoring one of the greatest churches on earth. The people of Pinecrest Baptist church are truly people who love the Lord, love the truth, love the church, love one another, and love their pastor, (in that order), and I am grateful to the Lord for that.
I am also grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the people of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. Every year that we have come to the conference we have seen the same smiling faces and felt the same warm handshakes of men and women who without doubt love the church the Lord has given them. That’s what happens when you fill up a bunch of people with Jesus and His Word, and no doubt they have had lifetimes of being filled.
As always, we have thoroughly enjoyed the Choir, Daniel Crews, Damaris Carbough, and the king of choir directors, Dr Jim Whitmire. The preaching of God’s Word is the centerpiece of my attention. Dr. Mac’s message Friday night was good; Jr. Hill had an “exceptional moment” within his message, (at least to me); and that was the second time that I have heard the message “Come Before Winter” by Dr. Vines. The second time was better than the first time. Ed Stetzer’s general points are worthy of reception. I think most everyone would agree with Ed in the overall principles of his message, yet it is putting those principles into specific practices that would take us right back to the place of contention. I may be wrong, but I believe that we ALL agree that not everything is worthy of contention. I don’t really know anyone who believes everything is worthy of a dividing line. The conflict always rests in which things are worthy of contention, and which things are not. That being said, I did enjoy listening to Ed, he is clearly a scholarly man dedicated to the Word of God.
Back to the church, it is very encouraging to see a church full of people who endure the winds of difficulty and the fires of a fallen world through determination and dedication with such a delightful spirit. The people of this church have my prayers and best wishes, and are worthy of visit.
There is no such thing as a “church-less” Christianity. In reality there should be no such thing as a “loveless church.” Would that all Christians would love the church, (local assembly of Baptized believers), and one another the way this one seems to; it is a much needed change worth making.