The Florida Baptist State Convention meeting last month hosted by North Jacksonville Baptist Church was a wonderful and exceptional experience for Florida Baptists.
Here are some of my observations:
►The staff and folks at the North Jacksonville Baptist Church could not have made better preparations. The accommodations were simply excellent. Their staff and volunteers did yeoman’s work behind the scenes—catering meals; setting up the facilities; giving directions; answering questions and making us feel welcomed. It could not have been a better experience. Thank you Dr. Herb Reavis, pastor, and Chris Coram, associate pastor, for your hospitality and hard work on behalf of Florida Baptists.
►Every preacher was on target. Their messages were biblical, well prepared and masterfully delivered. The Committee on Order of Business, led by Dr. Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, served us well with excellence in programming.
►Dr. Tim Maynard presided with distinction and confidence. His sense of timing and balance of fellowship was praiseworthy.
►The folks who came—came. They attended the meetings—engaged in conversation, visited the displays, and participated in the worship sessions. Thank you, messengers and visitors, for being a part of this annual gathering of Florida Baptists.
►The staff of the Florida Baptist Convention as always did their work well. They were visible and accessible. The Lord has given us such good people. I appreciate our staff. Don Hepburn, director of public relations/missions promotion, is the driving force in “putting it all together.” Thank you, Don.
The two days were filled with much joy and celebration. One celebration was the recognition of our service to the Florida Baptist Convention. The fact that the convention recognized Nancy in such a wonderful way pleased me. She has been working by my side in partnership with Florida Baptists for 25 years also. As we have travelled to visit and speak in churches almost every week, we estimate we have covered well over a million miles in an automobile—not counting the air travel. When she is with me, if I were unable to complete the sermon, I believe she could step right in on my behalf. She can! She’s heard them all before. What a precious gift God has given me for 58 years.
Thank you, Florida Baptists, for loving us and providing for us these 25 years. Good years. Rapid years. The reception on Monday night gave us the joy of individual Florida Baptists thanking us. But it also afforded us the joy of thanking them. No man does his work alone.
I walked away from the annual meeting on Tuesday night refreshed, refocused and inspired on our “Partnering for God’s Kingdom.” Nearly two thirds of the state of Florida is spiritually lost and we must seize the opportunity to push back the darkness. We are always better when we do it together.
Thank you, Florida Baptists. I thank my God for every remembrance of you.
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