2012 Florida Baptist State
Convention Annual Meeting
One of the greatest new covenant blessings is heaven, Brunson said, adding that he has a deeper longing for heaven after burying his father, his mother, and his best friend during the past year.
“Heaven means something to me at this point in my life that it has never meant before,” Brunson said. “When I came to Jesus Christ, I got heaven. I don’t know all that heaven is, but I know this: I’m excited.”
Second, we should be thankful for the God of an unshakable Kingdom.
The author of Hebrews speaks about a day when God will shake all created matter until only unshakable things remain, Brunson said. On that day only those who have trusted Jesus for salvation will survive God’s judgment, he said.
That reality should comfort believers in a time when many feel unsteady, according to Brunson.
“We’ve got a God of a new covenant and a God of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken,” he said. “And what God’s people ought to do is get on their face and be thankful. And when you do, let me tell you something—it changes your despair and your hopelessness into a joy.”
Henry, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Orlando, reminded pastors their main duty is to preach the Bible every week. Preaching was central to Jesus’ ministry, is central to changing people’s lives, and is central to changing society, he said.
“There’s all kind of substitutes that come down the road,” Henry said. “But the greatest thing that you’ll ever do, the most fulfilling thing that you’ll ever do to fulfill your call before God, is to preach the Word.”
He drew from Paul’s last words to his young protégé Timothy in 2 Timothy 4 to explain the importance of biblical preaching. Just as Henry Ward Beecher’s preaching helped end slavery in America and Martin Luther King’s preaching helped end segregation, God uses preaching today to bring revival in people’s hearts and justice in society, according to Henry.
But effective preaching requires diligent study, he said.
“We cannot lose discipline,” Henry said. “You’ve got to get in that study. You’ve got to pray and fast and work. It’s not easy. After over 50 years I still every week would shine the backend of my britches sitting in that chair coming up with what’s God saying through His Word to feed the people next Sunday.”
When Paul said to be ready “in season and out of season,” he was reminding Timothy of his responsibility to preach even during inopportune seasons of life, Henry said. When the pastor faces criticism, experiences pain, or feels like God has left him, he is still required to preach on Sundays, he said.
That reality hit home for Henry in 1994 when some of his staff members knocked on his door before worship on a Sunday morning to tell him his father had died.
“But I had two groups of people in two services that had come to hear the Word of God,” he said. “It was out of season for me, but I knew that I had to preach the Word of God.”
Henry concluded preachers must “keep the main thing the main thing until God calls you home: preach the Word.”
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