The first week of my Goodwill Tour is now over and it has already been a whirlwind of a visit.
I spent the first two days of my tour with two wonderful friends, Ed and Ricki Haines. Ed is an Elder at the Westport Christian Church which oversees my mission efforts. I was able to meet with many members of the Westport Church and many more old friends who came out on Wednesday night to hear my mission report. It was so refreshing to see so many brothers and sisters in Christ who are concerned about mission work.
After a day of driving, I arrived in Tallahassee, FL on Thursday night and managed to settle in and get a little rest on Friday. On Saturday, as usual, I prepared to preach on Sunday... but this Sunday was going to be different: I would be preaching at a denominational church of the "Faith Only" persuasion.
Close friends of mine asked the leadership of the denominational church if I could speak there and church said "yes" and invited me to come and preach... I accepted.
The denominational church was warm and welcoming and the Sunday morning sermon was based on II Timothy 4:1-4... you know the passage;
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
My emphasis was a commitment to Christ and hence, a commitment to His word. The message was well received and two came forward, one for baptism and one for membership.
Sunday evening I preached on The Unity of Believers... I pointed out the evils of denominationalism and how it divides the body of Christ. As I came to the end of that sermon, I closed my notes,... I was overwhelmed with a conviction that I am convinced came from the Spirit of God. I paused for what seemed like an hour, but was probably only 30 seconds to a minute...
In that brief moment, I thought a million thoughts... one of which was, I have an obligation in the sight of God to tell these good people the New Testament plan of salvation, which differs from the plan they teach (I had touched it that morning but not to the extent I felt I needed to). I also considered that if I was more concerned as to whether they liked me or not, I was no better than a common coward more concerned with the praises of men. Additionally I contemplated that God may ask me at judgment WHY I stood there silent regarding such an important truth. Flooded with these convictions, I then said to them, "This is where you're not going to like me anymore" and I began to elaborate on the Plan of Salvation as taught by the New Testament. To my surprise, the message was again, well received and many left that evening saying that I had given them a number of things to "think about."
I attended a men's function last night which involved the men from the Capital City Christian Church and one of the men said something in jest about me preaching for a denominational church, I replied... "Brother, I will preach anywhere they'll let me."
So, to all my preaching brothers, regardless of fears and political correctness...
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.
Never underestimate the POWER of preaching God's Word.
God bless you.