Janet and I want to thank our wonderful church family for your many expressions of love and appreciation during the celebration of our 25th Anniversary at FBCN. We were overwhelmed by the amazing planning and creativity of our staff, the heartfelt prayers, and your willingness to continue to follow me as your shepherd in the years to come. You have loved all of our family. We are also humbled and grateful for the generosity of certain individuals. Thank you for having a heart for the plight of single moms and their children through the emphasis on Brave Moms.
At FBCN, we have sought to obey Christ’s Great Commission with its full-orbed aspects. While “disciple” occurs 269 times in the New Testament, it is often interpreted as only bringing people into faith in Christ. But we also “make disciples of all nations” and “baptize them,” “teaching them to observe all that He has commanded” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
Our First Baptist Academy is officially beginning its Friends of the Lion call for funds for scholarships. We annually need at least $500,000 to meet the needs, which should be given above and beyond your gifts to the General Operating Budget and World Missions. While you may not have children of school age, you can be a blessing to help us disciple them in Christian worldview and with a rigorous academic, artistic, and athletic emphasis that touches the whole person and sees all of life as under Christ’s Lordship.
If you ever wonder about the impact of teachers, realize that Martin Luther was primarily influenced by Johann Von Staupitz, Professor of Bible at the University of Wittenberg. The teacher was also a spiritual mentor and counselor who taught Luther theology and directed his thoughts towards grace. As the founder of the Protestant Reformation noted, “If it had not been for Dr. Von Staupitz, I should have sunk in Hell.”
We are privileged to have Rev. Don Lough with us this weekend. He is the President of Word of Life International, a marvelous discipling and missionary organization which not only ministers to students but takes the gospel around the world and trains the next generation in Bible, doctrine, and evangelism through Bible Institutes.
I have preached at the Institutes in Schroon Lake, New York, as well as Hudson in Florida and on the Argentina campus. Don will be sharing testimony in the services, as well as preaching at 11:00 in the worship center. While teaching may take many forms, it is necessary that there be both life-on-life contact and what Paul described: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”