I was not “down in the dumps,” but I did go down to the Naples City Dump. Of course, this is Naples - even our place of garbage collection has ambience. You have to pass through a guard gate and pay a fee. I almost expected tennis courts, but instead there was a compactor. Being a good entrepreneur, I offered to sell the stuff cleaned out from my garage to the guard at the gate. Refusing my deal, he said that a lot of people try to do that.
The world labels the message of the cross as trash to be discarded. Though “we have this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7), we must “let light shine out of the darkness” (2 Corinthians 4:6). The cracks in our pots need not lead us to despair, but be used by God as openings for the light.
During the Kingdom Missions emphasis next weekend, we will reaffirm that evangelism involves going, speaking, and praying. Since discipleship is not in the fine print of our commitment to Christ, we are called to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). On Saturday morning, Dr. Alvin Reid, Professor of Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers a seminar based on his book, Sharing Jesus (Without Freaking Out). We will learn how to have conversations about Christ, connecting with others without gimmicks or fear.
Giving is also essential to world missions. We tithe to the Lord through the budget supporting the Cooperative Program of world missions and make a commitment to give regularly to our mission partners through Kingdom Missions. A special brochure will describe our partners and their unique opportunities.
We welcome Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. as our special speaker this weekend. As the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has been recognized by publications such as Time and Christianity Today as probably the most articulate and brilliant communicator of the faith among current American evangelicals. Perhaps you have been challenged by his program, “The Briefing,” a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview. He has often appeared on Fox and many other stations and programs and is widely quoted in all forms of media.
Al regularly preaches in churches and teaches in his local church in Louisville. He will help us to think Christianly as we are “transformed by the renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2) and, like Moses, to “consider the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:26). After all, at First Baptist Church we are not the City Dump, but a wonderful place to feast on grace and truth.