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Weekly Bulletin

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March Madness

Along with many college basketball fans, I enjoy “March Madness” — the annual NCAA basketball tournament. From basketball, there are a number of analogies to the Christian life. Here are a few:

  • “One-on-one” — when one player on offense is isolated with one player on defense. LeBron James in the NBA often does this to take the ball to the basket. In the Christian life, we need to learn to witness one-on-one. Many more people will come to Christ through all of our personal one-on-one witness than the work of any one evangelist or missionary. The biblical example is set in John, chapter 1, where one by one Andrew comes to Christ, then brings Peter to Christ, then Philip comes to Christ, and then Philip witnesses to Nathaniel, who comes to Christ — each of them through one-on-onewitness.
  • “Upset” — Always in the NCAA basketball tournament there are upsets — where the underdog team upsets a greater team. Well, you and I are the underdogs — the little guy. And “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” We do not have greater power than Satan in and of ourselves, but through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we do have greater power and can upset the world, the flesh and the devil against us.
  • “Home court advantage” — While the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and the NBA all permit home court advantage, the NCAA tournament does not. All their games are played on neutral courts. But what an advantage you and I have in the Christian life — if we utilize “home court advantage” by staying out of the wrong places, running with the right crowd and being in the right places. This does not mean we will not attack the “gates of hell” by being a witness in the world. But we need to prepare ourselves with Scripture and prayer, so that we always have “home court advantage.” I have seen this first-hand. Years ago a U.S. presidential candidate visited our church. The assembled national news media — network TV, AP, etc. — were all on their best behavior, because they were in a church. We had “home court advantage.” The AP reporter sought me out afterward to tell me how impressed he was that I preached the gospel and baptized while the candidate and the media all listened and waited.

We need to do all we can to be effective witnesses for Christ. Meanwhile, if you like basketball, enjoy “March Madness.” My alma mater, Ohio State, plays today (as I write this), and then hopefully again!

Pastor Jim

 

Muslims in Athens

Our church supports an outstanding missionary in Athens, Greece. Emmanuel Negru is with Word of Life Greece. The primary ministry of he and his wife, Theresa, is reaching college students on the campuses of Athens. This young man is one of the most outstanding missionaries I have known in 40 years. He is on fire for God! (And so is his wife!)

There are now about 1-million Muslims residing in Athens. Many of them came in in 2015 and 2016. During those days, missionary Negru went down to the main port of entry and handed out thousands of gospel flyers to the incoming Muslims. Naturally, he ran into resistance. The overall view of the Greek government and society was that the Muslims have their own religion, so let them be as they wish. Some of the Muslims resisted Negru’s efforts.

But with the boldness we see in the Book of Acts, Emmanuel Negru continued to hand out gospel literature by the thousands. And finally he saw some fruit. God has blessed his efforts. He is an outstanding young missionary.

Pastor Jim

 

Deacons

We are ordaining two deacons tonight at our church. The Bible says in Acts 6 that we are to choose men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom — and ready to serve God and the church. We have good deacons here at First Baptist Church of Cape Coral. Our deacons are ready to serve in a sincere and humble spirit.

I have had the privilege through the years of working with some very fine deacons. I thank God for our deacons!

Probably I should not have a “favorite” deacon. But I do. Our deacon chairman for years in Orlando at Delaney Street Baptist Church was a man named Bob Claudy. I guess Bob and I became very close because almost every Thursday afternoon we would visit together. Usually we would take communion to our shut-ins, our homebound people. I cherished my days with Bob Claudy, a good man.

And there have been any number of other very good men with whom I have had the privilege to serve God.

Pastor Jim