ORLANDO— Florida Baptist State Convention president Paul Purvis urged Florida Baptists to “finish well” in a message to pastors and church leaders attending the Challenge 2025 celebration at First Baptist Church in Orlando, Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Keynote speaker Purvis, pastor of Mission Hill Church in Tampa, delivered the encouraging and convicting word from God in a sermon based on Acts 20:18-24.
“Don’t quit before you finish… We are coming out of a two-year season that has left many of us feeling like quitting…My prayer is that God will meet you here today,” he said.
Three things are necessary to finish well, said Purvis.
First, “let God be God. He is the hero of the story; He is the one we are proclaiming. We must shift our perspective and look at everything through the filter that God is God.”
Next, Purvis encouraged pastors to be the people God created them to be.
“Live the purpose; the call, that you and you alone have been called to do.” The call will be clear, he added.
And finally, to finish well one must persevere,” he said. “If you plan to finish strong one day, you must decide to persevere today.”
Purvis closed his sermon with an anecdote about teaching his son to ride his bike. “You have to keep pedaling to keep from falling,” he advised his son.
Yet, his son inevitably falls.
At first, he falls because he stopped pedaling. But the second time, he takes his eyes off the road. And when he looks over at his brothers and sisters cheering him on, he falls again. After several falls, Purvis offers run beside his son to remind him to keep pedaling, to encourage him, and to keep him focused on the task.
This is what the Holy Spirit does for believers, Purvis said.
“Brother and sister, don’t quit before you finish…The One inside you is stronger than the one that is in the world…hear His voice today that says ‘keep pedaling.’”