The Florida Worship Choir and Orchestra started the evening off with a moving and powerful worship set that brought messengers and visitors to their feet and quickly filled the sanctuary. Veterans from each brank of the military were also honored for their service to our country.
Ronny Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, preached a biblical message out of 2 Timothy 4:1-8 in which he encouraged messengers and visitors to “do the work of an evangelist.”
As pastor, he shared, he has seen his church become a different kind of church many times. That has happened because as they come to rubicons they must cross there are decisions they must make from which they can never turn back. “God gives each church the opportunity to make a decision that should they take a leap of faith, they can make history.”
The decision, he said, should always be to fulfill the Great Commission.
“The Great Commission of Jesus Christ will become the great omission if it is not your greatest obsession,” he said.
He encouraged pastors to exercise self-control in everything, to endure hardship, to do the work of an evangelist and to fulfill their ministry which is to “spread the Gospel.”
“If we can’t rock the water over keeping souls out of hell then what can we rock it for?”
He finished with four calls to action for churches and pastors.
1. Return to what you know you believe. “Jesus is the only way to God and Jesus is coming again.”
2. Prioritize spreading the Gospel.
3. Create a culture of evangelism. “In some churches people will have a hard time being saved because there is no culture of evangelism.”
4. Pray for opportunities to spread the Gospel.
He finished with a question: “What kind of church are you going to be?”
After a worship set from the praise team from Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Florida Baptist State Convention President Stephen Rummage got up to address the crowd. Preaching out of Acts 20, his message was simply titled ‘Faithful’, echoing the annual meeting theme.
Rummage said that reaching our greatest potential in God’s eyes only comes through our faithfulness in life. He then outlined four God-given strategies for faithfulness.
Rummage encouraged messengers to be faithful to serve. In the passage, Paul explains how faithfully he served the church at Ephesus, noting that he was a servant of Jesus and of the Gospel and of the people who needed the Gospel no matter who they were. He never stopped serving, whether in public or in private or in good times or in bad.
Next Rummage said to be faithful in giving yourself away. Paul described himself as being constrained by the Spirit – he was not physically bound at this point but knew imprisonment was in his future, yet he was determined to finish his ministry.
“You can’t be faithful to Jesus unless you’ve surrendered to him,” he said. “Jesus is looking for a relinquished life.”
Rummage also encouraged the messengers to be faithful in proclaiming God’s Word. Paul left the church in Ephesus knowing he had proclaimed God’s Word faithfully and to everyone. Like a watchman on the wall of an ancient city, God has placed each of us where we are in our lives to be watchmen and warn the lost around us about the impending destruction coming without the saving knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally Rummage said to be faithful in loving sacrificially.
“This world is looking for people who will love them sacrificially,” he said.
Rummage noted how Florida Baptist Disaster Relief has been a living picture of this in the days since Hurricane Michael, as they have gone into the panhandle to clean, feed and minister to those in need. Through the Churches helping Churches initiative, all Florida Baptists have the opportunity to sacrificially love a church in need.
“Sacrificial love for other people flourishes when our lives have been transformed by the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Rummage ended by affirming that Jesus was, is and always will be faithful.