Fruit Cove Baptist Church


Pastor Tim's Blog

2015 Car Show Announcement

Dear Church Family and Car Show Community,

You may have heard by now that a decision has been made to cancel the Car Show this year.  Several mitigating factors beyond our control have informed this decision.  It has been shared with several leadership groups in the church, and each have affirmed the decision to cancel the show this year.

I know this is disappointing to many, and we would like to ask you to continue monitoring our website for an announcement about a car show at a partner church on the Westside of Jacksonville on April 11.  This would be a show largely sponsored by Fruit Cove but to benefit a different community and church.  We will make an announcement about this as soon as a date is confirmed.  Thank you again for your faithful support of this ministry in years past, and we will look forward to our next show together.

Sincerely,

Dr Tim Maynard

je suis Charlie

James E. White’s blog Church and Culture carried an insightful article on the trending hashtag  #jesuischarlie…. “I am Charlie.”  Those who post on this hashtag show their solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris last week.  The march in Paris over the past weekend has shown not only Paris, but the world of the determination of people to have freedom in the press and freedom of expression.

That is, unless your freedom has to do with expressing your Christian moral values.  Ask fired Georgia fire chief Kelvin Cochran.  His “freedom of expression” in a personal book expressing his Christian viewpoint that marriage was to be between a man and a woman cost him his position.

#jesuisCharlie?  Not in Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s interesting that a paper like Charlie Hebdo, whose satirical writing and cartoon illustrations critique Islam and other targets, expects the free world to protect their freedom to lampoon and criticize religion and politics, culture and government, church and state.  And the world should.  Yet the same people turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the freedom of expression violated in the United States of America when a person expresses a viewpoint not held to be politically correct.  Where is the outcry?

Where are the protests?

#jesuisCharlie?  I don’t think so.

Selective freedom is not freedom.  It is editorial censorship….certainly not what our founders had in mind when this freedom was afforded the people of the United States. Freedom isn’t freedom when one person’s liberty is limited by another.  That’s what is at stake in Paris, France.  I hope they win the battle.

But maybe the #hashtag in America should be changed….

#IamKelvin,too

 

 

 

Ministry Lessons from the First College Football Playoff Series

Well, the first college football championship is decided, and while our Florida (and/or Georgia or Alabama) teams didn’t make it all the way, many of us still enjoyed the process. To give you a glimpse into our weekly staff meeting, I thought I would share the following notes from conversation this week. The question of the day was: “What lessons did we learn from the College Football Playoffs that impact our leadership, service or ministry here at Fruit Cove?” Here’s a bullet list summary of our discussion.

  • You cannot go by the polls. There is a reason they play the games. Some of the ministries or events we think might work better than others, do not. But, we play and we learn.
  • The shining star may not be. Sometimes, the trophy, position player just doesn’t live up to his pre-game publicity. In practically every game, there is a surprise star. When Samuel was looking for Israel’s King, the Bible says “…the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
  •  The line of scrimmage is the point of battle. What we do in staff meeting, in worship, or even in Sunday School is not where the battle is won. All those things are important, but the real battle is when we take the hope of Christ into the streets and into the lives of people around us.
  •  At the end of the day, there will be disappointment. In football, there is a winner and a loser. In life, circumstances don’t always go as we expect. But, we take refuge that there will be another chance. One of my favorite passages on this topic is 2 Corinthians 4:7-10: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” You could say we’re all cracked pots leaking the light of Jesus wherever we go.
  •  Not everyone gets a trophy. Well, at least not here. (Sorry, kids.) But, there will come a day: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
  •  A football stadium is one of the only places outside of church where people sing together. There’s probably a deep lesson there, but I’ll wait for a new worship pastor to help with that one.
  • Some mistakes are larger than others.  As the Ohio State football team entered the stadium, the team ran over a cheerleader AND a flag bearer tripped. As a result, the flags spelled “OOHI” as they ran down the sidelines. Yes, it was funny, and some thought it was a bad omen, but, as the final score showed, it did not matter at all. And they got it fixed. That’s the important part.
  • You have to suit up: training and preparation give way to the game. The Christian life is more than simply showing up repeatedly at church. We all have opportunities to suit up and engage the culture around us with the Gospel truth of Christ.
  •  Half of the folks are against you. That just goes with the territory when you are trying to be in the world and not of the world. And, remember, they may not be against you, rather, against your coach. And, there is a promise for that: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)
  • Speaking of coaches, he is often considered the hero or goat. And he did not even play the game.
  • Confidence plays a factor. It was not uncommon to recognize that some coaches paced the sidelines with confidence and others seemed to wander in confusion. Unfortunately, the pace of the game – apart from halftime and brief timeouts – doesn’t afford much time to regain composure when things do not go as planned. Yet, you cannot help but wonder how much the confidence of a coach/leader affects the attitude and performance of a player/follower.
  •  Size matters. There is a competitive advantage to being bigger/faster/stronger than your opponent. We are blessed at Fruit Cove to have assets to invest in ministry. However, we have to remember that our opponent is not other ministries, rather, he is a spiritual enemy. As the saying goes, “you are never taller than when you are on your knees.”
  • Everyone is now #1. As I finish this post, Ohio State’s glowing in the limelight of the national championship is already fading. Attention is now focused on the Super Bowl. And every true college football fan is thinking “just wait until next year!” Isn’t it great that we have regular opportunities to start over, put past failures behind us and pursue new victories.
  • Key absences affect the outcome. A player may miss only one play due to injury or equipment malfunctions. That absence, however, often has an impact far greater than that next play. It is crucial that every player be engaged and executing on every play if we are to be our best.
  • Oregon fans were humble in victory (and defeat – we think). When Oregon beat FSU in Pasadena, FSU fans were encouraged by the humility and empathy of Oregon fans. Humility is often forged by failure, and we are well served to remember that in our victories.
  • Winning begets winning. It seems we are now on the threshold of a “new football dynasty.” One can only hope that the previous point will be well taken by the victors.
  • Execution trumps preparation. Finally, as one general mused, “a battle plan rarely survives the first shot of the battle.” The ability to adapt a game plan as necessary and execute it well on a continual basis is the key to success. Perhaps that’s why our spiritual journey as described as one of daily surrender and obedience.

So, there you have it. Postgame analysis by our staff. ESPN is not calling, but God is. He is calling our church to play our game of equipping, engaging and embracing our world with passion and excellence.

Welcome to the Battle

Just after Christmas, Newsweek magazine unveiled an unvarnished and unsubstantiated attack against evangelical Christianity. This article was high profile and largely unresearched by a writer who does financial columns for Vanity Fair.  The article itself was an insult to any thinking reader, Christian or non-Christian.  It was poorly researched, used vitriolic and cartoonish images (“Christians bow before stone images of the Ten Commandments”) and failed to cite those who were most capable of responding to the ridiculous allegations in the article.

I will not spend time here responding to the ludicrous charges.  I will take a moment to warn of an impending and tightening circle of innuendo, false charges, and outright attacks against those who truly claim and follow the Lamb of God. That this article was released near Christmas was of highest offense, especially knowing that the same magazine would never consider an outright criticism of the Koran at the outset of Ramadan, even in light of the recent terroristic attack against a French newspaper office.

This is not an effort to gain sympathy or pity for our circumstance in evangelical Christianity.  We are going to continue to be marginalized in our culture, especially as issues such as the legitimizing of gay marriage continue to confront us and require a response and we come down on the incorrect side of the issue.

All of this simply confirms what Jesus said. “The servant is not above his master.  If they hated me, they will also hate you.”  The presence and voice of evangelical Christians in our culture will continue to irritate and provoke those who are of this world.  We must expect it, not be surprised by it, and not hate those who spitefully speak against us and misuse and misquote us.

We must pray for them.  We must (Jesus’ words) “BLESS THEM.”  We must love them. And above all, we must “be ready to give an answer to any who ask for a reason for the hope that is in us.”

Happy New Year.

…welcome to the battle!

 

Let It Go in 2015

The most familiar song of the past 12 months is from the Disney film “Frozen”.  Very few parents or grandparents of young children have escaped the refrain sung by the heroine of the movie: “Let It Go, let it go….”  As I write this column a news report I am overhearing features the singer of the song, Jennifer Lee, having to apologize to parents who have been driven crazy by the song! But maybe there’s a reminder:

Regrets in 2014?  Promises made but not kept?  Weight loss committed but not done?

Let It Go!

Grudges held against another?

Let It Go!

Goals set but not kept?

Let It Go!

That’s what Paul did.  “…but this one thing I do; forgetting those things that lie behind I press on to the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Paul let it go.

In Christ, so can you.

 

The Fullness of Time

“When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…..”  (Galatians 4:4)

How is “the fullness of time” determined?  Ultimately we can never know the formula God used to determine when “the right time,” or “the fullness of time,” or “the perfect moment” came for Christ to be “sent forth.”  We can, however, discern some remarkable things that were happening in the hour of Christ’s birth:

  • The Dispersion of the Jews.  The Jewish people by now had, due to persecution, military conflict, and an evangelistic zeal among some of them, moved to most parts of the known Roman world of that day.  The first thing they did when establishing a colony was to build a synagogue where Torah and Law could be taught.  These were the birthplaces of some of the earliest Christian teaching with ready-made public platforms.
  • The Protection of the Jews.  For the first seventy years following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the Christian faith (“The Way”) did not exist as a “stand alone” religion but instead was considered legally a sect of Judaism under Roman Law.  Because of their inability to break the Jews by making them worship Caesar as every other religion under Rome was forced to do, they granted an exemption to this idolatrous act.  Christianity was protected under that same principle of law.

    The Culture of the World.  The culture of that day had been overtaken by Greece.  While the Romans conquered the world militarily and enforced the rule of law of the people conquered, Greece captured the hearts and minds of the people.  Koine Greek was spoken almost everywhere by nearly every person.  It was in that common (koine) language that the New Testament was first written.

  • The Peace of Rome.  Christ was born into a world no longer at war.  Rome had conquered the world.  This left thousands of unemployed soldiers looking for work….and they were hired by Rome as “security guards” to build and protect the intricate highway system that interconnected the empire.  Early Christians could travel safely on these roads and even the waterways courtesy of the “pax Romana…” The peace of Rome.

These factors alone made this “the right time;” the FULLNESS OF TIME for God to send forth His Son into the world….to redeem those who were under the law.  The early church thrived in this environment socially, culturally, politically, and philosophically.   It was, indeed, a time of the Father’s choosing.

The “fullness of time.”

 

Just Jackets for Macedonia

During a recent staff meeting at the Jacksonville Baptist Association, the following incident was shared and sent around through the JBA’s online newsletter.  Thought that, as our year ends, you can see again the difference you make in the lives of people…some you will never meet.

Walter Bennett shared about a beautiful moment he had experienced this past week.  While serving as interim pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church they have been serving the needs of their local public elementary school, Normandy Village Elementary.   This particular school serves some of the most under resourced children in our city.  One of the needs the principal had expressed to Walter was that many of the children did not have winter coats and come were coming to school in t-shirts on the coldest days.  

Meanwhile, Macedonia Baptist and Fruit Cove Baptist congregations have been exploring a church revitalization partnership. When Walter discussed the need of this elementary school with both congregations – they responded.  Pastor Tim Maynard stood before his congregation and put the call out for members to respond by donating the coats in just a couple of weeks before winter break.  He had one request – please donate new coats as some of these children have never had the joy of tearing off the tags of a new coat.  Members of both congregations responded with missional generosity and this past week they were able to deliver over (460) coats, which nearly all of them were new, to this school – providing a coat for EVERY child in the elementary school.  As the coats were being distributed the volunteers and school administrators stood by with tears in their eyes knowing that every child would have the opportunity to stay warm this Christmas season. 

The church was also able to place a tag on each coat indicating the donation on the part of Macedonia.  As their local church, it was important to Fruit Cove that they could help enhance the relationship between Macedonia BC and their partner school.  What a beautiful picture of churches collaborating together in a selfless way!   What a beautiful picture of engaging our city!  What a beautiful picture of the gospel!   (From JBA Newsletter)

 And what a great way to celebrate “the Reason for the Season!”

 

 

Room for Christ on Christmas TV?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially on TV.  All our favorite holiday movies are being broadcast….again and again and again and again… Sunday afternoon for a few moments I visited again with the Griswald family as Chevy Chase hung precariously from the second story of his home stapling Christmas lights…and his shirt sleeve…to the siding.  I flipped past the black and white “It’s a Wonderful Life” as the bells chimed and “another angel gets his wings.”  I watched Jim Carey as “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” and eveyone’s favorite overgrown “Elf.”   I haven’t yet seen the rerun of “A Christmas Story” but I’m sure I’ll watch Ralphie again as he’s ominously warned “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” by overly responsible adults who don’t want him to have his “Red Ryder” bb gun.

Ironically, among our younger generation, there is a revival of interest in these old reruns of Christmas movies.  “Miracle on 34th Street” show the reconciliation of two competing materialistic giants at Christmas time, “White Christmas” showcases the crooning of Bing Crosby, while Clarence the angel earns his wings in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  But of all the movies the one that ranks as their favorite (according to a Harris Poll), is “A Christmas Story.”  This hilarious retelling of young Ralphie’s efforts to gain possession of the “holy grail,” an all-important BB gun, in spite of curmudgeonly teachers, mean-spirited Santas, and all the mishaps that can befall a nine year old at Christmas time has, somehow, captured the hearts of another generation.

It’s interesting because (1) There is no mention ANYWHERE of Jesus in this movie.  (2) The focus of the movie is on the acquisition of a possession which is GUARANTEED to bring happiness and fulfillment. (3) There is no motive for Christmas being about selfless giving, reconciling enemies, or seeing something come about for the common good.  It’s all about Christmas as a means to gratify the needs of one person:  Ralphie.

Does this mean I won’t watch it….again?  Probably will, but I don’t watch it anymore uncritically or just for the sake of nostalgia.  I watch it aware of the successful efforts of the filmmaker to create a new meaning for Christmas that has drawn away the hearts of our culture.

And again we ask, “is there room for Christ in Christmas?”

 

Jimmy Saffold

On December 16, our church and community was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic and unexpected death of Mr. Jimmy Saffold. Jimmy was a man of faith and family: he loved God and he loved his family. Jimmy didn’t stop there. He loved his faith-family – the people of Fruit Cove Baptist Church – as well. From driving the golf cart, to VBS preschool recreation, to RA’s and GA’s, Sunday School, Deacons and James Gang, Jimmy Saffold’s life served people of all generations.

Tonight and tomorrow, we’ll join his family in celebrating his life. There are so many stories of how Jimmy served others. We have created this post as a place for you to add you comments. How did Jimmy encourage you? How did he impact your life? Please use the comments below to reflect on his life of service and know that the family will find comfort in your words.

Christmas Eve Devotional

Hey Parents, Merry Christmas!! As we prepare to open gifts, enjoy meals, put up with in laws and watch Elf, we want to add one thing to your agenda this Christmas, specifically Christmas Eve. This year we have put together a devotion for families to do together. Technically we have written two; one for parents of teens and one for parents of children. These devotions are an opportunity for you as parents to be the spiritual leaders in your homes as God intended. See, ultimately the church should be secondary in our child’s spiritual development and home should be primary. So this Christmas we have made it easy for you, we have even included directions on how to lead theses devotions. Christmas is the perfect time for families to talk about Jesus at home. One note, don’t expect revival. A lot of parents get discouraged when leading family devotions or trying to lead at home spiritually. We often over- think leading spiritually, looking for life change immediately, not realizing that the Holy Spirit is the changing agent in all people, not man. Even in the ministry of Jesus, after He performed a miracle or preached a sermon, we have no reference point to say that revival broke out. Leading spiritually is more about obedience than about results.  Click here to download the devotion

So as you prepare to lead your family to Jesus this Christmas, allow me to say a few things…

  1.  They will get more out of how you live, than anything you will ever say
  2.  Emotions fade, but the truth remains.
  3.  Kids will be kids, let them talk, let them have fun, let them be loud, let them be silly… God made them this way. BUT, don’t think for a second they are NOT listening. They are!
  4. Have fun.

 

The greatest investment you can ever make in the lives of your children is the gospel. Share the gospel with your kids, and do it often. We can’t repeat the gospel to our children enough.

2 Corinthians 5:21 & Romans 5:8

Josh

Christmas Eve, devotion, devotional

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