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Palm Sunday – Special Lord’s Supper Service

April 5, 2020 @ 9:30am & 11am

It has been tradition for our church to take the Lord’s Supper on Palm Sunday for many years.  This year will be no different…except it will be different.  On Sunday, April 5th we will be hosting a Family Lord’s Supper Service via our online broadcasts at 9:30am and 11am.  What that means is families will be taking the Lord’s Supper together in their own homes, while being led by Pastor Tim during our online broadcasts.  This is a chance for our Church Family to join together, no matter where you are located and worship together in this special way.

There are a couple of ways you can do this as a family:

  • Bake your own Communion Bread at home.  This is a great opportunity for a fun family project where kids and parents can join together in baking their own Communion Bread.  Below is Pam Maynard’s unleavened bread recipe. Bake your own bread, then all you need is some juice and you are all set.

1 cup unbleached flour

1/3 cup cup water, room temperature

1/4 tsp salt

Combine the flour and salt. Add enough water to make a dough that will clean the sides of the bowl and can be gathered into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and cut in half. Roll each piece out until very thin. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for 5 minutes or until lightly colored, blistered, and crisp. 

  • Use Crackers as a bread substitute.  If you don’t have the time or means to bake your own bread then substitute the bread with crackers.  Many missionaries in the field use whatever they have at their disposal to partake in the Lord’s Supper together.

The main point is for us all to worship together in taking the Lord’s Supper.  It isn’t about whether or not you have bread, crackers, grape juice or Kool-aide.  What is important is the meaning behind those items and that is Jesus Christ!

We love you and cannot wait to worship with you in person, but in the meantime let’s continue to be the church activated and mobilized in our homes and neighborhoods!

-Your Fruit Cove Baptist Church Staff Team

Community Service Letter Request

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Be Watchful

“Devote yourselves to prayer-being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

*Be watchful*

Jesus asked His sleeping disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night His passion began “could you not watch with Me…?” How often have we fallen asleep on the watch. Our prayers grow lifeless and listless. We lose the urgency and fervency of the early moments of our prayers. It requires effort to continue to “watch and pray” -notice this- WITH Jesus!

Did you know that when YOU pray you are never praying alone?When you are watchful, you are watching WITH the One Who is our High Priest and Who “ever lives to make intercession for us!” I have walked into the Garden of Gethsemane, wondering “would I have fallen to sleep with the rest?”

We sleep on the watch because we don’t really believe we are fighting a battle as we pray… and indeed as we live each day. But as we sleep the bullets fly overhead, taking out fellow soldiers in the war. Watch and pray! You need this. Your fellow soldiers need this. And Jesus is calling you to this. Be watchful. Be vigilant. The enemy prowls like a hungry lion.

The antidote is spiritual watchfulness.

What would you do for $10 million?

What would you do for $10 million? In a study, 25% of people said they would leave their family; 25% said they would leave their church and another 25% said they would deny their faith. Almost as many said they would become a prostitute for a week. Another 7% said they would kill a stranger. (Hope I don’t run into them!)

The truth is, money has a grip on us. It means something more than income to get us through the day or food and clothing and a home for our family. The “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” 1st Timothy chapter 6 tells us. Richard Foster said, “Money has a sense of omnipotence about it.”

In other words, money will eat your lunch if you don’t manage it according to the principles of God’s Word. Do you trust God enough to adjust your life to do what He says with it? And maybe an even bigger question is, “can God trust you?” This is the question of stewardship that we are considering in worship this month.

Will you take His Word about what we are to do with the resources we have been entrusted with and allowed to manage? Jesus said we lose what we keep… we gain what we release.

Don’t let money own you. Don’t let it buy and sell your soul. Use it for the purposes God intended, and in ways that He can be glorified.

Live so God can say, “Yes, I can trust you with money.” Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these other things will be added to you as well. God is looking for stewards that He can trust to faithfully handle the resources He graciously provides. Be sure to live so that you will hear,

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Exceedingly Great & Precious

The Promises of God

We stand upon and live by promises made by God. Even if we are not inclined to acknowledge God’s faithfulness to us we are still dependent on them. Our salvation is dependent on God’s promises. Our provision is dependent on them. Our daily existence in fact, is dependent upon the promises of a God who is unalterably faithful.

So we know they are there; hundreds, like buried gold in a running stream. The “exceedingly great and precious promises of God.” (2 Peter 1:4). During my recent pilgrimage I stayed a week in Blue Ridge, GA, along the banks of the Toccoa River. Just a few yards uphill from where I stayed was a camp where you could pay a small fee and spend the day mining for gold. They virtually guaranteed you would find some. I never went. Gold was there for the taking… I just chose to pass.

We do that all the time. We read the Word, know it’s there, know it’s true. But some go to the trouble of “mining” it out, and find themselves much richer for the effort. I pray for us that we will not just know they are there, but will reach down and take them for ourselves.

A few things we need to do to make these promises the blessing God intends them to be:

REMEMBER them. We need to cling to these “exceedingly great” promises, but we sometimes (well, often) forget them. Meditate on a promise. Make one promise your promise this week. Don’t go wide in your hunt. Go deep.

SHARE them. It may be a helpful practice when you are working through a promise and seeking to really imbed it in your life, to tell someone about it. Put it on your Facebook page. Tweet it out. When somebody sends you theirs, share it with others in your network. Let’s rain the promises down through social media.

SPEAK them. Attempt to work them into your prayer life and in your conversations. Speaking them aloud gives your brain one more place to “hang” the memory of God’s precious promise to you.

REPEAT. Do it every week. How long? Until you have appropriated them all. Should keep most of us busy for the rest of our lives!

Stand on the promises of God. They are the rock that never shakes beneath you.

My Plan

Since the week after Pam’s celebration of life at Fruit Cove, I have been on a journey; spiritual, physical, and emotional. I have driven almost 2,700 miles. It began with just revisiting areas of our life together… geographic touchpoints… that allowed me to remember, weep and give thanks for God’s goodness in allowing our lives to intersect.

Our first home site, the church where we grew up and later married, the places we worked, the places where we dated, and along the way I met with people who touched our lives and gave guidance, models and counsel to us. I was allowed to preach the homecoming for the church we served over ten years near Louisville, Ky. These have been rich days… necessary days actually… to allow me to fully enter grief and begin that experience.

I have also had the privilege in these days of spending time with Pam’s mother and sisters and her “side” of the family tree and to rest with them in God’s comfort. Their grief has been multiplied not only by Pam’s death but also by Pam’s father’s passing. In these days, I have lived with my brother and sister-in-law who have offered rich shelter and much grace to me. They are also caring for my mother as she has passed 90 years… her birthday was on the day of Pam’s homegoing. She is going through her own trials with breast cancer as well.

Along the way I spent a week in a cabin in Blue Ridge, NC, a retreat I hope to enjoy more often. Some new friends have offered me shelter there on their property overlooking the Toccoa River.

To be accountable to you, my church family and friends, I have also begun grief counseling and intend that to continue for this season. In all, it has been needed reflection, prayer, and opportunity to begin work on a book.

My plans at this time are to begin to enter back into “new” normal as I try to close doors on this chapter of my past. If you have been on this grief journey, you know how hard that is to do. I will not do it perfectly, of that I am certain.

I intend to return to “regular” preaching on October 15 and October 29. My duties as trustee for the Baptist College of Florida are also on my agenda as well as serving on the Executive Committee of the SBC. Both are tremendous privileges for which I am grateful to be asked to serve.

My office hours will be sporadic for a bit as I enter back in to “life” as it now is. We have tremendous challenges laid before our church body now with added efforts to assist the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean Islands as well as south Florida. And Advance 2020 is beginning its two-year countdown in January, as I celebrate my 25th anniversary with you.

“So is your journey done?” I was asked in earnest by a friend. My answer was, for now, my traveling is. Someone else asked me if I was running from something or running toward something. The answer is, “Yes. Both.” There are certainly things I am not looking forward to doing. But I am encouraged as clarity has begun to return.

Grief is not a “cycle” or a linear, stage-by-stage process. It is an experience that we endure. Along the way, you will meet denial and anger, depression and sorrow, regret and tears. I will carry this burden for some time I am sure.

So the best answer I can give to you as to “how are you doing” is “I am grieving well.” We don’t get to hide from it, avoid it or pretend it doesn’t bring crushing pain.

But as we have claimed, said and sung through this journey, we have a good, good Father. And no matter where your journey has taken you…

He is good all the time.

Game Changers

Living in the Big Blue Nation this past week, I have been forced over and again to relive Kentucky’s painful loss last weekend (31st time in a row) to the Florida Gators. Our last minute failure to cover an open player cost us the game. That was by definition a game changer.

But some game changers have higher stakes. (We’ll get ’em next year!) These “game changing” moments take lots of shapes and forms. An illness has changed the game for some. A hurricane for others. Perhaps a death. But when these moments come, life changes for a while or maybe forever.

We can’t avoid these moments. They come at us unexpectedly, without warning or notice. But everything changes in their wake. And sometimes what they leave behind is fear… of the unknown, of the uncertainty of the future.. even of survival.

Someone has said, “fear is a condition, but trust is a decision.” In Psalm 56:3, we read, “When I am afraid (condition) I will trust in You (decision).” You can’t keep conditions that generate fear and uncertainty from coming into your life.

But you can make the biggest game changing decision of all:

Choose to trust.

Praying for our schools

This Sunday, August 14 prayer walks are scheduled for Duval & St. Johns County Schools:

  • 2pm- elementary campuses
  • 3pm- middle schools
  • 4pm- high schools

Participate in the prayerwalk at the school(s) you are zoned for.

Here are 10 prayers for schools:

  1. Love. “Father, may the students and staff of this school experience Your love through the Christians they know in profound and authentic ways” (John 13:35).
  2. Truth. “Lord, release truth in this school. Help students to rightly discern truth and not believe false teachings” (Proverbs 23:23).
  3. School board. “I pray blessings on each school board member (try to pray for them by name). Father, may your will be done at board meetings” (Romans 13:1).
  4. Principal, Faculty and Staff. “May (name of principal) recognize the God-given responsibility he/she has for the best interests of the children who attend the school. May the faculty and staff walk in wisdom, integrity, grace, and truth” (Proverbs 2:1-11).
  5. Failing students. “Lord, I ask you to encourage those children who are struggling with their studies. Strengthen their minds. Help their teachers and parents know how to help them learn. Protect them from feelings of worthlessness and shame” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
  6. Violence. “Lord, stay the hand of violence against the children and staff of this school. Dismantle any plan to bring harm to them. Expose any weapon brought into the school premises and render it harmless” (Psalm 34:7; 54:1).
  7. Christian programs. “Father, I pray for abundant blessings on programs that bring Christ into this public school. Help the groups who sponsor such programs function according to your Word and in harmony with each other. Bless the leaders and bring forth new and growing believers” (1 Corinthians 12:12,13).
  8. Christian students. “Grant the Christian students who attend this school wisdom and boldness in living out their faith. Help them share effectively the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ with their classmates” (1 Timothy 4:12).
  9. A chosen generation. “Father, may your kingdom come. From the students at this school, raise up a generation of people who worship you in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23,24; 1 Peter 2:9).
  10. An open door. “Lord, may there be an open door in this school for the gospel to be shared with students and staff. Allow full advantage to be taken of every opportunity to name the name of Jesus” (Matthew 7:7; 1 Corinthians 16:9).

Leadership 44

Most of us are good forgetters. We remember, according to most common statistics, about 3 percent of the things that happen to us and store those in conscious memory. The other 97% we forget. (Some days for me I think it may be 99%!) But normally, our conscious memory stuffs the majority of our life memories and experiences into the storage files of our unconscious basement. Unless that is, you are afflicted with a syndrome called hyperthymestic syndrome… the inability to forget.

Those with this rare condition can recall with great and sometimes painful detail, every moment of their lives. The good, the bad, the really painful and awkward moments of childhood, as well as the pleasant ones of course.

But imagine for a moment the ability to recall the detailed wording of every commercial you ever sat through; every inane TV script, the words of every book, the names of every person you have met… and what they said to you.

Forgetting it seems, may be a gift! In fact, it may sometimes be one of the greatest gifts. There are those things you should never forget but for this article, let’s talk about things we should.

We should forget when someone injures us; when we suffer pain. We should forget when we fail God, ourselves or others. We should forget those moments of not feeling we measure up. We should forget our fearful nights; our nagging insecurities. We should forget when someone asks us to forgive them.

God, though sovereign and omniscient (all-knowing), can choose to forget. He chooses to forget where we have sinned against Him and incurred His wrath. He chooses to forget our failures and our blatant disobedience.

In fact, the Bible gives us a very visual way that God forgets: it says He takes our sins and casts them into the depths of the sea… a place of eternal forgetfulness. And He holds them against us no more.

There’s one thing that needs to remain in that place of remembrance in our minds, however. It needs to stay close to the top of the list of the most important things:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

FOR MEDITATION: And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12

FOR REFLECTION: How many times have you gone “fishing” for sins that God has forgotten? Remember, as Corrie Ten Boom said, that God has placed a “no fishing” sign over those sins!

Leadership 15: I will serve them on their journey

A Leadership Cue Card: I will serve them on their journey

Compelled by love, I will empty myself of self and live for the benefit of others. I want to see who they can become in Christ, trust them to realize that potential and serve them on their journey.

As we bring this week of devotions to a close, look back on what we have studied this week. Our goal was to develop a brief, “index-card ready” statement of beliefs about leadership. I would like you to re-consider that statement one final time today through a different lens: What if the leaders you followed adopted this philosophy of leadership? How would you respond to their leadership?

Who has influenced you to become the person you are today? Who continues to challenge you to greatness in your discipleship and service to others? Who coaches you to success and corrects you when you fail? As we re-consider our leadership cue card, think about how those who influence you most model the characteristics we have examined together. As you do that, think about your relationship with those leaders. How much of their influence flows out of the model of the concepts on our leadership cue card?

Compelled by love…

What motivates those who influence you to serve you? Do you perceive they are “in it to win it for themselves” or are you joined together in the battle? Have the leaders over you been controlled, directed and focused on a desire for the welfare of others over their own needs? How do you respond to their leadership?

I will empty myself of self…

How would you describe the ego of those leading you: are they edging God out or exalting God only? Would you describe them as selfish or selfless? Is their battle to “empty myself of self” over or is it an ongoing struggle? How do you respond to their leadership?

And live for the benefit of others.

How have the leaders around you shared the benefits gained with you and others? Do they serve with an expectation of reward? How do you respond to their leadership?

I want to see who they can become in Christ…
How have those with the greatest influence over you challenged you to grow and develop your skills, talents and character? In what ways does their interaction with you reflect a pastor’s heart and care for you? How do they affirm that you are of great value to God and the Kingdom? How do you respond to their leadership?

Trust them to realize that potential…

To what degree to those who lead you micromanage you? In what ways do you recognize that they trust you to do the right thing? When you fail, how do they respond? How do you respond to their leadership?

And serve them on their journey.

Would you consider those who have and are influencing you as serving you? Why? How accurately does the term “servant leader” apply to those who have the greatest influence over you? How do you respond to their leadership?

Do you see a common theme in your answers? I am going to go out on a limb that those who have the greatest influence in your life have demonstrated that they have a genuine concern for your benefit. They may not have expressed their leadership exactly as we have described, but I believe there is evidence that love, humility, altruism, optimism, trust and service are among the values that drive them.

So, how have you responded to their leadership in your life? Do you see where their values have become yours, or, at a minimum shaped your thinking on leadership? How has their humble servant leadership made them great?

Jesus taught the disciples and those gathered around him

The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:11-12 (HCSB)

It has been my hope this week that you would see that servant leadership is significant, of great value, possible and sorely needed in our world today. In your home, your workplace, your school and in your closest relationships, I pray you will take this leadership cue card and lead those around you with love, humility, altruism, optimism, trust and service.

For reflection: Please take time to consider the many questions listed above. Ask God to show you how you might be a more influential person to your friends and family.

For memorization: “The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12 (HCSB)

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