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Of Florida Swamps and Brooklyn Bridges

(70)

Sermon shared by Joseph Smith

June 1999
Summary: As Jeremiah risked everything to buy some apparently worthless real estate in order to give a sign that the Lord would triumph, so I also asked our church to adopt a new but venturesome vision for its life.
Tags: Unity (add tag)
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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friends seemed nothing more than a Brooklyn Bridge hoax. Jeremiah had faith, and believed that God was not yet finished with Judah. So invest in the future. See the possibilities beyond the immediate difficulties. Buy the field. For nothing is too hard for our God.

I want to talk with you this morning about our church. I want to discern with you some things about where we are headed, as I see it, and what we need to do to be faithful. And, most of all, I want to urge you, as individuals and as a congregation, to buy the field of Anathoth. I want to declare to you that God is not finished with Takoma Park Baptist Church, and that if we are faith-filled, He will see us through to some glorious times. But we will have to spend of ourselves to buy the field of Anathoth, even though some will fear that we’re investing in a Florida swamp and some will be convinced that it’s nothing more than a Brooklyn Bridge trick.

I believe we are now at a new juncture in our history. I believe that God is calling us to rethink our life and work and to deepen it as never before. I believe this because I have seen what God is doing among us, and it is a work of grace. It is a work of gifting that calls us as a church to a new way of working. To some, what I am about to share may seem a Florida swamp, incredibly messy; or a Brooklyn Bridge, just a promise that I have no right to make. But in my heart of hearts I do not believe so. I believe it is a field of Anathoth. I believe it is a set of directions worth every ounce of our energies, every dime of our resources, and every prayer of our hearts.

Let me lay it out under four headings: Deepened Discipleship; Multiplied Ministries; Winsome Worship; and Systematic Stewardship.
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I believe the time has come for us to buy the field at Anathoth by committing ourselves to deepened discipleship. We must become a people who know what our faith is about; who can speak of our faith convincingly; who can share our witness; and who know our own hearts before God.

Two or three years ago we began to use discipleship courses in a serious manner. Several got involved in something called “Experiencing God.” A little later others got involved with another course called, “The Mind of Christ”. Still more took up a rather extensive course called, “MasterLife”, and, of late, Rev. Haggray has gathered young adults and some others around one called, “Disciple”.

In addition, twice now I have begun classes in Christian Basics, creating my own curriculum and introducing people to the vast range of the Christian faith. And we have used yet another book, “Introduction to the Christian Faith” for our new members.

The point about all of these courses is that they have taken those of us who had fragmentary knowledge, odds and ends knowledge, and have helped us put it together systematically, carefully, inside ourselves. These courses go somewhere. They start with some basic concepts and they move us along
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