Reaching Jacksonville with the life-giving message of Jesus

River Reach News 8/11

Dear River Reach Family,

 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”1 Cor. 2:1-5

God gave us a mission to reach people with the truth of the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).  Satan is working hard to hinder us in our mission by blinding eyes to the truth (2 Cor. 4:4-5).  In the attempt to reach people with the Gospel it is easy to adopt an outreach strategy that attempts to appeal to people through external displays of coolness that inherently grab the attention of the unbeliever.  Examples might include: shocking dress styles, bombastic or emotional music, compelling rhetoric, or winsome charisma.  While it is right to use various methods of appeal to plead with people to come to Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), there is a danger that our method can draw men to ourselves and our spectacular abilities rather than to Christ.  If our methods or charisma are so flashy that people see us, but their attention is not redirected to Christ, we may be guilty of obstructing the Gospel rather than advancing it.  In Paul’s day powerful orators were viewed much the same way people today view Hollywood celebrities or music stars.  Paul purposefully avoided the contemporary flashiness of his day in order let the true power of God in Christ Jesus transform lives.  It is our desire that Jesus Christ shine preeminent at River Reach Baptist Church (Col. 1:18).  We join John the Baptist in proclaiming, “He must increase, but I must decrease!” (John 3:30)  By pointing souls to Christ and not ourselves, we are pointing them to the only One worthy of faith and capable of salvation.  It is our desire that the Word of God be the central focus of all of our gatherings and that the messengers fade into the background.

I praise the Lord for using your faithful Christ-exalting ministry through VBS to point a young teenager to Jesus Christ.  On Wednesday evening of VBS he went home and trusted Jesus Christ to be His Lord and Savior!  To God be the glory!

GFA Missions Director Mark Batory will be with us this Sunday morning 8/13.

Two of our missionaries, the Kings and the Bakers, serve the Lord through the Gospel Fellowship Association.  Dr. Batory serves as the executive directory of the mission board.  Dr. Batory and his wife Paula served as missionaries in Mexico before joining the GFA home office staff in 1985. Since January of 1991, he has held the position of Executive Director. The Batorys spend much time with GFA missionaries around the world and also speak in missions conferences throughout the United States.
Dr. Batory will be speaking to all the adults in Sunday School as well as preaching in our morning service.

VBS Follow-up Outreach tomorrow morning at 10:30am

We are grateful to the Lord for answering our prayers and bringing several families and children to participate in our VBS ministries.  Tomorrow morning we will be reaching out to them with a follow-up visit.

Discipleship Groups this Sunday evening at 6:00pm

Men: Read Chapter 5 in “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper.

Women: Read Ch. 4 in The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship by Jonathan Holmes.

Prayer Requests:

  • The Lord to work in hearts as several families attend family camp this week in NC.
  • Students as they return to school!
  • Families and children to come to church from VBS
  • Gospel opportunities
  • Our nation and leaders; peace

Upcoming Events:

  • Friday 8/11 – 6:30pm – Ft. Caroline Outreach
  • Saturday 8/12 – 10:30am – VBS Follow-up Outreach
  • Sunday 8/13 – GFA missions director Mark Batory with us in the morning
  • Wednesday 8/16 – 6:30pm – Prayer meeting and Bible Study

Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord!
Matthew Rowley


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