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‘Camp meeting’ sermons urge broken-hearted love & boldness

By Barbara Denman

April 5, 2013

JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—Four younger Florida Baptist pastors preached short, pithy sermons in a “camp meeting” style at the Florida Baptist Evangelism Conference March 17-19 at North Jacksonville Baptist Church. The three-day meeting drew a total of nearly 850 in evening sessions and is a Florida Baptist Convention annual event (see related story).

Scott Yirka, pastor of Hibernia Baptist Church in Green Cove Springs, highlighted Acts 8, and the relationship of Philip and the Eunuch. “God still uses people to win people to Jesus Christ,” he said. “Every one of us has been called to be an evangelist.”

Yirka still believes in door-to-door evangelism, he said, although some believe that it will not work in this day. That is because they do not do it, he added.

While many hindrances keep people from being saved, including affluence and gated communities common in Yirka’s community, God uses those who are willing to share despite the hindrances, he said.

The pastor told of how he wrote down the names of all of his neighbors and began praying for them; now whole families have come to know Christ. “As a pastor if I am not broken hearted over souls, I can’t expect other people to be broken hearted for souls.”

Having planted Fellowship Church in Orlando 11 years ago, Rodney Gage has learned how to break limitations, just as David overcame the taunts of Goliath.

David turned his limitations into opportunities because he could see the bigness of God, Gage contends. “We live in one of the most exciting opportune times in history,” Gage said. “There has never been more opportunities like now to lead people to faith.”

David was not motivated by “temporal awards but by deep motivation to the cause,” said Gage, he was “compelled by the vision and anointed by God.”

He urged those in attendance to make the most of opportunities, just as David did. “The greatest risk of life is not taking one,” he said.

Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon assured participants that “God has a vision for us far greater than you can ask” and to “exceed abundantly about all we do.”

Referencing Ephesian 3:14-21, Rummage offered a word of encouragement noting that God’s strength, power, love and fullness is greater than imagined. “I can because He can and He lives in me,” he said.

“Life is not like a VCR. You can’t fast forward through the bad parts; but I know Jesus Christ is with me in every frame and right now that’s enough.”

Erik Cummings, pastor of New Life Church in Carol City said one of the great challenges as a preacher of the Gospel is “we must preach uncompromisingly, we must preach unapologetically, we must preach with a boldness.”

As seen in I Cor. 2, Paul had “urgency in his approach. It was not about Paul, it was about Christ,” Cummings said.

While people in his church have problems, “we serve a God that is much greater than our problems.” As Paul, he said, “we must talk about Jesus, his works, and his ability to change lives.”

Saying that politics, crime and the ills of the world are not “my issues, my job is to tell it like it is and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“If we are faithful to the task, God will bring forth the fruit,” Cummings said.

The 2014 State Evangelism Conference is scheduled March 23-25 at First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach. A second conference is planned for West Florida and the dates and location are to be announced.

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