Monday, December 26, 2011

One Last Hoorah

Good Monday Morning To You!

One final time in 2011, let me, wish you a merry Christmas. How was your Christmas? As I sit writing this, it is still Christmas at about 8:30 pm. Officially there is less than four hours of Christmas remaining. Next week is New Year’s Day --- 2012 will begin. When I was a boy, 2012 was so far into the future, that it was never even considered. Now, it is six days away, and suddenly it takes up a lot of space in my thinking.

2011 has been a good year for me personally, and professionally. On the personal side, even though there was a bump in the road, I’ve come out of it better. I’m better physically, and spiritually. Physically, my heart is good and strong. My doctors are using such phrases as, “doing much better than expected,” and “this report is very good.” The dieting and exercising are tough, and quite frankly some days I don’t want to do them, but hearing the good words from the physicians and the cardiac rehab team at Cape Coral Hospital make it all worthwhile. Plus, I feel great!

Professionally, Friendship Harmony Baptist Church has been a real blessing in my life. I told the crowd at our Christmas Eve Service, that I wish I would have started our Church twenty years ago. God had perfect timing, though, and this Church came along at the right time in the right place. Our Church is farther along at just a little over a year old than is many churches that have been around much longer. To God be the glory! If an interviewer were to ask me what has the Church and I done to bring about such phenomenal blessings, I’d have to honestly say that our Lord has done it all, we’ve just been along for the ride. I believe that as long as Friendship Harmony follows the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg --- even greater days lie ahead in the not too distant future.

Last Wednesday, seven of us from FHBC visited the Sovereign Grace Church of the Brethren in North Fort Myers. I have known the Pastor, Bob Chapman, for nearly twenty years. I was invited to lead in the Communion part of the service. It was a real joy to be part of that service. Bro. Chapman’s congregation was so gracious to us, and made us all feel right at home. I hope we as a Church can fellowship with these good people again in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, we had a Christmas Eve service this past Saturday night. It was a traditional service with the singing of carols, a sermon preached in two parts by two different preachers, and an offering collected for foreign missions. For those of you who might not know how we as Southern Baptists support missions, let me introduce you to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Lottie Moon was an American missionary to China, long before the Communist take over. She dearly loved and cared for the people of China. Her example of warmth, grace, compassion, and a zeal for sharing Christ is what Southern Baptists try to emulate today. Part of how that is done is through this special offering. Every cent collected goes to the support of international missions; no administrative fees are received. If you would like to be a part of this outstanding and most efficient missions offering, you can mail a check made payable to Friendship Harmony Baptist Church. On the memo line, write “Lottie Moon.” Do it quickly though, we will only be collecting the offering through January 8th. Offerings can be mailed to FHBC; 2296 Date Street; St. James City, Florida; 33956

Next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic will see each of us in the year 2012. Have a good, safe, and joyous week. I hope that as you look back on 2011, you will forget the bad and focus on the blessings and the good. My prayer for your 2012 is that it is exciting, joyous, and filled with many blessings from above. Seek it! You’ll find it! (Matthew 7:7)

I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Life's Purpose: Conclusion

Good Monday Morning to You!

Are you ready for Christmas? Ready or not in just six days we celebrate the birth of Christ. Now I realize His birthday is probably not December 25. It is more likely a spring time event. Shepherds were not in the fields in December. However, whenever it was, I do not think Jesus minds when we celebrate it, just so it is done with grateful hearts. He came to our world as one of us to be our Redeemer and Lord, so go on and celebrate it. Enjoy your time with family and friends, just don’t get so wrapped up in the festivities that you forget about Him. I know you know all of this. I know I’m, “preachin’ to the choir.” However, I also believe a gentle reminder is good for all of us, Pastor Vic included, from time to time.

I wish you could have been with us at Friendship Harmony Baptist Church yesterday. Our day started with sister Brenda Conley teaching one of the best lessons I’ve ever heard on Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac. What a blessing it was to hear her comments and the ensuing discussion. The worship service was tremendous. It is always joyous when we sing the Christmas carols. They are some of the most uplifting and Scriptural songs in the hymnal. One song we sang, “O come, Emmanuel,” is actually sung in the style of a Georgian chant. That was fun.

For the message, I concluded the two part series, “Life’s Purpose,” looking at the life and ministry of John the Baptist. John was a unique man and was a link between the Old and New Testaments. Jesus declared him to be a prophet –that’s Old Testament – yet he preached Jesus – that’s New Testament. Did you also realize that John the Baptist was the first person to be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the womb? In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit did not indwell. He came upon people to aid them as they accomplished something for the LORD, then departed. Old Testament – New Testament! As believers we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation, and He remains until we are ushered into the presence of the Father at the time of our glorification, ie: our death.

The notes are included below. I hope they help in your study of God’s word.

Life’s Purpose, By Victor Cooper

From Luke 3:1, Various

Intro: In part one in Luke 1 we saw John’s lineage (v 5), upbringing (v 6), history (v 11, 12), and purpose (v 13, 14.) That put John into a good position to fulfill his purpose. As he fulfilled it, we note he had the right message, the right motive, the right moment, the right method, and the right movement.

I. John had the right message v 2 – “…the word of God.”
a. V 3 – He was not preaching baptismal regeneration – ie: salvation by baptism.
i. He was preaching be immersed in repentance.
ii. Repentance is a turning “from – to.”
iii. To be immersed in it means to be totally sold on it. You accept no other way. Example –

Grant Smith: Topic Repentance 10409 – Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations.

British detective Grant Smith was sentenced to a three year prison term after confessing to Scotland Yard he had planted drugs and other evidence on four men in order to brighten his promotion chances. All four had been convicted. As a result of Smith’s confession, all four were given pardons to clear their names. Smith turned himself in shortly after becoming an elder in our evangelical congregation. “I want to be totally committed to Christ,” he told authorities. “I feel I cannot do that until I have come to terms with my fellow man.”

b. V 4 – “Prepare” –key word
i. In that day if a king was coming, the roads were smoothed and curves taken out. (v 5)

II. John had the right motive. V 15-17
a. He could have grabbed the glory and claimed to be the Messiah.
b. He could have said, “Christ is my cousin. Our family has come to save you. Come follow us.”
c. He displayed humility and grace.
d. He let them know it was not about him, it was about Jesus. Read John 3:28,30

III. John had the right moment. John 1:6, 7
a. He had the call and he responded – then; not later. John 3:38
i. John could not afford to delay – the timing was impeccable.
b. Jabez prayed for the right moment.
1 Chronicles 4:10 “….enlarge my coat…” includes give me the right moment.

IV. John had the right method. V 4 (back to Luke 3)
a. (v 4-6) He preached, ie: proclaimed.
b. (v 8a) He challenged
c. (v 9) He warned
d. (v 10-14) He taught
e. He was following a pattern later recorded by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:1-5
1. preach
2. be instant (right moment) – From a Greek word meaning, to be present.
3. reprove
4. rebuke –forbid.
5. exhort – to invite; to call near; to encourage.

V. John’s reward was the right movement. Matt 3:5,6
a. It was the planned result.
b. It was the expected result.
c. It was the honored result.
i. Jesus said, Luke 7:28 A
For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:
ii. Your reward – Luke 7:28 B
but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

We’ll meet again the day after Christmas so from the entire Cooper family, all fifteen of us, Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. I’ll see you next week on Monday Morning with Pastor Vic.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Good Monday Morning To You.

I hope you have been well since we met last. I am doing tremendously well, also. I set a goal for myself to be up to twenty minutes on the treadmill bu Christmas. This past Friday I made it! I did 21 minutes. For some of you, that is nothing, but for me it is a milestone. My former Pastor and good friend, B. J. Thomas, said success is not reaching a goal, but setting another one once the old one is reached. He was right. As we see 2011 quickly winding down, are there goals you have yet to reach? If you have reached them, have you considered what's next? Not preachin' --- just askin'!

What a fantastic day it was at Friendship Harmony! We had a guest speaker this morning; Dr. Tommy Simmons from Arcadia, Florida. Dr. Simmons and his wife Sandy came and shared their ministry and goals for their work, Community Christian Fellowship. These folk are our ministry partners, and Friendship Harmony is honored to serve with them. Our Church recommended them, and supports them as they are in the process of entering the Royal Palm Association. Community Christian Fellowship will be a fine addition to our local association of Southern Baptist Churches.

Tommy preached from Psalm 103:1-5 which says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: [3] Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; [4] Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; [5] Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.” He reminded us that we can bless the name of the Lord in times of prosperity, and discouragement. This is possible because our iniquity (sins) has been forgiven. We have been shown mercy, not judgment. All sins must be judged, yours and mine alike. The difference between a believer and a sinner is that the believer's sin has been judged on the cross. The sinner's sin is judged by living eternally in the lake of fire. The benefit is that as a believer, I will never experience that place of eternal torment. I can know about it from a Theological standpoint, but never shall I experience it. Wow! Talk about a benefit; God's mercy. Do you stand in need of God's mercy? Is there any un-confessed sin in your life? You do not have to wait until Sunday at Church to find the benefit of forgiveness. Take God's offer of mercy now while He is speaking to you. The devil won't tell you not to, but he will try to convince you to wait. When it comes to your relationship, or lack of one with God, wait is the most dangerous word in the dictionary.

Next Sunday, the Lord willing, I'll preach the second and concluding message in our series titled “Life's Purpose.” On Saturday evening, December 24, at 6:00 pm, our annual Christmas eve service will be held. The order of service is tentative, but I possibly will be joined in the pulpit by my long time friend and minister, Bro. Bob Chapman. I'll give you more details next week. On Sunday January 1, at the request of several of our folk, I will begin a prophecy series. If you are in the area, I hope you can be here for all the services I mentioned.

Have a good week, and keep yourself safe if you are doing any Christmas shopping. Park in well lit areas if you go out at night, and go in a group if you can. Start your car as soon as you get into it and pull away. You can put on your seat belt at the first light or stop sign... Ladies hang on to your purses. I witnessed as one woman left her purse in the seat of her shopping cart, then wondered off down the aisle. She made herself an easy target. Men, consider putting your wallet in your front shirt pocket. I heard a reformed pick pocket say that spot is unable to be picked without notice. I know it all sounds foreboding, but Pastor Vic wants you to enjoy this Christmas season.

I'll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!