Archive for January, 2010

Recognition or Reputation

The old adage from the world of entertainment says that “Any publicity is good publicity.” This morning a lot of people have discovered and are discussing CTS, a little-known company from Elkhart, Indiana, that makes electronic equipment, sensors and actuators. Oh, by the way, they also make pedal assemblies for automobiles, specifically Toyotas. A recent spate of accidents caused by out-of-control accelerators has caused Toyota to recall millions of their newest models. Even Chinese automakers have canceled future orders of CTS parts. (That’s when you know you’re in trouble.)

For years CTS executives have likely been thinking, “If only we could get the word out about our products. What can we do to let people know we exist?” This week they have all the publicity they can handle. By now, they are tired of answering the phone to answer questions about their company and products.

This incident reminded me that there are things more important than people knowing who I am. What do people know about me? What impression do my words and behavior leave with people that I meet? This involves more than simple concern with image or impressions. The world is enamored with celebrity and publicity, ignoring a person’s substance. The Christian must be concerned with character and integrity that is expressed through our conduct.

Every believer should be concerned with the witness that we impart to others. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We are called to do good so that others benefit, God is glorified, and we become more like Christ.

This type of testimony takes more than a kind word or nice gesture once in a while. Paul encourages young people to develop “a pattern of good works” as evidence of godliness (Titus 2:7). Day after day. In big and small ways. To those closest to us and those we have never met before. When that becomes our habit, the focus is rightly directed to our heavenly Father.

May the desire of our heart today be “Let them see Christ in me.”

Anniversary Celebration

Yesterday we celebrated the 49th anniversary of the New Testament Baptist Church in Largo, Florida. We were able to recognize individuals and families who have been a part of the work for decades. Some have been members for more than forty years. One mentioned that she could account for forty-nine years and several months as she was around before the church was organized. They have seen a lot of changes – in the church and in the world around us.

It is fitting that we remember the devoted efforts and sacrificial labor of so many throughout the years. Early on the church met in a borrowed space at Belcher Elementary School. Before that families gathered to worship in a carport.

Pastor Dick Freeman followed the Lord’s leading and organized a local church that would minister to the needs of the community which at that time held a lot more orange groves than it does now. Several years later, Pastor & Mrs. H. F. Ramsey came to lead the work “for six months or so.” They had plans to provide assistance before moving out west. Thirty-four years later they were still standing strong and doing the work of the ministry. I had the great privilege of learning from and working with “Preacher and Mrs. R” for years.

Many things have changed through the years. Belcher Road is quite a bit wider than it was in 1961, and thousands more travel it every day. The width of men’s ties and the hairstyles of ladies are different (check out the black-and-white photos along the Adult Ed. hallway). We have an abundance of amenities that were absent as the formative group met in a carport.

However, man’s basic need is still the same. God’s Word still has the one answer for that need. I trust that our church will continue to be a witness for the great gospel of Jesus Christ that can change people’s lives for eternity.

2 Tim. 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.