Thank you Pastor Charles E. Burton and the people of Second Missionary Baptist Church for an awesome three nights of Revival. It was my privilege to be your evangelist for this year and tonight – wow, what a crowd! The sermon, “Don’t Let Your Past Mess Up Your Future” (Acts 9:26), was received very well. The Gospel Choir from FBC sung us crazy – thank you Lord for dedicated singers and musicians!
In our text is a prime example of the past attempting to destroy the future. The subject of this text is Saul, who you probably know better as the Apostle Paul, the Church Planter Paul, the Pastoral Advisor Paul, the Shaper of Young Preachers Paul, the Doctrine Gatekeeper Paul – but in the ninth chapter of Acts, he is simply Saul. But he is Saul in the midst of transition.
Born Saul of Tarsus, he was anti-Church, and anti-Christian. He started out on the wrong foot theologically. He was trained by others to hate Christianity. He held the coat of Stephen as he was stoned to death. He grew up, educated and foolish, rich financially and poor spiritually, smart but defiant, systematic yet wreckless. He spent the bulk of his younger years hating the church.
Let me say to all of us one thing that’s plaguing the church today – some people don’t like the church. They don’t appreciate the church house, the church preacher, the church ministries, the church goals, the church worship, the church meetings, the church evangelism efforts – they just don’t like the church. I also need to say thank God for the church.
Thank God for preaching preachers and singing singers and praying deacons and trustworthy trustees and matronly mothers and off the hook young people, ministering missionaries, excited young people, praying saints, Sunday School teachers, Bible Study students, prayer meeting people and tithing members – yes, thank God for the church. Because it was the same Church, the same God, the same Jesus, the same Holy Spirit, that Paul resented, hated and persecuted that God hand delivered him to.
I’ve come to find out that some of us are in the church today after having uttered those words, “when I get grown, I’m never going to church.” However we found out, just like Paul, that the same things that we hate wind up being the same thing that you serve.
Who hated the church, but now love worship.
Who hated the preacher, but now love preachers.
Who hated to carry a Bible, but now love the Word.
Who hated being in church all day, but can’t wait to get there.
Who hated all that noise, but now shouts all over the place.
Louisville’s loss is Brandenton’s gain. One of my dear brothers in the Lord, Rev. Jasper Jackson, who served as Vice President of the Kentucky State Convention of the PNBC, has been called to the St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church and is preparing for his installation service.
I’m saddened to see him leave Kentucky but also happy and excited for his new charge. He was very supportive of the PNBC locally and nationally. A very great soul! His wisdom and fellowship will certainly be missed. His wife and I served together in the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America some 20 years ago – and his son, was just called to a congregation in Louisville. God be praised. The article below is from the Brandenton Herald.
Congratulations my friend – I pray the Lord’s blessings upon your tenure there.
BRADENTON — The small corner store. Wooden buildings all along First Street. The dirt roads.
Standing outside St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Jasper Jackson remembered all of it.
“I was a little boy then,” said the 67-year-old preacher. “To see how the place has changed — the streets, the houses, the traffic. It’s amazing.”
Some would say the same about Jackson’s return to the neighborhood where he grew up, not far from St. Mary where he will be officially installed Sunday as pastor.
“A wonderful thing,” said Deacon David McCarter.
“A most exciting thing,” said Deacon Tommie Anderson.
“There are so many people who remember him and he remembers them as well,” said Deacon Napoleon Mills. “It’s something to experience.”
Marian Copeland was overjoyed at the return of her Lincoln Memorial High School classmate.
“It’s a blessing and an inspiration to our community,” said the senior No. 1 choir president.
St. Mary had been without a pastor for more than two years when it reached out to Jackson, who’d spent
years in Indiana and Kentucky following his ministry.
“I got the call in July and I was asked, ‘Are you ready to come back home?’ Yes, I was. I said if the deacons choose me, I’ll be glad to come back home,” he said. “Can I come home again? Yes — and I thank God for that.”
Born in Palmetto and baptized at Providence Baptist Church, Jackson was one of 11 children — all his siblings were girls — and moved to Bradenton in elementary school.
“People who grew up with my sisters say, ‘Oooh, I remember you when you were a little boy.’ ” he said. “I said, yes, you’re right. I know most everybody in church. Of course, we’re all a little older.”
One person with whom Jackson goes back a long way is Chip Nelson, whose basketball prowess at Lincoln put him in the National Negro High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
They’d play hoops at all hours in the old 13th Avenue Community Center and that friendship led Jackson to St. Mary.
“I used to come here with Chip and I didn’t even belong here,” Jackson said. “If somebody had said back then I’d be pastor of this church, I’d have said, nooo.”
But Nelson had a hunch.
“Out of all us who ran together, Jasper was only one who always had to leave for church and the rest of us kept playing in the streets,” he said. “We knew he was going to be a preacher. We used to call him, ‘Preacherman.'”
Appropriately, Jackson is being tasked with revitalizing the congregation and its community. There are about 65 regular congregants and twice that on the books.
“We’re counting on him to the kind of leader St. Mary has been looking for,” said Deacon McCarter. “Our mandate is to take the word of God into the streets and bring more people into the church.”
Especially the young.
“When I see the kids in this area as I walk the neighborhood, I see what God’s showing me for the future,” Jackson said. “We have to get out there, knock on doors and let people know we’re here.”
Amen, said Deacon Anderson.
“It’s doable, it needs to happen and we intend to support him,” he said. “He felt he was led back into the community by the Holy Spirit. He’s enthusiastic, passionate and prayerful about what he’s trying to accomplish. There is an audience we can capture.”
So Jackson can go home again?
“Absolutely,” Anderson said.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix