Evangelists' worship spotlights God's love

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Evangelists Tony Nolan, Ken Freeman and Junior Hill preached sermons reflecting the evangelist's mission to declare God's love for sinners and for the church June 8 in Indianapolis.

They were the featured speakers during the annual Sunday morning worship sponsored by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.

Nolan, of Woodstock, Ga., preached from Romans 5:8, which states, "But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us."

"This verse gives us a renewed picture -– high-definition clarity -– of this amazing Gospel God has given us to share with the world," Nolan said. "The love of God propels us [to share the Gospel]; it is the catalyst that motivates us to do what we do."

Because love is their motivation, Christians need not apologize for the message they share, Nolan said, noting that God did not merely say He loves humanity. He showed His love by allowing the crucifixion of His one and only Son.

Ken Freeman, an evangelist from San Antonio, Texas, spoke about the power of faith in Jesus to heal what he called "paralyzed" lives.

Preaching from Luke 5, Freeman compared the lost to the paralytic whose friends lowered him through the ceiling so that he could be healed by Jesus.

"All of us in this room have been paralyzed with something," he said. "Some of you came in today paralyzed with the garbage in your life, your church. But Jesus wants you to walk again."

Freeman shared about his own "paralysis" -– growing up with an absentee father and an abusive, alcoholic mother. At age 10, he remembers waking up to find his mother in a drunken stupor, holding a butcher knife to his throat. It wasn't the first time she threatened to kill him. Freeman also recounted the trauma of watching one of his mother's ex-boyfriends rape his sister, then turn and molest him.

But Freeman's life changed as a teenager when he heard the Gospel for the first time from an evangelist named Freddy Gage. Freeman surrendered his life to Jesus, eventually becoming an evangelist himself 26 years ago. Among those he has tried to reach are his parents.

"My mom's in hell today," Freeman said, "because she never believed that Jesus could change her life."

But Freeman was able to find his 78-year-old father and lead him to the Lord before his death. "I didn't get a relationship [with him]" on earth, he said, "but we're going to be kicking it in heaven."

"Our faith can make the difference in somebody's eternity. Our faith can make the difference in a very desperate and dying world," Freeman said.

Evangelist Junior Hill of Hartselle, Ala., in a message from 2 Timothy 2:1-6, spoke on Paul's instructions to Timothy using the apostle's three metaphors: a soldier serving, an athlete striving and a farmer sowing.

"As a soldier, you have a commander that must never be disappointed," Hill he said. "You would do well to remember that when God called you to be a preacher, you became an instrument in the hands of the commanding officer."

The athlete, Hill said, must be focused on his goal.

"We've taken our eyes off of the crown," Hill said. "We've moved our focus to the crowd watching us run. It's good to have a lot of people watch you run, but I want to win that crown."

Regarding the farmer, Hill noted, "A farmer's job is plant seeds," describing the sowing of the Gospel as "your one responsibility. If you have any other agenda, you're going to fail in your ministry."

Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page brought greetings to the COSBE gathering, exhorting the evangelists to "never fail to stress the shed blood of Jesus Christ."

Ken Weathersby, North American Mission Board senior strategist for evangelism, and Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, also encouraged the evangelists to continue their work.

"Ephesians 4 reminds us that the gift of the evangelist is a God-called gift," Chapman said. "The gift of the evangelist is the invitation."

Contemporary Christian music artists NewSong also were featured during the COSBE worship.


Reported by Gregory Tomlin, Don Graham and Brian Koonce.

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