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The Fountain of Life

Smaller churches can often get an inferiority complex. They see the diverse programs offered by the big churches for children, singles, families, and the community and feel a bit like a second class citizen. Big churches have fancy technology, a wide array of musical talent, and deeper resources from which to operate. All of the aforementioned can be powerful tools for the spread of the kingdom. However, the lack of such resources does not invalidate the value of a ‘little’ church like Ocean Park. Last Sunday, my pastoral mentor, Robert Konemann, preached at Ocean Park. He gave the church the following charge concerning the mission and power of Ocean Park’s ministry…

“About thirty miles south of here is a city we all know well; St Augustine. In that city there is purported to be a fountain that Ponce de Leon once sought. We know it to be the Fountain of Youth. I want to say to you in my experience sitting with you in your midst, that there indeed is a fountain of youth in proximity to you. It’s here! I’m not sure if you’ve recognized it or not, but within the confines of these walls, in your presence and my presence, there is a fountain of life because Christ is proclaimed. I feel it this morning. I rejoice in it. It is empowering to me in this moment in which we exist. There is a fountain that is located in Ocean Park Baptist Church and you need to rejoice in that fountain. Just because there are four walls and a cross hanging on the wall does not mean that the fountain resides in that place. There are places scattered across Jacksonville that you will go in there and there will be no life. The life that is internal in this place needs to be turned inside-out so the community around you can receive what you have. I challenge you, make this fountain know and the best way for you to make this fountain known is to drink deeply from it. You know the world has picked up on this. What is the greatest form of advertisement that the world can express? A satisfied customer! What do satisfied customers do? They talk! They talk about their experience. So what I would suggest is that you drink deeply from this fountain, from the presence of Christ in the midst of his people. Doing so will transform your thinking and transform your heart. That transformation will then radiate out wherever you go. We wont have to ‘try’ to do anything because the transformation will be apparent. The question will naturally arise, “From where did you derive this life?” and you will say, “Right down the street”…

at Ocean Park where God is glorified and the gospel is magnified. It is my prayer that we take these words to heart. That we lay aside the temporary distractions that vie for our attention, tune our the voices that clamor for our attention, and listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd that calls us to “deny [ourselves] and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). When our hearts are captivated by the majesty and beauty of the gospel it will permeate every aspect of our being. We will love our spouses differently, raise our children differently, and interact with our friend and neighbors differently. When people see the radical difference that gospel of Jesus Christ makes in our lives it will have a profound affect on their lives and on our church. Matthew 5:16 describes the result when we drink deep of the Gospel, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Ocean Park may we see the value of the living water of the gospel of Jesus Christ and drink deep so that we are satisfied and God is glorified in Jax Beach and throughout the world.

Soli Deo Gloria

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