Finish Strong

Important Lessons From Scripture About Fighting The Good Fight.

George Wright
May 23, 2021    44m
What do you want to be said about your life when it comes to the end? By exploring important lessons from Scripture about fighting the good fight, we can learn how to live our lives for Christ with our eyes on eternity. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: [00:00:02] Please stand, and let me encourage you to grab your Bible and we're going to step right into the Word of God, stay standing with me if you're willing and able to do so. And we stand on the foundation of God's Word, the solid rock that is under the feet of the people of God. We stand at the reading of God's Word to be reminded of what God has said to us, what is right and good and true, that which we need to hear.

George Wright: [00:00:32] This morning is our final message in Second Timothy chapter 4 will bringing this study and this series to an end. And I'll read verses 6 through 8 of Second Timothy chapter four. The Holy Scripture says, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing."

George Wright: [00:01:28] As we conclude our time in Second Timothy, for let's pray collectively together, that through the preaching of God's Word, God would reveal to us what we need to see today, that we, at the end of our lives, will be able to say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Let's ask God to show us his way. Pray with me. Father, what a gift it is to gather in your name, how thankful we are for this morning of lifting our voices and worship, the singing of the good news of the gospel is such a gift. And so, Lord, as we now turn our hearts to your word, with hearts prepared through worship and song, I pray, Lord God, that you would speak as only you can, that you would lay before us what we need to see, that you would speak into our lives, what we need to hear. Father, we don't want to just go through the religious motions of attending church or watching a service online, we want to hear from the living God. And so I pray, Lord God, that your voice would be clear in our hearts and minds here today, that you would have your way among us, and I pray that we would not be the same as a result of that which you say. We commit this time to you, in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing with me. And thank you for lifting your voices to sing of the praise worthy of his name.

George Wright: [00:03:15] Second Timothy 4, what a gift it has been to me personally to walk through this very important book of the Bible, this letter written from the Apostle Paul to a young man that he loved and mentored in the Christian faith, Timothy. And what we have talked about throughout this letter, and what we certainly see here today, is that the Apostle Paul knows he is coming to the end, not only of his ministry, he's coming to the end of his life. And so, he's using this very significant moment here, knowing that the end is coming for him, to speak a word of encouragement to Timothy, but also to speak a word of vision. Timothy, as I prepare for the end of my life, I want to invite you to prepare for the end of your life. As I prepare for the end of my season of ministry, Timothy, I want you to prepare for the end of whatever that season may be for you. This is an encouraging word, but it's also a prophetic word, it's a visionary word, that Paul gives to Timothy not only at the end of the letter but knowing he's at the end of his life. And history tells us that shortly after Timothy would have received this letter, in fact, the Apostle Paul was executed by the Roman authority. This is a significant statement Paul is making at the end of this letter.

George Wright: [00:04:46] As I was preparing this week it brought to mind a book that I know many of you are familiar with, in fact, it's one of the better selling Christian books over the last hundred years, it’s called Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If you're new to the church or new to the Christian faith, and you've not picked up a copy of Mere Christianity, I would encourage you to do so, it is a gift to the Christian faith. But throughout this book over the last several years, it was written in 1952, over the last several years, this book has been quoted by pastors and theologians many, many times. In fact, there are many who would say that Mere Christianity is one of the best Christian books written in the last hundred years. One of the quotes that stands out from Mere Christianity, you may have heard a rendition of this or a version of this, is when Lewis begins to talk about eternity. He begins to write about the hope that a Christian can have when thinking about eternity, and this is what he says, Mere Christianity, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of my life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same." Have you ever found yourself, even after obtaining or acquiring things that you thought would bring you fulfillment, longing for something more? Have you ever been in one of those seasons of life where you're going, there's just got to be more than this? It may even be a good season, it may be a time where you're looking around a man, the family's happy, things are going well, the paycheck still coming in, I mean, but hasn't there got to be something more than this?

George Wright: [00:07:01] As Lewis so masterfully writes, "If you find yourself longing for something more." Perhaps you should consider there is something more, perhaps you should consider that you were made for another world altogether, a true country, as he describes it. That is what the Apostle Paul is seeking to draw out from Timothy here at the end of this letter. Timothy, let me encourage you, and let me inspire you, and let me remind you, Timothy, that even as you walk through the struggles of this life, you have something waiting for you that is greater for you than this life here. Timothy, look, there is something that you are going to experience, you will not fully experience it in this life, but when you get to the other side of this life, it will be greater than anything this life could offer. Timothy, fix your eyes on eternity. Church, fix your eyes on eternity.

George Wright: [00:08:07] The language of the Apostle Paul uses, as always, it's so intentional, it really is so inspiring to hear what Paul is writing there in verse 6 as he says, "The time of my departure has come." That word departure, in its original context, was actually a nautical term, it was used as it relates to ships and boats, and it would be used when a ship was lifting up its anchor to prepare to set sail for a different destination. Paul is saying, look, I know my life is coming to an end, but please hear me, Timothy, this is not the end. No, this is a departure to something greater, I'm lifting up the anchor, the sails are ready to roll, and the wind is at my back, and I'm going to a new country, a new destination altogether. The time of my departure has come.

George Wright: [00:09:09] And so, Timothy, with that in mind, I just want to remind you of my personal testimony, that's what Paul's saying. You've been following my life, we know that Timothy was with Paul on some of his journeys, we know that Timothy has heard from Paul on many occasions about ministry. He's been mentored and discipled by Paul, he's seen not only Paul teach, but he's seen Paul live it out. So here in one statement, Paul is reminding Timothy of his testimony, and casting a vision of what Timothy should pray towards, and fight for, and live for as he seeks to live a life of faithfulness.

George Wright: [00:09:57] That's what we see in verse 7, Second Timothy verse 7, look at this incredible statement, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Again, this is not only a testimony, this is a vision, a vision that Paul wants Timothy to grab a hold of, a vision that I believe really should be the vision for every person who says I'm a follower of Jesus. If you want to know the goal, here it is right here, Second Timothy 4:7, that you could live in such a way that when you come to the end of your life, you can say in confidence with the Apostle Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

George Wright: [00:10:51] Let's break this down really quickly, what does it mean to fight the good fight? Well, certainly we live in a culture, we live in a time in our culture, where there are a lot of people fighting a lot of different fights. In fact, it seems I think to most of us that the desire to fight is stronger than perhaps what we've seen in any recent memory, and people are looking for a fight. Many of you I know right now are engaged in a fight of some kind, a fight you're passionate about, or a fight that you believe you deserve to win, or a fight where you've been wronged, or a fight where you want justice, many of you are engaged in a fight. I would just simply ask us this question, are we fighting the right fights? Can we say of the fight, I have fought the good fight, I have fought the right fight?

George Wright: [00:12:01] In fact, let me ask you this, is the fight that you're fighting going to have any implication at all on eternity? When this life is over, is the fight you're fighting right now going to matter at all? For Paul is saying to Timothy, Timothy, you know this because you're engaged in some fights. There's some, we've talked about this, there are some challenges in the church of Ephesus, where Timothy is currently the pastor. There are many challenges from the culture, and persecutions from the culture, on the early church, it's not an easy season for Timothy, this young leader, this young pastor. Timothy, there's a lot of fights, are you fighting the right fight? Are you fighting the good fight? Are you fighting the fights that truly matters? Are you fighting a fight that actually advances the gospel? Are you fighting a fight that actually lifts high the name of Jesus above your own name? Are you fighting a fight that actually points to the mission of God, that he has called his people to be a part of? Are you fighting a fight that will matter in eternity? Paul is saying to Timothy, and is saying to the church, fight the good fight, fight the right fight, fight the God-honoring, God-pleasing Christ-exalting fight.

George Wright: [00:13:38] And then that simple statement, "I have finished the race." The Apostle Paul uses athletic terms on several occasions in his writing, and here he's talking about his personal assignment and he's saying, I've finished this race, I'm coming to the finish line. What is he saying? He's saying I have done what God has called and equipped me to do, I have leveraged who I am, I have leveraged what I've been given, for the sake of the gospel. I have completed the task of seeking to bring glory to God, my life has finished my race, I have done everything I could with what God entrusted to me.

George Wright: [00:14:31] This brings to mind for me The Parable of the Talents, that is a story Jesus tells in Matthew 25. And so I encourage you to keep your spot in Second Timothy 4, and turn over with me back to the beginning of the New Testament to the book of Matthew, one of the four gospels that we have, eyewitness accounts of the Life and Ministry of Jesus. Matthew 25, Jesus tells this story that we call The Parable of the Talents. And it's a story of a master with three specific servants that he gives a sum of money, one servant receives five talents, one servant receives two talents, and one servant receives one talent. And what you can read in this parable, in Matthew 25, is the servant who was given five talents, used those talents to go out and double the sum of money, he goes from five to ten talent, and he was able to report back to his master. The same thing is true of the servant who receives two talents, he doubles the money, he makes a good investment, and so now he has four talents that he's able to bring back to the master. But the one who has given one talent was afraid, the Scripture says, so he went and he hid the talent, he buried the talent and did nothing with it. We'll pick up the story where the servants come back to the master, verse 20 of Matthew 25. It says, "He who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” I just wonder, will that be said of your life? The story continues, it says, "He also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." Will that be said of you? Isn't it interesting, Jesus could have just given one example, the guy who got five talents and the guy who got one, one responded the right way and one did not. But no, Jesus gives two examples of the right way to respond, to emphasize, hey, this is what God wants to see from his people, that we would use what we've been given for his glory, then we would not sit around and waste the opportunity God has provided, but that we would use what has been entrusted to us and leverage our lives for the sake of the gospel and for the glory of God. Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. But then verse 25 shows us what is said of that other servant, the one who received one talent, the one who is afraid, the one who did nothing with what God had entrusted to him, is the message Jesus is communicating here. It says in verse 25, "I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!" I just wonder, will that be said of you? What will be said of you as you stand before the master. What are you doing with what God has entrusted to you? Remember, this is not what are you doing to try and earn your way to God, that's not the message at all. This is the message of the gospel, the message of the Bible, that says what you have received is a gift from God, it's not what you deserve, it's not what you could earn, it is a free gift of God's grace. So, what are you doing with this gift that God has entrusted to you? Are you using your time and your talents and your treasures for the glory of God?

George Wright: [00:19:23] With that in mind, we go back to Second Timothy. Paul has said, I have finished the race, I have completed the assignment, I have leveraged all that I am for the glory of God. I've used what God entrusted to me, to seek to point others to the good news of what Christ has done, I have finished the race. And then he says, "I have kept the faith." And this really speaks to a theme that runs all throughout this letter to Timothy. That Paul is continually encouraging Timothy to stand firm on the foundation of God's Word, for the faith is built on the Word of God. So don't compromise the Word of God, Timothy, you keep the faith. Don't shy away from preaching God's Word, that's what we saw last week at the beginning of Chapter 4. And don't you dare, Timothy, cave into the cultural pressure that's telling you, hey, change the story, put some white-out to the word, cut and paste the things you don't like. Timothy, don't you dare cave into that pressure, no, you keep the faith, you stand on God's Word. Paul saying, that is what I have sought to do with my life, it's not been easy, there's been challenges, there's been persecutions, but I've sought to live a life that stands on the sound doctrine of God's Word and then teaches, and equips, and advances, the sound doctrine of God's Word into these churches that God has invited me to be a part of. Timothy, keep the faith.

George Wright: [00:21:09] And then we get to see this beautiful declaration, that is actually an invitation and a promise to those who are followers of Christ, in Second Timothy 4 verse 8. I want to read just part of the verse and then make a comment. It says, "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day." This is an amazing statement that the Apostle Paul is making, and it is specifically an amazing statement when we recognize the circumstance in which Paul is writing this letter. I think it might be easy for us to conclude that at the end of the Apostle Paul's life, after long faithful ministry, as he says to Timothy, hey, I have fought the good fight, I've finished the race, I've kept the faith, it would be easy for us to conclude that, man, there's this beautiful picture where he rides off into the sunset and the church comes out and throws a big retirement party for him, he's done so good. Or when his death does come, there's this incredible funeral service and people lined up to make comments about Paul's faithfulness and all that he's done, and it's a packed house. That's not Paul's story at all, Paul is writing this letter from a Roman prison cell, and history tells us shortly after Timothy receives this letter, Paul is in fact executed, he's executed by beheading. This is not a glorious retirement party; we don't even know if Paul had a funeral at all. This is not a big crowd of people showing up and saying, man, you did so good, you really impacted my life, we all love you, thank you so much. No, Paul knows he's dying alone in relative obscurity, and yet he knows that his true reward is coming. The true reward for Paul is not pats on the back, and here's a great celebration of your retirement from ministry, or here's a great funeral gathering with a beautiful reception and lots of little sweet things to eat and a glass of sweet tea. That's not what matters to Paul at all, Paul's pointing to a reward that is eternal.

George Wright: [00:23:51] And think about this, this is amazing to consider, Paul has no idea how God is truly using his life and will continue to use his life. I mean, Paul has no idea that God would take 13 letters that he wrote to some men that he loved in ministry, and some churches, and God would take those letters and would divinely inspire them as a part of what we now call the New Testament in the Bible. Paul had no idea that thousands of years after his execution, the words that he wrote in those letters would be still relevant to our lives today and would lead to millions upon millions of people throughout several thousand years trusting their life to Jesus Christ. He had no idea, he couldn't even see a fracture, or a sliver, of what God would do in his life while he was alive, but he gets to see it all in eternity. He gets to see the true reward of a life of faithfulness, and the impact that his life made and is making on us even today. This true reward that is so much greater than any reward that we could get in this life, and Paul is saying that's what it's all about, Timothy, fix your eyes on eternity, for the reward for those who are in Christ is waiting.

George Wright: [00:25:38] Church history tells us that one of the most prominent preachers of the 19th century was a preacher by the name Charles Spurgeon. You may have heard of Spurgeon, in fact, Spurgeon has impacted many preachers' ministries, and has impacted many people's lives. Spurgeon was called the prince of preachers because he had such a tremendous gift of delivering God's Word. Spurgeon pastored the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, for roughly thirty-eight years. Thousands came to Christ under Spurgeon's ministry, thousands upon thousands have been impacted since his death by his ministry and his writings. But in his autobiography, Spurgeon writes about his own personal experience of coming to faith in Christ, he tells the story of being a 15-year-old teenager, he woke up one Sunday morning with a pressing desire that his life needed to be right with God. He had been in the church as a child, but he woke up on this specific morning with this just pressing desire to be right with God. And so he decided that he would go to church, and he was planning to go to the church that his family had attended on and off for many years. But because of a snowstorm, when he got outside and begin to make his way towards the church, in the wind and the snow and the elements, it was somewhat overwhelming for him, and so he tried to get out of the wind and out of the snow by going down a side street where he normally wouldn't travel. And as he ventured down this side street to get away from the big storm, he stumbled upon a small little chapel, that was a primitive Methodist chapel. He saw that there was some light inside, there were a few people in there, so he went into the chapel just to get away from the snow.

George Wright: [00:27:49] And on that particular Sunday, in this tiny little chapel with just a few people gathered in the midst of a snowstorm, there was a guest preacher. And the guest preacher was actually a lay preacher, meaning he wasn't a full-time minister, he was a volunteer. And he was there because evidently the normal preacher couldn't be there that day, and so he stands up and begins to preach a message from the Book of Isaiah. And Spurgeon recounts that the moment he began to preach, it was as if the sermon was specifically for 15-year-old Charles Spurgeon sitting there. He realized he needed to trust his life to Christ, he was overcome by his sin, he was overcome by his personal need for the Savior. And right there on the spot of that little primitive Methodist chapel, that Spurgeon never intended to visit on that day, he gave his life to Jesus Christ as his Savior and as Lord. Listen to this, to this day, no one knows the name of the guest volunteer preacher who delivered the sermon that day that led the prince of preachers to Christ, no one even knows his name. But God knows, and whoever that man is, has seen and received his reward of recognizing that one day he shared a message of the good news of Jesus and a young 15-year-old kid accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, and went on to become the most prominent preacher of the gospel of the 19th century.

George Wright: [00:29:44] We have no idea how God is truly using our lives as we seek to live by faith, but someday we will. Someday we will see, someday we will receive the true reward of seeing what God has done through us. That's what Paul concludes with here, look at verse 8 again, "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." Paul has no idea how his life is truly going to be used for the glory of God, but he will get to see, what a reward. But certainly, not all of us have a story like Paul, not all of us are preaching, and not all of us are in places where we're going to impact a lot of people. But we have no idea, we have no idea how that one, that one who was impacted for Christ through our life may go on to impact thousands, we have no idea. And Paul is saying to Timothy, you will see the true reward, and, Timothy, it's greater than anything that this life can offer. This is available to all who love his appearing, this is available to all who trust in Jesus.

George Wright: [00:31:19] I want to end this way because I believe this is so important. As Paul is writing to Timothy, he knows. Timothy is in a challenging season of ministry, and he knows that Timothy, as a young minister, is going to face many more challenges in the years to come. And he knows that anyone in ministry facing challenges sometimes has questions, the way you might have questions when you're walking through a difficult season, or when you find yourself at a place where you're not really sure if your life is making an impact. Paul knows that Timothy, at times, is going to be prone to say, does any of this really matter? God, are you really using me? I mean, sometimes it seems like, yes, but sometimes it's like, God, are you really using me at all? Do you even see any of this? God, does anyone even care? And Paul knows, that in that moment, when we wrestle with significance, when we wrestle with is our life making a difference, is our life making an impact, when we wrestle with the challenges of this life, Paul knows that in that moment, the thing that we need, the thing that will give us hope, and the thing that will give us faith to stand firm and finish the race, is we need a vision of eternity. We need our eyes fixed on eternity, to know that we may not see the reward in this life, but if we follow Jesus in faith, there is a reward that is awaiting us. We have no idea how our life is truly being used by God, but someday we will see, and that reward we'll be waiting for those in Christ.

George Wright: [00:33:40] I would just challenge you with what I believe Paul is challenging Timothy as we wrap up the study of this book, fix your eyes on eternity, fix your heart on Jesus, fix your feet on the Word of God, fix your eyes on eternity, and God will use your life beyond what you could ever even comprehend in this life, but someday you will see. There is the promise of eternity, and the promise of the reward, for those who trust in Jesus that is waiting for everyone who lives by faith in the good news of what Christ has done.

George Wright: [00:34:28] With that in mind, let me close our time and pray over this word, believing that God is using it in the lives of those who are listening. Let's pray together before we conclude our service. Father, we thank you for the opportunity to walk through a book like Second Timothy, this beautiful, personal, challenging, convicting letter that is so inspiring and so motivating and so honest. Oh, Lord, I pray that as we see what the Word of God has laid before us here in these verses of Second Timothy 4, I pray, Lord God, that we would catch a vision for what the end of our story can be. That we would say at the end of our time, I have fought the good fight, the right fight, I have finished the race, I have completed the assignment that my God has given me, and I have kept the faith. I have stood on the Word of God because the Word of God is what reveals to me my hope.

George Wright: [00:35:42] O Lord, may it be true of us, may we hear the statement, well done, good and faithful servant. And in those days when we struggle to believe it's even making an impact at all, in those days where we wonder if you're even doing anything through us at all, Lord, would you give us a vision of eternity, to recognize that you see so much more than we can possibly comprehend. We get so caught up in the here and now, we get so caught up in what's right in front of us, but you God see it all. So may we trust you, with eyes fixed on eternity, and the passion to point others to the good news of what Jesus Christ has done.

George Wright: [00:36:41] Lord, as I close, I recognize there may be some among us here today, some joining us online, who, when they hear about eternity, they have a ton of question in their own heart about whether or not they'll be with you, whether or not they really do have a reward coming because they're not sure where they stand with you. Lord, I pray if there's anyone wrestling with that today, that they would see very clearly the good news of the gospel, that through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for their sin, and through the power of his resurrection defeating sin and the grave, they are offered the gift of salvation that is the promise, not only of forgiveness and grace in this life, it is the promise of eternal life.

George Wright: [00:37:30] If there's anyone today that recognizes they need the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray that they would simply do what the Word of God says, confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead. And they would say, Jesus, I believe you, I need you, I trust you. Forgive me of my sin, I'm ready to follow you in new life.

George Wright: [00:38:00] Lord, we praise you for the gift of salvation, and we pray that as we go, we would go with an eternal vision. With an eternal vision to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. It's in Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

George Wright: [00:38:25] Hey, as we close our time today, let me first tell you that our Next Step center in the lobby is open and available. We always have our Next Step center open at the end of a service. And the Next Step center is simply a place for you to go and find out any answers to questions you may have about the church, find out any info that you need about the ministry of what's happening here at Shandon. But most importantly, the Next Step Center is, if you know God is prompting you to step out on faith, perhaps to step out on faith and trust your life to Jesus, perhaps to step out on faith and be baptized as a follower of Christ, or to join the fellowship here at Shandon, we would encourage you to go straight to the Next Step center where some of our pastoral team is there to pray with you, talk with you, and help guide you with every step of faith the Lord is prompting in your life.

George Wright: [00:39:17] But as we close, we get to have a very special time of commissioning and praying over one of our own. So, I want to bring out Pastor David Taylor, who's our Missions Pastor here at Shandon. And as David comes, would you thank him for 11 fateful years here at Shandon? David is in a season of transition, and God has provided an incredible opportunity for David. We're going to stand together at the end and thank him as we pray it out, but I just want you to know that David's time here at Shandon has been fruitful, and it's been a gift to our church. He is he has helped keep us focused on the mission, and God has now given he and Sarah and their family the opportunity to step out on faith for the sake of the mission, as David is going to join the leadership team of Empower One, which is one of our ministry partners here at Shandon, working to plant churches in some of the toughest areas of Africa where the need is great. And so, David, would you share with us about the opportunity God's provided?

David Taylor: [00:40:26] Yes, thank you. First of all, I just want to say to you guys, thank you so much for being such a welcoming church family who has loved and embraced our families so well these past 11 and a half years, and we're kind of hoping for that relationship to continue since we're staying. And Sarah and the girls are in the back, Ethan's probably with his buddies up there, and Noah is over there, we're just always scattered like we are on Sunday mornings, which you can anticipate will continue.

David Taylor: [00:40:57] The bigger change is actually going to happen for me than for you guys because that change is going to happen during the week. I'll be stepping into the role as the Vice President of US operations for Empower One, like George said. I'm very excited to get the opportunity to be directly involved in that. And so my investment of time is going to primarily be in doing whatever I can to engage churches and individuals in reaching the over twenty-five million unreached of Sudan and South Sudan and the countries surrounding. And so, I'm very excited to get to do this, and so I would just ask that you guys would pray. When Jesus gives the great commission and we look at that, a lot of us in the mission’s pastor world, we think that we have some good strategy to bring to the table. But the Bible is really, really clear about the chief strategy for the great commission, and that is prayer.

David Taylor: [00:42:00] And I'd ask that you go on the Empower One website even today, and go to our team page and look at my awesome co-workers. Pastor David Kaya, one of the co-founders, is in the Upper Nile right now training church planters. Or Moses Owili and John Monychol, I probably just mispronounced his last name, but all of these men and women of faith who are doing good work, pray for them, pray by name, pray for their families.

David Taylor: [00:42:26] And I just want to close by just letting you know, it's kind of interesting that I'm going to go full-time to work with a ministry that brought me to my knees in the most humbling way a few years ago in 2017 when I was in Africa. I was there on behalf of Shandon with Marc Fisher and John Ozment, and we were praying, God, where are we going to invest when we're here? And it was no, after no, after no, with church partners until we ran into these three folks who work with Empower One. We were at Golden Courts Hotel, and they started telling me about this Empower One. There's this seminary up at a refugee camp which was, at that time, the biggest refugee camp in the world. And they have one hundred men right now that they're training, and they're sending up into Somalia and Sudan and Darfur and Chad and Ethiopia, and planting churches. And I was like, I want to go see what that was about. And they're like, yeah, we need you to teach at the seminary tomorrow. And I was like, whoa, I'm not ready. And then when I begin to actually prepare, I started thinking about the fact that I'm going to be teaching men who have come out of war or come out of persecution, and I'm thinking I'm not qualified for this. That's kind of how I feel going into this, to be honest, but I'm so glad that I get to be a part of Empower One. And I'm refreshingly encouraged by these words of the African men that were there that day when I went to teach, little old David, I go in and with boisterous voices one hundred men from all of the...

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206