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My Joy and My Reward (1 of 21)
Series: Joy Book
I have been a pastor for 50 years this coming July. The Lord has blessed me through those years with wonderful churches. I have served seven previous churches. I started out in the country preaching in country churches. This is now the eighth church God has allowed me to be pastor of.
As I look at my ministry I think through all the years of the churches I've had. The first four churches I had, I averaged 16 months. I was a 16-year-old boy just getting started preaching and I would stay about 16 months at a church and then move on. Somebody said, "Vines is a pretty good preacher, but he doesn't stay anywhere long." I've been here now going on 23 years, and I say, "Well, I just hadn't got where I was going yet."
When the Lord brought me to First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, He indeed brought me to the church of my dreams. This church is a dream church for a pastor. No better place could ever a person be called to serve than First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida.
You indeed could be spoken of as Paul spoke about the Philippian church when he said, "They are my joy and my crown, my joy and my reward." You are the source of my joy down here. You will be the source of my crown of rejoicing up there.
What a wonderful relationship Paul had with that church at Philippi. He wrote nine letters in the New Testament to seven churches. As you read those letters, you find that he loves them all, but you cannot help but avoid the fact that when you read this letter, the church of Philippi was a special church. It was kind of a dream church to the Apostle Paul.
He is writing this letter. He loved the church and it is obvious the church loved him. They had sent a man named Epaphroditus with an offering to assist Paul. Paul now is taking pen in hand and writing back to the church there. You can see the love that exists between the two.
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