Just Rev. Elon and Lady McIntosh celebrated their 11th Pastoral Anniversary at St. Thomas Baptist Church in Wood Cay with nightly services on Aug. 30-31 ending with a closing-out service on Sept. 2.
“Pressing toward the Mark for the Prize in Christ Jesus” was the Scriptural theme, while “Higher Ground” was the theme song.
Rev. Everette Strachan called the worship to order, while Rev. Earnest Williams gave the invocation.
As the order of service continued, Sister Lathera Clarke delivered a warm welcome to the congregation and those who came to support the McIntoshes. Sis. Rhonda Saunders read the Scripture, Rev. Burnell Parker made an offertory appeal followed by prayer, and Sis. Naomi McIntosh rendered a special selection.
The St. Thomas Choir joined in with a choral selection before the sermon.
Bishop Christopher Dean, senior pastor of Zion Baptist Church, and the Abaco District Superintendent for the Zion United Baptist Convention, was the guest speaker for the honourary occasion.
“I don’t know if we can find a more humble, no-nonsense pastor in Abaco,” he said of Rev. McIntosh. “He doesn’t tolerate foolishness, and he is a humble, humble man of God.
“I honour the Lord for him today, and we have come here today to celebrate him and his lovely wife.”
Thanking God for choosing him for the assignment of delivering the message, Bishop Dean read from the Scriptural theme of Philippians 3:12-14, prayed and got to the heart of the matter.
He said that the Apostle Paul realized that following Jesus is not about following religion, and that personally he has to come to recognize that no matter how many years he has had a season of service, no matter how much respect or wisdom he has acquired, when you come into the presence of the “Ancient of Days,” you are nothing.
Bishop Dean outlined three areas that the Apostle Paul wanted the saints of Philippi to focus on: the pressing on and guarding of oneself as a Christian believer; his personal testimony reflecting self-righteousness and seeking perfection; and marking those that walk that simple walk by pressing on.
Like Paul, Bishop Dean said we ought to forget those things that are behind us.
“You cannot reach your future while you’re living in the past; it is difficult for church folks to forget the past,” he acknowledged. “Brothers and sisters, you have to forget those things that are behind you… The reason why so many Christians are getting in trouble because they won’t let it go – they will not let go of the past.”
Bishop Dean reminded the congregants that God has placed them here to run this race and that there is a prize that awaits them. Before taking his seat, he left one final word of encouragement for St. Thomas’ members.
“Look after them – they are your man and woman of God,” Bishop Dean admonished. “They have been appointed to rule over you. In this season, the Word of God says, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief…
“St. Thomas, hear me today: don’t disrespect them; don’t slander them; don’t criticize them; they will make mistakes, but never rebuke them. You must love them, you must pray for them, you must support them financially and withhold no good from them when it’s in your power to do it, and every opportunity you get you must lift them up on the wings of prayer.”
Special greetings were brought by visiting ministers along with presentations to Rev. McIntosh.
In his message to those in attendance, Rev. McIntosh called the anniversary “a time of reflection upon the goodness of God.” During his life’s journey of experiencing hills and mountains, he said that God has been good to him.
“This road has not been easy, but I remember the prize is at the end of the race. So, I continue to press toward the mark for the prize in Christ Jesus.”