We're 50 And I'm Reflecting (Part 4)

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
— Psalm 66:5 ESV

This week I am sharing five life lessons I learned from pondering five decades of God's work in the life of Spanish River Church. Here are lessons 1 - 4:

  1. If you want to see something big, look up! Click here for more.
  2. God loves using the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Click here for more.
  3. Take the first step to follow God's call. Click here for more.
  4. The power is in the gospel.

Life Lesson #4 -- The Power Is In The Gospel

A conversation with David Nicholas was an interesting affair. Usually, he talked, I listened. That was understandable. When David was planting Spanish River Church in Boca Raton, I was an 8-year-old kid running around our home in Palm Beach Gardens.

David was older, wiser, far more experienced. As a Type-A personality he was extremely confident. The most important aspect of David's confidence, however, did not originate from his personality profile. It came straight from God himself.

I can remember David talking with me in a voice softened by age but hardened by conviction:

Tommy, the power is not in you. The power is not in me. The power is in the gospel.

David's confidence was born of the theological certainty and life-altering reality of Paul's words to the church in Rome:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
— Romans 1:16 ESV

What is the gospel?

The gospel is the amazing news that God is writing a bigger story. It is a story of a world made right, a world gone wrong, and God's intervention to put the pieces back together again.

The gospel is the bad news that I have offended God by my sin and stand under his judgment. It is the bad news that I have no hope of finding favor before God on my own merit. My best efforts fall eternally short to win me favor in God's eyes. The gospel is also the good news that God has done something to fix my problem and reconcile me to himself. Jesus said:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
— JOhn 3:16-17 ESV

At the cross God placed my sin on Jesus and poured out on him the judgement that I deserved. Jesus took the wrath of God so that I don't have to suffer that judgement. Peter writes:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.
— 1 Peter 3:18 ESV

Jesus stood as my substitute. He suffered the penalty for my sins so I can enjoy a relationship with God when, by faith, I trust him and his work on the cross as sufficient to make me right with God. When I do that God brings spiritual newness to my life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
— 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 ESV

We know the ultimate power to change our children, our neighbors, our coworkers, our city, and our increasingly divided country and world is not:  

  • Government. We need government, but government cannot fix the human heart.
  • Education. We love educators. We need educators. But educators cannot fix the human heart.
  • Social reform. We need reform, but reforms without a reformed heart fall flat.
The power is in the gospel.

When Jesus awakens a dead heart to the reality of his amazing love, when he calls that person to himself, and that person says — “Yes Lord, I believe that you love me so much that you gave your only son to die on Calvary’s cross so that I might be forgiven of my sins. Save me” — God grants forgiveness, pardon, and " life to the full" that begins that instant.

The power is still in the gospel.

  • That is why we have been sharing the gospel message every Sunday for 50 years.
  • That is why we plant gospel-centered churches.
  • That is why we go to local prisons and to the Broward Outreach Center.
  • That is why we take the gospel to children and parents through Upward Basketball.
  • That is why we point moms to Jesus and the gospel through Nurturing Your Newborn.
  • That’s why we have Spanish River Christian School.

Our mission is, "Practicing gospel living to help the casually connected deeply engage with Jesus."

The only way the casually connected deeply engage with Jesus is through the gospel. So we say with Paul,

Pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
— Colossians 4:2-3 ESV



  • You can watch or listen to the 50 Anniversary Celebration Service by clicking here.
  • You can enjoy the 50 Year Spanish River Recap Video by viewing below: