Prayer Concerns
• Keith & Pam Blore – COVID 19, Keith is getting better, Pam is doing okay.
• Debbie Campbell – rehab in Greenville.
• Earl Martin – continuing to deal with an infection.
• Macy Wilson – Shriners Greenville, seizure on Monday night but seems better.
• Polly Lineberger – Unit II at Martha Franks, recovering from a fall.
• Don Franks – home recovering after recent surgery.
• Mike & Susan Little – Mike: chemotherapy, Susan: speech/memory issues.
• Phyllis Metz – NHC, rehab after broken hip.
• Francis Feighner – Hospice House Clinton, advanced stages of cancer.
• Jim & Elaine Sumeral – homebound, Elaine recovering from hand surgery.
• Carolyn Madden – cognitive/physical issues.
• Jane Ivey – recent surgery, hopeful to begin to feel better.
• Bill Ramey – continuing to take treatments.

Outside In Person Worship: we are offering two weekly services at 8am and 9:30am. Both last 30 minutes and take place at Thomason Shelter. Dress casually and join us.

Remote Worship Options: We will continue to post a worship service every Sunday on our website and via the FBC Laurens App. You may also listen to our service on WLBG at 11:00 each Sunday morning.

Communion: This Sunday, August 30, is a Fifth Sunday. For both Outside Worship and the Online Worship service, we will be offering a chance to celebrate Communion. If you will be worshiping with us online, we encourage you to gather your own bread and grape juice to use for this element of worship.

Senior Adult Sunday School on the Radio: Join us at 3pm each Tuesday afternoon on WLBG. The 30 minute lessons will be offered by a FBC Sunday School teacher.

FBC Diverge Youth Parking Lot Worship, Bible Study, Fellowship and Fun, tonight at Thomason Shelter, 7pm.

Reflecting Together
Read: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Growing up as the youngest in my family, I did not have the blessing of a car to call my own until my senior year in high school. I am not lodging any complaint here. I have always felt blessed just to have something to drive. But the cars that I drove up until my senior year were a series of hand-me-downs. One of those cars was a 1975 Chevrolet Monza.

It was, for its day, a sporty-looking car. It was powered by a five-speed manual transmission with surprisingly great acceleration and it was fun to drive. The interior of the car was flawless and the sound system was crisp and clear. It was the perfect “cruising” car for a teenager. But as cool as that car was, it had one problem. It smelled awful!

That 1975 Chevrolet Monza had an ongoing issue with the catalytic converter that no mechanic seemed to be able to fix. As a result, the car emitted a distinct and foul odor, leaving behind a trail of what smelled like rotten eggs everywhere it went. Driving through a parking lot, it was not uncommon to look in the rearview mirror and see people cover their noses as I passed by. Some even checked the bottom of their shoes. Going on a date in the car was always embarrassing. The pungent odor would drift forward into the car at each red light. This caused raised eyebrows and strange looks from the passenger seat every time.

In today’s passage, Paul writes of the fragrance of Christ. In so doing, he uses an illustration that his Roman audience would have understood. In the days of the Roman empire, generals would hold a victory parade whenever they defeated an enemy. This parade would include the enemy prisoners who were marched through the streets as evidence of a Roman victory. During the parade, a sweet-smelling incense would also be released into the air as a signal to everyone that their general had won a great victory. To the victors the aroma was sweet. To the captives in the parade, it was the smell of slavery and death.

It is important to note that Paul compares Christians to the captives and not to the Roman conquerors. He explains that we have been captured by Christ, and now we are His to display of His victory over sin to the world. Paul says that through our lives comes the victory fragrance that alerts others to the presence of Christ, the conqueror. At the same time, we are the fragrance of life to those who come to know Jesus through our witness as well as the foul smelling odor of death to those who reject Christ and His message.

As Christ’s followers, we have been commissioned and sent into specific places to carry His fragrance. Paul did not say that we could be or should be this type of person. Rather, Paul declares that we are those who, being captives of God, are associated with His fragrance. He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to speak with Christ’s power. He keeps His eye on us, protecting us as we serve Him. All that is required is that we focus on what He can do through us, not on what we can do by ourselves.

When people meet you, do they have the unmistakable sense that you belong to God? Is it obvious to others that, through you, they can come to know Christ? The choice is theirs whether to accept God’s love or to reject it. But, by our example, there should be no doubt that His love is available to them.

As followers of Christ, we will be a sweet fragrance to some and a stench to others. Our goal is to allow God to work through our lives so that everywhere we go we will fill that place with the knowledge of Christ.

Consider this:
• Think about your world. More specifically, think about those areas in your life where God has placed you so that you might point others to Him. These spheres of influence might be your marriage, your family, your church, your school or workplace. It might be your circle of friends or where you hang out or work out. In each of these places, ask yourself:
• Am I associated with the fragrance of Christ in these places? Am I exhibiting Christ’s love?
• Is my spiritual walk making any difference in the lives of non-believers?
• What steps are important for me to take in my life right now? Do I need to trust Him more? Do I need to be more obedient to His word and His leading in my life?

Prayer: Father, thank you for your great love for me. Forgive me for the times when I have neglected to live out that love to others. Cover me and these times with Your grace and renew my heart. Teach me each day to live, love, and lead in such a way that always points others to You. Amen.