When You Are "On the Road Again"

Willie Nelson’s hit song, “On the Road Again,” will become reality for many members of our First Baptist Family this summer. Some will be on the road for tours, camps, conferences, and mission trips. This summer our groups will travel to places like New England, Kentucky, North Dakota, Costa Rica, Russia, Kenya, the Sudan, Asia, and Northeast Africa.

While we are planning for a great summer of services and activities at First Baptist, I hope that everyone gets a refreshing break at some point during the summer. When you are traveling, whether visiting friends or going on a family vacation, seize the opportunity to participate in services of worship wherever you travel.

There are many different options for participating in worship while on the road. Your travel schedule, your destination, and your own spiritual interest may determine which option you choose:
*Attend another church. Most churches in resort or tourist areas welcome visitors to “come as you are” so you don’t have to worry about taking along formal clothing. You may be more comfortable attending another Baptist church, but traveling presents a good opportunity to visit churches from other faith traditions and to learn more about our spiritual relatives who worship a little differently.
*Visit an historic church. Especially when visiting a large city or a foreign country, attending mass at an ancient cathedral or worship services at an historic chapel may prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
*Attend a campground service. You will find that many campgrounds, RV parks, National Parks, and State Parks offer very informal worship services at pavilions or outdoor amphitheatres.
*Try tuning in to a worship service on the radio, television, or internet. Although I am not fond of a lot of religious programming, I have discovered that broadcasts and podcasts of local church services can be “the next best thing to being there.”
*Have your own family worship service. The family may sing together, take turns reading scriptures and sharing prayers and testimonies. This kind of service can take place right in your condo, at your vacation home, or at your camp site.

Participating in worship while on the road can enrich both your trip and strengthen your personal faith. Skipping worship just because you’re on vacation or a business trip can rob you of meeting new friends and meeting God in new places.

On those weekends you are traveling this summer, seize the opportunity to participate in worship wherever you travel. And on all of those other weekends when you are home, we will look forward to great experiences in worship here at First Baptist.

Summer Sunday Evenings

Summer Sunday evenings at First Baptist are filled with concerts, Bible study options, and special events. Here is a schedule of events for the Summer of 2007:

June 3 VBS Kickoff and Go Fish Concert
June 10 Ice Cream Fellowship
June 17 Homecoming Concert by Chapel Choir
June 24 “Safe At Home” Rally at Pelicans Park
July 1 Discipleship Options
July 8 Discipleship Options
July 15 Discipleship Options
July 22 Discipleship Options
July 29 Baptism at the Beach/Discipleship Options
August 5 Celebration Winds Concert
August 12 Merritt Singers Concert
August 19 Anniversary Reception
August 26 Worship Team Concert

Get Ready for Summer of 2007!

As we begin the summer of 2007, I want to share some words of encouragement and vision about the months ahead.

In recent months it seems that we have been saying “goodbye” almost every week to treasured friends who have enriched the mission and ministries of First Baptist Church. In recent months, many beloved church members have “graduated to glory.” We have also said “goodbye” to an extraordinarily large number of families due to military transfer and vocational relocation. We have said “goodbye” to veteran Sunday School teachers, mission leaders, children’s choir workers, deacons, and committee members. Some seats of participation and shoes of responsibility that were full just a few months ago, are now vacant.

As we say a heart-felt “goodbye” to those who are leaving us, we have the privilege of saying an enthusiastic “hello” to those who are joining us. Each week we are blessed to have new friends and families who are visiting with us. Many of these new friends have or will choose to make First Baptist their church home. Welcome them to our worship services. Welcome them to your Bible study group. Welcome them to your table of hospitality and friendship.

While it is no secret that the post-hurricane economy has presented many challenges to area families and businesses, your giving has been steady and consistent. Even in a season such as this, gifts toward our ministry action budget are on target and you have given additional gifts of over $950,000 to the ROC. Your faithful stewardship reflects your love for God, your love for the church, and your excitement about the future.

On June 3 we begin our Summer Sunday Morning Series, “Fishing from the Other Side of the Boat.” In addition to our worship opportunities on summer Sunday mornings, we have special events, discipleship opportunities, and concerts scheduled on Sunday evenings throughout the summer. Wednesday evenings are a time of feasting and fellowship, and also a great occasion for introducing new friends and neighbors to community life at First Baptist Church.

There are many exciting opportunities for you to be involved in activities, mission projects, and ministries this summer:
*Be a faithful participant in worship all summer.
*Choose to get involved in the ministries, mission projects, and activities that nurture your emerging spiritual passion.
*Invite a friend, neighbor, or colleague to join you for worship and Bible study.
*Pray for a storm-free summer.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5 NIV

"Who is in God’s Family Portrait?"

Sunday is Founder’s Day. During our worship services we will be recognizing those members of our Heritage Club, those who have been members of First Baptist Church for 50 years or more. We are grateful for veteran Christians who have served the Lord faithfully across the generations, setting a good example for us as they let the light of Christ shine in their lives.

In our worship services this Sunday we will focus on treasuring our past and embracing our future. Our heritage and our future are both conceived in Christ, but the two are not identical twins. At First Baptist we can embrace our future by listening to the Spirit’s creative leadership for our day and by looking for God to act with surprising grace in our church, in our community, and within our culture.

In a few days, we will be receiving our new church directories, a collection of your family portraits that form a composite of our church family. This Sunday we will be asking, “Who is in God’s Family Portrait?” as we explore Acts 11:1-18. I think we will discover that God’s family will be more diverse and more inclusive than we have previously known. In fact, life in God’s family is more colorful, more adventuresome, and more meaning-filled than you or I could ever imagine.

Speaking of family, Britt Young, has deep roots in our FBC family. Last Sunday, Britt celebrated his 5th Anniversary as our Minister of Students. Thank you Britt for the many lives you have positively influenced during your tenure here.

Even during the months of ongoing construction, the Lord is growing us as a family of faith. Invite a friend to come explore family life with you at First Baptist this Sunday.