Ministering To Those With Stinking Feet

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people… They get exploited every time and never really learn… But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them…” – from II Timothy 3:1-9 The Message

One of Jimmy Buffet’s most unusual song titles is, “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Really Don’t Love Jesus.” While some of us may be offended by the brutal honesty of such a statement, there are many in our world and in our community who have headaches and heartaches that cannot be healed by superficial religion.

This Sunday morning, with this unusual song title and II Timothy 3:1-9 in mind, we will focus on ways to minister to those who are burned out on church and fed up with religious clichés and slogans, yet they are still searching for that which is of authentic spiritual significance.

On Sunday evening, we will continue our series, “Just Walk Across the Room” as we examine relevant and simple ways to converse with friends and strangers who need to see, hear, taste, touch, and feel the goodness and grace of the Christ.

Invite a friend to join you as we gather for worship and Bible study.


God’s GRACE Is Sufficient!

After a season of testing, the Apostle Paul reports that the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9)

At some point in life, all of us will be confronted with seasons of testing, heartbreak, grief, and bereavement. However, this past weekend, our entire First Baptist Family experienced a tragedy as we lost one of our precious children, Gregory Threadgill, in a fatal accident.

As we continue to minister to the Threadgill family in the days ahead, let us also minister to one another and especially to our younger family members, many of whom are dealing with the death of a friend for the first time.

Even when accidents happen and life is cut short, God’s GRACE is Sufficient.

G is for Grieve. The Bible never says that Christians should not grieve, only that we should “not grieve as those who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13) Let us experience all of the emotions of this tragedy with our lives invested in the eternal hope that comes through Jesus Christ.
R is for Resist. Resist the temptation to explain a tragedy or untimely death with shallow clichés or anecdotes. Most accidents or tragedies have no clear explanation.
A is for Assurance. Assure one another that God is with us through all of the seasons of life and promises “never to leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
C is for Connected. Stay connected to those in your church family and your small group, those who form your primary network of support.
E is for Emerge. When we encounter a crisis or tragedy, we can eventually emerge with a stronger faith and a greater appreciation for God’s many gifts. “Sorrow lasts for a season but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

We look forward to gathering for worship this Sunday as we continue our series Changes in Latitude. Invite a friend to join you as we focus on the God who is with us on all of the Sundays and the Mondays of life.


Things Your Minister Wants Your to Know…

Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

There is a book written by Oliver Buzz Thoman on current bestsellers lists entitled, Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can’t Because He Needs the Job). Today, as we prepare to begin a new church year, I want to share with you Five Things Your Minister Wants You to Know (And He’s Not Afraid to Lose His Job).

1. God had a big dream for First Baptist Church. God’s dream is bigger than our current vision and bigger than our current level of commitment. We must either downsize God’s dream or upgrade our commitment.

2. In God’s dream, we are one church family. We have multiple services and multiple mission partners but we are one large church family. Every member is responsible for looking out for the good of the whole body of Christ.

3. The resources within this congregation are more than adequate to accomplish God’s mission. The personal, spiritual and financial resources in this community of faith are more than adequate to make God’s dream our reality, but we must channel those resources appropriately.

4. We must embrace the full giftedness of men and women. For years, God has called young men and women from First Baptist to serve as ministers, missionaries, evangelists, professors, and chaplains. Here are home we have called on men and women for teaching, worship leadership, missions, and committee responsibilities. In the future we prepare ourselves scripturally and prayerfully to make harmonious decisions as we contemplate calling on both men and women for other areas of servant leadership including service as committee chairs and as deacons.

5. Our Church Rocks. Our church ROCKS with multiple generations, multiple gifts, and multiple opportunities. We must decide whether our Rocks become steppingstones or stumblingblocks. We must decide whether to use our Rocks to build a fortress or to build a bridge.

Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18


Changes in Latitude

Our new Sunday morning worship series, Changes in Latitude, begins this week. I will borrow titles and phrases from popular Jimmy Buffett songs as we think about how our emerging faith impacts the “changes in latitude” of daily life and church life.

This week we welcome Jeana Lankford as our interim Minister of Students. Jeana, the wife of Dr. Ross Lankford, is a graduate of Samford University and has experience as a high school English teacher, an interim children’s minister, and an interim youth minister. Pray for Jeana as she provides interim leadership for our students and our student leaders.

As we begin the new church year, our church family expresses our gratitude to Scott Bell for his insightful leadership as chair of deacons. In all of our ministry efforts and decision-making, Scott has kept us focused on God’s best for the whole church family. We also welcome Bob Gowing as our incoming chair of deacons as we look forward to a great year of ministry and missions.

Our church family also expresses appreciation to Martha Dickson and Vickie Almond, both of whom resigned effective the end September. Martha has served as church librarian for … years and Vickie has served as a ministry assistant in our music department for … years. Thank you Martha and Vickie for your faithful service.

Last Sunday, as we launched our theme for coming months, Our Church ROCKS, I shared Five Things Your Minister Wants You To Know. Here is the condensed version ):

1. God has a big dream for First Baptist Church.
2. In God’s dream, we are one church family.
3. The resources within this church family are more than adequate to make God’s dream our reality.
4. To realize God’s dream, we must embrace and affirm the full giftedness of both men and women.
5. Our church ROCKS!

October presents great opportunities to connect with new friends and re-connect with old ones. Your spiritual gifts, your faithfulness, and your participation are just a few of the reasons that Our Church ROCKS!


Our Church ROCKS!

This is the rock on which I will be my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. Matthew 16:18 The Message

On Sunday September 30 we will gather as one large family of faith for a combined service of worship at ten o’clock. During this unique experience of worship, we will celebrate baptism and communion, and we will sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”

Our worship time will be centered on the theme, Our Church ROCKS! As we look forward to the completion of The ROC, the Paul Royal Recreation and Outreach Center, we are challenging each other to practice rock-solid spiritual disciplines so that we can ROCK our community for Christ.

During worship on Sunday September 30 members of our First Baptist Family will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed Ministry Budget for 2007-2008 and on the Deacon Nominees who will begin a three year term of service this year. Please mark the ballot in your worship guide and turn it in during the receiving of the offering.

On Sunday afternoon, we will gather in Seville Square for our annual Church Picnic. Invite a friend to join in the fun, games, and fellowship. We will conclude our picnic with inspirational moments of Vespers as we complete a day of great celebration.

In October we begin our new Sunday morning worship series, Changes in Latitude. I will borrow titles and phrases from popular Jimmy Buffett songs as we think about how our emerging faith impacts the “changes in latitude” of daily life and church life.

Changes in Latitude:

Oct 7 “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude” Ezra 6:22, Eph 4:22-24
Oct 14 “What Happens Come Monday?” Luke 9:23-24
Oct 21 “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus” Phil 4:7-9
Oct 28 “Will There Really Be Cheeseburgers in Paradise?” Luke 23:42-44

On Sunday evenings in October we will offer multiple options. During Vespers in the Chapel at six o’clock, we will engage in a five week study of Just Walk Across the Room, a proactive approach to outreach and evangelism. Details of other discipleships options are listed inside this edition of The Builder.