Spiritual Formation Doesn’t Happen in Absent Community

FBC Logo Header

In this week’s edition of the FBC E-News, you will find a blog by Captain Randy Deering. Randy has been brought aboard – no pun intended, so I’ll leave it in anyway – to help us expand the breadth, width, and depth of our small group ministry. Simply put, no matter what we do in other areas of church life, we will forever be limited or unleashed by the degree and manner to which we involve people beyond the morning worship.

Continue Reading >>

The Road to Blessing

Sermon On The Mount

Preaching through the Beatitudes has gotten me to thinking a lot about the whole concept of blessing. After all, Jesus kicked off his preaching ministry by offering blessings in spades. So it is no surprise, then, that the faithful over the years have raised hearts and voices asking for and appreciating the outpouring of God’s bounty upon us. “Showers of Blessing” kind of resounds that idea. So does “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.” “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” We need them. He has them. Say please and thank you. Just seems right. And if we don’t think about it much, it seems easy. But it’s not.

Continue Reading >>

Searching for Happiness


Just for kicks, I went to one of my favorite cyber haunts, bn.com. That’s Barnes and Noble, one of the last standing bookstore chains in America, and the source of more books and ideas than the law allows. The day I discovered I could go from “that looks interesting” to “that’s ready to read on my iPad,” true danger emerged. The curious meaning-monger in me can go on book binges without leaving my couch or desk. And by the brilliance of web browser “cookies,” they always seem to know how to recommend something that, if not always on my mind, at least had been recently. Clever marketing – clever like crack to an idea-chaser like me.

Since I’m preaching on “Living Happy in a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” I entered “happiness” into the cue. Eight thousand, two hundred and three book suggestions later, I was back where I started. Thousands of derivations on a theme preached on a Galilean hillside two thousand years ago still can’t say it any better. “Blessed are” followed by the principles that precede the promise. And judging by the titles and themes on my cursory product reviews, we seem a lot further from it now than then.

Continue Reading >>

Act Justly

FAST - Faith & Action for Strength Together Logo

In speaking to God’s people about the inequities of his day, the prophet Micah posed a timeless question – “What does the Lord require of you?” If you were asked that question off the cuff you may come up with a myriad of worthwhile behaviors, activities, and pursuits. The old prophet just gave us three, and they are three pretty good ones. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.

As Christians, we have taken this admonition more or less seriously through the years. You could make the case that walking humbly with our God is a call to a life of worship and devotion. We have done more than most over the centuries to love mercy and do the acts of charity that mercy call for. But what about that justice thing? What is it? How do you do it? It is an individual or corporate reality. All good questions.

Continue Reading >>

Our Music Ministry Leadership

From my first day at FBC, almost a year ago, I have been more than pleased with the music and worship portion of our church’s life. Credit for this flows in many directions. First Baptist has a history of musical excellence that goes back for generations. Dozens of people lend their voices and musical talents to lift our people to meaningful worship each Sunday. While there has a long line of gifted leaders, I have been blessed to work with the remarkable team of Chris Culpepper and Dawne Eubanks.

For some time, I have been in conversations with Dawne and Chris regarding the direction of our music ministry leadership. The arrangement we have had before and since I arrived has served us well, especially during the time of interim and the merging of the two services into one. The two of them have worked well together and each have obvious gifts and loyal followers. I would go so far as to say that that particular area of ministry is our strongest in terms of talent, participation, and its impact on the life of our church. However, there are seasons to every leadership scenario, and this is no exception.

Continue Reading >>