FBC Macon

Nurture. Love. Serve. ALL.

We’re proud of our Baptist history and heritage, but we’re also proud of our diversity. At First Baptist you will find a group of people coming from a variety of different church backgrounds and denominations who have found a home at the “top of Poplar.” And while our congregation comes from all over middle Georgia, we are a downtown church and see it is our mission to be the presence of Christ to our InTown and College Hill communities here in Macon.

What the Heck is Water?

As you I hope you've noticed, we’re making a push to be more intentional about our stewardship at the church, especially giving to support the operating budget. 

I’m well aware that giving to the budget is not the most exciting place to direct our resources. It reminds me of a story I heard about two fish who were swimming along one day when an older fish swam by them and said, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” They shrugged and kept swimming until one fish turned to the other and said, “What the heck is water?”

The operating budget is kind of like the church’s water. It supports so much of what we do here that at times we take it for granted.

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Spirituality for the Long Haul

I’m still reflecting on the time spent with others from our congregation and friends from First Baptist at Duke Divinity school two weeks ago. It was a rich week of learning that left us inspired to continue our work together here.

The final day’s theme was “Spirituality for the Long Haul.” The work of God is hard and filled with disappointment, set backs and failures. Old and deep wounds do not heal over night, and opposition is never far away. Commitment to tending to the Kingdom of God requires an equal commitment to tending to your own soul.

Unfortunately, this is not something that comes natural to most of us. Neither will we find help from our surrounding culture; true spiritual self-care is at odds with our culture’s self-centeredness. 

Tending to our souls is something that requires discipline. As our facilitator pointed out, it requires an inward discipline toward prayer, study and self-examination. But also an outward discipline toward simplicity, solitude and service to others. And finally, it requires a “corporate” discipline of communing with others through worship, guidance and celebration. 

This last one struck me: the discipline of celebration.

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Family, Failure and Faith

A reasonable person might expect the lives of those early people called by God to carry out divine purpose in the world to be exemplary models of faithfulness, justice and morality. But this is far from what we find. Their stories run the gamut of human weakness, indiscretion, and even recklessness. 

In short, what we find are people.

People, with all their complexities, life-giving highs and devastating lows. People trying to find their way through life, being led by a God who was still new to them. People who make up families, modeling all the blessings and curses, the joys and disappointments that come with living within those bonds. 

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One Body, Many Members

The sermon text this past Sunday was Paul’s beautiful description of the church as a “body” from 1 Corinthians 12: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

It’s a powerful image, not only pointing to the variety of gifts within the congregation, but also to our shared commitment to one another. A perfect text for Pentecost, the Sunday each year when we celebrate the continued gift of the Holy Spirit that binds us together as God’s people. But also an opportunity for us to talk about stewardship.

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Update on Our Friends from FBC on New. St.

Many of you have been asking about what we have planned this year to continue our relationship with First Baptist Church on New St. 

After an eventful fall, highlighted by our joint series on race, racism and reconciliation, we’ve taken it a little slower thus far this year, focusing on our Easter egg hunt and being present at each other’s ministries and functions.

Several women from FBC came to our International Women’s Day celebration in March, and I represented our church a few weeks ago at Pastor Goolsby’s anniversary celebration. I also know of a handful of members who have connected for lunch or coffee with folks from New St. I hope this kind of relationship building will continue.

We’re still pulling together plans to serve together in different ways around the community this fall, but there are two happenings of note I’m happy to pass along.

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A Letter from the Church Council and Board of Deacons

Dear Church Family,

For some months, the Church Council and Board of Deacons have been involved in conversations about the extent to which persons of different sexualities and gender identities are included in the life of our church. We are writing to make you aware of those discussions and their resulting actions as well as to seek your thoughtful participation as we move forward together.

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Becoming the Church

A fascinating observation was made at our deacon and church council meeting this past Sunday: Julie Long had been our oldest worship leader that morning.

Of all the people who stood behind the pulpit or otherwise led, from the Scripture reader, to the deacon of the week, to the choir directors, to the deacon chair helping serve communion, to the associate pastor to the pastor, this past Sunday almost certainly featured the youngest combined worship leadership in our church’s 190+ year history.

And of all this people, only two were men! The rest were women, and young women at that (we’ll all agree that Julie is still quite young).

But perhaps the most telling thing of all is that I suspect few of you even noticed.

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Mestizo Faith

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading a fascinating little biography of Augustine of Hippo by Justo L. González called The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian between two Cultures. Born in North Africa in the 4th century to an African mother and a Roman father, González argues that Augustine is what Latino/a culture describes as a mestizo, a person of mixed culture. 

He writes, To be a mestizo is to belong to two realities and at the same time not to belong to either of them. A Mexican-American reared in Texas among people of Euro-American culture is repeatedly told that he is a Mexican—that is, that he does not really belong in Texas. But if that Mexican-American crosses the border hoping to find there his land and his people, he is soon disappointed by being rejected, or at least criticized, as somewhat Americanized.

Though the condition of mestizaje is often considered “inferior” by those who claim a single culture, González points out that it is “a fertile field for creativity, and quite often points to the future.”

For instance, it’s a helpful lens through which to view the conflict between the followers of Jesus and the authorities in Jerusalem. “Those in Judea,” he writes, “would think they were the true Jews and that Galilee, whose culture and traditions were mixed with traits of Gentile origin, was not truly Jewish.” And yet, “to those who claim that ‘nothing good can come from Nazareth,’ God responds precisely by offering them a Savior from among those despised people in Galilee.”

The mestizo approach to faith didn't end with Jesus. González points out it’s likely that not a single writing from the New Testament was written in Jerusalem, the center of the primitive church. These writings instead come from the mestizaje periphery of the mission to the Gentiles, “in that intermediate space in which the early Christians, even though most of them were Jews, were not considered true Jews, while Romans and their authorities did see them as Jews.”

There’s much more to comment on than this space will allow, but for now I submit to you three brief reflections:

  1. This is yet another example of how the Christian faith is best understood from the position of one on the outside. We see this time and time again in the words of Jesus in Scripture, whether he’s instructing us to receive the Kingdom like a child, or reminding us that the first will soon become last and the last first and that the poor will inherit everything. The challenge for those of us who are in so many ways on the inside (and I’m about as “inside” as it gets), is to listen to those who are not, and remind ourselves that we’re repeatedly called to learn from and become like them, not the other way around.
  2. So much of theology is autobiography. Many have noted this before, but it is so true. So much of how we understand God and Scripture is shaped by our life experiences: where and when we live, who we have or haven’t met, what we have or haven’t seen or heard or done. Which is why anything we say about God is so utterly and laughably incomplete. We can only speak from what we know, and we know so little. 
  3. And yet when we come together and share our stories we find that we know so much more than we did before. Our faith can only grow as much as we allow our God to. And our God often grows with our neighbor. So let’s keep talking, church, and watch as our God keeps getting bigger—as big as our hearts and imaginations and neighborhood will allow. 

SHD

WEEKLY SERVICES

Sunday
Sunday School at 9:45am
Morning Worship at 11:00am

Wednesday Evening
We begin with a meal at 5:30pm. Music and missions activities are available for adults, youth, and kids. Learn More

 

CONTACT US

511 High Place
Macon, GA 31201
Directions to FBCX

Telephone: 1.478.742.6485

Email: office@fbcxmacon.org


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