Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | November 29, 2011

Emmanuel – First Baptist Jonesboro’s Christmas Spectacular

This is a week that thousands of people have come to love. First Baptist Jonesboro is performing “Emmanuel,” a spectacular Christmas presentation that is sure to put your family in the spirit of the season. This Saturday and Sunday, December 3 – 4, come and see our 180 voice choir, 40 piece orchestra, drama, and multi-media presentation of Emmanuel. All four performances are absolutely free, so choose a time that fits your family’s schedule. Saturday performances are at 4:00pm and 7:00 pm. Sunday performances will be at 10:45am and 4:00pm.

Each year we give the audience an opportunity to give a “Christmas gift” toward a local charity. This year, the love offering will support the work of the Pregnancy Care Center. This year, this ministry will see almost 1200 girls who find themselves with a pregnancy that they had not planned. For many of these girls, the Pregnancy Care Center is the only deterrent from having an abortion. But it is much more than a deterrent, it is an opportunity to know the One who creates life. So come prepared to support such an important local ministry.

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | September 7, 2011

Inspired by Cuban Christians

I am sorry that it has been “all quiet on the blog front” for a several months. But I am back at it and excited to tell you what God is doing in my life and in our church.

 A recent trip to Cuba has left an impact on me. It was my first trip to this country, one that is so close and yet seems so far away. Its communist government has left a lasting impact upon the land … and the people have suffered. Some of the pictures you see in this article are just a small glimpse of life among the Christians in Cuba. You will see people with very little materially, yet very full spiritually. We sensed a great joy in their hearts as they talked about the Lord and their desire to share the gospel.

 They have very little money, limited transportation, limited communication, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no church buildings in which to minister, and the knowledge that they are constantly being watched. The Christian work is primarily through house churches and word of mouth.

 Yet what passion; what joy; and what commitment to the Lord. They are sacrificing for the Lord in ways that would make most American Christians embarrassed. One pastor we met has no vehicle, yet shepherds 4 churches. He hitch-hikes to one because it is 25 miles away, rides a bike to another that is 10 miles away, and walks to the others that are closer. And not only that, he is looking to start another home church in a distant neighborhood with no Christian presence.

 I was inspired. I saw people with very little resources making a great impact on their community. Our situation in Jonesboro is very different. We have freedom of speech, we have freedom of assembly, we have a beautiful church building, we have great avenues of communication, and we have great resources to do the work. God has given us all we need to make an impact in South Atlanta, but the most important resources is a changed life and an obedient heart.  

 May God do a great work through FBC Jonesboro, reaching people for Christ in our unique context. I pray that everyone would jump in and serve the Lord with all their heart. These are exciting days, and the wind of the Spirit is moving among us.

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | July 14, 2010

July 11 – We are in!

Sunday, July 11, was amazing! The worship center was full of people, full of energy, and full with God’s Spirit. Oh we had our technical glitches with some of the sound and media, but that did not distract from the wonderful celebration. (By the way, the glitches WILL be fixed). As you look at the pictures, you will sense the excitement of the day. Our temporary place of worship at the ROC was wonderful … but we were ready to return into the place built for worship.

Two Pastors. Two Generations. One Holy Calling.

Pastor Mel on first day back in the Worship Center

A beautiful setting for worship

Gathered for worship

A full house!

Holly Starr singing "Holy"

I was thrilled to have some of the leaders who faithfully guided the church to build the original building. What a joy to have Irvin and Euphemia Pearre recognized as the Minister of Music who first led worship in the building. And of course Dr Charles and Margaret Carter were such a blessing to have in the service. His 27 years of leadership as the Senior Pastor will not be forgotten. His words were very timely; his presence very inspiring.

The building itself looked beautiful. A lot of work has gone into this project, for we desire to have a place where people can meet God on a regular basis. Clearly, we can meet with God any time of the day and any place we desire, but there is something very special about corporate worship. A place dedicated to His service; a people gathered intentionally for worship; glorious music that inspires; God’s Word that is proclaimed; and God’s Spirit moving … there is nothing like it.

We are very blessed as a church. I pray that we never take God’s grace for granted. He has provided for us, cared for us, and loved us beyond measure. And to know that we have renovated the worship center, grand foyer, administrative offices, and music suite without borrowing any money – that is amazing. As a church, we currently stand debt free. So thank you for generously giving to the Lord in a tough time economically. God has watched us as we have given. May our gifts impact eternity, and may God bless the sacrifices made in this place.

As we gather each week to worship. Come with “acknowledgment.” We are in the presence of a Holy God. Come with “expectation.” When we gather together for worship, God will speak through His Word. Come “committed to obey.” Before God ever speaks, you must decide in your heart that you will obey. A heart of ready obedience is key to an encounter with God. Let me remind you that the worship center is built to the honor and glory of God. But make no mistake, we are changed when we come in to worship. For when we truly meet God in worship, His presence transforms us into the people He desires us to be. May we always enter with eager anticipation of what God will do.

Thanks to everyone who made this day special. The choir and orchestra brought heaven to earth; Holly’s special music was amazing as always; the guest speakers had a word from God; the many people behind the scenes who make the service run from a technical standpoint were great; the people who decorated (Pam) made everything so beautiful; and the energy in the congregation was electric. All came together in beautiful harmony.

What a privilege it is for me to be your pastor. Please keep me in your prayers as I lead First Baptist Church of Jonesboro to follow Christ. It is my prayer that God would work in us and through us for His glory. Isn’t it great to be a part of this church at such a time as this!

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | May 6, 2010

Reaching Generations May 2010

Sanctuary seating being installed

We are very pleased with how the sanctuary renovation is moving forward. Each day reveals more change and builds greater excitement. But this week has been particularly special to me. As the seating is being installed, I can’t help but think of all the people who will be in this room to worship God. I can only pray that the future of FBC builds upon what God has been doing for the past 24 years. For this room has been the site of many special occasions: baby dedications, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and various celebrations. In this room people have been saved, marriages have been healed, children have been restored, and men and women have been called into full time Christian service. In this room, mission teams have been prayed over and sent across the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. And beyond all the special events that occur, the impact of weekly worship cannot be measured.

Constructing the sanctuary platform

When all is said and done, this project is about the people who will meet with God in our sanctuary. As you are faithful to pray for our construction project, remember to pray for the people who need the Lord. As you are faithful to give financially to the completion of the work, remember to invite people to come with you to worship each week. As you look forward to entering into the beautiful space God has given us, remember to prepare for your eternal home that will far outshine anything created on this earth.

We are indeed blessed; God has shown his favor to FBC of Jonesboro. To see more pictures of the renovation, go to our church website at www.fbcjonesboro.com and look at “reaching generations.”

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | March 30, 2010

Reaching Generations Week 4

Expanding the stage lighting

Building the new stage

The Renovation sign says it all. For years the church has talked about the need to work on our buildings. It always was talked about in terms of the future; well the future is now. It is really happening!

I have been impressed by the work of the construction team, and they are ahead of shedule at this point in the project. Each week we see such dramatic changes and the excitement is growing as we see the dream becoming a reality.

But when you see the sign in front of the church, think about more than just building renovations. Perhaps the sign could represent what God desires to do in a person’s life. We should not just think in terms of what we want to be some day, or what we want to do in the future. “Someday” may  just be “today.” Does God want you to realize His purposes for your life right now?  If God is wanting to renovate your heart today, we would be crazy to put Him off until another day.  He is ready and willing to produce a spiritual transformation right now. Too often I hear people say, “some day I need to get more involved in church” or “I know I need to get serious about my walk with God.” But they have been saying that for years. There comes a time when we must release our life to God and let Him do His work.

I am praying that we would give God the freedom to do a work of renovation in our hearts, shaping us into the church He desires for us to be. God has given FBC a lot of godly people who serve Him sacrificially, but the Christian life is a journey that is constantly moving forward. His future purposes always build upon what He does today. That is why we must daily die to self and allow Christ to do His work in us. I don’t care what condition your life is in today, He has a wonderful future that is waiting for you to realize. If you release your life to Him, I am confident that you will look back some day with amazement at the masterpiece He has created.

These are exciting times. Aren’t you glad the Master Craftsman is at work?

See regular updates of renovations at http://reachinggenerations.wordpress.com/

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | March 16, 2010

Reaching Generations: Week 2

Cutting Sanctuary Floor

Trenching for new sound booth

Work around the church continues at a fast pace. As you can see by the pictures included in this post, we have some good workers who are not wasting any time.  We could not be more pleased with how the project has begun, so thank you for praying so diligently.

As I see how building projects move from demolition of the old through to completion of a new facility, I think of the Christian life. We can’t just expect a nice new life without dealing with some of the old stuff in our life. Not all “old stuff” is bad, but there are things in our life that God needs to deal with if we ever want to get to the place of maturity in Christ. He may have to break up some hardened hearts before He can make them tender to the things of God. He may have to remove some old stains before He can make us clean and refreshed. The apostle Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

May this building project remind you of the work of God in your life. It may get messy at times, but it is always worth it in the end. Allow the Master Craftsmen shape you into the person He desires for you to be.

As we pray for the physical work on the church, do not neglect to pray for the spiritual work to be done as well. This is a great opportunity to grow as a church in both areas. 

Are we having fun yet!

To God be the glory,

Pastor Mel

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | March 12, 2010

Reaching Generations: week 1

Mel in Worship Center - March 10

Can you believe the renovations on our worship center have begun? The church has been talking about it for many years, but we are finally seeing the transformation. As I see the changes taking place before my very eyes, I am excited about the future ministries that we will enjoy.

God has blessed FBC for many years, and I sense a renewed excitement among our people. I know that we are “inconvenienced” for a while as the work is being done, but we are blessed to have such a great recreation facility in which we can meet. Oh it will not be as comfortable as we are used to, but we will have a lot of fun all the same. The choir and orchestra were practicing in the ROC this week and I was thrilled by the enthusiasm they displayed. These are exciting days, and I hope you will have as much fun as I am having.

We were able to give some of our pews to a church in Mississippi, and they are already installed in their church. Pastor Anderson sent us some pictures, and the pews fit perfectly in their worship space. Their expression of gratitude was humbling, and the joy of giving to a sister church is wonderful.

Let’s all pray that the first service in the ROC will go smoothly. We will utilize both gymnasiums, simulcasting the service from the West Gym into the East Gym. Make sure you come early and find your place. You will be blessed!

Make sure you regularly check out the church website at www.fbcjonesboro.com as we are regularly posting pictures of the renovations. Click on the “reaching generations blog” on the home page.

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | March 2, 2010

Looking Ahead

This week we begin construction on our church renovations / building project. It is in times like these that I feel like the two women who went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. When the angel spoke of His resurrection, “they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word” (Matt. 28:8). Perhaps that is what I am feeling, a combination of “fear and great joy!” Fear comes from the mystery of it all, the unknown factors of the journey, and the many details that still need to be covered by the grace of God. Great Joy comes from knowing that God is in control, He is going to do the impossible right in front of our eyes, and I have the privilege of being a part of God’s great plan for FBC Jonesboro.

The “Reaching Generations” project has several phases, but we will begin with a complete renovation of the current worship center.
Worship Center

For those who have been here for many years, I know there are a lot of very special memories that have been created within these walls. Some of you were saved in this room, some were baptized here, married here, sang their first solo here, and celebrated the life of a loved one here. For 23 years our worship center has been the site of many special occasions. But above all, it has truly been a “worship” center; a place where people have come to meet with Almighty God. And I believe it has served FBC very well over the years.

But after 23 years of service … I guess the worship center has waited long enough for a good over-haul. As we replace the worn out parts, upgrade old systems, and equip it for years of ministry still out before us, I pray that many more significant memories would be made. The renovated facility will not only be beautiful, but we will be able to effectively and creatively minister to people for generations to come. Be sure to watch the animated video of the renovations on the church website: www.fbcjonesboro.com or at our Reaching Generations Blog.

God has given us some wonderful men and women to oversee the building efforts, and they need the support of the congregation. Most of all, they need our prayers, so lift them before the Lord regularly. Continue to pray for the financing to come in, as all of us have the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing. And find ways to encourage and build up the body as we have several months of “inconvenience and transition.” The temporary services in the Recreation Outreach Center should be a lot of fun, so jump in and get involved as the need arises.

One last word as we start this journey. “Reaching Generations: Passing on our faith,” is our response to God’s call to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. May we all be ready and willing to share with people the love of Christ. May we all demonstrate His love through acts of kindness. May we all look for opportunities to invite people to join us at FBC. You don’t need to wait until the buildings are finished, invite people to come see what God is doing. Remember, nice buildings are not our goal; people are what this is all about.
Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20)
Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | December 2, 2009

Pass on Your Faith

We have just enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are looking forward to celebrating Christmas.  Every time I get near the end of another year, I get reflective.  I can’t help but think of the goodness of God in my life. Oh we have had our fair share of challenges, but the blessings so far outweigh them that they all but disappear in comparison.

Our Children

One of the blessings that Gina and I have received from God is the children He has placed in our home; He has given us three wonderful children. The older they get, the more fun we have with them. Yet, the older they get, the more we realize how important it is to intentionally invest in their lives.

I will never forget the words of my Uncle Will. He has four children that all are doing well and serving the Lord. Somebody commented to him one day, “you sure are lucky, your kids have all turned out so well.” His response was, “luck had nothing to do with it; it was hard work and sacrifice! But now I am enjoying the benefits of training them in the ways of the Lord.” 

I think he was right. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).  Parenting is hard work, but what an investment. I am proud of my children, but I know that the jury is still out. They are just starting their journey and we are not yet through the teenage years. But I already see the benefit of intentional time with them, teaching them about the things of God.

But the key to successful parenting is living before the children what you believe, and being consistent to follow through on what you say. So here is my challenge for you this Christmas season: Intentionally invest in your children. No matter how old or young they are, make sure they understand what you believe about Christmas. Jesus Christ is the Son of God that came into the world to save us from our sins. Because of His death and resurrection, He will forgive our sin through repentance and give us new life; eternal life. And as Christians, we have a personal relationship with Christ that is real and practical every day.

So what does that look like in your home? What are you passing on to your children? We can never assume that they “get it,” we need to make sure that we invest in their lives. What better time to make that investment, than family time at Christmas.

Posted by: First Baptist Jonesboro | August 22, 2009

One Year

 It is hard to believe that I have served as pastor of FBC Jonesboro for one year already. Can we say, “big learning curve?” But that is what I expected. We moved from a foreign country, where the Lord had us serving for the past 14 years. In fact, Canada was all my children remembered, as my oldest was only 5 months old when we moved from Texas. For them, the change was enormous: new country, school, friends, home, and church. Only God could help them get through; and He did. They have had their good days and bad days, but all in all they are doing well.

As a couple, Gina and I have also had to navigate some significant changes in ministry.  But we knew that the Lord was about to stretch us. We were aware of the challenges that the church was facing. We knew of the challenges that the community was facing. We knew that we would need to make some major adjustments to our new surroundings. There have been several things that caught us off guard, but then again, we knew to expect the unexpected!

But I have learned over the years to keep my eyes on the Lord, no matter what my circumstances might be. The most important factor in my life is not what people are doing, but what the Lord is doing. Kingdom work is challenging in the best of times, but the Lord has a way of keeping me steady and focussed on the priorities of His heart. Oh, I stumble and make mistakes along the way, but He is the one who guides my life.

Looking back over this past year, the challenges of such a major change in our lives has been overshadowed by the hand of God in our lives. I have often told people that my greatest strength is that I know I am weak. That one realization keeps my relationship with Christ my number one priority; I need Him in my life. For without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). In fact I was challenged one day by a man who pointed out that I was from a small pioneer church in Canada and did not know how to lead a large church in the South. My response was simply this: “your absolutely right.” But then again, I am not the leader of FBC Jonesboro, Christ is. He is the head of the church, and my responsibility is to walk with Him so that He can accomplish His work through me.

I am so excited to see what Christ is doing in our church. Christ is leading us and we are about to experience a wonderful journey of following Him. I’ll mention more in the next few weeks about where we are going, but I just want to thank the members of FBC for all they have done for my family. God has placed some amazing people in this church. It is a privilege to be their pastor.

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