First Baptist Church St. Simons Island

Author: Rev. Rebekah White

From the Children & Family Pastor – July 25th, 2014

As the summer comes to a close, I would like to express our deep gratitude to our summer intern, Robert Pulliam. He has done an incredible job serving in many capacities at our church over the last two months. He helped lead children’s church, led the missions rotation and juggled fire at Vacation Bible School Camp, ran media at Choir Camp, chaperoned at Passport Kids Camp and helped with Monday Mystery Trips. May we continue to lift him up in our prayers as he continues to listen to God’s calling on his life as Youth Minister of Monticello Baptist Church in Monticello, Georgia. He will begin in this role in late August. We are so happy for him. We know he will continue to do great things.

It is a crucial and important time for our children as they start back to school. We want them to know that they have the love and support of their church. On Promotion Sunday, August 10th, we have many things in store for them. At the beginning of the service we will recognize children who are beginning kindergarten and present them with their very own Bible. During the children’s message we are having a Blessing of the Backpacks. Children will wear their book bags down front for the children’s message and we will pray with them. Following the 10:30 a.m. Worship service we are having a parent meeting to discuss activities and programs for children for the upcoming church year. Also, don’t forget that on Sunday, August 3rd, we are having our special “senior breakfast”. This is where we will take out the 4th and 5th grade Sunday school class for breakfast during Sunday school to celebrate those who will be moving up to the youth group.

VBS is Coming!

W are looking forward to another exciting week of Vacation Bible School Camp here at First Baptist Church SSI! Sharon did an awesome job with the children’s sermon this past Sunday as she promoted VBS. We also had a great meeting with volunteers following our Worship service. Once again, Mary Lane James did an incredible job recruiting volunteers.

Everyone who came shares a passion for young people and a desire to help them learn about the love that Christ has for each of them. This year’s theme is “Weird Animals: Jesus’ Love is One-of-a-Kind.” This theme is incorporated in innovative ways within each rotation: Worship, Bible Study, Crafts, Music, Missions, Snacks and Recreation. It is our hope that parents bring their child for what we expect to be an unforgettable experience.

This year our theme “Weird Animals” calls for a focus on animals. Therefore, we have included a few special items to the program. It includes:

• Local animal organizations such as the Sea Turtle Center and the Humane Society coming to teach children ways they can help in their community.
• On Wednesday we will even have a Petting Zoo!
• On Friday we have a makeup artist coming to paint the children’s faces as an animal for their Parent Performance. They will also tie dye their free camp t-shirt in their craft rotation that they will wear on Friday.
• At Friday’s family lunch we will have a balloon artist to make balloon animals.

We are collecting mission offering all week for our Operation Kid-to-Kid Project where we raise money for clean water in India. The children may bring their offering down during Worship at the beginning of each day. As money is collected, children will see a clear inflatable container being filled with blue balloons to represent water.

Family and friends are all invited to attend the end of the week performance on Friday. It begins in the Sanctuary at 12:00 p.m. and will last 30 minutes. The performance will conclude with an end of the week highlight video. A lunch offered for children, family and friends and our church family will follow the performance in the fellowship hall.
We appreciate your prayers and any support that you are able to provide! Thank you!

Easter Eggs

“Yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are
all the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8.

A child asked one Wednesday night, “What does Easter eggs have to do with Easter?” This is an excellent question because the answer brings clarity to the importance of this season of the church year. Easter eggs symbolize new life. New life happens all around us in the spring. We see flowers blooming and chicks hatching. However, new life isn’t just happening all around us. God wants new life to happen within us. The word Lent actually means “spring”.

In the last sentence of a Lenten sermon Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor says, “In making our journey through the wilderness, by faith instead of fear, we may find that Lent just might be Easter in disguise.” She is saying that while our destination should not be overlooked it often becomes our only focus. Our journeys make us into the people we are. This week as we prepare our hearts and minds for Easter may we be reminded of the importance of our journey of faith. May we allow God to continue to mold and shape us.

I Lift My Eyes Up to the Mountains

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

This past weekend I went skiing with my sister in Vail, Colorado. I have skied many other places but skiing here has always been a dream of mine. Therefore, when my sister found out that she was going to move out there for a few months to do a clinical for her last semester of physical therapy school, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to make this dream a reality. The scenery was far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. When I first got off of the ski lift at the top of an over 11, 000 foot mountain I was utterly amazed. Mountains continued in the distance as far as my eyes could see. When you take in a view that powerful and majestic you cannot help but think about how incredible God is to be able to create such a beautiful masterpiece. It reminded me that if the God in whom we believe can create this than God can take care of us. What worries are we carrying around with us that we need to let go of and give to God?

Lessons From an Olympian

This past Sunday I preached at Haddock Baptist Church and one of the stories shared in the sermon was about Louis Zamperini. To my surprise, as I was watching television last night I saw an advertisement for a new movie that will be directed by Angelina Jolie about the story of his life. One lady at Haddock asked if I would send her his story so that she could share it with people at the jail where she speaks. That gave me the idea to also share it with you. I believe his story of strength and perseverance has the ability to inspire us all.

Louis Zamperini was a track prodigy. He set a United States track record that was unbroken for 19 years, and an NCAA mile record that lasted for 20. By 1940, he was an Olympic 1500 meter favorite and was predicted to be the first person to break the four-minute mile. But World War II cancelled the Olympics, and Zamperini became an airman. When his plane crashed in the Pacific he survived only to become a prisoner of the Japanese. They beat him, starved him, conducted medical experiments and enslaved him. Once they heard he had been an Olympian, they were going to force him to race hoping to humiliate him. If he refused they threatened to beat the other prisoners.

The guards summoned a Japanese runner to face him and Zamperini had no hope or intention of winning. Not only was his broken body in no condition for running but he knew that if he won he would probably be put to death. As they started the race he says that other captives began to gather around and watch. For that small amount of time he saw the hollowness leave their eyes and their spirits become uplifted. Zamperini saw it in their faces… they needed him to win. On the final lap, as they cheered, Zamperini pushed past his rival and won the race. He said the last thing he heard before he was clubbed unconscious was the chorus of voices shouting in triumph.

Louis Zamperini, now at the age of 97, would not have done that differently. He could have easily felt sorry for himself and thought his journey had come to an end. But he allowed God to use him to bring light into a very dark place. How can we be a light in our world?

Lent is Coming

On March 9th, we will begin the season of Lent. The Lenten season lasts 40 days and leads us into the Easter season. During this time we are reminded of the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert for 40 days. We know the devil tempted Jesus three different times in this story. The first temptation is found in Luke 4:3-4.

It says in Luke 4:3-4, “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.”’ The devil wanted Jesus to turn the stones into bread. I like how Jesus made it clear that nothing was wrong with bread but that bread is just simply not enough.

We need certain things in this world to live but to really live we need God in our hearts. God must be our foundation and the center of our lives. Sometimes we may have bad days and feel like we are in a wilderness all alone but we can remember that God is with us…and God is all we really need.

Dear God, Thank you for helping us in the good times and in the bad times. Help us to lean on You as our rock and our foundation, and not the temporary things of this world. It is in Christ name we pray, Amen.

The Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics begin February 7th in Sochi, Russia. As we watch the Olympics we will witness people who are the very best at their sport. What we will not see are the many times these athletes have fallen before they have become the people that they are today. On YouTube there is a commercial for the Olympics that demonstrates this point. See below for the video.

Like these Olympic athletes, there is no telling how many times we are going to fall down in our lifetimes. Peter is a perfect example of someone who continuously messed up. He is known for taking his eyes off Jesus and also for denying Him. Yet, God chooses to build His church on him.

We often have this ideal image of church and think it is supposed to be perfect. So it is interesting that God gives Peter this responsibility. God knows we are not perfect and God also knows churches are not perfect. God created us. God created church. But like Peter and these Olympic athletes, what sets us apart is not that we fall but that we get back up. As followers of Christ, we are able to have a solid foundation in our Savior.

Advent Devotional Introduction

I can remember as a little girl climbing into my parent’s minivan with my two sisters and going around the city to look at Christmas lights. I do not know who began the tradition of Christmas lights but it is brilliant. Christmas lights not only light up the darkest time of our calendar year but they also create an ambiance and warmth in our hearts during our coldest season.  Like Christmas lights, God calls us to be a light in the darkness and to provide warmth in life’s most frigid moments.

One of the most popular Bible verses on the topic of light is Psalm 119:105. It says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” If you look closely at this verse you will notice that the lamp shines on our feet because it intends to take us somewhere. We are invited to walk the path that God has set before us. Sometimes along the way our light may become dim. It is during these times that we are able to really see and appreciate the light of Christ shining through others to help us along life’s way.

Through the pages of this year’s Advent Devotion Guide, people in our church family share their stories of how someone was a light to them or how they have been a light to someone else.  It is our prayer that these stories inspire each of us to live out Matthew 14 and 16; to be a light in our world.

This Christmas as we admire all of the decorative lights through the village, around the island and in our homes, may we be reminded that the greatest lights are the lives who reflect the love of Christ to others.


Rebekah White

Light of Hope
First Sunday of Advent
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5 (lectionary text)
December 01, 2013
Author: Cameron Anderson

Monday, December 02, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 122 (lectionary text)
Author: Nick Doster

Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Optional Scripture: Romans 13:11-14 (lectionary text)
Author: Gayle Brown (already sent)

Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Optional Scripture: Matthew 24:36-44 (lectionary text)
Author: Wendy and Lexi Alberson

Thursday, December 05, 2013
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 42:16 (theme selected text)
Author: Laney Wainright

Friday, December 06, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 18:28 (theme selected text)
Author: Janine Hendley

Saturday, December 07, 2013
Optional Scripture: John 8:12 (theme selected text)
Author: Kathy McFarland

Light of Peace
Second Sunday of Advent
December 08, 2013
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10 (lectionary text)
Author: John Bryson

Monday, December 09, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 (lectionary text)
Author: William Alyward

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Optional Scripture: Romans 15:4-13 (lectionary text)
Author: Dan McFee

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Optional Scripture: Matthew 3:1-12 (lectionary text)
Author: Sandra Huckaby

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 50:10 (theme selected text)
Author: Brent Hanson

Friday, December 13, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 43:3 (theme selected text)
Author: Sharon Proudfoot

Saturday, December 14, 2013
Optional Scripture: Matthew 4:16 (theme selected text)
Author: Debbie Richardson

Light of Joy
Third Sunday of Advent
December 15, 2013
Optional Topic: Isaiah 35:1-10 (lectionary text)
Author: Peggy Russell

Monday, December 16, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 146:5-10 or Luke 1:46b-55 (lectionary text)
Author: Debbie Gilbert

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Optional Scripture: James 5:7-10 (lectionary text)
Author: Jack Pierce

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Optional Scripture: Matthew 11:2-11 (lectionary text)
Author: Nancy Bryson

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 60:19 (theme selected text)
Author: Josh White

Friday, December 20, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 4:6 (theme selected text)
Author: Lee and Mark Norvell

Saturday, December 21, 2013
Optional Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16 (theme selected text)
Author: Nikki Pope

Light of Love
Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 22, 2013
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16 (lectionary text)
Author: John Campbell

Monday, December 23, 2013
Optional Scripture: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (lectionary text)
Author: Jeff Harris

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Christmas Eve
Optional Scripture: Romans 1:1-7 (lectionary text)
Author: Angie Wainright

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Christmas Day
Optional Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25 (lectionary text)
Author: Felix Haynes


Thank You for Wounded Warrior Help

Col. John Campbell led a truly impactful event for combat injured soldiers and their families this past weekend. He provided an experience to some of the most deserving families and we give him much praise. This year was different than in years past because he wanted to offer childcare so that all soldiers and families would have the opportunity to participate. It was definitely a challenge with the short time frame of planning and all of the unknown variables of ages and number of kids but many people stepped up and helped to make this a huge success.

One of these wonderful people is Brooke Maynard. She worked hard and it paid off. The stories of how much fun these children had keep pouring in.

Elizabeth Jordan said that the Mission Team’s goal was that the children would be provided with an equally memorable event as that of their parents who would attend the McGladrey Classic. This was definitely accomplished. One child was crying when a mother went to pick her up because she did not want to leave. Another mother said that this was the first time she had been able to leave her four year old autistic child in someone else’s care. It was a great experience for both parents and

I would like to thank our Office Staff (Anna Coursey, Rev. Barry Kerr and Angie Wainright) and Childcare staff who helped with this event on their time off (Heidi Harris, Betsy Crumbliss, Jill Johnson, Laura Moore and Abby Wainright). I would also like to thank all who volunteered (Monica Colquitt (nurse on site all weekend), Morgan & Mattie Colquitt, Sylvia Martin, Joni Bennett, Annette Owens, Porter Boyer, Pat Natzke, Christine & Sam Norris, Alicia & Craig Shell (provided Georgia Sea Turtle Center Program), Ken & Glenda Kessler, Wendy Alberson, Maggy & Laney Wainright, Lynn & Thom Chapman, Sharon Proudfoot, Debby Richardson and Barbara Hanzalik). The community also helped in a tremendous way. Spacewalk gave us a very good deal on the inflatables. Also, when we went to pay for the children for putt-putt the lady told us that it was anonymously paid for. Last but not least, I want to thank our FBC SSI children for spending time with the children of these military families on Sunday. You helped them to truly feel special and to have a great time. Thank you!

Fall Festival A True Success

Our annual Fall Festival was this past Wednesday, October 30th, and it was a great success. Every year this event serves as an opportunity for outreach, fellowship, and service to the community. I would like to thank Sharon Proudfoot and the Children’s Ministry Team, Nancy Bryson and the Food Teams, all of our Sunday school classes, Staff, and everyone who made this event possible! It could not have happened without each of you!

This was probably my favorite Fall Festival because not only were our children and parents in attendance as well as numerous visiting families from the community but also people of all ages of our church were represented. It was not only a community event but a true church family event.

Our church family being together and being one is not only important to us but it is important to God. John 17:11 says that Jesus went off by himself to pray and he prayed, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name You gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.”

Jesus knew that if his disciples would come together as one, they would be much stronger than they would as individuals. So he prayed and asked God to protect them and to help them to be one, just as he and his Father were one. This past Wednesday we were one and that is what made this year’s Fall Festival a true success.