First Baptist Church St. Simons Island


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Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? I haven’t done any research so this is just my perception, but I imagine that most resolutions do not stand the test of a busy life.

One of my jobs in seminary was working the front desk at the campus gym. Around this time every year we would get incredibly busy as people woke up insanely early to work out and shed those pounds they vowed they would lose in the new year. By the time March rolled around, however, things were back to normal. All of the “resolution exercisers” were back to doing what they had always done. Their desired rhythm of life slipped back into their old way of doing things. So if most of them fail, why do we do them? Or maybe we’ve stopped doing them because we’ve noticed that we hardly ever kept them. If we weren’t going to keep them than why bother, right?

Two words which are different, but related: new, hope. The reason we make resolutions is because deep down we long for newness. We know that some of the patterns that we have fallen into are not healthy for us and we long to change. We long for newness. The New Year, merely gives us the occasion to dream up new patterns, new life. Hope. A new year means new beginnings. The chance to do things differently, a chance to make the right choice and not be bound be the previous year(s). And this prospect, fills us with hope doesn’t it?

The Bible talks about these two words a lot. In fact, 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection from the dead.” New birth. Living hope. That is why we make resolutions. But instead of this being a yearly thing, we are told that new birth and living hope are daily realities of God’s grace.

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.

From the Youth Pastor – July 25th, 2014

If there is one thing that my first full week here has demonstrated it is that we have an awesome church, filled with awesome people, and the young men and women of our church are hungry for depth and eager to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ. What a great combination!

This past Sunday we started “Juice with Jesus” a series in Sunday School where we will be diving into the life and teachings of Jesus. Join us this week for Sunday school, drink some juice, eat some breakfast, and become strong as Jesus encourages and challenges us. We will be making a slight change to SYTYCD night. This week, we will still meet on Wednesday, July 23rd. In the future, however, instead of watching it on Wednesdays when it airs, we will be watching it on Thursday nights, beginning July 31st. No, you do not have to dance! Come and fellowship with us at our house! If you need our address, let me know.

Only two more Gathering Place Main Events left for the summer. If you are going to join us for dinner this Sunday, please let me know by Friday, July 25th so that I can give the person supplying dinner an informed estimate of how much to prepare. Meet at the church at 6:30pm. Our goal will be to get there by 7:30pm.

If anyone is interested in providing dinner for our Gathering Place event, I am still looking for someone to do August 3rd, our last one of the summer. Thanks to the Joy Sunday school class for providing our dinner this last Sunday.

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!

New Youth Minister

During the June 1st worship service the congregation unanimously affirmed Jusin Moser as the new youth minister at FBCSSI. Below is a little information about Justin:

I am the lucky husband of Ellie and the honored father of Micah and a baby due this December! I graduated from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas with a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy. Afterward, I attended McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University in Atlanta and earned my Master of Divinity in May. God has blessed me with many opportunities to minister to and with youth. I volunteered with a youth group my freshman year of college, spent a summer as a counselor at Kanakuk Kamps in Missouri, coached basketball in a Christian homeschool sports organization, and organized sports leagues for a variety of ages as an intern at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, GA during seminary. I enjoy family time, playing with my son, anything sports, the outdoors, reading anything from teen fiction (I am a sucker for Hunger Games, Divergent, and Harry Potter) to adult non-fiction, to books on theology, youth ministry, culture, and biblical studies. I love college basketball, especially March Madness, and I am an avid Kansas University and Wichita State fan. Despite my enjoyment of college sports, I really do not care too much about college football (please don’t cast me out!). Wherever God takes my family and I in the future my prayer is to be faithful to God, proclaim the gospel, live the Kingdom, and be influential in the lives of people as I live for Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace!


The Spartan Race

This past Saturday I ran in something called a Spartan race. The race has fifteen obstacles and lasts for over four and a half miles. I ran this race with eight of my friends from college and high school. The race was very difficult; it was probably the hardest physical thing I have ever done. Towards the end of the race I got real close to walking away. But as I looked at my teammates I realized that we are all in this together, quitting was never an option. As I think about our Christian walk, I am sure we all feel the same way sometimes. Life gets hard and we want to give in or give up. Just remember that we are all in this together. Your family in Christ is there to help carry you along the way and you are there to carry them.

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?

Youth Winter Retreat

We had an amazing time on the Youth Winter Retreat to Universal Studios Orlando. The trip would not have been possible without the help of a few great people. A big THANK YOU to, Harry and Sharon Proudfoot, Kim Richardson, and Tab Blount for accompanying the youth as chaperones. They poured there time, energy, and spirits into our youth. Each of them touched the lives of our youth in many great ways.

The theme of this trip was, Who is God and what do we do about it? The two main passages of scripture we focused on were Luke 4: 14 – 30 and Micah 6:8. In Luke we discovered the reason behind Jesus’ ministry and his purpose for coming to earth. In Micah we learned what Christ requires of us as believers to be more like him and to have an impact for his kingdom.

The next big event is our Superbowl party on February the 2nd at the home of Michael Jennings. Watch for more details to come about this fun event soon. We hope to see you Wednesday and Sunday!

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.

Youth Serve With Hearts and Hands

Beginning this Sunday, the youth will spend Sunday nights in the homes of many of our church members. This will be a time of food, fellowship, and discipleship. These events will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. On October the 5th the will begin serving through the Hearts and Hands ministry. Please arrive at the church at 10:30 a.m. We will deliver food and then head to Foxes Pizza for a lunch of our own. Please bring about 7 dollars for this activity.

The next day, youth will begin greeting on Sunday mornings. I am real excited about the opportunities we have to serve the church and our community in these capacities. So look for our smiling faces as we deliver food and meet you at the gym door soon!

There will be a youth parents meeting on October 6th in the fellowship hall after the 10:30 a.m. worship service. This will be a short meeting as we look at the next few months fun filled activities and service opportunities. Hope to see you there.

This past Wednesday night we talked about how our actions show the type of person that we truly are on the inside. We talked about how our faith is shown by what we do not by what we say. This week as we walk the halls of our schools, I want to encourage you to share Christ with others whenever you can and when necessary use words.