Weekly Letter from the Pastor — May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017

Dear FBCD Family:

For many reasons, I am excited about the study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that we begin in FBU this Wednesday night.

Why such excitement?

Because I am excited by people who combine high intelligence with deep Christian devotion.
Because I admire people who follow their conscience even when it costs them.
Because the Nazi regime in Germany (1933-45) was one of the most fascinating, and horrific, in human history, and there are so many lessons to learn from it.
Because I hear a great deal of excitement from all sections of our church about this study.
Because there is so much interesting stuff to learn about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Because no other Christian thinker has had more impact on my own understanding of Christianity and ethics.

So we go to school for five weeks, beginning May 3. The textbook is Christiane Tietz, Theologian of Resistance. For our first session, we will read chapters 1-2.

Here is the link to order the book through Amazon.

I will mention other great resources by and about Bonhoeffer during the course.

Even if you have never come to an FBU session, give us a try in May. Okay?

Have a wonderful week, sisters and brothers—
Pastor David

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — April 18, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

What a glorious Easter Sunday morning. This was my first opportunity to preach on the holiest day of the Christian calendar, and seeing what must have been 500 of you gathered together for worship in the two services certainly warmed my heart. Christ is Risen! And, as I tried to say, the evidence that he is risen is found not "just" in the Bible or in tradition but in glimpses of resurrection in our own lives, in the world, and in our community of faith. I hope you catch such glimpses this week.

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — February 27, 2017

Dear FBCD Family:

As I enter my sixth month as your Interim Pastor, I am grateful to God for you, dear church family. As more and more visitors come our way on both Sundays and Wednesdays, guests are impressed by the warmth, friendliness, and Christian devotion of our congregation. We are starting to see folks join our congregation – we had two young ladies join us in the last two weeks in Fresh Start. More are considering joining. Family, keep doing what you are doing – keep being who you are!

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — February 20, 2017

Dear FBCD Family:

Two things are coming to an end along with February. I want to say a word about both.

We launched First Baptist University on January 11 with the hope and prayer that church members and visitors would respond to an entirely new approach to Wednesday nights. We had been averaging maybe 35 folks for supper, prayer, and Bible study. I thought that we had the resources in our church to offer a university-type program with multiple exciting and meaningful options in areas of Christian thought, pastoral care, and wellness.

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — February 12, 2017

Dear FBCD Family:

On Sunday we explored how both Jesus and Paul prayed. As your pastor, I was brought up short by the challenge that Matthew 6:7-13 and Philippians 1:9-11 carried for me. That is one of the most amazing things about being a pastor — first you are challenged by God's Word and Spirit, and then out of that place of challenge you attempt to offer what you have been shown to the people you serve.

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — February 7, 2017

Dear FBCD Family:

It was very special to have so many families and boys associated with Boy Scouts join us for worship on Sunday morning. FBCD has sponsored a Boy Scout troop since 1927! I am not aware of anything we are doing (besides worship and studying the Bible!) that we have done for that long. It is quite a heritage. I was glad to meet members of the Greenway family, who have played such a large role in sponsoring and supporting our FBCD Boy Scouts over many years. Thank you!

Weekly Letter from the Pastor —January 30, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

 

This week finds me jetting off to Penn State University for an all-day speaking appearance there on Wednesday, so I guess you all will have to do FBU without me this one time. After that visit I will go to northern Virginia to see my 87-year-old father, as well as my sister and brother-in-law.

But I will be back for Sunday to speak on the theme of “Keeping Our Covenants,” the 4th message in my series called “Things Christians Do.”

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — January 23, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

It is hard to describe how much FUN church seems to be these days at FBCD. I think the last time church was this fun for me was in high school.

Take Sunday morning, for example. When in my sermon in Fresh Start I said that "Psalm 7 + Matthew 5 = Romans 12," all the scientists and mathematicians in the room just fell out laughing. And then in Sanctuary, when I read Psalm 7:6, which says "Rise up, O Lord," and then someone started snickering thinking of the relevance to the big Falcons playoff game, we all laughed. (Congratulations to our Falcons!) Maybe what we are finding is joy—joy in our shared experiences, joy in our restored sense of unity, and joy in putting our shoulders to the plow and serving Christ together. In any case, Sundays are happy again, and I am grateful to God.

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — January 17, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

 

I can tell you that I have had few experiences in ministry to rival the meaningfulness of baptizing Jackson Anand on Sunday as the FBCD church family gathered around to support him. It is truly a holy thing to be a pastor, and to be a participant in moments in which God's grace is so clearly felt. Let us all continue to pray for Jackson as his young faith develops. And let us all be reminded of the meaning of our baptism, in which we affirmed our belief in Jesus, our gratitude for his salvation, and our promise to follow him as Lord.

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — January 9, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

 

I begin by thanking Shelley Woodruff for preaching on Sunday while I was in New Orleans at the Society of Christian Ethics. I understand that The Great Storm of January 2017 was tolerable and that most were able to make it to church. I am indeed impressed by the strong sense of duty so many of our church members feel to be in church if at all possible -- churches are built and sustained by people with that kind of commitment. So thank you.

Weekly Letter From the Pastor — January 3, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

Yesterday we began the new year at FBCD with pretty strong attendance (all things considered!) and a message on "Starting Over," based on Psalm 51 and Romans 12:1-2. Our new preaching series for January and February is called "Things Christians Do," focusing on basic practices of Christian discipleship. One of these basic practices is "continuous repentance," which I described as a posture of identifying and grieving over sin in our lives, taking responsibility without evasion, confessing our sin to God and probably to those we have hurt, seeking forgiveness, and committing to life change in the area where we have gone wrong. If you were unable to be present Sunday, the sermon audio and text are available, as usual, on our website here.

Weekly Letter from the Pastor — December 27, 2016

Dear FBCD Family,
The Advent season seemed especially profound this year, at least from my vantage point. There is something about being a pastor, and being responsible for leading a faith community through one of the two holiest seasons of the year, that just does something to you. I cannot personally recall a more meaningful Advent season in my adult life. And it ended so powerfully — with a very large crowd for our Christmas Eve service, and a surprisingly large and joyful gathering on Christmas morning.