Living to be 100 is a big deal. While most people aspire to live to a good old age, only a few people make it to the century mark.

Oftentimes centenarians are asked about their secret. How were they able to live so long? What wisdom would they pass down to others?

Here are a few response gleaned from sources on the Internet:

“Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money; just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

“Be as independent as you can, but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you think you need it.”

“Don’t look at the calendar; just keep celebrating every day.”

“Find your passion and live it.”

“Don’t fight the day; just let it be. Get up and be positive.”

“Do things that you’ve never done before.”

“You must keep active, or you will just wither away. Always be involved in some activity.”

Comedian and actor Bob Hope lived to be 100. He once said, “When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things — not the great occasions — that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

As we celebrate 100 years on Main Street, we remember the saints who have gone before us. We are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” that in many ways still speak into our lives. They have impacted us as witnesses to the timeless truths of scripture we now embrace.

They also have left for us a legacy of faithfulness and love. Our halls echo with their presence. We stand on their shoulders and remember that this is our time to be the church God created us to be.

How Then Shall We Live?

Our mission is the same as it has been for 100 years on Main Street and the 80 years before that in other locations. We exist to shine the light of Christ in downtown and beyond — “in the center of the city with the Savior.”

More precisely, we could describe our mission in this way: “We make disciples of Jesus Christ as we love God, one another, and our neighbors.”

For 2000 years, the mission has not changed. Our work may look differently today than it did 100 years ago when we began on Main Street, but the gospel has remained the same. We proclaim Christ’s love, care for one another with mutual affection, and welcome the stranger. We are becoming together the ever-changing Family of God.

In 2024, I encourage you to think about your church engagement. For some, they are deeply involved in the life of our church. They have found a way to engage in all four purposes of our church: worship, community, mission, and discipleship.

It may be that for some, it’s time to engage a little less (with busyness doing church-related ways of serving). You need to be nurtured in your personal walk with Christ and experience the refreshment of the Holy Spirit. I’m not advising that you step back from church, but that you would be good to yourself as the grace of God works through your life.

For others, God’s call may be to take a step toward deeper engagement. Perhaps you sense the need to be more regular in worshipping with our church family. It may be that joining a Sunday School class or small group is your next faithful step in discipleship.

While we all need seasons of rest, I do believe that the words of centenarians can help us think about what it means to exercise our faith. Keep active. Get up and be positive. Celebrate each day. Don’t be reluctant to ask for help.

Faith is meant to be lived, not just believed.

We Give Thanks for 100 Years on Main Street

At our recent FBC talent show, I loved hearing a poem written especially for the occasion by Betsy Pickle. I wanted to share her words with you. It’s called “100 Years.”

100 years we celebrate,

100 years of home.

God found for us this special space

To worship and to grow.

We started 80 years before,

Along a street called Gay.

The Brothers Moses led us there

So we could find the Way.

But under Dr. Brown it was

Our elders felt a call

To take a leap to serve our town

From within this marble hall.

With men and women, boys and girls

We studied and we prayed.

We glorified the Lord with song

And joyfully praised His name.

He wanted us to travel ’round

Our state and nation, too,

To spread His Word and show His love

Across the seas of blue.

Our mission field has taken us

To lands with language strange

But also just outside our walls

Where neighbors are in pain.

We thank you, God, for blessing us

With fellowship, purpose and grace,

With pastors wise and leaders strong

And with this sacred place.

Betsy Pickle

Feb. 18, 2024

In memory of Marion M. Pickle Jr., born Feb. 18, 1923

We indeed give thanks to God for the grace to turn 100 on Main Street. It’s a season to look back and then look ahead. How can God use and bless our church in the next 100 years?

I hope that you’ll participate in the various ways we are celebrating 100 years on Main Street. The next opportunity is with the Carson Newman A Cappella Choir on Tuesday evening, March 5th at 6pm in our sanctuary. On April 27th, we will host Jo Saxton, speaker and author, for a one-day women’s conference about living your passion and calling.

The Holy Spirit is at work in our congregation. Let’s be praying for our church and looking for ways to follow the wind of His Spirit.

I’m glad to be on the journey with you.

With much love,

Pastor Brent McDougal