Dear First Baptist Family,
One of the most poignant moments for me during the footsteps of Paul trip happened by the creek in ancient Philippi. Paul and his companions arrived in the medium-sized city to first share the gospel in the synagogue, but as usual, he didn’t make much headway. So he walked down to the creek where some women had gathered.
There he met Lydia. She was a prosperous merchant, dealing in purple dyes, and likely had a spacious home. Lydia was also a seeker. She was a Gentile by birth but worshipped the God of the Jews.
Hearing the gospel, Lydia received it with gladness. She was immediately baptized with her whole household.
As we stood by the same creek where she was baptized, our little group reflected on the role of women in the church. Like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and other women who gave from their resources to support Jesus in His ministry, Lydia contributed what she had to help the gospel spread. She also gave significant leadership to Jesus’ movement. The gospel spread through her city and energized the taking of the good news into other regions.
One of our group members became emotional as she described her call to ministry and the obstacles she faced to live into that calling. Many of us had tears in our eyes as she shared how meaningful it was to be by the water, remembering Lydia and her calling.
I love that we celebrate the gifts of women and men in the First Baptist fellowship. We want all of our daughters and sons to know that God can call and equip each of them to do anything they can for the sake of God’s kingdom.
But I also long for the day when we don’t have to have conversations by the river like we had in Philippi. I look forward to the day when it will be true that in the church, there is “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV). This means that we would celebrate and activate every gift, every person, and every vocation for God’s work in Knoxville and beyond.
In a few weeks our church will have the opportunity to share the gospel not by going far from home as Paul did, but by welcoming people to our church campus. Children will gather to learn the stories of Jesus, play games, and sing songs of praise through our Vacation Bible School (VBS) July 11-15.
We need your help.
Susan Tatum, our children’s pastor, has let me know that we can’t do VBS with the current volunteers we have to date. We have lots of empty slots for all types of volunteers.
Would you consider giving your time that week?
VBS happens from 9:00-12:15 Monday-Friday. You can email Susan ( ) to let her know of your willingness to help and learn what you can do. Thank you in advance for your help.
We want every young woman and young man to come to faith in Christ and live out their God-given mission. The time and effort we give are small compared to the eternal difference we'll make together..
Our faith has been passed down from generation to generation — from the 1st century all the way to the 21st century. Now it’s our turn. We are praying that many people will enter the waters of baptism just like Lydia and her household.
Blessings to you and I hope you have a great week.