In Word and Deed


First Focus

In Word and Deed

Thank you for a wonderful Vacation Bible School and Upward Sports Camp week. God poured out his blessings on us, and we have several people to thank personally for their great work. Children’s Minister Rhonda Smith and Co-Directors Allison Bubriski, Amy Rigsby, and Caroline Weiss orchestrated a seamless operation. Truly, this was the best one I’ve ever been a part of. We registered over 300 kids for our VBS, and 120 attended sports camp. We had over 200 adult and youth volunteers.

The God Sightings wall in the Welcome Center is worth your time and reflection. A woman originally from Tampa told me that they’ve lived in Tallahassee for three years and have been attending our VBS each year. They’re moving back to Tampa and said that one of the things they’re going to miss the most about TLH is our VBS. She said she doesn’t know where they’re ever going to find something like this. Another person, five-year-old Alden Weiss, ran past me on Thursday holding up three fingers and saying, “Jesus rose from the grave in 3 days; go tell everybody!” I had the privilege of praying with Patricia Cooley to receive Christ on Friday night while we had a snow cone together. She prayed after meeting with one of her Upward coaches, and they prayed together as well.

In the midst of the joys and fatigue of VBS week, we’ve born the burden of grief over the Charleston massacre. Thank you for worshiping our risen Lord Sunday and expressing your support in such meaningful personal ways. The families of these brothers and sisters in Christ will continue to need our prayer. Our local community needs our personal involvement in reconciliation. I planned to address these issues more directly in a sermon on July 12 when we study the courageous faith of the Syrophoenician woman. Certainly, the events of last week have caused us to think more carefully and act more deliberately in these days. Here’s how you can help.

  1. Pray for country and our local and national leaders. These are times to lament and to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 and the prayer of the surrendered father, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” Pray for unity among the body of Christ as together we seek God’s will.
  2. Attend the Memorial Service for Charleston victims this Sunday night, June 28. Bethel Missionary Baptist is
    coordinating the service. Keep an eye out for the details in local news media.
  3. Participate in Operation Safe Neighborhood. This initiative will be Saturday, July 11 from 6:45-10:00PM. We will meet in the church parking lot for prayer and drive to a southside neighborhood to distribute fliers about neighborhood watch programs. Churches from across Tallahassee are joining together in this effort. TPD is providing a mobile command unit that will assist us in this effort. Sign up with Amy Parks.
  4. Mark your calendar for September 27 at 6:00PM. The City of Tallahassee, Leon County, Leadership Tallahassee, and the Downtown Improvement Authority will be hosting “The Longest Table,” an initiative designed to bring together people around food, hospitality, and fellowship on Park Avenue across from the Knott House. We will eat (something Baptists do well) with people from across Tallahassee and help our community get to know each other better. Who knows? We might even “entertain angels unawares.” Our church along with Bethel AME Church is serving on the task force for this event. Contact John Rice if you can attend. The meal will be catered by local restaurants.

These things seem so simple and yet so profound. Through hospitality and relationships, we give our community a chance to have courageous faith in Jesus Christ by being present and presenting the gospel in word and deed.