Welcome to the historic First Baptist Church of Memphis, serving Memphis & the Mid-South since 1839. You will find exciting ministries, mission opportunities, and vibrant worship.

Sunday Mornings:

9:30am Sunday School
11:00am Worship

Wednesday Evenings:

5:00pm Dinner
6:00pm Bible Study


200 East Parkway North, Memphis, TN 38112 ⋅ Office: 901.454.1131

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Beyond This

“Whatever THIS you are going through, the good news of the gospel is…There is more to life than THIS.”  This was the summary statement of a sermon recently preached by Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes at the Festival of Homiletics.  He speaks of that which he knows.  Raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, having worked with some of the poorest of the poor, his work there is based upon many people believing this truth for the poor of Brazil.  Donors, governmental officials, the poor themselves, Claudio, and countless others have to believe this or nothing will/can change.  But Claudio speaks not just in hope, but in testimony.  While so much still needs to be done, he has seen this change happen.  He has seen transformation.  He knows there is more to life than THIS.

It’s a message applied throughout the week.  It was applied in other pastoral situations. I heard stories of grief, of victims of abuse, of the mentally ill, of the chronically ill, of ministers and churches in crisis, of those struggling with shame and guilt, of countless others (maybe you?) who need to know in the most profound way that no matter their THIS, that God is in it with them, and that there really is more to life than THIS.

I heard this message applied to our awareness.  Julie Pennington-Russell told the story of a social experiment undertaken by the Washington Post.  They asked Joshua Bell, the world famous violinist, to don a sweatshirt, jeans, and baseball cap and play several pieces in the entry area to a DC metro station, to see if anyone would stop to take advantage of this glorious music.  In 45 minutes only 7 of 1,097 people stopped to listen for even a moment.  “Be open to THIS moment, and the One who holds it,” Julie pleaded.   Be open to beauty.  Be open to compassion.  Be open to opportunities to make a difference.  Walk with your head up and your eyes open. There is more to life than THIS.

And I heard it applied to those longing for and working toward justice.  There’s a good bit of this in Claudio’s situation.  It’s not just about the hope for change, but the courage to keep working for change.  And the same goes for all those working to change policies and cultures around issues of race, gender, environment, age, sexuality, disabilities, health care, economics, etc.  “Do not grow weary in well doing” encouraged Raphael Warnock, Walter Bruggemann, and Heidi Neumark, among others.  Because God is working with you, THIS is not all there is.

I don’t know where you are, what your THIS consists of.  But no matter how good or bad or average it may be, because God is in it, your life is about more than THIS.  By God’s grace, there is always more. Thanks be to God.  May we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts and minds ready to receive, and legs and arms ready to join in.  

Grace, David


This article was written by Rev. Dr. David Breckenridge and originally published in the June edition of Together.

Posted by Bridget Ellis at 8:00 AM
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