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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Signs of Life: Lent, Holy Week & Easter

Life is messy. I've known that my whole life, but I always manage to forget it. So when Brittany asked me to talk about “Signs of Life” my family and I observed during Lent and Holy Week, my first thought was panic. What could I possibly have to share with all of you who almost certainly “did” Lent better than I did?   

You see, I began this Lenten journey as I do every year: with the best intentions of going to the Calvary Preaching Series, something I enjoy so much. But this year? Well, this year, I didn't make it to a single session.   

I also intended to give up something or maybe even pick something up – to start some kind of discipline to better myself. I thought briefly about giving up Facebook and even deactivated my account for a while one afternoon. But that didn't last long. As a work-at-home mom, those adult connections are a real lifesaver. I thought about giving up the bad habit of losing my temper, because I don't always manage to keep my cool when a plate or two that I'm spinning doesn't remain on its axis – or when other people don't behave just like I want them to do.   

I fully intended – and succeeded for about a week – to go to bed at a decent hour, to get up every morning to have quiet time and devotion, to exercise, meditate, take power naps when needed, and be more intentional in reaching out to people like my Grandma whom I don't see every week.    

But in the end, I failed miserably. I did manage to give up both clutter and crazy overeating, or to at least forego the guiltless pleasure of either of those things for 40 days. I weigh a little less, have been a little more physically active, and the baseline dirty of my house isn't quite as bad as it used to be. But you certainly couldn’t say that I hit it out of the park of true religious discipline.    

That's why I could hardly wait for Holy Week to come. Maundy Thursday is one of my favorite services all year, and I love gathering for Good Friday. This year, however, I signed one of my girls up for a track meet Thursday night, not realizing it was Holy Week. Even our runner was upset she was having to miss church. But we take team commitments pretty seriously at our house, and it was her first track meet. So, to the track meet we went. She ran her little legs off, and it was so fun watching her.   

And then as we headed home, we got a call from some of our FBC friends who were just leaving the service. Did we want to go grab a bite? The whole family did. So, we arrived to the restaurant to see that it was about halfway-filled with folks from our church. We ate, we drank, and we fellowshipped. It was not a Maundy Thursday worship experience, but it was not bad at all as consolations go.   

On Friday, I did manage to finally get with the program. We worshiped, sang at the Cross, ate lunch, and then stayed with the rest of the small group that has, for years, spent the afternoon stuffing eggs and decorating the church for the Easter egg hunt. It was so fun and so meaningful, as was the rest of the weekend.   

But as I have looked back at the failed 40 days of Lent leading up to this wonderful weekend, I realize that “Signs of Life” – both large and small – have permeated the experience, even though many of them might have been buried in the chaos.      

  • Just from our pew back there, for example, we bore witness to people who were sick and seriously injured, who underwent operations and who generally scared the living daylights out of their families – but who have come out the other side, seemingly unscathed. 
  • Others, including our sweet Mary, we watched having to say goodbye to their loved ones.  
  • We heard a small group of youth members, including our Abigail, sing beautiful music on Palm Sunday. 
  • We watched the older children, including our Catherine, teach the younger children how to walk down the aisle, waving their little arms in jubilant celebration.
  • We watched our littlest, Elizabeth, run into the arms of Ann George, as she and her friends start what we all hope will be a lifelong love of church.  
  • We saw entire rows of new visitors darken the doors of this church because rumor had it they’d be entering a place where everyone is welcomed and loved, no exceptions.  
  • We witnessed little girls working hard to memorize bible verses, only to be told by the powers-that-be that, because of our recent church vote, they would no longer be able to participate in Bible Drill. And we watched Glenn Everton work to find a way for them to compete anyway – which they will do this afternoon!  
  • We watched children from all over our community be shown the love of Christ at our Easter Egg hunt and worship experience. 
  • I saw my children spend Good Friday with their good friends, making themselves at home within the walls of this building and within the family of Christ.  
  • We watched our friends carry on for DeeDee Rader to make sure the cross out front was beautifully adorned for Easter morning. They brought and affixed flowers. They climbed ladders and steadied them for others. They passed around needed tools. And they loved on each other.
  • Sunday morning we spent with all of you, proclaiming that Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, and ringing bells to celebrate that fact, each of us a true “Sign of Life” – of Christ’s Life that he gave for us.    

So this Sunday morning, this first Sunday of Eastertide, I praise God for all of you, for this place, and for all of the Signs of Life I see as a member of this congregation – far more than I was able to list in this very short time. I like our messy life.


These observations came from Jennifer Kellett, a church member, as part of our Signs of Life Sermon Series.

Posted by Bridget Ellis at 1:00 PM
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200 East Parkway North, Memphis TN 38112
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