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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The Gospel According to the Grizzlies

Well, unless you were living under a rock somewhere last month, you, along with most of this town, caught a significant case of Griz fever.   There are other events and forces that bring our fair city together, but for my money, in the last 7 years nothing has rivaled the Grizzlies in terms of unifying our residents.  And while the players themselves, and their success, are of course the main reason for this phenomenon, they have been greatly aided by a wonderful PR department that has built a campaign around three words--Believe, Grit, and Grind­—all of which have significant meaning far beyond basketball. 

Believe has rather obvious meaning for the context of faith.   We speak all the time about what it means to believe in God, to believe in Christ, and the power and hope that is found in such belief.  Furthermore, as Rob Bell likes to point out, this is a belief in a God who believes in us, who trusts us to take care of creation, who calls us to be disciples, who dares to believe that the likes of us really can change this world.

Grit has two connotations.  The first comes from its more literal meaning, which is of course, dirt.  People of faith are those who are willing to get dirty, to enter the hard, humbling situations of life because that is what God in Christ has done for us. Metaphorically speaking, the term refers to a sense of determination which enables one to persevere through those parts of the journey that are difficult and dirty.  It betrays the fact that one believes that there is a greater purpose or meaning to one’s effort, say the salvation or wholeness of oneself or others, or, beyond that, the Kingdom of God.  (For a discussion on Grit in the secular world see the excellent TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth)

Grind for me speaks of sheer effort.   That whatever we do in life, work, or play, we should, in the words of the good King James, “do it heartily as unto the Lord.”   I’m not sure how we arrived so far off track on this issue in terms of church and matters of faith, but for many faith has become something that is supposed to be easy and/or make their life easy.   How did that happen when our faith is saturated with talk of sacrifice, and at its center is someone hanging on a cross?   Meaningful, purposeful, lasting?  Yes.   Easy?  No.   Faith requires effort and is a pilgrimage worthy of our utmost effort.

So to put all of this together … Because we believe in a God who believes in us, we dare to grit and grind, even when it calls us to the gritty places of life, because we believe that it is in such effort that we and others will be saved.   Maybe not a perfect gospel, but not a bad one either.   One that could serve a congregation seeking to Build the Future, to Build our Church Family, and to Build our Community, rather well.   Don’t you think?  And you thought you were just cheering a basketball team? 

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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