I love Opening Day! The first day of the baseball season is like no other day. Every professional baseball team is at the same place – the all have identical records. Every team is hopeful that this could be that year – the year when the .250 hitter hits .310; when the 15 home run a year hitter believes that this year he will hit 30; and that the 10 win pitcher with an ERA of 3.25 will win 20 games with a sub 2.00 ERA. Hope springs eternal. It is a new opportunity. It is a time for beginning again. Every team after opening day is either 1game up or 1 game down. Everyone still has a chance.
I think I like Opening Day for another reason. It is the time when a player can begin again. He gets to prove that last year was not a fluke year with his inflated averages or gets an opportunity to prove that he belongs on the highest level of baseball even though his last year was not very good by major league standards. Opening Day is a time of beginning again! And again.
I think that is why I like Opening Day. It has grace written all over it. It is a time to begin again. Opening Day and Lent share some common themes. We are all equal before God, we get a chance for a “do-over” and there is hope in that which is to come!
During this Lenten Season, experience the grace of an “opening day” before our Lord. Our sins have been forgiven. We live in the Hope of an new life.
Sunday begins an exciting time at First Baptist Church. We will begin two different types of services. Our first service at 9 AM will be what we call our Traditional Service and will be held in our Sanctuary. We will be led by our Adult Choir and our instrumentalists on our Pipe Organ and Piano in a ordered structured worship experience. If you are familiar with First Baptist, it will be very similar to our past worship services.
Then after Sunday School at 10:15, we will meet in our Chapel at 11:15 for our Contemporary Worship Service. We are going to call this service FUEL based on Proverbs 26:20. We will be led by a Praise and Worship Band in a more informal atmosphere.
I, and our staff, are very excited about this new opportunity to expand or "birth" a new service. First Baptist Church has "birthed' five new churches in our history. We actually sent out people from our church to start a new work. While we will still be in the same building, we are actually sending out some of our people to "birth" a new work in our community. I am very excited about that!
For years, First Baptist has offer something different in our community as we have provided a worship service driven by a pipe organ and an ordered form of worship. I am excited because we will still be able to offer this kind of worship experience! It is a kind of worship service that is in my DNA. It was part of what attached me to FBC over 13 years ago. We will still have that service. I am excited about that!
I am also excited because we will have different kind of service that is the preference of families with young families and, I believe, to those who are unChurched. We can provide a new worship experience that honors our Lord with the best of our ability.
And, we still get to televise and stream our services!
I look forward to worship. So many people at FBC are excited.
You are invited to one, either, or both!
Come join us in this
"I was glad when they said unto me, let us go unto the House of the Lord!" The joy of coming to worship has inspired generations to come to church to sing, praise our Savior, to hear God's Word, to be confronted by sin, to find again forgiveness and to be challenged to be His servant in our world!
Worship comes in many forms - in fact, in the early days of Baptists in the south, there was a tradition that had a more ordered form of worship and another tradition had a more freer spontaneous form of worship - both with the desire to offer praise to God. Both forms of worship were part of the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention.
In my family, we experience several forms of worship. This past weekend, my parents traveled from upstate NY to Toronto, to attend a "gymanfa" - a Welch hymn sing. Some 600 people gathered for two days for a time of just singing old Welch hymns. Kelsey, our daughter, works in a church that has both a classical or traditional ordered service with piano and organ held in a sanctuary and a more contemporary service held in a gym with a band and worship team leading them. Both work and are meaningful to different groups of people.
I prefer a very ordered organ driven traditional liturgical style of worship. That is very meaningful to me. Yet, there are many other forms worship that can be and are very meaningful forms of worship. Anytime Christians gather to honor and praise God, in whatever form, it can be meaningful worship. I, and we, at First Baptist, can be open to different forms that can move and inspired us. The Psalms say, "Sing a new song unto the Lord!" When I see a "new" song, I have the opportunity to hear God's Word in a new and fresh way for me today.
To blend these forms and styles of worship is often not easy, but at First Baptist, we are trying. Our uniqueness at First Baptist is that we are a local community multi-generational church. Which for me, means that we bring different forms of worship that honor our Savior for our many generations. I know we can. Ultimately, we may do, what so many others do, and have two different kinds of worship services on a Sunday morning - a classical or traditional style of worship and a celebration informal style of worship. Yet, I would not want someone to miss what might happen in the other service. I want to attempt to blend our worship service
So, to First Baptist, we have had a traditional classic ordered form of worship for a long time. Let us hear a "new" song! As we blend our services more, may we honored our Lord above all.
I think my children are both happy and frightened! I have made it to the blog world. They have pushed me this way for a while, while at the same time understanding that I may say something really goofy. We will see what happens!
Most of all - welcome to First Baptist Church Newport's updated web page. We have our basic page up and running and we are going to add to it quickly. Check us out now and then come back in a few days. Soon we will have our Sunday morning worship services available both live and then archived! You will see the wonderful staff that I get to work with daily. You will see some of our special events than are planned. We will have photos of events and videos of some of our great music. You will see and hear who and what we are about at FBC Newport!
And I hope to share a bit of myself here! Long time "Facebooker" now adding a blog! So you will see pictures and hear some stories as in the past - just in a different format. Know that I will write about all things I love - First Baptist, my family the Atlanta Braves (magic number is 20), Newport, TN, and most importantly, Jesus Christ.
I love that through the internet, our church can connect to our church family scattered across the state, the country and even our world. I love that through this medium, we can share information and inspiration.
I hope that you will come back ever so often to see what is happening at FBC Newport!
As I leave, let me share a thought that has become important to me this summer. As I read the Scriptures to understand worship - the praise of God, the confronting of sin in my life, the hope of a Savior, the realization that He is "My All in All," and my response of "Here I am Lord!" - I find that worship is not something that is just held for an hour or so each Sunday. Rather as Psalms 96:2 says "Proclaim His Salvation, day after day," worship becomes a daily realization of God's miracle of Love. So when I close with the words that we begin each worship service with at First Baptist, may they serve as I reminder to us all to worship our Lord daily as a living sacrifice to him! So,
Dr. Rich Lloyd
A follower of Jesus Christ. Husband to Debbie since 1980. Father to Logan, Kelsey and Jordan. Since 2000 the Pastor of the First Baptist Church Newport, Newport, Tennessee nestled in the great Smoky Mountains. A graduate of Samford University (BA '79) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv '83, ThM '85 and PhD '91). A third generation Southern Baptist minister. A serious Peyton Manning and Atlanta Braves fan!