Detours, Do-Overs, and Dares

As I have said before, I enjoy reading. So, it goes without saying that one of my favorite places to be (and to spend money) is in a bookstore. Recently, I was aimlessly browsing through different sections in a local bookstore, and as I was looking through titles and covers, three words that were printed on the side of a box of books caught my eye—Detours, Do-Overs, and Dares. As I read them, I thought, “Those words pretty much describe the way I see life.”

Often it seems we are taught that progress and growth are simply a set of steps to follow, and in our mind, we believe that if we follow those steps we will grow in a straight line. However, if you have lived enough, you know this isn’t the case. There are plenty of stops, starts, pauses, slips, and, as the box states, detours and do-overs. It all can be a bit frustrating at times.

But you cannot move forward to growth without daring to believe there is something more. God has created you. You have been saved by grace through faith in Christ. You are his masterpiece, created to do good works. Dare to let The Holy Spirit fill you with boldness and confidence to do those works.

As this New Year begins, may you dare to believe that God is for you, He is with you, and He is committed to transforming you into the image of His Son. No matter how many detours and do-overs you have encountered, dare to believe in the grace of God.

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6 NIV


P.S. As you dare to move forward into the grace of God this year, why don’t you also dare to believe the same for our students, and encourage them by being a Prayer Champion in our Pray for Me Campaign. You can make a difference! Just sign up by Sunday, January 5, and be at the luncheon after our AM Service on January 12. Thanks!

A word from Buddy

Christmas. What comes to mind when you hear it? Growing up I would have said, “Presents, Mama’s fudge, no school, sleeping in (except on Christmas morning),” and when asked at church, “Jesus’ birthday.”

As I get older, I still say the same things, but I would add busyness to the list. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Here’s another article telling us to slow down. Remember the reason for the season.” Although this is somewhat true, don’t write me off just yet.

You see, I want you to be intentionally busy. I want you to be busy spreading faith, hope, and love. I want you to be, as in the words of Jesus, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV)

May we go and do all the things we have committed to do with family and friends. May we rest when we need to rest. May we do all of these things to the glory of God in the highest. May we have hope this Christmastime. May we do these things not only looking back at a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, but also in anticipation of the blessed hope we have in the Baby who has now been given all authority (Matthew 28:18). May we have hope in the present world because we anticipate the hope we have in the next.

As C.S. Lewis said,

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

So be busy and restful this Christmastime, but do so with intentionality. May you have a blessed Christmastime! Godspeed!


A word from Buddy

I find myself sorting and cleaning random spaces because you never know what you will find tucked away in church closets or other church spaces! This past week I found myself cleaning out the space under The Loft audio/visual space. There were pieces of older sound equipment, older lighting, a fog machine, some cups, some napkins, a box of popcorn, some juice, quizzing equipment, and a pair of blue jeans. Some of these items I understand why they are underneath this space, but others— not so much.

This caused me to think about when Misty and I were packing, cleaning, and decluttering our home in Kentucky. We found items we had forgotten about. We also found pictures we had not seen in quite a while. These pictures brought back all sorts of emotions. One of these was gratitude.

Paul tells the Philippians:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (4:4-9 NIV)

Over this next month some of us will make lists of the relationships, life events, and items for which we are grateful. Some people and items will be named very quickly. Others will take time to think about. I pray that each of us will take time to “declutter” our lives of all things we may have forgotten about for which we should rejoice and be thankful.

May the Lord bless you and your family as you celebrate Thanksgiving!

Buddy's Page

Growing up we didn’t watch a lot of television. We didn’t have satellite or cable. We could pick up five channels, most of the time by antenna. However, when we did watch television, it was normally the same shows at certain times. For me, one show was Star Trek: The Next Generation. I would watch it on most Saturday evenings. I had my favorite characters, but one memory is that of Captain Jean-Luc Picard saying the word “engage” before speeding off on a mission into deep space. This was one of his catchphrases. Engage was a word I didn’t really use. It also isn’t one I hear folks use that often either. However, over the past few weeks I have been praying, brainstorming, and mulling over different ideas, words and phrases to create a common language for our student ministry a few words have gotten stuck in my mind. One of these words is the verb engage.

Oxford Dictionary defines “engage” as:

  • occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention);
  • participate or become involved in;
  • arrange to employ or hire (someone);
  • (with reference to a part of a machine or engine) move into position so as to come into operation;
  • (of fencers or swordsmen) bring (weapons) together preparatory to fighting.

As I sit and ponder all of these definitions, I see how all of them can fit what we want out of our Student Ministry. We want to occupy and attract students with our lifestyle and our message of Christ. We want students to participate in the Kingdom of God around them. We want them to be “employed in God’s service.” When the students move on from our ministry we want them to be the best possible position to continue to serve God wherever they may go. We want them to be engaged on the frontlines fighting spiritually for the heart of their King, His People, and His Kingdom.

We have been given a great responsibility in our ministry to the next generation. May we do all that we can through the power of the Holy Spirit to engage them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ for His honor and glory!

Buddy Duke

Meet Buddy Dukes

FBC Jesup,

I enjoy reading. Sadly, I don’t take as much time as I used to, but I enjoy reading—especially a good novel. As a kid and teenager, I would try to stay up as late as possible reading. One of my favorite series to read as a child was The Hardy Boys. These mysteries captured my attention. We have a phrase for a good book that captures our attention—page-turner. I used to get so frustrated when my parents would tell me to finish the chapter before going to sleep, because all too often the chapter would end with a situation that would have my imagination buzzing with possible outcomes.

That is where I find myself today. Quite a few pages have turned for my family recently, and rather quickly, if I might add. Since August 11, we have made quite a few changes, decisions, and moved 520 miles.

If you are just now following us, please know my family and I are excited to be at FBC Jesup. I am excited to begin as Minister to Middle School & High School Students! I am told that you may want to know the Duke Crew a bit better, so here’s some info on us:

I was raised in a Christian home around Macon, GA. Creston Groover was my Youth Pastor. I came to faith in Christ at a young age. I attended Gilead Christian Academy in Macon, and then graduated from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, TN with a degree in Bible. Misty was raised in a Christian home around Covington, KY. She attended Calvary Christian School and she also graduated from Tennessee Temple University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. We married in May of 2003. The Lord has blessed us with four great kids: Hannah (14), Jude (13), Levi (10) & Gavin (8). We enjoy playing sports, watching movies, and going out to eat.

My full-time ministry experience began in 2005 when I began as Youth & Children’s Pastor at Rentz Baptist Church in Rentz, GA outside of Dublin. In 2008, I began as Youth & Children’s Pastor at Steubenville Baptist Church in Monticello, KY. After 9 years in that role, Steubenville called me to be Senior Pastor in 2017. I have often described myself as a “Utility Pastor”, however, my passion is for middle school & high school students.

A new chapter has begun—for FBC Jesup and the Duke crew. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for all of us in the coming days. May we be open to all that this next chapter brings. I pray it’s a page-turner!

Buddy Duke

Youth News for July 2019

The Summer 2019 youth program has started off so well! We are well into a series called "put off, put on" where we have been talking about putting off the old self and putting on the new self like in Ephesians 4:22-24. 
On both Wednesday nights and Sunday nights, topics will be something like "put off anxiety, put on trusting the Lord". Thankfully, there are several faithful members of our youth group that attend regularly and will surprise you with their depth of understanding of the Bible and their obvious ability to dive deeper into their relationship with the Lord.
Our Wednesday night dive-ins have been my favorite events of the summer so far. The Thomas family kicked us off in their pool at the beginning of the summer, and we have a summer calendar full of dive-in volunteer houses.
I will always be impressed with our churches long and consistent response to volunteer opportunities. Several dedicated adult volunteers went to Camp Hawkins and helped lead our own youth group there as well. Many of these same volunteers showed up the very next week to serve in VBS and have their names as a Dive-In host this summer. 
I am thankful for your prayers for the youth program and your active involvement in the youth group. I find encouragement and love from our community everywhere I look. Everyone will tell me they appreciate that I am here, they ask what food they can bring to the next event, and they make it so clear they love me and love our youth.
I would also like to express my appreciation to our church at large, but specifically to my youth committee. I won't list their names here, but their meeting and talking with me about the vision for our youth group has been the foundation for a bold proclamation of Gospel truth among our youth group this summer. Each of them has been faithful and loving servants to me and to the youth group. Thank you.
In Christ,
Asher Kenerly