Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
June 5 – Hymn Sing and Concert featuring Susan Burgess
September 10 – History Day at Old Kiokee and Daniel Marshall Historic sites
September 24-25 – Legacy Weekend
We would love to extend a special invitation to anyone who has been connected to Kiokee Baptist Church. If you know of someone who would like to attend, please let us know their name, mailing address, phone number, and/or email address. We will send them a special invitation by mail. Thank you for your help in making this a great celebration!
250th Local Missions Offering
We are holding a special missions offering in honor of our 250th celebration! Donations will go to support Christ Community Health Services of Augusta and Penfield Addiction Ministries.
Thank you for your generosity!
You Matter and Your Story Matters…
Click below to read the testimonies of some of our church members!
Trip and Kim Penn
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
When Allie, our youngest daughter, was around 10 years old, she wanted a bow for Christmas. Needing someone to shoot with, our entire family ended up with bows.
We found out about the Appling Archers through Facebook posts from Shannon and Shannon Rabun. So, we headed out to the fun course one afternoon to try our new archery equipment. We were somewhat lost out there, in more ways than one. While trying to find our way around, we ran into the Rabuns.
Shannon and I have known each other since we were kids but had lost touch with each other over the years. They guided us around that day, and we began shooting together on a regular basis. They told us about this archery tournament that we “had to attend” called the Appling Bowhunter’s Festival. We signed up for the festival and quickly learned that it was much more than an archery tournament and that the Appling Archers were different.
The experience left us wanting to become involved. As God would have it, Shannon and I won a hog hunt at the Bowhunter’s Festival and went on a weekend trip to Millbury Plantation a few months later. That trip was a godly experience and much more than a hunting trip. After that trip, we began attending Kiokee and knew right away that Kiokee was the church family we had been looking for. The Appling Archers motto later became “Reaching Families for CHRIST Through Our Passion for Archery”. Our family is a true testament to this motto.
Lord, thank you for the men and women that had a vision to use a bow and arrow to reach people for you. And thank you for the Kiokee Family that welcomed us, mentored us, and showed us how to use our gifts to serve you. Please continue to use this family and the Appling Archers ministry to bring families closer to you. Amen.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
This is God’s story of faithfulness as much as it is my testimony about 2 significant and defining events in my life. Both events served to more fully develop my perspective of eternal life and that my true citizenship is in heaven, and a place that I now long for in a homesick kind of way.
I accepted Christ as my savior as a teenager at Y camp at Rock Eagle. Fast forward to October 8, 1988…a very busy day with piano lessons, Girl Scouts, and recreation football that both girls cheered on. God seized my full attention and taught me big lessons about His holiness, my obedience, my use of time and many lessons on eternity.
On this fall day, God came near through a life and death situation – changing my head knowledge of Him into heart knowledge. While driving on Hwy 150 with 2 small children, I blacked out while driving and drove up a steep hill, between 2 huge pine trees, all due to a ruptured tubal pregnancy and resulting ruptured main artery. God and his angels (Ps 91) were watching after us in the circumstances that unfolded that day. The woman in whose yard this happened immediately called 911 and the ambulance just happened to be in the vicinity. There were ominous physical signs of no radial pulse and blood pressure of 40/0. I was in and out of shock and came to on several occasions but never felt out of God’s hands and truly experienced the peace that passes all understanding.
In the ER, I experienced what medical literature calls a “near death experience” with the classic white light of pure love brighter than any I had ever seen. I also sensed my father who had died in 1971 very near. After emergency, lifesaving surgery, I truly felt somewhat like Isiah in Chapter 6 when he saw God high and lifted up. It took me 2 years before I could speak of this. Experiencing God’s holiness and presence revealed my unholiness and sinfulness leading me to a new desire to know all I could about Him and the place he is preparing for us. The resource I found that answered all my questions biblically was Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I read it and eventually taught it to the Sunday School class I was teaching at the time.
This very close call made me wonder why I did not die and about my God given purpose. How could I glorify Him more? I learned I must walk in God’s light to finish His work. My journey since then has been “less of me” and “more of Him” through 30+ years of Bible Study Fellowship. Psalm 32:8 says: “I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” We moved to Appling in 1982 and even though we were not members at Kiokee when this dramatic incident happened, members of Kiokee ministered and cared for me and my family. We subsequently joined Kiokee in August of 1989.
The second event that causes me to look homeward and heavenward was the sudden death of my sweet husband and life partner, Jim, now 3 years gone. Even more do I approach life as a pilgrim knowing this is not my home. Life with God is my real home. More and more do I feel that home is ahead of me as my homesickness is God given. It is where all hurting will stop and true joy, belonging and goodness will begin. We have the promise of a new future with Him and others we know, love, and miss. Jesus took the great and painful loss of Jim and turned it into more longing. Experiencing deep hurt has led me to a greater hope. God truly met me and my family during this storm of life and loss.
The many ways my family, friends, and church community ministered to me were great and many and I have treasured them up in my heart writing each one down. They are too many to mention here but know that we are still being “held up” by so many fellow Kiokeeans. Some were there when I arrived home at 11pm the day Jim died, an army of church friends made visits with silent hugs, delivered food, coolers of water, met us at the cemetery to choose where his final resting place would be. Making his final arrangements felt as if God was in every detail. I’m still learning how to move from the familiar to the very unfamiliar and God, my family, and Kiokee have been present in my emptiness and this new solitary sorrow.
In God’s way nothing is random or wasted. I trust God to use my sadness and grief as a path to deeper understanding of His love and His purposes for my life and to continue to shape me into His image. A most important aspect of my relationship with God is not necessarily what I do for him but the relationship I maintain with Him and the surrounding influence and qualities that relationship produces. Remembering God’s sovereignty and providence puts things in perspective…God does all things right. His purpose for me is to depend on Him and His power now. God is not necessarily working toward a particular finish as His purpose can be the process itself. Moment by moment obedience is the goal. Let me not be too nearsighted to follow His leading.
Heavenly Father, We have all had defining life moments and my prayer for all is to see them as from God’s hand to accomplish His purposes and to know Him better through His word, love, protection and provision; and for our obedience, character and daily life to be shaped by what we believe about our ultimate future. May we rest in His love, His mercy and His promise to make all things new. Amen
… so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
I was born and grew up in Beaufort, South Carolina… seemingly a world away from Kiokee Baptist Church. In fact, I’d never even heard of Kiokee until the fall of 2005, when our family moved to the area. I remember the first time we saw Kiokee. I.B. and I were driving from Thomson to Augusta one evening after dark. We decided to take Hwy 150 and come back down Ray Owens Road to get to the interstate. We’d seen a house or yard light here and there but could tell Appling wasn’t a highly populated area (at the time!). Then, we came around the corner and there was Kiokee – a large church lit up, shining like a beacon of light in the dark.
I.B. and I agreed that God must be doing great things at this church because people had to be coming from all over to attend since we’d certainly not seen many houses close by the church! Little did I know then that the great things Kiokee had been doing since 1772 played an important role in my spiritual life, even before I’d stepped foot on the church campus.
You see, in the early 1900’s my grandfather and his family moved to Wilkes County, Georgia, and joined Clark’s Station Baptist Church, a church established in 1788 and whose origins can be traced to Kiokee. My grandfather came to know the Lord at Clark’s Station, eventually married my grandmother, and they raised their family in that church. My grandmother faithfully served the Lord as a Sunday School teacher for over forty years there, my mother was introduced to and began her love for the Lord there, and my parents were married at Clark’s Station.
The spiritual legacy that was handed to me through my mother and her family found roots in a mission church of Kiokee! The people of Kiokee were obedient to the Lord 200 years before my birth, and I reaped the fruit of their labors! What an amazing revelation this has been for me and my family!
Although both I.B. and I came to know the Lord personally before we started attending Kiokee, we’ve raised all three of our daughters here and we are thankful that each of them has a personal relationship with Jesus – greatly due to the faithfulness of the saints ministering here. The Lord continues to work through the people of Kiokee and it’s one of our family’s greatest honors to serve alongside many of you here.
Heavenly Father, thank you for faithfully using the people of Kiokee Baptist Church over these last 250 years. Please help us, as members in 2022 and beyond, to be obedient to the call you’ve given to all of us – to declare Your greatness and make disciples of Jesus. We simply have no idea how You will use our service today to impact lives for years to come.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
When we moved here to the Appling area many years ago, I would pass Kiokee church every day on my way to work and the Lord would turn my head towards the church every time. My sister, who was married to Don, came to church at Kiokee. She told me it was her home and she tried to get me to come too. But I was in leadership at the Korean Pentecostal Church, so I would not come because I could not leave my leadership responsibilities very easily.
Then eleven months later, on July 5, 1994, there was a very bad car accident while Don, my sister, and the children were on their way to Atlanta. I had to work and could not go. My sister Sun Cha, Don and my sister’s son Douglas, and my youngest daughter Debbie all died. Don and my oldest daughter, Suzzane, were in the hospital. Kiokee church took care of everything because I didn’t know what to do and how to do it. The funeral home, the burial at Shuecraft cemetery. Every. Thing.
After that I started coming to Kiokee church. When I started coming here, I did not know any English. Becky Simon was an elementary school teacher, and I went to Becky’s house every week to learn English. She was my teacher.
A few years later Don asked me to marry him. Our houses were so close, and I was already taking care of him and he took good care of me and my daughter. At first, I was so uncomfortable because he was my sister’s husband. But the Lord told me it was ok. He gave me Psalm 133.
Now Kiokee is MY home.
Oh Lord, thank you. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for the people of Kiokee. I pray for the leadership of our church and the people of our church to continue to share the love of Jesus with others and to be Your hands and feet by helping others every day. Amen.
Mary Lynn Eubank
From Him [Christ, the head], the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
My family became a part of Kiokee over 40 years ago when we moved to Appling. The congregation was much smaller then, but the people of Kiokee have always found ways to live out the life of Jesus. We “grow up into him who is the head” as we grow with many others.
Getting to know new people over time has shaped how I know God. Here are some small groups I’ve been in, most for just a season:
- Jr. High girls who challenged me to bring big ideas of faith to a place they could grasp.
- The “Not So Small Group” of about 10 ladies who shared Bible Study and life with one another for years, though we hardly knew each other at the start.
- Serving in the kitchen alongside senior adults who prayed each Wednesday prior to serving up a meal.
- A monthly get together with newly married women learning to be keepers of our home and seeking God’s wisdom for wives.
- Being on our Mission Team, supporting and encouraging various missionaries, ministries and those from our church going on Mission Trips.
- A Sunday morning discipleship group of women of all ages, whose mission is to be a place of Grace to anyone who needs it.
- A music ministry with choir members and instrumentalists whose love for God inspires their worship.
How did I get involved in these groups? It wasn’t always because people invited me in. As I watched others loving and serving effectively, God placed a desire in my heart to be a part and the Holy Spirit nudged me to ask. “Would you like to be in a small group with me?” “Do you need help with..?” “What if I reached out to..?” Why don’t you consider asking your own questions of people you only know from a distance? You might find a strengthened connection with Christ by being joined with other members of His body in new ways.
Father, we want to build up your Kingdom and not our own. So we ask that by your grace we would walk in love and humble dependence on you. “In Christ, we who are many form one body”. Help us, together, to live out the life of Jesus and make disciples in His name. Amen.
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
The 250th anniversary year bulletin cover pictures have been a real source of reflection for me. I began to realize that as a 71-year-old man whose only church home has been right here- those pictures represent two complete generations of people that I not only knew but have had a profound influence on my life both spiritually and in life itself. Consequently, there are two generations younger than me that are currently churched here to celebrate the 250th anniversary.
The March 13th bulletin picture was that of Miss Cora Marshall. Not only was she a direct descendent of Daniel Marshall – she was the starting point of church for toddlers in a class known as Sunbeams. Miss Cora existed in a small room that was directly behind the pulpit in the small sanctuary. She taught us with Bible Stories and rewarded us with animal crackers for listening. Kiokee had about 125 members made up primarily of family units consisting of children, parents, and grandparents. Through those 2 generations I constantly witnessed the seeing and hearing what the people of God do and how they live. I am reminded of them each week in those pictures. To me they are pictures of faith in action.
I remember sitting with my PaPa under a pecan tree in his yard when deacons were discussing calling a full time Pastor. This was in the late 50’s. Sunday School met every week but worship (preaching as we called it) only happened on 1st and 3rd Sundays. It was a really big decision for men shaped by the Great Depression but also was a real step of faith when it happened. It was followed by a period of growth and building growth. We built 3 different fellowship halls and numerous Sunday School rooms followed by the current sanctuary.
Currently we have 2 generations younger than mine. Attendance is 4 times what it was earlier. Programs and ministries exist far beyond what past generations would have ever imagined.
What has not changed is PURPOSE. We’ve worded it better in our Mission Statement: Kiokee Baptist Church exists to declare the greatness of God as He transforms lives by loving and reaching people and making disciples of Jesus. We celebrate 250 years of Declaring-Demonstrating-Discipling with a future yet to be lived.
Lord guide and protect this great church as we honor you through it.
….as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
My family and I walked into Kiokee’s doors on Sunday, December 6th, 2018. We looked like your typical visiting family: husband, wife, three small boys, but what people didn’t see is that the husband and wife were broken inside.
We sat on a pew in the back, unbeknownst to us, some of our neighbors were sitting on that same pew. The message that day was somewhat of a blur – except for remembering the words that Pastor Steve said, “God knows what you’re going through, He’s been there, and God is in the after. It’s going to get better.” Did this man know how broken we were? Just a week ago I had come back home with our children after leaving my husband on his birthday, for a little over a week. We didn’t know if we liked each other enough to stay together. We didn’t know if we loved our kids enough to try and work it out. We were so far from having God as our foundation that we were clinging onto any glimpse of His presence. We had grown up in church, but somewhere along the lines of life, we strayed from God.
After the service, we were introduced to our pew-mates and made the neighborhood connection. Mark and Christine Peters came up to us and introduced themselves. Mark had a whole packet of information on Kiokee classes, a few maps, and above all else, a welcoming personality – kind of like a relative that hadn’t seen you in a while but was grateful you decided to come home.
Home – walking into Kiokee Baptist Church felt like walking into our church home. Our first Wednesday night was accompanied by Tony Lively during our meal. If you haven’t met Tony, his last name matches his personality. He introduced himself as the 1st grade boys RA leader and took the time to get to know us. Have you ever met someone that makes you feel warm and like a big ol’ hug when you see them smile at you? That’s Marcia Bailey. We met Marcia as we dropped our middle son off to her class for Christmas activities. To see our son want to go into her class as freely as he did, we knew he was going to be in the right hands.
I think that everyone had some type of excitement about a new family visiting Kiokee, but Chelsea Eubank was one of the people we met that Wednesday night. She walked us to Marcia’s class for drop-off and then came back with us to the fellowship hall – she has this contagious personality that loves her Lord… deeply. We sat down with her and Ellen Farrow, one of the sweetest people to meet during your first days in a new place – she’s deeply rooted in her faith, loves God, and is passionate about loving others. Ellen stayed behind with us, and we just sat and talked the entire evening until everyone was done and returning from canvassing for Christmas.
We still had many hard conversations after we decided to continue coming regularly to Kiokee. Some nights we would be up until 4am in the morning, going back and forth with staying together or separating, ending the night with one of us on our knees begging God to restore our broken marriage and break through to the center of it. We even tried counseling, but it wasn’t until one discussion where my husband told me that the only thing that can truly help, restore, and fix our marriage is God alone. He knew it, I knew it. We grew up learning about it. Our focus had shifted so much from God first in our lives to: kids first/business first, business second/desires second, husband third/wife third, maybe God here and there.
We joined the Sunday after Easter in 2019. In the summer of 2019, our boys and I were able to watch my husband give his heart completely to Christ.
Ever since re-centering God as first in our lives, joining Kiokee, and serving in Kiokee, I have noticed a shift in my family. Our love for each other has grown deeper because of our love for Christ, we have sin-sitivity, and our oldest, William, asks questions about salvation. He loves RAs, he actively listens to sermons and asks questions, and he might be swaying to a love for the Florida Gators. Our middle, Jackson, is quick to ask for prayer, loves to tell people about sin and Jesus, and is learning the meaning of forgiveness. Our youngest, Joseph, is learning how to pray and ask for prayer, and can be found worshipping random times throughout the day.
Being immersed into the family of Kiokee, we experienced firsthand what it means for the congregation to declare God’s greatness as He transforms lives by loving and reaching people and making disciples of Jesus. We felt the love from others, we felt God’s love through others, and our lives became transformed as we dove deeper into our walk with God and study of His Word. Our relationship became transformed as we fully recommitted our hearts to Christ and made Him the foundation of it, then each other, our children, work, and everything else.
Dear Lord, I want to thank You for the goodness that You have shown through Your love in my marriage, family, and the congregation at Kiokee. I pray that the feeling of “home” we felt from the day we walked in, and every time we step inside, continues to radiate towards everyone that walks through our church doors. May Your people continue to declare Your Word, demonstrate Your love, and be a disciple to everyone they meet – wherever they are. Help us to serve others according to Your Word. I praise you for everything You have done and continue to do. My heart rejoices in the goodness of Your love. Amen.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Kiokee has played an instrumental part in how the Lord has moved in my life and shaped my faith. Since my dad did not retire from the Air Force until I was 10 years old, we moved around some when I was younger, but it is Kiokee that the Lord has used in many ways to aid me in working out the salvation that He gave me at 5 years old. The other churches that I was a member at before did a good job at teaching Scripture and showing me what a walk with the Lord looks like, but they only had a 3-year opportunity to speak into my life before Dad would receive his change of station orders. Kiokee, though, carried the brunt of my spiritual formation through middle school and high school, and as Dad mentioned above, this church was sacrificial and intentional about loving me and my family when we were dealing with all of the medical complications.
This church showed this by showing up with Wednesday night meals, going out of the way to give me opportunities to participate in RA’s, Sunday school, and youth when my procedures and recovery otherwise precluded it. Both Pastor Steve and Wes drove the 2.5hrs. to sit and pray with me before my last surgery in Atlanta and I am sure stayed with my family while I was under. I had numerous people coming to talk with my family in the hospital when I was first diagnosed; I had people coming out to visit with us when I was recovering; there were even members who even brought cards and gifts from my school and from the church itself as they sought to love my family and I in the midst of difficulty. Not only this, but as Dad pointed out, Kiokee always supported me and prayed with me as I was off at college, as I went on various mission trips, as I went to seminary, and as I was preparing for ministry.
Of course, Kiokee is not perfect in any of their efforts, has stumbled some along the way, and has room for significant growth in many areas like all churches (since they are full of sinful people), but it has been wonderful to see how the church of God comes to life when they love the Lord their God above all else, serve others through this conviction, intentionally reach out to others, sacrificially give of themselves, and prioritize making the mission and Gospel of God clear in people’s lives. When push came to shove in my life, Kiokee demonstrated that the church is more than just coming, singing, and being taught Scripture on Sunday and Wednesday; it is a body of believers who work together to live to exhort, share, encourage, comfort, serve, love, teach, counsel and grow believers and non-believers, and a group of Spirit indwelt people who represent Christ to people in more than just a reactionary way (2 Cor. 5:20). In the end, it has been clear that Kiokee is a testimony to the fact that God is working in this world, working in people’s lives, giving direction, and seeking to redeem a people unto Himself from “every nation, tribe, people, and tongue” (to praise and worship our Lord Jesus Christ) (Rev. 7:9).
Lord, thank You for how You have used Kiokee all throughout its existence to do Your work, and thank You for how You have used them to minister to me in my hardships. I pray that You will continue to move and work in Kiokee as they seek to make Your Name known. Lord, I also pray that you will keep them from becoming complacent and lead them to intentionally, and strategically, reach out to their community and the nations with the Gospel. I pray that You will light the fire under them so that they will feel and experience the passion of Your glory and so that You will drive them to difficult and dark places to be the light You would have them to be. Finally, I pray that You will help us all to count the difficulties we experience in reaching out to others as the privilege it is to follow in our Savior’s suffering and Mission. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I arrived on my first “official” Sunday as part of the Kiokee music staff with my car full of the contents of my last college apartment and the ink still drying on my diploma. I had spent my college years attending church regularly, but never really finding a “church home.” I came to Kiokee to lead instrumental ensembles—but I was also looking for a place to learn and grow in a community of believers. At Kiokee I found both that community and a sense that God had called me to this work in this place.
My faith found its adult form at Kiokee; I’m so glad I spent my early adulthood among men and women whose faith showed up in their normal, everyday lives. My first few years at Kiokee were deliberately organized around our mission statement at the time: Kiokee Baptist Church: reflecting Christ in our community and our world by honoring God, encouraging believers, serving others, and sharing the good news.
The Years of Serving, Encouraging, Honoring, and Sharing challenged my thinking, sparking questions that helped direct my work. We sought practical ways to meet each of these four objectives within the context of music ministry. Doing so helped us use music ministry as a vehicle for each of us—myself included—to grow in faith personally, while encouraging others to do the same.
As it turned out, the Year of Sharing also turned my life upside down. As we talked about missions and missionaries and how God was moving worldwide, I felt, for the first time, that God was calling me to short-term missions. So I began to wait, watch, and pray for the right opportunity. Several years later, I was invited to be a part of eurobrass for the first time. The eurobrass organization works to connect Christian faith and brass music in Germany, organizing a yearly concert tour and working throughout the year with brass choirs in German churches.
As it turned out, God wasn’t just calling me to short-term missions: A few weeks in Germany each summer with eurobrass led to a strong sense of calling to full-time ministry in Germany with the organization. What initially seemed like a crazy idea turned out to be largely a continuation of my work at Kiokee: When I perform with the eurobrass ensemble, we seek to honor God, encourage believers, serve others, and share the good news. When I lead workshops with German brass choirs, I urge them to reach for the same goals with the hope that they, through playing their instruments in church, grow in faith and encourage others to do the same.
Ephesians 2:10 is, for me, one of the most exciting ideas in the Bible: that God, who created the universe and has the power to do whatever he wants, uses us to accomplish his purposes in the world. He could certainly do so more efficiently without us—but he gives us the privilege of being coworkers his Kingdom. According to Paul, he doesn’t do this grudgingly (“maybe if I give her this to do, she’ll stay out of the way”), but has actually prepared works in advance for us. You and I have meaningful work to do in God’s kingdom that he’s already designated for us. The sense of calling that I’ve felt throughout my life to make music for God’s glory—first in Georgia, then in Germany—has led me to the good works “which God prepared beforehand, that [I] should walk in them.”
Lord, guide us to the path along which we find these works, and give us strength and courage to walk in them. Lord, thank you that you’ve given us meaningful work in building your kingdom, and that you use this work to form us. Help us to find the works you’ve prepared for us and joyfully see them through. Give us what we need to fulfill your calling, whether it be strength, or courage, or wisdom, or love. Use our work in your kingdom to make us more like your son. Amen
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
I began attending Kiokee at the age of 18 when I started dating Eddie Brown, whom I later married. I was mentored and discipled by two godly women in my early years to develop deep faith roots. Mrs. Helen Pollard was the picture of graciousness and God’s love in my life with her gentle manner and wise words. Mrs. Helen taught that forgiveness is “absorbing the hurt” and the hurt won’t go away overnight, but with time and God’s healing grace, it will wane.
I had experienced a fracture in a close friendship and her wise words helped me work through my hurt and forgive without exception. Thankfully, God restored that relationship over time, and it is now better than ever. She also taught me to “bring my feelings up to my faith”, a reminder that God is faithful and true and He will never waiver in His love when my heart wants to lie to me.
Mary Lynn Eubank, another mentor in my life, gave of her time to a group of young married women, teaching us the importance of a strong prayer life. She taught me to pray for my daughters’ future husbands from the time they were little. God honored those years of prayers and was faithful in blessing Chelsea and Kendall with godly men to marry. Chelsea is now married to Mary Lynn’s youngest son John, and I have begun praying for my grandchildren’s’ future spouses. Through these women and others not named, I developed a deep faith in God, Jesus Christ, and His Word. I deepened my prayer life, drawing peace and comfort in every situation and need. God is my All in All and All I Need. All Glory to Him.
Lord we praise You and thank You for being the Author and Finisher of our faith and the Artist and Architect of our life. May we grow deep roots so that when strong winds of adversity come, we will not be swayed or uprooted from our faith in You.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
As a teenager I was terribly insecure. Looking back, my love language has always been words of affirmation, but I can’t remember hearing many life-giving words spoken over me as a child. I longed to feel important, worthy, accepted.
I joined the youth group at Kiokee when I was 16 and God has been using the people of Kiokee to draw me closer to Himself since. Jonathan Melchior, our youth pastor at the time, constantly breathed words of life over me. I will always remember one phone conversation with Jonathan in particular. He invited me to lead a small group for high schoolers during my freshman year of college. As we talked, he told me that what and how I would share with the girls mattered significantly because of who I was- he told me that people looked up to me and would take my words to heart. He made me feel that I was valuable and a needed part of the body of Christ. This gave me so much confidence to grow in my relationship with Christ and begin discipling others!
I often think back on that conversation as God has continued to convict me of the power of words. As believers, we know that we shouldn’t lie, slander, gossip, ect.- BUT how often do we intentionally look for the good things to share in order to encourage someone and speak blessings over them?
Father, we know that our words carry the power of life and death. Help us abide in you that we might be able to love others well with our words. We need your eyes to see others the way that you do. Help us to be intentional to encourage and leave no good thing left unsaid.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
I really questioned if there would ever be a church where I felt truly loved. Would there ever be a pace where I fit in? I was raised in church, but I was not allowed to have an opinion of where we went to church. I always felt out of place, left out, and judged all the time. I remember leaving a concert with the youth group and my foot was run over by a car and the pastor’s wife told me to quit faking. So needless to say, my soul was never fed and all I knew was loneliness, guilt, and shame.
As John and I searched for a church to call home, we decided to go to Kiokee even though it was a bigger church than I had ever been to. God led us to our church home. Our children were loved from day one. We were welcomed with open arms. I was included in activities and invited to Lily Moms…. that was certainly a life game changer for me. I felt like I was always going through a storm but not one time did anyone make me feel ashamed for opening my heart. I am so grateful and happy we were led to Kiokee. I feel my relationship with God is better and strong than it has ever been. I love my husband so much and I am most certainly a better mom.
We bought our home before showing up at Kiokee for the first time. John and I worked to get things fixed and upgraded. We did as much as we could on our own, but the one thing that seemed we would never be able to do was the heat pump. Jude and Daisy were little and so far, we had been able to heat the house with the fireplace the first winter. The a/c heat pump went out and it was not fixable and quotes for a new unit were so expensive.
In November of 2018, we asked the church for help. We had nothing to lose. We used the fireplace to heat the house and it wasn’t too cold yet so that was a blessing. Right around Christmas, we found out the church was going to not only help but pay for a new unit and installation. I was shocked. I knew God was watching out for us at that moment because my prayers were answered. I fell in love with Kiokee more after that and I knew this was our home church forever. It has only gotten better since then. I have seen God’s grace in my life and the lives of others. The extended arm Kiokee has to love and help other churches is so encouraging. I am so proud to be a part of the love and support. God is so good all the time. I praise him for his grace and blessings in my life. I am thankful to Kiokee for the love that has been given to us in our time of need.
Dear God, thank you for the work you’ve done in the life of my family and in the lives of so many others through the faithful members of Kiokee. Help us to continue to put You first, with loving and serving others following closely behind.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
We (Jeff & Jodi Long, along with our children Jared (11), Jade (10) at the time) moved to Appling in July 2007 and after visiting several times and getting to know the people of Kiokee, we joined the church in Sep 2007.
Monday, April 14, 2008, Jared was diagnosed with a brain tumor at Eisenhower Medical Center. He was immediately transferred to MCG for further diagnosis and treatment. The ambulance delivered him directly to the ER, and before we could even get the paperwork signed and release the ambulance, Pastor Steve Hartman was there at Jared’s bedside; and a church family had picked up Jade from school and taken her by the house so she could get clothes in order to stay the night at their house. That supplemental help with Jade, knowing that she was being cared for by a loving church family, allowed us to focus on Jared for the moment. His surgery was scheduled for Thursday, April 17th so Jared was admitted into ICU until then. During which time several visitors from Kiokee came to see us in the hospital, including two senior deacons, Robert Pollard & Pete Knox….
On Thursday (the morning of the surgery), Jared and I were alone in the pre-op room (his mother went out to talk to family in the waiting room). I asked Jared, “How are you feeling about all this?” and he replied with an ever so calm voice, “it’s gotta come out, right?” I could not fathom the peace this young 12-yr old boy who was about to have “BRAIN SURGERY” had. He had a peace that could only come from our Father above, and it carried over to me and his mother. Needless to say, he survived that surgery and we were released that Sunday, but he could not go back to school the rest of the year. There were several teachers from his school who were willing to come to the house and bring his schoolwork, proctor tests, etc., (to be his Homebound Teacher) in order for him to complete the 6th grade as he recovered. Another God-sent.
After a 2nd procedure at MCG left him slightly disabled, Jared’s care was transferred to CHOA – Egleston where he endured multiple surgeries & procedures over the next 6-yrs. The procedures and recovery time forced him miss a lot of in-classroom school. So for those times he was out, friends & teachers (some who were Kiokee members) would bring his school work to him so he wouldn’t fall behind in his studies. Again, the Lord provided.
During this time, Jared still found time (and the Lord gave him strength) to help out in VBS many summers at Kiokee as well as other ministries. Jared’s senior year, a new procedure became available, and the doctors were finally able to get the last remaining piece of the tumor removed without damaging his central nervous system.
After 6-yrs, he was finally tumor free. Not only was Jared able to keep up with his studies, but graduated high school as the Valedictorian. Jared was able to share his testimony on different occasions, (including his graduation speech) and many of his fellow students were impacted. Also, the Lord graciously helped him to graduate Summa Cum Lauda from Kennesaw State.
During his time at KSU, each summer break Jared would go on multiple short-term mission trips. He felt this tugging on his heart to share the Gospel. He even started working with a youth minister at a local church and served in several other ministry capacities during the year. His senior year at KSU, he sensed that the Lord was leading him away from working in the Fire Service (first as a Fire-Fighter, until prevented by his disability; then as an Arson Investigator) like he had always planned, and in the direction of vocational ministry, as he started looking at different Seminary schools. Jared sought counsel from Kiokee’s senior staff as well as the counsel of other pastors in and around his church away from home. This led him to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC., where he completed a 3-yr Master of Divinity – Apologetics and graduated with Honors. He has since been hired by the International Missions Board (IMB), was ordained by the men of Kiokee, and is now severing Central Asian peoples overseas.
Kiokee, as a church of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, who live out a life of love and service, and who exist to Declare the greatness of God, as he Transforms lives by loving and reaching people (Demonstrate) and making Disciples of Jesus, has had a major impact on Jared, and our family as a whole. They not only physically came along side us in our darkest hours, but constantly lifted us up in prayer. We do not have any “blood” family in this area, so the Church has become our family. Kiokee has provided opportunities for both Jared and Jade to grow and learn what it’s like to love & serve others through RAs & GAs, the Youth program and helping in VBS. The men of Kiokee have loved up and mentored both Jared and myself, and the women of Kiokee have love and ministered to Jade and my wife.
Thank you, Father, for providing loving families to not only come into our lives, but to come along side us in times of need. We were new to the area and separated from our relatives, and you provided a church family to step in and share in our pain, comfort us in the storm and provide assistance and guidance, in our hours of need, even when we didn’t know how bad we needed them.
Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another.
Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.
Romans 12:10-11 (Christian Standard Bible)
When our family moved to Appling from Iowa in late 2015, our first order of business was to find a church home. Being away from family and friends, we knew from a previous out-of-state move that getting plugged into a local body of Christ-followers would be where we would find our “Georgia family.” In Iowa, it took a while to find a church home, and when we did, it ended up being 45 minutes away. We told the Lord that we would go wherever He led us, but we wanted to start with checking out the church five minutes down the road!
While Jared was out of town bringing back another load of our belongings, I brought our 1yo and 3yo boys to Kiokee to try it out. I don’t even know who they were, but kind people all over campus helped me navigate getting the boys to childcare and guiding me to a Sunday School class they thought would be a good fit for Jared and me. When I entered the class, I remember so clearly the Pollards, the Eubanks, the Livelys, and several other sweet faces welcoming me with open arms. I couldn’t wait to tell Jared about them. Though I walked in as a stranger, I felt so instantly at home within this body of believers that were excited to receive us into their community.
Not long after, we joined John and Chelsea Eubanks’ Discipling Group, where we met even more kind and loving people who eagerly met together each week to study God’s Word and fellowship together. I have never had a group of friends who have spurred me on in my walk with the Lord more than these. They have taught me, through conversations and by their example, what it looks like to have a genuine relationship with the Lord and to truly love others well. They have given me Biblically-sound advice, pointed me back to Scripture, prayed with me and for me, and loved me in every season. The members of Kiokee, and especially those in our Sunday School class and Discipling Groups, have shown me, and our family, exactly what it means to declare the greatness of God as He transforms lives by loving and reaching people and making disciples of Jesus.
Father, give me eyes to see those who are new or unconnected in our midst and boldness to reach out to them with the love and zeal with which I was welcomed into this local body of Your Church.
Love one another with brotherly affection; … Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Romans 12:10a; 13 (ESV)
We moved to Appling in 1999, and after months of visiting Kiokee we felt like this was where God wanted us to be. We joined the choir, visited Sunday School classes, and before long felt like this was home.
One Wednesday evening in August of 2003, our house was struck by lightning. Two of our sons were home at the time, and although they felt the effects of the jolt, they thought that was it. Later, Andrew went to the kitchen and noticed water dripping from the ceiling. When he went upstairs to investigate, he smelled smoke. The fire had started in the attic and spread quickly. By the time firefighters arrived, there was not much they could do. A neighbor called the church looking for Tony and told them what was going on. I arrived home to find not only firefighters, but members of our church … standing in the rain …. just there to offer support … love us … and see what they could do to help.
In the days and weeks that followed people brought us clothes, toiletries, toys for Caleb, gift cards for restaurants, and cash for the unexpected that comes with house fires. For several weeks, different “clusters” from the church brought us meals.
In October, we were able to get away for a weekend … we knew demolition was going on at the house and thought it would be good time to be away. When we returned we went by the house. From the front it almost looked normal, but when we walked around the corner, there were piles of charred rubble, with just the front of the house standing like a prop on a stage. It hit us both pretty hard. But!! That very night the congregation of Kiokee had planned a “Beat the Blues” party for our family. I’m teary-eyed remembering it. The fellowship hall was decorated in blue, people were dressed in blue, there was food and drink, and they showered us with gifts. Our spirits were lifted, and we knew we were not alone.
Dear Lord, thank you for community. Lord, may Kiokee always be known as a compassionate people, loving others as Christ loves us; helping those in need. Let us not grow weary of doing good or become complacent toward others who are hurting. May our schedules never be so full that we don’t have time to sit and listen, or pray with another, or visit one who is lonely. As you have loved us, Lord, may we love others.
O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people!
On August 4, 1990, John McCutcheon and I were married. Two and a half years later we were blessed with a son, Matthew, and 4 years and 6 months later God completed our family when Sarah was born. We were going through life like every other young family – work, school, church, extracurricular activities, etc. Then in April of 2003 our whole life was turned upside down.
In the Fall of 2002, John began to have what we thought were minor health problems. After numerous visits to our primary care physician and a couple of visits to a urologist, along with some testing, we were told that he would need to be seen by a neurologist. This brings us to April of 2003 and the diagnosis of A-Typical Parkinson’s Disease. This led to a LOT of questions because it really wasn’t a diagnosis that came with a treatment or a firm diagnosis and the doctors really could not tell us what to expect.
We went about a year just going through the normal motions of everyday life. John would have to see the neurologist every 3 months, but they still could not pinpoint exactly what form of Parkinson’s he had. Through God’s love and goodness, we were able to get into the Neurology Clinic at what was then the Medical College of Georgia. This was huge because they had the best neurologists in the country. They okayed us to go to New York City for testing that would better determine what we were dealing with. I remember being so excited for this because we would finally have some answers. In the summer of 2006, we were told that John had MSA, Multisystem Atrophy, which came with a lifespan of 4 – 6 years and we were already at year 3. Devastated did not even describe how we felt. But God!
Our Kiokee Family showed up like no other. Kiokee formed a new ministry, The Alongside Ministry, that my family was the first to be blessed by. A team was formed that would bring meals during the week to us, come and sit with John so that the children and I could attend our activities at church, they would pick up prescriptions, groceries, etc. for me- you name it and they would do it. One of the best memories from that time was in December of 2009. The Alongside Team showed up one evening and we opened the windows to John’s room, and they sang Christmas Carols to him. It was such an incredibly sweet time that the kids and I still talk about. On January 8, 2010, John went home to Jesus. The care for the children and I did not stop then… members from the “team” showed up that morning with breakfast and our Kiokee family fed us every meal the entire week leading up to the funeral. To this day, even though I have remarried, and Matt and Sarah are grown, anytime we visit Kiokee or see someone from Kiokee out and about, we always leave know that we were/are loved and prayed for.
When John was on Hospice and bedridden, one of the things I did was handwrite scripture and tape it to the wall around the bedroom. I did it to hopefully remind him of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy and that He was with us every step of the way. I should have known how much comfort it would bring me to write the verses out and also to see them during the day. One of the go-to scriptures for me and still is when life gets hard is Psalm 3. Such a great reminder that no matter what God is our shield and protector.
Thank you, Lord, that no matter the situation that we find comfort from/in You. Even when it feels as if enemies are on every side You Lord sustain and shield. May we always remember that there is NO need to fear, even the unknown. Amen
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…
I love these verses that remind us that we all have a role to play in the kingdom and family of God. Each of us actually depends on one another to grow into maturity in Christ.
In reflecting on these verses in light of our church’s anniversary, I realize that not only do we depend on one another in the present, but we depend on one another inter-generationally. We stand on the shoulders of the generations gone before us. I know this personally from men who have taken time to disciple me. And I see now that many of the men who discipled me had someone in their own life do that with them. It doesn’t take much thinking to see how each generation is linked by faithful Christians discipling the next. We are grateful to God for the faithfulness of our church’s founders and also for every generation since that has led to the present. Take a moment to think about men and women who you may know (or may not know) whose faithfulness in our church has created a place for us to now meet together before the Lord. I encourage you to pray a prayer of thanksgiving for those faithful believers.
Now, turn your mind towards the future. What generation lies before us. The need is still the same. We need to be faithful followers of Jesus now so that in the next year, and in the next generation, the gospel message will be carried on. I encourage you to pray for clarity in what God has called you to do. Pray for wisdom and courage in living out that call. And pray for the hearts of the people in the next generation to be open to God’s call for them.
Each of us has a role to play and remember that we are “members one of another”. Ephesians says it like this in chapter 4 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
We probably know what a functioning body feels like, and I am sure most of us know what it feels like when something isn’t working properly. The role you play is critical. Distinction in the smallest area affects the whole body. I encourage you to be faithful in the place God has called you to be!
Lord, thank you for the faithful missionaries who moved to Appling, Georgia and invested in this community. And thank you for generations of faithful believers since then who have carried on the work of the gospel. Lord, please give me eyes to see and a heart to understand who I should be ministering to. Please give me wisdom in how to love them well. I thank you that you are with us, even to the end of the age. Amen.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord,
he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100 (ESV)
The date was November 2, 1784. The place was Appling, Georgia. The occasion was the final moments of Daniel Marshall. Surrounded by a handful of people including his wife Martha and Abraham, one of his sons who happened to describe his father’s final moments and words,
“Dear brethren and sisters, I am just gone. This night I shall probably expire; but I have nothing to fear. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; and henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. God has shown me that he is my God, that I am his son, and that an eternal weight of glory is mine.”
The venerable partner of his cares (and I may add, faithful assistant in all his labours) sitting bedewed with tears, by his side, he proceeded, “Go on my dear wife, to serve the Lord. Hold out to the end. Eternal glory is before us!”
Twelve years earlier Marshall had crossed the Savannah River at threat of arrest to preach the gospel and establish a church. This year, 2022, we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the congregation that Christ so gloriously called into being – Kiokee Baptist Church.
Our history is a testimony to the greatness of our faithful God and the enduring mark left by a people committed to demonstrating his love. We are the inheritors of an amazing legacy. This year, may we reflect on God’s faithfulness and look forward with boldness to what he will accomplish. Eternal glory is before us!
Father, in your mercy you have shown goodness to your people. In your strength you have provided perseverance to your people. In your holiness you have transformed your people. For 250 years you have been the glory of your saints at Kiokee. May this year be one of salvation for the lost and joy for those who are yours. May our prayers and efforts point to Jesus. He is our wonder and delight. Amen.
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