Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This past Sunday we saw a great response to three needs: First we saw a lot of jelly for James Island Outreach and the effort to help provide food for the under-served and those in need. For those who are a little more ambitious, you can order jelly on line from Dollar Tree for $1 a jar…they are smaller jars, but that is still a pretty good deal! Second, we saw lots and lots of candy come in for the Fall Festival. Wow…that is a lot of sweets. We still need around a ton and a half more, lol; so keep it coming. Third, we are seeing a good response to the sign up for the Fall Festival Booths. We expect to have over 500 guests on Monday, October 31. It will take a JIBC army to have all the bases covered. Our Connection Groups and volunteers can make it happen.

We have some new folks in our church family, so let me share again, the vision of Fall Festival. We try to put on a family friendly, safe event that goes head to head with Halloween. This is not a Halloween Festival, it is a Fall Festival. We are taking back what the enemy has stolen. So, we ask that everyone from JIBC that participates, not wear scary, spooky, ghoulish, bloody, sexy, provocative, disturbing costumes. Sorry if I ruined your favorite holiday. There are plenty of other events for you to go to. This one is designed to be a family friendly fun event. Your children can still have an outstanding time, get lots of goodies and enjoy your time together as a family. Now here is the deal. When the public is invited, we do not stop them from coming dressed in traditional costumes. Kind of the same way we don’t stop people from coming to worship with us who live traditional secular lives. Every Sunday we have people, some of us included, who wear masks. We just wear the nice mask on the outside to cover the real scary stuff underneath. You get that right? Not everyone who comes on Sunday is Christ focused. Some don’t yet know Him and some who say they know Him act like they don’t really like Him. Every week we have a gathering of the nones (they don’t identify with any belief or religion); the nominals (those who are believers but are not really serious about it) and the Bible believing, Christ-centered followers (those who seriously try to live out their faith). That is exactly who we expect to come to the Fall Festival. It is our prayer, that we can help build a bridge for them to know and worship our Lord Jesus Christ. We try to move them from the community, to the crowd to the church, to the committed to the core to the sent!

Way to go JIBC, way to go!

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, October 11, 2016



Ok, all together…deep breath in, blow it out slowly. Repeat. I am hoping you and your loved ones came through Matthew in good shape. We have the office calling as many as we can to check in on our members. We get a lot of phones not in service and a lot of voice mails. Please know that we are here and doing our best to contact everyone. A big thanks to the Connection Group leaders for staying in touch with their small groups and letting us know their groups are all safe and sound. Please let us know if there is some way we can help. Do you have a tree on the house or car, water standing, still no electricity…please let us know. The church has power, a shower and hot coffee. Come on by if you need to. We will try to coordinate volunteers with needs.

Our thanks to Marty who anchored…no pun intended…the church building during the storm. He was the first one here and the last one to leave. The church building was open as a shelter. We had a total of 17 people who stayed here including Janie and myself. We had three homeless people and one man who lived on his sail boat. He anchored his sail boat in the Stono River and rode his dingy in. Next time, we will ask him to bring the dingy to the church just in case.


We were prepared for worship on the Sunday right after the storm. We had two orders of worship printed…one in case we had power and one in case we did not. As it turned out, everyone was asked to stay off the roads because of debris and live electrical wires. We were back open Monday and business as usual. Two things we would like to ask of our church family. First, the Fall Festival is less than two weeks away. We missed a Sunday to sign up and promote the event. Please go on line and sign up on our web page or sign up this Sunday. We are asking our Connection Groups to join together and help host two or three of our booths. Remember you need two people for 2 hours each. So, we would like to have at least 4 people per booth to keep anyone from working the booth all night. And keep bringing the candy.

Second, I want to thank you for remembering your tithes and offerings. JIBC is unusually blessed by having such generous givers. We are able to do so many of our outreach efforts because God so richly supplies all of our needs. Gratefully, we are able to stay in the black and not have to cut back on things like building insurance, ministries and missions. Thank you for your faithfulness. It really does make a difference.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing and the storm surge doesn’t rise!

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Blessed Beyond Belief

Blessed Beyond Belief. That is how I feel about an amazing opportunity that has come my way. Next Wednesday, October 12, I am scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C. with my two pastor buddies, Marshall Blalock and Curt Bradford. There are only three of us left in our group that has been meeting for over 22 years. Our other buddies have either moved away or are currently in witness relocation plans. LOL . We have had some incredible opportunities and next week will add to the list. We have been invited to a preview of the new Museum of the Bible in our nation’s capital. If you are interested you can go check this out at www.museumofthebible.org. The Museum of the Bible will be 430,000 square feet and is only 3 blocks from the Capitol building. Plans are for it to open in the Fall of 2017. Hmm, perhaps a church trip to D.C.? Anyway, this museum is promoted as a world class museum with cutting edge technology. There will be art, artifact, kids areas, theatres, literature, world class libraries and biblical exhibits, etc. I am pretty excited about being offered a free trip…oh yeah…a free trip and to be given a private preview tour.

I have been blessed beyond belief by and with my pastor’s small group. We were originally put together as a peer learning group that would agree to meet once a month. We immediately began meeting every Friday morning for breakfast and our group time. We have gone on study trips together, travelled to hear our mentors teach, gone on a mission trip to Peru, toured the Holy Land and remained great friends during it all! The value of close personal friends has been felt during family crisis, personal health issues and church issues. It is like have your own private consultant group. We have even gone to the place of not calling staff members unless they have met with our Friday group for an informal interview.

I am excited about this trip and will look forward to telling you more about it. I am just as excited about going off with my pastor buddies. Our small group has been invited to Ridgecrest this December to speak to state leaders about our small group. It seems so normal to us, but apparently it is not. I think our assigned topic is “How a pastor can stay clothed and in his right mind”. Really, it is on Church Health and Healthy Leaders. I am honored to be considered such and twice honored to be with my good friends, Marshall and Curt.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing and Matthew does not rise!

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


That is a common way of referring to anything that is big. That defensive tackle for Clemson weighs a ton. He doesn’t really weigh a ton. He is just very big. “THAT IS A TON OF JELLY”. This time, we really mean it. Last year, you literally gave 1 ton of jelly to the James Island Outreach. Technically, we were 42 pounds short of a ton. You gave 1,958 pounds of jelly…just shy of a ton. That amounts to $3,250 worth of jelly the way James Island Outreach calculates donations. Any way you measure it…that is a ton of jelly!

For those who are new to our church family, you may need two words of explanation. James Island Outreach is an effort by churches, businesses and individuals to help provide food and other resources to underserved clients here on James Island and Folly Beach. This ministry, right now, is located at Bethany United Methodist Church. Soon, it will be located on Camp Road on the campus of St. James Church. James Island Baptist supports and participates fully in this outreach effort. We have people that work at JIO as volunteers and some who serve on the board. And we have a lot of people who bring jelly on Sunday mornings.

Second, you may need to know that our church family has been designated as the “Jelly Church”. You can bring any kind of non-perishable item to donate. Primarily, we are the only church assigned and asked to bring jelly. Other churches and organizations have designated items they bring. So when you buy your groceries and see a BOGO, BUY ONE GET ONE, on jelly…pick some up and bring them with you to worship on Sunday. There is a marked collection box just outside the church office. (By the way, if you have old shoes that are in good shape, we also have a shoe ministry. That collection box is located just outside the Fellowship Hall).

If serving the poor is on your heart and you would like a place to get started, let us know. Call me or Susan at 762-0244 and we will help you get connected.

It is not too early to reserve Sunday, November 20th on your calendar. That is our annual Community Thanksgiving Worship Service. Different church choirs and praise teams, great fellowship and an offering for James Island Outreach. JIO has produced an original Christmas CD that will be available for purchase. All proceeds go to JIO.

See you this Sunday, good Lord willing, as we look at Romans 8:28!
Pastor Tom

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


By faith, I am speaking this word: We are planning to have an Open House this Sunday after the 11:00 Worship Service. Just to let you know why I say it that way, I have a letter where I told someone I thought we would be open by the end of May. Actually, I did not say May of 2016, so I could be 8 months ahead of schedule. OK, so project management is not my specialty. But, we are planning to be open for our church family to drop in this Sunday just after worship. If you would like to see the house, this is your opportunity. We should have residents in very soon. I recommend you stay downstairs only because the stairs are just a little narrow.

We will also have a Prayer Walk/Dedication on Sunday evening. The Transition House will be open again this Sunday evening around 5:00 until 6:30. Anyone and everyone is welcomed to attend. We will invite those attending Celebrate Recovery to join us before or after the CR meal. CR members will still be able to make it back for CR at 6:30.

My thank you list for this project could be very long. Thanks to Brush Construction; the group of paint volunteers; Ed our electrician and all around handy man; Todd for the landscaping; Ava Mims for distressing the furniture and on and on the wonderful list could go. Really, I want to thank all of you who volunteered and gave to make this happen. The house even has new dishes thanks to Fran Morrow! I love that the project is completed. I love it even more that so many people were involved in making it happen. May our Father get the glory and the women and children get the love from JIBC! So far, we have had over 22 women and just about that many children live at the Transition House. Looking forward to the next families for us to love.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Almost every time Janie and I have been hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains we have seen black bears. Thankfully most of them have been at a safe distance. We once walked right under a yearling in a tree above us. For the most part, we have been able to spot them on a trail below or across a field. I remind Janie that she does not have to out run the bear; she just has to out run me! Every trail we have ever hiked has a picture of a black bear and this question: Did you kill this bear? There have been occasions where someone did what they were not supposed to do…feed the bears. It seems cute at the moment but it is harmful to the bear and potentially harmful for the next humans that come by. The bear starts to associate food handouts with humans. It is easier than moving old logs and eating grubs. Then a mauling occurs and the bear has to be shot because it is now a threat to all humans in the area. It could have been prevented…just don’t feed the bear.

Please don’t be offended at my analogy. We routinely have people come by the church looking for handouts. They usually say they are homeless and need food. They often come because they have received cash handouts before. Who can resist giving a hungry person food? Here is the thing. With all good intentions, you are teaching people that they can come by a church for handouts of money…not food. They often say they need food but when offered food, they get to the point, and they want cash. It could be for bus fare or a meal…or crack or beer. The point is we encouraged them to come by the church and look for vulnerable people who will give them cash. Our logic says they will just go away if someone says no to their request because they do not have any cash. Someone thought the bears would just go away when they found out you did not have ham sandwiches and cookies…but they were wrong. You will do what you feel led to do…I understand that. You may unintentionally be putting others at risk. As a rule, we do not keep cash at JIBC. Our staff is directed to never give out cash or even imply that we have cash on the property. We do not keep cash on campus, so we cannot give cash handouts if we wanted to…which we don’t. If I give out cash to the homeless, what may happen when they come by and the secretary is here alone? This may sound less than charitable. Sometimes our helping can hurt. So let me share with you how we do help.

First, if you are approached by anyone who is homeless, in recovery or living at the transition house asking for money here is a positive option. Tell them they have to see one of the Pastors, Elders or Celebrate Recovery leaders. It is wonderful if you feel led to help them. Just tell them you will give the money through our recovery program. That may help keep you and others one step away from a potentially dangerous situation. Let our leaders handle the request. Don’t make the mistake of thinking because you feel safe, the next person they approach will be safe. Second, when I am approached for money, regardless of the need (my father died again, I need food, bus fare, etc), I tell them I have no cash on me and we do not keep cash on the church property. Cash is not a possibility. I quickly tell them I will help them. I guarantee I will help them. It might not be the way they want to be helped…with a free handout. But I will help them. For the hungry, we get them immediate food. We feed homeless friends almost every Sunday night. We always invite them to come get a hot meal on any Sunday night at Celebrate Recovery(and feel free to stay for a great program) and on any Wednesday night. We are also prepared for their immediate needs. I have given out many protein power bars and bottles of water from my office closet. We keep enough food in our church pantry to last them a few days until they can get to James Island Outreach for more in depth and sustained help. Because our church family is generous in their giving, I can almost always offer them several hours of work so they can earn the money they need. When I say we have shovel ready jobs, I actually mean it! Actually it is “rake ready”. Soon, our JIBC security team will be up and running. You will be able to immediately lead them to one of the security team members as well as a Pastor, Elder or CR leaders.

Does that make sense? It is not an emotional response that ends up hurting the people we try to help. It is a Biblical response, showing love and friendship. We are happy to build relationships with those in need and help them find the long term help they need. Be safe and act wisely not just for yourself but for others as well. Thank you for being such a loving, generous family of God. I love being a part of JIBC.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How good is a Connection Group?

As my old country friend used to say: Gooder than snuff and not half as dusty! Sorry, how about this one: It will make you happier than a June bug on a tomater plant! I think you get the picture. I am all in favor of our church family getting connected. Why call them Connection Groups? Our prayer is that together you will get connected to God’s Word; together you will get connected to each other; and that together you will get connected to meeting a need in the community. They are Connection Groups…not Connection Silos. Life is better together. It is not good to be alone in life. We were made for community and we really are better together.

Pastor Sean has done a great job of introducing our church family to the Connection Group leaders. That was a great way to see age groups, locations, etc. It is possible you were not here several of the Sundays and missed seeing some of the groups. We will help you get connected…really, it will be our joy. If you don’t know which group to choose, come see me, Sean or Susan. We will help you get plugged in with a great group to try. It is also possible you would like to be in a group that has not yet started. Some of you would love to offer your home as a meeting place but are not so sure about facilitating a group. Great, we need several more places to meet. Others of you would be glad to facilitate the group but cannot volunteer your home…I think we might have a match. And here are the people I am looking for…some of you are party planning machines. You love organizing get togethers and being a great host/hostess helping people feel welcomed and comfortable. Wow, do we need you. Some groups have everything they need except someone to add that little extra love! So, here we go. You can pick a group that is up and running. Try it for a while and see how it fits. You could help start a brand new group by hosting, facilitating or being the Captain of Hospitality!

Some of you have been as lost as last year’s Easter Eggs. It is time to get connected. There is no need to be as lonely as a pine tree in a parking lot. Without being connected life can get all catawampus. OK, I will close the Redneck Southern Sayings site. But I really am praying for you to get connected. Even Jesus got connected to a small group. Let’s follow his example.
See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom