Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Family Portraits

Family Portraits is the name we gave to our current teaching series. Two Sundays ago we began with a message to help us build healthy marriages, healthy families and healthy relationships. It should not be surprising that God’s Word has so much to say about families and relationships. Last week I taught about one of the leading problems facing so many families today…DEBT!

‘Till Debt Do Us Part is not just a clever title it is an ever present threat to American families. Just last week I heard a report that American families carry over $12 Trillion in personal debt. Presidential elections often include National Debt as a fighting point. It seems like they learned it from our families.

It seems like the Purpose Driven Life has given way to the Purchase Driven Life and the American Dream has become a nightmare for too many. God’s Word is a light unto our financial path. Biblical strategies and principles can help create families that are blessed financially instead of being stressed financially. If you missed this week’s message on busting debt and building financial security, you can hear it on online at our church website

We are blessed to be a blessing. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to live graciously and give generously if we are captive to financial debt. There is help and you can get out of debt. Remember the blessing of our Lord Jesus who said “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15. Debt is not so much a matter of having possessions as it is being possessed by your possessions. Finances are a matter of discipleship and spiritual maturity. Proverbs 11:24-25 says “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be blessed.” Be blessed!

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Big Thank You!

Each Sunday night JIBC is able to provide a meal for the families that attend Celebrate Recovery. We have been having around 45 adults, plus the youth group (Surge), the children (Celebration Station) and preschoolers. We also have a faithful group that gathers every Sunday night for prayer (By the way, they would welcome anyone to join them). All in all, that can be around 100 people who gather at JIBC on Sunday nights. I can tell you the group from the Charleston Center, usually around a dozen, gets their best meal of the week at JIBC. Our servers sometimes arrange for them to take a “to-go box” back to the Charleston Center with them.

You may not be aware of who provides the meals for Celebrate Recovery. Let me give them a sincere thanks and a shout out of gratitude. Once a month the following groups provide for our recovery ministry: Kickin’ Chicken (David Miller), The Charleston Crab House (John Keener), Stono Catering ( Barry Waldrop) and then Celebrate Recovery buys pizza once a month. Our JIBC Kitchen Crew, CR volunteers and Barry stand by every ready to make additions and take care of emergencies. Every 5th Sunday they are treated by Jan Cooper’s Sunday Connection Group who always add a touch of creativity to their delicious food. Our faithful volunteers serve the meals and do the clean up, but these generous and faithful friends provide the food. Our sincere thanks to all who make this a wonderful experience of eating and fellowship.

Celebrate Recovery, as a support group, addresses a variety of hurts, habits and hang-ups including, but not limited to, the following: broken relationships, co-dependency, PTSD, mental health issues, alcohol-drugs-chemical dependencies, sexual addictions, etc.

Thank you for your faithful tithes and offerings that help support this mission.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This Sunday we will start a new teaching series focused at strengthening families. No one doubts the hardships faced by the average family, even Christian families. There are many factors that can work against you to take your family to the brink of despair: financial debt, severe illness, loss of a job, addiction, unfaithfulness, mental health issues, etc. There are also many factors that can strengthen and add joy to your marriage and family: a growing relationship with our Father and our Lord, Jesus; a committed relationship to a local church family; the practice of the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible Study and worship.

Here are some heart breaking snapshots of American families. We have more babies born into single parent homes than ever before. If raising children is difficult…imagine doing it alone. One report suggested that 40% of all homes are single parent homes. In some parts of our society as many as 70% of all babies are born to single parent homes. Single parents need our prayers and in many cases our praise for doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.

We often hear that 50% of all marriages end in divorce and the rate of divorce in the church is the same as that outside the church. Often, a reporter reads statistical information and draws very incorrect conclusions. The research I have found suggests that around one third of all first time marriages end in divorce. Sometimes the inflated number of 50% is due to second, third, fourth or fifth marriages. That tends to skew the numbers a bit. It has long been a favorite statistic to say Christians divorce at the same rate as non-Christians. That deserves a closer look. Researchers tend to lump anyone who attends church ever and identifies as a Christian as…well, a Christian. Not many of us would agree with that assessment. Example: five objects in a mechanics shop might be mechanics…not cars. Being in a garage does not make one a car or a mechanic any more than occasionally attending church makes one a Christian. The better research says that those who nominally attend church (possible because they are not Christian or certainly not very committed) actually divorce at a much higher rate than even non-believers. Yikes. Just attending church occasionally or just checking you are Christian actually puts you in a statistically dangerous place in regards to marriage.

The good news that we have always known: faithful followers of Christ who take seriously their commitment to God divorce as a far lower rate than non-believers and nominal believers. That does not mean we don’t have problems. It means we have values and resources greater than our problems. It does not mean devotion to Christ insures you will never divorce…but it is a close as one can get for a guarantee. I suspect that less than 10% of what we would identify as faithful followers of Christ end their first marriage in divorce. The closer a couple grows to Jesus, the closer they grow to each other.

We are aware that we live in a fallen and broken world. The beautiful dreams of happily ever after often are shattered by the brutal hits we take in life. There is but one Shelter, one Fortress, and one Hope: The Good and Beautiful God shown to us by our Good and Beautiful Lord Jesus.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Taste of James Island

The James Island Outreach sponsors this wonderful event, A Taste of James Island. It really is everything the name suggests. We had close to a dozen churches and 4 or 5 businesses that brought their finest food to be sampled. There was Mac and cheese, pulled pork sliders, nutter butter banana pudding, chocolate everythings, paella that would make you yella, and on and on. It was a gastronomical gathering of the best of the best! I tried to make it all the way around to every booth but just could not do it. It was fabulous.

Now, the other taste of James Island. The entertainment was incredible. There was live music, jump castles, vendor booths (that was new), Gospel music, old timey music, kid’s music and lots of giveaways. Again, you heard the best of James Island.

On top of all that, since January, 28 James Island Churches and organizations have given 8,508 pounds of food. Over 4 tons of food! James Island Baptist has given 1078 pounds of jelly. Really, a half of ton of jelly! The real taste of James Island is not all the wonderful food we enjoyed last Saturday. The real taste of James Island is the commitment that no one on James Island goes hungry unless we don’t know about it. Thank you for being so generous in your giving to your church and the community. That is the real taste of James Island.

By the way, the James Island Outreach is growing and moving to a new location. James Island Christian donated two very large mobile classrooms that will now house James Island Outreach. The new location will be at St. James Church on Camp Road. This will allow the Outreach to grow and better serve our community. The move has not happened yet but is close on the horizon. God bless all who are making this happen. Hey, if you would like to volunteer, we have JIBC members that volunteer on a regular basis. It is a great place to make a difference.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bus Update

Update on the buses. Sorry, there is not much of an update. Both buses were involved in a horrific crash on April 18 at 2 a.m. The police estimated the driver was going 112 mph and not wearing a seat belt. He did not survive the crash. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends. We do not have an estimate on the time when we will receive the buses back. The new bus may be back by July but that is just a guess. As soon as we know we will publish more information.

In the meanwhile, we are working hard to cover the areas as needed. Here is a great news and sad news report. The Charleston Center has been working with us to pick up the patients and bring them to Celebrate Recovery. With the big bus, we never worried about how many would come since the bus held 40. We are now borrowing the van owned by our Hispanic Church, Luz Y Verdad! Thank goodness they have a 12 passenger bus. Since we can only bring 12 patients at a time, those who sign up to come have their names put in a hat. The first 12 picked are the ones who get to attend Celebrate Recovery. I know, mixed feelings right? So happy 12 can come, so sad anyone is left behind. Thank you Pastor Claudio for letting us use one of your vans! Thank you Randi for helping pick up and drop off.

Then there is Pastor Sean. Sean has been hustling as fast as he could go to work out the youth and children’s camps. Both of them are basically dependent on transportation. Just to rent a bus, a basic no air conditioning bus, to take the children to Kids Camp was $2,000. And the Youth camp Mission Fuge requires that you have transportation present to do the mission side of camp. Sean gets an A+ for his hustle. He tried pricing vans, buses, camels…ok, not the camels. My thanks to Sean for wrestling with scheduling, deposits, and everything else that goes with a last minute change. Romans 8:28…it’s all good and it is all working out.

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Yep, It Has Been An Interesting Week

Holy Week is usually a wonderful week of reflection and devotion. The staff works to plan Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. So we found a way to make this Holy Week a very interesting time. We still saw God’s hand moving and felt His presence…just in a little different way.

A week before Good Friday, Janie and I felt moved to keep a one year old for a mom who had relapsed. I know…my codependent, rescuer nature. Here is what that looks like in my feeble mind. I just know, somewhere, deep in my heart, that my job is to storm the castle. I always have faith that someone behind me will do the next step: build a ladder to scale the castle wall. I just knew in my heart it was right to go get that baby. I believed with everything in me that JIBC would have the family willing to “foster” this child once the dust settled. So, Janie and I welcomed this little baby into our home for 6 days. Mary Braxton and Amanda Holseberg and their kids graciously helped babysit during the day. The Lord laid it on the hearts of one of our church families to do the heavy lifting of keeping this baby for up to 6 months. I believed God could do it but I never imagined He would do it in such a wonder filled way with the absolute perfect family. Janie and I still retain grandparent rights to babysit this little girl (lol). To God be the glory.

The next Monday at 2:30 a.m. is when I received the call that there had been a horrific accident at the church involving the new bus and the old bus. I thought this was a bad joke since I knew Ed Mullis and I, after returning the patients to the Charleston Center, had parked the buses over 200 feet from each other. A young man from Mt Pleasant, according to the police report, was travelling at 112 mph and did not make it around the curve in front of the church. Tragically, he lost his life. Our prayers and thoughts continue to go out to his parents, family and friends. I was saddened and grieved by the horrible devastation of this fatal car crash. It was, by the way, the second crash in less than 2 weeks, at that curve on Maybank Highway.

Then, the Thursday of Holy Week, we passed the little baby off to her new home and her new family. The little baby was fine but I cried like a baby! She was such a little love.

Then, just in time for my burdened heart, came Good Friday’s moving worship service. I was so thankful for a powerful experience service to feed my soul. Then Saturday I had a beautiful outdoor wedding for a wonderful young couple.

It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming. I thank our Heavenly Father for our Resurrection Sunday celebration. We put out all the extra chairs we could find and fit in the worship center and still had people standing upstairs and down. We worshiped in Spirit and truth, baptized 5 and heard the Word of the conquering power of Jesus. The day ended with driving Luz Y Verdad’s van to pick up the patients from the Charleston Center for Celebrate Recovery.

Yep…it has been an interesting week. I am hoping for a chance for us all to catch our breath and then carry on. See you Sunday, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Christmas Offering Update

On Sunday, April 2, I got my seasons mixed up and said Christmas instead of Easter.  I am getting old and suspect that will happen more and more.  But, since I mentioned  Christmas, let me give you an update on our Sunday, Christmas Day offering. Remember The Christmas Day Offering?  This past Christmas our leadership, including our Finance Team, agreed to give away our Christmas Sunday offering to mission causes instead of putting it into the ongoing church budget.  It was a Kingdom celebration giving thanks for God’s goodness.  JIBC has been so blessed and we were in a great position to give even more.  So here is what that looked like.

The offering for that particular Sunday was $7,440.  These gifts were in addition to any budgeted gifts we planned to give to these missions.  These were blessings above our regular budgeted accounts because we were so blessed.
· Romanian Church we partner with—$1,000
· The Romanian Pastor—$200 personal gift
· James Island Outreach—an extra $1,000
· Remember Orphan Sponsorship—$365.00
· A Pastor in South Africa—$200
· The Church in Ukraine Mark Livengood works with—$500.00
· The Ukraine Pastor—$200
· Annie Armstrong North American Missions—$1,000
· Living Hope (A discipleship ministry to those with broken sexuality issues) - $1,000
· Janie Chapman SC State Missions—$500.00
· Missionary friends Hector and Shannon in Honduras—$200
· Missionaries John and YiLing in Asia—$200

*In addition we received $7,094 for Lottie Moon International Missions.

We still have some of the funds left for other mission causes.

Wow…What a great day of blessing.  We thank God for your generous giving and the attitude of our church family to be generous. 

Thank you for your generous giving, your faithful praying and your love for our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Tom

Easter Sunday Morning Requests

As you may anticipate, Easter Sunday should be a full house.  We will be bringing down 100 extra chairs in anticipation of an overflow crowd.  May I ask our church family to do two things this Sunday in particular.  First, as you arrive, could you fill in all seats between you and the next person.  Could we save the outside seats for our guests?  Our greeters will be looking to help people find seating for two, three and four at a time.  Second, gentlemen, could we have you ready to give up your seat for someone else.  Not our Senior adult men, just us younger, healthier men.  If it is needed, would you be willing to give up your seat?  Thanks, you are the best!  Let’s make our guests feel as welcome as possible.