Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I LOVE HIS CHURCH


It is kind of a popular campaign to say “I love my church”. Overall, I think that is a great thing. I love His church. Not just the one I attend. I love the capital “C” Church…His Church; all believers, all places, of all times. His Church. I also love His church locally known as James Island Baptist. I really love JIBC.

I love the growth in outward focus. The challenge of every Connection Group finding a way to be salt and light in the community; finding a way to take the Light of Jesus to the places of darkness. I love that we are trying to establish reading buddies in under performing schools. Teaching someone to read or read well can be life changing…they may one day read the Word of God! I love that we offer recovery ministries for adults as well as teens and children. Celebrate Recovery is taking on one of the most difficult of life experiences…addiction. Having a Transition House offers opportunity to establish a new direction. It is hard. I love that you do not shy away from the hard task.

I love the way you give away your love. The Kitchen Krew works every week to cook and provide a fellowship meal. Many of those attending do not pay and are welcomed to enjoy. Meals are willingly sent out to the sick and homebound whether they are members or not. Our Budget Team gave the Kitchen Krew more money than they asked for in this year’s budget. Why? Because they use it wisely doing great work. I love that they have a heart to do it and our leadership has a heart to help fund it.

I love the trust we have for leadership. Not just for pastoral leadership. I love that we have grown to the place where we trust those who lead the ministries to do what they are called to do. They do not have to be regulated and controlled by those who are not doing the work. They do it because they love Jesus and love His people…they love His Church.

If I have not said it lately, let me say it again: I love His church. I especially love His church known as James Island Baptist. See you this Sunday, Lord willing.

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas On Purpose means Mission On Purpose

As we enter into this last week of Christmas,I want to thank you for being such a giving church family. During our Christmas On Purpose Advent Celebration, here is a close summary of what you gave. To the Florence Crittenton Home girls, you gave over 130 reusable water bottles. The Lowcountry Orphan Relief will receive over 125 pairs of pajama’s. James Island Outreach will have over 250 jars of jelly to put on their shelves! And the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center will have over 1,500 diapers to keep those precious little bottoms dry! Thanks for all you do. To God be the glory.


The Cartersville Challenge

I received a letter from our International Mission Board saying JIBC is among the 12% of Southern Baptist Churches that met the “Cartersville Challenge”. Cartersville, Georgia is where Lottie Moon accepted the God’s call to take the Gospel to the Chinese people. It is the first milestone of her missionary life. The Cartersville Challenge is the first milestone level of missionary giving. Your gift to the Lottie Moon International Missions fund will help support 4, 810 International missionaries and their 4,000 children. Janie and I will be making our gifts to Lottie Moon, Remember, Lowcountry Pregnancy and other missions and ministries we believe in and support. As we celebrate Christmas on purpose let us remember that we support missions on purpose.

On behalf of all your church staff, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you Sunday, good Lord willing.


Tom, Sean, Susan, Marty, Neale, Shelley and Amber



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS LOTTIE MOON

Some of our newer members may not be familiar with Lottie Moon. She was a Southern Baptist Missionary during the turn of the 20th century. She served faithfully in China and was used by God to raise awareness and passion for international mission causes. Such an inspiration and role model, the International Missions fund was named after her. Each year, Southern Baptists are challenged to give a sacrificial gift to help support mission work around the world. James Island Baptist has 2 families being supported by the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I want to encourage you to make the Lottie Moon Christmas offering a part of your Christmas giving. Every dollar goes directly to support our missionaries. Not one cent is spent on administrative cost or fund raising. All of that is handled through our Co-operative Fund giving.

Just so you know: we help support 4,810 full time missionaries on the international field (almost that many again as North American missionaries); they recorded 114,571 baptisms last year; we have 28,008 over seas churches; started 6,192 new churches; are engaging 901 unreached people groups; there are still 3,052 unreached people groups in the world.

Our International Missions Board has a clear vision: “Our vision is a multitude from every language, people, tribe and nation knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ”. Their mission is evangelizing, discipling, and planting reproducing churches among all peoples in fulfillment of the Great Commission. That is a vision and a mission we can support. Consider giving a gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering as well as other Great Commission mission organizations. It is a gift that keeps on giving all year long…and for eternity.

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CHRISTMAS ON PURPOSE

I love the approach to Christmas On Purpose: looking for ways to bring the Christmas message of hope, peace, joy and love to others. How wonderfully practical: reusable water bottles for the women at Florence Crittenton (going green, very symbolic and useful!); pajamas for Lowcountry Orphan Relief…swaddling clothes if you will; this week jelly for James Island Outreach…how sweet it is; and then diapers for our friends at Lowcountry Pregnancy Center…how wonderfully appropriate.

Make it a family event. One family took the grandkids out to buy the gifts, explaining what they were doing and why. Now that is discipleship at its best (as you go…make disciples…Matthew 28) Don’t forget about ways you can bless other ministries like the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; Remember the Persecuted Church building an orphanage in Burma; the Salvation Army and their faithful bell ringers; a donation of blood to The American Red Cross (or a cash donation). There are so many wonderful ways to make a difference.

Each week of Advent, it is our desire to draw our attention back to the redeeming work of God. He sent His One and Only, uniquely born Son to be born of a virgin, in a little town called Bethlehem. Humble beginnings with a world-wide eternal impact. A little baby, born in a little town, to an unknown little lady. Do not underestimate the impact of what little deeds, little gifts can do. Jesus put a premium on a visit…in His name; a cup of water in His name; clothing given in His name. We do Church on Purpose. Let’s do Christmas on Purpose.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing, as we celebrate “Joy…On Purpose”!

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THE SEASON OF ADVENT: ANTICIPATION AND HOPE

Let’s review for a moment why we are celebrating“CHRISTMAS…ON PURPOSE”.  The word “advent” means coming or arrival. Many churches celebrate the Advent Season as a way to focus on the first advent of Jesus Christ and His second advent, His return. It is indeed a season of hope and anticipation. It is a way to celebrate the truth of God; that God became a man born of the Virgin Mary; and by his life, death and resurrection provided life, forgiveness of sin and purpose.

In a secular world, it is too easy to be swept up by the commercial nature of Christmas. Each week as we gather for worship, we will read a part of God’s Word that tells of His advent; we will light purple candles as a reminder of His royalty and a pink candle as a reminder of the great joy caused by His coming. Each week it is a reminder to reflect and to remember to celebrate Christmas on purpose and with purpose.

The Magi, as wise men from the East, honored the first advent by bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. How can we honor Him this year? What do you give a King who owns it all? We are encouraging our church family to consider special advent gifts this year. Gifts related to ministries that we support throughout the entire year. These are gifts they have requested as helpful and useful. The first Sunday of Advent is November 30. Would you bring reusable water bottles for Florence Crittenton, the home for young unwed mothers? The second Sunday of Advent, you could bring boys pajamas…any size, for the Lowcountry Orphan Relief. Week three would be jelly, any flavor, for our partnership with James Island Outreach. The fourth Sunday of Advent would, appropriately enough, be diapers. That would have been great for the first advent or any year there are babies involved! Our friends at Lowcountry Pregnancy will appreciate the gifts of love.

Do you see where we are going with this? Celebrate His coming…the Advent of God’s Son. God becoming flesh; the Light coming into a world of darkness; a Savoir for people in need of saving! It is a celebration. The focus of advent is on Him. The gifts we give to others share the good news of hope, peace, joy and love. My prayer is we will have so many of each gift, we will have trouble transporting them all.  Let's do Christmas...On Purpose.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas



Pastor Tom


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Let’s Take It Up A Notch

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
 for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

It has been said that gratitude is the greatest of all virtues and the parent of all other virtues. I think I agree with this statement. I do believe the attitude of gratitude plays a major role in God’s blessings in our lives. Even for the non-believing, I think the attitude of gratitude makes a real difference in every aspect of our lives. Read the verses from Thessalonians again. Look at the parts: joy, prayer, thanksgiving, God’s will and the power of the Holy Spirit. My point is that right in the middle of the wonderful mix is thanksgiving. The listing of joy is connected to thanksgiving. The mention of prayer is along with thanksgiving. Doing God’s will follows thanksgiving. Even finding the blessing of the Holy Spirit is connected to this powerful virtue of all virtues…being grateful.

This year, Thanksgiving 2014, I want you to enjoy what I am calling your BFFFF. Not best friends forever. Rather Black Friday, family, feast and for many…football! Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. President George Washington did us a favor by proclaiming the first nation-wide day of Thanksgiving. He did it as a time for a grateful country to give thanks to Almighty God. Let’s continue the tradition. Let’s make this a day of Thanksgiving. How do we take a good tradition and make it better? How do we go from good to great!

See if you can wrap your brain around this idea. Gary Chapman wrote the book The Five Love Languages. See if you can find a creative way to say “thank you” using the five love languages. Say “thank you” to God and/or to those who have blessed your life. Here are the five love languages: words of affirmation; quality time; acts of service; receiving gifts; and physical touch. Why not? Thanksgiving 2014 let’s take it up a notch. If you care to, email or face book me and tell me your experience. I would love to hear what He did!

See you this Sunday for our annual Thanksgiving Worship Celebration. No 8:30 service. Sunday Connection Groups met at the regular time.

Pastor Tom




Friday, November 14, 2014

SHARING RESOURCES


Even as I am typing this article, the James Island Exchange Club is holding their monthly meeting in the fellowship hall. Next week we will have a Riverland Terrace community meeting led by Sunoco concerning future building plans across the street. (Don’t ask, we do not know any details! LOL) JIBC regularly hosts, by providing space, The Riverland Terrace Neighborhood Association meeting.

Really, none of these are burdensome or difficult. But I want to thank you for being the kind of church family that gives us the freedom to reach out and serve the community in so many different ways. Believe it or not, there are some churches that are not so willing to share their space and resources. We, on the other hand, are looking for ways to build bridges to the community. It is a part of our ON PURPOSE strategy. What need does the community have that we could meet? Sometimes it is just a nice place to hold a meeting. That is just one of the things I love about our church family. Thanks.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Believe it or not, we are just a few days away from Thanksgiving and then full on into the Christmas season. We are already writing the Advent readings for this year. This year’s Thanksgiving service will be Sunday, November23. We will not have an 8:30 service that day. We will join together for the 11:00 service to celebrate The Eucharist…thanksgiving for what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. We will then enjoy the annual Thanksgiving meal provided by our outstanding Kitchen Krew. You are invited to bring your favorite dessert, or if you would like, your favorite dish. There will be plenty. Weather permitting; we will be seated outside and inside this year. There will be a tent set up outside and the fellowship hall will be prepared for the inside. There will be plenty of food, plenty of love and plenty of fellowship to be enjoyed. And then by the time the tables are cleared, we will start setting up for this years Christmas season! Bring it on baby. I love the Christmas season.

See you this Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom