Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This past Sunday I started a series of messages “Living Life On Purpose”.  There are really three parts of the teaching series followed by the On Purpose Tailgate Sunday.

This past Sunday we looked at the teaching of the Bible related to growing on purpose.  We grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus.  We often call that maturity, discipleship or spiritual growth.  It does not happen automatically.  As the old book says “disciples are made, not born”.  One of our sister churches has this motto:  We make disciples that make disciples that change the world.  I like that.  We seek to grow on purpose, to develop deeper faith and a deeper relationship with our Lord.    It is also about growing wider, that is growing numerically.  The Great Commission is to go into all the nations/people groups and make disciples.  We usually refer to this as evangelism, missions, an outward focus.  It is one beggar who has found bread (Jesus the Bread of Life) telling another beggar where to find it.  Three ways we can do this.  First, pray for God to open our eyes to the harvest around us.  We believe God is working, ask that He gives us eyes to see where He is at work that we may join Him.  Second, invite someone you know.  Please do not underestimate the power of a personal invitation.  It is still a very powerful, perhaps the most effective outreach tool that we have.  Invite someone you know (family, friend, coworker, your server where you eat, etc).  Invite them to your Connection Group party or to the next outing to see the Riverdogs or Stingrays. Let them rub shoulders with people changed by God’s grace.  It is powerful.  Third, plug into your passion.  What has your heart?  What do you spend time thinking about, wishing something could be done about?  Want to help teach a child to read, help feed the hungry, be a mentor to an teenage mother, help supply basic necessities for orphans, give support to those who have an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy?  We are committed to helping you live out your God given passion to make a difference.  Last, why not go ahead and get a passport?  Maybe you will go on a beautiful cruise…or say a mission trip. We have JIBC connections in the following countries:  Asia, Nepal, South Africa, Ukraine, Romania and Guatemala.  Don’t see a place you like?  Let us know.  Our International Mission Board probably has someone serving where you would like to go.

It is not either/or, missions or maturity, discipleship or outreach.  It is both/and.  Let’s go get them.  We can do this together, on purpose.

See you Sunday, Pastor Tom

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


You know, things change.  One day people are reading from a scroll made of sheep skin; the next day…well, centuries, they are using movable type.  Still the same trustworthy, reliable, inspired Word of God.  The Bible was moved from hand copied scrolls and parchment to a more easily reproducible book form.  You may remember that the Gutenburg Bible was the first book published using movable print.  Seems kind of like a small breakthrough, but it was really a major advancement for people of faith.   Many believers gave their lives to make sure the precious Word of God could be translated from the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin and printed  into the language of the people.  Now, we have the Bible in so many good translations, you may never have time to read them all.

Breakthrough number next:  the digital age.  I know…we all miss the day of using our scrolls to read God’s Word.  Ok, so we don’t really remember using scrolls.  Most of us getting up in age, have only known the Bible to come to us in book form.  It has a cover, it has pages to turn and a place to put your book mark.  You could underline and highlight it if you so chose.  You can carry it with you.  Our Gideon friends made the Bible small enough to fit in your pocket or your pocket book. You could buy a Bible big enough to be the center piece of your coffee table.  That is how I grew up.  The big, black copy of the Bible that weighed several pounds was always prominently displayed on the coffee table in the center of the living room.

IT’S A NEW DAY.  The world has gone digital.  I am so thankful for the believers that have continued the tradition of making the Bible easily accessible.  I am sure all the sheep are glad we no longer use scrolls.  It is very common for worshipers to pull out their phones when the pastor asks “Now, will you open your Bibles to …”.  Gladly, they take out their phone, go to their Bible app, choose the Bible translation, the book, chapter and verses.  There it is…right there on their phone.  It looks like they are playing “Candy Crush” or checking facebook…but they are accessing the Word of God.  They also have the ability to underline, highlight, take notes, look up commentary, double check the pastor’s reference to the Greek word “agape” and instantly share with their network of social media friends, what is going on in worship at that moment.  Yes, I know, they actually tweet out while we are singing “In the Tweet by and by” or “Tweet Ye First”.    IT’S A NEW DAY.  I am still old school and use my old tried and true printed version of God’s Holy Word.  At other times, like at night before bed or while I sit and wait for an appointment, I use the Bible app on my phone. It’s the Word of God…whether it is a scroll, a 6 pound coffee table size Bible, my old 20 year old NIV or my phone’s Bible App…it is all good, all God, all the time.  IT’S A NEW DAY…but it is the same wonderful words of life.

See you Sunday with my Bible in my hand…and my phone Bible app near by.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


VISION NIGHT: JIBC is a leadership event to be held on Monday, September 8 from 6:30-7:30 in the fellowship hall.  We will provide a meal to be served from 5:30-6:30.  Childcare will be provided for anyone who needs it.  Spouses that are not on the leadership are invited and are more than welcomed to attend.  It would be our pleasure for them to join us.

I am inviting all staff, all deacons and elders, all connection group leaders and all leaders of ministry teams.  If you cannot attend, I would ask that you send someone who would come representing your team or connection group.  We are expecting to have 45 leaders to attend.

I am calling this VISION NIGHT: JIBC for this reason: I hope to share with you a compelling vision and direction for the next 16 months.  The staff and I have met together to prayerfully seek direction and leadership for our church family.  We had a very successful 2 day retreat examining where we see God moving, what we see Him blessing, examining needs of the community and dreaming how we could join Him.  We will present a calendar of the major events and dates that will help you, your family and your ministry team/connection group as you make plans for the coming year.

Recently, this statement has been going through my mind and heartGod is in the business of reaching, redeeming and restoring a lost and broken world.  We, the JIBC family, exist to join Him in His business.  What we will share at VISION NIGHT: JIBC will be how we believe God is going to do this through His JIBC family.  In some ways, what I will be sharing is a continuation of what has been in my heart from day one:  making a difference in our families, our neighborhood, our community and world.

As you know we strive to be driven by the purposes of God as revealed in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.  We exist to bring people into the family of God (Membership), help them become like Jesus (Maturity), involve them in serving one another (Ministry), sending them into the community and world (Mission) and to glorify God (Magnify).  That is what we do.  Who we do it with can be seen in concentric circles starting in the Community, bringing them to the Crowd, involving them in the Church, helping them move to grow as the Committed and sending them back out to the serve as the Core.  The vision for the next 16 months includes doing church together ON PURPOSE.

We do a pretty good job of keeping a thin calendar.  So I will do my absolute best to not waste your time.  If there is one meeting for you to absolutely attend, this is it.  You will hear my heart, see my commitment, and feel my passion.  I love what I do and who I do it with.  I am looking forward and praying for the best year ever.  Let’s do it together, ON PURPOSE!


Pastor Tom

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

JIBC Happenings


This past Monday was the first day of the Weekday Preschool Ministry at JIBC.  If the only goal was to have people from Riverland Terrace walk onto our campus for the first time, it was a big success.  We met many young families that actually walk their children to our Weekday Ministry.  Shelley and her team have started off with success and blessing.  Let’s keep them in our prayers as they lead us to minister to these children and their families.  Susan Warren, her welcome team and the staff were present to welcome all the families to Sunday’s Open House and to their first day of preschool!  Way to go TEAM JIBC.  You represent well!


This fall, on Wednesday evenings, I will be hosting a drop in called “Coffee with Pastor Tom”.  I am planning to be in my office, every Wednesday evening from 6:30-7:30, for casual drop-in conversations.  This is not a class that you sign up for and attend weekly.  That would be Marty’s class on Ephesians, Tom McConnell’s class on finance, Janie’s class First Place 4 Health or AWANA listeners.  My class will be more casual, no curriculum or study course.  Just good coffee or hot tea and me!  I only have 4 chairs, so, it will be limited to the first four…maybe five if I can borrow a chair. I am looking forward to spending some extended time just getting to know more of your story.  If no one shows up, I will still have coffee, tea and me!  Then it will be an hour of quiet meditation, LOL.


Many of you remember Marsha.  She lived with me and Janie for a short time while she helped us open the Transition House.  We were kind of stuck until Marsha came and took the lead in getting the ball rolling. She and her husband, Scott, are in town for the week.  We are hoping they will be able to be with us for at least one of our worship services.  We are continually grateful for her hard work in helping us start this much needed ministry.  To God be the glory!

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



Many people are familiar with the phrase “put your John Hancock right here”.  He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  His signature was big and bold and left little doubt that he had signed it and supported it.   His signature, John Hancock, became a synonym for a person’s signature.
What is the “signature” of James Island Baptist.  When you think of the document of our lives together as James Island Baptist, what signature event, quality, characteristic stands out?  What are we doing in the Kingdom of God that leaves no doubt…we signed the document, this is who we are as James Island Baptist.  Another way to ask the same question is what are we doing that we should always keep doing?  Where do we make the biggest impact in “making disciples that make disciples that change the world”?  What are we, as the church family known as JIBC, doing that makes a difference?

I would be interested to know your response.  If you are on FACEBOOK, this will be my question of the week.  If you are not on FACEBOOK, jot down your thoughts and drop them in the offering plate Sunday.  I will look forward to reading the responses.


Monday, August 25 starts another new community outreach ministry at JIBC.  We welcome Shelley Cannon and her team as they begin a Monday-Friday, 9-12, Weekday Preschool Ministry.  They will be using the WEE material, an age appropriate, Bible based curriculum that fits in perfectly with what we teach every Sunday.  Shelley is the director of the Weekday Preschool Ministry as well as on our staff as church-wide Director of Preschool Ministries.  Our staff is looking forward to working with her.  Many of our preschool workers have already met her and are happily anxious to have her on our preschool team.  Shelley has already completed Class 101: Discovering Membership at JIBC and is an official member!  Welcome to a loving and supportive church, Shelley.  We are glad you are here.


I have so enjoyed repackaging and presenting James Bryan Smith’s book, “The Good and Beautiful Life”.  This week’s message will be: The Good and Beautiful Life…Living without Judging Others.

See you then, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Pray for Iraq as persecution increases
100,000 Christians flee from Qaraqosh

Remember has contact with pastors in Northern and Central Iraq, and is learning that the already dire situation for Christians in Iraq is worsening. The Islamic State (IS) is on a quest for dominance, brutally killing those in their path, unparalleled since the mid-600's A.D.

Early Friday morning one of our pastor contacts in Northern Iraq sent us this message:

"The situation is very bad. Not only because of IS, but also because of sleeper cells in the down town areas. Many people are supporting IS in their violence against Christians."

Tens of thousands of Christians are fleeing their homes, facing the choice to convert or die, and consequently are lacking in many necessities, such as food, water, clothes and shelter. Pastor M. has turned his church into housing for over 45 families, but cannot continue to meet the needs of the growing number of displaced Believers.

Will you join with us in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq? Would you also consider donating any amount which you feel led to give, in order to aid our brethren in their basic needs during this tumultuous time? Remember is also prayerfully considering sending a medical team to Erbil and the surrounding area. Please pray for those persecuted, for strength and basic needs to be met, as well as for the Remember team as we seek God in how to best aid these brothers and sisters.

If you feel led to give, please send donations to the address listed below.. Most of all we must pray. The situations in the Middle East continue to escalate, and Christian men, women and children are martyred daily for their Faith. We will continue to update on this situation.

Thank you for your prayers and support.
The Remember Team
info@rememberthose.org    843-571-2525
834 Wappoo Road, Charleston, SC 29407

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


  For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
 Isaiah 43:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

Let’s talk about what’s new.  What new things is the LORD doing that will create rivers of blessings in our lives, our church and community?  Let’s talk about three.

First, we have already launched THE DISCIPLESHIP COUNSELING CENTER @ JAMES ISLAND.  Our counselor’s name is Blaine Vinson.  We have already learned to love him and enjoy seeing him when he comes by.  The counseling office is located in the atrium just behind the welcome center.  On Sunday mornings, it is the same space used for mothers and infants for quiet time and nursing.  It is a wonderfully decorated room that feels so warm and inviting.  Our thanks to Susan Warren, Brian and Paula Garrett for the donation of furniture and decorating talent.  To make an appointment with Blain or one of the centers counselors, you call their office at 300.0440.   He is already seeing clients.  The LORD is providing a pathway through the wilderness.

Second, we will begin a new Leadership Training for Celebrate Recovery.  Darryl Young will be leading this training on Sunday evenings from August 17 through November 16.  It will be an intensive working of the 12 Steps and training for CR.  Emphasis on intensive training.  This is not an introduction to 12 Steps.  This is an intense working of the 12 Steps and a training for leadership in CR.  The Lord is creating rivers in the dry wasteland!  Recovery is the work of God.  We join Him in His work to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken world. 

Third,  we begin again the Wednesday Family Night.  Great food, awesome sauce Awana Ministry and three great growth opportunity for adults.  First, Janie Brown is teaching First Place 4 Health.  The focus is on healthy eating, exercise and Bible study.  A new group and new year and new promise.  The second group is led by Tom McConnell on budgeting and finances.  This personal finance class is a great opportunity to learn or refresh skills that can make a difference for life.  Financial scholarship is available.  See Susan or Pastor Tom for details.  The third class is a Bible Study on Paul’s book of Ephesians.  Marty Clark will be leading this Bible study.  What a great way to get to know Marty and to enjoy studying the Word of God together.   By the way, we are so excited about this new beginning we are throwing a party on Wednesday, August 27 to celebrate.  Come and get your party on!

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.    Isaiah 43:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom