Wednesday, October 7, 2015


It is hard to let the storm of the century go by without comment. The problem is we have had two storms of the century this year! As far as we know, everyone in the JIBC family has survived this flood. Almost everyone got by with no damage at all…a miracle in itself. Several have reported some flooding and some roof damage from trees. Please know that your JIBC family is available to help. Please do not face these tough times alone. If you have a need that has not been addressed, let us know as soon as possible. We will see how we can help. Thanks for checking on your neighbors, friends and the elderly. Again, let us know if we can help. We are not looking for work, but we are prepared to help where we can.

As of Saturday night around 8 pm we were planning to have worship services this past Sunday morning at 8:30 and 11:00. Janie and I were at our daughter Erin’s house until 11:30 Saturday night. When we went home, we met several cars submerged past their front lights. We back tracked and found a long, but drier way home. We got home just before midnight and continued listening to the worsening weather projections. I sent a text out to the staff…they were all still awake monitoring the storm as well. We decided to wait until Sunday morning at 6:00 am to make the final call. Actually, the roads from my house to the church house were clear. Many of our folks could not get out at all. Some had water up to their doors, some had it in their homes, several were without power. All were safer at home than risking coming out. The Governor had requested everyone stay off the road if at all possible. We made the call by 6:10 to cancel the services. We got the word out on face book, texted as many as we could and called the news outlets to get on their announcement boards.

As you can imagine, even making the right call is not an easy call. For the safety of our members and in respect the first responders who must be out on the roads, we decided…no services at JIBC. It makes it even harder when it is a first Sunday of the month, the Sunday of our largest offering. The impact of missing one week’s offering is a small price to pay for the safety of our church family and community. Thank you for your faithfulness to our Lord and His church at James Island Baptist. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday, good Lord willing and the …oh, let’s forget the rest of that saying!

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Worship: All About Jesus

The teaching series during the month of September was focused on worship. It is one of the five purposes we elevate in value and have as a part of our mission. Our ultimate goal is to bring God glory, cause Him joy and give to Him the worship He is due and that He so wonderfully deserves. I am so grateful for the many people who work behind the scenes to make the worship experience such a positive one. The audio/visual team, the nursery volunteers, the children’s church team, the greeters, ushers, mission and ministry moment speakers, etc, etc. I thank you for your faithful service. Your service, in itself, is a beautiful act of worship. Blessings.

Jesus told them, “The Harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2

This time of the year is a time of harvest. We particularly think of the fall fruits and vegetables like pumpkins, squash, apples and sweet potatoes. It is a wonderful time of the year. This is also a wonderful time of the year to pray for and expect a spiritual harvest. Think of the wonderful things God could bring into your life this time of the year. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful. The challenge is not the harvest, the challenge, according to Jesus is the workers. So he invited us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out…literally, to throw out…workers into his harvest. Let’s think about not being thrown out. Let’s see how we could pray and go out and work in the harvest. It is a beautiful time of the year to do so.

By the way, part of the beautiful harvest God gave includes the precious families that joined James Island Baptist this past Sunday. We had 17 attend Class 101: Discovering Membership at JIBC. Of those, 11 have already joined. Perhaps more will come at a later time. What an honor that these would choose JIBC as their church family. To God be the glory.

See you this Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Thursday, September 24, 2015


This past Sunday was the dedication of the newly renovated worship center-sanctuary. We talked about how this area is often referred to as the Sanctuary, the Worship Center or even Big Church for those who have little children. At any rate, we had a time of dedication for the gathering place. In Exodus 3:5 the ground Moses stood on was holy. It was holy because of the encounter with the Holy God, Yahweh. Others no doubt passed by the bush and thought of it as just a bush. Perhaps some will attend JIBC worship and think of it as just a building…a religious building, but just a building. I pray that for you and for all who enter the doors, it will be a holy place where we meet the Holy God, Yahweh.

We dedicated ourselves to the Lord. A holy place without a holy people would seem to cancel out each other. It seems like sin will push out holiness or holiness will push out sin. Either way, we are in need of dedicating ourselves to genuine worship, seeking God to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Third, I dedicated myself to the following: Christ-centered preaching; inspired worship; celebration of the symbols of our salvation (baptism and the Lord’s Supper); a place of unity of the faith; and to be a place welcoming the broken who seek His healing. When this happens, I suspect we will be glad when they say unto us let us go to the House of the Lord.

I close today with one of my favorite poems. It was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

“Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, 
but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

See you Sunday, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


I was thinking my entire article would be made up of a series of the word “Wow”! That was the word we heard most often Saturday night and Sunday morning. Wow. I know it is not a praise word…but it is so close. So let me say Amen and Hallelujah. To our entire team that led the renovation project we say “Well done”. The list is too long but our gratitude is extended to all who led and worked to make this project happen. I only wish everyone who labored on this project could have stood with me as our church family first walked in the doors to see the beautiful renovation. The faces, expressions and words were priceless. To God be the glory. 

The Big Reveal, as important as it was to us, was not more important than our purpose for gathering. So everything in the service pointed to our purpose. We began with powerful praise; celebrated with baptizing two precious souls; introducing and interceding for our Connection Group Leaders as they help connect us to God, to each other and to our community; then the central Christ event, the Lord’s Supper; followed up with the entire offering being given as a thank offering to missions. Ladies and gentlemen…you have just witnessed the heart and soul of JIBC. We value what we celebrate and celebrate what we value. I know of no clearer picture that Sunday’s service!

HOW CAN I SAY THANKS? The “BirthAversary” celebration was over the top. I could never have imagined my own children speaking so eloquently and fondly of their old man. And my four preacher buddies…well, that could have hurt a lot worse. They were kind. It could have been a roasting of epic proportions. (BTW, do not buy the book they gave me. It was a joke, not a recommended book!) Having the Chinese Church and Luz Y Verdad present moved me to tears.

We are honored to have played any part in blessing them. My gratitude to all who spoke and shared such kind thoughts and memories. The gift from our church family was so generous. Thank you so very much. I would have liked to have said thank you, but my eyes were leaking with joy!

NOT COMPLETE YET. All the crews worked so hard to be ready by Sunday. Saturday night we were still painting, installing, tweaking everything electronic, setting up chairs, etc. We were 90% ready…but it was a huge 90%! Our volunteers and paid workers did a great job. The punch list of little finishes will come at a much slower speed. And as Forrest Gump says “That’s all I have to say about that!”

Love you all,

Pastor 30/60 Tom

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


This week we are on the final 2 weeks of renovation. The list of things going on this week is long. There will be painting, second coats, carpet going in Saturday, lights went in this past Monday, counters in the front restrooms, paint goes on the walls this week. I mean it is a bee hive of activity. Please pray for all the workers that they will be safe and have a sense of how this job is different from any other. Our offices are still a mess but we can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Starting this Sunday, I will begin a new teaching series on Worship. With all the activity going on it is too easy to lose focus. At the end of the day, it is not about lights, paint, carpet and chairs. It is about Him…worshipping our Lord. For the next 4 weeks we will focus on worshipping His majesty. This coming Sunday we will learn about the Priority-Purpose-People and Place of worship. On Sunday, September 13, we will have the big reveal. We will re-focus the day by celebrating baptism, the Lord’s Supper and introducing our Adult Connection Group Leaders. We will have only the 11:00 worship service on Sunday, September 13. On Sunday, September 20 we will have a Dedication Service for the renovated Worship Center. And then on September 27 we will look at the John 4 story where Jesus teaches that we are to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

A special thank you to everyone that has been so patient and helpful during this time of transition. Two more weeks and we should be back into our routine…assuming we can find where we have put everything! Lol.

We are having a brief prayer and worship time for the staff and ministry management team on Saturday, September 12 at 6:00. Our goal is to have you meet, pray and worship from 6:00 to 7:00. You will be out in plenty of time to get home early or go out to eat. I really encourage our leadership team to join us for this time of prayer and celebration.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Friday, August 21, 2015


Progress is full steam ahead. If you attended Sunday, you saw that work in the Atrium and the main hallways started. They did all the prep work of sanding and caulking and will paint this week. Sunday, when you arrive, that should be a done deal! Whoohoo…I mean hallelujah! We have also started packing the offices up for renovation. We will be getting fresh paint, new carpet and some new furniture. So for a week or two, we will be out of our office environment. The major work in the Worship Center this week includes: completing the sheetrock and sanding of the ceiling; redoing and finishing the balcony walls; frame up the restrooms in the front of the worship center. We are enlarging the two restroom areas in the front of the church. This will provide more spacious rooms compared to the former small rooms. The balcony wall will increase in height while increasing the site line for those who sit in the balcony. This was a much needed correction. Our plans are still to have the Big Reveal on Sunday, September 13. On that Sunday we plan for one worship service and will celebrate with baptism and the Lord’s Supper. What a day that will be!


Believing we will be finished with the renovations, we plan to start Wednesday night discipleship options on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. There will be 4 options for adults: serve with our Kitchen Krew; Praying Like Jesus led by Jeff Koch; First Place 4 Health led by Janie Brown; Recovery Bible Study based on the 12 Steps led by Pastor Tom. We will also provide preschool care, as well as Preschool/Children Awana ministry and Surge: Youth Worship. It is a great fall lineup. Our goal is to help you grow deeper in God’s Word.


It is wonderful that we already have financial gifts given to purchase 276 chairs. The “competition” between Connection Groups was designed to help everyone participate whether they gave a little, a lot or none at all. There really is a triple blessing potential here. First, everyone, every family, every connection group can participate in purchasing chairs that will be used in worship for years to come. It is not about the amount, it is about participation…being a part of a beautiful celebration. Second, we have an offer of matching funds. If we raise the funds for 200, 300 or for all 430 chairs, an equal amount has been pledged to the overall renovation project. We receive blessing on top of blessing. Third, whatever amount we give toward the purchase of chairs is the amount we can keep in savings for a rainy day…and those days surely come. We have over the past 2 years, replaced multiple roofs, and entire boiler system and cooling tower and have paid over $7,000 for plumbing issues. Old buildings require ongoing repairs. We are blessed to be able to pay for this project…however the Lord sees fit to provide. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


We have successfully had our first week of worship in the Fellowship Hall. Interestingly enough, several who were present remembered when JIBC first had our worship services in the Fellowship Hall. The 8:30 service had around 85 in attendance. Wow! Great job. Thanks to all who made the shift to the early service. We could still use around 25 more to attend at 8:30. The 11:00 service had around 140 or so in attendance. That was full but not packed like sardines. We will add more chairs for this coming week and have a few more attending the 8:30 service. It’s all good. Our thanks to all who are going the extra mile to make this change possible. If I could make a request for some of our home folks it would be this: if you are able, please sit toward the front and toward the middle. We have quite a few guests who come in right at 11:00 or just after. While we are standing and singing, it is difficult to see available seats. Not everyone can sit forward and to the middle…we understand. No problem. We want you to sit where you are comfortable. If you can, it will be a big help.


We are now well under way in the sanctuary renovation. This past week saw quite a bit of activity. First, the painting prep work of sanding and caulking is going full steam ahead. We are replacing the “popcorn” ceiling with sheetrock. As I am typing this, they are finishing that part of the project. They will begin taping, mudding and sanding this week. We are working to enlarge the two restrooms in the front of the church. That will be a much welcomed change from the formerly very small restrooms. Work has begun on the booth for our audio/visual team as well as new risers for the balcony to improve the sight line. So, right now it looks like what it is…a construction zone. All the construction and visual type people who have eyes to see what is not are positively moved by what they can “see”. Right now, I just remember this is what it looked like last time…and it turned out beautiful then too!


On a $200,000 renovation project, we have around $150,000 already in hand for this project. We are so blessed by God to have the rest in savings and can pay for this project without going in debt. Several of our leaders felt like the church members and friends would like to give toward the project. The idea was to be a part of the project, to have heart and hand, in the renovation. It was a very doable idea to ask the church to give toward the purchase of the chairs. Here is the reality: whatever monies we do not use from our savings can then be used for other needs. So, if we give $20,000 toward the purchase of chairs, we actually keep that amount in savings to use for air conditioning repairs, emergency repairs, unseen opportunities, etc. Really…the goal was to give everyone an opportunity to participate. The idea got a little better when it was suggested that every Connection Group be challenged to have 100% participation. Simple: having every member of every Connection Group give toward the purchase of chairs. The focus was not on the amount given. It could be $5, $50, $500 or $5,000. Participation, not amount, was the goal. A good idea got even better when an offer was made to give matching funds. So, if the entire amount was given for chairs, that amount would be match ed andgiven toward the project. Don’t over think this or make it complicated. Rejoice, God is good all the time and all the time, God is good.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom