Wednesday, November 30, 2016

LOVING OUR COMMUNITY

One of the parts of Christmas I love the most is giving. Of course I love giving gifts to the children. I particularly love giving a gift that is just perfect…a gift they have wanted and hoped for. The practical side of me hopes they ask for tennis shoes or jeans but I understand monster trucks and ball equipment too. I love hearing the stories of those who still remember when Christmas gifts were nuts and fruit. A reminder of how far we have come and how blessed we truly are.

I also love the idea of our Advent “Giving On Purpose” emphasis. We are loving our community in ways that are practical, giving gifts that they have actually asked for. How cool is that? God so loved the world that He gave…we so loved the community that we gave! Susan Warren has provided us with four great opportunities to love our community. First, the pop up baskets for The Florence Crittenton Home. These are young girls from 10 to 22 who are pregnant and cannot stay at home. We have a group that occasionally goes to love on these girls. Second, The Lowcountry Orphan Relief ministry has asked for pajamas. These pj’s are for kids that have to be removed from their homes and often have nothing of their own as they start their new journey. Talk about true religion. You can volunteer to go and help pack these emergency kits. Susan will help get you connected. The third group we are loving is our friends at The Lowcountry Pregnancy Center. They have asked for baby wipes and diapers. Oh my, have you bought diapers lately? A pack of diapers represents a whole lot of love. The fourth group is our very own James Island Outreach. What do they want? JELLY, JELLY, JELLY. Look for the BOGO deals. Nobody on James Island goes to bed hungry unless we don’t know about them. By the way, like Christmas music? You can buy a Christmas CD for $10 featuring local musicians, including the Mayor of Charleston!

I am so happy to have a church family that gives generously. Would you like to make my joy complete this Christmas? Let’s give Susan so many volunteers to deliver these Christmas gifts that she cannot schedule us all. Hands on love, delivering gifts of love, because of God’s love. I love Christmas! I love giving to Lottie Moon International Missions and Salvation Army and….

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

I am so grateful for our talented volunteers who decorate the worship center for Christmas. I am four days from being in full Christmas mode! As I said last week, I try really hard not to get all Christmassy until after Thanksgiving. But come this Friday, November 25, my grandson, Noah, will join me in our official Christmas season kickoff…decorating the tree. It is a tradition that I love. By Saturday’s Clemson/Carolina game, the house will be decorated, Christmas songs will be the norm and presents will begin finding their way under the tree. I love Christmas and I love the Christmas season. I prefer for it not to start before Halloween…but I still love Christmas.

What is there about Christmas that I love so much? First, I am blessed by the story and meaning of the coming, the advent, of our Lord and Savior. Whether you celebrate His birthday or just the idea that God became flesh…I love it. Second, I love Christmas music. The only Christmas CD I have ever bought that I did not like was Destiny’s Child. I thought it had to be great if Beyonce was on it…WRONG. I love old the old crooners and the new contemporary singers; I love Manheim Steamrollers and the Trans Siberian Orchestra; I like 102.5 and my growing collection of CD’s; I love Christmas hymns and I love hearing it in the malls. Third, I love the charity of Christmas. I love giving to missions and missionaries; I love giving gifts to children and grandchildren; I love dropping money into the Salvation Army Bell Ringers Kettle. I love people who give money to help single moms and struggling families. I love a trickle down economy that gives a boost to so many. And last for today’s list, I love the lights. I love tree lights, James Island County park lights, the lights of those wonderful people who go nuts and decorate their whole house and yard lights. Thank you.

Maybe the only thing I don’t like about Christmas…if anyone goes into debt or unwisely strains their budget to buy Christmas gifts. I hate the old days when we would be tempted to use credit to buy something that would take longer to pay for than the gift would last. Please be careful. Be a good manager of your money. Be creative and be joyful. But don’t go into debt or bust your budget.

See you, good Lord willing, this Sunday as we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, the coming of our Lord.

Pastor Tom


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I held out as long as I could

I am trying my best to not do anything Christmassy until after Thanksgiving. I put my radio on FM 102.5 and heard two Christmas songs…I can’t do it! I love Christmas and I love Christmas music. Can’t wait to buy new Christmas CD’s…I know, most of you are downloading your music. I am still old school. Here is how close we are to Christmas. This Sunday, after our Thanksgiving meal, our team of volunteers will begin to decorate the worship center for Christmas! I will hold out and not put my tree up until Thanksgiving weekend, but after that it is on!

The first Sunday of Advent is November 27. We are encouraging everyone who can to get into the Christmas spirit by participating in gift giving for four of the ministries JIBC supports. Marty and the worship team will help keep us upward focused during Advent; Sean and the Connection Groups will help us strengthen our inward focus on fellowship; and Susan will help us keep our outward focus during the Advent season. Here is my Christmas wish…ready? I am hoping our church family will respond to giving gifts to the four ministries during Advent and will participate in going personally to distribute the gifts to one of the four ministries. Susan will be coordinating taking the presents to these ministries. Some of them will be taken after the Christmas season. Talk to your Connection Group and see if there is interest in visiting Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Florence Crittenton Home, James Island Outreach or Lowcountry Pregnancy Center. Whoohoo, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And I love it. By the way…if you have been really blessed financially, and you really want to put a big present under the Christmas tree, consider sponsoring an orphan in Burma. For $30 a month, or a gift of $360 for the year, you can provide food, clean water, uniforms and other basic needs for the children at Faith Children’s Home and Agape Children’s Home. If that is a little too big for your budget, how about a family or a Connection Group going together to sponsor a child? I so love our church family for be generous.

OK, I have talked myself into it…I am listening to Christmas music on the way home!

See you Sunday, good Lord willing. Plan to stay and enjoy the Thanksgiving Meal!

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tomorrow could change everything...

Tomorrow could change everything. By the time you read this we will have a new president of the United States. I think many of us agree with the cartoon that says “America has 350 million people and this is the best we could do?” I am not a betting man and I do not have a crystal ball. But tomorrow could change everything: health care, borders, size of government, debt, the direction of the Supreme Court, support of military, foreign policy, the future our children will inherit, etc.

Then again, tomorrow many things will remain the same. Almighty God is still on His throne; Jesus is still Lord; the Church still has a great commission to carry out; people still desperately need Jesus; the hungry still need bread; the lonely still need visits and the naked still need clothes. Jesus said it this way in John 9:4: “Work for the night is coming. As long as it is day I must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming when no man can work.” What I will do if Trump wins is exactly what I will do if Clinton wins…work. I will do the work of Him who sent me. As long as it is day, as long as He allows, let us, the Church of Jesus Christ, do the work of Him who sent us. There may come a time when we cannot…but today we can. Let’s continue to worship Him in spirit and in truth; let us continually reach out to those we know to lead them to the cross; let’s keep on our knees in prayer and in His Book for guidance; let’s serve His Bide, the Church with the gifts and abilities He has given us for that purpose; and let us serve our community, meeting needs, sharing His love until His Kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

Tomorrow could change everything…or not. Depends on how you look at it and what you are called to do.

Dear Father, all knowing and all wise God, You know today who will be president tomorrow. I acknowledge today and tomorrow and always, that You alone are the Supreme Commander; You alone are King of Kings and Lord of lords. You guide the nations to accomplish Your purpose. Make it so: Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Forgive us of our sin and our sins. Have mercy on our nation that we may continue to be a people who bless and steward the blessings of America. Thank you for Your abundant blessings to our land and to Your people. Bless those who serve you with strength and grace; with peace and joy; with courage and confidence. In the Name of our Lord Jesus we pray, Amen.

See you Sunday, Lord willing, as we continue our teaching series on Thanks-Not Just A Word.

Pastor Tom



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Three Weeks of Thanksgiving!

All said and done, could you handle three weeks of Thanksgiving? I would love it. Family getting together, worship built around giving thanks, favorite teams playing football and turkey…don’t forget the turkey! My point is we can seldom have too much thanksgiving. So let me share some of the coming events that will help us give thanks.

First, for the next three Sundays my teaching series will be on the spiritual discipline of giving thanks and being thankful. The attitude of gratitude is often the difference between victory and defeat, between I can do all things through Christ or I can’t. Let’s make the next three weeks of worship about giving thanks to the Lord, our God and King…His love endures forever!

Second, Sunday, November 20 is a day full and running over with thanksgiving. We will celebrate Communion/Lord’s Supper together and will have our annual church wide Thanksgiving meal! That evening, we will join with churches of all denominations for the Community Thanksgiving service. This year the service will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Folly Road. This is the church on the left hand side of Folly as you are heading toward Folly Beach. Yours truly will be this year’s speaker. Extra prayers appreciated! This service is always a highlight of the year. An offering will be received to help support James Island Outreach and of course, we are encouraged, as the Jelly Church, to bring jars of jelly.

Last, but not least. On Wednesday, November 30 at 6:00 we will have a 30 minute Quarterly Ministry Conference for the purpose of presenting the 2017 Missions and Ministry Budget. We will have our regularly scheduled Wednesday night meal and programs. The meeting will be in the Fellowship Hall so you can enjoy the meal and fellowship as a part of the conference.

Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King: His love endures forever!

See you Sunday, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NOT SO MUCH

NOT SO MUCH

There are two well known phrases that come to my mind for what I am saying today. The first is from our old poet friend, Robert Burns: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” The other a more home spun wit and wisdom: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

I wrote two weeks ago of the excitement of going to Washington, DC to visit the Museum of the Bible. I was so excited right up to the point that I got sick with some anti-biblical virus! Once my buddies sent me pictures of them kneeling in the rotunda of the Capitol for prayer…I think I got even sicker! Lol. They went and had a great time…and were thoughtful enough to send back pictures to keep me updated on their tour. The offer is still open so I hope to report to you at a later date about a most successful and enjoyable adventure to visit the Museum of the Bible.

READY OR NOT

We are closing in fast on this year’s community outreach, the Fall Festival. On Monday, October 31 we will host a family oriented festival for our community. We have one little boy in our Weekday Preschool program that tells me of his excitement every time he sees me. He is only 4 years old but it is a dominant memory in his wonderful little mind. Please be in prayer for this event. Our desire is to show the community the love of Christ, the joy of Christianity in a family friendly safe environment. Pray for the team members that will be registering families and for those who will be presenting the Gospel. Let us love them like Jesus would love them and pray for the day when they will love Him! Amen?

Looking forward, good Lord willing to seeing you Sunday!

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WHAT A GREAT RESPONSE


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