Wednesday, February 3, 2016

LEVERAGE YOUR INFLUENCE

Sunday I finished the series “ALL IN”.
We ended with a Celebration of Communion remembering what God has done for us through His Son, our Lord Jesus. I wanted to give some sort of guide by which we could begin to measure what being ALL IN looks like at JIBC. The only part I want to mention today relates to our reaching out and making a difference. How can you be salt and light in your family, neighborhood and community? How can you make a difference across the street, across the river or across the ocean? I want to encourage you to leverage the influence that you have.

Check out the story of Moses in Exodus 3. God asked Moses to go back to Egypt, confront Pharaoh and lead the Children of Israel to the Promised Land. “Let my people go” was to be the message

from Moses. Understandably fearful, Moses questioned God on several fronts. God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” It was his shepherd’s staff. God used that plain and simple staff to send a powerful message. So, what is that in your hand, in your ability, in your wheelhouse? The ability to talk wallpaper off a wall; a passion for a sport; the ability to listen to the broken stories of people you don’t even know; the ability to make money or the wisdom of how to budget it. On and on and on we could go. I am praying that we will allow God to use what He Himself has placed into our hands and abilities. Leverage your influence on boards, in civic organizations, on your teams. Make a difference.

The most important event in the Old Testament is the Passover and the Exodus. Of course, Moses is the one God used to make it happen. But before Moses, there was a big sister, Miriam, who carefully watched over baby Moses as he floated down the Nile River to be intercepted by Pharaoh’s daughter. But before Moses and before Miriam, there was a midwife who rescued Moses from an aborted life. Ordered by Pharaoh to murder all the Hebrew boys born at this time, this heroic midwife refused. She delivered the Hebrew boy who was later named Moses. She leveraged her influence, her skill and ability. Eternity will count her as one of the greatest missionaries ever…who may have felt like she was just doing her job.

All in …All Jesus…All the Time. God did it, God gets the glory. He chose to do it through men and women who leveraged their influence to join Him in His work to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken world.

Pastor Tom

Our next teaching series will be the Old Testament book of Jonah! It is hard to keep a good man down!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Good Question

DO YOU RIDE A MOTORCYCLE…or know someone who does?
Our sister church, Northwood Baptist, offer one of the best motorcycle safety classes around. They are offering it 6 times this year. Our friend, Timmy Glover, is one of the instructors. He has long been one of the top Motorcycle Cops in the state and nation. The goal of these classes is not to teach you how to ride a motorcycle. It is to teach you how not to crash…crash avoidance! Now that is a class worth taking. For all or our biker members and friends I would say this: I took this course and will gladly take it again. It is that good and helpful. If we want to go together as a group that could be fun. Here are the 2016 dates for training. You do have to register to attend. March 12, April 30, June 11, July 16, August 13 and September 17. Let me know at tombrown41@comcast.net or see me before or after worship.

A GOOD QUESTION. I was asked a good question this past Sunday. Our 2016 Mission and Ministry Budget reflects $43,296 for debt retirement. The line item says this amount contributes to the debt incurred for building renovations. I can see where that could be confusing. The most recent renovations, completed in 2015, to the Worship Center/Restrooms/hallways and offices have been completely paid for. By God’s grace, your generosity and our fantastic finance team we were able to pay for these recent renovations completely. We did not borrow any money and we do not owe anything. Paid for, done, over…can I get an Amen?

The only debt we have as a church family is for the Transition House, sometimes referred to as the Parker House. Two renovations ago, Renovations 4 Generations (R4G), we did a major renovation in our preschool, built the atrium and renovated the children’s center. That was all set and ready to go when the old Sportsman building property became available. That was an old service station building that sat on the point where we currently park the bus. Exactly at that time, the brick home behind our church, owned by the Parkers, also became available. The need to purchase both of these was a no-brainer. We were so excited about the old Sportsman’s Shop that we raised all that money in cash! The Parker house, at the peak of the market, cost us around $315,000. We have paid off all the renovations to the church buildings, paid for the Sportsman’s Shop but had to finance the brick home that now houses the Transition House Ministry. We currently owe around $220,000 on that property. That is where the $43,296 in debt goes each year. All monies now given to R4G go toward the principal. I am glad to say that is the only debt we have and it is for a wonderful mission. To God be the glory. Thanks for asking.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ALL IN…ALL JESUS…ALL THE TIME

MATTHEW 22:37 - Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Another way to say that…ALL IN! 

ROMANS 8:32 - “He who did not withhold even His own Son, but gave Him up for all of us, will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” God so loved you that HE went all in..giving you the best that He had…His Son.

This Sunday will be the last of this series of lessons on “ALL IN”. It has been my desire to point out the many places where our Father and our Lord encourage us to go all in. The Bible is filled with story of the heroes of the faith that went all in with God. It is also filled with stories of what happens when we do not go all in. AS I said this past Sunday: It always cost to go all in…it just cost more not to”. This Sunday we will be hearing the ultimate story of going all in. I hope you will be here for the conclusion…or should I say the beginning?

By the way, could I review a little history of JIBC with you about going all in? You went all in with your willingness to sponsor and help the Chinese church. They began with 3 and when they outgrew JIBC they had almost 100 adults, their own youth program and their own children’s program. When they left they had more money in the bank than 80% of all Southern Baptist Churches in South Carolina. You went all in and the reward was great…the largest and strongest Chinese Church in Charleston. The same story could be told of going all in with our Hispanic church, Luz Y Verdad. JIBC has sponsored Luz Y Verdad through thick and thin. Now, God has blessed Pastor Claudio and Claudia and their team with almost

70 adults every week, plus their own youth, children and preschool program. All in, all Jesus, all the time. Again, we could repeat the story about Celebrate Recovery. All the way back to the days when Pastor Ted started CR to the place we are today. James Island Baptist has one of the strongest, well run Celebrate Recovery groups in Charleston. We offer ministry to adults (CR) to youth (The Landing) and to children (Celebration Station) and preschool childcare. The Charleston CCrab House, Kickin Chicken , Al Simmons and Barry Waldrop graciously provide quality meals for CR. We have on occasion had more attending CR than the average Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina has in regular attendance! All in, all Jesus, all the time.

Let me be straight forward…it cost every time we go all in. It cost to help the Chinese Church, the Hispanic church and Celebrate Recovery. It always cost to go all in. It’s just that it cost more not to.

Thank you for being a church willing to go all in. I love you and am blessed by God with the privilege to be your pastor. My commitment is to continue to be all in…all Jesus…all the time.

Pastor Tom




Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TWO REALLY BIG EVENTS HAPPEN THIS WEEK.

I am writing this on Monday, January 11. Tonight Clemson plays Alabama for the National Championship. By the time you read this the game will be a done deal, in the record books. If Alabama wins, it is what most prognosticators expected. If Clemson wins, it may well be the biggest sports story of the year. You have noticed that I usually do not joke about sports or teams from the pulpit. Every now and again I will poke fun at the teams I enjoy and support…but not often. People are very touchy about their teams…especially if they have a history of being less than successful.

It is fun to imagine what would happen if the followers of Christ were as rabid and radical about the Kingdom of Christ as the Kingdom of My University. How different the worship would be if sung with the enthusiasm of our fight songs; how packed churches would be if we attended so faithfully; how the offerings would multiply if we gave with big game enthusiasm. That is at least a part of what I am aiming for in the “ALL IN” series. What would stop us from being all in on an eternal championship team? I am so pleased to hear your enthusiastic worship Sunday after Sunday. I am thrilled to see offerings so generous we can constantly increase what we give away to community and to world missions! I am blessed when I see friends bringing friends to worship and connection groups. Really, I love it. I love Team JIBC. Your love for our Father and Lord Jesus changes your life and your families. All In…All Jesus…all the time!

THE SECOND BIG EVENT. This past Wednesday was the lottery drawing for $1.3 Billion dollars. OK, gotta be honest. Janie snuck out to the 7/11 to buy a couple of tickets. Don’t judge. She did it for the sake of helping South Carolina education. OK, it wasn’t Janie, it was me. The point is, have you ever thought what you would do with $1.3 Billion? OK, after taxes and taking a cash payout, you only get around $500 Million. Still, what would you do? It is fun to imagine. The only thing I can’t imagine is the idea that it would not change me! Since I will not know what it is like to have $500 million, I dream about what I would do with a little less. What would I do with what I do have? I will be a good steward/manager of what God gives me. I will tithe and give offerings, save for emergencies, and live life blessed and highly favored. What I would do with a little is probably an excellent indication of what I would do with a lot. Either way, I want to live ALL IN…ALL JESUS…all the time.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing, wearing Victory Orange!

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

WHAT A NICE OPTION

This past Sunday was our first Sunday without the 8:30 Worship Service and it was our first Celebrate Recovery Worship Service in the Worship Center/Sanctuary. In the past Celebrate Recovery worship has been led by Marty from 6:30 to 7:15 in the Fellowship Hall. That had some real challenges to it: people still eating, kitchen noises, children leaving, people spread out over the entire hall, etc. This past Sunday we moved it to the Worship Center/Sanctuary added another instrument and two more singers. Oh my, oh my…what a wonderful intimate experience. It was worshipful, all together and very intimate. Wow! Way to go CR TEAM. 

So why is it a nice option? For those who were use to attending the 8:30 service, this may be a wonderful option for you. We had 30 people but they all sat close together…not spread out in a room built for 400. Same overhead, same singers, same Marty leading…it was a quality experience and it was well received. It starts at 6:30 and last until 7:15. Then the CR folks break up into their small groups.

So how does this affect you? If you are looking for another meaningful and inspiring worship event,

I want to suggest you visit Celebrate Recovery on Sunday nights. It is not just about alcohol and drug recovery. It is about a variety of hurts, habits and hang-ups. It is for those of us with anger issues, control issues, marriage or family issues, food issues, spending issues, co-dependency stuff, pornography addictions, sexual issues, gambling, etc, etc. It is about life and all our hurts, habits and hang-ups. We usually have a welcome and prayer, a song, the reading of the 12 Steps or 8 Biblical principles, giving out the CR chips, then a worship set followed by a lesson. After the lesson, some leave for the evening. Those who are a part of CR go to their men’s group or one of the two women’s groups. The worship experience is an open meeting and everyone is welcomed and invited.

What a nice option…for someone looking for another great worship experience or a smaller more intimate setting. See you Sunday, good Lord willing!



Pastor Tom


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ALL IN!

Starting January 3, we will begin a new teaching series we are calling “All IN!” As we thought through and prayed about combining the 8:30 worship service with the 11:00 service, that was our emotion…we want our church family to be All IN! All in one place, one worship service, one in unity and purpose…all in.

You may have heard this phrase before… it has been the Clemson Tiger football rally cry this season…#ALL IN. That seemed to work out great for them Tiger fans. Now, let’s see if we can get Team JIBC to be all in for the Kingdom.

Our desire was for all of us to be all in with a feeling of unity as we combine the two services together. Not having the 8:30 service after so many years was a tough emotional decision for me. It was not, however, hard from a practical point of view. The 8:30 service was poorly attended even with our best efforts. Those who did attend were extremely faithful. So, let’s see if we can be blessed by an attendance boost in the 11:00 service and see if those who have faithfully attended the 8:30 service can be blessed by seeing new faces, meeting new friends and experiencing a different level of worship energy. Being “All In” the same service, I believe, can add a wonderful new dimension of fellowship to our church family. Acts 2:44 says “All who believed were together and had all things in common.” Pray with me that this will be the Spirit filled result of bringing the two services together. I am praying for us to be: all in worship together; all in fellowship together; all in unity together; and all in service and outreach together.

A GREAT SHOW OF LOVE

Thank you for faithfully supporting the effort to bless our community. You gave almost 100 Clothes hampers to the home for unwed mothers; over 125 pairs of pajamas for the Orphan Relief; over 150 jars of jelly; and over 1,400 diapers for the Pregnancy Center. Thank you for being such a giving and generous people. I so love that about our church family.

See you Sunday for the last Sunday of worship in 2016. Let’s end the year strong in Bible Study, fellowship and worship.

Pastor Tom


Thursday, December 17, 2015

CHRISTMAS RE-GIFTED

I so love our church family. Thank you for the wonderful way you responded to the mission project of re-gifting hope, peace, joy and love. The gifts for the Florence Crittenton Home, the Lowcountry Orphan Relief, James Island Outreach and Lowcountry Pregnancy Center look absolutely beautiful under the Worship Center Christmas trees. Thank you for the extra effort and, in many cases, the sacrifice of giving to help others. It is the added beauty of the Christmas season that reminds us to reach outside of ourselves. You do this all year long for many other ministries and then really pour on the love at Christmas time! To quote Tiny Tim in the Christmas Carol: “God bless us, everyone”.

CHECK YOUR CHRISTMAS CARDS
There is a Christmas card letterbox in the main hallway. You can use it to give Christmas cards those in the church family. Don’t forget to check for cards to you also. If you see someone’s cards “building up”, why not help them out by delivering them to them. Take them to your connection group or just hand them to them before the worship service. Connection Group leaders can help out here. After December 27, all left over cards, like the Christmas Card box, will magically disappear.

The original idea of the Christmas Card box was to help raise money for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The money saved on postage was given to missions. What a sweet idea. That was back when stamps were $.03 each. Now that postage stamps cost almost $127 each the game changed a little. Now it is just a nice way to remember friends at JIBC. You can, still of course, give a gift to International Missions. I can tell you it is the best way to get the most production out of your dollar. Every penny given to Lottie Moon is used to support International Missions. It would be hard to find a better way to support missions. Janie and I will absolutely be making our gift this year, as we have every year.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SEASON
Remember that you may have family and friends that would not attend worship with you during the year. Somehow, by the Holy Spirit’s calling, they do seem to be open to coming at times like Christmas. Invite them, encourage them. They will be moved and touched by the great music, the beauty of the Worship Center, the friendliness of our church family and they will hear the Word of God. Come early and hear the String Quartet in the atrium. Pastor Sean and I will be performing select songs from Handel’s Messiah. Ok, maybe not performing, but we will certainly be listening to it. Well, not so much listening to it as playing a CD of the Trans Siberian Orchestra…Never mind. But the String Quartet will be playing in the atrium starting at 5:30 until 5:55.

See you Sunday as we continue the Advent series on Christmas Re-Gifted. What does God’s gift of Love look like?

Pastor Tom