Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Transition House is full…for the moment! Praise the Lord

For the newer members of the JIBC family, we operate a Transition House for women coming out of the Charleston Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center. We opened it because it was ranked as the number one unmet need in Charleston. We are still the only Transition House in Charleston doing what we do. Hard to believe right?

The very nature of the Transition House Ministry is change. Since JIBC has opened the house, we have had 30 residents come through our ministry. We measure success in two ways. First, we offer opportunity to come to a safe place to work on their sobriety, sanity and serenity. The second way we measure success is by how hard they work on #1. It is after all, their sobriety and their life. We provide opportunity but they have to work their program.

We just welcomed a new resident last week. That fills the house with three women. That is the limit. We have one baby in the house but all three of them have children that will occasionally visit. What a beautiful sight that is! On occasion someone will ask about how the women “get to come to the house”. So, let me share the process.

First, they have to submit an application and then receive the information package about our Program and ministry. Second, they have to successfully finish their time at the Charleston Center and must have earned the status of “Mentor” at the center; showing their willingness, ability and desire to succeed. Third, they must attend Celebrate Recovery a minimum of four times so they can know who we are and we can get to know them. Fourth, they must be recommended to our program by their counselor to be considered. Fifth, our CR small group women’s leader needs to know them and have a positive recommendation. Sixth, they are interviewed, whenever possible, by the current residents since they will be living together. Seventh, if they have successfully completed these first steps, then they have an intensive final interview with me. The Eighth and final step is to do an official SLED background check.

I share this process because from the outside it may look like we just randomly decide who gets in and who does not. It is a very thorough process.

As always, thank you for your prayers and support. Our Celebrate Recovery Ministry is making a difference. By the way, we are looking to furnish the little upstairs apartment. We need sofas chairs, tables, lamps. We have all the bedding we need.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Seems like a very long time

We only missed the one Sunday, but it seems like such a long time since our church family has gathered. Let me go back just a few weeks. Marty and the praise team did a great job at our Christmas Eve Carols, Candlelight and Communion Worship Service. Your entire staff did a great job in making sure we had a Christ exalting celebration of God’s goodness and grace. Having the harpist was fabulous.

This past Sunday, January 7 we opted not to ask our church family to venture out on the black ice in the frigid weather. I know that there were some hearty souls who were up to the challenge. In this case, we felt like wisdom was the better part of valor. We heeded the news alerts and advised our church family to stay off the roads whenever possible. We knew the main roads were passable, but many of the side streets were still treacherous. The church parking lot was completely covered; the front porch and the sidewalks were solid sheets of ice. We had two church members that we knew about who had slipped and were injured due to the ice. We heard of one friend who fell and broke both wrists. Not worth it, not gonna do it, nuh uh, no way. We want you and your families safe and sound. It is never an easy call to not have a worship service whether because of snow and ice or tropical winds. Please remember the words of our Lord: “The Sabbath was made for you not you for the Sabbath”. When we made the decision, I told Pastor Sean my only regret was that we did not have a truck to go around spraying some sort of deicer on the drive ways of our members. Anyway, it is over, thank you Lord Jesus, it is over. The snow was beautiful; I thoroughly enjoyed it and am ready to resume our regularly scheduled activities.

This Sunday, I am beginning a series on Christ Alone. My scripture passage will be Acts 4:1-12. The memory verse will be verse 12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Do we really mean Christ Alone? Yes we do. Join us Sunday for Bible Study and Worship.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Starting January 7, I will begin a new teaching series we are calling “ALONE”. It will be based on the Five Solas of the 16th Century Reformation. The Latin word “sola” means alone or only. The Five Solas are the key teachings of Christianity. They are the teachings that clearly separate us from world religions. I believe they can be life changing once believed and embraced.

During the 16th Century, people like Martin Luther and John Calvin led a reformation that literally changed the world of religion. Led by God, they spear headed a reformation to correct the abuses and heresies of the church. They struck a match that still burns brightly today. Their faithfulness and sacrifice led to what we now refer to as the Protestant Reformation. We, as Southern Baptist, are a part of the “protesters” now known as Protestants. God blessed His church greatly by the willing sacrifice of these reformers. Think about this: the Bible up until that time could only be read in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. There were almost no translations of the Bible in the language of the common, uneducated person. At that time, many priests were not even required to read the Bible to perform their duties. When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, it moved the reformation ahead in a way that could never be stopped. Today, we have the Bible in so many translations, we sometimes make an issue out of which translation is the best. You want to know the absolute best translation of the Bible? It is the one you read, understand and obey. Never forget that all translations of the Bible are translations. Many are great, most are good and even the lesser ones are still used by the Holy Spirit to make Christ known.

I will be bringing biblical messages that will feature, if you will, these Five Solas. The Five Alones are: Christ Alone; Faith Alone; Grace Alone; Scripture Alone; and Glory of God Alone.

I am praying for our church family during this series. May the Spirit of God continue to reform us into the glorious image of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


This year’s advent theme has been SIMPLE CHRISTMAS. It has been fun to tell the story of Jesus’ birth using some of the main characters involved in the Christmas Story. Sean brought a message about the Simple Worship of the Shepherds. I brought the teachings about the Simple Offering of the Inn Keeper offering Mary and Joseph what he had. We can’t offer him what we do not have right? This past Sunday we talked about the Simple Message of the Angels: fear not, give God glory, peace on earth and the favor of God. This coming Sunday morning I will talk about Simple Gifts given by the Magi. I have enjoyed this teaching series on Simple Christmas.

We celebrate the ultimate meaning of Simple Christmas this Sunday evening with our annual Christmas Carols, Communion and Candlelight Service at 6:00 p.m. For years this has been the largest attended service of the year for JIBC. We are planning for a beautiful service built around our Advent theme…Simple Christmas. We will have a preschool nursery available. School age children will join us in the Worship Center for our service.

Thank you for the mission support for James Island Outreach, Florence Crittenton, Lowcountry Pregnancy Center, and Lowcountry Orphan Relief. Your response to help the poor and less fortunate has been outstanding. You put the Christ in Christmas with joy and love. Thank you.

If you are still looking for a way to give and make an impact, I suggest a gift to Southern Baptist International Missions, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Missionaries around the world will be blessed with your gifts. Every penny you give goes to the missionaries and not one cent is used for promotion or other fees. It really is getting the biggest bang for your buck. Southern Baptists support almost 4,000 full time missionaries around the world. At least four of them are from James Island Baptist. Thank you for praying and supporting them.

I hope to see you this Sunday morning at worship and then for the Christmas Eve service. If I do not, Janie and I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christ-filled Christmas.

Pastor Tom

2018 New Addition to our Ministry

We have budgeted for and are planning on having a police officer present at our morning services. An officer may not be present every week but will most likely be present most weeks. I know it is hard to believe, but this is becoming more and more a standard operating procedure for many church families.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Last Minute Christmas Shopping and the Perfect Gift

We have former members of JIBC, Ryan and Kristen Parker who serve as full time missionaries in South Asia. I won’t say the exact location because this is in print. One of the ministries they have is helping women who are coming out of the sex industry. At our request, they sent us a small box of bracelets made by these Himalayan women. If you are looking for the perfect gift or stocking stuffer, ask Janie to see these bracelets. They cost $10 each or 3 for $25. I am including an article about them below. You get a cool gift, a great story, a gift with purpose and a way to share your faith.

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Tom

WorldCrafts and Blessed Hope Provide a Safe Haven for 
Women to Avoid Trafficking and Pursue Their Dreams

In an area where trafficking is increasingly prevalent, Blessed Hope is a beacon of light for women who seek an alternative lifestyle. Many of these Himalayan women have little education, low literacy rates, and poor economic status. In desperate living conditions, they can easily end up in the labor and sex trafficking industry.

Blessed Hope helps women avoid trafficking by providing the means for earning a wholesome income. After operating for only two years, it employs 20 Himalayan women, young and old. Because some women have children and other tasks at home, Blessed Hope allows them to work from home most of the week. Every Tuesday they meet together to evaluate their work and have a time of prayer and devotion.

Blessed Hope helps women succeed in all walks of life. Neema, a junior college student, uses her income to help pay for books and housing expenses. As she finishes her last year of junior college, Neema hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Sonam, age 24, is one of the owners and manages Blessed Hope. Her husband recently left the country to search for better employment opportunities abroad. Sonam’s income helped her family purchase a two-room apartment, where she now lives with her uncle and young child. Your purchase of even one piece of jewelry is a major blessing in a woman’s life. Purchasing 1 bracelet provides: 2-3 days of quality food for an entire family or 1 month of school supplies.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Do you have all your Christmas shopping finished?

I kind of admire those who manage to have all their Christmas shopping finished early and can just sit back and enjoy the Christmas season. I am a true single task male. One night, one list, one store…get ‘er done! Janie insists on making me calm down and spread the Christmas cheer over several days…weeks…months! Lol. Some of my fondest memories are going shopping with Janie’s family when we were teenagers. Mr. Hines would load us all up on Christmas Eve and we would head to the malls. I could just sit back and watch, feeling no pressure and just enjoying the company. That was during a much simpler time.

This year, Janie and I, were able to give our first two Christmas gifts to missions. First, we bought the items for our Advent Missions emphasis: Jelly for James Island Outreach; diapers for Low country Pregnancy; pajamas for Low country Orphans; and pop up hampers for Florence Crittenton. I like the old mission saying “the light that shines brightest shines first at home”. I already see the Worship Center Christmas Trees surrounded by gifts. Thank you for being such a generous giving church. Our second gift was to International Missions, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This is an offering that goes 100% to support Southern Baptist International Missionaries around the world. We are so honored to give to such a worthwhile effort. By the way, our church sets up an in-house “Christmas Card Mail Box”. If you would like to give someone in the church a card, you can place it in the mail box. In the old days, you were encouraged to then give the money saved on stamps to missions. If I might make a suggestion: just use the Christmas Card mail box and enjoy. Then, as you are able, consider a gift to International Missions. It will be money well spent. If you have time, check out their web site at https://www.imb.org. You will find some great stories about our missionaries there. If you did not pick up a Missions Prayer guide this past Sunday, they will be available this Sunday.

This Sunday, I will continue our Advent series, Simple Christmas. My message will be about that infamous Inn Keeper that had no room for Mary and Joseph! We will light the Advent Candle of Peace and remember the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ. Janie and I enjoyed our anniversary week away. Glad to be home and looking forward to seeing you Sunday.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The word advent comes from the Latin word meaning “coming”. Many churches and many denominations observe the Advent Season, the Christmas season, to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus as the babe in Bethlehem. It also has some reference and meaning connected to the Second Coming of Christ. It is a very rich and meaningful word that can help in celebrating a very meaningful and important Biblical theme…the Coming of Christ.

So, let’s say it again. The Advent season reminds us of Jesus’ first coming as a Holy Babe in Bethlehem and it reminds of us His second coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So far, so good, right? The very Latin word for advent is a translation of the Greek word “parousia” the Word we usually associate with the Second Coming. But this isn’t a Greek or Latin lesson. It is a call to worship and reflect. That is strong theologically.

The fact that Jesus came the first time as the babe at Bethlehem and He will come the second time as King of Kings can be a moot point without the “third coming”. If Jesus Christ does not come into your heart and life as Savior and Lord then you personally miss the greatest Coming of all time and could potentially miss the next greatest Coming of all time. I hope our Lord comes to your heart daily as you seek Him like the wise men and as you worship Him as the Shepherds did.

When we gather this Christmas season we will observe Advent. Our theme this Advent season is Simple Christmas. It is a call to remember the reason for the season. It is an opportunity to celebrate His birth…the Advent. It is a reminder to be charitable and an opportunity to bless others. Enjoy the lights and remember He is the Light of the World. Revel in the music for what it is…worship of the Son of God becoming flesh. Intentionally spend time with family and friends. Consider reaching out to someone, say a little different than you. Help them celebrate the advent of the Babe so one day they might celebrate their own advent of the Savior.

Advent…what’s not to love? Simple Christmas…I love the idea!

Pastor Tom