Thursday, February 26, 2015

JIBC Happenings

“More Than A Song”

February’s teaching series has been on worship. The series was entitled “More than a Song”. Worship is at the heart of what we do. We are committed to God’s purpose for the church: to lead people to be a part of the family of God; to develop them to become more like Jesus; to equip them to serve the Body of Christ with their unique gifts and abilities; and to send them into their community and world to make a difference. But at the heart of this purpose is worship; to offer all that we are to a Holy God; to respond to the character and nature of God with praise, adoration and thanksgiving. It is so much more than a song.

It has been said the reason we have missions is because there is not worship. If those we tried to reach were already worshipping the living God and our Lord Jesus, then there would be no need to reach them. Because God is in business to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken world…we are in the business to join Him. Somehow, with God’s help, worship is to be our goal, our motivation, the power of what we do. It is not just what we do on Sunday mornings…it is what we do every day. Sunday morning corporate worship is like the culmination of what we did the rest of the week. I pray that we will continually grow to be a people that worship Him in spirit and truth. So, clap your hands all you people, shout unto God with a voice of triumph. I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the House of the LORD. Amen.


Sean, our pastor of family ministries, has put together a great lineup of help for our families. First, he will launch a new series “A House Divided” starting this Sunday. The Sunday morning messages will be coordinated with the Wednesday night messages he teaches in youth worship. This should provide some great talking points for families. Second, there is the Family Fun Day on Saturday, March 21. This will be held at Medway Park. It is an opportunity for families to come out and have a BIG O FUN day together. Really, the price is right…free (unless you buy a hot dog…and the proceeds there go to missions). Bring your own lunch and drinks and it is F-R-E-E. Really, just come on out and have some fun. Third, Sean is bringing in a guest speaker for the UNDERSTANDING YOUR TEENAGER seminar, Sunday, March 22. It only cost $20 bucks. Really, only $20? That is less than a drive through at McDonalds. One visit to the counselor could cost $120.00. Please note the date was changed from February to MARCH 22. That is a Sunday night, 5:00 -8:00 p.m. You tell me you want to go but cannot afford it, I will scholarship you. The $20 is for mom, dad, grandparents, even your nanny...whoever is helping you parent your children. Childcare is available if you let us know it is needed. Parenting a preteen or teen can be challenging. We want to help, but you have to show up. These 3 major events are in addition to the weekly ongoing opportunities for discipleship, service and mission that can help your family.

Here are three heavy weight opportunities to help impact your family in a positive way. I am praying for you to take full advantage of them. Blessings and thanks for all you do.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Quite a Day at JIBC

23 units of blood given

We are thankful for Candy Oliver and our friends at the American Red Cross for arranging a blood drive at JIBC. We had a strong response with 23 units of blood given. Several others came out to give but were unable. Thank you for your support. Each unit of blood helps 3 more people. That means 69 people were helped by your donations. I am grateful that Janie and I are both able to give. As you know, our family has been on the receiving end of the blessing! Thanks to all of you who give, whether here at JIBC or at other collection sites. Thanks to all who came out and tried to give. We even had some cheerleaders on hand to encourage everyone who came!

Luz y Verdad New Room Dedication

Our Hispanic Church family, Luz Y Verdad, has seen wonderful growth over the last few months. They are almost as large in size as the average Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina. Because of your faithful tithes and offerings, we were able to give them another room for their expansion. We do not have to charge them rent or any expenses. Even though we no longer rent these rooms out, God has continued to provide. Thank you for giving so generously. They currently meet for worship in the room formerly known as the Café. It is almost entirely dedicated to the use of Luz Y Verdad now. They also have a small room between them and Barry’s Kitchen , that they use for a nursery. They have 2 small rooms they use for their food ministry and outreach ministries. Now, they have the room next door for their children and youth meetings. They need it. Yesterday, they had at least 60 adults, maybe 6 or 7 teens, around 12 children and quite a few babies. It was a beautiful sight! We arrived in time for their final two praise songs. Their band and singers sounded great and the people were engaged in celebration. We had a ribbon cutting and prayers of dedication. Pastor Sean prayed a blessing over their new Youth and Children’s Team and committed to taking one of their leaders, at our expense, to the next Youth Training event.

Worship: It’s More than a song

This week we will conclude the series on worship we are calling MORE THAN A SONG. I hope you have been blessed and challenged as we looked at ways to expand our worship, deepen our devotion and fan our emotions. This week our plan, good Lord willing, is to conclude this series with Communion and a greater time of worship and celebration. Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday: The Lord’s people, gathered on the Lord’s day, reading the Lord’s Word in His House. Indeed, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the House of the Lord.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


This Sunday, Pastor Claudio and I will lead a dedication/ribbon cutting for their new Hispanic Children and Youth Room. The Hispanic Mission, Luz Y Verdad, continues to be blessed with growth. As God adds new families, they bring in more children and youth. In God’s perfect timing, the room next to their worship center became available. They have done a wonderful job of repairing, painting and getting the room ready for missions and ministry. This Sunday, February 15, we will meet around 12:30 outside the room by the café. Not to be terribly politically incorrect, but this is an approximate time. It could well be closer to 1:00. At any rate, I will be outside waiting for them at 12:30. For those who are new to our church family, the Hispanic Church, Luz Y Verdad, meets in the ministry center on the Maybank Highway side of our church campus. It is the tan building with the green awnings directly next to the Transition House. The Hispanic church worships in the café. They currently have around 50 in regular attendance. Just fyi, we really do not use the café for any events now. It is almost exclusively used for the Hispanic Ministry. They use another small room on the end of the building for their food ministry and the matching room on the Plymouth Avenue side for their clothing and other ministries. Now they will have an additional room, with bathroom facilities and storage, for their children and youth activities. To God be the glory. Years ago, the building was used almost exclusively for commercial rental purposes. Today, almost all the building is used for ministry and missions. The room that will be dedicated was formerly used as a show room for antiques and then a martial arts studio. Now it will be a show room for God’s grace and glory and a studio training young Hispanic disciples. Perhaps they will grow to work with God to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken Hispanic culture!

JIBC, thank you for your faithful and generous giving. Because you give faithfully and generously, we are able to help support missions like Luz Y Verdad without charging them. We are able to make available to others what God has made available to us. Your tithes and offerings are used in many ways to support missions and ministries beyond our walls. To God be the glory.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


In Isaiah 6 we read of the prophet Isaiah’s life changing worship experience. That particular event in the Temple may never be duplicated again. It does not need to. The vision of God, however, can be experienced…again and again. Isaiah had a vision of God as Sovereign, Majestic and Holy. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more. We do not need to duplicate Isaiah’s Temple experience or Moses’ burning bush experience. What we do need is the experience of seeing God exalted, high and lifted up. We want to have in our mind’s eye and heart a vision of God, who He is and what He has done for us. We need a clear and accurate biblical picture of who God is and what He has done. That will allow and enable us to do what John 4:24 says…to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

In the Isaiah 6 story, verse 4 says the Temple was filled with smoke. That intrigues me. Why smoke? Seems like that kind of hides some details. Exactly! Even though God is taking the initiative to reveal Himself to us, there is always much of God we cannot see or understand. I believe that goes against the grain of our human nature. We, especially with our western minds, feel we have the right to know everything. If there is something to be known, we should be able to know it. I really do believe there is a part of our human nature that would very much like to have a “God in the Box” that we could examine, understand and then...wait for it…control. Hence, the smoke filled Temple. Isaiah, a very religious man by profession, has an encounter with God like none other he ever experienced. He learned more about God in one encounter that he did in all his years of training and study. Again, that is precisely the point. God’s desire is not just that we know ABOUT God…He desires that we KNOW Him. John 4:23-24 says “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” Imagine, the Sovereign, Majestic, Holy God is seeking you and desiring that you know and worship Him. We cannot, and do not need to, duplicate Isaiah’s experience in the Temple. We can have one of our own. Let me close with one of my favorite poems. See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

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.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


“Christians worship is the most momentous, the most urgent, 
the most glorious action that can take place in a human life.” 
Karl Barth 

These words from an old theologian represent an extremely high view of worship. It is rightfully so. I am not sure there are enough adjectives to cover the prominence of worship. I like the more poetic words of an unknown writer: To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him is the greatest of all adventures; to find Him is the greatest of all achievements.

Our February teaching series will be built around the greater theme of worship. My desire is to lead us to reflect on Who we worship, how we worship and why we worship. This Sunday we will begin the series by looking at the great passage found in Isaiah 6.

At JIBC, we try to keep focused on the purpose of God. He is working to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken world. We are in the business of joining Him. The way we do that is driven by the purpose of God: to reach people for His family; help them mature to become more and more like Jesus; helping them discover their passion and gifts building up the church body; equipping them to go into the community and world to join God’s work to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken world; and to magnify and worship His Holy Name. This month, we will focus on the purpose of worshipping and magnifying His Name.

As you read the Bible this month, look for ways the Bible speaks to the invitation to worship. How does the Bible record people of faith worshipping? What motivates them to worship or what hinders them from worship? Read Isaiah 6 and meditate on Isaiah’s worship experience in the Temple. What can you learn from his story?

I agree with Mr. Barth: Worship is the most momentous, the most urgent, the most glorious action that can take place in our lives. Let’s make it all about Him.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


It is kind of a popular campaign to say “I love my church”. Overall, I think that is a great thing. I love His church. Not just the one I attend. I love the capital “C” Church…His Church; all believers, all places, of all times. His Church. I also love His church locally known as James Island Baptist. I really love JIBC.

I love the growth in outward focus. The challenge of every Connection Group finding a way to be salt and light in the community; finding a way to take the Light of Jesus to the places of darkness. I love that we are trying to establish reading buddies in under performing schools. Teaching someone to read or read well can be life changing…they may one day read the Word of God! I love that we offer recovery ministries for adults as well as teens and children. Celebrate Recovery is taking on one of the most difficult of life experiences…addiction. Having a Transition House offers opportunity to establish a new direction. It is hard. I love that you do not shy away from the hard task.

I love the way you give away your love. The Kitchen Krew works every week to cook and provide a fellowship meal. Many of those attending do not pay and are welcomed to enjoy. Meals are willingly sent out to the sick and homebound whether they are members or not. Our Budget Team gave the Kitchen Krew more money than they asked for in this year’s budget. Why? Because they use it wisely doing great work. I love that they have a heart to do it and our leadership has a heart to help fund it.

I love the trust we have for leadership. Not just for pastoral leadership. I love that we have grown to the place where we trust those who lead the ministries to do what they are called to do. They do not have to be regulated and controlled by those who are not doing the work. They do it because they love Jesus and love His people…they love His Church.

If I have not said it lately, let me say it again: I love His church. I especially love His church known as James Island Baptist. See you this Sunday, Lord willing.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas On Purpose means Mission On Purpose

As we enter into this last week of Christmas,I want to thank you for being such a giving church family. During our Christmas On Purpose Advent Celebration, here is a close summary of what you gave. To the Florence Crittenton Home girls, you gave over 130 reusable water bottles. The Lowcountry Orphan Relief will receive over 125 pairs of pajama’s. James Island Outreach will have over 250 jars of jelly to put on their shelves! And the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center will have over 1,500 diapers to keep those precious little bottoms dry! Thanks for all you do. To God be the glory.

The Cartersville Challenge

I received a letter from our International Mission Board saying JIBC is among the 12% of Southern Baptist Churches that met the “Cartersville Challenge”. Cartersville, Georgia is where Lottie Moon accepted the God’s call to take the Gospel to the Chinese people. It is the first milestone of her missionary life. The Cartersville Challenge is the first milestone level of missionary giving. Your gift to the Lottie Moon International Missions fund will help support 4, 810 International missionaries and their 4,000 children. Janie and I will be making our gifts to Lottie Moon, Remember, Lowcountry Pregnancy and other missions and ministries we believe in and support. As we celebrate Christmas on purpose let us remember that we support missions on purpose.

On behalf of all your church staff, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you Sunday, good Lord willing.

Tom, Sean, Susan, Marty, Neale, Shelley and Amber