Tuesday, May 24, 2016

MEMORIAL DAY

This coming Monday is Memorial Day. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and it dates back to the Civil War. It is a day to remember the men and women who died during their service to the United States of America. Please take time to remember one of the most powerful truths we have ever heard: “Freedom is not free”.

Last week I had the joyful privilege of attending my daughter’s graduation at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. While we were there, I had the opportunity to take my grandson, Noah, to visit many of the memorials in Washington. We visited the WWII memorial, the Lincoln and Washington Memorials, the Vietnam and Korean memorials and the Jefferson Memorial. We read names and read the speeches and prayers. As Noah said to his Grandma, “Granddad got a little preachy at the memorials”. He was right. I wanted him to remember the sacrifice made for our freedom. I wanted him to read for himself about the number of deaths. I also wanted him to read with his own eyes the Christian foundation of our nation. I did get a little preachy about our rights are not given to us by the government but by God. The government can be guilty of taking away and limiting our rights…but they do not give them to us. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

This Sunday, we will remember those who paid the ultimate price. We will remember the sacrifice of our military personnel. We will also remember the sacrifice of those who serve our Lord Jesus at a price. Continuing the theme of Family Foundations, we will remember the sacrifice of parents who strive to honor God in their lives. But ultimately, we will remember the sacrifice of our Father who so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son...to die for the world. We will observe the Lord’s Supper as the Memorial Meal. I hope you will be here to participate...and to be grateful.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MISSION …that is the same

This past Sunday, Janie and I, along with 6 others from JIBC, rode our motorcycles to Aiken, South Carolina. We went to visit Gary Hanna, pastor at Freedom Biker Church. Gary and his wife Debra lead a small but growing mission church that targets bikers. It is different. Their welcoming motto is “Leather, jeans and tattoos are appropriate church wear”. Granted, that is not all that different for our church family. It is very different for the majority of Southern Baptist. Freedom Biker Church is endorsed by Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. Pastor Gary understands that not everyone will feel at home at Freedom Biker Church. Everyone is welcomed, but not everyone will buy into their vision. They are a solid church, committed to honoring God, exalting the Lord Jesus, believing and living God’s Word, with a passion to reach bikers who do not know Jesus. By the way, there are 25,000 registered bikers in their community.

Here is the interesting thing to me. If they were in China or Africa we would fully understand that they have to learn the language, adapt to a new customs, perhaps wear different clothing and go to where the people are living. They might visit places that are not so “holy”…like a Buddhist Temple…or a biker bar. They will no doubt smell different smells, eat different foods and hear very different music. It is missions.

Freedom Biker Church is a different kind of mission that is the same. It is the same for any church that seriously wants to engage the un-churched or under-churched culture. I have said before that one of the largest unreached people groups in America are children and teenagers. The current statistics suggest less that 10% are followers of Jesus. Whether it is a Biker Church, youth ministry, JIBC or Celebrate Recovery , it is a different kind of mission that is the same. We must not make the mistake of thinking they will come to us. So Jesus gave us a command…Go. If you ride a motorcycle you just go faster…but it is the same “go”.

Pastor Tom



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

JOY CLUB MYSTERY TRIP: TUESDAY, MAY 24

The Joy Club takes a trip every month. As I like to say, we usually go see something pretty interesting and then go to eat at a really good place. Hard to tell which is most important but both are really enjoyable.

This month we are scheduled for our annual mystery trip sponsored by the church staff. You need to be at the church at 9 am and bring $5 for lunch. There will be some walking involved, but not too much. We will not be in a hurry anywhere we walk, so not a problem. After our trip and lunch we will plan for a special dessert stop. Depending on how much you plan to eat, you might bring another $5…just in case.

Just a reminder of our past mystery trips: we have done James Island Church tours; we did concerts and ice cream sundaes at McAlister-Smith Funeral Home; and we did take out at Dodge’s Gas Station for fried chicken and sweet potato pies. How you gonna top that? That is why it is a mystery trip. Take a chance and join us. Anyone is welcome to come. You don’t have to be a senior adult…just someone looking for good fellowship and some fun.

SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS
Since last Saturday was the Kentucky Derby, how about a trifecta of good news? First, Pastor Claudio and his family celebrated their 5 year anniversary at Luz Y Verdad. Wow. Five years of faithful service has really been blessed. They are running just at 100 adults plus their teens, children and preschoolers. At his rate of growth they will soon be out of space where they currently meet. Now that is the kind of problems you want to have. Congratulations Pastor Claudio and your church family. Second, we have started again having the patients from the Charleston Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment attend Celebrate Recovery again. They were not able to attend for some time. Now we send the bus to pick them up each Sunday night. Last Sunday we have 17 adults and 6 babies! We are so happy for this opportunity! To God be the glory. Third, did you know that Southern Baptists start 25 new church plants every week? Imagine, each week that goes by sees your offerings being used to start 25 new churches. Most of them are started in major metropolitan cities like Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, NYC, etc. Thank you for giving so faithfully to support your local church missions at JIBC as well as missions around the world. There, the trifecta of good news!

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN

I enjoy so very many moments as a pastor. High on the list of the enjoyable moments is a Parent-Child Dedication Celebration. The model we follow is Jesus taking the children into his arms, laying his hands on them as he blesses them. We celebrate the blessing of new life and God’s addition to these families. As you know, parenting is both an awesome and fearful responsibility. Parents are God’s first line of spiritual and physical defense. As a church family, we partner with these families to help love and nurture their babies. They are not just raising children. They are raising children to be fully devoted followers of Jesus who will join us in the task of making fully devoted followers of Jesus. These parents are raising children who may one day be a godly husband or a godly wife. They may be raising children who themselves will one day raise children to be followers of Jesus. My prayer is that they will commit to helping their children survive and to thrive by providing godly role models. We pray for the day we will see these children come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Our congratulations and prayers to the three couples and the 5 babies dedicated this past Sunday. Remember them in your prayers: Chancy and Angela Welker (Matthew Lee and Millie Jane); Bryan and Paige Cooper (Carter David and Lila Grace); and Daniel and Brooke Wood (Sadie Elizabeth). The sight of these families was spectacularly beautiful in the Lord. They are each a testimony to the grace and goodness of God. We are so honored to celebrate with all three of these couples and their families.

A TASTE OF JAMES ISLAND
A word of thanks to our team that set up, cooked, volunteered, cleaned up, stocked, and those who showed up ate with great enthusiasm. This certainly was the largest attended Taste of James Island so far. There was great fellowship between the churches representing a variety of denominations and backgrounds. We had strong support from several businesses in the community. Food and funds were raised to help feed the hungry and meet needs. Well done…well done.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CALL TO ME: CHURCH WIDE PRAYER EXPERIENCE

I have so enjoyed the daily devotional “CALL TO ME: A SEASON OF PRAYER AND CONNECTION”. It has been good to read devotionals written by our church members. To see their thoughts and feel the passion of their hearts has been encouraging. I have used the list of ministries in the front of the devotional book as a prayer guide. I am on my third time praying through all of these missions and ministries. I hope you are having a similar experience of joy and refreshing.

The finale to this event is coming up on Saturday, May 14. Pastor Marty and his team have put together an interactive prayer experience for the church family. On Saturday, May 14, from 6 PM to 8:00 PM you are invited to drop by the church for your reserved time of prayer. There will be four prayer stations in the worship center/sanctuary for us to experience. Each one will take approximately 15 minutes to experience. Then you will move t the next prayer station. The four stations will be Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (praying for others).

Just a thought: why not do this as a Connection Group, as a family or with a friend. Make a night of it. Experience this together; then go out to eat and talk about the experience. It is after all, a season of prayer and connection. What a great way to connect. It certainly would be our prayer and hope that the family that prays together stays together. The same would hold true for Connection Groups and friends. Pray together and strengthen your bonds!

“Call to me and I will answer and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”   Jeremiah 33:3

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

TWO FOR ONE


Don’t you love it when you get a great two for one deal? Buy one meal and get the second free. Buy one jar of jelly and get a second one free. Really, who does not love to get two for one? Here is my point: How about two blessings for one? Saturday, April 30 is the Taste of James Island. The best church cooks from around the island will be putting their best dish forward. You can come and enjoy some of the most delicious food anywhere around AND support one of our favorite ministries…James Island Outreach. If you can, bring a jar of jelly or any canned good item to donate. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the ministry and to collect food. The cost of admission is one non-perishable item…like a jar of jelly! Remember James Island Baptist is the church family in charge of collecting jelly. You can bring absolutely anything though.

FAMILY FRIENDLY The event starts at 11:30 am and goes until 3:00 pm. In addition to the best food around, there will be raffles, good music and children’s activities. This would be a great opportunity to involve your children in giving back to the community. You will see old friends and can make some new ones if you want to. We will have many churches from a variety of backgrounds participating. What a testimony to the love and grace of God that can bring us all together for fellowship and mission.

Two for one…how can you beat a deal like that? Think of the wonderful irony…by eating and enjoying great food we are helping the hungry. Only God can do that kind of wonderful work.

All kidding aside, think of the mission of James Island Outreach: No one on James Island goes to bed hungry unless we don’t know about it. Your ongoing gifts and support make this ministry a success. We have several members from our church family that volunteer regularly. We collect tons of jelly every year and we support JIO financially as well. Way to go JIBC. Job well done…jam up and jelly tight!

Pastor Tom
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great 
and unsearchable things you do not know.” 
 Jeremiah 33:3


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

TRANSITION HOUSE UPDATE

I cannot and do not always give updates on the Transition House or our residents. That sometimes is difficult because some may think they are entitled to know everything about everything. It is usually not that way. Residents can come and go quickly. Our primary objective is to give them the opportunity to transition. They may “keep their bed”, their place in the house, as long as they live up to the contract agreement they turn in every week. It should never be a surprise to a resident if they are asked to leave the house. They turn in a weekly agreement. Either they kept it or they did not. You certainly understand when we do not make public announcements about the house, who is out and for what reason. And, by the way, not everyone leaves because of a relapse. Some leave for more personal reasons. Thanks for understanding this and for helping others understand as well. 

I love the way our church family loves and receives the House residents. Just remember, many of them, like many of us, have lived for years as cons. To stop using your drug of choice is hard. Those addictive thinking patterns can be harder to change. One of the things we will be asking the church family and our recovery ministry is to not give money to our current or former Transition House residents. That is so hard because we love them and their babies. You can give money for them through Celebrate Recovery. Then their sponsor or CR leaders and/or group can make sure it is the healthy thing to do. That even includes things like diapers, milk, etc. Wow, I know, that is so hard. We want to make sure helping does not hurt. This may relieve a lot of pressure should someone ask for help. You can agree to help…but only through Celebrate Recovery. The new residents will sign an agreement that they will not ask.

Right now, the Transition House is going through some changes. I am calling it a reboot. We are having some major construction issues. Some of them are structural in nature. Others are more cosmetic. Think about it. We originally bought the house for the purpose of tearing it down for parking. It went with no attention for over 6 years before we started the Transition House. We have had the Transition House Ministry for close to 4 years; housed over 20 women and almost that many children. It is time for the four R’s…repair, repaint, refresh and refurnish. While the house is temporarily closed, we will also be “rebooting” our policies and procedures and developing a Ministry Team to help lead the Transition House Ministry. Just FYI, the last residents had over a month’s notice that the house was closing down. We did not want anyone, especially babies and children, living there with major construction happening. So, all in all, announcing in February that the house would be closed was good timing. It gave everyone 4 to 6 weeks to make plans.

Let’s pray together Jeremiah 33:3…call to me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know…

Pastor Tom