Tuesday, November 24, 2015

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, NOVEMBER 29. This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. The Advent season takes place the four Sundays before Christmas and it ends on Christmas Eve. The word advent means “coming” of “visit”. During the Advent season we remember Jesus’ first coming (his birth) and his second coming (His return). In a world that starts the commercial side of Christmas before October 31, Halloween, it is a good thing to remember the reason for the season. My prayer is that the Biblical readings on hope, peace, joy and love will draw our attention to the great Gift of God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let each of our worship services begin with a focus on God’s love. Biblical focus, Christ centered, Mission minded…what’s not to love?

A CHANGE IS COMING. January 3rd is the first Sunday of the New Year, 2016. We are going to temporarily end our 8:30 worship service. The attendance has continued for years at a small number of attendees. I know it was very convenient for some to have an early option. There were times when we had almost as many people leading the 8:30 service as those attending. We suspect the numbers will grow even smaller during the colder, darker months of the year. So, we will visit the possibility again at the end of March and the end of May. If we do a re-launch of the service, it will be tied into the attendance of the 11:00 service…when we are consistently full. Until then, let’s use Ephesians 4:4-6 as our theme verse: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as we were called to one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


This Sunday should be a lovely day of worship and giving thanks. We will combine for one service. THERE WILL BE NO 8:30 SERVICE THIS WEEK. At the 11:00 Thanksgiving service, we will give thanks and recognize the new members added to the JIBC family this year…always a wonderful highlight! We will celebrate communion together as the Eucharist…thanksgiving. We will enjoy a wonderful set of praise and worship songs led by Marty and our praise team. Then, to follow that…we will have a church wide meal. The Kitchen Krew is fixing everything but the desserts. So bring your favorite dessert…and a little something else if you want to. But everything will be provided. Most of us will be seated inside, but there will be some seating available outside and the youth will be retreating to the youth room upstairs. So there should be plenty of room for everyone this year.

To finish the day, we will gather together at 6:00 for the Community Thanksgiving Service hosted this year by James Island Christian. Bring a canned good if you can…see what I did there? An offering will be taken to help the less fortunate on James Island. Oh, what a great service this will be.

Haters Going To Hate

Trends come and go. Here is one that I wish would go quickly…haters going to hate. There seems to be an idea that it is popular, cool, necessary, godly, spiritual, requested…whatever... to be a hater. It is in vogue to be against something. It does not have to be wrong or important or of consequence. A hater is going to hate. They are against whatever, whenever, wherever that gets them attention. It could be The Donald’s hair or Tim Tebow’s prayer. Haters gonna hate.

The uproar over Starbucks red cup was crazy…but haters gonna hate. Can we assume there was such a slow news day that someone would give time to a non-decorated cup. We seemed to love “my red solo cup, I fill you up, let’s have a party”. No haters there. Why you want to be a hater of a coffee cup?

An acquaintance of mine is hating on all things Christmas…trees, gifts, lights...all the things about Christmas that we love. And he is a believer. Sorry Mr. Grinch…why you gotta be a hater? You don’t like parades, don’t go…but don’t be hating on people that love parades. You don’t have to eat the pie, but don’t ruin it for those who love it…if you know what I mean. Sometimes I think, like the Grinch, their hearts are two sizes too small or their halo’s are on too tight. They take the fun out of fundamentalism.

Two days after Thanksgiving, I will be sitting around my decorated Christmas tree, enjoying the beautiful Nativity scene Janie’s mom made..with the 3 wise men present, watching the little Disney train go round and round, marveling at the beautifully wrapped gifts bought with love and singing “My Red Starbucks cup, I fill you up, let’s have a party!” To paraphrase the Word…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…and try our best not to be haters! Don’t let your good be spoken evil of. Give thanks…give lots of thanks. It’s a good cure for a bad case of the hates!

Pastor Tom

Thursday, November 12, 2015


1. COME TO THE TABLE…The next two Sunday’s will be focused on one of the most important of spiritual disciplines…giving thanks. Learning to be thankful is a spiritual attribute that cannot be over looked. This is how important I think it is in the life of believers. If you want spiritual life to grow more…give thanks more. If you wonder why your walk with Jesus is not moving anywhere…take a look at your practice or lack of practice in being thankful. So, for the next 2 Sundays, we will look at 1 Thessalonians 5:11-19 and Matthew 26:26-30. You will be invited to come to the table…and to give thanks.

2. On Wednesday night, November 18, you are invited to join the Church Leadership team for a presentation of the 2016 Mission and Ministry Budget. The presentation will be made by Ronnie Cooper, one of our Elders and a member of our Finance and Budget Team. After the Budget presentation, there may also be time for other ministry and mission teams to report and share what God is doing in their areas of missions.

3. COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING WORSHIP SERVICE - Sunday, November 22 at 6:00 p.m. James Island Christian Church will host the Community Thanksgiving Worship Service. JI Christian is located just off of Folly Road behind Arby’s. It is always an inspirational and effective gathering of believers. An offering will be received that will be given to the James Island outreach. You are also asked to being an item of canned food for JI Outreach. The new pastor of First Baptist James Island is scheduled to bring the message this year. Give thanks…with a grateful heart.

See you Sunday… good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I want to encourage our church family to add Tom and Lisa McConnell to your prayer list. You may be aware that we, as a church family, commissioned Tom McConnell to a new ministry. I don’t mean just new as in just beginning. I mean new as in I don’t know anyone else doing what he will be doing. So let me explain.

Tom recently accepted a job in Georgetown, South Carolina. He and Lisa moved to their new home in Pawleys Island. They still consider James Island Baptist their church…at least their home church. They started visiting churches around the area where they live. There are some large, growing, thriving churches in the area. What they found and what burdened them was the smaller, struggling rural mind set churches. Churches that had so few people they could not afford to call a fulltime pastor, not even a part time or bi-vocational pastor. Tom grew up in a small rural town and began his faith walk in a small rural church. These two experiences tugged on his heart.

He came to me with an idea. He would offer his services to these small churches at no charge. He would basically serve as their free interim pastor. His unique skills of teaching and leading would help the church families look at two options. One, do they want to exist? Do they want to continue on or do they see their days as over? If so, Tom can help them plan their exit strategy…how to use their assets to continue the legacy of their church. On the other hand, if they believe God is not finished with them, how do they turn around? How do they re-vision and re-engage in Kingdom work?

Truthfully, this is a hard work. God can do all things…the question is often do we want Him to? It would be much easier to start a new church than to resurrect a dead church. Both are dependent on the grace and power of God. Tom feels called to at least try. This mission seems so big and so impossible I think it must be of God. When Mr. T was asked his prediction of the fight with Rocky Balboa he said “pain”. I make the same prediction…pain. I also know there is never a feast without a sacrifice; that we know Jesus in the power of His resurrection as well as in His suffering.
So pray. Pray for wisdom, patience, courage, boldness, kindness. Pray for open doors that Tom will find favor with God and with the churches looking for help. Pray for how JIBC will join God as the doors open.
Interestingly enough, the Charleston Baptist Association just voted on its new purpose statement. The CBA exists to do three things: strengthen churches; strengthen pastors and leaders; plant new churches and develop church plant leaders. Almost sounds like Tom McConnell was listening in on that meeting. Really, it sounds like God is doing something. So pray.

See you soon, Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 Fall Festival


This Saturday we are planning our annual Fall Festival. It is the largest event of the year for us.

We have great crowds, sometimes standing room only, at Christmas Eve and Easter worship service. The Fall Festival is larger than both of them. Remember our goal is not just large numbers of people. The origin of the Fall Festival was to go head to head with Halloween, providing for families a safe and fun environment for a community event. We do have a Gospel presentation booth and the Gideons will be here to give away New Testaments. Nothing beats seeing the Gospel lived out by our members. Be kind, be happy, share love, and look for conversations you can get into

Let’s create an impression that is so positive and loving that those who do not go to church would consider JIBC if they were ever looking for a church family. How can you beat that…having fun and influencing the community. Thanks JIBC, you are the best. That being said…

We live in such a fast paced world it is necessary to calendar and plan ahead. Some move so quickly, they cannot plan or calendar…they take the adventures as they come. That being said, it is not too late to sign up to help at the Fall Festival. We have several booths and positions that still need teams of two to help. If you would be willing to help, please call Susan or Neale at 762-0244. It is not too late. You can sign up for an hour or for the entire 2 hours. How much fun do you want?

See you there, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thank You

Thank you for responding so well to the Buckets of Hope. Susan Warren, our Connection Minister, is working hard to gather and distribute the relief buckets to the places they are needed. Last week she was able to deliver 7 to Johns Island. Last Sunday night Janie and I went with Pastor Sean and some of the youth for a buying spree at Lowes. JIBC was given enough money to purchase 9 more buckets and materials. It was fun to watch them do their power shopping. I felt like we were on an episode of Extreme Couponing! Good job everyone. It is not too late to donate toward buying the Disaster Relief recommended item or to donate. They youth were able to buy all the items requested for just under $70.00 per bucket! Billy and Felecia Hebert had the buckets to donate…woohoo. Bucket List for Jesus…love it.

WOODLAWN…THE MOVIE. We have been blessed by two outrageously good movies lately. War Room is an absolute must see. Now, Woodlawn takes off like a rocket. What an outstandingly good movie. It is inspirational and so clearly Christ centered. This movie should be a block buster and send a message to Hollywood that these great movies can make them money as well as be a positive influence on America. Go see the movie. Take someone with you if you can. Grandparents, I want to recommend a sneak attack. Offer to babysit for your kids and give them $9 to go see the movie at James Island Cinema. You get the grands and they get a great movie. Everyone wins.

FALL FESTIVAL, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31. This may be our biggest community outreach event of the year. PRAY His Kingdom come and His will be done. Pray for safety of those attending and strength for those serving. PARTICIPATE by volunteering. There are plenty of opportunities to be a part of the event. You can sign up for the first half of the evening or the second half…brave souls can sign up for the whole evening. PARTY by having fun. Smiling faces and helpful members go a long way to make guests feel welcome. This much laughter counts as two therapy visits…and it is free! We put on a positive family oriented event for the community. Let’s show them a great time.

See you this Sunday, good Lord willing

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


There is an old quote: “Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond, many ponds make a lake, and many lakes make an ocean.” The North American Mission Board and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief have developed a FLOOD BUCKET LIST. Now that is a productive list. This list includes items that will help in the South Carolina tornado and flood disasters.


Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond… Let’s make a pretty good size pond from James Island Baptist. Susan went out to Home Depot and found that you could place every needed and requested item in the bucket for $80.00…including the bucket. Some will be able to put together one bucket, some more. Some will not be able to afford an entire bucket but you can still help. Donate what you can and we will be able to make buckets from all donations received. If you would like to give, but do not want to go to Home Depot or Lowes, still donate, we will have volunteers go for you. Make this a Connection Group project. Together, many drops make a bucket. This is a great project that is so very practical and helpful.

We are hoping Susan will be able to work with the relief agencies and find out how we can be hands on in distributing the buckets of love. Our goal is to put together 50 FLOOD BUCKETS. Why 50? Because many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond, many ponds make a lake, many lakes make an ocean. Let’s make an ocean of love…or at least a good size pond!

If you decide to fill a bucket, here is the list of requested and needed item. They are due before October 21. That is this coming Wednesday. We can do it!

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom