First of all, I just want to thank everyone for all the love you’ve shown me, your Pastor, this week and today – my Birthday! I am now 55 years old! I am constantly overwhelmed by all the expressions of love shown to me and my family! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Coastal is not just a church that I attend or a job where I work. It’s a family that I’m a part of! I say it all the time, but I sincerely mean it – I love you Coastal, I love being your Pastor, and I am truly humbled by what we get to do together and that I am a part of it!
(Long Post Alert) This is July 4th weekend. I realize that we are facing a lot of problems in our country today and that the divisions seem to be greater and deeper than ever before, but I believe we still have much to be grateful for in our great country. I am so thankful to God for the birth of America and the privilege that was mine to be born here in the land of the free and home of the brave. As we celebrate our independence this weekend, may we as individuals, families, and as a church recognize our dependence on God. He alone is our source of strength and blessing. Let us prayerfully humble ourselves in obedience to God, His Holy Word, and the Lordship of Christ.
As a follower of Christ, that paradigm shapes everything I do. As a result of that, I am unashamedly pro life and pro love. Let me explain. I am pro life, the life of women – before, during, and after pregnancy. I am pro life, the life of children – before they are born and after they are born. I am pro life, the life of men – challenging and encouraging them to be the men that God has called them to be and to take personal responsibility for the decisions they make and actions they take. I am pro life, the life of families – through all the hardships and struggles they face.
You see, for me, being pro life is not a political statement, it is a Biblical mindset and lifestyle. Jesus was “pro life.” In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have LIFE and have it to the full.” Ultimately, the hope of the world is not and never has been a President, a Political Party, or a Platform – it’s in the person of Jesus Christ. Laws will never change hearts. Only the Gospel and the love of Christ can do that. So while we’re here on this earth, it’s our mission to share and experience the LIFE and LOVE of Jesus with Charleston and the world! LIFE and LOVE.
Maybe it’s time we spent less time complaining on social media and more time praying and being the light of the world that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:14: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.” The truth is, the darker this world gets, the greater our opportunity to shine! It’s time for the church – you and me – to rise up and be the church, serving and loving the world around us like never before, doing the things that we are known for here at Coastal. But what I’m seeing today and what is so disheartening and discouraging, is not just complaining on social media, but out and out evil, nasty, hatred being spewed by people who call themselves Christians. We are called to love people, ALL people, even people we disagree with, even people who vote differently than you, or who embrace a different lifestyle than you. The Bible says in James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” I’m pretty sure that includes what you post on social media! Like anything else, social media is simply a tool that can be leveraged for good or for evil. Lately though, it seems to be nothing more than a black hole vacuum of hatred and virtue signaling. Coastal, let’s do better. Let’s be better.
I’ll be frank with you – sometimes, even as a Pastor, it’s easy to feel like, “Well, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” You feel like you’ve got to respond on social media to every single thing that happens in this world with the perfect post, sound bite, tweet, or meme. And if you don’t respond quick enough or creatively enough, well then, you must be complicit, out of touch, or you just don’t care. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem standing on the Word of God and speaking the truth in love. However, the best place for that to happen is in real conversations, in true community – not on social media. But we’ve lost the ability to have those conversations. And in many cases we’ve lost the right to have them, because of our lack of love.
I gave up trying to please everyone a long time ago. l don’t have all the answers and I will never write the “perfect post” (not even this one) for all circumstances, for all people. But I know who does have the answers and whose words are perfect, true, and never fail. Ultimately, this world is not our home. We are aliens in a foreign land, passing through. And from what I understand from God’s Word, this world will actually get worse. But none of that is an excuse to not care about the world in which we live and the people who live in it. Until He calls us home or comes again, it’s an opportunity to glorify God, exalt His Son Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, beat down the gates of Hell and rescue people one life at a time!
LIFE and LOVE!
- UPCOMING OUTREACH PROJECTS:
– Another Summer of IMPACT is in the books! As I said last week, it’s been the BEST SUMMER OF IMPACT EVER! Please pray for all the seeds of love that were planted, that they will bear much fruit for years to come!
– There is NO Saturday Serve this Saturday (tomorrow). This is the only first Saturday of the month that we don’t do Saturday Serve. Not only is it July 4th weekend, but it’s also coming off of Summer of IMPACT. But check out all the other upcoming serving opportunities:
Clothing Team – Our Coastal Clothing Team will be organizing and sorting clothes Friday, July 8th, 9am-11am. Meet at 2952 Old Pond Road on Johns Island.
Charleston Vets Tailgate – We’re hosting a tailgating event at Charleston Vets, Saturday, July 9th, 10am-1pm. Coastal Vets is a transitional housing facility for veterans in North Charleston. Meet at Coastal at 10am.
Soldier’s Angels – We’ll be helping with the Veteran’s Mobile Food Distribution, Tuesday, July 12th, 8am-1pm. Meet at 1113 Sam Rittenburg Blvd. (The Elks Lodge).
Lowcountry Orphan Relief – Lowcountry Orphan Relief provides support services and aid to meet the needs of Lowcountry children identified as at-risk or suffering from abandonment, abuse and/or neglect. Coastal will be serving there, Friday, July 15th (and again on July 29th), 9:30am-11:30am. Meet at 1850 Truxton Ave in North Charleston.
Hope Center Tailgate – We will be tailgating for the City of Charleston Resource Center for the Homeless – called the Hope Center. Tuesday, July 19th. Time TBA. Meet at Coastal.
Patriot Villas Veterans Tailgate – We will be putting on a Tailgate for the Veterans at Patriot Villas on Thursday, July 21st, 6-8pm. Meet at Coastal.
Joseph Floyd Manor Tailgate – Our Tailgate will be rolling and serving our friends downtown at the Joseph Floyd Manor – Thursday, July 28th, 10am-1pm. Meet at the church.
As always, if you are interested in serving in any of these projects, you can sign up on your Connect Card this Sunday or sign up now on our website. If you have any questions, please reach out to Pastor Chris Jones at 843-870-4613.
- You are invited to attend the Charleston Riverdogs game on Sunday, July 31st at 5pm with your Coastal family! Tickets are FREE but MUST BE reserved ahead of time by providing your email and number of tickets needed on your Connect Card or to Pastor Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org so that the digital tickets may be forwarded to your email. We already have over 475 tickets reserved! But we ONLY HAVE 50 TICKETS LEFT! It’s first come, first serve for the remaining 50 and after that, you’re on your own. If you have one, please wear a Coastal t-shirt! Please reach out to Pastor Scott with any questions.
- As a fun way to celebrate the Summer and our “At the Movies” series, we’d like to take any children from our church and their friends (and children at heart) to the 10am special showing of the new “Minions” movie at Citadel Mall Cinema THIS Wednesday, July 6th – on us (concessions on you)! Doors open at 9:30am. RSVP on your Connect Card or respond to this email with a number of tickets. Right now we have over 200 people who have reserved tickets!
- We are in the planning stages for our FALL LIFE GROUPS! LIFE Groups are the primary vehicle at Coastal for community – learning, friendships, fellowship, and care. We typically have all different types of Groups – Bible studies, book studies, activity groups, active groups, support groups, men’s/women’s groups. Would you possibly be interested in leading, assisting, or hosting a LIFE Group this Fall? The Fall Semester begins in September and depending on the Group, lasts for 8-12 weeks. Sign up on your Connect Card or contact Pastor Scott Huff at email@example.com if you are interested in leading a Group.
- We are so excited about Vacation Bible School at Coastal this year! After COVID & Construction, VBS is back and will be better than ever in our brand new facility! The dates & times for VBS this year are Monday, July 11th – Friday, July 15th, 6pm-8pm! This year’s theme is “Make Waves – What you do today, can change the world around you!” VBS at Coastal is ALL HANDS ON DECK! In other words, it takes EVERYONE to pull off a great VBS for our church and our community. There will be greeters, security, snacks, registration, teachers, games, worship, decorations, nursery, crafts – in other words, something for EVERYONE! If you are interested in serving in any capacity, please go to our website and sign up today! To register your child, ages 4 year olds – 5th Grade, go to https://coastalcommunitychurch.org/vbs/ and sign them up today! If you have any questions, contact Janet Rollins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-442-8299.
P.S. Interested in officially making the Coastal church family, your church family? Our next Membership Class is Saturday morning, August 27th, 9-11:30am. You can respond to this email, sign up on our website, or sign up on your Connect Card on Sunday. You can join us either in-person or online through Zoom.
P.S.S. Our church feeds an enormous amount of people through our Community Food Bank. That’s especially true during the Summer and with the rising costs of food. As a result, our Food Bank is starting to get a little low. If you are able, would you consider donating non-perishable food items (anything really, but canned protein goes really fast)? And now that we have a refrigerator and freezer, we also take perishables – eggs, meat, cheese, bread, milk, frozen meals, etc. You can drop off food during the week or on Sunday mornings. Thank you!