This past Sunday, as we are making our way through Romans, we found ourselves at the end of Romans 13 where Paul is telling us to live and love with a sense of urgency. Romans 13:11-12, “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.” Paul is saying, “Hey! It’s time to wake up! You don’t know when Jesus will come again or call you home! It’s time to be a living sacrifice NOW. It’s time to be dedicated to God NOW. It’s time to use your spiritual gifts, it’s time to be rightly related to each other, it’s time to start loving the way God would have us love. The time is NOW! Wake up!”
And we don’t know, do we, when Jesus will come again or call us home? I saw reminders of that truth several times this week alone. Pastor Scott’s 93 year old Grandpa (Kathy Love’s Dad) passed away. They left early this morning for his funeral tomorrow in Illinois. Tracy Gundy’s 49 year old brother, Eric Russo, died this week. He had been in a week long coma from a stroke that was brought on by a slow bleed at his brain stem. He leaves behind a wife and two children. I met with Tracy and her family yesterday to talk about his funeral on Monday. Dawn & Raef Judd were in Tennessee this past weekend visiting her cousin in the hospital who was in serious condition from a freak mountain bike accident. They were literally getting ready to head home when they found out that her cousin’s brother, who was driving in from Atlanta with his girlfriend, was in a car accident that killed the girlfriend. They were just 15 minutes from the hospital and now were being brought to that same hospital by ambulance. All this week, all reminders that we don’t know when our time is up in this life, and God calls us home.
I don’t know when Jesus will return, but I see everything that’s happening in Israel and around the world and wonder if “that day” is soon approaching. In Matthew 24 Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. . . And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. . . Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. . . But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. . .Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”
By the way, please join me in praying for Israel. In Psalms 122:6-9 David said this, “Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.”
Again, I don’t know if “that day” is today or even tomorrow. But I do agree with the Apostle Paul, that it’s time for the people of God, the church, to wake up and live with a sense of urgency. In 2 Peter 3:14-15, Peter said this, “And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.”
I love you Coastal! I love being your Pastor! And until Jesus comes again or calls us home, let’s be faithful in sharing and experiencing the LIFE & LOVE of Jesus with Charleston and the world – so that more people would be saved!
LIFE & LOVE!
- UPCOMING OUTREACH PROJECTS:
Chair Set-Up: Come and help set up our chairs in the auditorium, TOMORROW, Saturday, October 21st, 8am. Many hands make for quick and light work!
Food Pantry Sort & Stock: Coastal feeds an enormous amount of people. Come to the church and help keep our Food Pantry organized (and have a lot of fun while you’re at it)! Thursday, October 26th, 11:30am-1pm.
Coffee & Doughnuts with the Vets at Patriot Villas – Friday, October 27th, 8:30am-11:30am. Meet at Coastal.
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, October 27th, 9:30am-11:30am. Meet at 1850 Truxton Ave in North Charleston.
Downtown Charleston “Hotdog Ministry”: We will be grilling and serving hotdogs to the homeless and hungry downtown! Friday, October 27th, 4-6pm. Meet at Coastal.
Clothing Team: Our Coastal Clothing Team will be organizing and sorting clothes, Friday, November 3rd, 9:30am-11:30am. Meet at 2952 Old Pond Road on Johns Island
Saturday Serve: The foundation of all of our serving opportunities at Coastal really starts with Saturday Serve – the first Saturday of every month. The next Saturday Serve is Saturday, November 4th. We meet in the Welcome Center/Cafe at 8:30am, project leaders make a “pitch” for their serving opportunity, and then we serve!
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.
- Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – sharing the love of Jesus and the Good News of the Gospel through gifts & supplies in a simple shoebox for children in troubled countries/areas all around the world! You guys are AMAZING! We had 1000 shoeboxes that we were handing out. As of today, I think we might have about 20 left! So now we’re simply asking you to fill the boxes you took home and then bring them back to the church between now and Sunday, November 12th. Way to go Coastal!
- Mark your calendar for our next Coastal Night of Worship – Wednesday night, November 8th, 6:30-8pm! Invite your friends and family to join us for a night of prayer, worship, and encouragement. RSVP now for childcare (birth-kindergarten) on your Connect Card.
- Attention Coastal! On Saturday, November 4th, 8:30am-1:30pm (during Saturday Serve), our church is hosting a Blood Drive! The Blood Connection mobile truck will be in our parking lot. Check out the insert in your bulletin on Sunday and use the QR Code to schedule an appointment! Let’s help our community!
- Oakland Elementary School Teacher Classroom Wishlist Tags! Choose a classroom wishlist tag in the Welcome Center (we only have about 40 left), purchase the items, return them to the church (tagged, but not wrapped) by Sunday, November 19th. Questions? Contact Rachel at email@example.com
P.S. Grief Share will be hosting a free, one night event on Monday, November 6th, at 2pm or 6pm, called, “Surviving the Holidays.” This event will help you discover how to deal with the difficult emotions of the holiday season, give helpful tips on how to survive social events, and discover hope for the future. Contact Sue Muoio at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or register at www.griefshare.org.