Life. Despite all of our knowledge and all of the medical and scientific advances, from the very beginning to the very end, life is so very fragile and mysterious. This past week I saw that spectrum up close and personal. I met and prayed with a young couple from our church struggling with the pain and heartache of miscarriage – the beginning of life. I also met and prayed with a wife and her 13 year old son who just lost their husband and father to a sudden heart attack – the end of life.
Even though we know the passages that are often quoted at times like these that talk about heavenly mansions and new bodies and that life is just a mist or a vapor, that is here for a moment and then gone – it is difficult when that mansion and that new body and that mist is made personal and real and given a name. The name of the man who died of a heart attack was Chris Osteen. He got up early Tuesday morning, fixed Walker, his son, breakfast and took him to school, as was his custom. He came home and breathed his last breath. He was 50 years old. I have known Chris, his wife Brandi, and their son Walker for the past 10 years. Brandi & Walker came to Coastal this past Easter and walked across the Bridge. Brandi indicated on her Connect Card that she walked across the Bridge because she needed to be reminded of the hope of heaven. Little did she know on Easter Sunday just how real that Bridge walk would become.
But we don’t know, do we? We never do. I was 13 years old, just like Walker, when my Dad died. Honestly, all of it at the time was a blur. I was hurt, angry, and lost. I remember a lot of adults, who I didn’t really know, saying a lot things to me. But at the end of the day, I just wanted my Dad back. I don’t have easy answers for the wonderful couple who just so desperately want to have a baby and can’t, or for the 13 year old boy who wants to know why his dad will never get to see him hit a home run or teach him to drive. I get upset when Christians offer 2 cent answers to million dollar questions. What I’ve learned is that what people really need in moments of deepest grief is simply to know that you’re there for them – in whatever way they need.
It took me a while, but I eventually learned that God did not cause my Dad to die. He did, however, use his death in a powerful way in my life. He brought something very beautiful out of it. My guess is that a lot of adults said those same things to me when I was Walker’s age. But at the time, I just needed someone to love me, to be there for me, after the service was over, after the food was gone, and after everyone else went on with there lives. And I’m so very thankful, that by the grace of God, He put those people in my life. That’s the beauty of true fellowship, of the church – people who, over time, walk out the truth that God’s love for you is big enough to handle your pain, your grief, your doubt and even your anger. They just keep loving you through it.
Pray for that young couple struggling with infertility and the loss of life at its very beginning. Be willing to walk through the fire with them. Pray for the Osteen family and the long road ahead. Chris’ funeral will be this Sunday at 5pm at Coastal. Pray for me and our church as we serve and minister to this family. Hug your loved ones tight tonight and tell them you love them. And by the way, if you are hurting and struggling with grief and loss, we have a great Support Group at Coastal called Grief Share filled with people willing to walk with you and love you through it. They meet at the church on Monday nights at 6:30pm. If you have any questions about the Group, please reach to Sue Muoio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love you Coastal and I love being your Pastor. No one is guaranteed their next breath. It’s all a gift from God. So why not live and love each day like it’s our last! One day we will all walk across that bridge, and the only thing that will matter is our faith in Jesus. So until He calls us home or comes again, let’s “share and experience the life and love of Jesus with Charleston and the world!”
LIFE & LOVE!
Here are this week’s “Friday 5”:
- UPCOMING OUTREACH PROJECTS:
Suburban Hotel Tailgate – Let’s make an impact together by serving local veterans and persons transitioning from a local homeless shelter in Charleston into permanent housing at the Suburban Hotel in North Charleston! Saturday, April 17th, 10am-1pm meet at Coastal in the Welcome Center! This is a project that is suitable for the whole family.
Soldier’s Angels – We’ll be helping with the Veteran’s Mobile Food Distribution, Tuesday, April 20th, 8am-1pm.
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, April 23rd, 9am-11am. We meet at 1850 Truxton Ave in North Charleston.
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.
- Interested in officially making Coastal your church family by becoming a Member? Our next Membership Class is Saturday morning (TOMORROW), April 17th, 9:30am-12noon. 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.
- We are planning our Annual BEACH BAPTISM out at Folly Beach on Sunday, June 13th, at 5pm. You can sign up for it on our website. The only requirement for Baptism is that you have personally given your life to Jesus. Baptism is a public profession of your faith. At Coastal we call it “going public” and it’s a great celebration! It beautifully illustrates Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. If you’re unable to participate in our Beach Baptism, remember at Coastal we’re ready for you to get Baptized any service, any Sunday. If you are interested in getting Baptized simply respond to this email or sign up on our website.
- One of the ways our church marks the coming of Summer is through “SUMMER OF IMPACT!” For the entire month of June, our church will saturate Charleston with a variety of outreach projects almost every day! What better way to show that we are followers of Jesus than by serving the people right here in our community! The 2021 Summer of IMPACT Catalog with all the details is now available online. Check out all the different opportunities and sign up today! If you have any questions, please reach out to Pastor Chris Jones at 843-870-4613.
- If you would like your family to participate in the Baby/Child Dedication on Mother’s Day (May 9th) or Father’s Day (June 20th), sign up on your Connect Card. Include the child’s full name and the service you will be attending. Coastal’s Baby Dedication is a special time for our parents and children. The purpose of our Baby Dedication is not for the child’s salvation or commitment to Christ. It is more of a prayer/renewal time for the parents as they commit to raise their child the way God wants them to and a time of prayer for the child to grow to be the man or woman God has called them to be. It is also a time for our church family to commit to you, the parents, to be the support that you need. Most people think of a Baby Dedication as just for our newborns, but we’ve had all different ages participate. If you’ve never had that special prayer time for you and your child, we’d love for you to sign up and participate.
P.S. Coastal is 100% fully funded by the generous, consistent giving our our people. We could not do what we do without you! And whether we gather in-person or online, the ministry and impact of Coastal never ceases. Your weekly gifts are a vital resource that allow us to continue the work that God has called us to do. If you need us to mail you offering envelopes or step you through online giving or TEXT Giving (text any amount to 843-277-8337), please respond to this email or call the church office (843-571-1777). Thank you so much for your continued faithfulness!