My little girl came home this week. Okay, she’s not so little anymore. She’s married and turns 30 next week. We had a great visit. Before she came, she told Janet she wanted to learn to sew this week. My son-in-law Andrew LOVES my grilling. So as you can imagine, we’ve both been in heaven this week – sewing, grilling, and loving on our kids. In fact, as I type these words, they just left minutes ago and headed back to their home in Knoxville, TN. We hugged, cried, and waved good bye. Family. There’s nothing like it.
When I went off to college (years ago), my only contact with friends and family back home was a pay phone in my dorm hallway and handwritten letters. I kept a jar of quarters in my room for those late night phone calls and always looked forward to one of the guys in the dorm answering the pay phone and calling out, “Phone call for Chris!” For those of you under 30, google “pay phone” to see what I’m talking about. By the time my daughter went off to college and then out to Los Angeles, to say that I was thankful for all the technology changes that allowed us to talk at any time or to “see” each other via Zoom or FaceTime would be quite the understatement. And now, even though they are a lot closer in Knoxville, we so look forward to those phone calls, even if just for a minute or two to check in. However, as thankful as I am for all the technology, nothing compares to when I get to physically see and hug my little girl.
That’s kind of how I feel about church online. When the world shut down, I can’t begin to express my gratitude for all the technology we’ve invested in that enables us to communicate, “see” each other, and stay connected. And it’s not going way – it’s here to stay. It is a great tool that we will continue to invest in, develop, and leverage for the Kingdom. However, it’s not a replacement for the gathered church. It’s not the same as actually seeing each other in person, worshipping together, hugging each other. I saw a family of 5 last Sunday that I had not seen in person in over a year. It’s hard to describe the emotion that welled up inside of me as I hugged each one of them. Honestly, it was kind of like seeing my daughter this week. Why? Because we’re family.
So, I’ll say this as simply as I can. It’s time for many of you to come back to in-person worship. It’s time. Sure, there are a few of you who are genuinely immunocompromised or caring for those who are. But many of you have simply gotten out of the habit. You are out and about in the community, your kids are in school (in person) and in sports, you’re going to restaurants, Costco, Wal-Mart, and grocery stores. It’s simply become easy and convenient just to stay home on Sunday morning and “watch it online.” But it’s not the same. It’s not. If you’re concerned, wear a mask and come to the 11:15am service. I say it all the time and I sincerely mean it – I love you Coastal and I love being your Pastor. A Pastor is a Shepherd and sometimes a Shepherd has to call the sheep home. Come home.
LIFE & LOVE!
Here are this week’s “Friday 5”:
- UPCOMING OUTREACH PROJECTS:
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, TODAY, Friday, April 23rd, 9am-11am. We meet at 1850 Truxton Ave in North Charleston.
Tricounty Family Ministries – We will be assisting with their Emergency Grocery Distribution, Wednesday, April 28thh, 9am-12noon.
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, May 1st. We meet in the Welcome Center/Cafe at 8:30am, project leaders make a “pitch” for their serving opportunity, and then we serve! Make plans NOW to be there!
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.
- Are you grieving the loss of a spouse or do you know someone who is? You are invited to join our FREE “Loss of a Spouse” Seminar through our Grief Share Support Group on Tuesday, June 1st, 6:30-8:30pm at Coastal. Discover practical advice, support, prayer, and encouragement from others who’ve been there. Learn what to expect in your grief and how to cope with life without your spouse. Register at www.griefshare.org or call Freeda (540-903-5030) or Sue (616-443-6553).
- 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. If you’re fairly new to Coastal, a great next step is our Newcomers Reception. Our next Newcomers Reception is Sunday, May 16th, in the Welcome Center immediately following the 11:15am service (at approximately 12:30pm). This will also be available online! This is a great way to learn more about Coastal, meet staff and key volunteers, as well as meet some other new people. RSVP online or on your Connect Card.