I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day this past Monday.  I did something on Labor Day that I have never done before.  I got up super early, saw the sunrise on Folly Beach (I’ve done both of those things before – haha), and got to witness a turtle nest inventory with about 40-50 other people!  I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but right now there are 98 registered turtle nests on Folly Beach (there are 300 on Kiawah).  And with the help of some very passionate volunteers and the Department of Natural Resources these nests are protected and flourishing.  The whole experience was very informative and quite inspirational.  I’ve seen videos and pictures from other people over the years who just happened to witness countless turtles breaking free from their nest and shells and making the long trek to the ocean.  But I have never witnessed it myself.  Well, upon inspection of this particular nest, the gentleman leading the experience proclaimed this nest to be somewhat of a disappointment.  You see, the eggs in this nest, for whatever reason, were unfertilized.  You could kind of feel the collective sadness from everyone there early that morning.  HOWEVER, there was this one little turtle, from among all the eggs examined that morning who was alive and well, and broke FREE, ready to make the long journey to the ocean.  It was only ONE, but to the crowd gathered that morning, it felt like a thousand! Watching him or her struggle, finally make it to the waves, get pushed back, and head out again, was nothing short of miraculous!  We cheered this little turtle on like it was game day!

I had lots of thoughts about that experience – the miracle of creation, the handiwork of God, the power of community.  But one thing in particular kept coming back – the value of ONE.  In Luke 15, it’s the first and only time that Jesus told three parables, back to back to back, to once and for all explain to the self-righteous Pharisees the purpose of His mission.  Luke 15:1-3, “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!  So Jesus told them this story. . .”  You see, Jesus was simply being Jesus, doing what He always did, hang out with, even eat with “notorious sinful people.”  And that made the religious establishment angry.  So Jesus told these 3 stories – the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (the Prodigal Son).  There is a common theme in each one of these stories: something of great value is lost, so much so that it requires an all out search, and then once that which was lost is found, you celebrate.

The value of one.  Who is the ONE in your life?  The truth is you probably have many – friends, neighbors, co-workers, family – where you live, work, parent, and play.  Are you willing to turn everything upside down and do whatever it takes to search for them, to leave the 99 who are already found behind, to longingly, lovingly, even allow the ONE to go their own way, make their own mistakes, while you refuse to lose hope and pray for them to come to their senses and return home? (read the 3 stories)  And when they return will you throw a huge party and celebrate with all of Heaven?  This is why Jesus came – the ONE.  Coastal, this is why we exist – the ONE.  Who is your ONE?  Who are you loving, serving, praying for, inviting, and bringing with you on September 18th?

“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!. . . In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents. . . We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!”  (Luke 15:7, 10, 32) 

Pastor Chris 

    Clothing Team: Our Coastal Clothing Team will be organizing and sorting clothes, TODAY, Friday, September 9th, 9am-11am.  Meet at 2952 Old Pond Road on Johns Island.
    Chair Set-Up: Come help set up all the chairs in the auditorium this Saturday (tomorrow), September 10th, at 9am (and then stay for Double Tailgate Day at 10am).
    Double Tailgate Day – Charleston Vets & Joseph Floyd Manor:  Saturday, September 10th, 10am-1pm.  Meet at the church and then pick which Tailgate you’d like to serve.
    Soldier’s Angels – We’ll be helping with the Veteran’s Mobile Food Distribution, Tuesday, September 13th, 8am-1pm.  Meet at 1113 Sam Rittenburg Blvd. (The Elks Lodge).
    Coffee & Doughnuts with the Vets at Patriot Villas –  Friday, September 16th, 8:30am-11am.  Meet at Coastal.
    Charleston Vets Potluck – Wednesday, September 21st, 6-8pm.  Meet at Coastal.
    Hope Center Tailgate (Adults Only Project) – Thursday, September 22nd, 3-6pm.  Meet at Coastal

    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.
  2. On Sunday, September 18th, Coastal is kicking off a brand new series on the book of Romans called, “A Revolution of Faith.”  It’s going to be a BIG DAY – a FRIEND DAY!  So, pull out all the stops and invite your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers!  Use the Invite Cards in your bulletin this Sunday to reach out to someone and make the ask! On any Big Day there are a few things that you could help us with: parkingseating, and service choice.
    Parking – leave our small parking lot out front for guests and new people.  And then truthfully, park as far away as possible.  Park in Oakland’s parking lot (plenty of parking available).  Take a right immediately past the Greenway, before you get to Orange Grove.  We’ll be glad to send the Golf Carts that way.  We’ve still got some space available in the field behind the church as well.  That’s a great option for early, first service volunteers.  
    Seating – sit to the front and center of each section of chairs.  This makes it so much easier for those with 1st Impressions who are ushering.  
    Service Choice – our 9:30am service is now over 85% capacity!  We can bring in a few more chairs, but not many.  What we really need is for about 50-75 people to move to the 11:15am service.  The Chapel will be open for overflow.  We’re not quite ready to add a 3rd service, but all of these measures will help us in the transition.
  3. If you’re fairly new to Coastal, a great next step is our Newcomers Reception.  Our next Newcomers Reception is Sunday, October 30th, in our Chapel immediately following the 11:15am service (at approximately 12:30pm).  This is a great way to learn more about Coastal, meet staff and key volunteers, as well as meet some other new people.  You can sign up on our website, or sign up on your Connect Card on Sunday.
  4. ATTENTION COASTAL: THIS Sunday, September 11th is a BIG DAY here at Coastal!  It’s LIFE Group Sunday!  Think Job/College Fair but for LIFE Groups!  Before and after both Sunday morning services everyone is invited to our Welcome Center/Gathering Space where you’ll get to visit a booth/table representing all the different LIFE Groups this semester!  You’ll get to meet the leaders, ask any questions, meet other people just like you checking out all the groups, and enjoy some great food!  But most importantly, if you haven’t done so already, you’ll get to sign up for a LIFE Group!  Don’t miss it – it’s always A LOT of fun!
  5. Have you considered automating your giving? It’s a great way to stay consistent in your giving. You can do that through your Bank, through our TEXT to GIVE provider (843-277-8337), or our Offering Envelope.  If you have any questions you can call the church (843-571-1777) and we will step you through it.  Just remember that the Ministry and IMPACT of Coastal continues whether you’re here on a Sunday or not.  And everything we do is made possible by your consistent, generous giving.  You can give through our website or simply text ANY amount to 843-277-8337.

    P.S. 40 million people face hunger in the U.S. today — including more than 12 million children and more than five million seniors. Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community in the U.S., including our own. At Coastal it is our goal to share the life and love of Jesus, not only with the world, but also with Charleston. It starts here, by making an impact in our own community.  We need your help! Our church gives away an enormous amount of food – both nonperishables and perishables. Donations to the Coastal Food Pantry not only feed the hungry/hurting people who come to us, but the food is also pushed out through Tailgates and Blessing Boxes. You can donate food by dropping it off during normal office hours, Monday – Thursday, or by bringing it with you on Sunday mornings.  Thank you in advance for your thoughtful generosity!