Dear Coastal,

Wow!  All I can say is that God must be up to something big this Sunday!  I’m definitely not one of those Pastors who sees a demon behind every bush, BUT, I do believe in Spiritual Warfare and I know that we are in a battle and that Satan doesn’t like it when people come to know Jesus and lives are changed and set free!  And that’s exactly what’s happening at Coastal!

Thursdays for me are typically “Service Run-Through” Day.  I preach my sermon to 4 or 5 people from my Staff, receive feedback, and we go over everything for Sunday.  But not yesterday.  I got a call from my Mom sometime after 5am in tears asking me to come take her to the hospital.  She told me that she thinks she’s having a heart attack.  In somewhat of a groggy state, I jumped up, told her I would be right there, and started getting dressed.  Once I cleared the cobwebs I quickly called her back and told her to call 911.  I called Christopher and Lizzy who live just around the corner from Mom and told them to head on over.  When I got to her home, the ambulance was already there and I followed my Mom to the Hospital.  To make a long story short, she WAS having a heart attack.  The cardiologist did a heart cath and put in a stent to open a blocked artery.  The Doctor said everything went great and we are expecting a full recovery.  It’s possible she will go home over the weekend.  I can’t say enough great things about all the wonderful people at Roper Hospital!

But most importantly, I can’t say enough about all of you, our church family!  To say that we felt your prayers yesterday, would be such an understatement.  I talk all the time about the importance of having 3 o’clock in the morning friends – well, I’m blessed to have more of those than any man deserves.  I can’t thank you enough for all the texts, emails, and calls.  Several people dropped by throughout the day and Ricky Spell was probably 30 minutes behind me, met us in the ER and stayed with me until my Mom came out of surgery and he could see her for himself.  Many more people offered to come down and help in any way possible. Thank you!  Thank all of you!  Coastal you never cease to amaze me!  I am constantly humbled and blown away by your love!

It seems I am reminded all the time of the brevity and frailty of life.  You just never know what the next moment will bring and how quickly life can change.  So . . . what do we do?  What’s our response?  Do we fret, worry, complain, or hide from the world?  I don’t think so.  I think we’re called to remain faithful, to make the most of every opportunity, to cherish each moment as a gift, to live on mission, to love, to serve, to boldy share the Good News of the Gospel with as many people as possible.  That’s the only thing that really matters after it’s all said and done.  One day God will call all of us home.  Am I grateful that yesterday wasn’t my Mom’s Homecoming?  You betcha!  But . . . one day He will call each of us home OR one day the sky will split, the Trumpet will sound, Jesus will will return, and He will call ALL of His children home and EVERY knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!  I think about those days a lot.  I can’t wait to see Him face to face!  But, He’s obviously not done with me or my Mom just yet.

Oh, and don’t worry, my sermon IS ready for Sunday!  Like I said, I’m pretty sure God is going to do some amazing things at Coastal this week!  This Sunday, February 11th – we’re kicking off “Financial Freedom!”  Obviously, every Sunday is big here at Coastal in the sense that every Sunday is important, every Sunday we share the Gospel, and each week we encourage you to invite and bring your friends.  But, pull out all the stops, do whatever it takes, and make that extra push to get your friends to church this Sunday!  During this series, we’re going to be talking about things like, “How Do I Find Financial Peace?  How Do I Get Out of Debt?  How Do I Save in this Economy?  How Do I Make Wise Financial Decisions?”  We all need this.  We’re so serious about helping people find Financial Freedom that this Sunday we’re doing a “Debt-Free” Giveaway in both services – where we give away $500 to help pay down someone’s debt! 

So what can you do to help make this Sunday a success?

  1. Pray!  Pray for the people you are inviting.  Pray for all the people our church will be inviting – the large postcards that hit West Ashley this week.  Pray for people to come to know Jesus.  Pray for me & my messages.  Pray for our staff.  Pray for our volunteers.  Beg God to draw people to Himself through our church.
  2. Invite!  It’s time to put everything we talked about in our IMPACT series into practice.  Make it a personal goal to invite and bring so many people.  Send emails.  Send personal messages on facebook and other social media.  Share my Facebook post.  Use our invite cards.
  3. Welcome!  Go out of you way to speak to & welcome all of our guests (or anyone you don’t know).  Help us treat everyone as our welcome, expected guests in our home.  Remember, guests are GIFTS from God!  Help us treat everyone that way!
  4. Consider serving!  A new series & new people means we need more and more volunteers.  If you’re not already serving somewhere, it’s time to start!  Our 1st Impressions Team is a great place to get started.  Give Chris Ranew our 1st Impressions LIFE Team Leader a call or send him an email – 706-941-2044,  Our Children’s Ministry is also a great place to serve on Sunday morning.  Contact Janet, our Children’s Ministry Director:  843-442-8299 or
  5. Give.  Special Days incur extra expenses.  Come prepared to give generously.  Or better yet, you can give any time using any of the different ways we have to give at Coastal – our website, texting (843-277-8337), or our app.  Maybe those of you who are out of debt will consider subsidizing our Debt Free Giveaway!
  6. 4 More Things to Consider on the day of the “Big Day” itself.  Parking:  the further away you park, the better.  Please park at Oakland (even at the new Oakland) and save the closer parking for guests.  Service times:  the key is come to the service that your guests are coming to.  BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT, come early!  Everything goes smoother (Child Check-In, coffee, getting a seat, helping our guests) when you come a little earlier.   Seating:  no matter which service you come to, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE sit to the front and center of each section.  This makes more room for people as they come in.  And finally, everyone PLEASE FILL OUT A CONNECT CARD!

Whew!  I think that’s about it (I know, that’s a lot more than 5 things)!  Sunday is going to be AWESOME!  Most importantly, people are going to come to Jesus!  Like I’ve said Coastal, let’s pray and beg God like it all depended on Him.  But then let’s work, invite, and share like it all depends on us.  Then let’s walk by faith and trust God with the results – today and every day!

See You & Your Friends Sunday!  Again, thank you and I love you all!

(In my best William Wallace “Braveheart” voice) FREEDOM!

Pastor Chris