I hope you’ve had a great start to 2019!  Don’t forget that we are back to our normal service times this Sunday – two services, 9:30am and 11:15am.  After a couple of weeks of people being out of town, this is the perfect Sunday for everyone to return!  It’s the first Sunday of the New Year AND we’re kicking off a new series called, “In the Beginning.”  It’s basically an overview of the first book of the Bible – Genesis.  Many people start Bible Reading Plans in January and there are a lot important themes in Genesis that apply to our lives today.  Don’t miss it!  

As you’re praying about goals and changes you want to make in 2019, can I encourage you to include making Coastal a priority.  In an interview with Eugene Peterson (the man who wrote the Message paraphrase of the Bible) before his passing, he was asked, “What is the best advice you could give to a person that would assist his/her spiritual growth?”  His answer, “Find a church near your home, go and participate regularly, shut up and like it.”  I don’t think the interviewer was braced for that response.  But as one who serves in ministry, I understand it.  Jesus called the church His Body, His Bride.  Jesus died for the church.  Jesus started the church.  The church is the Family of God and the only thing that will last on into eternity.  The church is the hope of the world and when done right, there is nothing greater or more powerful than the local church.  However, there is no perfect church – because the church is made up of people, you and me, and there are no perfect people.  Church attendance/involvement is just like any other habit – it’s easy to make excuses and get out of the habit.  So, my advice, make a commitment and push through.  If it’s been a while, come this Sunday.  If you already attend regularly, maybe it’s time you started serving.  Maybe this is the semester that you join a LIFE Group.  And how about this – invite and bring someone with you to church.  You never know the power of a simple invitation. 

Pastor Chris

Here are this week’s “Friday 5”:

1. We are putting the finishing touches on the Spring Semester of LIFE Groups!   If you are still interested in leading, assisting, or hosting a LIFE Group, we need to know NOW – respond to this email or contact Pastor Scott.  If you ARE leading a Group, we need all of your Group info (Group Name, meeting day & time, location, description) turned in to Pastor Scott this coming week.  LIFE Group Sunday will be January 27th and LIFE Groups will begin the week of February 10th.  Our LIFE Group Leader Training for all Leaders & Assistants is either Tuesday, January 22nd, 6:30pm-8:30pm or Saturday, January 26th, 10am-12noon (pick one).

2. Woohoo!  THIS Saturday, January 5th is Saturday Serve!  We meet at the church at 8:30am to debrief and then disburse to serve our community!  Come make an IMPACT by being the hands and feet of Jesus!  Projects include the Lowcountry Food Bank, preparation of meals in the Coastal kitchen for My Sister’s House and South Carolina Strong, a tailgate meal and fellowship with the community in North Charleston, the creation of crafts for distribution to the elderly, and service to several young women at Jenkins Orphanage. Many opportunities to serve and yes, we NEED YOU!

3. Mark your calendars and make plans NOW!  Starting on Sunday evenings on February 10th, 2019!  Financial Peace University is a proven program that will show you how to master budgeting, pay off debt, build wealth, and give generously!  Indicate your interest on your Connect Card on Sunday or by responding to this email!

4. During our Marriage Sermon Series in the new year, Coastal will host a Marriage Conference – Friday & Saturday, February 22-23.  Cost $100 per couple/$50 per individual.  Meals and Childcare are included.  Open to the community.  See bulletin insert this Sunday for schedule and deposit details.  You can sign up on your Connect Card or from our website online!

5. Attention all parents and volunteers who work with children or students (honestly, attention everyone who cares about this issue and wants to make a difference):  Coastal is hosting “Darkness to Light” and their “Stewards of Children Prevention Training” on Tuesday night, January 15th, 6:30pm to 8:30pm at our church.  The training is free (Coastal is picking up the $10 per person fee).  Spread the word and invite anyone in the community.  The training teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  It is the only nationally distributed, evidence-informed program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors.  Please RSVP on your Connect Card or from our website online.

P.S. I’ve got some good news, we’re getting close to reaching our goal of $60,000 for this year’s Christmas Offering!  We still have 2 weeks left to give (last Sunday is January 13th).  If you haven’t given yet – GIVE.  Simply use the word, “Christmas” to designate your gift.