Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An appointment we will all keep!

Over the past few weeks, it seems that death is everywhere.  From relatives to church members, to young people losing their lives to addiction and overdose.  It seems that many folks simply appear to feel hopeless.  That is where you and I as Christians have something that the world is searching for, and that is the hope that Jesus Christ can give. Oh how important it is to know Christ and be ready!

I am praying and eagerly looking forward to this Sunday night as we come together as a church and community to pray.  We have invited pastors, churches, and our County Sheriff, Camden Police Chief, and our School Superintendent.  I am not planning on it being fancy, but fervent, as we seek the Lord to help us.  We will sing, share, support, and most of all seek.  Seek God for His provision, power, and passion to lift up those addicted, and their families who are watching  it's affects.

Easter is on the 16th of April this year, and we are looking to REACH out to our entire zip code this Easter.

A -

We will be looking to how Jesus reached out to people even from the Cross during our Easter Series.
The postcards will also include information for our April 23-26 Revival with Evangelist Scott Smith from Atlanta.  It has been several years since he has been here, and you will not want to miss a service.

Until He comes...we will go!

Bro. Greg

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Real Achievement! 60 Years!

Thursday, February 2, 2017, Lord willing, my mom and dad (Fred and Dyne Jackson) will celebrate sixty years of marriage. What a blessing to still have both of my parents in good health, and still enjoying each other committed as ever to the vows they took in 1957.  Sheila and I have been blessed kids to be raised, and grow up in a home where Christ was first.  Mom and Dad were never loud with their own faith, but simply led us by example.

Renee lost her dad in 1984, so I do not take for granted the fact that we can still do life with two that are dearly loved.  They have not only been an active part of the grand kids, but are now enjoying the great grand sons. They all know Papaw Hoot and Granny.

They have never quit loving, or worrying about us, and most importantly, they have never quit praying for us.  February 2 you know is Ground Hogs Day.  If have a feeling if you were to ask them that they will tell you that they would do all over again, the very same way.

Thanks Mom and Dad for everything,  and congratulations!  We all love you.

3 John 1:4   I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017


In a week we will travel to Oak Ridge, Tennessee for the Memorial Service of my Dad's sister and last sibling, Patsy Sisson. Words really do not seem adequate to describe this amazing woman of God.  When my Papaw and Granny passed away in Tennessee our visits became more rare to see other family, but Patsy was one that you really looked forward to seeing, and regardless of how long it had been, she was the best greeter and so gracious for your company.

If you never had the opportunity to meet my dad's parents, Buck and Carrie Jackson, when you looked and spoke to Patsy, you met them both.  Granny's voice, mannerisms, and appearance, and Papaw Buck's kindness, generous heart, and reception to anyone who would come down that gravel lane to the house in Coalfield, Tennessee. Patsy knew Jesus and was faithful while she could be to Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge. She loved her family, her church, her Pastor, but most of all Jesus.

The title of this blog is Patsy/Barnabas.  Over the years I have had the privilege to attend several of Johnny Hunt's Timothy/Barnabas Pastor's Schools.  Aunt Patsy really was a Barnabas to us, to me when I surrendered to preach.  I can remember the Sunday I was making announcements and in walked mom, dad, some family from Tennessee and Aunt Patsy.  What a thrill, what a blessing!

Paul needed Barnabas to step in and walk with him when he became a Christ follower.  Christians were afraid of him, and no doubt cynical about his conversion as some kind  of game, but as Barnabas witnessed, a new life in Christ!  We all need a Barnabas , and what a blessing if God has called you to be the Barnabas, the encourager in your family.  Patsy always saw the good, loved unconditionally.

Having lost her husband W.D., and oldest child Kim, her faith has become sight.  I would love to hear her describe that celestial city.  Oh how I would love to hear her talk about that reunion with Papaw and Granny, W.D., Kim, Herman and Lottie.

I believe she would remind us all that heaven is worth it!  Live for Jesus, place your faith in Him as Savior and Lord.  I will be waiting on you when God calls you home!

Thank you Aunt Patsy for all you meant to dad and mom,  and Sheila and Rick, Renee and I with those little notes and fun gifts, always thinking about others.  You will be missed, but always live on in our hearts.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Memories

I hope to list several blogs in the upcoming days and just list things I am grateful for when it comes to Christmas.  Memories that as a boy were huge, and now at fifty five... precious!

1. The focus is Jesus!  That is one thing about Christmas.  As a Christian it has always been about the Savior.  My mom and dad instilled that.  I am not saying that receiving gifts as a boy was not wonderful.  I am saying like Paul quotes in Acts 20 that like Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than receive."  when you look at the greatest gift giver, it was Jesus. Even those that may ignore Christ during the year will take the time to get to a candlelight service or special Church related Christmas program.

2. Family!  This is the opportunity to spend dedicated time with those we love.  Through fellowship, we are often reminded of the wonderful blessing it is to be part of a family.  Our Christmases were wonderful growing up.  Dad and Mom always made them fun.  Our house growing up was filled with laughter ,  Renee and I tried to do the same thing with our kids as they grew up.  Now we have the great blessing of seeing our four grandsons enjoy the wonder of it all!

Some Christmas memories as a boy:
* Mom, Dad, and Sheila
*Luke 2 Sermons by Pastor
*Christmas Treat Bags at Church
*Christmas Treat bag candy stuck together
*Caroling with hot chocolate and sloppy joes (We still do it!)
* Peanut butter roll from neighbor Evelyn (nearly all sugar)
*Mom's Chocolate fudge
*Spending Christmas with Enedie and Uncle Wallace
*Small Pool Table
*Sure Shot Hockey
*Cookies out for Santa
*Cookies eaten by Santa
*Schwinn 10 Speed

Monday, November 14, 2016

So Close!

According to Eric Elwell of Stormcenter 7 of WHIO in Dayton, tonight we will have the chance to see something in the sky we haven't seen in nearly seventy years. The moon, but not just an ordinary moon, but a supermoon.  This is when the moon is closest to the earth and will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter.  It is the closest the moon will be to the earth for the next 18 years.

I have always been in awe of the heavens from my limited view. The stars at night in the country are another clear stamp by the Creator of His design capability, and just think, He holds it all together minute by minute.  The
supermoon almost appears that you could just reach out and touch it.

That is the story of Christmas. God reaching down to touch us.
 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, Galatians 4:4 

  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 

How sad it is for many to hear the Gospel, yet choose to walk away and not receive and accept His unconditional love, mercy , and grace.  This holiday season, let's make every attempt to share our Hope with everyone we know.  Don't overlook your relatives and assume everyone is automatically going to heaven.  In your conversations look for opportunities to share the Gospel, and in your prayers share it.  Salvation is as close as it always has been.  From a sincere, repentant heart, It is a prayer away. 

Monday, November 7, 2016


Tomorrow we will cast a vote for the next President of the United States.  This campaign season has been one unlike any I can remember.  The venom spewed back and forth between the candidates has not represented the office very well. In my life I have watched negative campaign ads, but nothing like this. The climate has caused some to say, " I am not voting."  I would encourage you to rethink that position and be reminded of the blessing and responsibility we have to vote.

Here are some things to take into the voting booth tomorrow.
1.) A Prayerful heart.
2.) Your Christian Convictions
3.) Your commitment to Biblical values.
4.)  A renewed commitment to pray for the next President.

Sunday we were reminded from Psalm 11, that "in the Lord, I will put my trust."
He is on the throne.  While men may fail us, God will not, nor will He be mocked.

America may not be pretty all the time, but we still live in the greatest nation in the world.  Lord, may the uncertainty of the election be a tool for us to cast our eyes and faith back to you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"The Mistress in Your Pocket" Reposted Blog by Rob Hurtgen

Last week on a beach vacation it finally happened! As I was opening the room door I felt it drop and then heard a pop that sounded unfamiliar. I picked up my IPhone and turned it over to discover a shattered screen. My brother in law made a few calls and off to Office Max we went to drop it off. I decided to have a new battery put in as well and it ended up taking about three total days. That is 72 hours without a phone. I had Renee text my Associate to let him know to go through her if he needed me. What was I going to do? No texting! No Twitter! No making a move for it when it rings or vibrates? No Fantasy Football updates?

 I will tell you what I did.  My life slowed down... to a peaceful pace.  I kept commenting on how nice it was to unplug, even though my old nature desperately wanted to see what was happening.  
The Church knows that I am not a Facebooker.  I really am not interested to know what you are doing every waking hour of the day, but I do Tweet.  I follow 375 folks and ministries, many and most either preachers or leaders. Not to big you may say, but I do find myself throughout the day or with some down time going right to it to see if I have been mentioned or sent a message.  Strangely enough, during this tech blackout for me I managed, and seemed to enjoy it.  

Perhaps that is why this Blog by Rob Hurtgen hit me squarely in the face.  Like cold water first thing in the morning!  My phone too was repaired and now back in service, but I now view it in a little different way.    I hope you will be as challenged and encouraged as I was in reading this this morning.  Pastor Greg

The Mistress in Your Pocket

Recently my smartphone quit. It would not charge. It was dead. Kaput. After giving my best Braveheart Freedom cry, I made an appointment to have the phone repaired. The earliest appointment I could schedule was a week away. I reasoned that with some work-a-rounds I could survive without the device. I even briefly toyed with the idea of not needing to get it fixed. After all, for many years I lived perfectly fine without any cell phone let alone a smartphone. Very quickly I realized not only did I use my phone, a lot. I also saw how the phone had become a mistress in my pocket.
That week was an out-of-digital-body experience of sorts. Rediscovering muscles that lifted my head straight versus letting it droop. I could see the crowns of the heads around me displayed. Faces were transfixed and aglow from their devices. The out-of-digital-body experience freed me to observe not only how I must also look during my own myopic moments of digital absorption, but also what the mistress in my pocket was causing me to miss. The following are a couple of observations from my sans smartphone week as to why we must intentionally and regularly practice a Smartphone Sabbath.
First, you are too valuable to practice a distraction driven leadership. As an effective pastor who loves, leads and equips the flock God has called you to, you have much to do. Sermons to prepare, bible studies to write, hospital visits to make, committees to lead, mission trips to organize, evangelism to conduct and on and on and on. Your tasks list is constantly growing. The more you do the more there is to do. If though you practice a distraction driven leadership will you never really be effective for the gospel. Distraction driven leadership will consist of leaping from project to project, person-to-person. A smartphone with its continual musical escapades of notifications can fuel that distraction. Your life, family, and ministry are too valuable to practice a distraction driven leadership.
Second, you may not know it, but you are web weary. You are bombarded with quantities of information every single day. News stories, blog posts and social media threads fuel web weariness. Just trying to keep up with whatever happens to be the latest trending topic is exhausting. Like an addict, you’ll be checking social media at stoplights. Scanning the web while waiting for your fast food meal to be bagged on the counter. Passive aggressively posting how the lady in front of you clearly has twenty-one items in the twenty items express lane. The constant need to be constantly connected and providing commentary for every moment of life will wear you out.
Third, your Pastoral FOMO will derail you. FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. Formal recognition of this vernacular acknowledges global insecurities and disconnections that are fueled by being constantly connected.
Pastoral FOMO fuels the insecurity that God is working; but not where I am. Pastoral FOMO fosters an envy of achievement and a fear of irrelevance. Envy that you are not pastoring that church instead of the one you are. The feeling of irrelevance that everyone else knows the coolest facts and phrases long before you have even heard them. Pastors, who most by nature are extremely competitive, can easily be consumed with what we think we are missing out on. We easily can be driven by the fear that our ministry in the middle of nowhere—wherever that happens to be—is irrelevant to the greater kingdom of God. Too much time with the mistress in your pocket fuels hyper-envy and an obtrusive questioning of self-worth.
The solution is not to give up the phone. The smartphone, or some version of it, will be ingrained into our global society until the Lord returns. The solution then is to intentionally and regularly take a tech Sabbath to both remind us that we are first created in the image of God and to declare we are not the chattels of any man or device. We will not build our bricks without straw. How can we, in a hyper-connected world, intentionally disconnect?
Put your phone on a high shelf when you get home. Take your phone out of your pocket, put it on vibrate and set it upside down on the highest shelf you can reach. On vibrate, so you will not hear it ring freeing you to listen to your family. Upside down on the high shelf means you will not see it light up. If the phone is easily accessible it will be too easy to check that text, that email or that tweet and get pulled into a black hole of social media where the one-minute quickly becomes an hour. Put your phone down.
Turn off your notifications. Notifications can be a constant distraction. Notifications break your concentration and inhibit the capability to think deeply. The continuous dinging of email is a blockade of engaging in the deep work necessary for ministry. Notifications foster a distraction that most of us do not nee…squirrel.
Post, don’t peruse. This will save your digital life. There several apps available that allow you to post to various social media websites without logging into the actual website. Meaning that you can pseudo engage with various aspects of social media by posting and scheduling posts without losing hours upon hours to the device. Enabling you to be a creator of content and not just a consumer. This technique is particularly helpful in maintaining a ministry and leadership social media presence. A different strategy should be used for personal posts, though.
What ministry in the digital and social media age looks like and should look like is still being written. My forced low-tech Sabbath prompted me to see not only how much I use the phone but some reasons why I need a regular break from my phone.
The phone was easily repaired. So easily repaired that I am embarrassed at not only what caused the problem but also how simple the solution was. As a result, though, I am working on setting some new boundaries with my phone that declare the right order of relationships. Boundaries that tell me I am human not a machine.
Have you noticed the same in your life? What strategies have you used to ensure your phone does not become a mistress in your pocket?