Monday, March 20, 2017

A Season of Encouragement to Other Pastors

On March 10th, Renee and I , along with dear friends, Pastor Tom and Donna Pendergrass from Urbancrest Baptist church, joined Lifeway's Director of Lifeway Pastors, Mark Dance and his wife Janet on a panel to encourage pastors and their wives. Mark is leading a relatively new position for Lifeway, and as a former pastor himself, he knows the heart of the pastor as well as the ups and downs of pastoring a church.

Urbancrest hosted it for us and prepared for over one hundred in attendance, and you know what, nearly everyone was able to make it.  I have learned that whatever Lifeway is involved in, it will be done with excellence, and Pastor Tom and Urbancrest hold the same high standard. Mark and Lifeway blessed the pastors with a number of resources, and Janet blessed the wives as well with some great gifts.

Couples would text a question anonymously to the Dances and then they would move them back and forth between us couples to address. The questions really involved healthy relationships with God, your spouse, and your family. Renee and I kept asking ourselves, "What do we have to offer?"
Twenty four years and counting, in the only church I have pastored, I thought, "Lord help us pour into someone tonight.  As the night unfolded, our hearts were blessed to be part of a ministry that was encouraging pastors.There were laughs, and tears, among Pastors and their wives, young and old. We were crossing generational lines, styles, and customs, yet all of us had a clear rallying point.  We were called to preach the Gospel , glorify God and shepherd His people. It was a real thrill to have Renee right there with me.  She has been nothing but a blessing to me and our church over the years.

I think that is one way God may be wanting to use us as we continue to pastor some of the greatest people in the world here in Camden.  They have blessed us in so many ways, and I recognize it isn't like this everywhere.  The kindness this Church shows to me is not taken for granted.  I believe God wants to use us, our church, and ministry to encourage pastors in different places. Staying in the trenches together, faithfully preaching, serving, and blooming where God has planted us as H.B. London once said.

I think that is part of  the season I am in now.  Pour into those in the same role and help them avoid the same snares and pot holes that I have encountered in the ministry. Just like the Johnny Hunts that have poured into our lives over the many years.  They may not all have platform that God has blessed Johnny with, but so many have invested in us. Thank you to those still serving and encouraging, and to those now with the Lord.  May He find us...faithful.

What a blessing to be called pastor, or in my case...Bro. Greg!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday

Pastor's Devotion
Growing up I never really recognized Ash Wednesday, or took the time to look at Lent.  I knew some fasted a little or one day a week as Easter approached.
Over the next 46 days leading up to Easter, I will try to share a thought, or brief word to challenge us as we prepare to celebrate Easter. The service Sunday night really got me to thinking about addiction. Addiction can come in many different forms, yet alcohol and drugs are the most referred to.  You don't hear as much about pornography addiction that causing great harm in marriages and lives.  It cheapens what God has created and that is the sexual bond between a man and a woman in a marriage covenant.  That is what the Devil sells.  Counterfeit.  If he can get you and I to cave in to what is not Holy and godly, he will be happy for us to chase something that will not bring happiness.
My prayer for us this Easter Season is to become more disciplined in all the areas of our Christian walk.  This Sunday it is about all of us tithing a tenth of our income.  In sacrifice, no, but in obedience.
For some it is time to get back to church and worship the Lord.  Easter is a great time to claim  Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) 32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.   Let the kick off of this season be a fresh start for you. 
Let's begin it in a prayer together.  Lord, today I surrender myself once again to you. What I am not, please make me.  What I do not know, please teach me.  Help me to put hurt in my life at the foot of the cross.  From there help me to look up and see You,  my Savior who gave Your life for me.  I cannot repay You , but I can live for You and tell somebody else what You have done for me.
Help me to do that today, in Jesus Name...Amen!

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.

R - RECOGNIZING
E - EVERYONE IS
A -
C - CANDIDATE FOR
H - HOPE

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.




Greg

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Patsy/Barnabas


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.

Greg

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
*Lights
*Trees
*Snow
*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.