Monday, September 18, 2017

A Sermon in a Picture

Last week, tragedy hit our small Village of Camden as two young parents and their three year old daughter were killed in an accident right next to our church.  Several others were injured and we continue to pray for the driver who is critical as well.  When something like this hits a small rural community, it brings us together like a family.   We all hurt. Everyone seems to do whatever is needed at the moment and whatever can help the family. I am grateful for our First Responders whose lives  have been changed through what they have witnessed.  Their sacrifice is appreciated.

In ministry and in crisis,  presence is often more important than thinking you have to fill the silence with some profound statement of support.  While we believe Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His  purpose. In the immediate shadow of loss and grief, this passage is hard to understand when we are hurting so bad we don't even know what to think or pray..  I am grateful that God knows our hearts, is willing to let us pour out our questions to Him.  I am grateful that when we don't understand, that there is coming a day when we will.  Until then, I pray that in the midst of this crisis, that we run to Him, and not from Him. 
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV)
12  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.


The above picture recently taken by someone remembering the great loss, is a picture of sadness and at the same time a picture of great hope.  The Corner of Hope is our tag as a church. My prayer is that is is more than just a catchy phrase, that we will be more than ever a place where people can come to know the Hope that is only in the Lord Jesus. That doesn't mean we just sit and wait on folks to come, but that we go out and love them and get them. Whatever we do, there is nothing more important than sharing with those around us the love of God, and the Gospel of our Savior.  May God use this tragedy to get us to think about eternity.  We pray for the families, and may many in our community come to Christ.

Until He comes...we will go!


 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Charlottesville

Many of you know what I am talking about when I say that it is hard to believe what is taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Self declared KKK, Alt-right,White supremacy protesters marched and clashed  with anti protesters.  It was a picture of some movie of a nation gone crazy. The hatred, violence, prejudice was really hard to watch. The real issue is for someone to think they are better than others or anyone else simply due to skin color or ethnic background.  Sadly it has lead to deaths and many injuries. 

I am grateful that at the SBC this year in Phoenix that Steve Gaines, the President clarified after some confusion, and led us to make a clear statement on never supporting any kind of movement that sets itself up to be racist or supreme to another human being.  The ground at the cross is level.  We are all sinners in need of Jesus, our great Savior.

It seems that in America we are set on fixing ourselves. I believe scenes just like we have witnessed  is a tragic commentary on self help and the effects that sin has. 

As believers we are not to hate anyone.  Period!  According to 1 John 4:7-11
7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 


For us to not speak up against this kind of hatred is to make the world somehow think that we support itWe sound a clear signal here at FSB Camden, the Corner of Hope that this kind of racial hate and prejudice is anything but ChristianIt doesn't speak for Christ, and it isn't Bible. As a conservative evangelical christian, I oppose these groups that set themselves us as supreme over anyone else.  May the church send a clear signal from the Word of God.

Monday, July 17, 2017

VBS Takeaways

Another year of Vacation Bible School has come and gone and the Lord has impressed upon me some things that I hope will encourage us and any church who goes through the hard work of prayer, preparation, planning, serving, and working each year.

I loved how the Gospel story flowed this year in "Galactic Starveyors " Discovering the God of the Universe from Lifeway.
  • The Relationship Began
  • The Relationship was Broken
  • The Relationship Promised
  • The Relationship Restored
  • The Relationship Continues
It all pointed to Jesus this week and that is what really matters.  The Worship music was fun and exciting, the kids gave with great generosity to the Camden "Lil Shop of Sharing."

We had storms pretty much all week, and had a power outage that caused the kitchen team to change course, but all did a great job.

Here are a few VBS takeaways that God reminded me of last week:
  1. Serving the Lord is about Him, not us.
  2. If you don't keep the Gospel the main thing, it will drift into the pool of just another thing.
  3. It is my job to set the sail for leaders and workers. Prayer is crucial.
  4. It is wonderful to serve along side Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the trenches.
  5. We have a number of people that are very gifted.
  6. Respond with grace.
  7. Show kids unconditional love.
  8. Greet parents personally at the end of the night.  There were many guests.
  9. God still uses VBS to mobilize one of the largest groups here at the church serving at the same time.
  10. Kids are not impressed with fancy, but with fun as they learn.
  11. There is always a critic in the crowd.  Everyone needs encouraged.
  12. Kids still get saved in Bible School.  What a blessing to see tender hearts wanting Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.
  13. Anything worth doing is never easy. 
  14. Anything done for the Lord is worth it.
  15. Heaven will reveal the whole story.
Thanks to all for a great job of VBS in 2017!  Lives were changed and so was mine.

Pastor Greg

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day 2017

What a blessing to have my mom and dad slip in on me for worship Father's Day.  I must say that preaching with them in attendance always puts a lump in my throat and a heart full of emotion when I think of how blessed I have been as a boy and man to be raised by them.

As I preach through Ecclesiastes being in Chapter 7 was wonderful as we talked about having a good name.  I count it a great honor to be the son of Fred and Dyne Jackson.  Dad has given me many   things in life, and a good name is a blessing. He has done that through faith, character, hard work, and integrity.

When I reflect on my life as a dad,  Drew and Stacy make me so proud.  Neither one of them seek the spotlight, they just work hard, love their spouses, are great parents, and love the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. I can't even begin to describe the joy of having four grandsons, (two by each family).  Renee and I would say that life can get crazy, but God is so good!

Before the service, four of us sang Seasons of a Man by Steve Chapman.  Below are the words, and if you go to our website at www.camdencornerofhope.com  and click on the 6/18/17 sermon you can hear it at the beginning of the sermon.

Seasons of a Man
I am the springtime, when everything seems so fine
Whether rain or sunshine, you will find me playing
Days full of pretending, when a dime is a lot to be spending
A time when life is beginning, I am the springtime

I am the summer, when days are warm and longer
And the call comes to wander, but I can’t go far from home
When the girls become a mystery, and you’re barely passing history
Thinking old is when you’re thirty, I am the summer

I am the autumn days, when changes come so many ways
Looking back I stand amazed that time has gone so quickly
When love is more than feelings, its fixing bikes and painting ceilings
Its when you feel a cold when coming, I am the autumn days

I am the winter, when days are cold and bitter
And the days I can remember number more than the days to come
When you ride instead of walking, and you barely hear the talking
And goodbyes are said too often, I am the winter
But I’ll see spring again in heaven, and it will last forever

Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music, Inc/BMI / Av

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Message Every Dad Needs to Hear


As a boy, my summers were always fun, and my dad was a large part of that.  Not only the ballgames and things boys do, but it was also the time our parents always took to get us away on a family vacation. That is when we were introduced to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.   We may not have had a ton of money (even though I always thought we were rich), we always had fun with great memories and plenty of laughs. 

 

Today I am posting a blog  from a  friend and leader  at Lifeway, Michael Kelley.  May it speak to the hearts of all of us dads as we get into the vacation season.

 

Dads, Don’t Waste Your Summer

By Michael Kelley on May 18, 2017 06:30 am
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Nuance is everything in this passage. Depending on how you read these words, you can either find yourself emboldened or shrunken back. The hinge seems to be on the word “carefully”.
Since it’s in the context of walking, I think about how I go to check on my kids after bedtime. We live in an older house, and it seems like at night the wooden floors creak with every step. So I creep through the playroom down the hall – being very careful how I walk – to try and keep the creaks from waking them up. The thing about my walk in that instance is that it’s a defensive carefulness – I’m careful with every footfall, like I’m walking on egg shells, because I don’t want to step in the wrong place.
But I don’t think the verse above is meant to cause us to watch every footfall, our head swiveling back and forth and sweat beading up on our foreheads to make sure we don’t step wrongly. It’s true, that some of the Christian life demands that, that we are careful where we go, what we see, and what we do to make sure we are avoiding sin. And sin is everywhere, because, as the verse says, the days are evil.
In the context above, however, it seems to be more of an offensive carefulness that Paul wanted to inspire. We are to be careful in order to make the best use of time – literally, redeeming the time. When you redeem something, you trade it in for something better. You “buy back” the time you have been given to use for good. In that sense, our head is swiveling around, but it’s not fear that motivates it. It’s anticipation. We look in every direction to make sure we’re not missing any chance to do good by way of the gospel.
Here is where this truth hits the road right now: Summer.
We typically think about the summer as a time to pull back. To take a break. To rest up for what will be a busy Fall. So we go to the beach, sleep late, and lounge around.
In other words, we play defense against the pressures of life. But what if instead of playing defense this summer, we chose to play offense? What if we had a redemptive mindset toward the time we have rather than a defensive one?
Summer could become something different. A time to walk boldly. A time to engage rather than pull back. A time to stride through life, looking this way and that, determined not to miss any opportunity.
So, dads, the summer is coming, and it could be more than a time for mowing the lawn and sipping lemonade. Certainly it can be those things, too, but let’s not neglect the best for the good. Be on the offense when it comes to your family:
  • Reinforce the family discipline of church attendance.
  • Plan specific and intentional outings for each of your kids.
  • Lead your family to set goals for the summer rather than let it simply pass by.
  • Don’t let the TV use up all the seasonal margin you have.
What a great season is before it. Let’s together do what we can to buy back this time.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Takeaways from Revival

A Baker's Dozen: Takeaways from Revival

Yesterday we concluded what I believe to be, one of the greatest weeks of Revival services we have experienced in the life of FSBC here in Camden.  Worship was powerful, and the messages were delivered from God's word with passion and anointing from Evangelist Scott N.Smith.  In a day when some may think that people just don't attend Revivals anymore, I would beg to differ as we had good strong crowds for each service.  We were even blessed to have a choir sing in each service.  Revivals and choirs are two words that some just don't value today.  By God's grace I encourage any pastor or church member to reconsider.  Do you or the church need a fresh word.  My experience is that God may want to use someone else to bring it from time to time.

Some fruit from this past week 1) Souls were saved. Praise the Lord! 2) Believers were moved and responded on bended knee in most services. 3) Corporate worship was heartfelt and moving.
4) We baptized four on the final night.  A first for us in baptizing during the actual revival. 5)The Church supported and gave with great generosity to the preacher and his ministry.

Somethings I have learned as a pastor over the past twenty four years here when it comes to Revival.
1. Pray about who to bring in.
2. Remember the name and preacher when you hear someone that God uses to speak to you.
3. Earn the confidence of your folks that when it comes to a Revival preacher. You are praying and working to bring in a home run preacher, who has been tested and faithful to his call. Sometimes our good friends may not be the right fit.
4. Let your folks know what you expect during Revival.  Challenge them.
5. Take care of your guest preacher.  Treat them well and don't try to skimp by.
.My experience with Evangelists is that they would prefer to stay in a motel rather than someones home. they appreciate the kindness offered, but prefer the privacy to relax. Budget for it.
6. Bring in special music guests to help your worship leader or team.
7. Incorporate the guest preacher in some of your week's ministry.  Visit some folks who are ill or could not make it to services.
8. Get your men to join you and pray of over your speaker before each service.  That is a great thing to be doing yourself weekly with your men.
9.  Get the messages onto your website for folks to hear.
10. Celebrate the decisions. Follow up!
11. Get the love offering off to a good start by making a way to give on Sunday morning as well.
12. Promote! Promote! Promote! We sent Easter postcards to our entire zip code and on that announcement had Revival information.  Get it in the website, paper, and sign! Any church can do that even with limited funds.
13. Provide loving childcare and come expecting God to do great things!

Dr. Greg F. Jackson
Senior Pastor
First Southern Baptist Church
Camden, Ohio

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