Metairie Baptist Missive

Metairie Baptist Missive

February 25, 2015

“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Good morning!  What a rainy and cool morning this is – but it is still a gift from God so our decision is simply how are we going to use this day for His honor?  Don’t miss the opportunity placed before you today.

Speaking of opportunities, we began a new process this week of taking the message of hope outside of the door of the church. Many have voiced a concern about the difficulty of getting the conversation started with others about church or about finding the courage to invite someone to church.  On Sunday, if you were present, you received a packet of 5 TrueLife cards.  These are meant to be passed out to those with whom you come in contact throughout the week.  You can simply give them the card and invite them to church.   They can be left in a restaurant with an appropriate tip or dropped off at your neighbor’s house.  I have discovered that while waiting in line God provides a great opportunity to give the invitation to someone standing in line with you.  Remind them that there is a website (truelife.org) listed on the back of the cards with answers to some key questions being asked today.   These videos are brief and deal with matters such as the existence of God, reliability of the Scriptures, and the beliefs of the Mormons.  If you would like additional cards, they are available at the church office and will be available at all services.

These are more than “business cards.”  These are opportunities for you to be involved in helping others know of the hope.  As I preached on Sunday, the disciple Andrew was constantly bringing people to Jesus.  That is our role – bringing our friends, family members, and even people we don’t know to a place where they can hear of Jesus.

People ask why we have decided to begin this process.  Honestly, we felt God leading us to develop a culture at MBC where we are talking to others about the hope we have found in Jesus and the joy of being a part of the family at MBC.  This is a step in that direction.  Other ways exist, but this is simply one.  My prayer is that all would embrace this opportunity.  I have already heard from several of the joy that is found in reaching out to others with a simple invitation – don’t miss the blessing of being used by God!  I am looking forward to seeing on Sunday morning who fulfilled the five card challenge and passed out at least five cards over the week.

Yesterday, we had a great Evergreens’ meeting.  If you are able to attend, I encourage you to be a part of the next meeting (the meetings are always on the fourth Tuesday of the month). The time is one of encouragement and fellowship.  The meal that follows is wonderful as well.  Thanks to Martha Hohensee for her leadership!

This past Saturday, our ladies had a great time of fellowship as they spent time sharing a meal and a conversation at lunch on Saturday.  Over 25 ladies participated – thanks to those who organized the day.  Ladies, keep an eye out for upcoming events and opportunities.

We are off to a good start with our Loaves and Fishes Ministry.  The purpose of this ministry is to have items on hand that we can utilize to help our church members who may be walking through some difficult times.  Each month we are collecting different items – you can bring these and leave them in the designated box in the Orion Foyer.  For the upcoming month of March, we are requesting you bring the following as you are able:

Tea
Canned Vegetables (carrots, green beans, mixed vegetables)
Canned tomatoes (diced or whole is fine)
Canned Cream Soup (cream of chicken, mushroom, etc.)
Canned evaporated milk
Canned Chili
Dry Onion Soup mix
Rice
Dry Biscuit mix (bisquick or similar)
Toothpaste

Thanks for your help with this most important ministry.

We have been praying for Billy and Susan Sanson.  They are our missionaries through the International Mission Board to Malawi.  Due to a recent season of torrential rains, the country has experienced great turmoil.  Please continue to pray for Billy and Susan as they faithfully do the ministry to which God has called them during this challenging time in Malawi.  Also, if you would like to participate, we are collecting an offering above our tithes and offerings that will be sent to them to aid them personally during this time.  You can leave your offering in the office or place it in the offering plate (indicating that it is for the Sansons).

Though it will probably be raining tonight, we are still meeting for our small group studies.  Join us for this time of fellowship and encouragement.  Each week, I leave the small group time encouraged in my walk with Christ and excited to be walking on the journey with those in the group.

I am looking forward to Sunday.  This Sunday I will be preaching from one of my personal favorite passages – Lamentations 3:22-24.  By the way, if you were unable to be at the service Sunday, you missed a great opportunity of worship.  Thanks to our youth for leading us in worship – well done Kristin, Lillian, and Song!  We also rejoice that Song made public her profession of faith and that God brought Ken and Teri Hamilton to our church as they moved their membership from their home church in Texas.  God is doing a great work at MBC!  Praise be to God!

On the journey,
Thomas

MBC Missive for February 11, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

February 11, 2015
“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Good morning!  The day is quickly moving forward but I wanted to take a moment to send out a brief Missive.  I trust that you are doing well and growing in your relationship with Christ.

Sunday was a great day.  Immediately following the morning service, our Deacons hosted a luncheon in honor of the widows of our church.  The meal was great, and the fellowship was greater.  A special thanks to all those who helped by preparing the food, decorating, and serving.  Alan Neesley, our chairman, did a great deal of work as he organized the entire event, and he did it well!

During the luncheon, two deacons were honored who passed away recently:  George Pagan and Bob Bowser.  We celebrated their lives.  Also, we remembered their great examples of what it means to be a Christian and a deacon.  They serve as a good encouragement for all of us.

Sam Crosland and Bobby Starr were also honored by being given the status of “Deacon Emeritus.”  This is a new status which is bestowed upon long time deacons who have consistently demonstrated servanthood in their lives.  The Deacon body elected these two to this position of honor and recognition.

On Sunday night, the Youth hosted the Gathering.  What an incredible time of worship and celebrating God’s work in and through our youth.  The Youth led in worship, even introducing us to some of original music that was written by Song.  We also heard testimonies of what God is doing through their times of Bible Study, camp, and fellowships.  A great group was present for the Gathering – and if you missed it, you really missed a great night.  Thanks to Daniel for coordinating the Gathering and the Youth who participated/supported.  Also, thanks to Pat for her organizing the treats!

I would encourage you to note these very important events which are happening soon!  Would you put these on your calendar and make plans now to be a part of these events?  Each of these will provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate your love to Christ through actions and through worship.  More information will be coming in the days ahead for each of these happenings.

*March 29 – Easter Blitz.  We will be placing over 1,000 invitations to our Easter service on the doors of the houses in our neighborhood.

*April 5 – Easter Worship will be a special time of remembering the fact that Jesus lives!

*April 8 – Family Ministry Day Preparation.  We will utilize our Wednesday night time to prepare ourselves for the Family Ministry Day.  Dale Garvin and Patrick Weaver will be leading this preparation time (and they are coordinating the Family Ministry Day).  In addition, we will begin to finalize the organization of the day by getting people to commit to participation in one of the ministry opportunities.

*April 25 – Family Ministry Day.  I honestly believe that every person who professes Christ should be involved in some type of ministry on a regular basis.  We do so not because we are attempting to earn our salvation, but instead we do so as an opportunity to express to God our appreciation for His salvation.  This day will provide an opportunity for everyone to be involved in some type of ministry.  More information will be coming in the days ahead.

Join us tonight for Small Group studies – you are all always welcome.  Come early and enjoy breakfast foods for supper – our Fellowship Meal begins at 5:00 p.m.

I look forward to seeing you tonight and Sunday.  Be certain of my prayers for you.

On the journey,
Thomas

MBC Missive for February 4, 2015

Good morning! I know you are like me, but there are some days when you start the day and think to yourself: “I don’t know if I am going to get everything done today!” That is my feeling this morning but I wanted to start by letting you know of my prayer for you and by writing a short Missive. This day is full of busyness and meetings, but you are on my heart!

On Sunday morning, I reminded those present of three great things that happened at MBC this past week (this is just a sampling):

*Our Evergreens met last week on Tuesday. What a great group of people. The fellowship was wonderful, the Bible study led by Garrett Slater was challenging/encouraging, and the food was great!   During the meeting, they decided to participate in supporting the Loaves and Fishes ministry. I am thankful for each of them – and encourage those of you who qualify for this group to recognize that you are fortunate to be among them and to plan on being at their next meeting. They meet the fourth Tuesday of every month.

*Our Wednesday night small groups continue to be great times of fellowship and discipleship. I have enjoyed hearing what God is doing in and through each group. The numbers have remained consistent as we continue to move forward in our studies. If you haven’t made it to one of the groups yet, make plans to come tonight. Out of all the things in our lives that keeps us busy, nothing should prevent us from placing ourselves in positions to grow in our relationship with Christ. Join us tonight beginning at 6:10 p.m.

*Our Youth had a lock-in this past weekend. Twenty-five youth (plus chaperones) were involved in the event! They were able to enjoy time being together, have lots of fun, and be challenged in their walks with Christ. I am thankful for our youth – join me in praying for God’s continued work in them. Also, I am so thankful for Daniel and those who help lead in this ministry.

Remember to bring your items for the Loaves and Fishes Ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to help those who are members at Metairie Baptist who may be walking through difficult times and have a need for food or other basic items. We are stocking a pantry that will be utilized to help these people in crises. You can help by bringing any of the following items and leaving them in the Orion Foyer for this new and important ministry:

*Coffee
*Canned fruit (peaches, pineapple, pears, etc.)
*Dry pasta
*Canned soup (any kind is fine)
*Canned pasta sauce
*Flour (All Purpose)
*Rice
*Canned chicken or fish (tuna, salmon)
*Toothbrushes
*Hand soap (bar soap or liquid soap)

Each month throughout this year we will be stocking the pantry with different items. If you have a need that can be met by this ministry or know of someone who does, please let one of the deacons know and they will be glad to help. Pray as well that God would use this ministry and those involved for His honor.

As we are planning the days ahead, we have many events just on the horizon: Family Ministry Day, a Day of Preparation for Family Ministry Day, an Easter Blitz, and our special Easter Worship Service to name a few. Many other events are being planned but I encourage you now to make plans to be a part of God’s working in and through MBC as you demonstrate your love to Him and to our community.

I look forward to seeing you tonight!

On the journey,
Thomas

MBC Missive for January 28, 2015

In the words of the John Denver classic, “Hey, it’s good to be back home again!” I missed you and greatly appreciated your prayers while I was away. Each year at this time, I go to Jacksonville, FL where I teach a course at the First Baptist Church Pastor’s Conference. This conference is always a time of refreshing as it proved to be this year. In addition to hearing from some great preachers and having the opportunity to worship at the conference, I was able to spend time praying, planning, and dreaming about the days ahead at MBC. Despite all the good that happened at the conference, I am glad to be home. I have been praying for you and looking forward to being back together with you.

Don’t forget about our small group studies tonight. I am so thankful for what God is doing in and through these studies. God is working in the lives of many to help us become more like Him and to encourage us in our everyday walk with Him. Join us tonight at 6:10 p.m. for the group meetings. If you are uncertain which group to attend, we will be glad to help you find just the right group.

We are starting a new ministry at MBC called “Loaves and Fishes.” The name, of course, is taken from the day Jesus fed the 5,000 men (plus their wives and children) with a little boy’s lunch. Occasionally, we have members of MBC who have need of food and basic care items. The purpose of this ministry is to provide assistance to members of the church who have these temporary needs. You should be aware that this ministry is distinct from the Benevolence Ministry and the Homeless Ministry. This unique ministry will give us the resources to help those in the church when a crisis occurs.

In order to provide a pantry full of needed items for this ministry, we are encouraging you throughout the month of February to pick up an extra item while you are shopping and donate it to the church. Specifically for the month of February, we are looking for the following items:

*Coffee
*Canned Fruit (peaches, pineapple, pears, etc.)
*Dry pasta
*Canned soup (Any kind is fine)
*Canned pasta sauce
*Flour (All Purpose)
*Rice
*Canned chicken or fish (tuna, salmon)
*Toothbrushes
*Hand soap (bar soap or liquid soap).

A collection point is in the Orion Foyer. Each month you will be provided with an additional list of items that you can bring. Please know that we understand that not everyone is in a position to help. For those who are able, we wanted to provide a list for the month so that if you find an item on sale or if you would like to purchase an extra item while shopping, you could know of the need. Please join me in praying for this very important ministry. By the way, at the Evergreens’ Meeting on Tuesday, they decided to be a part of this ministry by organizing and stocking the pantry with the items you bring! I am so thankful for their willingness to be a part of this ministry.

If you know of someone who has a need, you can contact one of the deacons who will be ready to help. You can always contact one of the staff as well, and we can get the process moving forward. The desire is to demonstrate Christlike compassion to those at MBC.

Since Katrina, we have hosted numerous groups at our facilities who have helped our city and our church recover. No other church has contributed as greatly to the effort as Gladeville Baptist Church from Tennessee has. They provided many hours of service and ministry, as well as the shower trailer which enabled people to stay at our building. On Monday, they removed the shower trailer in order to utilize it in their next phase of ministry. As you enter the education building from the Codifer parking lot, you’ll notice the space is now empty! We are grateful for Gladeville’s ministry and express gratitude for their being used by God to encourage us in many ways. Please join me in continuing to pray for their church and the ministries.

I look forward to seeing you tonight – and being able to worship with you on Sunday. We will be considering more of “Life Choices” on Sunday morning. Join me in praying for God’s continued work at MBC as we are on the journey!

On the journey,
Thomas

MBC Missive for January 14, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

January 14, 2015
“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Good morning! My heart is heavy as I know your is – we have so many friends and family members who are walking through challenging times. But I rejoice in God because I know that He is able. I would encourage you to continue to pray for those whom God places on your heart. In the midst of great challenges, God is doing some great things in the lives of many. Prayer is a great gift that God has given us. Let’s follow the directive of the song: “Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

I strongly encourage you to join us tonight for Bible Study/Small Groups. We began last week and will continue for the weeks ahead. Many options exist for you to choose: A men’s study on the disciplines of discipleship; A women’s study exploring the meaning of Jonah for today; A couple’s study focusing on Ephesians; A mixed group study (men and women) focusing on doing God’s will and becoming more like Him. Each group begins at 6:10. If you were unable to make it last week, you can join in the discussions tonight without any problems. These groups provide a great opportunity for fellowship as you meet new friends and strengthen relationships. More than that, these groups provide an opportunity to grow in your relationship with Christ. You’ll find the groups non-threatening and encouraging. Remember that we also have a place for your entire family on Wednesday night with special activities for those in our nursery, our children’s ministry, our youth ministry, and our adult ministry.

The Men’s Ministry will be hosting a “Tour of New Orleans” on Saturday. Al men are invited! The tour will leave the church at 9:00 a.m. so we encourage you to come a few minutes early. This will be a chance to see the city perhaps as you have never seen it before. In addition, you will enjoy some time with the other men of the church. After the tour, a group of men will be going to lunch for those who are able. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can contact the church office to make your reservations (504) 881-6715.

During the Sunday morning worship service, you were challenged to “live biblically.” All of life consists of a series of choices. The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 1 that the person who lives in favor with God is one who relies upon the Word of God for encouragement, guidance, and help. Would you join us in making a commitment to spend time each day reading and studying the Bible? If you are uncertain where to begin, let me know – I can send you some information or give you some links online that provide a number of options. One of the best ways is simply to begin reading through a book of the Bible – and I personally would suggest John as a great place to start.

This Sunday morning during our worship time, we will continue with the series – “Life Choices” — and look particularly at the choice of “living prayerfully.” Having become convinced that prayer makes a difference in life, you will be challenged to be a person whose life is characterized by continuous prayer.

I look forward to seeing you tonight! Don’t forget to come early and enjoy the wonderful time of fellowship – and the wonderful food – during our Fellowship Meal!

On the journey,
Thomas

MBC Missive for January 7, 2015

Good morning! Welcome to our first Missive for 2015. I don’t know about you, but it is going to take a little effort to write “2015” instead of “2014.” Last year was a great year at Metairie Baptist. We rejoice over God’s working in and through the church. With great anticipation, we embrace 2015 as a gift from Him. We are looking forward to being a part of His working in the days ahead. Make plans and priorities to join us on this journey through 2015.

I am excited about the beginning of a new group of Bible study/small group studies for tonight. All these groups will begin at 6:10 p.m. and signs in the foyer will direct you to the appropriate room. This will be a great time of spiritual encouragement as you study the truths of Scripture and apply them to life. During this time, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy making new friends and enjoying previous friendships. Choose from one of the following:

          *A study for women on the book of Jonah led by Betty Frechette.

          *A study for couples on the book of Ephesians led by Wes/Stephanie Lonsberry and Rick/Karen Coogler.

          *A study for men on basic discipleship led by Mitch Mares.

          *A study for all on the disciple’s personality and God’s will led by me (TStrong).

This past week I began a sermon series on “Life Choices.” Elijah challenged the people of his day by saying, “If God be God, then follow Him.” (1 Kings 18:21). Since we know that God is God, I want to challenge us to live for Him each and every day – to follow Him. This week I will be preaching on Living Biblically as we seek our direction for life from the Word of God and allow God to speak continually to us as we immerse ourselves in His Word. During the upcoming weeks, we will look at living prayerfully, living intentionally, living sacrificially, and living selflessly. Come each week with a willing heart to hear God speak through the worship service and through the sermon. Pray that God will give you specific encouragement and direction for the days ahead as you apply the truths you have been given.

The Women’s Prayer Breakfast will be hosted on Saturday morning for all the ladies of the church at 10:00 a.m. This is always a great time of encouragement and fellowship – so plan on coming (if you are a lady!).

Next Saturday, January 17, the Men’s Ministry will host a city tour for the men of the church. Make plans to be a part of this special opportunity as you not only learn something about our city but as you enjoy being with other men of the church. Invite your family and neighbors as well!

I am so thankful for each of you. Many of you have demonstrated incredible faithfulness to God through the ministries of Metairie Baptist. I want to say “Thanks” – and don’t give up because there is much work/ministry to be done. If you are seeking for a way to get involved, let us know. We will pray with you and seek those opportunities that God is leading you towards. With God’s help and guidance, we can accomplish much this year for His glory and His honor.

As I often say – “Join us on the journey!”

On the journey,
Thomas

MBC Missive for December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve! Into a world of great darkness, God chose to send His Son as the light of the world. We rejoice in God’s goodness as demonstrated to us in the gift of Jesus – and that is the reason we celebrate this time of the year. Don’t forget to make worship your priority in the days ahead.

We look forward to worshiping as a church family on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. Please make plans to join us – and come at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday morning to be a part of Bible study and fellowship during our Sunday School time.

Also, make plans to join us on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 6:30 p.m. as we gather in the Sanctuary to hear the Mobberly Youth Choir. This will be a great time of celebration and enjoyment.

From our family to you and yours, may you have a very meaning and worshipful Christmas. Merry Christmas!

On the journey,
Thomas