Metairie Baptist Missive for March 25, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

March 25, 2015

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

               Paul stated it best:  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you!” (Phil. 1:3) From the opening words today, I want you to know how grateful I am that God has given me the opportunity to be your pastor for these last 10 years – and I am looking forward to the years ahead.  Thank you to those who helped with the reception.  Your efforts made the afternoon greatly enjoyable.  Thank you to all who attended.  Your words of encouragement and friendship mean more than words can express.  Thank you for the gifts.  I greatly appreciate the books and the clock!  The clock is on my desk already and I have started through the books.  All of these are reminders of you.  Thank you for all who have been a part of the journey.  I am excited to see all that God has done and continues to do.  As mentioned at the reception, a special thanks goes to Jana, as well as our children, Nathan, Kathryn, and Andrew.  They have stood with me, prayed for me, and been a constant source of encouragement.  They have also been active in the ministry as a result of their personal walks with Christ.  One of the most rewarding and encouraging happenings in life is having a family that loves God!

I have been asked more than once, “So what’s next?”  For me, the answer is simply, “I desire to do what God requests of my life.”  I am looking forward to the journey continuing.  God has done many great things both in and through Metairie Baptist, but I am absolutely convinced that He isn’t finished.  To the future we turn our eyes as we continue on the journey.

We need your help with the ministry.  On Sunday afternoon (March 29) at 3:30, we are going to invite approximately 2,000 people to Metairie Baptist by placing invitations to Easter Sunday on the doors of their homes.  Join us that afternoon in the Fellowship Hall.  You will receive instructions that will include a map of the area you are assigned to invite.  During that time, you will also be paired up with someone in order that you will not be out by yourself (and you can enjoy the fellowship with someone while doing the inviting).  All that will be involved is placing an invitation on the door – very simple. Our goal is that the community around us would be reminded of our ministry and know that they are welcome to join us as we celebrate our hope that is found in Jesus.

During the morning worship service on this Sunday (March 29), our children will be participating as we celebrate Palm Sunday.  Also, during the service we will observe the baptism of David Normann.  The conclusion of the service will be the opportunity to participate in the Lord’s Supper.  This is going to be a great Sunday of worship and celebration!  All of these elements of the service will help prepare us for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday on April 5.

Thank you to all who were able to be a part of the discussions at the Business Meeting/Church Council on Sunday night.  We approved a new wedding policy (which is available in the office if you would like to view it).  In addition, we started the discussion concerning the adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a statement of our beliefs.  Copies of this statement are available on the table in the Orion Foyer.  Please take a copy, read through it, and come ready at the next business meeting to talk further about this matter.  I am more than happy to talk with you if you would like to do so prior to the meeting.

I am looking forward to small groups tonight.  We only have two weeks left of this series.  Personally, the time has been both challenging and enriching.  If you haven’t been able to be a part of the studies, I encourage you to take advantage of the upcoming opportunities.

Our Wednesday nights for the next few months will include:

>March 25 and April 1 – We will continue with our present small groups which will conclude on April 1.

>April 8 – All are invited to join us in the fellowship for a time of discussion, prayer, and preparation for Family Ministry Day.

>April 15 – Dale Garvin will be leading our Bible Study for all the adults in the Fellowship Hall.

>April 22 – Patrick Weaver will be leading our Bible Study for all the adults in the Fellowship Hall.

>April 29 – Craig Warren will be leading our Bible Study for all the adults in the Fellowship Hall.

>May 6, 13, 20, and 17 – Dr. Mike Edens will be leading a study on Islam and an appropriate response to those who hold these beliefs.  All are invited to join us!

All of these will start at 6:10 on Wednesday nights.  Come join us for the fellowship and for the growth opportunity.

My prayer for you today is that you would know God better.  Also, I pray that God would use you to help someone know Him better today as well.  I look forward to seeing you tonight!

On the journey,
Thomas
Thomas Strong III, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor

Metairie Baptist Church

401 Codifer Blvd.

Metairie, LA  70005

504-835-2611

thomas.strong@metairiebc.org

Metairie Baptist Missive for March 18, 2015

Good morning. I trust you have had time with God this morning – just the two of you as you read His word and pray/fellowship with Him. If you haven’t had time yet, I encourage you to find a few moments before the day slips away. Personally, I have discovered a great difference in the day when I begin it with God – just the two of us as I read and experience His presence. Suddenly, I find direction and courage for the day. Embrace the day as you live for Him!

In the upcoming weeks, we have several ministry events/opportunities that will be occurring. Consider the following happenings:

*.   Join us tonight at 6:10 for Bible Study/Small Groups. We continue to work our way through various studies. You can chose which you would like to join – and you will be challenged in your walk with Christ. In addition, you’ll enjoy a great time of fellowship. It still isn’t too late to join.

*. Parent’s Night Out is this Friday night beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the church. Leah Weaver is organizing a great night for the children grades 1-6. Make plans to bring your children; they will enjoy the time with friends.

*. Business Meeting/Church Council will take place this Sunday night at 5:00 p.m. We have two very important matters of business to discuss so come and be a part of the discussion. In addition, we will be discussing our regular matters during this time.

*. The Evergreens’ Meeting will be on Tuesday, March 24 at 10:15 p.m. I plan on being there – join us for a great time of fellowship – all members with maturity are encouraged to attend (senior adults).

*. Worship on Palm Sunday, March 29, will be a great time. During the morning service, we will celebrate and be reminded of God’s work through the observance of baptism and the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Our children will be participating in the morning service as well.

*. Easter Blitz begins at 3:30 on Sunday, March 29. Join us in the Fellowship Hall as we meet, receive assignments, and head into the community to place invitations on the doors of 2,500 of our church neighbors. We are inviting them specifically to our Resurrection Worship Service on Easter Sunday, April 5. Your help is great needed to accomplish this ministry task.

*. Easter Sunday is April 5. Join us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and what that means specifically to us. Invite your family and friends to join us for this special time of worship.

Immediately after Easter, we will begin to focus on Family Ministry Day. Remember that we have set April 25th as our day to encourage the entire church to be involved in ministry. During the day we will be doing such ministry activities as hosting a free car wash for the neighborhood, visiting the homebound, providing a breakfast for the homeless, and preparing “compassion kits.” Other activities will be occurring, all of which will provide you with the opportunity to be involved in ministry. On Wednesday night, April 8, at 6:10 we will meet as a church family to begin the process of organizing and preparing for the day.

Don’t forget to encourage others to explore the hope that is found in Christ by utilizing the TrueLife.org cards. I encourage you as well to visit the website in order to view some of the videos. I believe you’ll find them helpful and encouraging. Above all, we want to get the message of Christ Jesus out to those who need to hear – so pass out a card!

I look forward to seeing you tonight. May God bless you.

On the journey,
Thomas

Metairie Baptist Missive

Metairie Baptist Missive

March 11, 2015

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

I started the missive last week by mentioning how the weather has changed again – well . . . .  Looks like it is going to be another rainy day.  I was reminded this morning how we can and should give thanks to God in the midst of the rain.  Perspective often helps us – at least it isn’t snow!  And no one in New Orleans has the fear of a fire due to a drought. The best perspective, though, is not found in comparing ourselves to those who are seemingly less fortunate.  Our best perspective is seen through understanding that this day, regardless of the weather, is a great gift from God.  So, let’s rejoice in it, seek to use it for His honor, and see what He is going to do through us in this day.  Embrace the day, rain and all!

I continue to hear great stories from those who are continuing to give out the TrueLife cards.  Each card given is an opportunity for someone to be invited to church and to hear of the good news of Jesus. By the way, the website (TrueLife.org) will provide videos of questions that many of your friends/family may be asking.  Questions such as:  What happens when I die?  Is there a God?  Why does God allow abuse?  How did we get the New Testament?  I would encourage you to take a few minutes to look around the site – it will give you a better understanding of what you are inviting people to view.  Plus, you will probably find some videos of interest to yourself that you would enjoy watching.  You can view the site as often as you like.  Don’t forget to give the card – to someone standing beside you in line, to someone who took care of you at a restaurant, to a friend, to someone to whom you are sending a card/note to encourage them, to anyone!  We have plenty of cards available for you; you can pick them up at church anytime!  By the way, if you have a story about utilizing these cards, please let us hear from you.

Tonight the small groups continue!  Join us at 5:00 – 5:45 for supper and stay for the group studies.  These groups begin at 6:10, and various options are offered.  Remember that there are activities for all ages from birth to life with much seniority.  The small groups are followed by choir practice at 7:00 p.m.  Come and join the choir to become a part of this vital ministry of worship leadership.

Our Business Meeting/Church Council for this month has been postponed until March 22.  We have done so because of the parade on Metairie Road this Sunday.  Make plans to be a part of the meeting on the 22nd – we have some important information to discuss regarding new policies and plans for the future.

Remember to put these important dates on your calendar:

>March 29 – Easter Blitz.  We are asking all who are able to join us at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon to place invitations to our Easter Sunday Worship on the doors of 2500 of our neighbors.  You are definitely needed!

>April 5 – Easter Sunday.  This is always a great time of worship – join us and invite your friends/family to join us for this special time of celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive!

>April 8 – Family Ministry Day Preparation.  During our regular study time on Wednesday night (6:10 p.m.), we will be meeting as a church (all are invited and encouraged to attend) to organize for the upcoming Family Ministry Day.  This will give us all a chance to hear of the various ministry opportunities, to provide your input, and to receive a brief training so we will be ready for Family Ministry Day.

>April 25 – Family Ministry Day.  We are encouraging our entire church family to gather at Metairie Baptist Church on Saturday morning for a day of ministry.  You will have the opportunity to participate in various ministries – and something will be available for all ages.  Come ready to be a part of the effort and to enjoy the fellowship.

I am thankful for you and have been praying daily for you.  My continued prayer is the same as Paul prayed for the Philippians:  “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” (Phil 1:9-10)

I look forward to seeing you tonight and Sunday!

Blessings,
Thomas

  1. Thomas Strong III, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor

Metairie Baptist Church

401 Codifer Blvd.

Metairie, LA  70005

504-835-2611

thomas.strong@metairiebc.org

Metairie Baptist Missive for March 5, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

March 5, 2015

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

Good morning!  I find it hard to believe how much the weather has changed overnight – again.  This Missive is coming to you a day late but it actually has nothing to do with the weather.  I found myself in meetings most of the day yesterday – but I did want to touch base with you on some important matters.

Remember that time change is this Saturday night.  You’ll want to move your clocks forward an hour; otherwise, you will show up at unexpected times at church on Sunday.  Spring forward!  Go ahead now and make your plans to be at church on Sunday ready to hear from God.

One of the many joys I experience as a pastor and member of Metairie Baptist is the opportunity to be a part of the small group studies on Wednesday night.  We had a great time last night filled with encouragement and challenge.  God is doing a great work in and through these groups.  It still isn’t too late to join us next week.  All of these groups are based upon the truth that we believe God wants to have a relationship with us that is alive and vibrant.  The groups meet at 6:10 p.m. on Wednesday (with a Ladies group that also meets on Sunday at 5:00 p.m.) – several options exist so come try one.  For those of you who have been attending, keep up the good progress!

As a part of your walk with Christ, I encourage you to be reading the Bible on a regular basis.  LifeWay Research recently released a survey that indicated that one in five churchgoers read the Bible daily.  About 60% read the Bible at least once a week.  Make a commitment to “get into the Word” daily as you seek direction and encouragement – and as you take the opportunity to learn more about the great God we serve and the wonderful salvation we have received.  We are glad to give you some hints about how to get started if you need them – just let us know.

As you may know, Sunday was my 10th Anniversary as your pastor at Metairie Baptist.  Thank you for all your kind expressions of friendship, prayer, and encouragement.  I am overwhelmingly blessed that God has given me this opportunity.  I do take it serious, and I am also reminded that it is totally because of His grace.  As mentioned Sunday, I am thankful as well to a tremendous family who has prayed for me and continues to be a significant part of the ministry – Jana, Kathryn, Nathan, and Andrew.  They have stood with me, and I love going to church with my family.  As I preached on Sunday, I look forward to the years ahead because I know the God we serve – that He is faithful.  My prayer is that God would be honored in our ministry at MBC and that He would find us faithful – and to that end I will continue to preach and to lead.

Don’t forget to keep passing out TrueLife cards and invite those you encounter to church.

May God bless you today with a deeper understanding of His love for you.

On the journey (still),
Thomas

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