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February 1, 2018, 8:05 PM

The Good News in February, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

We moved. Those two short simple words encapsulate our whole year, and while they are explicitly right, they do not even come close to describing the totality of emotions, actions,
and thinking that went into last year.
“We moved” does not convey the absolute vulnerability and trust we had for each other in
our many conversations.
“We moved” does not acknowledge the countless hours we spent in prayer and discernment seeking a journey that would honor God.
“We moved” does not reflect all the detailed conversations we had to make sure everyone
who wanted to be informed was fully informed.
“We moved” does not reflect that every vote we took was unanimous because of all the preliminary work which was done out of care for each other.
“We moved” does not weigh the gallons of tears we shed in having to come to this decision
to make this move.
“We moved” does not portray the volume of joy we feel knowing the value of the property
will perpetually minister to those in need.
“We moved” does not honor the individuals from the beginning that have contributed their love, blood, sweat, and tears to Southampton.
“We moved” does not count the tedium of the miniscule which was performed to do this
move the right way.

“We moved” does not feel the love we experienced in the WAY Woodland Heights worked
with us in total respect and unequaled hospitality to insure we had a place to worship.
“We moved” does not tell the whole story. How many times in each of our lives do we abbreviate our words for efficiency only to discount the robustness of what we have done
and who we are? How many times do we do that with God’s story? “Aw, they already know about God, it’s no use for me to say something.”
It is up to US to tell the WHOLE story, the story of 2017 and the story of God. It is a story to remember. It is a story to continue to share. It is a good story. It is our story.
It is God’s story.
But, that was not the only thing to happen last year. We worshipped well, on Sundays and
on special occasions, as is our custom. We met in fellowship with regularity. Our council and business meetings continued on schedule. We love each other immensely, and we do our
best to love those that come in, just not many come in. Our giving has remained faithful.
Our average attendance has fallen slightly again, and really tends to vary based on what life events are happening to which members on any given Sunday. In membership, loosely defined, we lost Martha Hicks and Rusha Smith to their eternal reward. Allen Wright and
Casey O’Berry felt led to join our fellowship. We baptized no one. We led no one to Christ.
How can we be more vocal and engaged with those not already in The Kingdom?
As I said in worship, I have heard this current year called 20GR8teen, so what can we do to
live into that designation after we become acclimated into our new place and establish
our rhythms here? The Kingdom depends on our participation. What does God want us to
be doing, here, now, in this place? How can we be obedient to His desires?

January 7, 2018, 9:03 PM

The Good News in January, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

Happy New Year!! 2018 really appears to be a NEW year. We will be worshipping in a NEW place. We will meet NEW people. We will have NEW experiences. 2 Corinthians 5:17a tells us we are NEW creations; “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.”
For those people who like NEW things, this year will bring lots of energy and excitement.
For those people who do not like change, this year will be a year of measured vulnerability.
Which folks are right? YES. This kind of question has no right or wrong answer. We need each other. We need folks generating excitement and we need folks who watch for more information. We need each other to make us all fully complete, just as the parts of the body depend on one another.
The greatest comfort for both groups will be that we are going to live and experience this year as a congregation, or as it is often seen in the biblical Greek, ekklesia, which is the special assembly or called-out group of people, most often conveyed as being local in application. We are a living body called together to worship and serve God.
Please note “worship” and “serve” are both action verbs. Our God is a God of action. His Kingdom is a Kingdom of action. One of the greatest opportunities in coming alongside WHBC is there will be additional ministries for us (both ekklesia) to use (another action verb) our gifts and talents, especially those we are most passionate about, without constraints.
The NEW question of 2018 each of us must answer is not, “Will I serve?” but more importantly, it is the same OLD question, “Where/How will I serve?” The Kingdom is depending on your answer.
Reverend Tom Ficklin

December 2, 2017, 8:40 PM

The Good News in December ~ A Message from the Pastor

Can life move any faster? Christmas started in October this year I think. We are all connected online in any way we want to be connected, and the marketers realize that and fill our inboxes with a multitude of offers.
When will we find time to read Luke 2 in a quiet place? When will we sit early one morning with a cup of coffee silently thinking about the true meaning of Christmas? Speaking of silent, when will we have time to sing Silent Night?
I have those answers. You have those answers. When each of us decides it’s time to stop the busyness of our lives, God himself will come and sit with us. Really, God sits with us often, mostly waiting for us to get quiet enough to sense his overwhelming love. Can I? Will I? Can you? Will you? WHEN?
This year it will be incredibly important to find those quiet times. It is our last Christmas at 7521 Comanche Drive. Each of us needs time to process what that means to us. Processing works best in silence.
I have been immensely impressed with how we have handled our journey since January. We have been intentional in listening for God to guide us. We have been purposeful at making sure everyone who wants to be informed, was informed. We have never moved faster than the group could move. We have been open and caring in our words during this whole time. I saw God at work in all of our lives. We have done church well during the unknown journey this year.
And soon we will move.
May we move with the continuing sense of God’s presence, so that those people outside of Southampton, and outside of Woodland Heights, sense God’s love and are moved by God to establish a deep and purposeful relationship with Him. If that happens, can you image what next Christmas will be like? Father, please let that kind of Christmas start as soon as possible!
The Good News
Southampton Baptist Church
December, 2017

October 31, 2017, 8:49 AM

The Good News in November, 2017 ~ A Message from the Pastor

In the 8th chapter of 1 Kings, there is a grand ceremony full of pomp and celebration for the dedication of the new temple built by Solomon. Up until this point, there was no human who was able to hear God say that he wanted a place of residence. In fact, most heard the great I AM decline all such offers by man. And yet, Solomon was allowed to build the temple. However, we hear Solomon himself say, “The Lord has said that we would dwell in thick darkness.”
One of my questions in yesterday’s sermon was, “How can man build a structure that would house an unlimited God?” Even Isaiah said only the hem of God’s robe would fill the temple, so there is no way to make room for the rest of His being. And yet, mankind, throughout the ages, has tried to find a place to “put” God. How can man worship a God which he can “put” anywhere? Isn’t God larger and more mysterious than that? Especially the great I AM, which by the name declares that He is in all places.
God will even be in the place we move into to begin worshipping him beginning in 2018. That journey will include grief and anxiety, especially since we do not know where we will be going. But please find the knowledge and comfort that comes out of the same verse.
God will dwell in the thick darkness of our search.
God will dwell in the thick darkness of our grief.
God will dwell in the thick darkness of our anxiety.
For God is everywhere, never to be limited by one location. I have to believe He is preparing all hearts for what is to come next. We all believe God will never leave, nor forsake us. It may not be easy to move, but we go with a God who is everywhere, especially in our hearts.

September 25, 2017, 4:14 PM

The Good News in October, 2017 ~ A Message from the Pastor

Ecclesiastes 3 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
What time is it now?  Tell me, please, Lord, what time is it now?  Nations attempt to bully other nations.  One political party degrades the other political party.  Black Lives Matter.  Blue Lives Matter.  All Lives Matter.  Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.   Then, in the direst of circumstances, we see scene after scene of one human reaching out to help, or rescue, another human.  At that point, no one is concerned with another’s nationality, age, gender, race, or religion; the only concern is safety for that other person EVEN if the rescuer must risk his/her own safety to help the other.  The selfishness of labels is quickly forgotten. 

Hear Jesus say, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13.  

What times is it? 1 Thess 5:16-22 says it is time to:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 

So maybe, instead of asking “What time is it?” should we be asking, “What is it time for us to do?”  Who around us is hoping to be rescued?

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