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June 20, 2017, 2:46 PM

The Good News in July ~ A Message from the Pastor

Happy Anniversary!! Four magnificent years together within God’s good grace. Our relationship is like we have been together for much longer, and that is said with an extremely positive emotion. Thank you for your more than generous gifts recognizing our time together. As I have said before, your love for me is shown in a myriad of ways, and remember, myriad, in the Bible, means a number higher than can be counted.
I also want to thank you for the flowers of the one year anniversary of Brian’s death. They were unexpected, but massively appreciated. You remembered! Remembering comes out of love. Have I told you I love you, too, lately?
Linda and I were in Williamsburg recently, and by chance, we were seated at a table with complete strangers. We had never met before we sat at the table, but as began talking, we felt like old friends. We found out they were visiting the area celebrating their wedding anniversary.
As conversations flow, we moved from topic to topic, and yes, we talked about religion (we also talked about politics if you really want to know). When they found out I was a pastor, the tough questions really came out. I found out they were unchurched. They are unchurched because the church hurt her.
Her church turned their back on her, and her daughters, when she and her first husband divorced. I told her how sorry I was to hear that. I told them how important they were/are to God. I encouraged them to find a body of believers that loved them, and to get back into regular fellowship. I told them to find a body of believers who show God’s love by remembering anniversaries of arrivals and remembering anniversaries of losses. I told them I knew a church with people who love and remember . . . often . . . and greatly.
Thank you! I love you!
The Good News
Southampton Baptist Church
July, 2017

May 28, 2017, 9:39 AM

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

There is a story that Charles Cockroft used in a sermon of his which was titled, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” The story talks about a guy who applied for a job as an usher at a theater in the mall. As a part of the interview process, the manager asked him, "What would you do in case a fire breaks out?"
The young guy answered, "Don’t worry about me. I can get out fine."
That’s exactly how many in today’s world respond to a lost and dying world around them. If you asked them "What would you do if Jesus came back tomorrow?" they would probably respond, "Oh, don’t worry about me. I’d be fine."
But what is all too easy to forget is that you’re an usher! It isn’t enough just to get out yourself. You are responsible for helping others know the way.
The time between right now and the start of eternal life is available for us to show other people God’s abounding love. Is that a prayer you have ever said to God? “Lord, please provide me the opportunity to show other people how much love you have to offer!”
If that is not a prayer you have prayed, what would have to happen in your life to be able to pray that prayer? If you can articulate the answer to the previous question, then what will you have to change in your life to make that answer happen?
All our lives are daily filled with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” which we rightfully claim as our unalienable Rights. But as we approach Memorial Day, let us also remember, we are free in this country because others paid high prices for the freedom we enjoy here.
Now, move beyond our country. Who are you keeping from eternal life because you are unwilling to pay the price to fully answer, and then execute the answers to the two questions I asked above? You are responsible for helping others know the way.

Rev. Tom Ficklin

May 3, 2017, 1:27 PM

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

     We are working through Martha Grace Reese’s book, UNBINDING THE GOSPEL, on Sunday mornings in our study time. This is one of the better studies we have done. In fact, it is so good, some folks are considering going through the book again after we finish. If you missed it the first time, check in with us, and maybe someone who has done the course will lead another group and you can participate.
     We are working through prayer in our Wednesday afternoon group. This also has been a time of fruitful conversations as we have explored prayer from different perspectives. If you would like to pray, but this time is inconvenient, then please let us know and maybe there are others who would like to meet at a different time or even a different place.
     Please also know that any of these things we do are open to anyone you would like to invite. The Kingdom is always looking for more participants. Come one, come all! Invite all your friends. Invite folks that may not yet be your friends.
     There is one concept that has risen in both studies that won’t leave my head. We know where we are right now. We know where we want to be. What we have realized is there is often a space between those two, sometimes a very large space. It has been wonderful to explore the opportunities that exist for all of us in that space in between where we are and where we are going.
     How many book studies can we do before we get there? How many prayers can we have before we get there? How many people can we interact with before we get there? How many relationships can we make before we leave for there?
Come one, come all! Invite all your friends. Invite folks that may not yet be your friends. God’s Kingdom has plenty of room. God is depending on us to be the workers for The Kingdom. What is the old axiom? Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you. The harvest is plentiful…

Presence Regular Adoration Yielding Expectation Repeat
(Prayer Gatherings - Every Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. - Requests, Prayers, Discussion)

April 1, 2017, 1:03 PM

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

We continue to talk about PRAYER on Wednesdays.
We specifically spoke about praYer this week: Y = yearning/yielding.
If you will remember, we have spoken about
P = Presence, R = Regular A = Adoration
So why does Y have two words? As we talked yesterday, our very being, created in the image of God, yearns to be in relationship with God. Humans everywhere are yearning, yet too many people search in odd places to fulfill that yearning. The world often manipulates that yearning with advertisements, fads, or trends. The balance of the two words comes in the yielding to God, and not to the world.
We all know how tough it is to live in the world every day and try to discern where God would have us to participate. Many Christians believe that a regular prayer life enables the other voices to decrease as God’s voice increases. The withdrawing to solitude in prayer while being regularly present with God allows space for us to adore Him as we yearn to be with Him. In that environment, yielding seems to be a natural progression in our relationship with Him.
I am glad we take time to talk with each other. The ability to have these conversations with people we love and trust is of enormous value to me. I know all that I know (yet there are days I may question what I really “know”) so to have the experience of others to draw upon expands my experience. This is but one of the important reasons to be an active part of a worshipping body of believers. As much as I need prayer, I also need others to help me grow in my service to the kingdom. I learn new ways to yearn for and yield to God.
This all begs greater questions, “How can we keep this great relationship with God a secret? How do I share this with others?”
Come to our 8-week class starting 4/2/17 at 9:45 a.m. and help us figure this out for our body.

February 28, 2017, 7:35 PM

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

In our times together on Wednesday, we began talking about prayer. The desire was expressed by some in the room to have a richer prayer life. So the question was asked, “What are you willing to give up to be able to get what you want?” A richer prayer life begins with presence; you must show up. What in your schedule stops you from showing up for prayer? What can you clean off your schedule to be able to be present for prayer? How do you put ‘prayer’ on your schedule? How do you maintain the discipline to keep ‘prayer’ on your schedule? The answers to these questions will be as unique as each of us are, but the answers are imperative for a richer prayer life.
We shared times in our lives where we had, in the fullness of our individual humanity, bowed in fervent prayer, and then explored how God had also shown Himself. Not all the answers were a resounding “YES.” That realization helped us to define prayer a little better for each of us. Prayer can still be prayer without achieving the outcome we hope for, or expect. Even in the best prayer life, ‘no’, ‘not that way’, or ‘not yet’ are answers any of us may receive from God. What was amazingly evident to us as humans in those times of deep prayer, was that we realized we had been in the presence of the Divine. We showed up and God showed up. I believe God is always there, so you know what that means…
Presence is important in any relationship. If we don’t call our friends or visit with our friends, we may not call them ‘friend’ for long. Or if we do call them friends with little or no contact, yet we still claim the relationship is important, we also have to realize the relationship will probably not grow. Remember, the original desire was for a richer prayer life, not a complacent, static prayer life.
Prayer – P – Presence
God is asking, “Where are you?”

In our second session on prayer, we talked about R, regular, as in being regular in attendance with God. Remember the overarching question presented was, “How can I have a more robust prayer life?”
Our conversation noted the people we had the deepest relationships with were often the people we spent the most time with. Sure, there are exceptions, but to get to know someone deeply and well, most often means spending more time with them. God is no different. If we sincerely want a more robust prayer life, we should more regularly spend more time with Him.
The journey in our conversation yesterday was a wonderful journey as we talked about spending more time with God without the rigidity that the concept of regularity may initially seem to imply.
Consider the person you know the best. I would not believe you would classify that relationship as rigid. Is that true? Most often, you communicate with that person in many ways without ever saying a word. You know by the way they breath, stand, sit, or even the look on their face, exactly how they are feeling or what they are thinking. Suppose we spent enough time with God that we wouldn’t have to say a word . . . to understand what God was hoping for us to understand . . . yes, you can have prayer without any words, but again, most times that happens in deeper relationships. Now, we understand all those things in our heads, but will we trust it with a change in our practices? Most people who cultivate a bad habit know the potential dangers of that bad habit, but they continue the bad habit anyway. Similarly, we know in our head that spending more time with God is important, but until something inside each of us changes to make regular prayer a priority, we will continue to rationalize our current course of non-action. You do realize, God would love to be in a deep relationship with you through regular prayer, so what are you willing to change to meet Him more regularly?
PRayer – R – Regular
(Prayer Gatherings - Every Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. - Requests, Prayers, Discussion)

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