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November 30, 2016, 6:02 PM

The Good News in December ~ A Message from the Pastor

Merry Christmas!
How many unchurched people do you know?
Please take a few minutes and make a list of ten of them for yourself. If you
do not know ten unchurched people, then will you go meet ten unchurched people?
Will you pray for them? Will you pray for their safety? Will you pray for their health?
Will you pray for their happiness? Will you pray for their income to be stable and
Will you pray for their families?
Will you pray for them three times a day for thirty days? Will you send them a few encouraging notes over the thirty days? Will you call them a few times over the thirty days? Will you sit with them for coffee once over the thirty days? Will you dine with them at some point over the thirty days?
At the end of thirty days, what has God told you about each of these people? At the end of thirty days, what has God told you about each of these people? What has God shown you about His love, specifically His love full of grace without judgement? Will God lead you to continue to pray for these people, or will He lead you to another list of ten different unchurched people?
God sent Jesus to a world that did not know Jesus; let’s go, and do likewise.  Reverent Tom Ficklin

October 29, 2016, 9:27 PM

The Good News in November, 2016 ~ A Message from the Pastor

     What do I think the day after the 60th Anniversary Celebration and Worship? My cup runneth over. Southampton, a church of new beginnings, is a church overflowing with love. As information, you may want to block out October 16-17, 2021 on your calendar for the 65th Anniversary Celebration. You heard it here first!
     Carol, Cindy, Jane, Jean, and Sally certainly proved they were the right people to throw a party for our 60th Anniversary Celebration. None of the rest of us will ever know the numerous hours that went into planning and executing such a rousing success. A job well done! THANK YOU!
     A deep and heartfelt thanks also needs to be conveyed to all the folks who returned for the celebration. Each of you holds a special place in our heart. Please come and visit us as often as you are able. We miss you and we love you!
     Thank you to the Property and Space committee and the True Gospel Rehoboth folks that made sure the building and grounds looked so nice. Again, many of us will never know how many hours of work went into that endeavor.
     Thank you to Scarlett Forsman and the choir for their music. Thank you to the Rev. Woody Jenkins for connecting the 50th and 60th with his litany. Thank you to the Rev. Michael Jackson who blessed us with his heart-felt tribute. Thank you to the Rev. Don Retzer who reminded us of our heritage as ‘the church of new beginnings.’ And thank you to the Rev. Tom Sims who sent us out in peace and in prayer.
     Shakespeare is often quoted as having said, ‘many a truth is said in jest.’ You mean like my comment in the first paragraph…. But my focus was not on the next celebration, but to the next celebration.
     We are a people of hope, hope that comes from a God who loves and who creates. What we do today, and tomorrow, and this week, and…, and…, and… in The Kingdom will shape our next anniversary celebration. I am getting excited about it already!

October 6, 2016, 9:56 PM

The Good News in October, 2016 ~ A Message from the Pastor

The 60th Anniversary Celebration has been on my mind a lot lately. I am sure there are many obvious reasons for that. There is a big worship service to plan, and that takes time. We want to be observant of our history, specifically as it pertains to God's history, and how those two histories have aligned.

I listen to the vast amount of engery that has been invested in making our building and grounds look attractice. I hear how many people have helped to make that possible. This an important thing we do. How has your personal investment of time reflected the importance of the upcoming event?

True Gospel Rehoboth Church has also been on my mind a lot lately. They have participated in helping to make our building and grounds look attractive. They have brought valuable contacts of contractors that make some of our efforts attractice from a financial perspective and from an energy saving perspective. I have been impressed with the way Southampton and TGR have approached this time of transition with grace and kindness and hospitality. What have you personally done to give, or accept, hospitality in this time?

So, if we are looking back on 60 years, and Rehoboth is "looking for room to grow" what do we need to learn from each other? What can we teach each other? What can we do separately? What can we do combined? What will it take to be "church here for the next 60 years? What does that mean we have to do today? What does that mean we have to do RIGHT NOW? What will room to grow look like?

I love serving a God who allows me to ask the important questions, and then actively search for HIS answers to those important questions.

Happy 60th ShBC!! Welcome TGR!! God is definitely not standing still right now, so neither can we. Amen? AMEN!!

August 27, 2016, 3:35 PM

The Good News in September, 2016 ~ A Message from the Pastor

It is September. School starts. Football starts. AND. My mind wanders to all the things that need to get done before the end of the year. What is coming up? "Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?" Won’t be too long. You know, we have a lot going on here at the church before year end, too!

I will be gone two Sundays in September – the 11th and 18th. The first one is a true vacation that Linda said I HAD to go on, so, ‘she who must be obeyed’ was obeyed (and honestly, I think it is good timing.) I will also be gone October 9th, and want you to know that Robert Thompson will be with you that day.

We will be having a Yard Sale and Blessing of the Animals on October 1. Spread the word near and far. Bring all the animals’ two by two, ooops, wrong Bible story, but hey, it’s been a wet year. I know, corny joke.

Please remember October 15th and 16th celebrations for our 60th Anniversary. THIS is the time to invite folks to our church. THIS is the time to say, "I really would like you to come to my church." It will be a time of thanksgiving and prayer and praise and celebration. Let’s be the best church we can be to all of our visitors, and let’s make sure each of us works to make sure we have plenty of visitors.

November brings a time of Thanksgiving, which should be an everyday attitude of a mature Christian. And yes, that is sometimes hard to do. Advent starts November 27th, and we will have the Hanging of the Greens that day during the service. Four weeks until Christmas!

This is a vibrant time in the life of our church. This is a time of positive statements about our faith and the life of the church. This is a time to tell the story – the story of Jesus. It is our story to tell, so we must tell it often. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

July 25, 2016, 3:16 PM

The Good News in August, 2016 ~ A Message from the Pastor

Carey Nieuwhof made the following statement, "Churches that become passionate about people outside their walls will be far more effective than churches that are passionate about keeping the few people they have inside their walls." Does that mean there are people outside our walls that can be loved as much, or more, than we love each other?

It sure is a tough contrast to an anonymous quote I also heard recently, "When you find

people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of ‘me too!’ be

sure to cherish them, because those weirdos are your tribe." "Our tribe" is such a great group

of people. We know and love each other easily in so many ways. This is a good place to be.

SO: How do we balance the experience of our great tribe at Southampton with being passionate about people outside our walls? How do we balance the comfort of the wonderful

love and comradery and peace we currently have with the change that advancing the

Kingdom would cause? How do we be inclusive in a world that seems to get more fractured

and exclusive all the time?

I guess my question back to myself should be, "Why does it have to be an either/or

question?" That would change our focus to, "HOW do we make all of these into both/and questions?"

If those people outside of our walls are as lovable, or maybe even more lovable than us,

then we need to go meet them! Soon! Get to know them. Spend time with them. Then one day, they may want to be a part of our tribe.

So I can hear some of you saying, "Tom, this is not the first time you have said this."

You are correct. I have said this in different ways at different times. People are not going

to come to this church until they trust us enough to become part of our tribe. That is a very

slow process, BUT a process that each of us has to start now, not only for the church, but also

for The Kingdom. It’s part of that ‘going and making disciples’ thing Jesus told us to do.

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