Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas Perspective

Sunday we will begin our Christmas message series...Christmas Perspective...This week's message is "Just Another Christmas" from Luke 2:1-20 and Romans 13:1-14.  Casting Crowns sing a great Christmas song WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING.  I know most of us wouldn't sleep through Christmas, but I wonder if spiritually speaking, we could wake up in January and wonder "where did Christmas go?"  Don't miss the gift of Christmas.  Come join us for worship this Sunday and let's make this season a special Christmas.  Merry Christmas!
Coach/Pastor John

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Fall Back

We look forward to seeing you in the morning, but not too early.  So set your clocks back one hour this weekend. See you at 8:30 for the early service; 9:45 for Bible Study and 11:00 for our second service.  God is so very good!
Coach/Pastor John

Thursday, November 1, 2018


If a forensic psychologist or detective was  seeking evidence of your time in God's word, would there be any?  I am not referring to a showy life.  I am not thinking of works. I often will ask for a believer's Bible when officiating their loved one's funeral.  It is interesting.  Some Bibles feel crisp and seldom opened.  Others are worn.  I once opened the Bible of a dear saint in our church.  The edges were tattered and folded and worn.  In many places there was a fingerprint of lipstick where she licked her fingers to open the pages.  The notes she had taken in her journey were a treasure.  I also found coffee stains throughout this believer's Bible.  I loved that.  She was obviously in God's Word early in the morning.  Last week I stumbled upon a Bible verse to remind us to be like this saint--leave footprints. 
Coach/Pastor John
"Establish my footsteps in Your Word" Psalm 119:133
I hope to see you in church this Sunday!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Powerful Living

I love this mini series Living with Resurrection Hope.  It has affected the way I read the Bible each day.  It has caused me to push pause on my reactions.  It has made me more perceptive to people around me.  This Sunday, the message is POWERFUL LIVING from Ephesians 1:18-23; 3:20-21.  I invite you to come discover how to live above the everyday in light of eternal life promised to us in Christ Jesus.  Come join us 8:30 early worship, 9:45 Bible Study in Small Groups (SS) and 11:00 for the later service. 
Coach/Pastor John

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Keep Your Receipt

I am looking so forward to our second message as we settle into the promise of the resurrection.  We issued the challenge last week to live each day with our eyes to the East expecting the return of Jesus. Another way to put that challenge is to live each day with resurrection hope.  How can we live each day in light of eternal life as a reality for those who have trusted Christ and follow Him?  Come tomorrow to learn about the receipt we have in Christ's resurrection from the dead.  We also will witness believers' baptism in the second service.  Come join us!
Coach/Pastor John

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

No Temptation

Come join us Wednesday night for Mid-week Bible Study and Prayer Meeting.   We start at six pm (but arrive early...if you would like supper that begins at 5:00 pm)  in the Fellowship Center.  This week we will present I Corinthians 10:13 as a passage every believer needs in their memory arsenal as we hide God's Word in our hearts for good reason, "...that I may not sin against God."  See you tomorrow night!
Coach/Pastor John
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  I Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Monday, October 8, 2018

Look East

Yesterday we either accepted or rejected the challenge to live today (and each day) with resurrection hope.  It is 10:00 am and already the day has perhaps offered opportunities to feel defeated or maybe we have experienced the brokenness, decay and death of the world.  It is a daily reality as we live in this body.  I simply remind you and encourage you that resurrection is not a past or future event.  It is how we live each day as followers of the risen Jesus Christ who promised, "I go to prepare a place for you..."  Live above today and throughout the week!  I am praying for you as you pray for me.  What a joy!  Philippians 3:10-14
Coach/Pastor John
Matthew 24:27

Monday, October 1, 2018

Janie Chapman

Sunday September 30, we were challenged by Tim Rice in our support of the Janie Chapman State Missions Offering.  We heard some really encouraging gospel stories that are occurring around South Carolina as we give to support State Missions in SC.  If you have not considered it yet, pray about a gift beyond your tithe for the Kingdom work among SC Baptists.  See more stories that will bless your walk at https://janiechapmanoffering.org/video
Coach/Pastor John


As the days go by the call to prayer grows stronger...be it in the news or in our own church family...needs abound.  Our world needs prayer.  Several weeks ago our Wednesday night Bible Study challenged us to memorize Matthew 7:7--"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you."  We learned that night that we ask according to our confidence in God's will.  In short, we ask knowing we will receive when we ask according to God's will.  We seek that which we are not sure concerning God's will.  When we are unsure how to pray or for what to ask in a circumstance, then we seek His face.  We plead with God for direction concerning our alignment to His will.  We knock (persevering) when the answer has not come but we are sure that our asking is aligned with God's perfect will.  This Wednesday night, we return to a study of prayer as we memorize together "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."  Jeremiah 33:3
Come join us at 6:00 pm Wednesday at First Baptist Camden!
Coach/Pastor John

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


I surely missed seeing you Sunday and look forward to fellowship with you this evening.  I will preach this Sunday MEASURED LOSS from Philippians 3:1-11.  It is a very timely message in light of the loss we see others experiencing just up the road from us.  We should remember times when (HUGO) other storms left us dependent on others for help.  Might I prompt you to attend Disaster Relief Training Oct. 13 at Rock Hill First Baptist Church? You can then be ready to go help our neighbors in NC.  Go to www.scbaptist.org for more information or give an offering to Disaster Relief by clicking on the Florence tab on the front page.  This offering will go directly to help storm victims from Hurricane Florence.  I am very proud of Southern Baptists when we have the opportunity to respond so quickly.
Coach/Pastor John

Saturday, September 8, 2018


Romans 8:28--Our Wednesday night Bible Study memorized this verse two weeks ago. It is a coffee cup verse.  Most know it.  Since that night, this verse just keeps coming to me by several avenues.  This morning, in the context of other dawn lessons, God brought me to this verse again challenging me to be a leader who is obedient, a leader who is forgiving and a leader who is generous.  I am committed to that.  In Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time" spoke to me that not all things are beautiful in the present but each will, according to God's purpose, find its beauty in due time.  Paul writes to us that we can KNOW this as lovers of God. Now let's get busy living this out before one another and unto one another.
"For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28
Coach/Pastor John

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Christ-like Attitude

It is Tuesday, two days since Sunday's message that challenged us to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus; so here is a reminder:
1. Humility--Am I living for self or others?  If I am a follower of Christ, then I will be emptied of self and living for others.  How has that been evidenced in my life Monday and today?
2. Obedience--Am I living my life obedient to the commands of God and the commands of Jesus?  Jesus did not do away with the law, but He did summarize it as loving God supremely and others as or before ourselves.  How are we doing in our love for God and love for others these past few days?
3.  Exaltation--Am I being lifted up by God?  As I carry my burdens to God, as I relinquish the ownership of my heart to God, am I experiencing daily God's lifting up of my spirit and my countenance?
Our Wednesday study of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 hint at these same Christian principles.  Come join us tomorrow evening for dinner between 4:45-6:00 with Bible Study beginning just before 6 pm.
Coach/Pastor John

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Sunday's prop (being handcuffed to DB) half the morning left me with several impressions worth sharing as the embers still remain and glow...
I am reminded that my circumstances should always lead me to ask, "God, how do you intend the Gospel to advance through this circumstance?"  I have had to ask that several times since Sunday, and I imagine you have as well.  It is the "What then?" question that Paul asks in Philippians 1:18.  So I encourage you to see your day through the lens of Paul's question with his resolve that "all things work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus."
I also had a couple of takeaways from Paul being shackled to that Roman guard: 
If Paul praised the Lord with hands lifted high, then so must the guard have been shown how to praise the Lord.
As Paul wrote the letters, so did that guard trace those words of love, encouragement and instruction.
As Paul greeted with the holy hug or kiss, the very effort to embrace and reach impacted the posture also of the guard.
Proximity!  Pattern!  Two wonderful discipleship principles to discuss later...may the embers of Sunday continue to set your heart aflame!
See you tonight for Low Country Broil, Fellowship and Bible Study!
Coach/Pastor John

Saturday, August 11, 2018

What Then?

What then?  What do I do now?
Ever asked that?  We have all faced situations where with exasperation we raise our fists heavenward asking "What am I supposed to do now?"  Paul gives us a totally new perspective on  our earthly circumstances.  Watching Paul in all of his circumstances gives us a perspective that the gospel is central to his concern, especially in Philippians 1:12-20.  Paul is in prison chained to a Roman soldier and we find his "what then" totally counterculture to what we expect.  He is rejoicing!  He is filled with joy!  I find great encouragement in this passage.  The cause of Christ and the gospel going forward is what is first and foremost on Paul's mind.  Let's make that 2018 Camden for a bit.  I am delayed...What Then!  I will share Christ!  I have been diagnosed with a terminal illness...What Then!  I will use this diagnosis for gospel conversations.  My past has alienated me from my children...What Then!  I will repent.  I will seek relationship.  I will live in grace.  Whatever circumstance in which we find ourselves, to learn from Paul in this passage is to change our attitude from Why to How!  It is not "Why did God...?" to "How will God use me in this...?"
See you Sunday morning for the message BARRIERS TO BRIDGES.  Come join us!
Coach/Pastor John

Monday, August 6, 2018


My mother used to make the most awesome blackberry cobbler.  If she had time she would create that beautiful lattice top.  I think my mother knew a secret that Paul also knew about us as believers. A great cobbler not only looks good but tastes good.  Mom would make sure that the balance of sugar, butter, berry and water (only needed if the fruit needed some assistance) was just perfect for the inside.  Her lattice work was enhanced by the slices of real butter and abundance of sugar on the top of that crust.  In Philippians 1:11, Paul wraps up a set of verses encouraging us to love each other more and more by means of what is the most important ingredient in a believer--"the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ."  It works as well for a really good cobbler.  This week, I am encouraged and hope that you are as well, to live in such a manner that I will display the beauty of Christ outside because the filling on the inside is the good fruit of the righteousness of Christ Jesus!  Encourage one another with these wonderful truths!
Coach/Pastor John

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Amazing Love

John 3:16 is perhaps the most often quoted verse in the Bible.  What is common by our very nature we forget or neglect.  I hope you will come tonight to First Baptist Camden as we study John 3:16 and review it again for memory.  This little verse packs quite a punch!  It is the gospel in a nutshell!  See you for dinner at 5:00 and study at 6:00.  Last week's memory verse is Genesis 1:1.
Coach/Pastor John

Monday, July 30, 2018


Hello and Happy Monday!!!!
I invite you to not only read these entries, but feel free to comment and dialogue.  It helps me much to hear from all of you.  What a thrill for me yesterday when in the second service "rush" came to my attention in the message PERFECT MATURITY.  The jailer of Acts 16,  in the account of the birth of the church in Philippi, rushed in at Paul's announcement that all the prisoners were still there.  He was stirred and moved by the Holy Spirit.  So he turned on the light and he himself rushed in asking, "What must I do to be saved?"  I so love that question.  Paul and Silas answered, "Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ...and be baptized you and your household."  When the light overcomes our darkness, there is a rush.  I begin this Monday with an exciting, positive outlook for our future together.  Pray with me that we too will experience the Light, that we will be witnesses to the Rush of the Holy Spirit.  That we too might see others come to the Light and ask "What must I do to be saved?" 
Coach/Pastor John

Sunday, July 29, 2018


I should not be amazed, but I reckon God just continues to display His "AWESOMENESS." As I prepared today's message PERFECT MATURITY, all week God kept bringing testimony through many of our people to this perplexing challenge.  Many of us can relate to the following: "I really do try, but I am not perfect."  I heard that all week in several different ways.  Today I invite you to three keys to growing in Christ Jesus to completion.  There's God's part and there's our part.  God completes perfectly what He starts.  His grace is for all!  Believers grow best when in Christ they participate in His work.  Come join us this morning at First Baptist Camden at 8:30 or 11:00 am.  Stay for Bible Study at 9:45.  All are welcome!
Coach/Pastor John

Thursday, July 26, 2018


"Make every effort to keep the unity through the bond of peace."  Ephesians 4:3
Last Sunday, we charged every member to maintain the gift of unity that God has given His church.  We will practice that unity by trusting God as He leads our worship pastor search committee.  Pray for them as they continue their work this Sunday.  Pray for their humility and cooperation with the Holy Spirit as they work together to consider all those who apply to determine who God has called to lead us to impact Camden with the gospel.
Coach/Pastor John

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Good Morning!  This is the day that the Lord has made and I will REJOICE and be glad in it.  His loving kindness is everlasting.  Those are excellent reminders for me each morning.  Today as we enter this Lord's Day, we will be reading Philippians 2:1-4 in a message entitled "One Purpose." Paul speaks of JOY so much in this letter.  I love to rejoice.  I am usually a person that whistles a lot, I like to skip and I love to sing or hum praises to Jesus most of the day.  Paul goes deeper.  Joy is not just a temperament.  Joy is a way of life that follows Jesus in putting God first, others next and self last.  Let's commit to JOY today as we worship the one true King, Jesus Christ.
Pastor John/Coach

Monday, July 16, 2018

Make Every Effort

Hey!  Welcome to Monday.  The true inspiration of EMBERGLOW flows from thoughts after Sunday.  I originally intended this post for just this purpose.  So I am glad that you are here today and I hope that if you have not listened to 7/15/18 message "Wonders in the Deep" that you will check it out.  In light of that message yesterday, how are you doing today in the area of Paul's challenge to the Philippian church which we took to heart--"Make every effort to keep the unity through the bond of peace"?  Each day we as the body of believers at First Baptist Camden are brokers of peace.  We trade in the market of unity.  That is one key to our success in seeing the wonders of the deep as we serve God each day.  I love you all so much!  God bless you and have a great week!  See you Wednesday night for Church Conference!  It is a great time to be at First Baptist Camden!
Coach/Pastor John

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Attend Church Sunday

“I mean I guess it would have been fun, but not half as much fun as with all of you here with me.” My son recently made that confession.  My parents never missed a game or meet while I played in High School or college. The same is true this Sunday, many will miss your presence in worship at the local church to which you belong.   “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.” Hebrews 10:25

Friday, July 13, 2018

New Chapters

Welcome! I am so glad you have checked out EMBERGLOW.  This blog is created to share thoughts with all but specifically those who are looking for more than the fire.  Embers glow.  They are still hot, but they invite us to draw closer, to inquire more and to perhaps even ignite our own flickering ember to glow again.  So I am glad that you are here.  I hope to greet you several times a week.  These posts will save paper and replace what I have traditionally given to my church family in a bulletin, a short note called the Pastor's Message.  So those will post on Sunday mornings.  I hope to share insights and helps for living throughout the week, especially reflections Monday from Sunday worship at First Baptist Camden, my own time walking with the Lord and from other lessons learned during the week.  Please comment and share insights that may help others.  I look forward to our journey together.
Pastor John/Coach