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One of the great freedoms we cherish in Baptist life is the freedom known as local church autonomy. Each local congregation, we believe, is free to practice faith, exercise church polity, interpret sacred scripture and select its own leaders—all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and without the interference or coercion of any outside agency or hierarchy. Each year at JCBC, we have a wonderful opportunity to exercise this freedom when we nominate members to serve in the Deacon Ministry. Deacon (de’ ken): from διάκονος (diakonos) – servant Deacons are spiritual leaders and servants of our Lord’s church. In my experience, JCBC Deacons...

For the longest time, we’ve had a saying among the pastoral staff. “August is the new January.” Why? Simple. It used to be that we thought of January as an opportunity for fresh starts. The turn of the calendar year on New Year’s Day has always provoked the prospect of renewal--complete with resolutions of what that renewed life will look like from day-to-day. On New Year’s Day, we are motivated by the possibility of a clean slate, and we resolve to do new things, like eat healthy, exercise more, spend more time in prayer and Bible study, etc. etc. (Of course, whether we keep...

Sunday, June 24, the Johns Creek Baptist Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra joined together to present Celebrate America!110 individuals joined together as with one voice to worship our amazing Lord and to celebrate all He has given us in our great country. It was a powerful time of worship. It was a moving time of remembering and honoring those who put their lives on the line so we could have the freedoms we enjoy.  We sang. We played rousing marches. We waved flags. We bowed in prayer. We worshiped. One of the largest Celebrate America crowds in memory enthusiastically joined in. Our talented...

During the month of July we will be taking a "Sabbath" from Children's Worship (Thrive) at 11:00. Preschool Worship (Backyard) will run as usual, with Newborn - Pre-K classes staying in their routine. Now, before we all start thinking that kids and families don’t have to come to church in July let me explain what I mean by “Sabbath” and what “Sabbath” could mean for your family and our church in the coming month. Sabbath was created by God to keep us rested, full, and holy in the presence of God. Sabbath was created to make space in our hearts, minds,...

Last week, Laura and I attended the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Dallas, Texas. While there were several highlights to this year’s annual gathering, there was one moment I find myself continuing to replay within. During worship on Friday night, Jamison McGregor (Worship & Arts Pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco) sang a powerful cover of “Anthem,” by Leonard Cohen. Take five minutes to listen. As we worshipped in the midst of a week filled with more distressing news nationally, I found myself compelled deeply by the provocative imagery of the chorus: So ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect...

As you read this blog, preparations are underway for the final night of Vacation Bible School. Pastor Annie Sutton and her army of volunteers have done an amazing job leading children in exploring the love of God and the mysteries of faith. Tonight, an exciting week of worship, Bible study, recreation, crafts and snacks will culminate in a thrilling closing celebration. Of all the good God has been “up to” this week, I wanted to share one moment worth mention. One of our volunteers, JCBC member Linda Shipp, shared a conversation she had with the father of one of our international campers. The daughter...

In 1775 the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. Over the years, there have been numerous national calls to pray. Indeed, throughout our history, there have been over 140 calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting, and thanksgiving by Presidents of the United Sates. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. Amended, by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the National Day of Prayer was set to occur each year on the first Thursday of May. The National Day of Prayer is for...

For millions of Christians worldwide, this Sunday begins the highest and holiest week of the year. It is Holy Week,* and here is a rundown of six special events you will not want to miss! Palm Sunday Worship – March 25th at 11:00 in the Sanctuary and Family Life Center During our morning worship service, we will hear the story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We will sing of the supremacy of Christ as Lord and King, and consider the sermon, “Two Parades. One Decision.” JCBC Night of Praise – March 25th at 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary Glenn Crosthwait, along with our...

You are marked, you know. Soul-marked…by the love of God. But that can be so hard to remember; given all the other marks we bear. Marks of our own making. Marks of our unmaking. Sin, brokenness, folly, regret. They all, in their own ways, leave marks. And with blemished hearts and smudged souls, we can forget who marked us first. And perhaps the most sinister of all marks are the ones without fingerprints. Tarnishes left with no one to blame. Disease, trauma, depression, loss. They too, smear our sensibilities and blur our perspectives. What we need is a new mark. Or perhaps an old one, re-traced. Is it any wonder why the mark...

As early as the fourth century, Christians have set aside the forty-six days preceding Easter as a time of reflection, confession, repentance, and spiritual renewal. With the joyful anticipation of Easter resurrection, believers commit to disciplines and practices that are intended to deepen their faith in, and widen their love for the crucified and risen Christ. We call this season “Lent.” While Lenten disciplines vary across the church’s many traditions and denominations, and while there are multiple ways for individual Christians to exercise personal faith in meaningful ways, one of the most powerful practices during this season is the gathering of...