Tennessee Avenue Baptist Church
Sunday, February 07, 2016
A House of HOPE
          It is a great joy to be the Pastor of Tennessee Avenue Baptist Church!  For almost 80 years now the TABC family has faithfully preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Countless thousands of people have journeyed through these doors encountering Christ and a life-changing experience.  God has been faithful to the church as the members have been faithful to God!
          From the youngest bed baby to the oldest member here, there is an excitement and expectancy of the Holy Spirit's work among His people.  We are Bible believing Baptist in our doctrine and spirit-filled in our expression!  With solid biblical teaching and excited worship, we exalt the living Christ every time we come together!
          As Pastor, I have challenged our church to  be a people that can reach anyone who walks through our doors.  Everyone is welcome to experience the risen Jesus Christ at TABC.  There is something for everyone who is truly seeking the Lord Jesus Christ!
          We want to be known as a people who are passionate for Jesus and compassionate for people; whatever your age, background, or ethnicity.  Our arms are open wide to help you experience Jesus at TABC.
It's great to be saved!!!
Bro. Mike Eklund
I recently read Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength: the Principles, Practices and Priorities of a Winning Life.  Having prior knowledge that Tony was a committed Christian and that he coached Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007, I had a preconceived notion as to the flavor of the book.  Immediately, I became fascinated with the way Tony chose to allow the godly instruction and training of his parents mold him as he pursued athletics in high school, college and then in the professional sport of football.  As Tony made the transition of player to coach, I noticed a quote from Coach Dungy which appears multiple times throughout the book, began to appear.  The phrase is, “We do what we do.”  This is a phrase that he would share with his coaches, his players and the media throughout his career.
I read through several chapters before this phrase began to really impact my understanding of what he was communicating.  Toward the end of the book it was abundantly clear.  Coach Dungy built his teams, which consisted of hiring coaches and drafting players, on biblical principles.  He scheduled practices for his players and coaches based on Christian values.  He trained and maintained relationships with players, coaches, and team owners based on spiritual principles.  He involved himself, his family, and his coaches and players in the community based on his commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ.  He approached each season and every game with the determination that “we do what we do”…based on these timeless and proven truths…because “this is who we are and we are not going to change the formula now for a quick fix.”
The impact of this came full circle in those seasons prior to 2007 when the Colts fell short of Super Bowl victory.  The pressure to trade players and draft picks in order to bring in a ‘proven winner’ in a certain position and firm up an area that was lacking in execution was tremendous.  Like clockwork, Coach Dungy would address his players and say, “Team, we will enjoy our time off during the off-season and I will see each of you back here in preseason camp. And we will do what we do.” Super Bowl XLI is history.  The Indianapolis Colts were victorious. But all who know the rest of the story know the full impact of this truth was magnified when Coach Dungy’s 18 year old son, James, took his life.  Coach Dungy and wife Lauren did what they do.  They stood in the strength and grace of their Savior and allowed Him to use them in miraculous ways.  Over and over again, the Lord continues to use them in a way that can only be explained, “God did that.”
Since January of 2012 we have seen the landscape of TABC change as we continue to pray and seek God’s face for the man of God that He has prepared to lead His flock.  I know that it is easy and natural for the ‘sheep’ to get anxious and restless in the absence of an under shepherd.  But may I tell you that our Chief Shepherd continues to say to us, “Do what you do because of whose you are”.  May I remind you of the words of the Apostle Paul when he said, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
You and I may never experience first-hand knowledge of a Super Bowl Victory.  But may I remind you of something that is infinitely more valuable than the Lombardi Trophy.  And that is to hear the Lord Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”  Church, may I remind you that dark days and disappointments are a part of this temporary world in which we reside.  But as the late Vance Havner once said, “We are not citizens of this world trying to make it to heaven; we are citizens of heaven trying to make it through this world.”  So church, do what you do…Preach the Word… Praise the Savior…Minister to one another…Witness to the world.  And remember that simple faithfulness to our Master in this life will guarantee our full participation in the greatest celebration party this universe will ever behold.  So until then, keep lookin’ up…it could be today!
Bro. Phil Whitaker, Associate Pastor, Minister of Music / Worship