Meet the Pastor

Our pastor, along with his wife Sheree, began serving at Olive Branch in 2000.  He spent eleven years in law enforcement locally before entering into full-time vocational ministry.  Serving in his first pastorate, Tim has said that his church family at Olive Branch has graciously allowed him to make every mistake possible, twice, while continuing to love him and serve with him in the community.

A graduate of East Carolina University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Tim served locally as a youth minister while attending SEBTS. After six years of youth ministry, he answered God’s call to pastor at Olive Branch.
Tim and Sheree have three grown sons, Aaron, Caleb, and Silas along with four grandchildren, Avery, Paisley, Jace, and Bailey.

Pastor’s Thought

A Challenge to Believers

Today I would like to challenge you to spend some time meditating on a passage in the Bible that I’m sure you’re all familiar with, Philippians 4.  After giving a warning in regards to those who live unfaithful lives, he introduces his next focus by encouraging us to “stand firm” in the Lord.  There were times when those hearing this message found themselves in discouraging situations.  So, Paul’s instruction includes a slap on the back to the church in Philippi saying, “Cheer up and stand firm!”  And then the next passage is one that is familiar.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This text is often quoted and used to uplift the downtrodden.  There is so much here to expound upon, and quite honestly I would be doing you a disservice to stop here and in cliché like fashion wax eloquently about how we shouldn’t worry and fret about our situation and what is happening daily around the world.  It would be too easy to grab this passage, and use it as a means of simply reminding you that we should just take it to the Lord in prayer and sit back and wait for Him to meet our needs, remove the current health threat, get us back to work, pay our bills, heal our sick, and fix our land and our world.  No, that would be an insult to so easily pass off the seriousness of the current world crisis.  In fact, it might lead to guilty feelings, if after a long season of prayer; you find your condition no different and not better.  You might think you’re not getting through to God or that He isn’t listening, or possibly you’re not doing something right.

No, the text is powerful and I believe it with all my heart, but it is part of a much bigger emphasis that Paul is trying to make.  Early in this letter, Paul had indicated his desire to see the witness of the Church remain unhindered by circumstances. 

In Phil. 1:27 he writes, let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents.

In one spirit, a spirit of unity; believers should strive together for the advancement of the gospel message of hope and encouragement, which is found in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The real words of encouragement are in the verses to follow. 

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

The apostle is saying that after we pray and confess our confidence in God, we must then replace these thoughts of care and worry by meditating on the goodness of God, His works, His purpose, His people, His promises, His offer of hope, and the way He makes Himself known.  He says replace these anxious thoughts with the affirmation of God’s sovereignty during your time of trouble.

As a child, when I would fall or injure myself in some way, my father had a response, a line that I heard very often.  He would look at me, scraped and bleeding and crying and say, “It’s alright.  It will get well before you get married.”  As a father, he was assuring me that this time of suffering would pass.  It also started me thinking about something else other than my current situation. 

Paul’s words in this passage are exactly that.  With all that God is doing in the world today, we should meditate upon 

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise

Friends, I’m not speaking of rationalization or “rose colored glasses”.   I’m speaking as Joseph did when he shared with his brothers who had sold him in to slavery, that what they had done in sin, God had used for good. 

To all who are reading, God is still at work.  I hear of ministry opportunities increasing in different ways.  I hear the talk of unbelievers who are more receptive to the gospel.  Please continue to pray for one another and that God, through His Church will continue to advance the gospel message to a lost world that is searching for consolation.


Your Pastor, Tim