Everlasting Father

Names are important.

New parents will spend literally months thinking and even arguing about what to name their child! A name communicates so much about a person’s background, heritage, and even their character. This was especially true in the Old Testament times. In many cases, your name was what gave you identity and often described what kind of person you might become. In many ways, it was your parents’ dream for what you would be like. So, in Isaiah 9 when God is given a number of special names, it is very significant.

It reveals His character and how He relates to His creation.

Last week, we studied the name Wonderful Counselor and learned that He can be relied on to step into our problems and struggles with compassion and power. Today, we will look at the name Everlasting Father. The name “father” brings out all kinds of emotions and memories of our own experiences with our earthly fathers, good or bad. Today, we will learn facts about our Everlasting Father that reveal that He is nothing like imperfect earthly fathers. In fact, we will find that our Everlasting Father is full of love, slow to anger, always present, and will never leave.

What a blessing to have a Father like that!

This message is from Steve Carpenter at our Atoka Campus.  If you missed the message or want to hear it again, listen on-line or tune in to our podcast.

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Gateway LIVE: 7 Easy Ways Parents Can Teach Their Kids About Jesus

We want parents to be equipped to teach their children about the Bible.

We know that can be intimidating, so we want to give you easy resources you can really use.  Check out the discussion here:

Resources from today’s Video:

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2:35 One Year of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion Starters

helps families start where they are already gathered together on a daily basis―around the dinner table. As the meal comes to a close, family members can take turns turning to the dinner-table devotion for that day, designed to be done together as a family in 10 to 15 minutes. The result is a meaningful daily discussion in which every family member can participate, drawing the whole family closer to God . . . and each other.

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14:03 101 Bible Verses to memorize with your Kids.

Thanks to Lisa, for this resource. Lisa is our Admin Assistant at the Munford campus. She has this on her Pinterest board that is full of resources to teach her granddaughter (pre-school age) about Jesus. You can check out her board here. 

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15:35 Bible Maps.com

This is a great resource for maps and timelines. It’s great to help kids (and adults!) visualize their study of the Bible. They also have an app (iOS & Android).

CD_2for1_Product_Shot_Trust 16:55 Seeds Family Worship

These songs and videos are word-for-word scripture that will help your family learn and memorize God’s Word. We’ll be using this music at Gateway Kids Camp in Summer 2018!

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 2.43.45 PM18:07 Missionary Biographies

There’s a great article by Christina Fox over at TGC called “5 Reasons to Read Missionary Biographies to Your Children”. Check out her article and suggestions of missionaries to start reading about with your kids.

20:05 Ten Questions

Tom Ellif, Tom Elliff, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention has published several resources for family. Among “10 Questions to Ask Your Wife Every Year” and “10 Questions to Ask Your Husband Every Year”. These are GREAT resources from Family Life. You can download 10 Questions parents should ask their children every year. As Jeff explains in the video, parents ask these questions and allow their children to answer without comment. So that removes arguing and for the need for defensiveness!

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21:44 The Talk

If we want our children to know the truth about healthy sexuality, we need to create a comfortable climate of continual conversations. This book will show you how to move beyond the initial awkwardness of this subject into an ongoing communication with your kids about God’s amazing gift of sex. He equips you with what you need to talk openly about dating, temptation, porn, and purity, and you will find answers to tough questions and relevant Scripture on sexual issues.

We want to hear from you! What resources are you using that works?


Free Family Fun – Spring 2018

Raising a family is expensive! I’ve gathered a list of free or low cost FUN things to do together. These activities are in (or near) Tipton County.  Where possible, I included a link to the organization that is hosting for more information.

Help me keep this list up to date! If you know of a free (or cheap) fun activity for families, drop the details and a link in the comments.



  • WHEN: Friday April 13 6-9:30
  • WHERE: Atoka Campus: 1915 Rosemark Road, Atoka
  • COST: *FREE* Donations accepted to benefit students going to camp
  • PLAN IT: Register on-line
  • MORE DETAILS: Enjoy a date night (or night in!) while the kids have a blast at Gateway. It’s more than just baby sitting. They’ll have snacks, games, bounce houses, crafts, and more! Ages 6 weeks – 12 years welcome. This is open to the community.


  • WHEN: Friday & Saturday April 20-21
  • WHERE: Ft. Pillow State Park
  • COST: $10 per family Includes the camp site for tent or RV, all food included!
  • PLAN IT: You must register to reserve your campsite.
  • MORE DETAILS: Unplug from the fast pace of life during a weekend of camping. You don’t have to be a Gateway member to enjoy this group camping trip.


  • WHEN: Friday April 27, 7-10pm
  • WHERE: 78 Walnut Cove, Millington TN 38053
  • COST: *FREE* Donations accepted to benefit the Colorado Missions Team
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: There’s lots of activities planned. The Knight family is opening the homestead again for a ever popular Scavenger Hunt, there will be a giant movie screen with a family friendly film, fire-pits, hot dogs, snacks, and sodas. Even if you aren’t a Gateway member, this event is SO fun and you are welcome to attend.


  • WHEN: Friday May 19 6-9:30
  • WHERE: Munford Campus: 145 Joe Joyner, Munford
  • COST: *FREE* Donations accepted to benefit the Colorado Missions Team
  • PLAN IT: Register on-line
  • MORE DETAILS: Enjoy a date night (or night in!) while the kids have a blast at Gateway. It’s more than just baby sitting. They’ll have snacks, games, bounce houses, crafts, and more! Ages 6 weeks – 12 years welcome. This is open to the community.


  • WHEN: June & July
  • WHERE: In parks all around Tipton County
  • PLAN IT: Locations & Dates released soon!
  • MORE DETAILS: These 5-day clubs are like a mini-camp for kids. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.


I talked to my friend, Cassi Yates, the Program Coordinator for Atoka Parks & Rec and she gave me tons of great things for families. Check it out:

PARKS are always free!

  • Greenway Trail
    • Phase 1 is open! It runs through Walker Park, then parallel to Walker Parkway down to the fire station.
  • Walker Park
    • Pavilion, picnic tables, playground, walking track, soccer fields, restrooms, Splash Pad open Memorial Day – Labor Day, concessions, restrooms,
  • Nancy Lane Park
    • Nature Trail and 18 hole frisbee golf course, fantastic playground, picnic table, caboose, softball fields, concessions, restrooms
  • Pioneer Park
    • lighted walking track, fishing pond, playground, picnic tables
  • Adkison Park
    • lighted walking track, playground, picnic tables

You can host a birthday party at Nancy Lane Park or Walker Park – or the new fire station for a very reasonable fee! Visit their website for details. 



  • WHEN: June & July
  • WHERE: Walker Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and some friends or neighbors for a great evening under the stars !


  • WHEN: August 4
  • WHERE: Walker Park
  • MORE DETAILS: This partnership event hosted by Gateway Baptist Church and the Town of Atoka is a summer tradition in Atoka. Thousands of people attend for free food, activities, games, fireworks, music, and more!


  • Atoka BBQ Fest – April 6-7 2018 at Nancy Lane Park
  • Safe Night Out – October 31, 2018 at 5:30pm at Nancy Lane Park
  • Christmas Tree Lighting – Tuesday November 27, 2018 at 7:00pm in Adkison Park
  • Santa’s Ride – Santa rides through the town on a Fire Truck. Welcome to Small Town, USA!
  • For details about Atoka Events, click here.

Not free, but worth mentioning:

The Town of Atoka also hosts tons of sports and recreational programs including soccer, softball, kickball and flag football, art classes, cooking classes, and camps. For details click here. 


My friend, Cori Yarbrough, the Programs and Facilities Coordinator with Munford Parks and Rec, is SO excited about some new amenities coming to some of our area Parks. Check it out:


    • baseball fields, playground, picnic tables, walking track, concessions, restrooms
    • gazebo & playground
    • playground, skate board park, tons of open space
    • walking trail & exercise equipment
    • pavilion (can be reserved for free!), 2 playgrounds, nature trail & disc golf course, soccer fields, restrooms, NEW – dog park under construction, NEW exercise equipment to be installed in 2018!

Cori mentioned there will be a FREE Summer event in 2018. Details coming soon on their FaceBook page.

Not free, but worth mentioning: 

  • The Munford Skating Rink is open every Friday night from 6pm-9pm. Skating is only $7/person and includes skate rental fee. When school is out (spring/summer/fall break), it’s $5 1pm-3pm during the week.
  • They also hosts a HUGE selection of summer camps: tennis, cheer/tumbling, hunter safety, arts and crafts, British soccer, DSLR photography, flag football, dance, volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball. The schedule isn’t yet finalized. I expect to see it sometime in late April or May.
  • Munford plus the usual sports and recreation programs. These aren’t free or cheap, BUT they do offer payment plans!

Cori says the best way to stay updated is on their FaceBook page.


I spoke very briefly with Austin Black, a Fitness Leader at the SportsPlex. I hope to hear back from someone else with more info soon.


  • PARKS:
    • Shelton Park – gazebo & fountain
    • Park on the Square – relaxing place for downtown visitors
    • Patriot Park – airplane: skyhook attack bomber
    • Cobb Parr Memorial Park – AKA Castle Park, playground, pavilion, walking trail, picnic area, Covington BBQ fest
    • Frazier Park – 1/2 mile fitness trail, 3 playground areas, 2 lighted outdoor basketball courts, 2 picnic pavilions, In June there’s the Frazier Fun Fest and In July there’s the Frazier Alumni Association 4th of July Family Picnic
    • Museum/Nature Trail – free admission, tons of events, classes, May festival on May 5


  • Home Run Derby – April 7, 1pm at Mueller Brass Fields For boys and girls 12U and 14U. More info here.

Not free, but worth mentioning: 

DIY with Kids

  • WHEN: 1st Saturday of each month
  • WHERE: Home Depot in Covington
  • PLAN IT: Register online
  • MORE DETAILS: Build something with your kids! They get to keep their craft. Plus other bonuses. On May 5: “Windmill Planter”
  • BONUS: Ladies, there’s a “Do-It-Herself” on the 3rd Thursday 6:30-8:30. Use power tools (under supervision!) and make and take a craft. On April 19: “Modern Wall Planter”


I talked with Sharon Timbs, Assistant Director, and she has SO MANY programs! ALL FREE!  The Library is a WONDERFUL place.  60+ this summer alone!! I’m going to list some of the programs below. Check out their website or their FaceBook page for information.

  • STORY TIME every Thursday 10am
  • Movies clubs
  • Book clubs
  • MAKE IT AT YOUR LIBRARY -STEM crafts and projects,
  • Family Story Time
  • Story Walk at Tipton County Museum (May, June, July)
  • Summer Reading Challenge in June & July


Tipton County Master Gardners

My darling friend Carrie Hamm is a Gateway Member and a  Master Gardner. (I’m so proud of her for earning that title!!). She told me about some of the things around the community. Check it out:


  • WHEN: Daily
  • WHERE: Drummonds Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS:  Tree Mapping at Drummonds Park. Which is a wonderful park! There’s an amphitheater, playground, and there are 30+ trees labeled. 901 rocks there!!

Pollinator Bed

  • WHEN: Coming Soon!
  • WHERE: Tipton County Museum & Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS:  Park entrance is free. During the blooming months this is a beautiful place to visit. The Master Gardners also host a guided tour of these beds. Watch their FaceBook page for details about the events.

Not free, but worth mentioning:

Plant Camp

    • WHEN: TBA
    • WHERE: University of Tennessee Tipton County Extension Office
    • COST: $40
    • PLAN IT: Call (901) 476-0231
    • MORE DETAILS:  plant STEM skills and fun, seed planting, landscaping, vermiculture, and trees

More Details about the Master Gardners here.


Thanks to Jeff Gautney, Gateway’s Missions & Family Pastor for this tip!

  • WHEN: Thursday evenings
  • WHERE: Urban Air, Cordova
  • COST: $35 – family of 5
  • PLAN IT: Call 901-334-9993
  • MORE DETAILS:  Jeff’s family of 5 jumped for 1 hour (which was plenty) plus enjoyed a pizza and water. Usual price for them was $60 for everyone to jump 1 hour, no food included. So while it’s not free, it IS a deal!


This is something my family really enjoyed doing!

  • WHEN: Anytime (go when the weather is gorgeous!)
  • WHERE: Memphis and surrounding areas
  • PLAN IT: Use this map to plan your route.
  • MORE DETAILS:  Make memories and hunt 100 tiger statues all over Memphis. All you need is a great playlist and a map of the locations. Enjoy showing your kids the town. Stop and inspect the incredible art on the Tiger statues & get photos of your kids. (Tag me so I can see!)


  • WHEN: Summer
  • WHERE: Pink Palace Museum
  • PLAN IT: You must pre-register for a trial membership
  • MORE DETAILS: As of the writing of this post, the website still has information on the “Trial Membership” for 2017,


Thanks to Stephanie Bishop for this awesome tip! Visit KidsBowlFree.com for a list of allll the facilities and programs. You just have to register. SO COOL!


  • WHEN: Daily 11am & 5pm
  • WHERE: Peabody Hotel
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Ducks march to and from the grand fountain in the lobby every day. There’s lots of pomp and circumstance. Kids can sit write on the carpet and get a birds-eye view (ha!).


  • WHEN: Tues – Sat | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • WHERE: 140 E. Mulberry Street, Collierville, TN 38017
  • COST: $5/person $15/family (3-5 people)
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Visit their website for more info!


  • WHEN: Tuesdays 2pm-close
  • WHERE:
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: There are a few restrictions about age and residency. Check out details here.


Wow! There are SO many places to eat free. Please call ahead to verify deals. Most require a minimum purchase


One of the best ways to spend time with your family is to serve the community together. How many wonderful things it teaches them! Here are some volunteer opportunities:

Town of Atoka Earth Day Community Clean Up

  • WHEN: April 21, beginning at 9am
  • WHERE: Meet at Town Hall
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS:  The town will provide gloves, safety vests, garbage bags, and recycling bags.


  • WHEN: April 28
  • WHERE: Covington and surrounding areas
  • PLAN IT: Join a project team and get details here.
  • MORE DETAILS:  Teams meet for breakfast and lunch at Gateway on the Square.  Several projects to choose from including ones in the morning or the afternoon.

Community Service Project – Obstacle Course

  • WHEN: May 19
  • WHERE: Cobb Parr Park
  • PLAN IT: Teams of 5-6 contact Kristin Sallee 901-256-1580
  • MORE DETAILS:  Community Service Opportunity to help build obstacles for the Covington Confidence Course. Girls Scouts will be providing a hydration station and lunch.

Plus – Thanks for Dave Baldridge for pointing out that bringing your family to church  and studying the Bible together is always free!

Sanctity of Human Life (2018)

This is a sensitive subject.

The sanctity of human life, abortion, and adoption can bring up lots of strong feelings and images of angry people on all sides of the issue. In today’s message, we seek to lay a biblical foundation and create some spiritual anchors.

When we, the church, declare the truth from Scripture that LIFE begins at conception, we must do it in honest, consistent, bold, and gentle ways. In order to be clear about the sin of abortion, we must also be willing to enter into the solution. Too many people have never encountered the hope that is in Jesus either because the church is apathetic or because of the fear that all they will find is judgement and anger in the church.

The church has to be a place of love and healing.


This weeks message from Steve Carpenter is from our Atoka Campus.  If you missed the message or want to hear it again, listen on-line or tune in to our podcast. 

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