Sermon on the Mount – 2 – The Salt of the Earth

Jesus clearly says in Matthew chapter 5 that believers are to be the “salt of the earth.” Salt has always been valuable in human society, especially in the days of Jesus. The Romans believed that, except for the sun, nothing was more valuable than salt. Often Roman soldiers were paid in salt, and it was from that practice that the expression “not worth his salt” originated. In some societies, salt was a mark of friendship. If two persons shared salt, it indicated mutual responsibility to look after each other’s welfare and safety. You were obligated to treat them as a friend. It was also used to bind covenants and to make agreements. There is no doubt that those who heard Jesus’ words would have understood the value of salt.

So, when Jesus says to his followers that they are “salt” it certainly meant that they had a huge role in influencing the world in valuable ways. Salt adds flavor it preserves good. Salt creates thirst and it stings when it reveals a wound. All of these are analogies of the influence that followers of Jesus can have on the world today. Jesus certainly wanted HIs followers to know that they had very important role int he world around them. What about you/ Are you using your life, hour saltiness, to influence the people around you? Have you allowed the saltiness of your life a s Christian to lose its flavor and impact? May God teach us today to seize the opportunity to make a difference in our world!

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

This message was recorded on June 9, 2019

You are following this blog

You are following this blog (manage).

Sermon on the Mount – Intro

The book of Matthew contains three chapters that make up the most comprehensive recording of Jesus’ teachings. The “Sermon on the Mount” was delivered in one continuous message at one particular time to Jesus’ followers and the multitudes. It has been memorized, quoted and misquoted, understood and misunderstood by generations of believers. What is clear is that its importance has never changed.

It shows the importance of the new birth we receive in Christ. The standards of this sermon are too high to meet on our won. In fact, the standards listed in the Sermon on the Mount are even greater than those in the law. In turn, it drives the listener to Jesus as man’s only hope before God. The sermon reveals the standards, objectives, and motivations that help to fulfill God’s design in us and helps us find peace and hope. It is, in addition, an incredible resource for witnessing and reaching others for Christ. A person that seeks to live out the Sermon on the Mount will draw others to Him. Finally, this sermon was designed by Jesus to confront us with our sinfulness and help us see our great need for Christ.

As Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 5-7, no doubt there were those that were angry. There were others that felt as if Jesus was pointing directly at them. Certainly others found peace and joy in His words. I’m sure that some walked away and lived out the words of Jesus, while others simply walked away and continued as before. Over the next few weeks, we may be angry or convicted over the words of Jesus. As we study, we may clearly hear the voice of the Lord calling for change in our hearts and lives. We will also find peace and joy and challenge as we study the inspired words of these chapters.

My prayer is that we will not walk away unchanged, but that we will be forever different as a result of applying the truths in the Sermon on the Mount. I pray that we will see the grace of God in our failures, and that we will accept the challenge to live with holiness and find the peace and joy that obedience can bring.

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

This message was recorded on June 2, 2019

You are following this blog

You are following this blog (manage).

Free Family Fun – Summer 2019

School’s out for summer and 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: June 24-28. 5:30-8-m
  • WHERE: Gateway’s Munford Campus 145 Joe Joyner Road
  • PLAN IT: Register here to avoid lines at drop off
  • MORE DETAILS: This 5-night clubs are like a mini-camp for kids who have completed K-5th. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.
  • WHEN: July 8-12. 6-8:30pm
  • WHERE: Gateway on the Square 101 W. Court Square
  • PLAN IT: Register here to avoid lines at drop off
  • MORE DETAILS: This 5-night clubs are like a mini-camp for kids who have completed K-5th. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.
  • WHEN: July 15-19. 5-8-m
  • WHERE: Gateway’s Atoka Campus 1915 Rosemark Road
  • PLAN IT: Register here to avoid lines at drop off
  • MORE DETAILS: This 5-night clubs are like a mini-camp for kids who have completed K-5th. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.


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 opens Friday May 24 – Labor Day, concessions, and restrooms available
  • 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 21 & July 19
  • WHERE: Nancy Lane 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 3
  • 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 at Nancy Lane Park
  • Safe Night Out – October 31, 2018 at 5:30pm at Nancy Lane Park
  • Christmas Tree Lighting – coming in November at 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. 


PARKS are always free!

  • CENTENNIAL PARK baseball fields, playground, picnic tables, walking track, concessions, restrooms
  • CITY PARK gazebo & playground
  • POPLAR PARK playground, skate board park, tons of open space
  • HOPE PARK walking trail & exercise equipment
  • VALENTINE PARK pavilion (can be reserved for free!), 2 playgrounds, nature trail & disc golf course, soccer fields, restrooms, plus a brand new dog park.

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.
  • Munford also offers the usual sports and recreation programs. These aren’t free or cheap, BUT they do offer payment plans!

They also update their FaceBook page.


PARKS are always free!

  • 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

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 June 1: “Putting Green”
  • 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 June 20: “Charging Station”


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.

  • Preschool Story Time: every Wednesday at 10am
  • Kids Story Time: every Thursday 9am
  • 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


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: All summer
  • WHERE: Tipton County Museum & Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Museum & Park entrance are 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.

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: Various (use link above)
  • PLAN IT: You must pre-register for a trial membership <– use this link for the trial membership.
  • MORE DETAILS: This membership is good for 2 adults and up to 10 RELATED children. It expires 90 days from your sign-up date.


Visit for a list of allll the facilities and programs. You just have to register. SO COOL!

Not Free, but worth mentioning:

Thanks for this info, Maegan Traynom! Worth mentioning with kids bowl free- you can add a family pass for about $20, which adds up to 4 adults to your summer pass. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles- you can bowl free as a family all summer! 😄 She’s done this at Andy B’s in Bartlett.

This place is also a fun date night for adults!!


  • WHEN: Daily 11am & 5pm
  • WHERE: Peabody Hotel
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Come early and have your kids sit right up front by the red carpet for a birds-eye view (ha!). Ducks march to and from the grand fountain in the lobby every day. There’s lots of pomp and circumstance.


  • 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-6pm
  • WHERE:
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Don’t miss the Sea Lion Show at 3pm! 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


They offer different freebies every day. Follow them on FaceBook for details. There are three locations in Atoka (Rosemark and Tracy), Covington (51 and Bert Johnson Avenue), and Ripley (51, across from Dairy Queen in Unique Properties parking lot).

Your suggestions:

Thanks to Julie Hartsfield for this recommendation! “Brownsville refuge/ Oneal lake in Haywood County (free) is great place for fishing, walking, picnicking, etc. There are maps at Oneal Lake of the rest of the refuge. There are tons of lakes and ponds to fish in and lots of driving trails to see wildlife. There is also a great museum not far from there at the interstate exit that’s free. It talks about Haywood County, the South, and Tina Turner.
Fort Pillow State Park in Lauderdale County. It’s free. There are hiking trails, a lake where you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, etc. There is a free museum, a playground, places to picnic and a campground.”

Thanks to Nora O’Hara for sending the information about FREE MOVIES!

What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!