Being The Believing 02 by Pastor Thomas McCracken is an in depth study of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are considered the most outstanding sermon ever delivered, more than a sermon but words to live by delivered by Jesus Christ. Pastor Tom uses a chapter to cover each and each is sprinkled with quotes from other theologians that reinforce the message.
The commentary is designed to cover things that are often misunderstood by people reading scripture. One example is the word “meek.” This is sadly misunderstood as being wishy washy where in the Greek it means control of self, the power within you.
What marks this book as different is that the author divulges his own trek from a non believer to a devout born again believer. There are parts of his own past and many experiences that draw the reader with awe and amazement. One is reminded of the journey C.S. Lewis made and described about his unbelief and the great events in his life that changed him. Pastor Tom weaves commentary with the actual Beatitudes as presented by Jesus Christ as a way to successfully live a life with meaning.
Pastor Tom is the senior pastor of CommUNITY Church in Salem, Virginia which he founded fifteen years ago, It is an evangelical church that caters to all ages and which is heavily community involved.
For example during the Covid 19 Pandemic with so many businesses closed down, CommUNITY Church adopted several Salem restaurants with a selected day that church members took advantage of curb service causing the restaurants to have their biggst day of the year. Jobs were saved also. Another project the past couple years has been the church purchasing bicycles to donate to schools in areas that were hit heavily in damaging floods and other crises. Pastor Tom himself served a while on a local school board, only stepping down when his wife Laurie became an assistant principal in a high school.
What delights many in the community is that Pastor Tom uses innovative and fun ways to spread the Gospel message. CommUNITY was the first church to take part in a musical Lip Sync Challenge that went viral on the internet. Additionally Pastor Tom and his Assistant Pastor Dan Carawan have arranged for the church to host a Christian Media Event next Spring titled Happy Trails Virginia Style. This Western themed program will feature
stars from films and TV who share the vision of spreading the word about Jesus Christ. There will be films, panels, workshops and autograph sessions.
It must be added that Pastor Tom and his wife are into animal rescue..
A special feature in this book is that Pastor Tom introduces and runs vignettes by people who have found how faith can change their lives. Several of the chapters have outstanding guest writers telling their own stories. These include Dreama Denver, Greg McDougal, Sam Sorbo, Kathy Garver, Ann-Marie Murell and Jenn Gotzon Chandler. Kathy Garver and Jenn Gotzon Chandler also happen to be directors for Point North Outreach, a Christian media organization, and Ann-Marie Murrell and Dreama Denver serve on the advisory board. The book itself is introduced by Jonathan Falwell the senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.