Catching Wind and Waves

Windsurfers

With the rainy, windy weather we have been having, I have noticed an uptick in windsurfers around the fringes of St. Pete. From our house, it’s an easy walk to the north shore where sails of every size and color attach to boards and brave souls get lifted and carried by the wind. Some of those folks are really, really good at it and have obviously sunk some time, talent, effort, and some serious money into being serious wave riders. On other days, the Bay is still and the wind is calm – that’s when you paddle and kayak your way around. But when the wind and chop show up, so do those brave souls prepared to take on all that it has to offer.

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Exciting Times for Our Children’s Ministry

FBC Children at VBS

What a week in the life of FBC, especially in the world of children and young family ministry! Sunday we were so pleased to announce that Aimee Hobbs will be joining the FBC ministry team and family as the new Pastor of Children and Young Families. Aimee comes to us from Prichard Memorial Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. At Prichard, Aimee has enjoyed a five-year ministry after serving the storied Broadway Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas for the previous seven. She is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and holds a Master of Divinity from George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University.

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Thank You, Ray

The first piece of music I heard as your pastor was an amazing rendition of the Widor Toccata on Easter Sunday morning. After Ray Horsley presented that, I almost decided that anything less would be anti-climatic. Would have thought so if not for the wonderful rendering of the Hallelujah Chorus, joined by the orchestra, band, and choir. Sunday in and Sunday out, Ray has brought the might Rogers organ of our sanctuary to life – often in solo fashion, but even more impressively when joining with the other voices and instruments. We are among all churches most blessed.

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Numbers to Live By

Numbers to Live By

During my nearly two decades in greater Atlanta’s northeast reaches, I spent a lot of time going back and forth on the ridiculously over-traveled road Georgian’s simply know as “316.” A quarter century ago it was the biggest hit in transportation, finally giving a direct route from north Atlanta to Athens, foregoing the need to stop off in burgs like Lawrenceville, Duluth, Winder, Statham, and Bogart. For folks in that region, traveling Highway 316 is now a way of life; a given route to navigate what has become one of the South’s most crowded corridors.

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Dear Abby

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

Until today, these words would only call to mind to a long-forgotten newspaper column or a quirky song by one your Pop’s favorite songwriters. But thanks to you, those words have a new point of reference – a little girl that has stolen my heart, as you have and will many others. Abby, they have named you. And dear you are. Dear Abby, indeed. I like the sound of that.

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A Mother’s Loving Impact

Happy Mother's Day

Where does one begin to tell the story and weigh the loving impact of the mothers in their life? You’ve got a story. Not a perfect one – no one’s is. But one marked with enough love, support, and providence to know you would not be who and where you are today without them. I know I wouldn’t be. And I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about them.

Mary Whitston was a farmer’s wife, widowed at 38, while expecting her only child. With little education and no capacity to work the land, she left it all to her departed husbands’s family and moved to the cotton mill city of Moultrie, Georgia. Her sister Eulala Boatwright made the journey with her. One worked the first shift, the other the second, living in a mill-village four-room house. They raised that child. Eulala never married and lived to be 97, owning her health and vitality to the fact that she never had to live with a man. That daughter, whose birth certificate shows her as named after her dad, often said she would never have known which of these two women was her mother had she not been told. It was a non-traditional family before it was cool. And what a job they did.

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Dr. Phil Lilly

FBC Logo Header

When I walked up to the door of FBC for the first time, it was Phil Lilly who met me at the door. In typical Phil fashion, he had two umbrellas and a welcome manual ready to share. It did not take me long to realize the role he had played in holding things as together as possible during the interim period and what a humble, hard-working servant he was and still is. He covers bases with the best of them, as he teaches, visits, officiates, negotiates, and holds frank and friendly discussions with the FDOT. And he has done all this while reducing his role to part-time and taking precious little time away from home.

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Paving the Way

FBC Parking Lot

Work began this week on a project that I have envisioned since the first time Lisa and I sat foot on the church grounds over a year ago. We are sealing and striping the parking lots all around our facility. We are close to half-way done, and it does look good. Better than that, it feels good. It feels good to know that our first impression just got a lot better. It feels good to have clearly defined places to park. It feels good because new guests will have a better view of the church, literally and figuratively. And it feels good because it is a good first step in honoring God by the way we are taking care of the resources He has blessed us with.

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High Notes

FBC Logo Header

What a week it was for a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord! It was great to look out and see and feel a fuller house on Sunday morning. That extra few hundred folks did a lot to provide energy and gravity to a most important service. The music was beyond wonderful! I can’t say thank you enough to Chris, Dawne, Ray, Megan, choir, band, and orchestra for lifting up both our people and the name of the Lord in such a marvelous way. And I have to say, the Hallelujah Chorus rocked the house and sent us all out with strong and joyful hearts. Lenny’s guitar riff near the end was as impressive as it was unexpected. I’m pretty sure Handel did not imagine it that way, but would have loved it. I know I did.

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Waiting for the Victory

Maundy Thursday

I just returned from our church family observance of Maundy Thursday in the narthex. Traditionally, it’s not a big day on the non-liturgical calendar, but it is a favorite of mine. To gather at the church at an odd hour on an odd day is to remind ourselves that something different is in the air. Something significant. Something history-making and life changing.

On our Lord’s last night before the events of Good Friday, he chose to share a meal with those closest to him. He chose two symbolic acts to define his life and ministry and to serve as an example for ours. He took the elements of the meal, bread and wine, and used them as a holy metaphor for the impending atonement. And he took a towel and washed the feet of those who followed him. As he did, they likely heard the echoes of the Galilean stranger: “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.”

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