Thank You, Karl

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Two and half years ago, FBC found itself in a clearly defined season of transition. Little did I know that I was about to enter into the conversations that would invite me into that season with a transition of my own. In St. Pete, ministerial shifts left areas in urgent need of care and coverage. And into that gap stepped our friend, Karl Mance, offering to do what he could where it was needed. Phil Lilly shared with me the conversation where he asked Karl what he saw himself doing. His response, good soldier that he was and is, was “You don’t have a lot of help here, I just want to support you and help the church wherever I can.” And that he did.

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Turning the Imposing into the Empowering

Numbers to Live By

We are winding towards the last three mile markers on Highway 3:16. This week we get to spend some time in God’s word with one of my true favorites in the collection. In Ephesians, Paul prays for the fledgling church, and, by extension, for you and me. He reminds us that we do not have to be self-reliant for strength for the journey. His power is not just enough, it is essential to meeting the demands of life, whatever shape they take.

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Christmas In July

Christmas on the Beach

Remember when you started thinking in July about what you wanted and needed for Christmas? Then came Halloween and Thanksgiving and you knew it was getting closer. Then there was a present under the tree and you were pretty sure you knew what was in it. But the anticipation was still there until the moment you opened it and it became real. Well that’s kind of me – and us – today.

Aimee & Jason Hobbs

Aimee & Jason Hobbs

This Sunday, we welcome Aimee Hobbs and her husband Jason to the FBC family and ministry team. She is enthusiastically embracing the call to develop and lead a first-class ministry with children and young families. And she comes to us with a passion and a vision born of calling, training, and remarkable experience. For all of that, we are grateful.

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Call to Community

Community

It was about this time last year that I started talking to my leadership about embracing a model for church – a very biblical, practical, sustainable, and healthful model – as church as a faithful community. This concept stands in contrast with two other prevailing paradigms for the church in North America (other places too, I would suspect). The first is a religious institution driven by prescription and maintaining the comfort of members. The second is a vendor of religious goods and services obliging the desires of current and future customers. Good ministry can happen in both, but important, essential things get lost along the way.

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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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