REFLECTING ON FOUR YEARS AS PASTOR…

The Bolts—not the ones in the air—are big here.   I  played baseball once upon a time, so, I knew about the Rays.  And I have become a Rays fan, even though I still pull for the Cardinals, Braves, and the Royals. J  But I had no idea how big the Tampa Bay Lightning (aka Bolts) was down here.  It may be because I was not a hockey fan?  They are vital to our community.  Many fans exist of what I still consider a “northern” sport.  It’s been fun to enjoy their success as a team and observe a winning professional team in our area, unlike some of the other professional teams in our area.  (Sorry, but it’s true, but I still pull for them.)  There are bumper stickers, posters, and rabid fans everywhere.  I like it.  But, I still don’t like hockey.  One of our deacons, his name is John and he welcomes people as they come in the buildings on Sundays, continues to try to make a hockey fan out of me.  You may need to pray for him because it ain’t happening so far. J  BTW—the bolts in the air are big too.  Wow!

My Southern—not to be confused with the country—accent drawls—attention.  (You see what I did there?)  Now, I had served in FL before moving here four years ago, but not South Florida.  Even though I had been chided in the past about my accent, nothing like what has occurred here.  Needless to say, it doesn’t bother me, unless they say country.  (Friend, I can take you to “country” on our upcoming mission trip to my beloved home state, but I can assure you that I ain’t country! J)  So, I try to use it to my advantage.  It’s sort of like me listening to an English accent.  I ask them questions just to hear them talk.  When outsiders ask me where I am from and what I am doing down here… man, I go for it! J  I love the people of St. Pete!

Fifth Avenue is made up of the most eclectic group of folks—which is a good thing—I’ve ever pastored.  When I moved here we had a certain amount of cultural representation.  I have noticed an expansion of various people groups becoming the norm.  There is not much more I could be excited about than this reality.  Why?  Because it better represents the body of Christ as well as our community.  May HIS Tribe increase!

AFTER THIS I SAW A VAST CROWD, TOO GREAT TO COUNT, FROM EVERY NATION AND TRIBE AND PEOPLE AND LANGUAGE, STANDING IN FRONT OF THE THRONE AND BEFORE THE LAMB…  Revelation 7:9

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