Start a Fire in ME!


Winter is hard.  We had an usually cold winter in Tennessee, coupled with a whole lot of snow days (well, actually they were “ice days).

Winter in Middle Tennessee tends to be very gray, dark, and icky.  Having spent most of my life there, every winter brought about some form of the blues.  A lot of time, it tends to zap the energy right out of you.  Its not just physical energy either.  Spiritual, relational, and any other type of energy can fall away if you’re not careful.

Today in Tampa, it was a very pleasant 68-72 degrees.  I found myself going for an afternoon walk.  I walked for about 40 minutes around the neighborhood.  Sun shining brightly, crisp air about me, and for the first time in a long time – I felt completely rejuvenated.  I found myself praying the entire time.  I prayed for:

1.  My super awesome wife, without whom I would completely fall apart
2.  My sweet daughter, who inspires me each day to be a better person
3.  My fellow ministers at Northwest Tampa – Keith, Matt, and Matt – who all have their own personal things they’re dealing with right now, that they would be strengthened and encouraged
4.  My elders at Northwest Tampa – Bob, George, Tracy, Tim, Keith, and Lewis – that God would provide them with strength, wisdom, and insight
5.  My enemies – well, okay – not my enemies, but some people who I have some very bitter feelings toward, that God would remove that energy killer from my life
6.  For my house to sell in Nashville, and for us to be able to buy a home here that my wife and I truly adore.  We’ve hit a few speed bumps, but we know God is in control.
7.  Most of all, I prayed for my Northwest Tampa Church of Christ family.  I found myself not being able to find the right words – and I ended up saying to God “please, light a fire under our rear ends so we will get up and reach Tampa.”  That made me think of this song:

May God start a fire in all of us.  May God bless your week with opportunity to reach others for HIM.

The Kids of Northwest Tampa Church of Christ

Last week our kids came back in from children’s worship to witness a baptism. We are blessed with a TON of kids here!

Sunday at 5pm, they will be performing their annual theatrical performance. It’s entitled “God’s Big Game Plan” and is open to all. Come and join us!!

The TRUE Meaning of Forgiveness – An Ultimate Example


By now, you’ve probably heard of Mo’Ne Davis and her stunning rise to stardom as the pitcher for a little league team in the world series.  Recently, a young man who played baseball for Bloomsburg University, made a statement on Twitter that is too vulgar to repeat on a Christian blog, but needless to say, you would be picking your jaw of the floor after reading what he stated.

The university promptly kicked Joey Casselberry, the player in question, off the team.

Mo’Ne had every right to be upset.  What was said about her shouldn’t be said about anyone, much less a teenager.

But do you know what she did?  She wrote a letter to the university, and it says this:

Dear Dr. Soltz (the President of the university),

I am writing about the Tweet sent out by your baseball player, Joey Casselberry, and his dismissal from the team because of it. While I admit I was pretty hurt when I read his comments, I felt sad that he was dismissed from the team. As many people know, my dream is to play college basketball and maybe even professionally. I know how much hard work and dedication it will take to get there, and to have that dream taken away would be heartbreaking.  I am sure Joey Casselberry has worked very hard to get where he is and dreams of playing in the major leagues. For this reason, I’m asking you to please allow him back on the team so that he can continue to chase his dream. He made one dumb mistake. I’m sure he would go back and change it if he could. We all make mistakes and deserve to be forgiven. I hope you will give him a second chance and allow him to play.

Mo’Ne Davis

You know what, I’ve made dumb mistakes before.  We all have done things that we shouldn’t have done.  I find it refreshing to see someone who not only forgave the offender, but came to the defense of the defender.  What a lesson to learn from a 13 year old girl.

A lot of us may say we forgive someone, but we want their heads for what they did to us.  Forgiveness accompanied with actions such as that is not real forgiveness.  What if Jesus said “Father, please forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing,” but then followed that with “But in 3 days when I rise from the dead, I’m going to make sure each person that mocked me, beat me, spit on me, or drove a nail in my hands – is dealt with in a swift and proper way.”

We say things like “Well, in the business world, if this happened…” – but you know what?  I don’t think Jesus meant “Forgive others, but then treat them like the business world would treat them.”

Maybe we all need to learn a lesson from Mo’Ne.  If someone says their sorry, no matter how vile or tame their words may be – we forgive, and truly forgive, and move on.  No need to be like the Queen of Hearts with a “Off with their heads” mentality.

Mo’ne Davis

Resurrection Day

Today, Joel Jaroch decided to dedicate his life to God, being baptized for the remission of his sins.  His father took his confession after an emotional charge to the family at Northwest Tampa to continue being the influence for young people today. I was so moved by his words. 

Joel embracing his father, Mike, as he begins a new life as a Christian. 

All the children came in from children’s worship time to witness the joyous event!!