Six weeks ago I posted a picture from our very unusual church service that day. On that February Sunday, the entire worship area was directed out of the back doors and onto three awaiting tour buses. We weren’t told where we were going but watched Pastor Paul deliver his communion message via recorded video displayed on the bus’s TV monitors. He explained that we were heading to Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa. This was to be the site of our church’s Easter celebration and we were going there to pray over it. Upon arrival at the park, we were handed a Sharpie as we exited the bus and instructed to write the names of those we wanted to join us for this epic Easter celebration on pieces of pine bark mulch lining the various flower and plant beds.
I took a seat on the ground and grabbed a few pieces of bark. I wrote my mom’s name first, then my nephew and sister. I knew that having them join us today would be a long shot but I wanted their names in that pile of mulch that so many have prayed over in the past few weeks.
Next, I sat and thought about who else I would want to join us. The list was long, but I wanted this to be special. I thought about those local friends and acquaintances who could use a serious boost of our Father’s message and honestly, no one came to mind. I’m sure if I had been given more than 10 minutes to think about it, I could have come up with a decent list but the time just wasn’t there.
Then, it hit me. I knew that my blood family would most likely not be able to be with us so I immediately thought about my other family. If I couldn’t have blood with me, I would at least want to celebrate this special Holy day with those I consider family by choice.
Today was proof that God does hear and answer our prayers. For 12 months our church has prayed about this day and for His glory to shine in the city of Tampa. We asked for 5,000 people to show up and 5,560 did indeed. Pastor Paul asked for beautiful weather and at the start of today’s service, the thermometer registered a comfortable 73 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. We all prayed God would speak to those who needed him and at the end of the day, 30 people became new Christ followers.
One more prayer was answered today. That was my prayer said six weeks ago in a park over a piece of pine bark. I prayed that our friends Matt and Michelle (Matelle) and Jeff and Ellen (Jellen), along with their families, would join us for this special celebration. As you can see, they did just that. I am so blessed to call these people my family.