DSC_0165On my 43rd birthday, I thought I would take a few moments and thank God and my family for a wonderful 42nd year as it draws to a close.  This has truly been a remarkable year on many accounts, and I would be remiss to take it for granted.

God has blessed me with many victories over the years, but this past year was especially notable, so I thought I would articulate some of these blessings today.

  1. LOSING 46 LBS.-  Probably the most important goal this past year was finally coming to grips with my long term health and FINALLY deciding to do something about it. My wife, VIcki, has always been a perfect picture of health and has always encouraged me to do likewise.  It wasn’t hard to stay in shape while I was in the Air Force, but over the last 15 years since I went into ministry, I had become very sedentary in my lifestyle, making excuses as we all do at times.  Last June I embarked, not on a diet, but a lifestyle change. Since then I have lost the 46 lbs. and also competed in many obstacle course races, including Tough Mudder and Spartan.  I have maintained my health and will continue competing.
  2. OBTAINING MY DEGREE–  One of my greatest desires for the last five years has been the completion of my undergraduate degree.  I never had the opportunity to attend Bible college full time as a student, so I had to complete it while also pastoring. This past May I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and am now doing graduate work toward my MABS and ultimately the Ph. D through Piedmont International University.
  3. FAMILY MILESTONES–  Our oldest daughter, Alexis, graduated two years ago, and headed off to West Coast Baptist College.  This past May our youngest, Hannah, also graduated.  She too will attend West Coast Baptist College in the Fall.  Vicki and I will be “empty-nesters”.  That’s weird…but cool!  I am proud of both of our girls.  They both love God and have honored their parents all of their lives.  I couldn’t ask for more!
  4. MINISTRY MILESTONES–  Aside from the general blessings of ministry,the awesome friendships, seeing people saved and lives changed, our ministry here at Grace these past four years has been nothing short of miraculous.  As I often say, “God is writing a story of Grace.”  It is amazing to consider where things were at  when we first walked through the doors four years ago.  God is raising up a dynamic, multicultural, Gospel-centered church that is having a wonderful impact in our community.  Slowly, but surely, God is fulfilling the vision that He has given me for Tampa Bay!  We have a bright future by the grace of God!

These are just a few of the blessings from this past year for which I am thankful!  This past year has truly been amazing, but I really believe that God is just getting started in so many ways.  I look forward to what God will do in the year ahead.  With prayer, my Love (Vicki), a cup of Dunkin Donuts, and the grace of God, it’s going to be awesome!




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