January 6, 2019

Pastor Steve’s Blog Jan 6, 2019 As we start out the New Year, I want to share this inspirational thought about “the true standard of success.” “Bobby Jones, one of golf’s greatest players, was only 5 years old when he first swung a golf club. By the age of 12, he was winning golf tournaments. During this time, he was known for his hot temper, and he soon had the nickname “Club Thrower.” Jones became friends with a man named Grandpa Bart, who worked part-time in the club pro shop. Bart had been an excellent golfer but had retired when arthritis gripped his hands. After Bobby lost the National Amateur Tournament at the age of 14, he said, “Bobby, you are good enough to win that tournament, but you’ll never win until you can control that temper of yours. You miss a shot---you get upset---then you lose.” Bobby knew Grandpa Bart was right, and he became determined to improve---not his golf swing---but his mood swings. When Bobby won a major tournament at age 21, Grandpa Bart said, “Bobby was 14 when he mastered the game of golf, but he was 21 when he mastered himself.” Records are always established in relationship to other people’s performance, but the true “standard of success” is established within the competitor. Let your “standard of success” be one that includes controlling your temper and taming your tongue. As a leader, you will be setting a Godly example for others to follow.” James 1:19-20 (KJV): “My beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” “God’s Little Lessons for Leaders.” Tulsa, OK: Honor Books, 2001, p. 9.

June 23, 2019

Pastor Steve’s Blog June 23, 2019 I hope you were able to be with us yesterday in church to hear our friends from Jacksonville Teen Challenge. It was so encouraging to hear their testimonies and see the life change that has happened in each one of them due to their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and support from the Teen Challenge Center. I look forward to St Paul continuing our support for this terrific ministry. Our special offering yesterday in church for Teen Challenge amounted to $500. I also heard that one of our Sunday School classes pledged an additional $300 to help with the ministry. Outstanding! That’s great seed planted in good soil. Can I get an “Amen.” Below is some good information about Teen Challenge. For nearly 60 years, our alcohol and substance abuse addiction recovery program has provided long-term recovery for tens of thousands of individuals. We are the largest and longest continuously operated group of addiction recovery centers in the world, with over 200 centers in the U.S. and over 1,000 more centers worldwide. In an Adult & Teen Challenge Outcomes Study by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): • 92% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates reported good to excellent health a year later. • 86% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates reported they were drug-free a year later. • 72% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates continued their education upon completion of the program. • 75% of Adult & Teen Challenge graduates were employed a year later, with 73% being fully self-supporting.

June 16, 2019

Pastor Steve’s Blog June 16, 2019 Kim Straughn, as the church’s Lay Delegate, and I attended the 177th Florida Annual Conference this past week in Lakeland, FL on the campus of Florida Southern College. This campus is famous as it was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. FYI. Kim will present a report to the Church on this year’s Annual Conference in the near future. Just think about how long the Methodist Church has been meeting in FL. The Florida Conference and the state of Florida came into existence about the same time. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy reading a brief history of our Conference as found on the FL Conference website. “Methodism came to Florida with the circuit riders who followed the trails across the border from Georgia after the United States took control of the territory from the Spanish in 1821. Work in the peninsula of Florida, historically known as East Florida, came officially under the South Carolina Conference in January 1822, when the first appointment was made to Amelia Island. In 1831, the conference was divided and the newly formed Georgia Conference assumed the Florida work. In December 1821 the Mississippi Conference had assigned a preacher to Pensacola, in what was known as West Florida. Eventually, however, the Panhandle came under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Conference and later the Alabama-West Florida Conference, where it remains today. By the 1840s came the push for statehood and along with its momentum came the push among Methodists to establish a conference of their own. The General Conference of 1844 created the Florida Conference, and on February 6, 1845, in Tallahassee it was organized as part of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Statehood came a month later. Together the state and the conference grew to maturity. Since 1845 the work in Florida has been carried out in a number of conferences, which have been created, divided, and united. In 1939 three of those conferences—the Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the St. Johns River Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Florida Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church—united to form the Florida Conference, Southeastern Jurisdiction, of The Methodist Church. At the same time the two black conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church became part of the racially segregated Central Jurisdiction of The Methodist Church. They united in 1952. In 1968 The Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which had had a presence in Florida since 1895, and the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church came into being. In 1969 the Central Jurisdiction churches also became part of the Florida Conference, Southeastern Jurisdiction, of The United Methodist Church. The story of the Florida Conference is written in the lives of the circuit riders and their modern-day counterparts who have followed the waves of population throughout the state, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is also written in the work of the people of local churches who have responded to the call of the gospel.” Further information can be found in the following histories of the Florida Conference: Florida Flame, by the Reverend Robert M. Temple, Jr., 1987 From Saddlebags to Satellites, edited by the Reverend William E. Brooks, 1969 The Trail of the Florida Circuit Rider, by Dr. Charles Tinsley Thrift, Jr., 1944

June 9, 2019

Pastor Steve’s Blog June 9, 2019 Pentecost Sunday Happy Birthday to the Church! Over two thousand years ago the Christian Church came into existence on the day of Pentecost. You can read about it in the opening chapters of the Book of Acts. I ran across this online devotional and the author was basically recounting the main points in my Pentecost sermon for June 9, so I thought I would share it with you and those of you who may not have been in church Sunday. A Devotion by Julius Medenblik Online Devotion dated May 20, 2018 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. — Acts 2:4 Ten days have passed since Jesus ascended to heaven and instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem. The day of Pentecost has now arrived. Pentecost is not just something found in the New Testament, it is actually an Old Testament holiday tied with the Feast of Harvest, or the Feast of Weeks, noting the beginning of harvesttime. This is also a time when religious pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem from faraway lands. So “God-fearing Jews from ¬every nation” are present for this event. A blowing, violent wind is followed by what appears to be tongues of fire separating and resting on the disciples. People from many nations gather to see what is going on. And something bewildering and wonderful occurs. Everyone can understand what is being said! The words of the disciples find their mark because those who are listening can hear the message in their own language. The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), where God confused the people’s language, is reversed by the Holy Spirit so that people can understand one another. And throughout the crowd, people are wondering, “What does this mean?” A harvest of souls is being gathered. This is an example of what Jesus meant when he taught his disciples: “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest” (John 4:35). Prayer. Lord of the harvest, thank you for sending your Spirit to empower us to be your witnesses in word and deed. May our words be guided and even translated by your Spirit. Amen.