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Kings Avenue Baptist Church Celebrates 30 Years With Annual Walk Thru Bethlehem
By Amanda Boston
Special Pull-Out Section 2
Coming to Tampa January 25-29
This year marks 30 years for Kings Avenue Baptist Church’s annual Walk Thru Bethlehem. Thursday, December 8 through Sunday, December 11, the story of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection is illustrated with a guided 45minute interactive tour through biblical scenes of Bethlehem. The little town of Bethlehem is brought to life by town merchants, tax collectors, Roman soldiers, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, and of course, a baby Jesus. A camel, sheep, and Walk Thru Bethlehem is a family tradition for donkey also join the cast to the Gallops family. Pictured above, on the left, is key organizer, David Gallops with his create an authenticate daughter and son. atmosphere. Avenue’s motivation, “It is a A production of this magnitude lot of work, but if one person requires over 300 volunteers. Since is saved, it’s all worth it.” 1986, Kings Avenue congregants have David Gallops, one of the main faithfully created and staged the live organizers, emphasized the authenticity scenes with the purpose of sharing the of the event; “We try to make the Walk true meaning of Christmas. The dramaThru Bethlehem as realistic as possitized depiction of the Gospel has ble. Don’t be surprised if the Roman changed lives. Over the past 30 years, guards harass you or if you are asked the event has prompted numerous visito pay your taxes.” tors to rededicate their lives or accept Gallops, who has been involved Christ for the first time. Sandra since its inception, also reminisced on Rodriquez, the coordinator for cosa side story developing over the past tumes and props, echoed King 30 years, “My children have grown up
on the set; they have played the parts from baby Jesus to a Roman soldier.” Walk Thru Bethlehem is not only a yearly tradition for the Gallops family; it has also evolved into a Christmas tradition for the local community. Over the four nights, the free family-friendly event draws a sizeable crowd upwards of 7,000 visitors. In order to avoid longer wait times, it is recommended to arrive earlier in the evening. Upon arrival, visitors are given a number designating a guide and an appointed tour time. While waiting for an assigned tour, visitors can 8-11 enjoy holiday tunes reverberating from the local school bands while partaking in a variety of food concessions. Walk Thru Bethlehem is scheduled for Thursday, December 8, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, December 9, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, December 10, from 4 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, December 11, from 4 to 9 p.m. The church is located at 2602 S. Kings Ave. in Brandon. Contact the church office at 685-3095.
Eight-Year-Old Survivor, Tristan Wombacher Gives Cheer
By Amanda Boston
Hooked on Books Pages 18
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Faith & Footprints
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This past old son, Tristan and Today, the benign tumor still Halloween, eight-yearthree other children. resides in Tristan’s brain, except now; it old, Tristan Within 24 hours of is only the size of a sugar cube. As a Wombacher didn’t arriving, Tristan started result of living with this tumor, Tristan dress up in the ordiexperiencing terrible must take growth hormones, maintain a nary superhero cosheadaches, throwing restricted diet, and have frequent blood tume or lug around draws. Additionally, he cannot the pumpkin-colored allow his body to overheat, pail while trick-orwhich can be quite a chaltreating. Instead, he lenge in the Florida climate. donned a Santa suit Despite the daily inconcomplete with a red veniences, Tristan is an velvety sack, chockfull upbeat little boy with a giving of candy canes. spirit. He loves all things Denise Graf, a Christmas, but specifically, he Fishhawk neighbor, enjoys crafting elaborate said, “I couldn’t homemade presents for othbelieve my eyes when ers. This year, Christmas I was sitting on the could not come soon enough Eight-year-old, Tristan Wombacher dressed up as Santa for Halloween deliv- for this third grader. As porch watching what ering candy canes to his neighbors. was happening and Halloween approached, hearing the reaction from the people up, and became extremely lethargic. Tristan told his mother, “I need some who were getting gifts from Santa on His parents rushed him to the local candy canes so I can hand them out Halloween.” emergency room, where a CT scan and make people happy.” Resembling This account of a kindhearted third revealed a brain tumor about the size an elf prepping for Christmas Eve, he grader, who opted to pass out candy on of a large orange situated on his pitubegan creating his Santa costume. a holiday, which is known for receiving itary gland. On Halloween night, he strolled the it, could end here as a heart-warming Without delay, the Wombacher fam- streets as Santa sharing candy canes. story. However, it doesn’t. It simply ily returned to Florida; their son’s new The sight of this gesture captivated the can’t. There is far too much to divulge diagnosis required extensive surgery hearts of his neighbors while throngs of about this special little boy named, followed by 28 days of intense radiachildren trailed behind in support of his Tristan. tion. Due to the location of the tumor, undertaking. The adage it is better to Three years ago, Ken and Jamie and its intertwining with the optic nerve, give than to receive became apparent Wombacher were vacationing in only part of the tumor could be extractto the entire community through the Anchorage, Alaska with their five-yeared. actions of this selfless little Santa.
Page 2 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
By Kelly Wise Valdes The St. Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans' most extraordinary historic and architectural landmarks, overlooking Jackson Square. Also known as the CathedralBasilica of St. Louis King of France, it is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. This historic building showcases triple steeples towering above the heart of old New Orleans. Since 1727, the site has welcomed worshipers and visitors. Dedicated to Louis IX, sainted King of France, this was the first building in New Orleans of "brick between posts" construction, which was a method of building that continued to be used in Louisiana until the middle of the nineteenth century. Inside the original structure, the church baptized the children of the colonists and the children of the slaves. A fire in 1788 caused by a candle in a nearby home, destroyed church. More than five years later the church was rebuilt. Throughout the years, the structure has changed to meet the needs of the growing congregation. In 1819, a central tower with the clock and bell was added. The present structure primarily dates to 1850. The cathedral was designated as a minor basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1964. Pope John Paul II visited the
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cathedral in September 1987. In more recent years, the church suffered damage when Hurricane Katrina tore a hole in the roof of the church in August 2005. The church and pipe organ were extremely damaged and subsequently repaired thanks to the support of its more than 6000 church members. During the Christmas holidays, St. Louis Cathedral plays host to an annual holiday tradition of staging free concerts by prominent New Orleans musicians, church choirs and singers in the jazz, classical, gospel and pop genres. The acoustics of the cathedral adds to the beauty of the music. The concerts are open to the public and donations are welcome. For more information about the St. Louis Cathedral Holiday Concerts call 504-522-5730 or visit www.fqfi.org.
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Page 3 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Formed In 1916, Limona Village Chapel Celebrates 100th Birthday United Methodist Church Limona Village Chapel is proudly celebrating 100 years of service this year. The doors opened in the rural community of Limona in 1916, and it originally began as a United Brethren Church that started meeting in a small school building. The church bought the school building and moved it to its current property until it was destroyed in a fire in 1968. After the new sanctuary was built in 1969, the church built the Francis Anderson Fellowship hall and broke ground for the Seymour Educational Building, which houses our Children’s Center. The youth building was built & dedicated the Philip Mook Building in 1991. Today, Limona Village Chapel continues to serve its community, and maintains its history and heritage. It continues to be a busy congregation, hosting barbeques, The Village Fair, Family Promise, Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, and more. They recently held their first Pumpkin Patch Festival for the community.
By Nicole Heubusch
“My husband Merit & I have been members at Limona Village Chapel since 1956. We are the longest standing members on the rolls at this time. I was secretary there for 20 years and it was a blessing serving in this capacity,” said long-time member of the congregation, Joanne O’Neal. Limona Village Chapel will be celebrating its 100th Birthday with a Centennial Celebration Service and dinner on Sunday, December 4 at 10 a.m. in its sanctuary. They invite the community to come celebrate with them, and hope to see many former members. If you plan on staying for dinner, please contact the Church Office at 689-8385 to make your reservation. On Sundays, Limona Village Chapel offers a Contemporary Worship at 9:30 a.m. and a Traditional Worship at 10:45 a.m. Bible studies, small group, youth groups, and more are also offered. Limona Village Chapel is located at 408 Limona Rd. in Brandon. For more information, please visit limonavillagechapel.com.
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Page 4 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
UM Church Of Sun City Center Offers Christmas Events
By Kathy L. Collins
p.m. the As we head into SouthShore the most joyous Community Christmas season, the United Methodist Band will present its holiday Church of Sun City concert under Center (UMCSCC) the direction of is hosting a number Ken Easton. A of holiday events donation of $5 that are open to the is requested. entire community. Come and First up is an enjoy the 2nd original play, The Annual Sights Gift of Christmas. and Sounds of The play is written Christmas on by Carol Stewart Wednesday, and directed by Bill December 14 Turcotte. The play, at 5 and 7 p.m. which features 20 of in the UMCSCC's drama Sanctuary. team, will be perThe United Methodist Church of Sun City On Friday, formed on Friday, Center invites the community to attend December 16 December 2 at 7 one of several Christmas events planned come see and p.m. According to for the upcoming holiday season. hear Christmas Jeff Jordan, Director With The Celts featuring renowned of Worship Arts, "This show is set in hammered dulcimer artist, Marcille the fictitious 'Sun City Center Super Wallis. He will be joined by fiddler, Saver & Discount Drug Depot' on Matt Miller, Don Pigeon and Irish Christmas Eve. This one is sure to dancer, Kate Valley. A donation of make you laugh and cry and feel the true spirit of Christmas." The event is $10 requested. Finally, there will be three free. On Sunday, December 11 at 8:30 Christmas Eve Candlelight Services. Traditional services will be held at 4 and 11 a.m., the UMCSCC Chancel and 8 p.m. in the Sanctuary. A conChoir will present the Christmas temporary service will be held at 6 Cantana- Let There Be Christmas. p.m. in the Life Enrichment Center. The choir will be accompanied by UMCSCC is located at 1210 W. brass, wood winds, bells, piano and Del Webb Blvd. in Sun City Center. a narrator. Visit www.sccums.com or 634-2539. On Monday, December 12 at 7 What you will find at Journey: • • • • • •
Volunteers Are Needed For Christmas Baskets For Seniors By Sandy Meyer
Caregiver’s Helping Hand, Inc. is reaching out to the community for help with its Christmas Senior Gift Baskets program. Caregiver’s will be delivering care baskets to local senior nursing homes, resident centers, and senior living facilities at Christmastime. This year the organization is looking to provide the baskets for 20 centers and includes gifts for more Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to deliver baskets, sing carols and bring joy to seniors this than a 1,000 men and Christmas season. women. and has added new centers each year. Caregiver's Helping Hand, Inc. is a Richedean Hills-Ackbar is the founder of non-profit volunteer organization with a Caregiver’s, and this is one of the many mission to always give a helping hand projects she takes on each year. “The wherever it can in the community. Its Intergenerational Program has been help- idea came from seeing the need for visitors in the senior centers. Most of the ing local seniors since June 15, 2001. seniors have no one to visit with them Volunteers of all ages are needed to and are forgotten once placed in a nursdeliver gifts and sing Christmas Carols. Additionally, Caregiver’s needs the follow- ing home or senior living facility,” said Hills-Achbar. ing items donated: wrapping paper, Caregiver’s will begin delivering the lotions, shower gel, body wash, sweaters, baskets on Saturday, December 3 at socks and T-shirts for men and women which time volunteers will visit three care and pictures for walls. Cash donations are also needed to purchase the gifts and centers. Additional delivery dates include Saturday, December 10; Thursday, cards and Caregiver’s is hoping to raise December 15; Saturday, December 17, the $3,500 needed to meet its goal this Sunday, December 18 and Monday, year. Last year Caregiver’s was able to December 19. For more information, purchase socks for all the seniors thanks please visit www.chhincvolunteers.org. to a donation from its major sponsor, the “This is a great time to bring the Tampa Yankees. whole family out to teach our kids what This is the 15th year for the Christmas is all about. GIVING TO OTHChristmas Senior Gift Baskets program which began with Ybor Health and Rehab ERS!” concluded Hills-Ackbar.
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Page 5 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Apostle Spokesperson Denies Jesus To Authorities By Kelly Wise Valdes
The leader of the proclaim the loyalty Twelve Apostles, of Simon Peter to Simon Peter of Jesus, in spite of Bethsaida, was his denial to authorreported to deny his ities. His brother, involvement with Andrew, also testiJesus Christ of fied that Simon Bethlehem when Peter was fiercely questioned by authorloyal but his fear ities. Residents from was the cause of Simon Peter’s homethe denial. “To his Simon Peter of Bethsaida. town, near the eastcredit, everyone ern shore of the Sea of Galilee, are in else fled but Peter still followed Jesus disbelief that Peter would denounce his after His arrest and kept his distance so affiliation with Jesus. as not to be identified with Him,” said Several of Simon Peter’s former Andrew. “There’s no question that fear fishermen co-workers confirmed that he gripped him. From the courtyard, he was often impulsive and hasty as somewatched Jesus being falsely accused, times described as normal for a beaten and insulted. Peter was afraid Galilean. Jesus would die and he was fearful for “Simon Peter was quick-tempered, his own life as well. The world hated emotional and easily drawn to advenJesus, and Peter found that he was not ture,” said Josephus, a local fisherman prepared to face the ridicule and perseand friend. “But he always seemed loyal cution that Jesus was suffering. to Jesus." As Jesus now awaits trial, Simon Simon Peter and his brother Andrew Peter is standing by his side and were the first of the disciples that folremorseful for his previous denial. lowed Jesus. It was when he became a ********************** follower that Jesus added the surname Jesus inspired 12 ordinary men to Peter to Simon’s first name. Peter, which leave their old lives behind and become also means rock, was a testament to followers of Him. Among these new folhow much Jesus believed in Simon lowers were fishermen, a tax collector Peter to carry on the Great Commission. and a revolutionary. It was reported that Simon Peter was The Gospels record the failings, authorized by Jesus to be the main struggles and doubts of these twelve spokesperson for the group as he was men who followed Jesus. This series will being groomed to continue the movedocument one of the disciples each ment to spread God’s Word after the month in a fun way in order to learn crucifixion of Christ. more about how God turned each man Witnesses have come forward to from ordinary to extraordinary. Dr. Amir Boules
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Page 6 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Lights Will Shine Bright Around Town During Holiday Season Here are a few places you can visit with your family to help get into the spirit of the season. Wonderful light displays that include fun for the family. If you know of additional displays locally, please email email@example.com. We’ll share with our readers online.
Wonderland of Lights New Display Offers Family Fun
Brandon will be the home of The Wonderland of Lights Drive Thru, at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Rd. in Dover. This premier holiday light show and winter festival will be a spectacular celebration and brings back a family holiday tradition that so many have grown to love. Opening Thanksgiving Night, November 24 and running through Saturday, December 31 (6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday & Saturday). This 38–day event incorporates beautiful animated and still light displays that will dazzle the young and “the young at heart.” Plus, it will offer a blend of fun, family activities and entertainment sure to please all. Take some time to stop at the Christmas village featuring horse-drawn wagon rides, North Pole train ride, amusement rides, food and crafts.
The show is produced by Massachusetts based North Pole Productions, known for their shows in Branson, Missouri and other locations across the country. To save time at the gate, tickets for the drivethrough can be purchased online at www.brandonchamber.com under the events tab. Prices are: Vehicles (up to 8 passengers) $20; Season's Pass $35 (vehicles only); coaches, limos, mini vans (9-24 seating) $35; Motor Coaches (2550 seating) $75.
Christmas Lane at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds
Christmas Lane started humbly enough. Over 30 years ago, a young boy started hanging Christmas lights in front of his childhood home in Dover. As with most things that grow, Christmas Lane began feeling growing pains several years ago. With the display outgrowing the family yard setting and a parking lot that was becoming overwhelmed by the growing Christmas Lane crowds, something had to change in order to accommodate Christmas-loving crowds. Christmas Lane has a new home at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, 2508 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City.
Over 1.5 million lights will adorn over 200 Christmas trees, from 4 to 40 ft. tall. There is a train taking children through a winter wonderland which includes a tunnel of lights, along with several new rides. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with his elves, attend nightly in his sleigh. Children share their wishes and the parents capture many memorable photo opportunities. Enjoy real characters such as Rudolph and Frosty the Snow Man make spontaneous appearances and a complete nativity scene demonstrates the real reason for Christmas. There are larger-thanlife items on display, such as a Christmas Castle, two 10 ft. toy soldiers, a 14 ft. reindeer, and even a stuffed polar bear flying a small airplane. Christmas Lane will be open Nov 25 - Dec 25, 2016. From Friday, November
25 – Thursday, December 15, the hours are 6-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. As Christmas approaches from Friday, December 16 – Saturday, December 25,
Compiled by Michelle Colesanti
the hours will be extended to 6-10 p.m. For more info, visit www.christmaslane.com.
Oakdale Light Display Is One of the Largest and Longest Running Displays in Country
Now in its 40th year, the Oakdale Light Display has become a tradition in the Tampa Bay area drawing people from all over. It was ranked in the top three nationally by NBC’s Today Show, presented first in HGTV’s All Out Christmas Special and also featured in People Magazine. Every year the display is different. There are about one-half million lights. You will enjoy walkways, water fountains, a computerized light show, a huge collection of animated dolls, a snowman about three stories high. Enjoy the large HO-scale model railroad running 18 trains at a time. The kids love the double bubble machines and games. The display is free and fun for the entire family. It is open from Friday, November 25 and continues nightly through Tuesday, January 3 from 6-10 p.m. (rain or clear skies). It is located at 2719 Oakdale Street, South in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.christmasdisplay.org.
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Page 7 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Your Monthly Catch Local Happenings In Our Community Celebrate The Birth of Jesus At Lighthouse Revival Center
A Lighthouse Christmas Presents: An Offering To The Newborn King on Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m. This is a musical production to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas of Hope will take place on Friday, December 16 at 6 p.m. A special Christmas service with a delicious dinner served immediately after, gifts given by Santa Claus to kids between the ages of 2-10 (children must be present), then receive a packed food basket to take home. Lighthouse Revival Center is located at 7211 S. 78th St. in Riverview. For more information, call 6775220 or visit www.lrcchurch.com.
Christmas Cookie Sale & Silent Auction Benefits Family Promise
Enjoy some holiday cookies while helping Family Promise. A Christmas Cookie Sale and Silent Auction will take place on Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, December 4 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club, located at 213 N Knights Ave. in Brandon. All Proceeds will benefit Family Promise of Greater Brandon. For more information, contact Edwina Reddick at 681-6170 or 551-7792.
the door. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. the night of the concert. Join in at the Brandon Reservations Christian Women’s Connection are not Luncheon Spirit of Christmas to required. celebrate the season together EHCB is a The Plant City Community Chorale and enjoy a children’s bell choir will present its annual holiday con- full-sized concert on Saturday, December 10 at and tips from its chef. It is on cert band that Eastside Baptist Church. Monday December 12 from 11 has been entera.m.-1 p.m. at Bell Shoals Baptist taining the Tampa Bay area since 2009. Church’s Special Event Center, 2102 Bell For more information, Shoals Rd. The cost is $15. First time firstname.lastname@example.org, guests pay $10. No membership is visit www.ehcb.org or call 569-1771. required and this is a nondenominational
The Spirit of Christmas Is Luncheon Topic For Brandon Christian Women’s Connection
Plant City Community Chorale Presents Holiday Concert
event. Please make a reservation by Monday, December 5 with Lillie at 7400098. Concert Band Presents Christmas Concert In Brandon The community is invited to a Christmas Concert presented by the Eastern Hillsborough Community Band (EHCB) on Thursday, December 15 at 7 p.m. at New Hope United Methodist Church, Logan Hall, 115 Knights Ave. in Brandon. There is a $5 suggested donation at
The Plant City Community Chorale will present its annual Believe! A Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m.at Eastside Baptist Church, which is located at 1318 E. Calhoun St. in Plant City. This annual Christmas presentation is once again sponsored by Hopewell Funeral & Memorial Gardens In addition to time-honored classics such as O Holy Night, Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, and White Christmas, the concert will include the beloved Spanish carol, A La Nanita Nana and the sprightly Catalan dance carol, Fum, Fum, Fum. Under the direction of Claudia Bolano Becerra, the Chorale continues to grow both musically and in numbers, promising to make your spirit bright this Christmas.
Tickets are available at www.pccchorale.org , from any Chorale member, or call 417-2808.
G3 & B.A.M. Present One-Day Youth Camp
G3 (Give God the Glory) and B.A.M. (Believe, Achieve, Maximize) organizations are partnering to offer a one-day youth sports camp to kids in 1st through 8th grade. The camp runs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and will feature essential workshops that expand on athletics, nutrition, and technology. The Sports Camp will take place at Exalted Word Ministries Church, located at 2808 S. Kingsway Rd. in Seffner. The cost is $30 per child which includes a meal and camp shirt. To register, visit http://g3daycamp.eventbrite.com or email email@example.com or call 489-5714.
Candlelight Celebration At Hillsboro Memorial
On Sunday, December 11 at 6 p.m., the Hillsborou Memorial Funeral Home, 2323 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon, will host a Candlelight Celebration. According to Christopher Murray, Family Service Manager, “The holiday season can be a particularly difficult time of year for families that have experienced a loss. The ceremony gives families an opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of their loved one while also bringing other families coping in similar situation together. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP at 689-8121.
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Page 8 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Family Friendly Holiday Events Offered By Center Place Of Brandon
By Kathy L. Collins
Rodriguez added, Center Place in “We always have a Brandon will offer an gift wrapping station array of family friendly fun holiday events where the kids can this December. You wrap their projects will not want to miss as gift for a loved Center Place's time one.” Chick-fil-A at honored holiday Lake Brandon events designed to sponsors lunch for get everyone into the the children. Santa holiday spirit. will be on hand for Come see All of Santa’s Elves will be on hand to help visits so bring your Santa Claus as he get you and your family into the holiday helps light the giant spirit at several event hosted by Center cameras. Parents Place of Brandon including the 9th Santa’s and adults can Christmas Tree Workshop on Saturday, December 17. enjoy lunch sponlocated on Clayton Ave. on Wednesday, December 7 begin- sored by Boston Market for just $5. Tickets are required for this event, ning at 7 p.m. In addition to great holiand no tickets will be sold at the door. day entertainment courtesy of several Please bring a new, $10 unwrapped local dancers and singers, you can visit Christmas toy in exchange for the ticket with Santa Claus and even get a photo. Parents please bring your own cameras. to the event. You can get your tickets at Center Place. All toys will be donated to You can also enjoy some delicious ECHO of Brandon. refreshments served by the Community Center Place is also holding a Roundtable. The event is free and open Holiday Coloring Contest for children to the community, so come out and ages three, four and five and ages six, enjoy a holiday tradition that has been seven and eight. The coloring sheet can taking place for over 30 years. be picked up at Center Place or you can Next, Center Place will hold its 9th download it at www.centerplacebranAnnual Santa's Workshop on Saturday, don.org, Please submit your masterDecember 17 beginning at 11 a.m. piece by Monday, December 19. According to Lisa Rodriguez, Marketing Winners will be contacted prior to Director for Center Place, “This is our Christmas and will receive a one year special Christmas event for kids, and it Family Membership to Center Place. has been a big hit for many years now.” Center Place is conveniently locatThis event is designed for children five ed at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. years old and up. They will enjoy 10 difFor more information, please visit ferent arts and crafts stations and will www.centerplacebrandon.org or call make their own individual projects 685-8888. including decorating sugar cookies.
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Page 9 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Sincerely Santa Making Wishes Come True
By Matt Boniface
Santa greets children with a cherry nose and a bag full of donations.
Christmas is the season of giving. One local organization is dedicated to that adage by collecting gifts for children in need. Sincerely Santa's annual kickoff parade will be held on December 1 at 8 a.m., hosted at Desoto Elementary in Tampa. Local police and first responders will escort Jolly Old Saint Nick as they begin their 29th year of bringing smiles to the faces of children. Sincerely Santa Tampa collects toys, clothing and school supplies for children in the Hillsborough area who are considered 'at-risk' and underprivileged. These children, between kindergarten and third grade, write letters to Santa describing what they need most. Their teachers add additional essential information such as clothing sizes, siblings and special needs. The letters are
then reviewed by the Sincerely Santa Elves and are added to a display at the Westfield Brandon Mall along with additional partner locations. Community members can become sponsors to make a child's wish come true by donating the needed items. After selecting a wish to fulfill, unwrapped items can be dropped off at any Sincerely Santa booth. These donations are delivered to the children's homes in time for Christmas. These necessities could be as simple as clean clothes, a pair of glasses or even a bed to sleep on. No child is left without a gift. Wishes that were not selected by sponsors are gathered by the Sincerely Santa Elves. Using financial contribution from businesses and community members, the elves purchase items to fulfill the wishes of these local children. Sincerely Santa has been bringing smiles to the Tampa area since 1987 with the support of Hillsborough County Public Schools, Fire Rescue, and Law Enforcement. If you would like to contribute, they are always seeking donations and volunteers. What exactly is a child “at-risk”? “[At-risk youth] include elementary and secondary school students who run the risk of not acquiring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to become successful adults and behave in ways that put them at-risk for not graduating from high school.” For more information, visit Sincerely Santa on Facebook @SincerelySantaTampa or www.sincerelysantatampa.org
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Page 11 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Witness The Wonder Of Jesus Through One Man’s Eyes At Bell Shoals Baptist Church Bell Shoals Baptist Church invites you to experience The Wonder of Jesus Through One Man’s Eyes, a musical and theatrical production, at the Brandon campus on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11 at Bell Shoals Worship Choir and Orchestra 6:00 p.m. This Christmas performance is presented from a unique perspective as it retells the story of Jesus’ life through one of his disciples. The event is free, open to the public, and suitable for all ages. This year’s production is not your typical Christmas pageantry with its cast fashioned in archaic costumes gathered around the babe in the manger. But rest assured, the play is biblically sound and transports the audience back 2000 years to the birth of Jesus. The story also continues with a depiction of Jesus’s ministry, death, and resurrection through the eyes of Simon Peter. The Wonder of Jesus Through One Man’s Eyes is the brainchild of Worship Pastor Jason Millsaps, who began collaborating in February with long time friend and award-winning Christian narrator and scriptwriter, Mac McConnell. The multi-talented McConnell, also known for his brilliant 6 one-man dramas, will portray Simon Peter in the production. Millsaps’
BRANDON CATARACT CENTER AND EYE CLINIC
By Amanda Boston vision is a fresh approach to the Christmas message presenting the full Gospel with a modern day emphasis. According to Millsaps, “It’s going to be a memorable and powerful night.” The Bell Shoals’ Worship Choir and
Orchestra is set to tickle the ears of the audience with a more contemporary vibe of Christmas tunes. The ensemble welcomes Dave Cleveland, one of the world’s premier guitarists, who has recorded and toured with top music artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace, and Michael W. Smith. In addition to the spectacular music and stage talent, a free app called Offline Lights is available for download. Although the app is not essential for viewing, it will add some fun elements to enhance the audience’s experience. Bell Shoals Baptist Church of Brandon is located at 2102 Bell Shoals Road, Brandon. For more information on the event, please contact the church at 689-4229 or visit www.bellshoals.com/brandon or on social media [Facebook, Instagram & Twitter] @bellshoals.
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Page 12 • christianvoicemonthly.com • November 2016
Special Christmas Services Offered By Local Area Churches By Amanda Boston Traditionally speaking, many churches celebrate the birth of Jesus with a Christmas Eve service. However, this year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. This begs the question, which day is the church planning to celebrate. Some churches are preparing both an eve service and day service while other churches are opting for one day over the other. No matter your preference of day or denomination, the local churches have you covered.
Bell Shoals Baptist
Bell Shoals Baptist Church will hold services on Saturday, December 24 at 3p.m. and 5p.m. at the Brandon Campus and Apollo Beach Campus. Christmas Day services will be held at all campus locations on Sunday, December 25 at 11a.m. For more information, please visit www.bellshoals.com.
Boyette Springs Church of God
Will host a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Saturday, December 24 at 6p.m. Come celebrate the birth of our Savior. For more information, please visit www.mybscog.org.
Will hold Christmas Eve services on Saturday, December 24 at 4 and 5:45 p.m. on both campuses for an evening of special music and a message from Pastor Greg Dumas. The Tampa campus is located at 10130 Tuscany Ridge Dr. in Tampa and the SouthShore campus is located at 3058 E. College Ave. in Ruskin. For more information, please visit www.crossingchristmas.org.
First Baptist Church of Bloomingdale, Located at 3303 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, will hold one service on Sunday, December 25 at 11 a.m. For more information, call 689-3847.
First Presbyterian Church of Brandon
Will conduct Christmas Eve services with candlelight and communion on Saturday, December 24 at 5p.m. and 7:30 p.m. A Christmas Day service will also be held on Sunday, December 25 at 10 a.m. The church is located at 121 Carver Ave., Brandon. For more information, call 6894597.
First United Methodist Church of Seffner
Will host a candlelight Christmas Eve service on Saturday, December 24 at 7:15 p.m. Special music will precede the service from 6:45 pm to 7:15 p.m. First United Methodist will also host a Christmas Day service on Sunday, December 25 at 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 1310 S. Kingsway Rd., Seffner. For more information, call 689-3513.
FishHawk Fellowship Church
Will hold services on Friday, December 23 at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 24 at 3 and 5p.m. in the Worship Center. Celebrate Christ with communion and discover the last name of God in our Knowing God series: Immanuel. There will be no Sunday service. For information, call 6557431.
Grace Baptist Temple
Located at 2909 John Moore Rd. Brandon, invites you to celebrate the birth of our Savior, on Sunday, December 25 at 11 a.m. For more information, call 6897190.
p.m. On Sunday, December 25 at 10:45 a.m., worship will be held in the Cheever. The church is located at 2602 S. Kings Ave. in Brandon. Please contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 685-3095.
River of Life Christian Center
Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
Located at 2913 John Moore Rd. in Brandon. Three Christmas Eve services will be offered on Saturday, December 24; a service at 5p.m. to include a Sunday school program, a candlelight service at 7p.m., and a candlelight communion service at 9 p.m. On Sunday, December 25, the church is offering a Christmas communion service at 10 a.m. For information, call 689-1787 or visit www.GodSoLoved.org.
Invites you and your family to experience One Child, One Star, One Night on Saturday, December 24 at 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday, December 25th at 10a.m. The service on Christmas Day service differs from the Christmas Eve services. River of Life is located at 6605 Krycul Ave. in Riverview. For more information, please visit www.mychurch.rocks.
St. Stephen Catholic Church
Welcomes you to worship on Saturday, December 24 at 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m., and 12 Midnight at its Bell Shoals campus, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd., Valrico and/or at its Family Life Center, located at 10136 Saint Stephen Circle, Riverview. On Sunday, December 25, all Masses will be celebrated at the Bells Shoals campus only, at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. For more information, please call 689-4900.
Nativity Catholic Church
Journey Church of Brandon
Will have one service on Saturday, December 24 at 5 p.m. with no morning service. The service will offer The Lord’s Supper and conclude with a special candle lighting event. Journey is located at 1310 John Moore Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 699-8262 or visit www.journey7.com.
Kings Avenue Baptist Church
Will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service offering song, scripture, and drama on Saturday, December 24 at 5
Located at 705 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon will hold two Christmas Eve Masses in two locations on Saturday, December 24: 4 p.m. in the Church (English) and gym (English) and 7 p.m. in the Church (English) and gym (Spanish). Join the Nativity Chorale and sing Christmas Carols at 11 p.m. in the Church. Christmas Day Masses on Sunday, December 25 will be celebrated in the Church at 12 Midnight (bilingual); 7, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. (English); and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish). For more information, call 681-4608.
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Page 13 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Gift Of Hope Provides Holiday Food Items To Hundreds Of Local Families
By Amanda Boston
Wonderland of Lights Drive Thru Hillsborough County Fairgrounds Opens Thanksgiving Night Nov. 24th thru Sat. Dec 31st 6pm ‐ 9pm Sun ‐ Thurs. | 6pm ‐ 10pm Fri. & Sat. Local high school students are shown sorting through toys donated to the Greater Brandon Gift of Hope.
Hunger is not only an issue affectare given an appointment time to shop ing the homeless. In the Greater for the holiday meal items and toys. Brandon area, one in six people do not Since its inception, Ron Smith, a pasknow from where their next meal will tor at First Baptist Church of Brandon come and often have to choose has witnessed the program deliver between payhope during utility bills ing the and buying holidays. groceries. He emphaAccording to sized, “It the Emergency all starts Care Help with digniOrganization ty (ECHO) of because Brandon, an in trying astounding circum94% of those stances, individuals facLocal high school students are shown sorting through toys they are ing this donated to the Greater Brandon Gift of Hope. feeling predicament low. We show these folks how imporeither rent or own a home. For the tant they are and that God loves past seven years, Greater Brandon them.” Gift of Hope has responded to this If you would like to donate food need by providing hundreds of families items or toys, First Baptist Church of with everything required to prepare a Brandon, located at 216 N. Parsons delicious holiday meal. Ave., will have a collection tent in front Gift of Hope began as an expanof its building from Friday, December 2 sion of Tampa Bay’s Metropolitan until Saturday, December 17. Please Ministries. However, after two years, refer to the Gift of Hope Website for several local churches assumed the the exact collection dates, times, and lead, and it evolved into the Greater requested items. If you would rather Brandon Gift of Hope. Every year, the make a monetary donation, the option local churches partner with ECHO to provide 600 families with food items to to purchase a turkey through PayPal is make a tasty Thanksgiving meal. Then also available. Furthermore, First Baptist Church at Christmas, 800 families are assisted of Brandon will operate as the distribuwith food items along with an added tion center for the following dates: opportunity to shop for toys for their Thursday, December 15 from 9 a.m. to children. 6 p.m., Friday, December 16 from 9 Hundreds of families in the a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Greater Brandon area have fallen on December 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hard times. Those individuals wishing Please visit www.branto participate in the program must first dongiftofhope.com for more informaregister with ECHO to establish a tion or to volunteer. financial need. Next, the participants
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Page 14 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Area Church Directory
ASSEMBLY OF GOD
Keysville Assembly of God 10308 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia 813-737-4803
Bell Shoals Baptist Church 2102 Bell Shoals Rd, Brandon (813) 689-4229 Bell Shoals - Apollo Beach Campus 6414 Golf and Sea Blvd, Apollo Beach (813) 641-2222 First Baptist Church of Bloomingdale 3303 E. Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico (813) 689-3847 First Baptist Church of Brandon 216 N Parsons Ave, Brandon (813) 689-1204 FishHawk Fellowship 15326 Fishhawk Blvd, Lithia, (813) 655-7431 Journey Church 1310 John Moore Road, Brandon (813) 699-8262 Liberty Southern Baptist Church 2505 W. Granfield Ave. Plant City 813-752-1450 New Beginning Baptist Church 15926 Carlton Lake Road, Wimauma (813)634-4555 South Brandon Baptist Church 4929 Bell Shoals Rd, Valrico (813) 661-2273
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Nativity Catholic Church 705 E Brandon Blvd, Brandon (813) 681-4608 St. Anne Catholic Church 106 11th Ave. N.E Ruskin (813) 645-1714 St. Stephen's Catholic Church 5049 Bell Shoals Rd, Valrico (813) 689-4900
CHURCH OF GOD
Boyette Springs Church of God 12114 Boyette Rd, Riverview (813) 671-0086 Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church 604 N. Valrico Rd, Valrico (813) 689-3130
Immanuel Lutheran Church 2913 John Moore Rd, Brandon (813) 689-1787 Living Savior Lutheran Church 2650 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico (813) 681-2375
First United Methodist Church of Seffner 1310 South Kingsway Rd., Seffner (813) 689-3513
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Bay Life Church 1017 Kingsway Ave, Brandon (813) 661-3696 Centerpoint Church 1801 S Miller Rd, Valrico (813) 689-1906 Destiny Church 2322 11th Ave Se, Ruskin (813) 645-3337 Life Church at FishHawk 6420 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Lithia (813) 681-6503 Revival Outreach Center 225 N.Dover Rd, Dover (813) 681-2250 The Crossing Church - Main Campus 10130 Tuscany Ridge Drive, Tampa, (813) 626-0783
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The Crossing Church - SouthShore 3058 East College Ave, Ruskin (813) 626-0580 The Palms Church 207 New Hope Road, Brandon (813) 841-9598 True Sanctuary 6528 US Hwy 301 S, Suite 114, Riverview (813) 319-5862
HighPoint Church of Brandon 2207 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd, Valrico/Brandon (813) 685-4827
First Presbyterian Church of Brandon -PCUSA 121 Carver Avenue, Brandon 689-4597 Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale–USA 710 E. Bloomingdale Avenue, Brandon 813-654-3699 Redeemer Church-PCA 12404 Boyette Rd., Riverview (813) 741-1776 Westminster Presbyterian Church PCA 402 E. Lumsden Road, Brandon (813) 689-6541
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Page 15 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Hot Off The Christian News Wire By Kelly Wise Valdes faith and career journeys titled Double Play which can be purchased through www.christianbook.com.
Chicago Cubs player, Ben Zobrist, has been given some incredible opportunities in his baseball career. Last year, he won a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals, and this year he was instrumental in the Cub’s
since 1908. “We know that as a Christian athlete, people are watching, and so we want to be the best example we can be and show that we are different – that Christ has changed our lives," Zobrist said in 2013. "But at the same time, I want people to know that grace is for everyone. We all need grace. We all need Christ. Zobrist was starting player for every game in the 2016
World Series win for the first time
World Series between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. He is listed as a second baseman, but also plays other positions. His wife, Julianna Zobrist, is a Christian musician, and Zobrist uses her song “Alive” as his walk-up song. Julianna Zobrist could be seen closely watching Ben at bat during the World Series. The couple has written a book together about their Christian
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Page 16 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Ellel Ministries Hosts Beauty For Ashes Conference, A Journey To Healing
Journey Church Tampa Builds New Riverview Sanctuary Brick By Brick
Author Henry David Thoreau once throughout the conference. Registration opens at 6 p.m., said, “There is no remedy for love but to Thursday evening, January 19. The event love more.” God teaches us to love our starts at 6:30 p.m. and session end at 9 enemies even though they may have p.m. Friday sescaused us great harm. “We have sions begin at 9 seen how God a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. and can take the Saturday sesworst things that sions begin at 9 Satan has done a.m. and end at to human beings 12:30 p.m. All through other tickets are genhuman beings, eral admission humans' inhumanity to other Ellel Ministries will be hosting its Beauty for Ashes and first come first served. This humans and Conference from January 19-21, 2017 at The Crossing Southshore Campus in Ruskin. The con- event is for men restore the ference will feature Ellel International Directors ashes of peoPeter and Fiona Horrobin with author and teacher and women 18 years of age ple's lives into Sarah Shaw. and older. No something beauchildcare is provided for this event and tiful,” said Rosemary Sorg of Ellel children are not permitted at the event. A Ministries. “This was in the prophecies light boxed lunch on Friday is included in about the Messiah found in Isaiah 6:1 your ticket purchase. This will likely conwhich promises he will give us beauty in sist of a sandwich and chips. Special exchange for our ashes.” dietary needs cannot be accommodated, Ellel Ministries will be hosting their but you are free to bring your own meal. Beauty for Ashes Conference from Snacks, coffee, tea and water will be proJanuary 19-21 2017 at The Crossing vided during breaks. Attendees should Southshore Campus in Ruskin. The conbring a notepad, pen and a Bible. “Our ference will feature Ellel International hopes for this conference is for those who Directors Peter and Fiona Horrobin with have experienced abuse, hurts and author and teacher Sarah Shaw. Sarah pains, neglect, rejection, wounding and authored the book ‘Sarah', which relates feel like they have no hope or that there her incredible journey from utter brokenis no light at the end of the tunnel,” Sorg ness and despair to complete restoration said. “We hope that they will receive and wholeness. “The conference speakGod’s truth.” ers will share their personal stories about Visit www.ellel.org/usa. The how God has done this in their lives,” said Sorg. A powerful testimony of God’s heal- Crossings Southshore Campus is located at 3058 E. College Ave. in Ruskin. ing and restoration will also be shared
Nestled among the trees, directly Church Tampa formed in 2005 with its across from Riverview High School is residency in Pastor Kyker’s HOA clubwhere you will find house and the the vibrant and YMCA Camp flourishing congreCristina. Then gation of Journey in 2006, it Church Tampa. acquired some Senior Parish former NASA Pastor Michael modular buildKyker accredits the ings from life of the communianother church ty as the driving on land across force behind their from Riverview recent expansion High School. and demand to The budding plant new churches. church began On Friday, October to require Michael Kyker, Senior Parish Pastor of Journey more space, 28, Pastor Kyker Church Tampa connected with attendees at the but Pastor held a dedication building dedication. ceremony for its Kyker was newly built sanctuary that now has the determined to construct a church withcapacity to handle its growing audience. out going into debt. So over the years, Unlike other church building projects, its members raised money and built it in this structure was built brick by brick stages. over a period of seven years, in several The first set of funds paid for the different stages, and solely with funds architectural plans and zoning. The secraised by its congregants. ond set of funds completed the underPerhaps, there is a parallel between ground work like plumbing and electric, Pastor Kyker and Old Testament leader, the foundation slab, and the metal buildNehemiah. With the members of the ing shell. However, a few years passed Jewish community, Nehemiah rebuilt the before the congregation collected wall surrounding the ancient city of enough capital to complete the rest of Jerusalem and Holy Temple. the structure. “When you build someComparable to the Jews using mud and thing from the ground up without cona trowel, the church members volunventional financing and pay for it as you teered their skills and services to the raise the money and see it complete, it construction project. With great enthusiis exciting,” said Pastor Kyker. asm Pastor Kyker said, “Ninety-five perJourney Church Tampa is a noncent of the congregation showed up at denominational church located on one time or another to help.” 10022 Cristina Dr. in Riverview. Visit With humble beginnings, Journey www.jctriverview.com.
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Page 17 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Grace Notes No Substitutes
By Debora Coty
Last Christmas as I prepared to host a dinner party, I was in a quandary about what to serve for dessert. I settled on a low-calorie pie recipe that looked super scrumptious in the magazine photo. All the regular cheesecake ingredients had been replaced with fat-free, sugar-free substitutes, topped with fat-free whipped topping and drizzled with zero-calorie faux fudge sauce. Hmm. Faux fudge. Shoulda been a red flag. It turned out gorgeous! I was so proud to be serving my guests such a masterpiece that wouldn't add more wattle to their waddles. At the first bite, I saw the faces all around the table fall. Blech. It tasted like soggy cardboard. Magazine-cover beautiful it might have been, but there's no substitute for the real thing. Faith can be like that. Many religions look tempting on the outside, but once you get past the fluffy frosting, you find the ingredients have no real
substance. They're inferior. Flat. Fake. Jesus made it very clear that true faith is found only through Him. He, Himself is truth. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV) Yep. The only way to a living, breathing, dynamic relationship with Papa God is through Jesus. Everything else is just a poor substitute for the real thing. As worthless in the end as faux fudge. Wishing you a joy-filled celebration of our Savior's birth this Christmas!
Debora M. Coty is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of over 100 articles and 13 books, including Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, More Beauty, Less Beast, and Too Blessed to Be Stressed. Debora also teaches writing workshops. Visit www.DeboraCoty.com
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Page 18 â€˘ christianvoicemonthly.com â€˘ December 2016
Hooked On Christian Books
Books For Reflection And To Celebrate The Season
By Kelly Wise Valdes
As usual, most of us notice that Christmas decorations begin intruding into our stores before Halloween and Christmas songs begin playing even before the Thanksgiving turkey was finished cooking. Although it may seem impossible to slow down, try to use these last few weeks of 2016 to reflect on family, tradition and the birth of Jesus. The books listed below are a perfect place to start and also make for the perfect gift for a loved-one that may also need to cultivate joy and peace in the midst of the flurry. Carry the truth of the birth of Jesus in your heart this season and enjoy the miracle of Christmas.
Devotions for Christmas: A Celebration to Bring You Joy and Peace By: Zondervan Want to avoid holiday burnout? Unplug from the craziness and center your heart on the true meaning of Christmas. This amazing book is filled with photography and features a Scripture-based devotion and journaling prompt for each day in December.
In the Manger: 25 Inspirational Selections for Advent By: Max Lucado In The Manger invites readers to witness the birth of Christ as never seen before. Through 25 Advent-themed selections, you'll feel as though you've joined Mary and Joseph at the feet of the King lying in the manger. This is a great book for family devotions and gift-giving this Christmas.
After Christmas: How Christ's Birth Changed Everything By: Jeremy Royal Howard, Doug Powell At Christmas we celebrate Jesus' birth but many non-believers wonder "So what?" This faith-filled book describes what the Nativity means for our lives and the world and provides thought-provoking questions to guide personal reflection.
The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent By: Scott James Bringing to light the many promises of Christ from His birth to ascension, these daily devotions will help you realize the greatness of God's love for you this Advent season. Designed for individuals, families and churches, these readings come complete with Scripture verses and reflection.
Page 19 • christianvoicemonthly.com • December 2016
Live Like You Mean It Notes From a Hospital Stay By Derek Maul The irony of chair-camping in the orthopedic surgery unit is that it feels like a fast track to orthopedic surgery. After Rebekah’s operation we’d expected a broken night, interrupted by checks, pills, and procedures, and awoke grateful for some progress and the beginnings of healing. The morning air is fresh, the view is clear, and the promise of a new day is greater than the memory of the pain. The dawn is a powerful reminder that we are constantly moving forward into new light and new life. If you read this column often you know I live out of a theology of promise and light. “Living out of” a particular theology is an important idea to wrap our minds around, our hearts around, and our intention too. The word “theology” means God thought - being deliberate and reflective when it comes to how the fact of God informs and shapes us. In that sense, we’re all theologians. But becoming a conscious theologian involves looking at God, considering God, reflecting on God, and then living out of that frame of reference with intention. This is why it’s important to understand exactly what theology serves as the lens through which we view life, the root truth that anchors our orientation,
and governs how we engage our moment by moment. I believe we can choose that point of reference. However, rather than simply memorizing a “life verse” we like, “living out of” an intentional theological perspective requires more considered reflection, deeper study of the scriptures as a whole, and articulating our understanding of who God is. For me, especially at this particular moment, and in the context of both political tension and the challenge of Rebekah’s surgery, I am consciously living out of a theology of promise and light. “In [Jesus] is life, and the life is the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not, cannot, overcome it” (John 1:4-5, author paraphrase). What theology do you live out of? It’s worth taking the time to think about. Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com
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Sweepstakes Highlights Best Of Shop Local By Marie Gilmore This holiday season, the Osprey Observer is partnering with local businesses to highlight the best of Shop
Advertising Sales Manager. “We have never done a program like this in the paper and we are excited to share some of the treasures from our local small businesses with our readers.” Bridget Jenkins Wilson, owner of Cardinal Roofing and a member of the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber of The Valrico/FishHawk Chamber will host the Shop Local Holiday Commerce said Expo on Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m.-12 noon. the Chamber is also focused on encouraging local Local gift giving. The campaign is shopping this holiday season and in called, the Osprey Observer, A Few of Our Favorite Things and we have gone face has a Shop Local Holiday Expo coming up on Saturday, December 3, 9 to local businesses and asked them to a.m.-12 Noon at Park Square in give us ideas of a few of the top items FishHawk Ranch. “Anything we can do available this holiday season. to keep our local businesses in the From now until December 16, we spotlight is great for our community,” will be collecting Our Favorite Things she said. “And, this is a great opportuall throughout the community and putting them together in one giant gift bas- nity for Osprey Observer readers to have a chance to win an amazing holiket that will be given out in a day gift.” Sweepstakes for our readers. To enter, email Sweepstakes to “We have so many great items firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out coming in and someone is going to be the entry form and send in by mail, fax very excited to receive all of these or email. Good luck and thank you for great items from the businesses in our shopping local! community,” said Kerrie Hoening,
Enter the Sweepstakes to win a prize basket of items from The Favorite Things Shop Local Campaign. Why would you like to win the Shop Local Sweepstakes Basket?
Name: Address: Phone: Email: Community: Enter to win online at email@example.com, fax to 657-4469 or mail to 918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Brandon, FL 33511.
Be Happy With Gifts Give Back And Music Showcase Lessons & Performing Arts Be Happy is located in the Marathon Gift Plaza, 11369 Big Basket Item: Bend Rd. in Jewelry Snug Riverview. Call Value: $30 677-2300 for more information or visit www.behappyboutique.com.
Be Happy Boutique seeks out gift and apparel items that give back to the world.
Invest In Gifts That Give Back To The World At Be Happy Boutique As you enter Be Happy Boutique, warm teas perfume the air and guests are surrounded by fashionable, unique lines of apparel, shoes, accessories, home décor, specialty gifts, and candles. Positive energy radiates throughout the entire space, and best of all you will find something here for every taste and every budget. Owner Tonya Antaki seeks out items that give back to the world in
some way so you can feel good knowing that the gifts you purchase will have additional impact around the world. A great gift idea for your special friend or family member is Jewelry Snug. It is the perfect gift for the girl who has everything. This is for the friend who loves to travel and look good when she arrives at her destination. (Don't forget to buy yourself one!)
A Few Of Your Favorite Things Can Be Found At Music Showcase Music is the international language that is understood and enjoyed by all. Share your love of music by offering voice or instrument lessons to your favorite student. Instrument rentals start at $10 (if you don’t want to make a purchase). If you sign up
By Michelle Colesanti
online, the instrument will be delivered to your school. All of your music needs can be found at Music Showcase, which offers competitive pricing on sheet music and books, in-house repair shop, private and group lessons. Is your child interested in musical theatre, acting, or maybe photography? Sign them up at the Florida Academy of Performing Arts at Music Showcase. Music Showcase is located at 402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more information, call 685-5998 or visit MusicShowcaseOnline.com and FAOPA.org. Gift Basket Item: Music Lessons Certificate Value: $70
Breathe Easy at Salt Grotto, Soar To New Heights At The New iFLY Indoor Skydiving Visit The Salt Grotto And Breathe Easier This Holiday Season Breathe easier this holiday season. Relax in luxury at The Salt Grotto. Dig your into the sand like salt and fill your lungs with safe, naturally salty air. With each breath, inhale microparticles that holistically address respiratory and skin ailments. Give the gift of good health to your loved ones. There are both adult and children’s Salt Room Therapy. Acupuncture, therapeutic massage and foot reflexology are also offered. Another great gift idea is a Himalayan Salt Lamps, which are said to help blood flow, improve sleep and also improve asthma and allergy symptoms. The Salt Grotto is located in Plaza Bella Shopping Center, 1026 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. It is
open Tuesday - Friday from10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday from10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 Noon-4 p.m. It is closed on Monday. For more information, call 324-8946 or visit http://thesaltgrotto.com/. Gift Basket Item: Salt Lamp Value: $25
Soar to New Heights At iFLY Indoor Skydiving Enjoy some holiday time creating amazing memories with your family. Why take flight at iFLY? - To experience the fun and sensation of flying in a safe environment. From age 3 to 103, almost anyone can fly. New to the Brandon area, iFLY Indoor Skydiving now brings this experience locally. Imagine the excitement when
By Michelle Colesanti
offer 24/7 emergency service. For more information, call 888466-8055. Visit www.restoration1.com/tampa-bay or www.facebook.com/Resto1TB. loved ones find out they will have the opportunity to fly like a bird. iFLY also offers kid and adult parties, corporate team building opportunities, educational experience for students and much more. It will be open seven days a week. iFLY is located at 10654 Palm River Rd. in Tampa. For more information, call 773-4359, email info.tampa@iFLYworld.com or visit iFLYworld.com. Repair Your Home Damage In Time For The Holidays With Restoration One Restoration One offers remediation and restoration of residential or commercial properties for damage caused by water, fire, smoke or mold. It is locally owned and operated by David and Heidi Adams. Trained and certified technician’s
Gift Basket Item: Family 4-Pack Indoor Skydiving Value: $240
Gift Basket Item: Family Basket with $50 Visa GC and accessories Value: $120
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Holiday Coin Collections, A Daydreams Day Spa Escape & New Sporting Goods By Michelle Colesanti Corbin’s Stamp & Coin Can Help You Start Treasured Family Heirloom Are you looking for the perfect keepsake gift for a family with a new baby? Maybe you are interested in FishHawk Sporting 1oz Goods Offers New starting a new And Gently Used Pure Silver family tradition each Apparel & Equipment by commemoGift BoxedSporting or Ornaments FishHawk Goods is a rating the new store that recently opened at Christmas 13446 Boyhette Rd. in Riverview season each (RiverSprings plaza at FishHawk year. Holiday and Boyette Rds. It is a locally coin collec209 N. Kings Ave. and offers owned family business, tions are the Brandon, Florida 33510 a local alternative for all of your famperfect way. ily’s sporting good needs in a family One ounce firstname.lastname@example.org friendly environment that is close to pure silver Mon-Fri Sat 9am - 1pm - 4pmcompetitive home and9am offers pricing. coins are *Silver prices subject to change. You will find new and gently used available for $29.95 in a gift box or sporting apparel and equipment for also as an ornament that can be disall sports. These will played. make great gifts Corbin’s Coins is located at 209 for your favorite Gift N. Kings Ave. in Basket Item: young athletes Brandon and is New this holiday seaopen Monday to Football Gift son. Friday from 9 Basket Item: For more 1 oz. Silver a.m. to 4 p.m. information, call 324Christmas Coin and Saturday Value: $30 9161 or visit FHSportingGoods.com. from 9 a.m. to 1
Christmas C ins
Stamp & Coin 813-651-3266
Journey To Tranquility At DayDreams Day Spa With all the stress the holidays Gift Basket Item: bring, what better gift for someone The Tranquility Journey (or yourself) is to escape for a “Escape to Tranquility” when few hours to DayDreams Day you indulge in this 80 minute Spa & Bath Shop. You can Relaxation Massage. The pammake that possible with a gift pering continues with a card to Daydreams. Hydrating Heated Hand Therapy There are many different Treatment and Serenity Hot types of spa packages to Stone Foot Massage that will choose from including massage relax the muscles, allowing for a therapy, body, therapy, skin car therapeutic experience. Total therapy, nail and pedicure treatTime is 95 minutes. ments. There is also a shop that Value $135 includes spa products. Pevonia Skin Care products are offered. Gift certificates are available at the Spa, located at 658 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon or online at www.daydreamsdayspa.com. A second DayDreams location is in Lakeland at 1463 Town Center Dr. For more information on this location, call 863-686-5859.
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New Holiday Fashion & Gifts At TMarieâ€™s And The Gift Of Health From The Campo Y
By Michelle Colesanti
Find Your Perfect Holiday Ensemble At TMaries Fashion & Gifts Boutique
TMaries Fashion & Gifts Boutique is your one stop shop for all of your favorite fashion outfits and accessories for the upcoming holiday season. While you are in there shopping for those party clothes, you will also
find many accessories including jewelry that would make great gifts for friends and family members. Some brands available at TMaries include Tribal, Elan, Catherine Barclay, Julian Chang, French Dressing Jeans and Cabana Life. T. Marieâ€™s Fashion & Gift Boutique is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 Noon-5 p.m. It is located at 3407 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. For more information, call 530-0922. Visit www.TMariesfashions.com
Gift Basket Item: Luxurious blue velvet evening bag with Swarovski crystal embellishment and peacock design Value $128
Gift the Gift of Health At Campo Y The start of a new year holds a lot of promise. Everyone makes resolutions to eat healthier and to exercise more. This year, it is time to do something about it. By giving a gift of a Campo Y membership to someone, you are letting them know how much you care and want them to live their healthiest lives. Campo Y offers many exercise options for all ages and body types. Many family programs and
camps are offered including child care while you work out. Other programs are also offered. For many, Campo Y becomes like a second home. Campo Y is located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico. It is open Monday to Friday from 5 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 Noon-6 p.m. For more information, call 684-1371. Visit www.tampaymca.org/locations/campo.
Gift Basket Item: Family Membership for Three Months Value $250
Backyard Birdseed Gifts For Nature Lovers, Tasteful Fruit Bouquets & DK’s Outlet Find Great Gift Ideas for Nature Lovers and Birders At Backyard Birdseed Fly on by to check out the great gift ideas for the nature lovers in your life. A great gift idea is the Squirrel Buster bird feeder, which helps to limit squirrels from making claim to the food. Backyard Birdseed carries premium seed for all types of feeders depending on what type of birds you are trying to attract. You can also mix your own blend birdseed. A wide array of other products is also carried to increase backyard (and front yard) enjoyment for children and birders of all ages., find ideas and problem-solvers for your outdoor living spaces, and discover activities and tools for indoor learning and fun. Backyard Birdseed is located at 3642 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico (next to Carwash on the Green). It is open Tuesday-Friday from 12 Noon-6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10
a.m.-4 p.m. It is closed on Monday. For more information, call 816-BIRD (2473) or visit www.BackyardBirdseed.com and on FB: Backyard Birdseed. Gift Basket Item: Squirrel Buster & Food Value: $50
Tasteful Gifts From Edible Arrangements Make Great Holiday Treats What better way to say you care than with a healthy and tasteful gift of fresh fruit. With many assortments from Edible Arrangements, you will find something for everyone on your gift list. Choose from many beautiful holiday gift baskets such as the Christmas Tree Bouquet, which is decorated with cantaloupe, “ornaments” made of Swizzle Apple Fruit Truffles®, small
pineapple star “lights”, a large pineapple star tree topper, and a Merry Christmas Gourmet Belgian Chocolate Pop; or an adorable snowman keepsake with a Season’s Greetings Celebration™ bouquet featuring gourmet chocolate dipped pineapple stars, reindeer, and strawberries. Following the traditional Delicious Celebration® bouquet recipe, honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries, and grapes are scattered throughout to create an eyecatching and wow-worthy effect. There are many other eye-catching and delicious choices. Edible Arrangements can be found locally in the Shoppes at Lithia, located at 3455 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico (571-7200), and also at 10273 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview (Bell Plaza) (672-6111) or order online at www.ediblearrangements.com. Gift Basket Item: 12-count Chocolate Covered Fruit
By Michelle Colesanti
Shop Pet Supplies Plus This Holiday Season For All Your Pet Needs Holiday gift shopping is not just for your two legged family and friends. Your pets will enjoy receiving some new toys and snacks and Pets Supply Plus is the perfect place to find the perfect gift. If you are planning to welcome a new pet member to your family this holiday season, Pet Supplies Plus is the perfect spot to pick up any supplies and goodies for your new family member. You will find everything you might need for dogs, cats, smaller pets, reptiles, birds, and fish. Pet Gift Supplies Basket Item: Plus is GloFish located at Aquarium 1937 E. Value: $30 S.R. 60 in Brandon. It is open MondaySaturday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 540-0645.
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Enhance The Perfect Photo At FastFrame & Get Pampered With A Mobile Massage By Michelle Colesanti cooking classes - whether you enjoy cooking – or just eating from great date nights to learning about new foods, this is a great gift idea for everyone. It is also Brandon’s Big Green ‘Eggheadquarters’, the ultimate cooking experience. Rolling Pin’s Favorite Things basket will include items for a Florida-style holiday season, with a fun, novelty food-truck cutting board and a poultry grilling rack for cooking your bird outdoors. These are complemented by everything you need to make the feast flavorful with a subtropical twist. Rolling Pin is located at 2080 Badlands Dr. in Brandon. Call 6532418 or visit http://rollingpinonline.com/ for more information.
Great Gift Ideas And Classes Help Make Rolling Pin A Great Stop For Holiday Gift Needs If you are stuck coming up with creative gift ideas, make a visit to Rolling Pin and you will find something for every chef in your life. Rolling PIn offers a gourmet retail store, cooking classes, Open for Private events, gift cards and lots of great holiday Gift Enjoy Outdoor Time gift items. Basket Item: With Great Gift Ideas If you are looking to bring Small Basket From Recreational wine to your host or hostess, Including Pools Rolling Pin has many choices $100 Cooking Class What’s on your GC and $100 in of quality wines. Products holiday gift list? There are many great reaValue: $200 Recreation Pools, Spas sons to attend Rolling Pin’s & More can help you. Are
you looking for spas and hot tubs? It has Tampa Bay’s largest selection – Bullfrog, Calder, Sunrise, Dream maker & more. Maybe your dad wants a Big Green Egg (maybe he doesn’t know it yet)! Visit and see the big selection of the most versatile outdoor barbeque on the market. It is the ultimate cooking experience and dad will love you for it. Recreational Gift pools also offer Basket Item: custom built outPool Lounge Value: $50 door kitchens. It is located at 509 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. Call 324-8824 or visit www.recreationalpoolsspasandmore.com.
Martin’s Jewelers Offers Fine Jewelry For The Special People On Your Gift List Martin’s Jewelers has been a staple in the Brandon area for the last 61 years. It will soon be closing its doors and must liquidate its entire inventory. Great offers on fine jewelry will make you happen and will thrill that special person on your gift list. Come on in to receive up to 60% off on custom jewelry designs and watches. Martin’s Jewelers is located at 664 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon and is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 681-2298 or visit www.martinsjewelry.com. Gift A Set of 7mm Freshwater Pearls (Necklace, Bracelet, & Earrings). Value $135
Christmas C ins 1oz Pure Silver
each Gift Boxed or Ornaments
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www.TMariesFashions.com 3407 Lithia Pinecrest Rd Valrico (at Bloomingdale)