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Volume 21, Issue 1

Open House

A Free Publication from Osprey Observer Inc.

January 2017

Strawberry Festival Welcomes Christian Artists


By Michelle Colesanti

Annual Open House Friday, Jan 20 See Ad On Page 3


Debora Coty’s Newest Too Blessed to be Stressed Book Page 5

Australian This year marks the 82nd year that enjoy their talent brothers, Joel and message.” the Strawberry Festival will be held in and Luke Grammy-winPlant City. The Festival will take place Smallbone, are ning Christian duo from Mar. 2-12. The theme is “We’re at the core of for KING & COUNPlaying Your Song!” and offers many the band for opportunities to see new and old musi- TRY will appear at KING & the Strawberry cal favorites featuring country artists COUNTRY. Festival on such as Scotty McCreery, Willy Nelson The soarand Rascal Flatts and rock ing melodies, artists such as 3 Doors driving Down, along with contemrhythms, theporary Christian artists – atrical instrufor KING & COUNTRY mentation and and NEEDTOBREATHE. personal General Manager, themes are the Paul Davis said, “We at heartbeat of the festival feel that havfor KING & COUNTRY the two-time ing a night devoted to Grammy Award winning duo. Christian entertainment is “When we won those a wonderful testimony for awards, it was obviously shockour community and a ing,” said Luke Smallbone, notgreat opportunity to fellowing the better-established acts ship with others. It is also they were up against. The songs a high priority to us to creNEEDTOBREATHE from the album are very personate a family-friendly al and maybe the Grammy votThursday, March 2 at atmosphere, and both for KING & ers could sense that.” 7:30 p.m. on the Wish COUNTRY and NEEDTOBREATHE Tickets cost $25 for KING & Farms Soundstage. will bring music and entertainment that COUNTRY. Enjoy listening to their is positive for the whole family. Both NEEDTOBREATHE will take the hits, Priceless, Shoulders, It's Not groups put on terrific live shows, and Over, Fix My Eyes and more. we’re confident that our visitors will Continued on Page 9

Local Riverview Resident Answers God’s Call

By Amanda Boston

The introduction of been a perGenesis 12:4, reads, “So petual presAbram went, as the LORD ence of comhad told him...” If you back up fort and hope a few verses, God had asked by donning Abram to gather his kin and her fabulous leave his homeland. With no smile and clear direction, Abram didn’t famous sign. Email contest@ospreyobserver.com for question God’s intent; instead, In obedience a chance to win NEEDTOBREATHE Abram trusted and went. A to her Strawberry Fest Concert Tickets! similar calling has gone out to a Riverview resident, Diane Williams. Often referred to as the “Jesus Cares” Lady, she believes God called her to deliver a simple, yet profound message. Like Abram, she too, was Diane Williams, a Riverview resident, not furnished with clear direcbrings her radiant smile and message of hope to the Brandon and tion. Yet, she trusted and Tampa Bay area. obeyed. Shortly after committing to the commission, Williams develHeavenly Father, Williams displays her Enter To Win 3-month oped a severe illness requiring a stint in sign, prays, and waves to the steady stream of traffic in the Tampa and Brandon Family Y Membership the hospital. In the face of her suffering, God drew her close, worked on her heart, area. From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., she is sitPage 19 and prepared her for street ministry. While uated at the following locations; Saturdays on the mend, she faithfully and earnestly on the corner of US-301 and Riverview sought God through prayer and Bible Dr., Fridays Highway 60 in front of the study. In due course, God revealed His Westfield Mall, and Tuesdays alongside purpose and plan for Williams, which Channelside Dr. Hooked On Books: Page 07 eventually led her to create the Jesus The sign serves as encouragement to Cares sign, which is familiar to so many. those who know and love Jesus whereas Grace Notes: Page 13 Williams explained, “I am sowing seeds for it introduces Jesus’s love to those who do the Lord. Just like the parable, some not. Most onlookers simply wave, honk, or seeds fall on soil and sprout while others even shout an “Amen" in acknowledgeFaith & Footprints: Page 18 fall on rocky ground and never grow. I put ment of the sign. Yet, from time to time, out the message that Jesus cares, but it’s she encounters a great deal of foot traffic, Derek Maul: Page 18 Jesus who does the real work.” especially from the heartbroken and disSince Sept. 9, 2009, Williams has couraged. For those who stop to visit, they

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are blessed with a warm greeting, a tender hug, and a listening ear. Williams invites visitors to learn about her Lord and Savior and asks to pray for them. “Most of these folks are seeking a cure to their problems, but until they find Jesus, they are going to keep on searching or fix it with the wrong stuff. I am praying and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide me on what to say.” Williams disclosed how her former struggles and unfortunate circumstances now serve as a means to connect with others. With reluctance to converse about her personal life or be recognized for her efforts due to her humility, she responded, “It’s all about Him. I am just a vessel. I hold the sign, but it is God who gets the glory.” Recently, she placed a permanent sign on the corner of US-301 and Riverview Dr. displaying a photograph of her holding the Jesus Cares sign. Fortunately for us, she is not abandoning her post. Rather, she felt compelled to further the message during the times she physically cannot be present. When questioned about the longevity of her platform, she said, “As long as God makes me able, I’ll be out there.” So the next time you see Williams, give her a honk or a shout of encouragement. Better yet, stop and speak with her. Your heart will be warmed by the experience. For more info. on Williams’ ministry or to watch her testimony, please visit www.jesuscaresinc.com.

Page 2 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2017

Mid Week Elementary School Aged Children’s Group Programs

By Amanda Boston

In Proverbs 22:6 parents are instructed to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Although not a promise, the practice of this proverb resonates with the hearts of parents as they seek to teach their children about Jesus Christ. Many local churches host weekly discipleship and youth programs designed to assist parents with this undertaking. The following list spotlights several options available for children in elementary school through high school.

Elementary Age Programs Bay Life Church offers an AWANA club at its Bay Life Student Center, located at 1017 Kingsway Rd., Brandon. Club is held on Wednesdays from 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. for children kindergarten through 5th grade. AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed as taken from 2 Timothy 2:15. The mission of AWANA is to “help reach kids, equip leaders, and change the world for God.” For more information, contact, Shannon Ledford at sledford@baylife.org.

Boyette Springs Church of God, located at 12114 Boyette Rd., Riverview, offers Journey Kids for grades Kindergarten through 5th on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.mybscog.org or contact Dr. Richard Dixon at 6710086. FishHawk Fellowship Church hosts AWANA on Sundays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., located at 15326 Fishhawk Blvd., Lithia. In AWANA Clubs, kids learn about Jesus, memorize scripture, and enjoy fun activities as they earn uniform awards. Our AWANA schedule follows the school calendar. From more information, contact Amy Tate at atate@fishhawkfc.org.

Kings Avenue Baptist Church, located at 2602 South Kings Ave., Brandon, hosts AWANA on Wednesday evenings beginning at 6:45 p.m. The club is open to children ages 2 years to 9th grade with age appropriate activities consisting of Bible teaching time,

verse memorization, worship, and games. For more information or to sign-up, please visit www.kingsavenue.org/awana.

Grace Baptist Temple, located at 2909 John Moore Rd., Brandon, offers the Coconut Kids Club for ages K4 to 5th grade, meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. The weekly program includes singing, a Bible lesson, memorization of Scripture and activities. For more information, contact the church office at 689-7190 or to register online, please visit https://growingatgrace.churchcenteronline.com/registrations/events/43526. Journey Church of Brandon, presents KidsKonnect, beginning on Wednesday, January 4th from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., located at 1310 John Moore Rd., Brandon. KidsKonnect is a high-energy weekly children’s discipleship program for children who are in grades 1st through 5th. Join in for an energetic worship time, interactive games, Bible lessons, and verse

memorization. For information on how to register, contact at Johanna@journey7.com or 699-8262, Ext. 3.

Southside Baptist Church, located at 415 W. Lumsden Rd., Brandon, presents Mission Friends for ages 3 years through Kindergarten and Children in Action for grades 1st through 5th. The programs meet on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. Students learn about missionaries and ministries around the world. For more information, contact Pastor Ricky Holder at 689-6049, Ext. 407.

United Methodist Church of Sun City Center hosts Kidz Klub for ages Kindergarten through 5th grade on Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Dinner is served from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The weekly program is designed for a Christ-centered learning experience while at the same time enjoying a craft, fellowship, and great food. The program is held in the Creason Children's Center, located on the church campus, at 1210 del Webb Blvd. West, Sun City Center. Nursery is also available for younger siblings. For more information, contact Jeff and Susie Collins at 785-0408 or jjoc96@afo.net.

Page 3 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2017

Mid Week Middle And High School Aged Youth Group Programs

By Amanda Boston

Middle and High School Programs Bay Life Church presents Middle School Wednesdays on Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Bay Life Student Center, located at 1017 Kingsway Rd., Brandon. The program is designed for middle school students to interact though games, team competition, and small group Bible study. Groups are age and gender specific to be intentional in reaching and equipping students for the Kingdom of God. For more information, contact middle school pastor, Brian Pete at bpete@baylife.org.

Bay Life Church hosts LIFT, a high school ministry on Sunday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Bay Life Student Center, located at 1017 Kingsway Rd., Brandon. High school students gather to LIFT up mighty God in worship through song and the teaching of God’s Word. For more information, contact high school pastor, Shane Drury at sdrury@baylife.org. Boyette Springs Church of God, located at 12114 Boyette Rd, Riverview, offers Journey Student Ministries for grades 6th through 12th on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. For more

information, visit www.mybscog.org or contact Dr. Richard Dixon at 6710086.

FishHawk Fellowship Church hosts Encounter on Wednesday nights from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., located at 15326 Fishhawk Blvd., Lithia in buildings A and B. The program is for middle school and high school students. Activities include worship, games, a Bible message, and then small groups discussion about faith in Jesus. For more information, visit www.fishhawkfc.org or contact the student pastor, Chris Greenwood at CGreenwood@fishhawkfc.org.

Grace Community United Methodist Church, located at 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Lithia, hosts Refuge, a student ministry on Sundays evenings. The program focuses on intentional games, music, and biblical message with age and gender appropriate discussion groups. For middle school ages, it meets from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and for high school ages, it meets from 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. with both groups meeting collectively in the

café from 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. For more information, contact Greg Rusch at 695-6938 or greg@mygraceumc.com.

Journey Church of Brandon presents CROSSROADS, a Student Ministry for grades 6th through 12th. The group meets on Sundays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Journey Church, located on 1310 John Moore Rd., Brandon. The focus is to empower students with the word of God to lead them in and through the crossroads of youth and adulthood. Activities include lesson time, games, worship and fellowship. For more information, you can contact youth leader, Devin Platt at 417-7805 or youth assistant, Denise Graf at 7654642. Kings Avenue Baptist Church hosts ELEVATE, a ministry for students in middle and high school meeting on Wednesday from 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The church also holds AWANA

Trek from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. for middle school students. All students meet in the in the church’s fellowship hall, located at 2602 S. Kings Ave. Brandon. For further information, contact John and Melanie McRae at 361-7991.

St. Anne Catholic Church, located at 106 11th Ave. NE, Ruskin, presents Saints in Training youth group for 6th through 12th grade on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Faith Formation Annex Room 2. Its main goal is to help teens grow in their relationship with Jesus through weekly Bible study and discussion. The group participates in fundraisers, and events at the Parish and throughout the community. For more information, contact Lauren Couglin, the youth ministry coordinator at youth@saintanneruskin.org or visit http://youth73.wixsite.com/stanneruskinyouth.

Young Life is a youth group for high school students and meets on Mondays in student homes throughout the Fishhawk area from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Join in for friendships, fun games, worship songs, giveaways, and time with Jesus. For more information, contact Greg Rusch at 6956938 or greg@mygraceumc.com.

Page 4 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

UMC Of Sun City Center Offers Variety And Volunteer Opportunities

Too Blessed To Be Stressed: Inspiration for Every Day Is Released Just In Time For The New Year

By Amanda Boston

By Amanda Boston

The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center is a place with open doors, open hearts and open minds. The church makes a concerted effort to embrace all who enter through its doors, believers and

Local author Debora Coty is The reluca household name for the avid tant writer terChristian Voice reader. In her colminated her umn Grace Notes, using a few time-out, buckhundred words, she creates biteled down, and sized morsels of wisdom by mixcompleted the ing biblical truths with real-life manuscript of anecdotes flavored with humor 365 devotions. and wit. In Coty’s best-selling Too Blessed to manuscript, Too Blessed to be be Stressed: Stressed, she Inspiration for likewise comEvery Day is municates her available for distinctive purchase on humor-filled January 1, Debora Coty shares practical insights. In rapid both in print tips on handling stress in her new devotional, Too Blessed and e-versions. succession, the to be Stressed: Inspiration for With cleverly book has Every Day evolved into its and comically own series spawning cookbooks, daily crafted daily devotional messages, the planners, journals, and more. book tackles everyday life topics such as With the success of her writing, Coty relationships, love, hope, boundaries, broretired from her full-time career as an kenness, and praise. She offers stressOccupational Therapist of 36 years. She managing advice rooted in sound biblical put her feet up, drew in a deep breath, principles and practicality. and relaxed. Nonetheless, immediately Coty admitted, “I used to be a ball of after announcing her respite, Barbour stress. I am sharing a better way. You Publishing began beckoning Coty to con- don’t have to accept a crazy-busy life.” In tinue the well-liked series with a compleher text, she leads her readers to discovmentary 365-day devotional. er peace amid the chaos through knowCoty responded, “No, no, absolutely ing, loving, and depending on the not. I’m kicking my feet up and taking Almighty Papa God. time to think a little.” Even more so, she Coty and her husband reside in the deemed the undertaking as daunting and Seffner area. She has authored 14 books admitted, “I was overwhelmed at the and internationally published over 130 thought of coming up with 365 topics and articles. In addition to writing, she is an 365 accompanying Scriptures within a six inspirational speaker and Blogger. For month timeframe. But Papa God kept giv- more information on how to connect with ing me the Holy elbow, and I signed the Coty or to purchase her books, please contract.” visit www.deboracoty.com.

seekers alike. Attendees are warmly welcomed with the love of Jesus and the pleasant aromas of a thoughtfully prepared continental breakfast. UMC invites you to bring your family, friends, and a hearty appetite. Although nestled in a sleepy retirement community, the church boasts an active and intergenerational congregation. On Wednesday evenings, it hosts programs for children and youth, and in the summer generates a well-attended Vacation Bible School with over 60 volunteers. According to Pat Hill, Director of Ministries, “The one thing that sets our church apart is our army of volunteers. For example, with more than 100 volunteers participating, our Congregational Care Ministry reaches out to those that are hospitalized or homebound. We deliberately try to impact our community and world in a positive way.” Armed with its legion of volunteers, the church also supports

national and international causes by dispatching mission teams dedicated to changing UMC of Sun City Center’s lives for Youth Band and UMC of Christ. Its Sun City Center reaches out Disaster to its community by honoring Response local first responders. Team works in the Southeast region to repair and restore homes and businesses affected by natural disasters. On an international level, the church sends forth missions teams to Cuba, Peru, Uganda, and Southeast Asia. For those with musical interests, the UMC’s Worship Arts Ministry offers involvement opportunities with a 75-voice chancel choir, men and women vocal ensembles, hand bell ensembles, drama teams, visual arts team, youth band, and praise team. Most Friday evenings and some Sunday afternoons, UMC presents affordable concerts and events as part of its Thank God It's Variety concert series. On Sundays, the church accommodates many styles and time preferences. Beginning on Sunday, January 8, services will be held at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. for contemporary, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for traditional, and at 4 p.m. for a Hispanic service. For information on UMC, call 634-2539, visit www.umcscc.org or the church directly at 1210 del Webb Blvd. W., Sun City Center.

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Page 5 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

St. Stephen Catholic School Hosts Open House

By Kate Quesada

If you are conschools,” said Umoh. “We sidering a Catholic are constantly told that school education teachers appreciate stufor your children, dents that come from St. mark your calenStephen as they come to dars for Friday, high school with the necesJanuary 20 as St. sary skills and attitudes Stephen Catholic towards learning and also School in with strong leadership qualRiverview is ities and good character.” hosting an But Umoh is quick to open house add that St. Stephen focusSt. Stephen Catholic School Principal Linda es on more than academwhere prospecUmoh and student tive parents ics. “We are committed to ambassadors will be can learn the instilling Catholic values available at an Open House on Friday, January 20 to tell into everything we do many things the prospective families all that the school has to offer. through academic, spiritual school has to offer. Founded in and service experiences 2001 and accredited by the Florida that help students develop a personal Catholic Conference, St. Stephen is open relationship with Jesus,” said Umoh. “We to students in Pre-K through eighth are a forward-thinking school, rooted in grade. “St. Stephen provides a learning Catholic traditions and values and devotenvironment where every student is ed to preparing students for high school encouraged to reach their full potential,” and the 21st century.” said Principal Linda Umoh. “We offer a Students pray daily, celebrate Mass core curriculum, experiences in the arts, together, participate in reconciliation and foreign languages, sports and many spiritual retreats and provide service to extra-curricular activities.” the community. They have opportunities In addition, the middle school has a to live their faith through events such as one-to-one iPad and Chromebook prothe Week of Caring, Pro-life rallies, gram and eighth grade students are able Advent and Lent retreats, Focus 11 and to take and receive high school credit for Catholic Schools Week. “St. Stephen is Algebra 1 and Physical Science. The perfect for those seeking a school where school’s Resource Department has three they can feel part of a family,” said Umoh, instructors who meet the needs to stuwho added that this is a very exciting time dents on support plans and students who for them with the addition of the Family excel and need enrichment. Extra-curricLife Center and the much anticipated ular activities include show choir, drama opening of a new church this summer. To club, chess club, Little Flowers, 4-H, sign up for the open house or information Student Council and National Junior about the school, which is located at Honors Society. “The greatest compli10424 St. Stephen Cr. in Riverview, call ments we receive are from area high 741-9203 or visit www.sscsfl.org.

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Your Monthly Catch Local Happenings In Our Community

The Brandon Lions Club has been selling these kits for over 10 years, which are used to As Saint Anne’s put on display Christmas Diamond Jubilee year Eve by lighting the cancame to an end in dles put into white bags November, the Parish have sand as balwhich hosted lunch for the last. They are put along South Shore Chamber driveways and sidewalks of Commerce. when the candles are lit The event included for an evening scemake a self-directed tour of nic presentation especially the church. The inviin local subdivisions. tees were greeted by For the past 10 years, the Brandon Lions Club has offered luminary kits for use on Christmas Eve. Proceeds will be donated Saint Anne staff, which provided to 501(C3) organizations and speMark Anderson at a special ceremony Center, 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in booklets with details on the significial eye/hearing care cases. For more on December 4. "Receiving the The cost is $15 and first time held Brandon. cance of different aspects of the church information on the Brandon Lions Club, Star Council Award is quite an honor guests pay $10. Entertainment will be and were readily available to answer visit www.brandonlions.org/. for us. We're extremely proud of this the Cornwell twins and the speaker is any questions. Following the tour, paraccomplishment," proclaimed Grand Erv Smith. Please call Lillie at 740ticipants enjoyed a wonderful buffetDave Farrugia, head of the local Community United in Prayer Event by Monday, January 2 to make Knight 0098 style lunch in St. Joachim Hall. Sponsored By Beauty Of A Woman council. reservations. Approximately 20 local businesses Ministry were represented at the occasion. Beauty of a Woman Ministry Local Knights Of Columbus Council Brandon Lions Club Sold Saint Anne Catholic Church is (BOW) is a non-profit organization Top International Award To Raise Funds For Eye Receives Luminaries located at U.S. Hwy. 41 and 11th to equip low to moderate aimed Hearing Organizations And Avenue N.E. in Ruskin. For more inforKnights of Columbus Council income females with tools needed to mation about the Parish, call the Parish 15675 of Riverview has earned the disHow to build 750 luminaries kits? be successful and productive, spiritualOffice at 645-1714, or visit tinction of Star Council, one of the You get muscular men and boys to fill economically and socially ly, SaintAnneRuskin.org. plastic bags of sand outdoors while organization' top awards, for the 2015BOW is sponsoring a Prayer event indoors you set up a production line to 2016 fraternal year. The organization's and is calling all Pastors, business Celebrate the New Year With make the kits of 15 bags/candles/cups headquarters, located in New Haven, leaders members of the community to Brandon Christian Women’s Connecticut, made the announcement. and put them in a large plastic bag for join together on Saturday, January 14 Connection The award recognizes overall exceleasy handling. lence in the areas of membership All this was accomplished in a mat- from 8-10 a.m. for a Special Day of The Brandon Christian Women’s Prayer for the President-elect and our recruitment and retention, promotion of ter of three hours by Lions Club Connection celebrate the New Year nation. This event will take place at Members, along with other volunteer with a Black and White Luncheon “New fraternal insurance program, and sponNew Macedonia M.B. Church, 3402 E. sorship of service-oriented help, including eight members of Boy Year, New Vision” on Monday January Deleuil Ave. in Tampa. For more inforactivities. The award was presented to Scout Troop 61 from Presbyterian 9, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Bell Shoals mation, call 380-9583. the membership by District Deputy Church of Bloomingdale. Baptist Church in The Special Events

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Page 7 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Books For Reflection And To Celebrate The Season

By Kelly Wise Valdes

There is just something magical about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start. But, we all know that nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31. New Year’s resolutions for many people include the desire to quit smoking, to manage money more wisely and to spend more time with family. The most common resolution is to lose weight, exercise and adapt a healthy lifestyle. As Christians, we should also make faith-based resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day and to attend church more regularly. A simple way to begin the New Year for your spiritual fitness would be a daily devotional. A few minutes every morning to start off the day can make a difference – a real difference. Below are a few examples of the many daily devotionals available to assist you in this resolution and can be found online at www.christianbook.com or www.amazon.com.

Pearls of Great Price: 366 Daily Devotional Readings Peace By: Joni Eareckson Tada If you or someone you love could use a word of encouragement, find it here every day of the year. Each entry opens with a passage of Scripture followed by a reflection from Joni. She then calls upon you to respond and offers a prayer designed to lead you closer to Christ. Discover at a deeper level the "help and hope" that can be found only in Christ.

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Commanding Your Morning Daily Devotional: Unleash God's Power in Your Life Every Day of the Year By: Cindy Trimm Gain victory over the details of your daily life through spoken words that activate God's power. Equipping you to take charge of your day, this devotional shares a year's worth of practical teachings, inspiring Scripture and dynamic declarations that will help you stand strong in God.

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Page 8 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Winter Jam Tour Spectacular And Its Founder Return to Tampa

By Amanda Boston

popularity. At the The highly conclusion of last anticipated Winter year’s Winter Jam Jam Tour Tour, more than Spectacular 700,000 people returns to Tampa’s attended throughAmalie Arena on out the country Saturday, January breaking the previ14 at 6:00 p.m. ous year’s attenWith household dance record. With names like an expectation of a Crowder, Britt greater turnout, Nicole, NewSong, Winter Jam 2017 Tenth Avenue will play in 46 North, Colton cities from January Dixon, and Andy to April. Mineo, it is Despite the Christian music’s Winter Jam returns with chart-topping Grammy-nominatlargest annual Christian artists and guest speakers for a ed artists drawing tour. Celebrated four-hour worship event. in a multitude of evangelist and fans, undoubtedly the most famous author Tony Nolan also joins the fun, headliner is Jesus Christ. From start along with new and upcoming to finish the musicians, speakers, and Christian artists. special guests unite to glorify God and The tour kicked off in 1995 with spread the love of Jesus. In October, the objective to reach a higher popuWinter Jam founder, Eddie Carswell lace with the gospel of Christ. In lieu of NewSong announced he would join of costly ticket sales, Winter Jam the 2017 tour and stated, “I'm so adopted a first come, first service excited to hit the road with all these admission policy of only $10 at the amazing artists for 46 nights of fantasdoor. With the impressive lineup of contemporary Christian artists coupled tic music and life-changing ministry. As we look ahead to 2017, our prayer with reasonably priced tickets, venues is simply that God will continue to have the tendency to sell out quickly. bless this tour and use it for His With that in mind, patrons may opt to glory." become a premium member of Jam For more information, visit Nation, which allows for early admitwww.jamtour.com. Follow Winter Jam tance at 3:30 p.m. with a Pre-Jam on Twitter and Instagram @winterjamparty at 5:00 p.m. tour. Amalie Arena is located at 401 For over two decades, the powerChannelside Dr., Tampa. ful platform has consistently grown in

A True Must-See: Shen Yun 2017 Florida Tour Staff Report

Since its “Actually in inception, Shen China today, you Yun, a classical can no longer see Chinese dance performances of company has genuine traditional taken off with, Chinese culture,” literally, flying said principal dancer colors. The and choreographer pageantry of Yungchia Chen, dance and who grew up in music is a stunChina, later moved ning display of to Taiwan. “China Chinese civihas many talented Shen Yun tells the story of ancient China through the pageantry of dance and music. It dancers, but the cholization; with will take place at the Mahaffey Theater in St. reographers aren’t dancers spinPetersburg on January 27 and 28 and again at ning and leapallowed to choreoThe Lakeland Center on February 7 and 8. ing through the graph any traditional air in brilliant handmade costumes that pieces for them to perform. Shen Yun is take your breath away. different.” Shen Yun Performing Arts had humThere are countless stories in the ble beginnings as a small nonprofit 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Chen organization based in upstate New York. noted, “The challenge is to find stories It was established in 2006 by a group of you can depict on stage. In a play, actors talented ethnic Chinese artists who came can speak, but in dance you have just a together with a shared vision—to revive few minutes to tell a story, and do so with genuine traditional culture and share it clarity in a moving way.” with the world. Shen Yun is home to an impressive Watching Shen Yun gives you the number of artists from around the world. feeling of partaking in something historic, And these artists take Shen Yun’s misin the resurrection of a long lost world. It sion to heart. This can be seen in their is the world of ancient China, the Middle energy and joyful enthusiasm on stage, Kingdom that can no longer be seen as well as their seamless cooperation, even in China today. It is a world where the type that can only arise from a comdivine beings and humans interact, a mon sense of greater purpose. magical world of myth and legend. Shen Yun will perform at St. It is completely independent of the Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater on Friday regime of the Chinese Communist Party and Saturday, January 27-28; The in Beijing. In fact, even though the comLakeland Center on Tuesday and pany annually performs to sold-out theWednesday, February 7-8; and the aters in New York and around the world, Venice Performing Arts Center Fridaythe company is not allowed to perform in Sunday, February 10-12. Tickets and China. information visit www.shenyun.com/FL.

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Page 9 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Strawberry Festival...Continued From Pg. 1

By Michelle Colesanti

stage on Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. This Grammy-nominated American Christian rock band hails from South Carolina. The band is composed of Bear Rinehart (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Bo Rinehart (backing vocals, guitar), Seth Bolt (backing vocals, bass) and Josh Lovelace (backing vocals, keys). The lead single Happiness from their new album Hardlove was released July 2016 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Albums, Top Current Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Alternative Albums charts and #2 on the Billboard 200, their greatest debut yet. Tickets for the NEEDTOBREATHE concert cost $25 and $30. Each year, nearly half a million visitors enjoy the festival’s 11 day

P.O. Box 6099 • Brandon, FL 33508


community event celebrating the strawberry harvest by offering headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, exhibits of commerce and, of course, the strawberry shortcake. The venue does not serve alcohol and prides itself on being family-oriented. Fresh strawberries are available for purchase, as well as strawberry shortcake and everyone’s favorite festival treats offered by dozens of food vendors. Carnival rides, games, and attractions provide entertainment for all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the Amscot Main Ticket Office located at 2209 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City and via phone at 754-1996. Advance general admission ticket sale prices are $8 for adults and $4 for ages 6-12. More information can be found at www.flstrawberryfestival.com.

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Page 10 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Missionary Family Spreads The Gospel To Isolated Tribes Of The Amazon

By Amanda Boston

states California, Texas, and North Missionaries Aron and Cessie of animism, a belief attributing superdaily operations conducted in the trainCarolina with a constant climate Rice hail from Brandon with special natural powers and souls to inanimate ing and launch center in Pucallpa, resembling a summer in the Florida ties to Kings Avenue Baptist Church. objects and natural phenomena, conPeru. Everglades. The As a youth, Aron attended Kings tinued to thrive. Like St. Louis, the gateway to the Avenue and by way of volunteering he untamed One of the Wild West, Pucallpa, also known as expanse contains received his calling into ministry. objectives of a the end of the road, is the last city Following Bible College, Aron returned 50 tribes, all with missionary team before entering the wild uncharted terdistinct lanas an intern at Kings Avenue and met is to pick up ritory of the Amazon River. Today, in guages, and a and wed wife Cessie. A decade and where Wycliffe Pucallpa, Aron trains incoming nonexistent literfour children later, Aron and Cessie left off and fill in recruits, sustains the long-standing acy rate. In the were infused with a passion for misthe linguistic and relations with Christian tribal leaders, sionary work. The couand counsels missionarples’ prior participation in ies returning from the the missions field had field for respite. Cessie, consisted of short-term an educated teacher, relief trips and projects teaches her children and funding Jesus wells other missionary children Many unreached tribes are located in areas only through Gospel of Asia. in a one-room schoolaccessible by boat on the Amazon River. Yet, they sensed God house. was mobilizing their famiThe Amazonian way ly for long-term missions. of life has grown into the Cessie revealed, “There new normal for this famiwas no more denying it, ly. Sure, from time to God put it in our hearts to time, they miss certain Aron and Cessie Rice, along with modern-day conveniences become full-time mistheir four children, Nathan (14), Missionary Aron Rice poses for a sionaries. We said that Caleb (12), Anna (10) and Elizabeth or a favorite food, but the selfie along with natives of Peru. (7) are missionaries to the isolated opportunity to give the we would walk through tribes of Peru. whatever door the Lord opens for us.” unreached a chance to 1950’s, Wycliffe The Rice family connected with know Jesus is beyond comparison. literacy gap. As a Bible Translators Pioneers, an international missions Though the needs of these types whole, the tribal spent decades organization, based out of Orlando. A of remote missions are many, the most community is developing writdoor was opening at Pioneers; brandpressing need is for a dormitory buildten languages for Children help breakdown cultural barriers and skeptical of outaid in the spreading of the gospel. new missionary teams destined for the the indigenous siders. In the pur- ing to house incoming recruits. For Amazon region of Peru were starting information on how to financially supsuit to establish trust and relations, tribes. The fruit of Wycliffe’s labor proto assemble. After much research, port the building project and Rice famimissionary teams must fully immerse duced 40 written languages and correprayer, obstacles, and closed doors, ly, please contact Aron Rice at aroninto tribal culture. Originally, Aron and sponding Bibles. Unfortunately, God had called them to Peru. Without rice@icloud.com. Online giving is also Cessie aspired to live in grass-made Wycliffe pulled out of the region before wavering, the family of six walked available at huts situated deep within the rainforthe tribes learned to read their written through the proverbial open door and est, except God had another course of ww3.pioneers.org/donate/aronlanguages. As a result, the newly set foot into the jungle. action for the family. Aron’s experience rice/111890. For more information on translated Bibles were rendered useThe vast Amazonian region of Pioneers, please visit its Website at as pastor and counselor paired with less and the gospel remained stagPeru is roughly the size of combined www.pioneers.org. his wilderness training was vital to the nant. Consequently, the tribal practices

Page 11 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Chick-fil-A Christmas Coffee At Brandon Town Center Welcomes New Owners

By Tatiana Ortiz

The sound of Dawn the well-known Redmon Christmas tune from the Jingle Bells, rang Chick-fil-A in throughout the Creekwood food court at Bradenton, Westfield Brandon will be the Mall on November new owner 30. Liz Stewart led and franthe Riverview High chised School Show restaurant New owner Dawn Redmon of the Chick-fil-A Choir as they peroperator at Brandon Town Center (left) stands with Tammy formed their rendi- and the Westfield Paul Holmberg (right), who will be operating tion of the song. Brandon Mall the new Chick-fil-A on Bloomingdale Avenue. Various chamber location. Her members attended to celebrate Paul husband Scott Redmon will also come and Tammy’s Annual Chick-fil-A on board as the restaurant marketing Christmas Coffee. Attendees had the director and work with community opportunity to consume breakfast, events. Dawn began her journey severwhich Chick-fil-A served. al years ago with Chick-fil-A in a red Paul Holmberg and wife Tammy shirt and knew the opportunity seemed own the Chick-fil-A at Westfield too great to pass up. She worked Brandon Mall and the Lake Brandon alongside Franchised Restaurant Village Causeway location as the franOperator Johnathan Ith from the chised restaurant operators. This will Creekwood location. Dawn mentioned be the last year that the Holmbergs will that she feels humbled and honored to honor their Chick-fil-A Christmas Coffee be chosen as a Chick-fil-A owner. event at Westfield Brandon Mall. The The city of Brandon feels like home Holmbergs will be transferring to Chick- to Dawn because she grew up in the fil-A South Brandon at 2010 area. She also looks forward to learnBloomingdale Ave., which will open in ing and growing with the people in the January 2017. community. “For the past 15 years, we hosted “I would love for people to come by this event at the Causeway location and say hello,” Dawn said. and then the past three years at For more information, visit Westfield Brandon Mall,” Tammy http://www.cfarestaurant.com/westfieldHolmberg said. “Christmas is our brandon/home. It is located at 519 favorite time of year and we love to Brandon Town Center Mall in Brandon. share that with our friends in the comHours of operation are Monday through munity.” Saturday 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Call 654-6769.

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Page 12 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Area Church Directory


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

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


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


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 13 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Grace Notes God Bumps

By Debora Coty

I get God-bumps when my friend Rachael tells about the miracle in her son Javin’s life. Thirteen years ago, Javin was born deaf. Rachael, a single mom, first noticed something was wrong with her baby when he was an infant. Medical and hearing tests by specialists confirmed that Javin had no hearing in either ear. Zero. The results were well documented: profound hearing loss. After many hot tears, Rachael finally accepted her son’s handicap, took a shaky breath and began learning to use sign language. The wee fella picked it up quickly and by the time he was nine-months-old, was fluent in over 100 signs. He was a happy little guy and functioned well. Rachael began looking at special schools and programs for the deaf. Then something incredible happened. The day before Javin was scheduled with an audiologist to see if he was a candidate for a cochlear implant, Rachael felt compelled to ask her pastor to pray for Javin. This was a mainline denomination; mind you, and a regular, run-of-the-mill Sunday morning church service. No special “healer” was present, nor did anyone shout, chant, lay hands on Javin or do anything out of the ordinary. The pastor simply called Rachael up front with her

baby, briefly petitioned the Lord’s mercy, and asked everyone to remember them and tomorrow’s appointment in prayer. Heads nodded all around. Believers agreed to join in prayer; no doubt many expecting nothing. Some were hopeful but unconvinced, but a few diehards were confident that prayer is the nerve that moves the hand of God. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 NKJV). “Lord, please help Javin.” Short, simple, and to the point. Just like you and I have prayed for people a hundred times in our own churches and Bible studies. The next day, after repeating tests for hours, the stunned audiologist pronounced, “His hearing is perfect.” Rachael wept tears of joy. And thirteen years later, her boy still hears the cry of a hawk, the crack of a baseball bat, and the sweet sound of his mother humming in the kitchen. I call that a major grace note. So, my praying friend, what gives you God-bumps?

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 14 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Bloomingdale Student Raises Funds For Queena Survivor Feature Film

By Kate Quesada

Many peothe budget ple in the for the film Brandon area and putting know the story the final of Queena, the touches on 2008 the second Bloomingdale draft of the Library victim, screen play. but Derrick Ball “The target Perez with audience for Indomitable the film is Productions, a pretty much senior at anyone who Bloomingdale has been High School, is told they looking for help aren’t capafrom the comble of doing munity to introsomething. duce Queena This film will to a much largnot only Bloomingdales High School senior Derrick Ball Perez is prove them er audience. Perez, who raising funds to make a movie about Queena, the 2008 otherwise, Bloomingdale Library victim. met Queena but will also through his mother who performs essenhumble audiences to show them that they tial oil aroma touches on her, has raised haven’t lost everything and that life is premore than $1,500 towards his $25,000 cious and worth fighting for.” goal to fund a movie in the style of the Perez is hoping to raise money from popular Dolphin Tale, based on Queena’s the community to purchase equipment, story. cover the cost of production and have “I knew about the events that took funds to distribute the film to audiences all place eight years ago, but I was extremeover the world. ly unaware of Queena’s current condi“We need the community’s help to tell tion,” said Perez. “A lot of people I know Queena’s story,” said Perez. “She has lost weren’t even sure if she survived.” a lot, especially a lot of things most of us Queena suffered a brain injury during take for granted. But the one big thing she an attack at the Bloomingdale Regional hasn’t lost is that amazing, beautiful smile Library when she was an 18-year-old sen- and that laugh that fills the room and ior in high school, and is now wheel chair brightens your day.” bound and was unable to take the spot According to Perez, all of the funds she had previously earned at the made from the sales of the film will go to University of Florida. Queena’s medical costs. “We want to make this film so we can For more information on Queena, use Queena’s story to inspire others,” visit www.joinqueena.com. Contact Perez said Perez who is currently working on at 304-7984.


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Hot Off The Christian News Wire

Page 15 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Chip Gaines Tells Fans to Respect Buzzfeed Reporter

Despite Buzzfeed’s recent article criticizing them for allegedly being anti-gay, Chip and Joanna Gaines are refusing to retaliate and have instead asked their fans to respect the author of the article. Kate Aurthur of Buzzfeed launched a controversy with her article on the HGTV’s Fixer Upper stars in which she stated that the couple attends a church whose pastor condemns homosexuality. Aurthur wrote, “Fixer Upper has fans of all stripes: Christians, feminists and LGBT viewers have all found something to love in the Gaineses. So in the absence of a response from them or their representatives, it’s worth looking at the severe, unmoving position (their

church) takes on samesex marriage.” The Fixer Upper couple has made no secret of their Christian faith but their show focuses on home improvement ideas, not politics or religion. The Gainses apparently have enough perspective on the controversy to know that retaliating is not a wise response. Instead, Chip Gaines has requested that followers respect the author of the Buzzfeed article. For more information, visit www.magnoliamarket.com.

Southern Baptist Convention To Kick Off 2017 With Month-Long Prayer Focus

The monthlong prayer focus “In All Things Pray”

will kick off the New Year across the Southern Baptist Convention. The focus of the prayer is for individual families, communities, churches, the

United States and the World, according to www.InAllThingsPray.net. The resources and links on this page are made available with the hope that it will help spur a movement of God as Christians pray together. The website offers a prayer format that includes Scripture reading, worship; receiving and voicing prayer requests and

closing with guided and conversational prayer. For more information visit www.InAllThingsPray.net.

Sean Hannity to Produce Faith-Based Film Featuring Actor Kevin Sorbo

Conservative radio host Sean Hannity is working on producing a Christian film with Hercules and God’s Not Dead actor Kevin Sorbo. Hannity has teamed up with Sorbo, for a Christian film that will be called Let There Be Light. In the three-million dollar budget movie, Sorbo plays a famous atheist whose beliefs are challenged. Sorbo’s wife, Sam, as well as their two sons, will also star in the film. Sorbo says that it is tough to be a Christian in Hollywood and to work on Christian movies. “Hollywood can be a very superficial place but then again, so is the world,” he said. “I choose not to focus on whatever negatives that might arise from my taking a stand for what I believe in, because our beliefs are what make us human. I couldn’t be the actor I am without knowing what I stand for.” The movie is set to release in November 2017.

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Page 16 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Becker Family Keeps Applebutter Tradition

By Trisha Becker

pots, casseroles, The desserts and more applebutter food for lunch. We tradition has gather in the been in the kitchen, preparing Cowan family for the applebutter, for many genlaughing, talking, erations, the eating, taking care special day of kids and chasing always falls puppies. on the At 3 Saturday after p.m., eight Thanksgiving hours from in Missouri. the start, Before the actual day, Emmett the appleand Darlene Cowan gather eight butter is bushels of apples (about 40 lbs. ready, and each). This year, Jonathan apples an assemwere used, 52 lbs. of sugar and bly line is about 65 cinnamon sticks cut into formed. It thirds. is scooped The apples are cooked until out of the they’re soft and then put through a kettle, and strainer. The strainer separates the The Cowan family celebrates poured apple from the rest that is discarded. Apple Butter Day by all participatThis will make an applesauce consis- ing in the preparation and then into quart enjoying the ‘fruits’ of their labor. or pint jars. tence, which is frozen until a few The lids are ready, sitting in hot water, nights before the actual day. The 125-year-old, 30 lb. copper ket- with magnets the lids are lifted and tle sits in the garage waiting on a burner, placed on top of the jar, then fastened with a ring. When it all cools down, the and it all gets started at 7 a.m. The men lid will pop sealing the applebutter. show up with donuts and begin stirring. The biscuits come out of the oven They stir in 10 minute increments, and the applebutter is placed on top. except for Uncle Cal, who can never The warm sweet apple cinnamon flavor remember when he stirred last, so they seem to add him into the mix every third spreads through your mouth, and you realize that it doesn’t get any better. time. The sugar is added throughout the I think it was all summed up when stirring, especially if it starts bubbling, Emmett and Darlene’s seven-year-old then you add it right away to cool it great grandson, Nickolos, was asked in down, the cinnamon sticks are added in school what his favorite holiday was, the last hour. and he replied “APPLEBUTTER DAY!” The women arrive later with crock-


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Local Musicians Bring Bluegrass Music To New Hope United Methodist Church

By Kathy L. Collins

"This has led in the past to January concerts involving world class entertainers." Walker added, "Likewise, this year's duo are very well known in the bluegrass and old time music world." Many will know Mike Compton's work from playing mandolin for the

The popular Walker Brothers, hometown Blues musician sensations, will appear at New Hope United Methodist Church (formerly First United Methodist) on Sunday, January 8. The three Walker Brothers Cory, Jarrod and Tyler will appear with Mike Compton and Joe Newberry at 6 The very accomplished Walker Brothers ( L to R Jarrod, Cory p.m. The concert will and Tyler) will return home and perform with Mike Compton consist of the Walker (Left) and Joe Newberry (Right) on January 8 at New Hope United Methodist Church (formerly First United Methodist) in Brothers as a trio playBrandon. ing intricate slightly prosoundtrack for the movie O Brother gressive bluegrass and acoustic music. Where Art Thou? Joe Newberry is a huge Then, Compton and Newberry will play a on the old time claw hammer banjo name style of old country mountain music that world as well as having made a big mark was reminiscent of the early 1900's. They as a song writer. will end by playing as a more traditional According to Walker, "The boys grew five piece bluegrass band. up in the church. In fact, I have been a Cory (banjo), Jarrod (mandolin) and member since my parents Marlin and Tyler (guitar) have been playing since Dixie moved to Brandon in 1965. Our they were seven years old. The boys pastor, Jaimie Westlake and Music grew up locally attending Pinecrest Minister, Jeff Brant, have been very graElementary, Turkey Creek Middle School cious in letting us have this show here. and Durant High School. Cory and Jarod They really appreciate the outreach it graduated from Middle Tennessee State. gives the church to people who are not Tyler is a junior at Florida State. The members of New Hope or any church." brothers have played many venues This is a great free concert for the including the Grand Ole Opry and in variwhole family. A love offering is requested ous countries around the world. to pay the band. New Hope United While traveling, the brothers have Methodist Church is located at 120 N. made and become friends with many Knights Ave. in Brandon. For information, high profile musicians. According to David call 684-4161. Walker, the father of the Walker Brothers,

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Page 17 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Disciple Witnesses Resurrection Of Local Believer By Kelly Wise Valdes

Thomas Although Didymus, from Thomas had Galilee, was earned the nickreported to be with name “Doubting Jesus of Nazareth Thomas,” friends at the tomb of a and relatives close local believer, to him describe Lazarus. It has him as a man of been reported that devotion and great Jesus was sumfaith. Even John moned to the the disciple said home of Lazarus “Doubting Thomas,” friends and relatives close that Thomas “was in Bethany, where to him describe him as a man of devotion and a man of courage great faith. Lazarus was sufwho often asked fering from an unknown but deadly illquestions that the rest of the disciples ness. Jesus traveled to Bethany with may have been thinking but unwilling to Thomas, but upon arrival they were voice.” informed that Lazarus had passed away One of the most poignant questions four days earlier. that Thomas asked of Jesus was, “Lord, Sources close to Jesus claim that the we don't know where you are going, so other disciples tried to stop Jesus from how can we know the way?” Jesus going to Bethany because of the danger answered, “I am the way and the truth in the area and the possibility that Jesus and the life. No one comes to the Father could be detained and executed. except through me." However, Thomas was willing to go and Although the local media has characled the charge to make the trip to terized Thomas as an intense pessimist, Bethany. "Let us also go, that we may die his friends, family and other disciples conwith Him," said Thomas. firm that Thomas is a full believer in Upon arrival at the tomb of Lazarus, Christ and continues to follow Jesus after witnesses say that Jesus asked the witnessing the miracle of Lazarus. group of mourners to roll the stone away ******Jesus inspired 12 ordinary men from the entrance to the tomb and then to leave their old lives behind and He said a prayer. After the prayer, become followers of Him. Among these Lazarus reportedly exited the tomb still new followers were fishermen, a tax colwrapped in his grave-cloths. It was been lector and a revolutionary. The Gospels discovered that several of the bystanders record the failings, struggles and doubts reported the event to the religious authori- of these twelve men who followed Jesus. ties in Jerusalem. However, Thomas This series will document one of the disciremained clear that Jesus performed a ples each month in a fun way in order to miracle and it should confirm again that learn more about how God turned each He is the Messiah. man from ordinary to extraordinary.******

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Page 18 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Live Like You Mean It

By Kellly Wise Valdes

“Looking Around The Next Corner”

By Derek Maul

With the the water that accurecent passing mulated on the of Fidel Castro plaza to flow and the ease in through the streets travel restricduring the colonial tions between period. Cuba and the The exterior of United States, the cathedral was many are planoriginally ornate, but ning to visit our weather and politiisland neighbor cal turmoil have just 90 miles deteriorated much south of Florida. of the detail. As with The colorful relimany buildings in Havana Cathedral – Havana, Cuba gious traditions Cuba, the building in Cuba are renowned for its beauty and material includes coral, cut and hauled rich heritage. One such place is the from the edge of the sea. Fossils of Havana Cathedral. marine flora and fauna can be seen in the This 18th-century cathedral is also building blocks of the cathedral. The known as The Cathedral of the Virgin inside of the building was mostly Mary of the Immaculate Conception and "cleansed of excess ornamentation" in is one of eleven Roman Catholic cathethe 19th century. The cathedral's interior drals in Cuba. It is the most prominent is in the neoclassical style with black and building located in the center plaza of Old white marble floors, stone pillars and Havana. Acclaimed Cuban writer Alejo eight side chapels. The altar is capped Carpentier famously described the with a marble and onyx dome that shields Cathedral as “music set in stone.” This a statue of the Virgin Mary. Although now ornate building is smaller than many other silent, the bells are cast with gold and silmetropolitan cathedrals around the world. ver mixed into the bronze which causes a Construction on the church began in soft tone when rung. 1748 by the Jesuits. The Society of In 1796 the remains of the Jesuits asked the City of Havana for a Christopher Columbus were moved to permit to build a church in 1710. The rela- the Cathedral from the island of Santo tions with the authorities in Havana were Domingo where they remained until tense and they waited decades for a per1898, when Spanish domination over mit which was finally granted in 1727. Cuba ended and the relics were taken Construction began in 1748 but King to Spain and placed in the Cathedral Carlos III of Spain expelled the Jesuits of Seville. It was one of the first buildfrom Cuba in 1767prior to the Cathedral’s ings to be restored since the completion. King was displeased with the Revolution of 1959. In March 2016, Jesuits and wanted to prevent the interPresident Barrack Obama met with vention of the Catholic Church in state Cardinal Jaime Ortega at the Havana affairs. The Franciscan Order completed Cathedra to support the importance of the church ten years later in 1777. the church in helping to foster the The Cathedral is reported to be the island’s transition to a more-open socionly example of a baroque construction ety. To learn more about the rich herwith asymmetrical features as one of the itage of Havana Cathedral, visit bell towers is wider than the other. This sacred-destinations.com/cuba/havanafeature was constructed in order to allow cathedral.

Friday was cold all day here in Wake Forest, 21-degrees in the morning, then hitting a high of 40 in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day; sun shining, clear air, inviting. So I bundled up and walked to the Post Office, reminded of how grateful I am we live in a walkable town. Typically we imagine we’re too busy, or that the tasks that press in on us are so very important. “No way!” someone exclaimed the other day; “I wish I had the time to do that kind of thing!” So I set my stopwatch, suspicious that walking to the post office isn’t really such a big deal. I was right – just twenty-five minutes to achieve a little exercise, to enjoy such a beautiful day, to drink in the fresh air, to appreciate the lovely town we live in, to keep my intrusive smart-phone deep inside a pocket, to take a few moments to whisper thanks to God. I crossed the railroad and looked down the tracks, twin steel rails curving through a stand of trees, and I wondered about the journey. Not just The Journey, but my journey; my journey here to North Carolina, the journey Rebekah and I are on together,

the way forward for us as a church, the call for each one of us to continually make our way – sometimes one hesitant footfall at a time – into a future that is defined by faith, hope, opportunity, and promise. I tried to look beyond the bend, to peer past the turn, to look into the future - and of course I couldn’t. I used to worry about that, but now I realize that the truth of promise is who walks with me, not necessarily what’s around the next corner. “God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began.” – 2 Timothy 1:8-9 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 • Water, Fire, Smoke & Mold Remediation and Restoration • Residential & Commercial Buildings • 24/7 Emergency Service • Licensed and Insured • Trained and Certified Technicians • Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed • Locally Owned & Operated



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Page 19 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

2:42 On The Move- Getting Back To Early Church Roots By Amanda Boston

transient church has more financial resources to fund missions, aid struggling families, and organize community outreaches. Like the well-known Apostle Paul, who financed his missionary work as a tent-maker, the three elders also maintain employment to The church 2:42 On the support their Move does not own a buildcalling. ing; instead, it chooses to hold its worship services in 2:42 On homes, parks, and somethe Move is times at the beach. based out of If asked to define the the FishHawk word church, would you area, and it describe it as a religious 2:42 On the Move resembles a close- convenes in building or as the body of knit family as it not only worships col- several localectively on Sundays but also gathers tions alternatChrist? Biblically speakthroughout the week. ing, the church is the body ing from perof those belonging to Christ with Christ sonal homes to county parks. It has as the head. Yet, in today’s vernacular, been in existence for over five years the word church has been relegated to with an attendance averaging 40 to 50 denote the mere brick and mortar members. The church’s core values structure. 2:42 On the Move is a nonare to love God, love others, and denominational church devoting itself make disciples. A typical meeting to the practices of the early church as entails worship through song, prayer, portrayed throughout the New the Lord’s Supper, and a teaching Testament. The number 2:42 is taken time, which according Zitko, is more from the Book of Acts chapter 2 verse indicative of a Bible study. 42; “They devoted themselves to the When Zitko was asked about findapostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to ing the time to prepare for Sunday the breaking of bread and to prayer.” teachings while also working a 9 to 5 On the Move symbolizes the church job, coaching soccer, and raising a as the hands and feet of Jesus, relofamily, he replied with all smiles, “If cating itself to wherever it is called. you put Jesus first, He will make the Derek Zitko, one of its three eldtime.” For more information about 2:42 ers, illustrated, “We are a family. We On the Move, call 727-9554, email don’t just meet on Sundays; we live zitkod@hotmail.com, or visit its life together.” With zero overhead cost Facebook Page 242 On the Move. for a building and no paid staff, the

Page 20 • christianvoicemonthly.com • January 2016

Profile for Osprey Observer

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