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Volume 21, Issue 11


A Inc. Observer Inc. Osprey Observer from Osprey Publication from Free Publication A Free

November 2017

Nativity’s 48th Annual Novemberfest Returns With Crowd Favorites And New Entertainment, Midway, Music & More

By Amanda Boston

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In Everything, Give Thanks 1 Thes 5:18

With smiles and thumbs up, these children are enjoying the perks of Midway’s unlimited ride armbands.

Novemberfest is back for its forty-eighth year of fun and family festivities. The timehonored event takes place from Wednesday, November 15 through Sunday, November 19 at the Nativity Catholic Church. Every year Novemberfest draws close to 40,000 people as it transforms the parish grounds into a carnival-like atmosphere featuring Midway rides, games, tents of tasty treats and family-friendly entertainment. Nativity Catholic School’s new principal, Mary Myers, reflected on the school’s largest fundraiser. “I am so impressed by the fellowship and shared responsibility that the school and parish have demonstrated together in appreciation and support for our community’s youth initiatives, which are the main benefactors of our Novemberfest event,” said Myers.

Novemberfest is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4-10 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m.-12 Midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 Midnight and Sunday from 12 Noon to 8 p.m. As always, the admission, parking and entertainment are all free. Brand-new to this year’s entertainment is ‘Battle of the Bands.’ On Wednesday night beginning at 7 p.m., several youth groups will perform on Center Stage to compete for the title of best band. Then on Thursday night at 8 p.m., the band ‘Twist’ will debut as it joins this year’s musical acts. Nativity is pleased to announce the return of the crowd favorite ‘Soul Circus

Cowboys.’ The country rock band will perform as Friday night’s headliner at 8 p.m. On Saturday night, the Plant City country singer Daniel Sprouse will take Center Stage at 8:30 p.m. The merriment continues with Midway’s unlimited ride armbands, which are available for purchase at the event for $23 or online at $19. For deeper savings, you can purchase the unlimited ride armbands for $17 and food tickets for $9 from the Nativity Catholic School. Myers also announced, “Customary to our event, Novemberfest will honor all our first responders, police and firefighters on Thursday night and our military and Nativity Alumni on Sunday night by providing special discounts on armbands that provide free rides all day.” The church is located at 705 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. To purchase tickets and ride armbands, visit

Operation Christmas Child Ships Shoeboxes Filled With Love To Children Around The World

By Amanda Boston

Pastor Richard Retires Page 9

Holiday Guide Pages 10-14

Columns: GraceNotes

Page 8

Hooked On Books

Page 16

Faith & Footprints

Page 20


Page 22

This Christmas RiverStone Church in you can demonstrate Gibsonton, Horizon God’s love to children Christian Church in suffering in povertyValrico, Bell Shoals stricken places with a Baptist at Apollo Beach, shoebox and some Shiloh Baptist Church in help from Operation Plant City and First Christmas Child Baptist Church of Dover. (OCC). Jennifer Griest is a Since 1993, OCC Riverview resident and has distributed more the team leader for the than 146 million giftdrop-off location at Last year, volunteers from RiverStone During National Collection Week, roughly filled shoeboxes to RiverStone Church. The 5,000 drop-off locations will be open to Church collected shoeboxes and prayed for children throughout homeschooling mom of the children who would be receiving them. collect shoeboxes. the world. OCC is a four has been packing Next, you can print ministry of Samaritan's Purse, an internaboxes with her children for eight years. a mailing label from the OCC website, but tional relief and evangelism organization Griest explained that she loves how a simbe sure to include in the shoebox a $9 led by Franklin Graham. ple shoebox carries a message far beyond donation to cover the shipping cost. If you How does OCC work? You start with a would like to track your shoebox to its des- the tangible items included. standard size cardboard shoebox or store- tination, you can donate the $9 shipping “At the shoebox distribution events bought plastic shoebox. Next, determine around the world, the children hear the cost online and print out a pre-paid mailing whether the shoebox is intended for a boy label with barcode tracking. gospel presented and are given a copy of or girl and choose an age category: 2-4 the Greatest Gift Gospel storybook that Lastly, take your shoebox to the nearyears old, 5-9 years old or 10-14 years shares the message of salvation," said est drop-off location during OCC’s National old. Griest. Collection Week—Monday, November 13 Then pack the box with the appropriShe continued, “Living in a first world through Monday, November 20. Drop-off ate gender and age-related items such as country, we see more wealth than poverty times vary with each location. For specific school supplies, toys and hygiene items. and these children truly have nothing. The drop-off hours of operation, visit You may also include a personal note and of this box may cost us a few photo. A list of suggested gifts, as well as lattes, but it could be all they ever receive.” tion-christmas-child/drop-off-locations/. prohibited items, can be found at OCC's For information on OCC, visit This year several churches in the website or contact Greater Brandon Area are collection sites: The Chapel at FishHawk in Lithia,

Page 2 • • November 2017

Lighthouse Gospel Mission To Host Its Annual Thanksgiving Of Hope

By Amanda Boston

discipleship program, a nursing home ministry, a community food bank and a prison outreach program. Nikki Santana heads the media department for the Lighthouse Gospel Mission. She is also a 2012 graduate of the 18-month rehabilitation Participants can register for and discipleship proThanksgiving of Hope start- gram. Santana, along ing at 6 p.m. The evening begins with a church service with other graduates, at 7 p.m., followed by a tradi- plan to volunteer at tional Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving of Hope. Since 2003, the “We know, and Lighthouse Gospel Mission has hosted its many of us from experience, how hard annual Thanksgiving of Hope dinner for things can be for people during the holfamilies who need food assistance. This idays, so we’re blessed to open our year’s outreach will take place on Friday, doors to the community and offer a November 17 at 6 p.m. at the Lighthouse great time of encouragement, prayer Revival Center in Riverview. and a lot of food to all,” said Santana. Every year, Thanksgiving of Hope Next month, the Lighthouse feeds about 175 families. Pastor Tony Gospel Mission will host its annual Samuels is the Director of Operations Christmas of Hope on Friday, and explained that those who wish to par- December 15 at 6 p.m. Like ticipate can register at the event starting Thanksgiving of Hope, Christmas of at 6 p.m. No photo identification or docuHope will follow a similar format, but mentation will be required. with the addition of Santa. Children Pastor Samuels described the ages 2-10 years can visit with Santa evening, “We start with a church service and receive a gift. and then feed everyone a hot For more information or to donate Thanksgiving meal. We also send every nonperishables, call 677-5220. To family home with a food basket that has make a monetary contribution to all the Thanksgiving trimmings.” Thanksgiving of Hope or Christmas of The Lighthouse Gospel Mission conHope, please visit sists of multiple ministries such as its 18Lighthouse Revival Center is located at month substance abuse rehabilitation and 7211 S. 78th St. in Riverview.

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Page 3 • • November 2017

Churches Help Meet Physical & Spiritual Needs In Wake Of Hurricane Irma

By Michael Smith

ing a helping hand to those in need.”

Churches throughout the greater Brandon area have been meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the people in the community affected by Hurricane Irma. Here is a sampling of how these churches are being ‘the hands and feet’ of Jesus to those hurting after the storm:

The Chapel At FishHawk

Bell Shoals Baptist Church

Bobby Roberts, Pastor of Adult Education and Missions, said Bell Shoals asked members to let the church know when they saw people in need and the church has worked to mobilize members in response to those needs. “We are looking for ways to mobiVolunteers from Bell Shoals Baptist Church perform a ‘mud-out’ at a church member’s lize people to help in other hurricanehouse damaged by Hurricane Irma. devastated areas as we work to follow ty’s full restoration—physically and spirituJesus, love people and make disciples, ally. which is our mission statement,” said “I’m grateful for how folks at Bell Roberts. Shoals have responded in the wake of The church has done three full mudthe storm,” said Pastor Rummage. “They outs (flood recovery) locally. Teams from have given resources, money and hunBell Shoals also served many other famidreds of hours of hard work in helping our lies in mud-out type work in the Lithia neighbors recover. I’m so glad to be the Springs area as they served beside and pastor of a church that really loves peounder the leadership of FishHawk ple.” Fellowship Church. In addition to the mud-outs, Roberts Bay Life Church reports that the church has helped many “The recent impacts of Hurricane people with trees that fell on their houses Irma left many in our church family, and or in their yards to clear the trees to allow others in the community, without power them to repair their home and restore and in need of support to make repairs electricity. and help in the cleanup effort,” said Bay Meanwhile, Bell Shoals Senior Life Communications Director Stephen Pastor Stephen Rummage and his wife, Stough. “Leading up to and throughout Michele, have led the congregation in the storm, Bay Life Church set up a webongoing efforts to pray for their communi- site to communicate storm information

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The day before the hurricane hit, the church held a prayer service in which people cried, prayed and praised God. Many families in the congregation housed others from evacuation zones during the storm, said church member Erika Pettet. After the storm Pettet said that the church rallied behind the concept of #BeTheHands, partnering with local nonprofits to meet the needs of the community. The church was open during the afternoons for families without electricity to cool off, watch movies, eat popcorn and make crafts. It donated food to Erika Pettet takes a selfie after The Chapel at FishHawk opened its doors to people who need- Seeds of Hope for the Alafia River ed air conditioning after Hurricane Irma. community. It partnered with from the National Hurricane Center and Operation Lotus, the YMCA and Family provide helpful links for best practices Promise to offer showers and shelter. provided by federal and state emergency Church members helped an Alafia family organizations. in a flooded home with removal of dam“Afterward, our hurricane webpage aged furniture, drywall, cabinetry and helped us to collect information from salvageable items. They also collected those in our church and surrounding gift cards and distributed them to the community on how we could help them.” Alafia family and Operation Lotus. Bay Life teams made up of more Several other churches in the area, than 40 volunteers went around helping including the Presbyterian Church of with debris removal, raking, and cutting Bloomingdale, have participated in hurriand removing downed trees from homes cane relief. For information about the throughout the community. efforts of The Crossing Church, visit its “As a church family, Bay Lifers are website at always looking for opportunities to share Although it has been nearly two God’s love in tangible ways and care for months since the hurricane hit, many those around us,” Stough said. “Our people are still in the recovery process. teams were a blessing to many in our Check with your church to see how you area and a component that contributed to can help. It could make an eternal difspeeding the cleanup process and lendference.

Page 4 • • November 2017

Hurricane Irma Recovery Benefit Dinner Will Be Held At Horizon Christian Church

By Michelle Colesanti

The Women’s Ministry at Horizon Christian Church will hold a Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, November 4 from 6-8 p.m. to help local families in need of ongoing assistance due to Hurricane Irma.

Members of Horizon Christian Church are serious about helping the community rebuild and return to normal in spite of Hurricane Irma. So many local people were impacted, especially with the flooding issues caused by the Alafia River rising, that many members of Horizon Christian Church have been out in the community doing the physical labor, but church members want to not only offer relief, but help residents rebuild their lives. Recently church members were out delivering and building sheds for families affected to use as storage and to keep. To keep the help coming, Horizon Christian Church will hold a Spaghetti dinner on Saturday, November 4 and invites everyone to attend and enjoy a delicious meal. It will be held from 6-8 p.m. and will be hosted by the Women’s

Ministry. In lieu of cost for the dinner, the Ministry is asking each family to bring a Wal-Mart gift card and a donated personal hygiene item. Dianne Klingler said, “Many families have been given food stamp assistance to help with replenishing food items; however they are still in need of soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene items and baby items such as diapers, wipes and formula. We are also collecting new toys for the children that have been affected and have lost everything.” One hundred per cent of what is received will go directly to the families that have expressed needs to the church. If you or someone that you know is in need of assistance, you can log onto and fill out the form. Both short and long term assistance will be provided to the members of the community. You can also visit the website to make a financial donation to support the church’s efforts. Horizon Christian Church is located at 1720 S. St. Cloud Ave. in Valrico. If you have any questions, please contact Chandra Christie at 966-5347. Services are offered either 9 or 10:30 a.m. Sunday mornings. Services are casual, the music is modern and the people are friendly. Horizon offers a full range of children and student services from the age of infant to high school. Visit or call 689-1457.

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Page 5 • • November 2017

Enjoy Lasting Memories At Fourth Annual Father Daughter Ball At The Regent






By Michelle Colesanti

When a disasmodern sociter like Irma strikes, ety and conwe are reminded of tinual what is most advanceimportant; those ments in we love. technology, Possessions can both quality be replaced, power and quantity can come and go, time with those who matbut as long as our ter most, often get loved ones are pushed to the back burnsafe we have all er. Our M*A*S*H (Mother we need. And Son Hangout) event For the last in May and our Father Made Wonderfully is hosting its Daughter Ball in November three years Made Fourth Annual Father Daughter Wonderfully Inc. are thoughtfully planned to Ball on Saturday, November 4 from 6-10 p.m. at The Regent. has hosted events provide bonding and memory with the sole purpose of strengthening building moments for each of our particithe family bond. pants.” Its Fourth Annual Father Daughter Made Wonderfully Inc. is a 501(c)3 Ball will soon take place and promises to organization whose miscreate lasting and joyful memsion is to inspire youth ories for fathers and and families to unlock their daughters of all their God-given value ages. The Ball will take and potential, through place on Saturday, fun, character enriching November 4 from 6-10 programs and events. p.m. at The Regent, locatThe organization ed at 6437 Watson Rd. in plans to expand its comRiverview. The evening will munity outreach to fulfill even more needs include a meal, dessert bar, by adding a husband/wife and a family candy bar, prizes and much more. event in the near future along with the Made Wonderfully Inc. helped 10 Life Lessons Learned in the Kitchen families affected by Hurricane Irma with Program. free tickets to the Ball. The cost of the Father Daughter Ball Nicolle Jones, Executive Director, is $50 per father/daughter couple. Each had the community nominate a family or additional daughter is $15 each. To purtheir own family by contacting Made chase tickets, visit Wonderfully with their #AfterIrma stories. For Jones said, “With the hustle and bustle of more information, call 419-7829.


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Brandon’s only American Idol finalist just released his 2nd CD


Performing at The Palms Church on NOVEMBER 17th @ 7pm Tickets may be secured through, at The Palms Church or at the door. 207 New Hope Rd. Brandon, FL 33510

The Palms Church Pastors, Daniel & Mary Stahl, invite you to experience this incredible night of anointed music.

Page 6 • • November 2017

LOCAL CHRISTIAN NEWS Compiled by Michelle Colesanti Free Family Laser Tag Event In FishHawk

Next Level Church (NLC) FishHawk is sponsoring a family laser tag event on Sunday, November 5 from 5-7 p.m. at NLC’s future site at 10540 Browning Rd. in Lithia. To register, please visit For the past three years, NLC has been among the top 10 fastestgrowing churches in America. NLC exists to be a loving, relevant, and life-giving church. It continues to live out its mission by opening new locations to reach as many people as possible with the hope and love found in Jesus. NLC is currently assembling a team in preparation for a launch in FishHawk. If you are interested in learning more about NLC FishHawk, check out or email the FishHawk pastor at or 740-2253095.

Nativity’s 34th Annual Nut Sale

The ladies of St. Francis Circle at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon are offering nuts for holiday baking and gifting; available before Thanksgiving. Prices are per pound: Pecan halves or pieces $9.50, Chocolate Amaretto Pecans, Dark Chocolate covered Pecans, White Chocolate covered Pecans $10, Roasted Salted Cashews $10.00, Pistachios in the shell) $9.50, English Walnuts $8. To order now through Thursday, November 2, call Flo 654-8941 or Janet 655-5506.

Xtreme Kidz Worship At First Baptist Brandon

Children from kindergarten-5th grade can go to Life Group at 9 a.m. followed by Kidz Worship

at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. partner or need more information, The Elevate Kids Now curriculum please contact Frances Brankley at is being taught, which uses VBS-style 689-9435. games, activities, songs with motions, The Academy is a self-supporting, and Bible nonprofit organization of the First lessons to Baptist Church of Brandon. It is dually teach chilaccredited by ACSI and AdvancEd. dren about Visit Jesus in a way kids can Holiday Craft Bazaar understand Shop for jewelry, clothing and and enjoy. crafts at a Holiday Craft Bazaar at Much of Grace Community United Methodist the service is Church at FishHawk on Saturday, run by the Student Ministry, giving November 11 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia. them a great opportunity to serve and There is no admission fee for shoplead. pers. First Baptist The offers choir-led bazaar worship in the is sponSanctuary at 9 sored a.m. followed by praise-band by the worship in the Women Sanctuary of at 10:30 a.m. Grace, Photo Courtesy of Mary-Stewart Latta and (in tandem with A Benefit Concert will be held at First Presbyterian Church Kidz Worship in of Brandon on Thursday, November 2 at 7 p.m. to honor booth the dining hall). rental military veterans and first responders. fees will First Baptist Brandon support missions in the community. Christian Academy Will Visit

Hold Soaring Eagle Challenge Walk-A-Thon

On Thursday, November 9, First Baptist Brandon Christian Academy will hold its first Soaring Eagle Challenge Walk-A-Thon at 9:30 a.m. Grades Pre K-2 through 8th grade will participate with a goal to raise $15,000 for the school’s technology needs. Brandon Academy is located at 216 N. Parsons Ave. If you wish to

Benefit Concert Will Honor Military Veterans And First Responders

In honor of the fifth anniversary of the Canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Bishop Gregory Parkes was the main celebrant at a Native American Mass at St. Anne in October. Kateri is the first Native American recognized as a Saint by Saint Anne Catholic Church, U.S. Hwy. 41 and 11th Ave. NE, Ruskin.

Blessing Of The Animals

Saint Anne Catholic Church celebrated its annual blessing of pets in October, in honor of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Fr. John McEvoy, Pastor, bestowed the special blessing in remembrance of Saint Francis of Assisi’s great love for all God’s creatures. The bond between a person and their pet is like no other. For many, a pet can be a true com-

The Eastern Hillsborough Community Band will perform a benefit concert on Thursday, November 2 at 7 p.m. in honor of all active and veteran military servicemen and women and first responders. The concert is open to the public with free admission, and will be held in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, 121 Blessing of the Animals at Saint Anne Catholic Carver Ave. in Brandon. Church in Ruskin. A voluntary donation to Seeds of Hope ( to assist the panion. Saint Anne Catholic Church is Alafia River neighboring familocated at U.S. Hwy. 41 and 11th lies who sustained flood damAvenue N.E. in Ruskin. For more age in Hurricane Irma may be information about the Parish, visit offered. Email or call or call 689Xtreme Kidz Worship at First Baptist Brandon. 1714. 4597.

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Page 7 • • November 2017

Your Monthly Catch Local Happenings In Our Community Joshua 1:9 Freedom Run Supports Persecuted Christians

The fifth annual Joshua 1:9 Freedom Run will take place on Saturday, November 18 at 8 a.m. at the Al Lopez Park in Tampa. The chip-timed 5K raises funds and awareness for those persecuted for their Christian faith. All registration fees go directly to support Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME). Participants may register the morning of the race or online at or Early registration is $25 and $20 for active duty military. After November 14, registration is $30. All 5K registrants will receive a Dri-FIT t-shirt. Also, on race day, a one-mile fun run will be held at 9 a.m. The fee is $15 per child and free for those less than 5 years old. Participants may also donate baby blankets, gloves, mittens and hats, which will be mailed to Christian refugees. Al Lopez Park is located at 4810 N. Himes Ave. in Tampa. Visit

Homeschool Day At Cracker Country

On Monday, November 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., bring your families to discover the lives of settlers in rural Florida before the turn of the 20th century through hands-on activities that would have been familiar to a child growing up in a Florida farming community over 100 years ago. Historically dressed interpreters will lead each activity discussing its historical significance. Homeschool Day activities are designed to

capture the interests of students of all ages. Cracker Country is Tampa’s only living history museum and is located on the Florida State Fairgrounds. It was founded with the purpose of preserving Florida’s rural heritage in 1978 by Mildred W. & Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. Tickets cost $8 per person 4 years old and up, children 3 years old and younger will be admitted for free. Advance ticket purchase recommended. Enter the Fairgrounds via the Orient Rd. Service Entrance for free parking.

Feeding Tampa Bay Offers Volunteer Opportunities For Families

Once a month, Feeding Tampa Bay offers a Family Night that welcomes children of all ages to help sort donations in its warehouse. Feeding Tampa Bay is a local food bank and an affiliate of Feeding America, the most extensive hunger-relief organization in the nation. The nonprofit organization

Jeremy Rosada In Concert

Brandon’s only American Idol finalist, Jeremy Rosado, will be in concert at The Palms Church on Friday November 17 at 7 p.m. Rosado just released his second CD, REWIND and will feature new music from this project. This ‘Rewind Tour’ event will also have times of celebration and worship. Tickets are $10 and can be secured through Rosada, at the Palms Church, or at the door. Pastors Daniel and Mary Stahl, of The Palms Church invite you to come and experience this incredible night of anointed music. The Palms Church is located at 207 New Hope Rd. in Brandon.

helps stock the shelves of local church pantries, soup kitchens and other outreach ministries. Family Night also offers kidfriendly activities that bring awareness to the one in four children who go hungry every day in the Tampa Bay area. The next two family nights are Friday, November 17 and Friday, December 15 from 6-8 p.m. Sign up at Feeding Tampa Bay is located at 4702 Transport Dr. in Tampa. Contact Edelyn Consoro at or 254-1190 ext. 227 for more information.

Help For Quitting Tobacco

Quitting tobacco isn’t easy. Finding help should be. Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services to help you get started in these two

hour sessions. Free community worksite and clinic groups will be offered, with programs covering all forms of tobacco. Free nicotine replacement patches, gum and lozenges will be available, while supplies last and if medically appropriate. Locally, classes will be available: Wednesday, November 1 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon at the Suncoast Community Health Center, 313 S. Lakewood Dr. in Brandon, Monday, November 20 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Oakfield Medical Plaza, Classroom B, 276 S. Moon Ave., Ste. 260 in Brandon. Pre-registration is required by calling 974-7889. For additional classes, visit

Lion’s Club Christmas Wreath Sale

Order a 22 inch live noble fir wreath from any Sun City Center Lions Club member for $25. The wreaths come with a bow and pine cones for you to trim your wreath. Order a wreath to send to a loved one or friend - prices vary and your local Lion will be able to help you. All orders and money for the wreaths must be in no later than Friday, November 3 and will arrive the week after Thanksgiving (December 4 or 5). If you don't know a Lion, please call Patrick Soja, 633-4245; George Banes at Aston Gardens, 634-9499; Gloria Rodzielowicz 419-4187; Pres. Steve Gargiulo 207-319-2476 or Ellen and Terry McGovern, 633-4202.

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Page 8 • • November 2017

Grace Notes

Overcome With Emotion

By Debora Coty

It was Thanksgiving. My extended family had gathered from far and wide around the food-laden table: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, my dear husband and our own beloved children. The souls most precious to me in all the world. Noisy, messy, hungry, healthy, happy. The fact that we were all there together went straight to my heart. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Papa God for this incredible blessing. As conversation swelled during the passing of food and heaping of plates, I quietly fled. The lump in my throat threatened to suffocate me and I simply had to find an isolated spot in a back bedroom where I could let loose and weep a little weep (one of my alltime favorite lines from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women). Can you recall a time when you, too, were overcome by emotion? I came across such a scene in scripture recently … it was the story of Joseph, when his treacherous, treasonous brothers from his painful past had suddenly reappeared around his own table, not recognizing him, and bringing with them a multitude of conflicting feelings and the little brother he didn’t know he had. “Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to cry. Going into his private room, he wept there” (Genesis 43:30 NLT).

I found this passage very confirming and quite comforting. We don’t always have to be strong … stoic … appearing to have it all together. Being overcome with emotion is a good thing sometimes. It cracks the plaster wall of self-confidence we’ve erected to protect ourselves from wounded feelings. But when we filter out hurt feelings, we risk forgetting how to feel at all. So Joseph’s plaster cracked. The dignified, game-faced ruler of Egypt, felt that day. He felt deeply. And he wept. It’s okay for us to feel too, dear friends. Weeping a little weep can cleanse the soul. One parting observation about this passage – I had to LOL at verse 31, which occurred immediately after Joseph’s secret purge of erupting emotion: “Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, ‘Let’s eat'” (MSG). Ha! It’s good to know that somebody else is governed by his stomach besides just you and me. Have a blessed and emotion-filled Thanksgiving!

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

Center Place Presents Christmas Card Lane And Holiday Stroll

By Kathy L. Collins

This a holiday greetyear, ing card for this Center festive time of Place will the year. Prizes kick off the will be awarded holiday for the best season cards.” with an At the exciting event on new event, Sunday, Christmas November 12, Card Lane there will be and something fun Come out and kick off the holiday season at Center Holiday for the entire Place’s new event- Christmas Card Lane and Holiday family. There Stroll. The Stroll. Businesses and other area organizations can will be vendors event will participate as vendors or by creating a Life Size take place Holiday Card. Area residents can enjoy a day of holiday outside around shopping, arts and crafts and a visit from Santa. Clayton Lake. on Sunday, Inside Center November Place, business vendors will be offer12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Life Size Holiday Cards, created by area busiing a free, hands-on holiday craft projnesses, nonprofits and civic organiza- ect. Outside vendors will need to bring tions, will be displayed along Clayton a tent, tables and chairs. No electricity Lake and South Parsons Ave. is provided. throughout the What would a holiholiday season. day event be without Lisa Santa and music? Jolly Rodriguez, Old St. Nick will make Marketing a special appearance, Director for so parents should Center Place bring their cameras to said, “We want snap a priceless to hold a large, photo. In addition, arts related holithere will be local day kick-off choirs and musicians event that our entertaining on the entire community outdoor lakeside deck could take part in and enjoy.” This is at Center Place. a great opportunity for businesses, “We want everyone of all ages to non-profits and other local organizacome out to the event and enjoy kicktions to showcase their business or ing off the holiday season. We are a organization by participating in either huge suburban area, but we still long the Life Size Holiday Cards or hosting for that small hometown feeling. Let’s a vendor space at the event. come together and create something According to Lisa Rodriguez, special for our community,” said “With the Life Size Holiday Cards, we Rodriguez. are bringing back a tradition from To participate as a vendor or years ago when we lined the streets showcase your Life Size Holiday Card, of Brandon with giant Christmas please visit www.centerplacebranCards. We are asking local, or call 685-8888 or email es, clubs, nonprofits to make and paint

Three Local Chapters Networking and Fellowship for Christian Business People

Christian Business Connections

BRANDON Every Monday from 7:45am until 9:15am Golden Corral, Providence Road Contact: Dr. Degrando Franks 813-714-8562

FISHHAWK Every Tuesday from 7:30am until 9:00am Latin Grill, 3318 John Moore Rd Brandon Contact: Chris Caito 813-695-2338

SOUTH BRANDON/VALRICO Every Monday from 7:45am until 9:15am Recipe Box, Bloomingdale Avenue Contact: Mike Magnant 813-417-6196

Brandon Chapter Membership Directory A/C Service

Airway Systems

Dale Parker


International Missions Overland Missions

Jack Fuller



Christian Voice Monthly

Trisha Becker


Mail Marketing

Send Out Cards

Maureen Montalvo


Auto Repair & Body Shop

South 50th Street Auto Center

Charles Graham


Personal Security

Damsel In Defense

Kim French


Business Attorney

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Brian Schaffnit


Quick Books Pro Advisor Meadows Consulting Group

Sandi Meadows


Business/Sales Training Strategic Sales Solutions

Jorgie Franks


Real Estate

Keller Williams Realty

Kathy Shalosky


Church (Local)

Lakewood Community Church of God

Dr. Degrando Franks


Search Engine Optimization


Corry Wauford



Paul Weisemann Prof. Christian Counseling

Paul Weisemann


Skin Care/Cosmetic


Gaby Matute



Dr. Harold Welch

Betsie Welch


Sports Ministry

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Dee Franks


Elder Law

Suncoast Elder Law

Elsa Melendez


Tax Accounting

Loren Potts and Company, P.A.

Loren Potts


Essential Oils

Dotera Essential Oils - Expect Amazing

Joy Perez


Technology Consulting Technology Win!

Henry Burronphs


Financial Ministries

Crown Financial Ministries

Bob Swatland



A Deal 4 Travel

Wilbur Gaynor


Financial Assistance

Family Promise - Homeless

Edwina Reddick



Knowledge Points

Rod Burkhardt


Financial Services

Brownstone Wealth Mgmt

Ryan Hughes


Web Design

Kemp Design Services

Barbara Kemp



Youth&FamilyCharacter Made Wonderfully

Nicolle Jones



Bauer Handyman Services

Larry Bauer

Page 9 • • November 2017

Pastor Richard Retires After 35-Years At Kings Avenue And Welcomes New Senior Pastor

By Michael Smith

When Chuck Richard 70, but after being diagnosed came to Kings Avenue with multiple sclerosis this Baptist Church in Brandon in past year he decided he 1982 he asked the Lord to could no longer lead the allow him to pastor the church because of the effects church for at least five years. of the disease. God more than honored his Pastor Richard preached request. his last sermon at Kings Pastor Richard recently Avenue on Sunday, August retired after nearly 35 years 13. The church held a retireas senior pastor of the ment party and reception in church. honor of the pastor and his When Pastor Richard Photo courtesy of Kings wife, Sharr-an, on Saturday, Avenue Baptist Church October 21. arrived at Kings Avenue he Chuck Richard retired in said there were 70-80 peoOn Sunday, August 27, after 35 years as ple in the church. Now, 230- August Kings Avenue ordained and pastor of Kings Avenue 250 people worship there on installed John McRae, who Baptist Church. Sunday mornings. served as the church’s youth During Pastor Richard’s tenure, director for the past 4½ years, as its new Kings Avenue started senior pastor. hosting its Walk Through Pastor McRae, 36, Bethlehem production, wants to continue to held over four nights durbuild on the legacy left ing the second weekend by Pastor Richard. of December. This year’s event will be “My vision for the church is to see us the 31st annual. grow—not just in our numbers—but as “I thank [God] for allowing us to have we serve God and His Kingdom and see Walk Through Bethlehem because thoupeople come to the Lord,” he said. “I realsands of people have come to receive ly want to see our church involved in the Christ as their Savior and [many more] community, even more than we are.” have rededicated their lives to Christ,” he Kings Avenue holds worship services said. on Sunday mornings at 8:15 (traditional) In 1985, Kings Avenue started a and 10:45 (contemporary) and Sunday Christian school on its campus, reaching evenings at 6. On Wednesday nights, the a high enrollment of 330 students per church offers youth and Awana programyear. Today, Kings Avenue Christian ming at 6:45 and worship at 7. Preschool offers Christian education for For more information about Kings children 6 weeks old to 4 years old. Avenue Baptist Church, located at 2602 Pastor Richard, 68, wanted to contin- S. Kings Ave., visit or ue as Kings Avenue’s pastor until he was call 685-3095.

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Annual Holiday Sweepstakes Highlights Best Of Shop Local

By Marie Gilmore

“We have so many great items coming in and someone is going to be very excited to receive all of these great items from the businesses in our community,” said Kerrie Hoening, Advertising Sales Manager. “Last year in w Prize was the first e Grand hings th e m a L bec ur Favorite T time we have Lithia, F rs. family of16 Shop Local O 25 local retaile is v a ever done a proD m 0 o 2 T he fr e s th ners of takes with prize gram like this in the paper and Sweeps we are excited to share some of the treasures from our local small businesses with our readers.” his holiday season, the Bridget Jenkins Wilson, owner Osprey Observer is once again of Cardinal Roofing and a mempartnering with local businesses ber of the Valrico/FishHawk to highlight the best of Shop Chamber of Commerce said the Local gift giving. Chamber is also focused on The campaign is called, A encouraging local shopping this Few of Our Favorite Things and holiday season and in fact has a we have gone to the best of our Shop Local Holiday Expo coming local businesses and asked them up on Saturday, December 9, 9 to give us ideas of a few of the a.m.-12 Noon at Park Square in top items available this holiday FishHawk Ranch. season. “Anything we can do to keep From now until midour local businesses in the spotDecember, we will be collecting light is great for our community,” Our Favorite Things all throughout she said. “And, this is a great the community and putting them opportunity for Osprey Observer together in one giant gift basket readers to have a chance to win that will be given out in a an amazing holiday gift.” Sweepstakes for our readers. Already gathered this season,


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gifts include a Ladies Seiko Watch from McAuley’s Fine Jewelry valued at $350 and a custom outdoor fire pit from Outdoor Impressions valued at $850. A pure Silver Christmas Coin from Corbin’s Coins valued at $30, DayDreams Day Spa Journey To Tranquility valued at $135, custom framing certificates from FastFrame, a Swarovski Crystal necklace from TMarie’s Boutique and a ukulele from Music Showcase, just to name a few of the great treasures already gathered together. Last year, more than 450 resi-

dents entered the Sweepstakes and the Grand Prize, valued at more than $3,500, was awarded just before Christmas to FishHawk resident Tim Davis. To enter this year, email Sweepstakes to or fill out the entry form and send in by mail, fax or email. Good luck and thank you for shopping local! No purchase or contribution is necessary to enter and contest is subject to all rules & regulations as required by the State of Florida.

Christmas C ins 1oz Pure Silver



Gift Boxed or Ornaments


Stamp & Coin 209 N. Kings Ave. Brandon, Florida 33510


Mon-Fri 9am - 4pm

Sat 9am - 1pm

*Silver prices subject to change.

Holiday Coin Collections, A Daydreams Day Spa Escape & New Sporting Goods Corbin’s Stamp & Coin Is Your Source For Treasured Family Heirlooms

If you are looking for the perfect gift - maybe for a family with a new baby or to celebrate a momentous occasion, a special coin may be the perfect keepsake? Start a new family tradition by commemorating the Christmas season each year. Holiday coin collections are the perfect way. One ounce pure silver coins are available for $29.95 in a gift box or also as an ornament that can be displayed. Corbin’s Coins is located at 209 N. Kings Ave. in Brandon and is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

With all the stress the holidays bring, what better gift for someone (or yourself) is to escape for a few hours to DayDreams Day Spa & Bath Shop. You can make that possible with a gift card to Daydreams. With many different types of spa packages to choose from including massage therapy, body, therapy, skin car therapy, nail and pedicure treatments, waxings & brows, airbrush tanning, maternity services, services for men and for teens and more, there is something for everyone. The shop in Daydreams also offers spa products which would also make great gifts. Pevonia Skin Care products are offered. Gift certificates are available at the


Stamp & Coin

Gift Basket Item: 1 oz. Pure Silver Christmas Coin

Value: $30

Journey To Tranquility At DayDreams Day Spa

Spa, located at 658 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon or online at A second DayDreams location is in Lakeland at 1463

Town Center Dr. For more information on this location, call 863-686-5859.

Gift Basket Item: Tranquility Journey in Spa - 95 minute massage, hand therapy and hot stone foot massage. Value: $135

Enhance Your Photos At Fast Frame For The Perfect Holiday Gift

Did you take a special picture this year while you spent time with your family, maybe on vacation or at a special event? Surprise your family this year with a wonderful family picture specially framed to order commemorating this special shared time. Once you have that beautiful photo, a frame becomes part of the bigger picture, so it’s important to

By Michelle Colesanti

make sure that it brings out the photo in just the right way. When customers bring in their personal items and they are not sure about how to decorate their art, Fast Frame owner Alex Roche helps to educate them on how to enhance their item through framing. He offers competitive pricing and has been assisting customers with frames for more than 28 years. Fast Frame also offers oil paint stretches, shadow boxes, needle points, restoration and repairs and corporate art. Fast Frame has been a part of the community for 15 years. For more information, visit or call Roche at 655-6400. Fast Frame is located at 6128 Winthrop Town Center Ave. in Riverview. Hours of operation are Sunday and Monday by appointment only with 24-hour notice and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Gift Basket Item: Two $40 Gift Cards

for Framing

Value: $80

Rolling Pin Cooking Class Gift Certificate, TMarie’s Special Gifts & Musical Music Showcase 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 to find something for every chef in your life. Rolling Pin offers a gourmet retail store and cooking classes. Stop by and browse the extensive collection of classic and unique kitchenware. You will find everything from barware, bakeware, aprons, towels & mitts, coffees & teas, cookware, electrics, gadgets, gifts for entertaining, knives & cutting boards, outdoor cooking and more. Enjoy shopping in the specialty food and wine departments. There are many great reasons to attend Rolling Pin’s cooking classes whether you enjoy cooking – or just eating - from great date nights to learning about new foods, this is a great gift idea anyone would be excited to receive. It is also Brandon’s Big Green ‘Eggheadquarters,’ the ultimate cooking experience.


Rolling Pin Emporium is open for private events too. Gift cards are also available. Rolling Pin is located at 2080 Badlands Dr. in Brandon. Call 6532418 or visit for more

Gift Basket Item: Gift

Bundle of Items & Cooking Class Certificates

Value: $547 ($447 Retail; $100 Cooking Classes) 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. It offers a wide variety of casual fashions, resort wear, plus size fash-

ions, swim suits and cover ups, accessories, shoes, gifts, formal dresses, and prom/homecoming dresses, to help you define your own unique style. While you are in there shopping for those party clothes, you will also find many accessories including jewelry that would also 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. Gift Certificates are also available. T. Marie’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 5300922. Visit

By Michelle Colesanti

Gift Basket Item: Holiday Gift is 30 inch 14K Gold Plated Chain Statement Necklace with Swarovski Crystal Encrusted Rose Medallion and Large White Seashell Pearl.

Value: $117

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 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

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LC’s Cafe Holiday Catering, McAuley Fine Jewelry Seiko Watch & Feely Athletics music and books. There is an inhouse repair shop, and private and group lessons are offered. 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 and

Gift Basket Item: Ukelele and Gift Card

Value: $70 (Ukelele $50 and Gift Card $20) Enjoy HomeStyle Latin Inspired Holiday Catering From LC’s Cafe Enjoy simple, sweet and savory home style cooked, Latin inspired foods. LC’s Café will be

glad to cater your upcoming holiday party either at your work office or home. The staff is flexible in helping you to enjoy perfect meals to help celebrate the season. Enjoy holiday events in the privacy of your own home where LC’s Café will host with a waiter and attendant in your kitchen. Hours are Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday Brunch from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. LC’s Café is located near Divine Designs Spa at 1602 Oakfield Dr. #103 in Brandon. Call 526-9395 or email

Gift Basket Item: Catering Gift Certificate

Value: $50 (with $250 order) McAuley Fine Jewelry Is A Gem In The Community

This season design something uniquely ‘you’ to

surprise your special someone. McAuley Fine Jewelry (located in the former Martin’s Jewelers) will help you plan your custom made piece of Jewelry. Jewelry repairs are also done on premises. McCauley Fine Jewelry is located on Oakfield Drive, in the Atlantic Village Plaza, Kings Ave. & Oakfield Dr. It is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 689-8124 or visit

Gift Basket Item: Seiko Ladies Watch Value: $350 Feely Athletics Will Take Your Budding Athlete To The Next Level

Jesuit and national kicking coach Tom Feely has coached hundreds, perhaps thousands of youths in various sports, but he is known especially for his work in football. Whether a one-on-one instruction

By Michelle Colesanti

on a Saturday or a week long camp or combine featuring hundreds of youths, Feely is nationally known for teaching the fundamentals and techniques of kicking and punting. To date, roughly 15 of Feely’s students have played professional football. His most notable pupil is son Jay Feely, a Jesuit High grad who went on to play 16 years in the professional ranks, including 14 in the NFL. “I know there’s nobody who’s done more in the state of Florida to help kids get better in the last 15 years from a kicking and punting standpoint,” Jay Feely said of his father. If your child is interested in sports, help them achieve their dream. Call 205-5008 or email Visit for more information.

Gift Basket Item: Coaching Video Value: $65

Custom Firepit From Outdoor Impressions & Birthday Party Celebration At The Alley By Michelle Colesanti Outdoor Impressions Will Help You Create The Perfect Outdoor Space To Enjoy YearRound

With the beautiful weather that we enjoy year-round, it makes sense to have an outdoor kitchen area specially created for you. The designers at Outdoor Impressions specialize in customizing the details of your outdoor kitchen to your specific needs and taste; everything from the location of appliances in the outdoor kitchen build, to the materials and color schemes that best compliment your home and outdoor living space. It also specializes in paver driveways, patios, walkways, entryways, pergolas, arbors, water features, fire pits, fire places and design services.

24/7 Emergency Operations Center Certified & Insured Technicians Latest Technologies & Security Solutions Family Business Values

A great different kind of gift idea for friends or family could be Outdoor Impression’s 30 inch Munich fire pit. Whether roasting marshmallows or sipping wine, memories are sure to be created year after year with this great feature added to any outdoor living space. Outdoor Impressions is located at 10020 Carr Rd. in Riverview. Call 684-6817 for more information. It is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Gift Basket Item: Birthday Party For Up To 12 People

Value: $129.99

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Kick! Punt! Snap!

Private and Group Lessons Gift Certificates Available

Outdoor Fire Pit

Value: $800

Family Fun Awaits At The Alley In Southshore

The Alley is open Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 Midnight and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-2:30 a.m. It is located at 10221 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview. Call 672-8353 or visit

Legendary Kicking Coach Tom Feely

Gift Basket Item:

Whether you are a novice or a professional athlete looking to fine tune your skills, Feely Athletics will help you improve your game.

With over 42,000 sq. ft. of fun, the Alley should be your first choice in family entertainment during the holidays. There are 32 bowling lanes along with a Hurricane Alley 8 Lane Executive Suite. But bowling

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is only the beginning of all the fun. While there, you can also enjoy Alley Kat’s Pub & Grill or Alley Scoops Ice Cream if you just want a snack. If you want to host a private holiday party, there is a private space for that purpose. Professional catering is on-site. Have fun at Route 66 Mini Bowling, Tin Pan Alley Arcade and Billiards too. Stuff your kid’s stockings with passes to go bowling.

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Page 15 • • November 2017

LEARN FROM THE BEST Ruth- An Example Of Loyalty Throughout the Bible, there are many stories of strong and heroic women. In this new series, we will explore a story of a faithful biblical woman each month. With their strong faith, the women of the Bible continue to teach us how to live authentic, faith-filled lives. No matter what circumstances are, we can find ourselves in their stories. The Book of Ruth is one of only two books of the Bible named after women (the other is Esther.) Even though the book is only four chapters, it contains many principles that impact Christians today. At the beginning of the book, Ruth is living in her home nation of Moab. Moabites were discriminated against by the Israelites. After she married her husband, tragedy struck her family. Her husband dies, as did her father-in-law and brother-in law. Ruth loved her mother-in-law, and had great compassion for her because she had lost her husband and both of her sons. Ruth’s sister-in-law, Orpah, made the choice to return to Moab, but Ruth decided to remain loyal to her mother-inlaw and to the God of Israel. Ruth said, in one of the most famous lines in the Bible, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) Ruth and her motherin-law traveled back to the City of Bethlehem, where they decided to settle. When they arrived, the owner of a nearby field, Boaz, hired both women to work for him. Boaz not only noticed Ruth’s beauty, inside and out, but also admired her loyalty to her mother-in-law. He saw to it that she was treated well and protected. Ruth reciprocated by displaying humility and appreciation, which ultimately blossomed into love. Boaz and Ruth married, andshe entered into the lineage of Christ, as she became the great-grandmother of the greatest king in Israel, King David. Ruth’s acceptance into the nation of Israel reveals that God loves all people of all nations. The story of Ruth has captivated Christians over the years in many ways. Ruth showed respect and honor to her mother-in-law and God. She worked hard in the field to provide food for them. Ruth proved to be a woman of integrity with Boaz. Everything she did represented a woman of great character and God honored her. Her bravery, faith and obedience have encouraged many to be better followers of Christ. The best lesson we learn from Ruth is that with faith in God, the best is yet to come.

Kim Schaub

Program Specialist for the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association Bachelor’s Degree in Gerontology from the University of South Florida As a program Specialist Kim provides many services to family and professional caregivers on topics such as communication, home safety, stress management, challenging behaviors and activities. Families are offered private individual care consultations to help resolve immediate issues and develop long term plans. As a program specialist Kim has an extensive network of resources available for referral within the local community as well as throughout the National Association.

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Page 16 • • November 2017

Hooked On Christian Books Too Blessed To Be Stressed

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Come Thanksgiving Day each year, many of us are focused on food, family gatherings and the ever popular Black Friday sales. Christians often get caught up in the preparations of the coming holiday season, and it’s easy to forget that Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to acknowledge our religious freedoms that were fought for so long ago. Pilgrims and Native American Indians brought about this day in preparation for a harsh first winter in the New World. These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them. From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially declared the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday. Take time and pause this Thanksgiving season and reflect on the blessings that God has provided. Be blessed.

Thanksgiving Every Day By: Ely Roque Sagansay

The First Thanksgiving By: Robert Tracy McKenzie

This faith-influenced book will help readers look at life in a different way and compel you to celebrate Thanksgiving Day the right way. Live a life with gratefulness in the midst of the complicated world we live in. You will be surprised by the blessings in this family devotional.

This book tells the captivating story of the birth of this American holiday, and helps us to better understand the tale of America's origins. It helps Christians grasp the significance of this story and promises to be an indispensable guide to Christian reflection during Thanksgiving on the meaning of the past for the present.

Family Worship For The Thanksgiving Season By: Ray Rhodes, Jr. Thanksgiving Day calls families to journey over the river and through the wood' to sit around the table, enjoy a meal and remember days gone by. In the homes of Christians, Thanksgiving serves as another opportunity to recount the faithfulness of God and to give Him thanks.

Holidays Around The World: Celebrate Thanksgiving; With Turkey, Family, And Counting Blessings By: Deborah Heiligman This chronicle of America's unique holiday is illustrated with those famous National Geographic quality photographs. Covering eleven states and every major region of the country, the photos show the many ways in which the different cultural groups celebrate this day of thanks.

Page 17 • • November 2017

Teen Impact To Host Bingo Fundraiser With Coach Handbag Prizes

By Amanda Boston

Would you like Teen Impact program, a chance to win a said, “I have teenagers, Coach handbag and they struggle every while supporting a day with peer pressure, worthy cause? If so, as do all of our stugrab your bingo dents.” dabbers and venSince 1998, Teen ture over to The Impact has served the Regent on Hillsborough communiTuesday, ty, which contains the November 28 for eighth largest school Impact’s bingo district in the nation. The photo showcases the Coach hand- With a staff of only fundraiser. bag prizes for Impact’s bingo fundraisAngie Kagey, ing event on Tuesday, November 28. three, Kagey relies on the Executive volunteers to live up to Director of Impact, said, “We are excited the program’s name. about the opportunity to do something Hoening continued, “To know that fun to engage the women of our commu- there is an organization in our communinity.” ty that is encouraging and empowering Light refreshments will them to say no to sex, drugs be served with bingo and alcohol, is something our games from 7-9 p.m. To community should stand play—the cost is $40 per behind and support.” person, which also includes The evening will also feaall bingo supplies. Bingo ture a silent auction and raffle tickets are available to purthat will provide additional chase online. Doors will opportunities for winnings. open at 6 p.m. with limited tickets availThe Coach boutique at the Westfield able at the event. Brandon Mall donated an impressive gift George Shea with Signature Realty basket for the raffle. Raffle tickets are is sponsoring the bingo event and con$20 for an arm's length and can be purtributed 10 brand-new Coach handbags. chased at the door. The fundraiser benefits Teen Impact, a For further details or to purchase a nonprofit program that encourages and bingo ticket, visit www.impactcoachbinequips high schools students to make The Regent is located positive and healthy life choices. The at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. program consists of student-led school For more information on Teen clubs, camps, fun events and a summer Impact, visit For staff program. questions, contact Angie Kagey at Kerrie Hoening, an advocate for the or 264-9368.

Page 18 • • November 2017

Local Painter Celebrates 15 Years; Offers Free Paint Job To Local First Responder Don’s Bay Area Painting Inc. recently announced that it will paint the exterior of a local hero’s home for free as a token of appreciation for their service and commitment. The local-based company needs your help to identify which hero in our community will receive the recognition and the free house painting. It was 15 years ago this November when Don Murray set out to follow his dream to be a professional painter. Murray said, “Our community is full of people that have committed their lives to serving our country and our community. We want to do our part and give back to those that have given so much.” It was the sacrifice of our hometown heroes who gave up their dreams that gave local painters like Murray and other small business owners the chance to follow their dreams. Painting a home in Florida is not only for curb appeal to get a home ready to sell. Murray explained that homes in Florida are most susceptible to costly repairs due to weather, insect and other damage, which can be avoided by properly maintaining the exterior of the home. Too often, Tampa homeowners fail to repair stucco cracks, seal joint cracks or

Live Like You Mean It When Each New Day Holds The Promise of Grace

By Scott Michie

replace wood rot. Painting a home by a licensed painting contractor not only keeps your home looking fresh, but ensures that these common issues are fixed before they cause costly damage to the home. For a veteran or a retired first responder with a fixed retirement income, the expense to properly maintain a home in Florida can become too costly. Murray believes there is someone in the community that has a need without the means. He wants to use his painting company to meet the

need. To apply, visit from veterans of U.S. armed forces, retired first responders such as police officers, firefighters and paramedics and their widows in order to be considered for the free exterior house repaint giveaway. The paint will be donated by Porter Paints. The deadline to submit an entry is 11:59 pm EST on December 31 and the winner will be announced on January 15, 2018. Murray said heroes who qualify, but are not the officially selected hero, will be eligible to receive a discount to repaint their house.

By Derek Maul Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:1618 Just last week, late in the afternoon and heading up the main highway for a meeting at church, the sky over Wake Forest offered a spectacular backdrop, splashed liberally with all the colors of a gorgeous sunset. We’ve been pushing at the edges of autumn here for the past few weeks, but at the same time North Carolina has been hanging on to late summer and humidity. Color is beginning to creep into a few of the trees, pine straw is dropping by the ton, but the air conditioning is running like we’re still living in Florida. While I can’t write about spectacular fall colors quite yet, I do run into images every day that still make me smile. So, instead of complaining about the late summer heat, I decided to think about how grateful I am for the blessings I trip over every time I turn around! The last few pictures saved on my phone remind me of that amazing evening sky behind the church, the fresh fallen pine straw coloring the front garden a deep golden brown, our bub-

ble-blowing four-year-old granddaughter defining her own sense of “out there” fashion, a box from Amazon containing copies of my new novel, and our dog enjoying a cooler evening out on our back deck. Fact is, everything I run into, every new day, holds the potential and the promise to be a means of grace. The images I capture on my camera serve as reminders of those instances – too few and far between – where I actually paid attention enough to notice, to pause from my rush and hurry, and to say “thank you” to God. Each new day is an exercise in the discipline of praise and an opportunity to make one more decision to be thankful. This really is a beautiful life, in every way. In love and in gratitude – always – DEREK 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

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Page 19 • • November 2017

BAPTIST Bay Life Church 1017 Kingsway Ave., Brandon (813) 661-3696 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 Brandon 216 N. Parsons Ave., Brandon (813) 689-1204 First Baptist Church of Bloomingdale 3303 Bloomingdale Ave.,Valrico 813-689-3847 First Baptist Church of Gibsonton 9912 Indiana St., Gibsonton 813-677-1301 First Baptist Church of Ruskin 820 College Ave. W., Ruskin (813) 645-6439 FishHawk Fellowship 15326 Fishhawk Blvd., Lithia, (813) 655-7431 Grace Baptist Temple 2909 John Moore Rd., Brandon (813) 689-7190 Journey Church 1310 John Moore Rd., Brandon (813) 699-8262 Shiloh Baptist Church 1104 Cason St., Plant City (813) 752-8345 South Bay Baptist Church 13498 US 301 S., Riverview 813-677-0721 CATHOLIC Nativity Catholic Church 705 E Brandon Blvd., Brandon (813) 681-4608 St. Anne Catholic Church 106 11th Ave. NE, Ruskin (813) 645-1714

St. Stephen Catholic Church 10118 Saint Stephen Circle, Riverview (813) 689-4900 CHURCH OF GOD Boyette Springs Church of God 12114 Boyette Rd., Riverview (813) 671-0086 EPISCOPAL Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church 604 N. Valrico Rd., Valrico (813) 689-3130 LUTHERAN Immanuel Lutheran Church 2913 John Moore Rd., Brandon (813) 689-1787 Living Savior Lutheran Church 2650 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Valrico (813) 681-2375 METHODIST First United Methodist Church of Seffner 1310 South Kingsway Rd., Seffner (813) 689-3513 Grace Community United Methodist Church 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia (813) 661-8858 New Hope United Methodist Church 120 N. Knights Ave., Brandon (813) 689-4161 Riverview First United Methodist Church 8002 US Hwy 301., Riverview Ruskin United Methodist Church 105 4th Ave. NW, Ruskin (813) 645-1241 South Shore United Methodist Church 11525 Big Bend Rd., Riverview (813) 649-9462 NON-DENOMINATIONAL Destiny Church 2322 11th Ave. SE, Ruskin (813) 645-3337 Grace Community Church 1425 N Valrico Rd., Valrico (813) 689-9781

Harvest Bible Chapel Bloomingdale High School 813-699-0517 Life Church at FishHawk 6420 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia (813) 681-6503 Love First Christian Center 12847 Balm Riverview Rd., Riverview 813-671-2009 River of Life Christian Center 6605 Krycul Ave, Riverview 813-677-4453 The Chapel at FishHawk 6026 Churchside Dr. Lithia 813-661-7105 The Crossing Church - Main Campus 10130 Tuscany Ridge Dr., Tampa, (813) 626-0783 The Crossing Church - SouthShore 3058 East College Ave., Ruskin (813) 626-0580 The Palms Church 207 New Hope Rd., Brandon (813) 841-9598 True Sanctuary 6528 US Hwy 301 S., Suite 114, Riverview (813) 319-5862 PENTECOSTAL HighPoint Church of Brandon 2207 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd., Valrico/Brandon (813) 685-4827 PRESBYTERIAN First Presbyterian Church of Brandon -PCUSA 121 Carver Ave., Brandon (813) 689-4597 Redeemer Church-PCA 12404 Boyette Rd., Riverview (813) 741-1776 Westminster Presbyterian Church PCA 402 E. Lumsden Rd., Brandon (813) 689-6541

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By Kelly Wise Valdes The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is one of the must-see destinations while visiting Bogotá, Colombia. The Cathedral is located about an hour’s scenic drive from Colombia’s capital to the small city of Zipaquirá. It is a popular religious and touristic destination that is remarkable because it was built inside a salt mine, which requires visitors to travel 220 yards underground, or more than 2 football fields, to see it. The current cathedral opened to the public in 1995, but its history dates back to the pre-Columbian people called the Muiscas. The Muiscas had been extracting salt from the mines in that area since the fifth century where they used the salt for a trading commodity. Miners carved a little church and alter where they would say daily prayers and ask the patron saint of miners for safety. In 1950, builders started constructing the Salt Cathedral, which was finally inaugurated on August 15, 1954 and dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary, the patron saint of miners. However, because the Cathedral was carved inside an active mine, structural problems and safety concerns led authorities to shut down the sanctuary in 1990. In 1991 the construction of a new cathedral began, 200 feet under the older one. The corridors and sanctuaries were built as additions to the caves left

behind by previous mining operations. After the dramatic lighting completed the cathedral, it was re-opened in 1995. Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral is considered to be one of the most outstanding architectural and artistic achievements of Colombian architecture and is considered the modern age architectural jewel. The cathedral is broken up into 14 small chapels connected by tunnels. Each chapel represents the Stations of the Cross, or Jesus Christ’s last journey before crucifixion. There are spots to kneel and pray at each station. The cathedral also has three naves and a monumental cross, which is illuminated from the base, projecting a large crossshaped shadow in the ceiling The naves also include the icons of the birth of Jesus and the baptism of Jesus, with a waterfall symbolizing the Jordan River. This underground cathedral hosts more than 13 million visitors from around the world each year. More than 10,000 foreign tourists and 40,000 Colombian tourists visit each month. There is a formal English-speaking tour that includes a ‘light show’ (synchronized LED and music) and 3D educational movie about the cathedral. Mass is held every Sunday. For more information, visit

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Local Churches Give A Gift Of Hope To Hundreds Of Local Families

By Amanda Boston

toys. Donations may be dropped off at the collection tent on the church property beginning Friday, November 24 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. with the same hours on Saturday, November 25. The collection period continues through Saturday, December 16 with the weekly drop-off Last year, Deputy Parks and Deputy Boyer set up a ‘toy shop’ and and times of days assisted parents with finding the perfect Christmas gifts for their Wednesday through children. Friday 4-7 For p.m. and seven years, Saturdays 10 the multia.m.-3 p.m. church outFor a list reach known of requested as Gift of Hope has provided a traditional Christmas meal and gifts to local families struggling to put food on their table. In collaboration with the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) of Brandon, local area churches collect food items, toys and monetary To participate, families must register at either ECHO or the Compassion House with photo identification, proof of residency and donations while social security card or birth certificate for each family member. ECHO registers and sets appointment donations, visit the Gift of Hope website times for families to receive the donated at items. Additionally, ECHO and the Compassion Melanie Langston is the volunteer House will accept donations during their and registration coordinator for Gift of regular business hours. If you would Hope and said, “We are looking to regisrather make a monetary donation, the ter 800 appointments, which will include option to purchase a turkey through toys for their children, a food bag and a PayPal is available online. gift card to provide the Christmas dinner A multitude of volunteers is needed but more importantly the hope of Jesus to execute an enterprise of this magniChrist.” tude. Beginning on Monday, November 6, For a three-day period, Gift of Hope those who wish to volunteer can register volunteers come together to distribute for an activity and time slot on the Gift of meal items and organize an area filled Hope website. Volunteers must be at with toys so that parents can ‘shop’ for least 14 years old. their children’s Christmas gifts. For families who wish to participate in The Gift of Hope distribution days are Gift of Hope, they must register for an Thursday, December 14 and Friday, appointment at ECHO, located at 507 N. December 15 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Parsons Ave. in Brandon or at the Saturday, December 16 from 9 a.m.-5 Compassion House, located at 206 N. p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Moon Ave. in Brandon. For more informaBrandon, located at 216 N. Parsons Ave. tion, contact Melanie Langston at 661First Baptist Church will also operate 3696 ext. 324 or at as a collection center for meal items or

Admission tickets include bingo supplies. Light snacks will be provided. Limited tickets available at the door. Purchase online at Raffle Tickets $20 for an Arms Length Lots of amazing Raffles and Silent Auction baskets, including a beautiful donation by Coach at Westfield Brandon Mall. All ticket,auction and raffle sales benefit the Impact Program, Inc, presenting healthy lifestyles and relationships to teens, parents, teachers and other youth leaders through classroom education.

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Page 21 • • November 2017

Bell Shoals Baptist Church Presents Wonder: A Christmas Experience

By Amanda Boston

Wonder: A Christmas Experience features Bell Shoals worship choir, orchestra and rhythm section in its state-ofthe-art lighting and sound venue.

Renowned for its larger than life stage productions, the Bell Shoals Worship Ministry invites you to its annual Christmas production on Friday, December 8 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10 at 6 p.m. The musical production of The Wonder of Jesus Through One Man’s Eyes presents the gospel story through the eyes of one man, Simon Peter. Playing the role of Simon Peter is the award-winning Christian actor and scriptwriter, Mac McConnell. The show features Bell Shoals’ 175person adult choir, a 35-piece orchestra and an 8-piece rhythm section. Also taking the stage are the Bell Shoals’ children and student choirs. Special guest Dave Cleveland, who has toured with Steven Curtis Chapman, Twila Paris and the Brooklyn Tabernacle, joins the ensemble with his electric guitar. One of the musical numbers includes the song, Heart Abandoned, written by Sean Curran, a former student of Bell

Shoals and Kristian Stanfill, a prominent contemporary Christian artist. Back by popular demand is the free app called Offline Lights. The app is not essential to the show but will enhance the viewer’s experience. To participate, download the app to your phone so that it will synchronize to the performance. “We want to do something similar to last year,” said a spokesperson for Jason Millsaps, pastor of music and worship. “At the top of the service, we’re going to use a phone app that will add an audience participation component to the first song.” An hour before the show, guests can enjoy pre-show concerts in the church’s welcome area from the following schools: Durant High School choir on Friday, December 8, Burns Middle School Chamber Strings on Saturday, December 9 and Bloomingdale High School on Sunday, December 10. The approximate length of the performance is one hour and 40 minutes. The show is free, open to the public and suitable for all ages. If you would like to attend, you do not need tickets, but invitation tickets will be available for Bell Shoals members to give to guests. Bell Shoals Baptist Church is located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd in Brandon. For information, contact the church at 6894229 or visit or on social media BSBCWorship.

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Page 22 • • November 2017

Hot Off The Christian News Wire

By Kelly Wise Valdes

stop until we get there or until we hear God say otherwise,” shared Tim Tebow, Founder & Chairman of the Tim Tebow Foundation. “It's been amazing to see thousands of people with special needs celebrated and valued in communities around the world at Night to Shine,” said Tim Tebow. “We

Hugh Jackman Continues Christian Influence In Hollywood

Many know Hugh Jackman grew up in a Christian home after his father gave his life to Jesus through a Billy Graham crusade.. When asked about when he first knew he wanted to be an actor, Hugh Jackman responded, “I’m a Christian. I was brought up very religious. I used to go to different evangelists’ [revival] tents all the time. When I was about 13, I had a weird premonition that I was going to be onstage, like the preachers I saw.” Made famous for his role as Wolverine in the popular X-MEN franchise, Jackman showed a more spiritual side with his transcendent performance in the award-winning movie Les Miserables. A reputation as a committed husband to his wife of nearly 20 years and father to their two adopted children, Jackman in many ways is a role model. Speaking towards his acting, Jackman sees his performances as a way of honoring God. “I’m a religious person. This is going to sound weird to you. In Chariots of Fire the runner Eric Liddell says, ‘When I run, I feel His pleasure.’ Before I go onstage every night, I pause and dedicate the performance to God.” His new movie, The Greatest Showman, is being released in theaters this Christmas.

experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. On one night, Friday, February 9, 2018, churches from around the world will come together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers. There are more 500 host churches for Night to Shine 2018, a growth of 1,150% since the inaugural year in 2015. With exponential growth each year, Night to Shine 2018 is no exception. “We want Night to Shine in every town, in every church, in every state and every country… And we won’t

cannot wait to see what God continues to do with Night to Shine in 2018." To add to the excitement of the night, Tim Tebow makes surprise appearances at as many proms as possible. This past year, Tebow visited host locations in three different states as well as a special international visit in Haiti for the official Night to Shine kick-off. To refer your church to host Night to Shine 2018 or find additional information on this worldwide movement, visit

Night to Shine Continues To Grow

Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night

Reverend Billy Graham Turns 99

The Rev. Billy Graham will be celebrating his 99th birthday is on November 7, but as he grows older, the famous evangelist continues to prioritize Scripture. Recently, the Rev. Franklin Graham, the elder Graham’s son, shared in a Facebook post that his father has a particular Bible verse displayed throughout his North Carolina home. Franklin Graham called it his father’s life verse. "Still today, my father Billy Graham has a Bible verse pinned up on the wall in his bedroom, printed in VERY large letters. In fact, it's in the dining room, his bathroom, and several other spots around the house. Back before his 95th birthday, he was working on a sermon based on this key Scripture. It was his passion to memorize it, to saturate his heart and mind with it. He made it his life verse," Graham wrote in the recent Facebook post. The verse, Graham continued, is Galatians 6:14, which reads: "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. “The younger Graham went on to say that this verse is “a great verse for us to live by.” For more information, visit

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Page 23 • • November 2017

Lakewood Community Church Of God Holding Services In Newly Constructed Facility

By Michael Smith

for 12 years. Dr. Franks is President and Founder of Tampabased COPE Inc. (Community Organization to Promote Empowerment). COPE has provided more than one million hot meals in a 10-year period and partners with other nonprofits in disaster relief throughout Photo courtesy of Lakewood Community the state. COPE assists Church of God area residents with credit Lead Pastor Degrando Franks Jr. counseling, debt consolidacuts the ribbon at Lakewood Community Church of God’s new tion and free income tax building at 1628 Lakewood Dr. in preparation. The National Brandon. Football League awarded Lakewood Community Church of Bishop Franks and COPE the Hometown God is holding services at its newly conHero distinction in 2002. COPE also structed facility at 1628 Lakewood Dr. in received a High Impact Award from Brandon. Somebody Cares Tampa Bay as ‘Most The church’s well-attended grand Compassionate’ in 2004. opening after its service on Sunday, Bishop Franks has served as a September 17, featured fellowship, fun, board member of Tampa Bay Area Faith games and food. Based Alliance, Compassion Worldwide, Bishop Degrando Franks Jr. and First Women’s Aglow and served as Chaplain Lady Cathy Franks, who have lived in the of Tampa Fire Rescue for many years. area for 19 years, started Lakewood Lakewood Community Church of Community Church of God in 2015. God, located next to Lakewood Park, “We are a very loving organization, meets on Sunday mornings at 10:30 and we’re very diverse,” Bishop Franks said. Wednesday nights from 7-8:30. The “There is a place for everyone to fit in and church offers ministries for the entire famito be able to serve in ministry.” ly, including small groups, men, women, Bishop Franks, a third-generation young couples, singles, youth/students, Church of God minister, previously served children and toddlers. as Lead Pastor at North Metropolitan For more information about Church of God in Longwood since 2009. Lakewood Community Church of God, He also was Lead Pastor of International call 643-6637 or email lakewoodcommuHarvest Center Church of God in Tampa

Valrico Sunday Market

Our seasonal market under the grandfather oaks is a weekly event that offers fun in the sun, fresh shopping and serves as a gathering place for families and friends to bond, mingle and buy local. 50 Artisans- Jewelry, Wood Works, Glass, Candles, Flowers, Foods, Pet Products, Clothing, Soaps, Fruits & Vegetables, Baked Goods, Kids Gifts, Knife Sharpening and more.

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Page 24 • • November 2017

Profile for Osprey Observer

Osprey Observer 2017-11 Christian Voice Monthly  

Osprey Observer 2017-11 Christian Voice Monthly