25 years! 25 YEARS!! I really can’t believe it! In some ways, it feels like a long time and such a distant memory. In other ways, it feels like just yesterday and the blink of eye has passed. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been trying to hide it as best I can, but I’ve been an emotional wreck this week – in a good way. I’ve just been overwhelmed with the faithfulness and goodness of God. I am the poster child for God using the weak and the foolish. If He can and will use someone like me, He’ll use anyone! I think in some Bibles my picture is next to 1 Cor. 1:27, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I’ve also had the pleasure to talk to a lot of pepople from “back in the day” this week. Most of them have moved around the country and won’t be able to come to Charleston this weekend, but it’s been so nice to reconnect.
So bear with me on Sunday. Give me, Janet, and my family hugs! Janet and I will probably be crying balls of emotion. We will have a lot of guests with us on Sunday! Go out of your way to welcome everyone and make everyone feel at home. Several different people who have meant a lot to me over the years are speaking on Sunday and then I will speak at the end and wrap things up – no notes, no manuscript, just a few things God has laid on my heart. My guess is that I will be blubbering through all of it. In case you don’t hear it loud and clear on Sunday – I LOVE YOU!! THANK YOU for loving me and my family, putting up with me and my mistakes, following me and my flawed, fumbling leadership, and living the adventure of a lifetime and beyond with me and my family! I truly believe that I am the most blessed man on the planet!
But hear this loud and clear – the other message that God has impressed so strongly on me these last several weeks and months, and one that I hope to be able to share on Sunday, is that WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED! He is not finished with me, with you, or with Coastal. As great as the last 25 years have been, our best days are ahead! Until He returns or calls me home, I will spend my last breath sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with this world! Let’s lock arms, march forward together, beat down the gates of Hell, and rescue people one life at a time!
Now a few reminders:
- There will only be one service on Sunday – 10:15am. Come early.
- Even though it’s our Anniversary it will be a GREAT opportunity to invite people. As always at Coastal, the focus will be on God and His love and faithfulness. We will point people to Jesus!
- Parking. Park as far away as possible, leaving the best parking for our guests. A good place to park will be the New Oakland Elementary School parking lot, just over the greenway take your first right.
- Seating. It will probably be crowded. PLEASE sit as close to the front and close together as possible.
- Children. Elementary School children (Coastal Kidz) will be in the service. We will provide Nursery and Childcare in the building for all other children. Child Check-in will be just like we did for Easter Sunday. If your child is in the service, please take responsibility for your child and their behavior.
- Bugs. We are treating the fields for ants & mosquitoes, however there is not a lot we can do about gnats. We will have fans to help keep the air circulating and we will have bug spray.
- Reception. Immediately after the service and after you get your children, we will all walk to the ball field out back to another tent for a reception/lunch/party! There will be great food, fun music, and lots of laughter. Please stay, have fun, and again, go out of your way to make our guest feel welcome.
I think that’s about it! I can’t wait to see you, your friends, and some of our old friends this Sunday! This week’s LOVE CAN theme is LOVE CAN Persevere! If you look up persevere in the dictionary this is what it says:
“verb: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success, persist, continue, carry on, go on, keep on, keep going, struggle on, hammer away, be persistent, be determined, see/follow something through, keep at it, press on/ahead, not take no for an answer, be tenacious, stand one’s ground, stand fast/firm, hold on, go the distance, stay the course, plod on, stop at nothing, leave no stone unturned, hang on, plug away, stick to one’s guns, stick it out, hang in there.”
I like that! LOVE CAN Persevere! LOVE HAS Persevered here at Coastal for 25 years! And LOVE WILL CONTINUE to Persevere here at Coastal!