Our family has loved Clearwater, FL from our very first visit there on vacation a few years ago and has made it an annual destination every year since, staying with our dear and beloved, friends, Sam and Joy Burch. There is something recuperative about the sun and ocean, but equally so in just being with people who are family to us in Christ. I cannot quite describe how exponentially that increased as I was able to be at Clearwater First Church of the Nazarene (CFN) for revival services January 24-27. I was especially grateful to be there in this time as it was strategically planned in the middle of their 21-day renewal emphasis with prayer and fasting, also leading up to their launching of a new second worship service on February 7.
In the midst of having to teach my online classes during the days, I was able to participate in a few things and just be with the people. I just cannot express how much it meant to me personally to be with and get to know Pastor Pat Glenn and his family. We were so struck by his infectious joy, gentle care, and genuine love for people. Of course, it makes everything even better that he is a fellow Cubs fan, and that was a fun point of connection through the week! The entire church staff was amazing, and the generosity and ministry of this church in the community is striking. I cannot predict what God will do, but will not be surprised at anything that happens through a praying and loving church like this in the midst of a needy area.
Perhaps one of the reasons I felt so at home at CFN is because of how it reminded me of the church where I came to know Jesus: Chicago First Church of the Nazarene. It was there that some senior adults just loved and embraced a lost teenager who was eventually drawn to Christ through that love. So many of the senior adults and “snowbirds” at CFN reminded me of those beloved folks back there in Chicago. It was a joy to talk, share, and pray with them, and to hear their testimonies. It was a further joy to see another teenage boy, my son, standing and talking with some of these senior adults, and to see how his life was blessed through them. Not only this, but I was grateful to have him down on that second row for every service, a part of this ministry. That is how the kingdom works, isn’t it? That is the relay as we “run together” and hand off to others. That is what is happening in Clearwater, and I am so thankful to be a part of it.
Running together in Christ,