Friday, July 24, 2009

Backpacks of Hope


Our Backpacks of Hope campaign is in full swing and the money and supplies are pouring in right now. Just last night I received confirmation from Bic Pens that they are going to supply every child with pens and pencils. WOW! Yeah God!! Also, this week one of our member while "On Mission with God" in their work setting, told a client about Backpacks of Hope and the client was so moved that he took out his checkbook and wrote a check for $500 without batting an eye. THAT JUST PUMPS ME UP!!!! Also, last week in church someone who was a guest for the first time who is still not sure about this whole Jesus thing decided to invest in someone else and give $10 for a backpack. AMAZING!

I spoke with Mr Pepe this week at BT Washington Elementary and he was just overwhelmed that we would adopt their school this year and provide backpacks and more for every student. For those of you who do not know much about BT Washington Elementary. It is the only "D" rated elementary school in the city of Tampa, which means that most of the students are one or two grade levels behind in most of their subjects especially reading. Our goal is to develop a long term relationship with this school to help kids and families that are marginalized by society in general and help them begin to realize their God given potential.

So far we have collected about $1500 of the $5000 that we need to pay for the backpacks.

I am asking that everyone give at least $20 above their regular giving to help pay for these backpacks for the kids of Booker T Washington. If you can give more that would be great as well. You can give on Sunday in the regular offering or you can go to and click on the giving link and give through our secure online giving.

"VS" Update

I hope that all of you have had a great week. I am now thick in the throws of football and loving every minute of it. Sometimes as a pastor you can get caught up in the business of the church and forget that there is a whole city out there who does not connect with the church. Not because they do not like Jesus but because they have never seen Jesus in the lives of the people who claim to follow Him. Coaching football allows me to be a regular guy and rub shoulders with people outside of the religious bubble.

Last week I had a compliment from someone who was watching me coach football. This person said "Paul when you are coaching you are just a coach and you get after kids just like any coach I have ever seen". Well for me I knew what he meant. He was saying you did not have your pastor face on out on the football field but everyone still knew who you were. As a Follower of Jesus we do not have to wear the Jesus t-shirts and carry a Bible around with us everywhere we go for people to know it. Who we are should shine through in the everyday circumstances of our daily lives. The problem with this idea is that there is a battle raging within us to keep us from accomplishing this sort of life. That is what our new series has been about and that is why we called is "VS" VERSUS. Because there is always a choice in our life that we have to make as to who we will serve and the type of person we will be.

I look forward to seeing all of you this weekend as we continue our series "VS". This week we will be looking at the topic of Going to A Church "VS" Being THE Church. I think coupled with what we discussed last week about Doing Missions VS Living on Mission With God, this weekend is really going to give us some traction for where God is leading us. This series is taking Relevant to another level in our commitment to Jesus and our commitment to our community. Make sure that you invest and invite someone to come with you this Sunday.