Emily’s Youth Message – Father’s Day

Emily’s Youth Message – Father’s Day

Mother and Father’s Day can give any person a range of emotions. For some, it represents a day that is difficult when they think of their parents. Maybe they’ve lost them at a young age, didn’t have a good relationship with them or are going through a difficult time with a father figure in their life currently. For others, it can be a wonderful day being celebrated and celebrating.

For my husband John and I, we both have different ranges of emotions this year. My husband’s father passed away in February which has been a difficult transition for him in the past few months. For myself, my dad and I have gone through big milestones this past year. I am the youngest of four and the only girl. My dad walked me down the aisle of our wedding in October and it was a beautiful moment for us. Above is a picture where I gave my dad a handkerchief gift before we left to head for the ceremony. Here is what it said:

Out of all the walks we have taken,
today is my favorite.
You have always been
the one I looked up to,
the one I confided in and
the one that I came to for advice.
You’re strength and love has guided me
to make me who I am.
You were the first man that I ever loved
and I will always be your little girl.
Thank you for walking by my side
today and always.
Love you always and forever,
October 7, 2017

For me, my dad has always been my protector, my guide and someone who really understood me. I am wired very much like him: very organized, likes to do public speaking and very committed to the Church. My parents both made Church a priority to our family growing up. We would do family devotions every morning before we left for work and school. I am very grateful for a dad who impressed upon my heart his love for the Lord and in turn, guided me to fall in love with God.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)

May you find time this Sunday to show love and gratitude to the “fathers” in your life who have guided you to become the person you are today.

High School Graduates Recognized

High School Graduates Recognized

Many of the over 100 high school graduates were recognized in our 9:30 Sanctuary service on Sunday, May 20. Parents joined their students at the altar rail for a prayer of thanks and blessing. Watch the video here.

Youth Sunday 2018

Youth Sunday 2018

Members of our Merge Youth Ministries led us in worship on the Hyde Park campus yesterday. From musical and vocal solos to entertaining skits and poignant messages from the pulpit, it was an enlightening and inspirational service. Thanks to our volunteer and staff leaders for their dedicated service and to our youth for another memorable Youth Sunday! Watch Suzanna Cronyn’s message here and browse some of the pictures in the gallery below.



Watch Isaiah Isel’s message from our 9:30 a.m. Contemporary service

Watch Susanna Cronyn’s message from our 11 a.m. Traditional service

Small Group Fun Night – April 22, 2018

Youth Praise Team: 12:15-2 p.m. Practice in Magnolia Building

6th & 7th Grade Girls: Meet at 2:30 p.m. at Color Me Mine, 1609 W Snow Cir, Tampa, FL 33606, painting “Giving Plates.” Bring $35 and get picked up at 4:30 p.m.

8th Grade Girls: 4-7 p.m. Movie and Snacks at Busbee Home (824 S Willow Avenue Tampa, FL 33606). Bring a snack to share.

Middle School Boys: AMC Westshore Movie. Meet at the theater at 1:15 p.m. to see Miracle Season (Rated PG) at 1:30 p.m. Bring money for the movie and plan for pick up around 3:30 p.m.

High School Students: Meet at Curtis Hixon at 4:00 p.m., followed by dinner at Eddie and Sam’s for pizza downtown. Bring $10 or $15 for dinner, drink and gelato. Also bring your favorite thing to do at a park, like Frisbee, football, cards, etc. Invite your friends!

Emily’s Youth Message – Too Busy

Emily’s Youth Message – Too Busy

Are you busy?

Of course, you are. Between work, school, family, and friends, it seems like there’s always something going on. And that leaves you (and everyone else) with little time to focus on anything other than what’s in front of you. You’re so busy thinking about what you’re doing, then what you have to do next, and then what you have to do after that, it makes it hard to actually see anything or anyone else. It’s true for all of us.

Believe it or not, Jesus actually found Himself in situations like this, too. There were times when He was surrounded by crowds of people asking for His help to heal them or teach them or provide for them. And it definitely would have been easy for Him miss people or opportunities. But look at what the book of Matthew tells us He did instead:

When He saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36 NIV).

Jesus was moved with compassion. When? When He saw the crowds. He took time to notice them. There’s always someone around us in need of a little help or kindness. Maybe it’s a guy you work with who struggles to make friends. Or maybe it’s bigger than that. Maybe it’s the kids in your community who don’t have enough to eat. Or the teenagers across the world who don’t have access to clean water or education. No matter what the need is, part of following Jesus’ example is taking time to notice others. He’s asking us to care enough to do something about someone in need. Who in your life do you know that could use a little compassion? Ask yourself what you can do this week to act on their need.

Emily’s Youth Message – The Antidote to Greed

Emily’s Youth Message – The Antidote to Greed

We’ve all heard the word greed. And even though we don’t want to admit it, we’ve all probably experienced it in our own lives. You’re happy with your phone until the newest model comes out, and then you have to have it. You like the car you drive until your best friend gets a new one and suddenly you’re obsessed with getting a new car too. You have plenty of clothes in your closet, but as soon as you get some cash you want to buy more.

No matter what it is for you, you’ve probably experienced that “I’ve gotta have it” feeling. But let me ask you this: once you have whatever “it” is, does that feeling go away? We all know the answer is no. Even if it’s not right away, eventually that feeling creeps back in and leaves you unsatisfied with what you have. In other words, greed makes you miserable. And nobody wants to be miserable.

So what do we do to stop the miserable feeling of greed from spreading in our lives? Take a look at what Paul has to say:

You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NLT).

Jesus knew that greed would spread in our lives and make us miserable. And rather than leaving us alone in that, He gave us the antidote: generosity. Generosity has the power to slow and stifle greed in our lives. And when you answer the call of greed with generosity, you’ll find yourself better than when it began. In fact, Jesus is saying you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll also be blessed. Generosity is so powerful that it will not just bless others—you will be blessed as well! So ask yourself: can I trust what Jesus says about this? And, what would it look like for you to put your trust into action.

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