Reflections on the Sea and Life in General

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sometimes we think something is over when it hasn’t even begun yet.

Texas has some beautiful sunsets. I don’t know why I didn’t get any pictures of them while I was living there. I wasn’t really a photographer back then, and didn’t realize how few pictures I had of my life in Texas until I got ready to move. I wanted pictures to take with me, so my good friend and photographer Danielba, started taking all kinds of pictures of my friends and myself so I could take the memories of Texas with me to Florida.

As a child we often took vacations to the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida, and also the Pacific and Atlantic. However as an adult I did not have much opportunity for travel. I remember living in North Texas, and seeing a picture book someone had of ships, and thought to myself that I probably won’t ever see any ships again like I did when I was a kid. Finally in the fall of 2003 I had a weekend where I was not scheduled to preach anywhere. I decided that was my chance, to finally see the Gulf of Mexico again, so I drove down to Galveston and spent the weekend. I thought I better take advantage of this opportunity because it had been so long since I had seen the gulf I did not know when and if I would get another chance. In the fall of 2003 I had no clue that the spring of 2004 would find me living in Tampa, Florida just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico and just over a couple hours from the Atlantic Ocean.

The last few years of my life in Texas I worked in the middle of the night to early morning at UPS and then went to my day job, where I got off work just in time to go home to bed and start all over again. Often I would get home from my day job late, and would hurry from my car to my apartment just so I could go to bed and get up at 2 AM to go to work again. As I walked briskly to my apartment I would pass my neighbors sitting on their patios barbecuing, or just enjoying a lemonade (yeah I’m sure that’s what it was) and a sunset. I thought to myself, that I am so busy working all the time I will never get a chance to just relax and see another sunset. I was too caught up in my daily routine to realize it was only temporary.

 After moving to Florida, while I still work hard and long hours for God, He blesses me with moments, when He calls me to relax with Him for a while and enjoy some sunsets, that at one time my overworked and fatigued mind thought I would never see again. 

Here are some of my favorite sunset pictures I have taken over the years here in Florida.

St. Pete Beach 2007

St. Pete Beach 2007

This picture is one of the first I ever took, and hundreds of pictures later, is about my favorite. I like the way the sun and colors reflect off the clouds. I love being on the beach at sunset, as an eerie calm, seems to quiet and still everyone on the beach as they watch the sunset. A timeless feeling creeps over everyone as the same sun that set over the waters six thousand years ago completes another circuit.

Fort Desoto 2010

Fort Desoto 2010

Panama City 2013

Panama City 2013

Key West 2010

Key West 2010

Daytona Beach 2006

Daytona Beach 2006

Daytona Beach is a sunrise picture of course. A few days after buying  my brand new 2007 Hyundai Accent, I woke up one morning at 3AM. As I laid in bed wide awake, it dawned (pun intended) on me that if I left right now I could get to Daytona in time to see the sunrise. So I did. Then I had breakfast at McDonald’s and drove back home and went to work.

Clearwater 2011

Clearwater 2011

Bradenton 2010

Bradenton 2010

St. Pete 2009. My mother's love for the beach is why we went on so many Florida vacations when I was a kid.

St. Pete 2009. My mother’s love for the beach is why we went on so many Florida vacations when I was a kid.

St. Pete 2009

St. Pete 2009

Tarpon Springs 2010

Tarpon Springs 2010

Bradenton 2010

Bradenton 2010

Near Sky Way Bridge 2012

Near Sky Way Bridge 2012

Fort Desoto 2012

Fort Desoto 2012

Naples 2010

Naples 2010

St. Pete 2010

St. Pete 2010

St. Pete 2010

St. Pete 2010

Fort Desoto 2009

Fort Desoto 2009

I bet you’ve seen enough so I will stop there. Thanks for letting me share my pictures and memories with you. I know God has more wonderful memories and scenes of His majestic grandeur to come for both you and I!

So after working so many 16+ hour days, with no time to even pause to watch a sunset, God knew the desires of my heart, and has blessed me with many memorable sunsets. God knows the desires of your heart too and loves you just as much!

Matthew 9; Two Groups of Church People

I am writing today from the beautiful Florida Keys.

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  Matthew 9:2

 

Luke gives a little more detail; “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was [present] to heal them.  And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought [means] to bring him in, and to lay [him] before him.  And when they could not find by what [way] they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with [his] couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.  Luke 5:18-20

 

Here we see the doctors of the law and Pharisees, the religious big shots sitting around with Jesus in a house. How important they must have felt to be able to debate theology with Jesus, or on the other hand, thought how important He must feel to be able to debate theology with them.  Meanwhile some people show up who have been bringing people to Jesus. Notice they could not get in because of the people blocking the way. Who was blocking the way? The big shots, who wanted to sit around and debate theology. Here we have to groups of people. One group is in the church, but blocking the way for others to come. Do we do the same today? Do we block people out who are not as old as us, rich as us, who just don’t think exactly like us? The second group were out bringing someone to Jesus. The man may not have even had faith, but when Jesus saw their faith He healed him. So this man, may not have been like the others who brought him to Jesus. The people bringing him to Jesus were not  bent on getting the man to think exactly like them, they were just bent on bringing him to Jesus! Also the people bringing him to Jesus were not about to let the so called religious big shots keep this man away from Jesus.

 

So which group are in? Are you sitting in church, maybe even next to Jesus, but to you the church is just an exclusive club? Or are you in the second group, where you are busy bringing people to Jesus?

 

Notice too, they were willing to tear the house apart to get him in to meet Jesus. How much do we read into that if anything at all? Of course our standards and doctrine cannot be altered. However, I sadly remember being a Bible Worker in a church long ago that was made up mostly of older people. A young couple joined our church, and I began Bible studies with their teenage cousin and a few of her friends.  Three of them got baptized with her! They did not stay long though. They  wanted to become active in the church and the older people became threatened by their presence. One older lady in the church actually told me, “William, don’t let these kids take over our church!” I was shocked! What made this lady think it was her church in the first place! I thought it was God’s church! Sadly these teenagers did not last long in the church. Sadly that church is still struggling to exist even today.  Isn’t it our calling to bring people to Jesus?