This is Papa and Mama Stevenson’s church, the Richlands Tabernacle. (and just for the record, in this picture above, that's Kathy Stevenson, our "cousin in law" standing in the center aisle taking a photo herself...) It's a fantastic church with a pastoral family that has gone from generation to generation…the Horton family. The pastors (the Horton brothers) spoke of their growing up years…their mother had 11 children and was often overwhelmed with being a wife, mother and the pastor’s wife of a busy and growing church. The boys (now the pastor and assistant pastor) talked of how Papa and Mama often took the children in for days at a time and took care of them to give Sis. Horton a break. They said they had no greater friend or anyone they respected more than Papa Stevenson. And they spoke of how much he had helped their parents in serving in the church. They tirelessly served the pastors both in whatever their family needed and then in the ministries of the church. They preached a wonderful funeral. The message was, “Carried by Angels.” The pastors and the pastor’s wife sang some southern gospel songs and then they led “I’ll Fly Away” as the benediction. Very fitting. All Papa talked about for months was “going home…home to be with Sadie.” Now he’s finally home.
I just heard some news today that really inspired me. A church here in Tampa, Relevant Church is doing a new thing this month called the "30 Days Sex Challenge." (I've never visited the church but Pastor Trinity - our children's pastor - has visited or has met some people from this church and he was very impressed.) Realizing that this is a major element missing from some marriages (the frequency factor) their lead pastor, Paul Wirth, has issued a challenge for all the married couples to have sex for 30 days in a row. At the same time he has issued a challenge for all unmarrieds to completely abstain from sex. Of course we know the Bible says that those who are unmarried should not have sex in the first place but the point is, a lot of unmarried's aren't obeying the Lord's command to abstain and this is just one pastor's way of trying to get them to see that indeed, there is a better way! (God's way!) At the same time, many married couples are no