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.
No one would ever guess what happened to me this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida...so I'm going to tell you. :) As I was preaching at the Fearless Tour at New Hope Assembly of God this weekend, I got choked up, literally. For probably 2-3 minutes I coughed profusely and greatly struggled. Then I drank some water and kept preaching. Everyone was gracious to give me a few moments to get my bearings. If you were there, you'll remember it! What no one realized at the time was that I swallowed a bug that flew right in while I was preaching! So disgusting! I said nothing because I was at a point in the sermon where I was really connecting and I knew if I said, "I swallowed a bug," everyone would either laugh profusely or be really concerned, or start feeling sorry for me. And at that point whey wouldn't be thinking about the message anymore, but the fact that I had just swallowed a bug. They would then imagine what it would be like, and feel grossed out which