In Central Florida, on the Gulf side of the water, they have drum circles. We’ve seen some seriously large drum circles at Siesta Key. This rhythmic, primal pounding can attract upwards of one thousand people.

On our last night of summer study break, we decided to check out the Friday night drum circle on Anna Maria Island. It was a few old guys on plastic chairs with plastic drums and toy tambourines. About 20 people stood around yawning. I made the comment, “Man, this is nothing like Siesta Key’s drum circle.”

With that barb of verbal commentary, a guy turned around in a beach chair and said, “I agree.” He then began to tell me why, as a local Floridian, he came to Anna Maria when he could have easily gone to Siesta Key.

This was an older man in his early sixties wearing a Corona shirt and scruffy beard. We did the usual chit-chatting about where we both grew up, and we found we had an Ohio connection. But then he unloaded his heavy burden: he was struggling with stage-four throat cancer. The scar on his neck was credible evidence.

I told him I was a pastor.

“Well, I f—in’ believe in God. Jesus saved me. Holy s—t, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for f—in’ Jesus!”

I’ve had this happen before– cussin’ mixed with a passion for Jesus. I think my face has finally learned not to contort at such colorful language!

Just before our conversation was wrapping up, I shook his hand and asked if I could pray for him. “Oh, hell yes,” he grumbled. “I have to f—i-n’ pray all the time.” So with that, I prayed and asked Jesus to be real and thanked Him for redeeming us both. When I finished, my new beach friend said, “God damn you… uh, I mean… God bless you! I really need to watch my language.”

I call this a Critical Event, and I want to dive into this incident a little further on Sunday. Our text is Matthew 9:35-38. Jesus did the Critical Event (or “CE”) very well. What about us?

What IS the Critical Event in the life of a believer? Is it Sunday morning?

Sunday is “Firehose Sunday!” I’ll try to unpack much of what I believe God was leading me towards and prompting me with . I won’t give it to you all at once. I won’t pound you like our title suggests. I do believe the challenge is right for where God has us at CCC. I’m excited to teach.

I trust you’ll come at 9:00 or 11:00 a.m. as we gather. I’d love for you to reach out to a neighbor or friend and invite him or her. That invite could be your CE!

Blessings and much love (and thanks for allowing me to be away),
Alan