The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” John 1:43 (NLT)
The weekend was not only about running the race, it was about feeding our minds, bodies and souls. Patty and I fed our bodies by running the race and then, spending several hours walking around downtown Tampa. We slept well in our fancy hotel seven stories above the city. But we destroyed any chances of being healthy by eating at the Cheesecake Factory where dessert is the primary reason you eat there! I guess it was the exercise, but after eating right and suffering through four cups of vegetables a day for several weeks, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and sweet potato fries for dinner. Oh, was that hamburger yummy as was the banana cheesecake that followed. Feeding our minds was equally as delicious. Our friendship is strong enough that we can laugh together at ourselves and at our situations. In fact, we just about laughed ourselves silly all weekend. What a great way to release the stress of the last several weeks with some belly laughs that cleared our minds of all that might cloud our thoughts. We also talked about serious matters, debated theological issues and learning about human trafficking. At the Team Freedom Pasta Party the night before, we heard testimony of what this evil brings and what the power of God can overcome. We also sharpened our minds keeping track of all the “coincidences” that happened that we knew were not coincidences. On Friday, we were seated at a table full of Bradenton people that we did not know, but who we had much in common. At the race, we each had a person placed beside us to encourage us. The people we met, the places we went, were all orchestrated for our benefit before we even made our reservations. Even down to the fact that a special evening for women was held the weekend we were in town, a Dare to Be event with Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill on Saturday night. In between songs by Natalie, Charlotte, a preacher from England inspired us as she talked about what it means to follow Jesus. Her presentation, which was interspersed with though provoking and humorous stories, spoke to both of us in different ways. As she talked about Jesus’ disciples and how He called them each right where they were, no job description, no application process, just a simple command, “Follow me,” any excuses we might have to follow Jesus melted away. She said that many of us have lost Jesus (laughingly reminding us that even His parents lost Him on the trip to Jerusalem) and talked about how we get caught up in doing what is right, but lose sight of the One we are supposed to be focused upon. We each felt like she was speaking right to us as individuals, meeting the needs that we brought with us to the weekend. It was a weekend that fed us in all the right ways, and even, thinking of the food, some wrong ones!