35 Year Anniverary Celebration

Watch as the church celebrates it's 35th anniversary.

Douglas Poole
Jun 26, 2016    1hr 10m
Join the church as they celebrate their thirty-five year anniversary. There is moving Christian testimony explaining how Cypress Meadows has touched their lives, amazing updates on the outreach missions of the church, uplifting worship music, and then Pastor Poole updates everyone on the future plans for the church. Video recorded at Clearwater, Florida.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Video: 00:00:02 At first it was nothing, silence and then with a whisper, everything was made. The sun and moon, stars and oceans, plants and animals of all sort. And then came us. Only God could speak such things into existence. But with a single bite of something forbidden, everything fell into ruin. Anger and heartache and rage ran rampant. Empires were built upon the backs of people God called his own. They cried out, as this first chapter closed on humanity, God promised that it would not be that way forever. Only God could make such a promise. Only God could set the captives free. Only God could split the seas, and even though the people were now free, they were not content, sin still live deep in their hearts. And then one still, silent, night. Much, much later a baby was born. He grew into a man, undermining empires, dispatching miracles, and showing people a new way to live. His message of Love was so beautiful, yet the leaders of the day could't risk disruption, and so he was put to death. But three days later came the greatest miracle of all. From a sealed tomb, to an empty one, from death to life. Jesus, the son of God, proved once and for all that there was a new way to love. Only God could conquer death. Only God could show us a new way. After his resurrection, before he returned to heaven, he made one more promise. The spirit will come. So the believers gathered and waited. Then came rushing wind down from the sky, swirling among the first disciples, bursting from Heaven and coming to Earth. God was creating another new thing, a group, a cloud of witnesses, the church. And only God could create the church.

Band: 00:02:52 Let's stand together and sing. Praise our unstoppable God for all he's done for us.

Band: 00:03:13 (Song Plays)

Unknown Speaker: 00:06:44 And so they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need. Every day they continued to meet together. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Praising God, and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved.

Brian Cook: 00:07:29 Two thousand years later, it was such a God thing. A few foolhardy hearts were inspired by the audacious idea of a church for people who were far from God. All they knew is that God's spirit was calling them to gather as a community of faith, hope, and love. So knowing at the very core of their being, their own desperate need for His grace, they began doing anything and everything short of sinning to offer his grace freely to anyone, anywhere on their spiritual journey. You see, they believed that the picture painted in Acts 2 was meant to be more than some impossible dream. They believed that men and women, we're each gifted to give to the work at hand, and they believed that people who were far from God, matter to God. And so with their lives, God started a church. And yay God, for he had so much more in store than to simply open the front doors to a patched up horse stable. God wanted to move, he wanted to speak, and he wanted to fill his story with Yay God moments. So for the last 35 years, there's been a God thing, after God thing, reminding us of the things that matter most to him.

Dawn Rodgers: 00:09:01 They had a heart for young people and it was such a God thing. Imagine in the early eighties at church who collectively cared so much for the next generation, that they do whatever it took to forge for them a clear path to God's grace. And Yay God that they did, because I was one of those teenagers. My family saw an ad in the local paper about a new church meeting in a horse stable, and decided to check it out. We connected with Douglas and Jackie immediately, and my brothers and I joined up with a couple other kids to become the first youth group. My mom began serving in the arts. We had no idea how God would use Cypress to impact our lives. I was baptized here, married here, and dedicated my kids here. Now, my daughters are teenagers and growing up in the faith here, much the same way I did, of course with a few modern twists. But these days the girls and I serve together in the infant loft, caring yet for the next generation of Meadowers just beginning their faith journey with Cypress.

Brian Cook: 00:10:43 If you are a student, were a student, or if you have kids or have had kids and next gen ministries here at Cypress, if your family has been impacted by the next Gen ministries at Cypress in any way, would you stand to your feet right now so we can give God the glory.
Unknown Speaker: 00:11:51 It had to be a God thing. From suits to blue jeans, and horse stables to arts facilities. Cypress Meadows has always recognized that the arts, like drama, music, dance, set design, and technical elements, set a tone. Creating an atmosphere that welcomes, inspires, and even challenges. Cypress has a long history of incorporating its own blend of Cyprus arts into each service. From memorable rewind sketches were actors condense the entire Old Testament into just 15 minutes, to aerial dancing, rocking band numbers, original short films, and Christmas shows. Cypress arts is a vital part of our worship, identity and our passion for reaching the community. Yay God.

Band: 00:13:18 (Song plays.)

Unknown Speaker: 00:18:04 If you've been touched by the arts in this church, whether it's the music, a song you just heard, Christmas productions, the theater, the lights, the set design. Thank you all so much, we've got a really talented people that work really hard.

Molly Wait: 00:18:49 From early stages of Cypress we strived to be a community of faith, hope and love. A community that lives by faith is the hands of hope, and is known by love. We have always had in our midst, radicals who have heard the call to serve and love and care for people all around us. Our Compassionate Ministry was birthed by a handful of women who are being discipled by our own Jackie Poole. I was one of those ladies, and let me tell you, it was a god thing. I remember attending a concert in downtown Clearwater, and as we are going back to our car, I noticed in a parking lot a group of homeless people hungry, lonely and nowhere to sleep, and it really pulled at my heart. I knew this is where we needed to be. Something was stirred that night, deep inside me. At the next gathering, I presented the need of these dear people to Jackie, and said the church needed to do something. And I said it again at the next gathering, and then next, and the next. At one meeting, I brought a newspaper article and said impatiently, the church needs to do something. At this, Jackie looked at me squarely in the eye. She said, Molly my dear, you are the church. So she encouraged me to start the compassion ministry, and that's where it all began. We began a food pantry that offered meals to single moms, struggling families, and the under resourced. Every Saturday night Cypress Meadows began feeding and clothing the homeless and the under resourced. It didn't take long until we realized that this world was much bigger than our little orbit, and that God was calling us to give faith, hope, and love to far flown places on this planet. We began by supporting a church in Costa Rica, and investing in those who would start churches in Latin America. Then God took us to an isolated place, forsaken and forgotten by the world, St Louis de Nord, Haiti, and I had no idea how my life was about to change.

Pastor Charles: 00:20:44 [Inaudible} I had no idea how my life was about to change in 2003, but it was a God thing. [Inaudible} came to our town, a city of abject poverty, where children are often victims of human trafficking. A partnership was formed, and Cypress began to take children off the street, and put them in school, out of the hands of human traffickers. Four thousand scholarships have been given since that day. When the cholera outbreak swept through our town, people were dying, for lack of clean water. Cypress provided water filtration systems for hundreds of our homes. You started a chicken farm to help us move toward being self-sustaining. When that did not produce the desired results, you refused to give up, and launched micro financing. So our people would get loans, to start businesses, and have the dignity of a job that would support the families. You all sent dentists to provide care that is simply not available to our people. And now you are also providing the gift of eyeglasses, so our people and children could see the world as Got made it. Because of your help, many, many, many hundreds of people have found faith, hope, and love for Jesus Christ. And our church has more than doubled in size, all I can say is [foreign language] Yay God, yay God, and yay God.

Molly Wait: 00:23:11 God was not done with us yet. In 2007, we woke up to the fact that we were at church living in the midst of the world's worst pandemic, HIV AIDS, sub-Saharan Africa was being ravaged by this insidious disease, affecting more than 22.5 million and leaving millions of orphans in its wake. The repercussions were catastrophic. God broke my heart and I was broken for good. I remembered the words of Jackie Poole again, Molly dear, you are the church, you do something about it. I had no idea how my life was about to change, again.

Daniel Kiiru: 00:24:01 My name is Daniel [inaudible], and I had no idea how my life was about to change in 2007, but it was such a good thing. Molly Waits came to Nakuru, our town Nakuru, Kenya. She sold all she had and she moved to live with my people. I was a truck driver who says, that God had something else for my life. And I discovered what was when I met Molly. I parked my truck and joined God's call to bring faith, hope and love to those left,most vulnerable by the HIV AIDS epidemic. We began to feed and clothe the children, and then we began to build an orphanage. The obstacles seemed insurmountable, but God,
Molly and Cypress refused to give up. After overcoming many challenges, shortages, and setbacks, a beautiful facility on a hilltop was born. And today the fifty, abused, abandoned and orphaned children have a home where they are loved and educated in the name of Jesus. Other street children have been placed in boarding schools, and their lives are forever changed by God's amazing grace. A sewing center was established, and HIV and AIDS widows now make bags. Which gives them dignity, a salary to support their families, and help us in our effort to be self-sustaining. We take clinics to the slums and places where there is no medical care. And we are just completing an eco-tourism camp that will give jobs to our people, and further help us becoming self sustaining. (Foreign language.) Yay God, yay God, yay God.
Selena Dautel : 00:26:05 When Molly moved to Kenya, she pinned the leadership baton in my hands for Compassion Ministry at Cypress. And I can say with certainty, yay God, for what he has done in the last 35 years, but the best is yet to come. If your life has been touched by Compassion Ministry of Cypress, if you have supported a child's education in Haiti or Kenya, if you have served a meal in downtown Clearwater, participated in our back to school field day event, painted houses, put on roofs, if you have traveled to Haiti or Kenya to serve, then please stand and give God the glory. Yay God.

Band: 00:29:43 (Song plays.)

Unknown Speaker: 00:31:27 When a small band of people began holding a church in a horse stable our Pastor was interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. And when he was asked by the reporter as to what kind of a church this would be, he said, we're in the business of recycling people to what God intended. It is a big goal, but with his help, we can accomplish it. It was purely a God thing. When you knew Pinellas County didn't need another church, there was already plenty of churches, I've been down church row. What was needed was not another church, but a different church. Not a holy huddle for the already convinced, but one that would have their arms wide open to everyone regardless of where they were in their spiritual journey. And from day one, we have not just said these words, we have you lived it. A safe place for spiritual seekers to ask questions and express their doubt, a safe place for the hurting to find a refuge, and a safe place for believers to deepen their relationship with God. A safe place for everyone to experience a God thing of faith, hope and love.

Pete Ward: 00:32:30 Hi, my name is Pete Ward. I've been coming to Cypress Meadows for about six and a half years. I was raised a Christian, and moved around a lot. At the age of 13 I moved to a small town in South Carolina. Everyone in that town went to church, and everyone in that town said they love Jesus, and most people in that town were a racist. I tell that simply because obviously the church is full of hypocrites, and that's important in my story because as I attempted to escape from my surroundings, I unfortunately chose to use drugs and alcohol as that vehicle for escape. I really didn't look at the church as an option based on my experience. And so for the next 27 years, it was back and forth. I was always looking for something to fill that hole inside of me. It may be money, prestige, title, cars, house, and I was always measuring my self-worth on external metrics, rather than who I truly was inside. In late 2009, I came to my first service at Cypress Meadows. Pastor Poole said at the end of the service, I'll be meeting in the Lakeside Room on my right, your left, and if you're new to come and introduce yourself. So I went up and introduced myself to him, and I told him, I said, pastor, I haven't been to church in about 20 years, I've been in recovery program for about two years. And the pastor said to me, he says, well, nice to meet you, Pete, why do you think it was necessary to tell me all of that? I said, well, I don't know, I guess I just wanted to know whether I was welcome. And he paused and he said, Pete, if you're not welcome here, then neither am I. And I said, I don't know what the right answer was, but I think that is it. The welcome I've received in this church has really allowed me to grow spiritually and in my walk with Jesus. Pastor spent some time with me, and he actually told me, Pete, I want you to get to know the man who was Jesus, and I want you to focus on the first four gospels, and I want you to read those and find out who the man of Jesus is. And so I spent a fair amount of time in study, that was very helpful and cleansing for me. Because it reminded me that the church that I had experienced back in South Carolina, that was full of humans, and Jesus was not that. And so I was allowed to restart my relationship with Jesus based completely his teachings, and that is somebody that I can get behind. And after two years being here, I decided to be baptized. I'd love to tell you that life has gotten easier or better, it hasn't. But the beauty of it is, is that I have, through my faith in Jesus Christ, I have been able to walk through some times that I don't think I would've been able to walk through before accepting Jesus. I might've been able to walk through them, but I don't know if I would have been able to do it in a healthy manner. Because of this church, I have become more emotionally healthy, spiritually healthy, mentally healthy, physically healthy. Because of this church I've become a better son, a better brother, a better coworker, better uncle, and arguably a better person in general. So my walk into Cypress Meadows, I had no idea what was going to change my life for the better. And I'm very, very grateful for this, and I'm grateful for everybody who's had a hand in the 35 years of this church. Thank you very much.

Trina T.: 00:36:30 Hey everybody. My name is Trina Theodorovitch. I actually was baptized here at Cypress Meadows back in 2013. Beginning back to my younger years, I was a foster child in the state of Wisconsin, my only positive childhood memory was my fourth foster mom. Her name was Ms. Avery. As we moved on to other foster homes, I always remember what she taught us, to always pray. I prayed to be safe, stop being sad, and understand unconditional love, I also prayed to stop getting abused, I also prayed to get adopted one day, I prayed not to be a statistic. I also prayed to be normal and not judged for the life I was born into. I was never adopted, and at the age of 16, I was released from foster care. I was sent out on my own, at this point in my life, I went into survival mode. I was homeless alone, sad, confused, and eventually just stopped having faith altogether. I eventually got a full time job, and then finished high school. I barely did finish, but I did finish, and I moved to Florida at the age of 19. During my twenties, I continued to keep adding to my box of junk. There were a couple of few things in my positives in my twenties, I did graduate from college, which I was very excited about that, I inherited my seventh youngest sister at the age of 16. She was also a victim of being too old for the foster care system. For many, many, many, many years she did not listen, but finally, she got her GED, and then she just graduated with her associate's at the age of 29. As I approached my thirties, my box junk was beginning to overload. During this time I inherited my grandmother, which was both a positive and a negative. She had Alzheimer's, Sundowners, and she was an alcoholic. At this time, my life, I worked a full time job at the nursing home, and I lived in a nursing home caring for my sick grandmother. After two years, her health started to decline, and I physically can no longer care for her. I felt like I let her down. My box of junk was open even further, and I couldn't control it anymore. At this point in my life, I just felt like giving up, and fell into depression. The next five years we're a big part of what got me here today. I had a friend at the time, he was my only friend that was there, and he didn't leave my side. I eventually finally started to learn to let go of the past. I decided January of 2009 I wanted to have faith again, and I wanted to believe again. I came to Cypress Meadows, and I remember the service where everyone was given a piece of paper, and they had paper shredders on the stage. Douglas asked everyone to write a good riddance list, then shred your paper. Once I did this, I cried and cried, and I just felt this was the beginning of cleaning away my junk from the past. A couple that I didn't even know comes over to me and hugs and prays with me. They didn't ask why I was crying, they just hugged and prayed with me, this meant a lot to me. That was Dan and Patsy, and I want to thank you very much because you have changed my life. A few services later,
Douglas handed out a card which said, So I say to you, ask it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock the door will
be open to you, and for everyone who asks will receive, those who seek will find, and those who will knock, the door will be opened. And to this day I carry this card in my car, and I read it every day on my way to work. Then he asked to write on the back, some things you want to seek. And on mine it says, I want to believe I deserve happiness. I want to cleanse my inner soul, release all my guilt of my inner soul. I felt like the door was open, I knocked for years, and now I believe I was able to finally begin to let go of all the junk in my past. A huge weight was being lifted from my shoulders. My friend who was there through this hot mess is now my husband, and we've been married now five years. I finally understand what unconditional love is, unhealthy love, and I deserve to be loved. I thank God and my husband every day for getting me where I am today, a believer, and that was my baptism 2013. That day, three amazing things happened to me that day. One, as soon as I was walking off the stage, there was a teenage boy that came up to me crying and he gave me a hug and he said that he's in the foster care system right now. I guess what? He got baptized with me that day. Yay. God. Number two. As I was going to get baptized by pastor Douglas, my husband surprised me and we got baptized together. Ya, Steve. And thirdly, when I came up from that water, I felt so clean. Not because of the water, because the water was dirty, but I felt amazingly clean and just awesome. And I want to thank you guys and happy anniversary.

Speaker 6: 00:41:18 Thank you. If you are a life that has been impacted in this way, if you've crossed the line of faith here at Cypress, if you've been baptized here, or if you've brought loved ones with you who have crossed the line of faith here, been baptized here. Would you stand to your feet right now and we can give God the glory one more time. Yay God.

Band: 00:43:39 (Song plays.)

Unknown Speaker: 00:43:51 Cypress is my spiritual home, and it has been for the past 18 years. I first showed up here detached from church, and unsure about the whole Jesus thing. But like any good family, you just opened your arms wide and up and invited me in, just as I was and just as I wasn't. And it was here that I found faith, hope and love in Jesus. Like a family should, we have done life here together. I have attended funerals, weddings and parties. I have laughed and I have cried here, and most everything that I know deep down in my soul about who god is, I learned from this community. Our church isn't perfect, families of course know each other's faults better than anyone else. But being a family member also means you get a front row seat into the good, the beautiful, the fiercely loving, and the grace filled parts of it all. And let me tell you what, the view from where I'm standing is pretty breathtaking. Neither this church, nor I, are as young as we once were. But we are still a family, and still a part of this beautiful thing called Cypress. Now, this church was brought to life by just a handful of people who believed a God thing could happen in a church meeting, in a horse stable, and they said yes to God's call on their lives. I'd like to invite a few of these people up here on the stage with me right now. Patsy Brown, Dawn Rogers, Bruce Boltsy, Mary Harris in lieu of her daughter Carly, Dale Martin, and Douglas and Jackie Poole.

Unknown Speaker: 00:46:47 These people are the extraordinary people that God used to bring this church to life. They were not experts in the field of church planting. They were not seasoned leaders. And by all means, they probably weren't even qualified. They just believed that a God thing was about to happen, and they wanted to be a part of it. They will leave a legacy. For by their hands, and on their shoulders, this church was built. And every one of us who has been touched by God's grace in this church owes them a huge debt of gratitude.
Unknown Speaker: 00:48:00 Thanks to them for what they have given to all of us. In our appreciation for them, we have a symbol and a token for them. So Patsy, yours is an Oscar. When we wanted to move our music here at the church from organ led, to a band. Patsy was the first one to pick up a guitar and play away. I mean, who knew, the things you learn in these events? You know, when we decided to do something radical that no other church in this country seemed to be doing at the time, introducing skits and dramas into our church services. Patsy again said yes and made it all happen. Patsy, we honor you for being part.

Unknown Speaker: 00:48:53 Dawn, your's is a doll, because you were once the only kid in an otherwise kidless church. Like not another, I don't need any more babies. You were part of the beginning of the first youth group here at Cypress, and as an adult you have continued to serve for years in our nursery and children's loft, to ensure that children know God from the day one of their lives. Dawn, we honor you for being part of a God thing.

Unknown Speaker: 00:49:34 Now, this may not come as a surprise, but Bruce your's is a hammer, and a nice craftsman hammer, I might add. We have gone through numerous expansions, remodels, and new builds here. And whenever there has been a need, you have always been the first to pick up a hammer, and found a way to ensure that there will always be room for one more soul to experience faith, hope and love in this place. Bruce, we honor you for being part of a God thing.

Speaker 4: 00:50:14 This Carly, this is Mary's daughter. Mary's away on tour today, and she couldn't be here to accept her award, but made Carly. Just kidding, that's another show. Mary's is a blue plate, because she's special. Because when Cyprus launched our Compassion Ministry, she was one of the first to prepare a meal, and join in to ensure the homeless had something to eat. She helped to repair houses for migrant workers in Wimauma, and supported our efforts in Haiti and Kenya, and continues to do so. So Carly and Mary, we honor her for being part of a God thing.

Unknown Speaker: 00:50:58 This is Dale. Dale is Mary's dad, and Carly's grandpa. His is a boomerang. Who came up with these? You were with us when we first started our church in the converted horse stable. Then you packed up and moved to North Carolina, and looking back at some of these photos today, we can't say we blame you for trying to get just about as far away as you could. But then you lost your precious Patricia, and came back to be with family and to rejoin your church family. We are so glad that you did. Dale, we honor you for being part of a God thing.

Unknown Speaker: 00:51:39 Douglas and Jackie. Your's is the lighthouse, because in every season, and in every storm, in the fog, and in the darkest hours, you have shown us the way home. You introduced so many of us, including myself to Jesus. You welcome us in to a church that has accepted us just as we are, and a lot of the times just as we ain't. A home of faith, hope and love built on, and I really hope you all hear this part, built on, and always on grace. You invited us into a vision to change the world. Jackie, every weekend you greet us at the door with a smile and a hug. Your love for people is extraordinary. Your work to raise funds for the children of Haiti and Kenya is exemplary. Douglas, what God has done through you and your life, the teachings, your vision, and your love for the church are just amazing. Thank you for allowing your life to be blessed by God for such a purpose as this. Few people will ever know just how much it costs you. Some of us do, and we thank you. Thank you for leading with vision, and courage, and love. Douglas and Jackie, we honor you for being part of a God thing.

Unknown Speaker: 00:54:01 Thank you all for coming today, and can you join us in a word of prayer for these folks that helped us get to where we are today? Let's bow our heads. Thank you Lord, for these people who from a horse stable, said that they were going to follow your lead and follow your will, and put together a community of faith, hope and love to reach people who couldn't be reached, so they could come to know you. Thank you for their perseverance, and everything that they did is following what you want them to do. They touched a live one, by one, by one, to make sure that people in his community began to know you and got to know who you are. Thank you Lord for everything that they did, and thank you for everything that they'll continue to do while you're allowing him to be here on earth to help us all. Thank you Lord, especially for Douglas and Jackie. Keep them strong. Keep them persevering, and keep them leading and guiding us in the way that you wants to go. As we look toward the future of the things you have in store for us, things we don't know, help us to still persevere through everything that comes. And to celebrate and praise you for all the things that do happen, because we grow through everything that happens to us. In Jesus' name, we pray and we ask these things. Amen.

Douglas Poole: 00:55:11 All right. For those of you who are a little bit worried right now that are about to launch into a sermon. Take heart. Your prayers have been answered. I only want to just say three quick words of thanks, and then we're going to take a sneak peek into the future, and then we'll go out in the courtyard. We will sing a song, go in the courtyard for some refreshments together.

Douglas Poole: 00:55:40 So let's begin with some thank yous. First Cypress. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your pastor all these years. You deserve better., you got me, and and I got the better end of the deal. So thank you. It is simply one of the greatest honors of my life. And second, I want to thank you for loving, supporting and respecting our family. You allowed Sarah, Jonathan, Michael and Bethany to just be kids when they were kids and then just be teens, and now just be adults without placing expectations on them. You allowed them to find their way, and just be who God made them to be without undue pressure. And you have allow Jackie to be Jackie, to pursue her career in public education, and you've supported her in her efforts to raise funds, and to support the under resourced. Not only locally, but in Haiti and in Kenya.

Douglas Poole: 00:56:40 You made provision for me, and given me time off so that our family could be together. You let us be a family, in our efforts to build the Cypress family, and so our family, thanks you at levels that are far deeper than I'll be able to express. Third, I want to thank you for being one of the most generous and accepting churches on planet earth. You've made heaven proud, and you have brought so much of God's grace here to this planet. And the good news is I'm absolutely convinced the best is yet to come. So now let me quickly invite you in the future. I was just a couple of months shy of being 26 years old when we started this thing together, and Jackie had literally just turned 22. Today, I'm knocking on the door of 61, and you can do the math on Jackie. So a while back I sat down with our elders to figure out our future. How much longer do I lead as I lead? And what does a succession look like here at Cypress, one day? And out of that time of a searching God together we came to believe that I still have some tread left on the tires, and that God willing, I will lead this church for at least the next 10 years, and then we will re-evaluate as I near 70.

Douglas Poole: 00:58:15 Maybe you shouldn't applaud before you actually receive what happens in the next decade, but I
appreciate your faith. Sometime this next decade I will be working with, and mentoring and grooming your next pastor. We elders unanimously agreed that these next 10 years would not, could not, and absolutely will not, be a coasting off into the sunset, but rather they will be years of charging forward. They will be years of ramping up our efforts to be a community of faith, hope and love, and that the person of Jesus will always remain the focal point of who we are and what we do. We have always been a church with a very fertile spiritual womb. And people seem to come to faith in God through Jesus Christ, and are baptized in his name at
a number that is only matched by churches that are double and triple our size. But we're convinced the best is yet to come. So we believe it would be a God honoring thing if every year instead of baptizing by the dozens, we would see the number of people entering into the baptism waters every year, be in triple digits, every single year. And I've started doing my pushups. Our vision is that God's grace would so pulsate through our veins, and the spirit of Jesus be oh so alive in our spirits, that every year people would trust in Christ and express that through baptism in triple digits. And then it is our vision that these people would grow and mature to become more and more like the person of Jesus. And that as we grow our base here at Cypress, we would increase our involvement with our partners in Haiti and Kenya and allow them to reach unprecedented levels in their ministry as well. So could you trust God for that, and would you be willing to give your life for a vision like that? Details will be rolled out in the next few months. I just know it's going to mean we're going to boldly love people at even greater levels. We're going to have to boldly invite people to Cypress in ways that we have never done in the past, and it's going to mean we're going to have new classes to help people grow and develop, it is going to mean we're going to build new bridges into our community, and it's going to mean probably some new buildings, and probably some new locations for us moving in the future. We're praying and we're asking God for an unprecedented God thing to happen in our midst. It's always been a God thing, but we believe it's high time for an unprecedented God thing in our midst. Wouldn't you agree? Yeah.

Douglas Poole: 01:00:54 Now, many of you can remember, you can remember when you met God personally, right here in this space. There was a moment in time when God reached down with his spirit, and he touched your spirit, and he filled your heart with love of another kind that like only God can. Some of us here, we had some rather checkered pasts, but our sin or wrongdoing doing was all forgiven through faith in what Jesus did on the cross, and we were made clean, a child of the most holy God. Friends, we have a world that is withering away, withering away to know this only true God. So I ask you, Cypress, will you love the Lord thy God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength? Will you love people at even greater levels, and will you invite people into this life that is life? Deal? Deal. All right, let's wrap this thing up. Huh? All right. We're going to sing a song together, and it's a song that says, Yay God, for our God thing here at Cyprus. This song is a song that has became a favorite of mine from the first time I heard it. It's based on a passage of scripture. Psalm 148, and I so wish the other half of our church were here today to sing with us. One of these days we'll get a joint big enough we can all be in together, Huh? Well, I'm going to invite you to stand. This is a song that says all the universe praises God. All the universe says, Yay God. All of creation. The Alps, The Rockies, The Himalayan's. Every mountain range is praising God. The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern oceans. They're all giving God the glory. Every star, every dark hole. every planet in the universe is giving glory to his name. If he whole universe is praising God, shouldn't all the saints join in, join in this heavenly song. Kings and princes, the old, the young, let all the saints join in. So I'm going to ask you to join in. You got to join in with a full heart, alright, and a full voice. This is not one of these let your hands hang limp by your side songs. This is a hand clapping, hand waving song. So let's get those hands clapping, and lets get those hands waving, don't you dare stand there with your hands by your side. Let's give God the glory the next few minutes. Yay God, for his goodness does Taylor let it rip?

Band: 01:04:11 (Song plays.)

Douglas Poole: 01:09:04 Thank you for the privilege of being your pastor for these 35 years, and the best is yet to come. The best is yet to come. It has been my prayer this week, that on this day that our heavenly father looked down upon us, and it would bring a smile to his face. It's been my prayer, that his son Jesus Christ would look down upon us, and he' look at the scars that he carries in his hands, and just say it was it. It was worth it. To God be the glory, and the honor, both now and forevermore. And now by the grace, and the peace of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ go with you both now and forevermore, and my his presence go before you to show you the way, beside you to uphold you on that way, behind you to keep it from falling back, and below you to make your footing sure. In the name of the father, and the son Jesus Christ, and everybody agreed and said, amen. God bless you Cypress, and enjoy some of the cake.

Recorded in Clearwater, Florida.
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Cypress Meadows
2180 North McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, Florida 33759
(727) 725-4570