Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Spring Hill teens learn about God, love at Lutheran gathering

SPRING HILL — About 25,000 teens attended the 12th triennial National Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Youth Gathering in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this month. Eight members of the Forest Oaks Lutheran Church youth group were among them.

Seeing that many teenagers — representing 49 states and 14 countries — come together to worship God was the highlight of the event for youth leader Russ Norris, one of four adults who accompanied the teens to the five-day event, July 1 to 5.

"In our congregation, the kids see 180 people (at a church service), so for them to worship every night for a whole week with 25,000 other people and share the music and praise songs and hear a different message each night is a whole lot more (inspiring) than everything else they saw all week," Norris said.

The theme, "Live Love(d)," was based on 1 John 4:9 in the Bible. Event coordinators provided the teens with lots of love-based activities by day, including packing and distributing meals, personal-care kits and school supplies for families in need; donating blood; writing thank-you cards to members of the military; and freely sharing hugs with friends and strangers alike.

Participants collected $100,000 for a special offering to fund more than 100 local service projects and outreach efforts, including an ongoing project to rebuild in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Participants learned how sin separates them from God and how God demonstrated his love for them by saving them through Jesus' death and resurrection. They also had opportunities to attend "Interest Centers" regarding topics that youth deal with, such as bullying and knowing how to trust God.

Each evening, the youth and leaders filled the Alamodome for events that included Bible study, guest speakers and taking communion together.

It was the fourth time the local church sent youth to the event. Norris said there was a "really good mix of serious and fun."

"We took one afternoon just to see a little bit of San Antonio," he said.

The group took a boat ride, during which they learned the history of the city, and visited the Alamo and the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas.

Logan Braun, 15, said the trip provided an "amazing experience" for him. He learned that it's easy to put things like playing video games before God and that it's important to keep his faith.

"I'm grateful for a church to come back to every week," he said.

Maddie Lewis, 14, said she was clueless about what love really is before the trip. She also admitted to having distractions from her relationship with God.

"My distraction is texting," she said. "I never realized I was so distracted from God. But now I understand, and I will stop and focus more on my faith."

Alex Nelson, 14, thought the trip was a great experience.

"It was so much fun to meet the thousands of great people," he said. "The music and the energy from everyone was one of the greatest things I have ever experienced in my life."Christina Lewis, 16, plans to attend the next Youth Gathering event, scheduled to be held July 2016 in New Orleans. Even though she will be too old to attend as a participant, she will offer to go as a volunteer.

"What is love?" Christina asked, referring to the first day's theme. "My answer is: 25,000 teens caring for each other, walking around offering free hugs, sharing with complete strangers where everyone is from and even creating a large swaying line full of hugs and singing to our amazing God."

Casey Braun, 17, agreed.

"It was an amazing display of God's love for us all," she said.The event will have a lasting impact on the teens, Norris thinks.

"Without a doubt, they all heard or saw something . . . that they will always remember," he said.

At a recent church service, the Rev. Glenn Fischer, who also chaperoned, told his congregation that he was encouraged by the event.

"Oftentimes, we look at young people today and say that our nation is going down the tubes, but I beg to differ," he said, noting that at the conference he could envision "the church of the next generation taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ out into the world and spreading that message of love so that the church does not die, does not fade away, but continues to grow and flourish."

Comments
Neville Brothers saxophonist Charles Neville dead at 79

Neville Brothers saxophonist Charles Neville dead at 79

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans-born saxophone player Charles Neville has died at age 79. His career dated back to the 1950s and included gigs backing up B.B. King among others. But he was best known for three decades of performances with his siblings Aaro...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick Scott suspends Hernando official facing prostitution charges

Rick Scott suspends Hernando official facing prostitution charges

Gov. Rick Scott suspended Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson from his position on Thursday, a week after the 71-year-old commissioner was arrested on prostitution-related charges.Nicholson was arrested April 19 on charges of operating a loca...
Updated: 1 hour ago
So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

BALTIMORE — LHP Jonny Venters ran through some pretty good emotions Wednesday night when after battling through a series of elbow injuries, he made it back into a major-league game for the first since 2012 — with a four-pitch out and a ga...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

BROOKSVILLE — A 17-year-old Hernando High School student was arrested Wednesday for threatening to shoot people at the school, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The student was serving a suspension at the time of the incident, deputie...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

TEMPLE TERRACE — Investigators say an orange Dodge Charger was moving about 90 mph when it ran a red light and broadsided a prominent doctor’s car last month on Fowler Avenue. The impact caused Dr. Charles Canaan Williams’ Acura to...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Whether you're a fan of the Bucs, Gators, Seminoles, 'Canes or Bulls, you'll want to follow our live coverage of the 2018 NFL draft today through Saturday in Arlington, Tex. We'll have live news, commentary, photos, videos, stories and more, so come...
Updated: 3 hours ago
St. Pete police: Man who stole car with baby inside arrested

St. Pete police: Man who stole car with baby inside arrested

ST. PETERSBURG — A man accused of stealing a car with a baby inside earlier this week was arrested Thursday morning when officers spotted him in another stolen car, according to St. Petersburg police.Rashad Webb, 19, was arrested at about 2 a.m. afte...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick up his order. What happened next was off-menu:Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.Willia...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Amazon raising price of annual Prime membership to $119

Amazon raising price of annual Prime membership to $119

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its annual Prime membership fee by 20 percent starting next month. The company said Thursday that Prime members in the U.S. will now pay $119 a year, up from $99, starting May 11 for new members. The new pric...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Column: What Democrats can learn from Emmanuel Macron

Column: What Democrats can learn from Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump don’t agree on much. Macron is a globalist; Trump is a nationalist. Macron is a free-trader; Trump just imposed protectionist tariffs on steel and aluminum. Macron wants the United States to remain in Syria;...
Updated: 4 hours ago