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Brian and I deplaned to the gummy humidity of Tampa late last night and slept like rocks in our newly designed Courtyard by Marriot beds. I must say, if Marriot can bring their shower heads up tot he consistency and quality of Holiday Inn Express' they'll be my new favorite hotel chain...and if they add WiFi to every room.

So after a great night's sleep, and a so-so shower, we were shuttled over to Countryside Christian Center in Clearwater, Florida to play two morning church services. I've played at Countryside three times in the last six years; every time a great experience. It's hard to do this church justice with words. It was founded and is still pastored by a former hippie from the Jesus Movement days. He once ran The Adam's Apple in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a venue hosting any kind of rock musicians willing to play sober and let a preacher close their show. Everyone from Honeytree, Randy Stonehill, Phil Keagy, and Larry Norman passed through there over the years along with numerous mainstream rock acts who didn't know what they were in for. What they were in for was a no holds barred discussion of Jesus. Imagine Billy Graham in a biker bar and you get a peek into the late sixties and seventies club known as The Adam's Apple.

After years of running the club, preaching, and traveling, Jon Lloyd left the road and the music business and eventually settled in Clearwater. His home bible study has grown since then to include 2,000 members (at least) and every kind of ministry and "club" imaginable. If you have a problem they can help. If you have a hobby they've got a handful or hundreds of others in the church who have it too.

It's always inspiring to hang out with a man like Jon who was around for the start of the Christian music industry in America, has done everything, made mistakes and experienced tremendous success as well and is willing to tell the next generations his story and share his stage. It's refreshing to see someone his age who hasn't lost his appetite for Christian rebellion, who hasn't settled for less than the life he knew in his twenties he was made for. It can be done.

And it's always good to be in the same place twice, let alone three times.

Brian and I are resting this afternoon but we'll head back up to the church tonight for a concert/church service very much like those hosted at The Adam's Apple in its prime. It's like a country artist today being asked to participate in the Grand Ole Opry - it's a privilege to be part of such a long legacy tonight.


Blogger Kathy said...

Wish I could be there but it is a long commute from Iowa.

Blogger marianne said...

Gummy humidity. Blech - it's all over the place down here! :-)

Looks like a neat place to worship. On top of that they have Dodgeball.

Blogger benstewart said...

Dude! I just missed you down there. I was on vacation last week just outside Tampa.

It's sad that we live 3 minutes from each other and yet I get so excited about seeing you in another state. I would have probably even "gone out of my way" to see you in FL. Strange.

Anyway, see you Tuesday... in TN.

Whoo hoo.


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