It wasn’t the best attended ever, but it was among the smoothest, most impassioned, as the Eastpoint Church of God played host May 12 to the annual baccalaureate service.
About half the 27 seniors and their families attended the service, with clergy from Carrabelle, Apalachicola and Eastpoint all taking part.
“I’m 27 years old, but I’m 44 years old on earth,,” said Eugene McLeod, pastor of Carrabelle Christian Center, in his opening remarks, referring to his acceptance of Christ as his savior 17 years ago.
Both Scott Shiver, youth pastor of the Eastpoint Church of God, and Themo Patriotis, pastor of Apalachicola’s First United Methodist Church, also referred to how their lives changed when they put aside their pasts and became new people as Christians.
Patriotis said the first several years after his high school graduation were marked by marijuana use, but he turned that around when he accepted Christ.
“You are about to embark on a journey. Life’s about to take you for a ride,” he said. “God’s the answer to life. Keep your faith in Jesus and know your Father’s got your back.”
Shiver recalled a story from his youth, when his father advised him on how to build a 16-foot oyster boat. Shiver didn’t handle his dad’s instructions to their fullest extent, and consequently the boat sank when he tried it out.
“Your boat will leak if you don’t listen to all those who have poured into you,” he said. “If I had stayed where I was I wouldn’t be standing up here today.
“God is important, he’s the bottom of the boat,” Shiver said.
McLeod shared a powerful video, stressing to the youth “that it’s time for you to be excited.”
The video flashed images on the screen, and stressed that “ I can handle it, Christ is in me. The power of God is mine for the taking, I am enough.”
“He’s already handled it,” said McLeod. “There’s someone who’s paid the price. It’s plural; the Jesus inside of you can handle it.”
After Kalin Wilson led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Scout Segree and Mallorie Shiver led the Pledge to the Christian Flag, Maxwell Davis offered the opening prayer and Scripture reading.
Melody Hatfield and Charles Petty sang “Lord I Need You,” and Myranda McLeod sang “Hoe Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle, with her father on the keyboards.