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  • Writer's pictureJosh Willcutts

Jesus In A Sandbar

May 2024 Edition

Jesus in a bar took its annual trip down to the Key West Songwriter’s festival May 2-6th. It proved to be quite the adventure. The ole devil tried to put a damper on our travels by causing our rental to overheat shortly after leaving the Fort Lauderdale Airport. We spent a few hours in a mall parking lot composing impromptu songs accompanied by Eli’s newly purchased Ukulele while we waited. Our team of adventurers consisted of Krystal Polychronis, Eli Gable, Garrett Dearing, Lynsdsey Coonrad, Carley Teft, and Josh Willcutts. We joined forces with Lance Carpenter, Jesse Labelle, Melanie Waldmen, Jefferey Steele, Scott Sean White, and Matt Wynn later after arriving.

We spent roughly 4 days in the keys playing pop up shows at three different local bars: Island Dogs, Lagger Heads, and Celtic Conch. The spirit went with us. On one occasion a dove flew in and landed on Jesse Labelle’s shoulder while he was playing his song, “He’s gonna meet you there.” The song talks about God meeting you at your breaking point and becoming the answer to all of your “why’s”. This encouraged our hearts and hopefully sparked a curiosity in the minds of unbelievers in the audience.

Another major highlight happened Sunday. As we were wrapping up our final writers round at Island Dogs, we were approached by some of the new owners. They told us they were going to start having their own version of Jesus in a Bar every Sunday moving forward. Part of our dream has been to inspire other city’s to bring Jesus into their own bars through music. We realize that the Lord has planted people in specific places for specific purposes. While we hope to visit as many places around the country as possible, we understand that in order for this mission to be sustainable, someone in the each city will have to take up the torch and be a beacon of light in that location. We will be praying for Island Dog’s as they begin hosting their own version of Jesus In A Bar on Sundays.  We look forward to coming back next year to serve however the Lord leads us.

All the restaurants on the island are amazing, but one of our favorite’s is a little Gyro Stand called Woody Wagon Key West. We go there every year to see our friend Ingrid and devour the worlds tastiest Gyros. All the ingredients are so fresh, and that filet mignon gyro will melt in your mouth. We’re trying to twist her arm into coming to our festival in September to bring a little of that heavenly gourmet to Nashville. Keep your eyes peeled. We’ve also fallen in love with the cuban coffee. The Cuban Coffee Queen in particular is one of our favorite caffeinated watering holes. To ensure their iced coffees are never watered down they use frozen coffee ice cubes!? Watch out, Starbucks!

Closing thoughts: John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear it’s sound but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

I feel my life has become a lot like this verse. Key West is one of the many adventures the spirit has taken us on. I’ve found that there is no greater adventure, no more swashbuckling hunt for treasure, no path to deeper discovery, then that which organically happens riding on the wind of the Spirit. One word I might use to describe Him, perhaps my favorite word, which was added to the English language long after the Bible was written, is serendipitous. One definition of this word is “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.” Or simply “happy accidents”. Of course there are no accidents only surprises. My advice to all the thrill seekers out there is this: surrender your life to Christ and let His Spirit set you on a bran new adventure. It will cost you everything, but the payback will make your “everything” seem like a drop of water in the ocean. And when you decide to make that decision, and I really think you should, I’ll leave you with a statement made by Bilbo Baggins to his nephew Frodo: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off too.” So it is with those who are born of the spirit.

Jesus is Lord

To God be the Glory

Come Holy Spirit

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