• Dr. Hal Kitchings


Dr. Hal Kitchings

October 7, 2020

I teach a class on Wednesdays called The Pastor’s Roundtable. It just so happens we are in-between studies on my sixtieth birthday. I decided to do some reflecting. At first, I thought it would be hard to come up with sixty thoughts about turning sixty. Once I started, I realized I may do it again at seventy because I thought of at least seventy or more things I could write about. Here we go…

1. I have been blessed beyond measure my first sixty years of life.

2. I am a dog person and hope to have another dog one day.

3. I am glad I took guitar lessons as a young adult because I will never have to wonder if I may have missed a hidden talent.

4. I think my college freshman speech teacher falling asleep during my first speech motivated me for my future calling.

5. I truly enjoy pastoring people and miss many of those I’ve had the opportunity to pastor through the years.

6. My two sisters were way too good to me growing up. I love them very much.

7. I had the best parents on the planet.

8. I am grateful for my rich spiritual heritage and that my last name is Kitchings.

9. I had rather spend time on the beach than in the mountains.

10. I still don’t fully understand why I couldn’t play football past the ninth grade due to a heart condition that my Cardiologist now barely acknowledges, but I trust in God’s sovereignty.

11. Typing was one of my favorite classes in high school and I think a big reason was because of my teacher, Mrs. Porter.

12. Mrs. Lundy, my English teacher at Clinton High, helped me come out of my shell as the new kid when I moved to Clinton. I’ll always appreciate her for that.

13. I had some incredible coaches through the years, and I love them.

14. My greatest athletic experience was being on the Clinton High School State Championship Baseball Team my Senior year.

15. My dad would have been very proud to know I received my doctorate since he had moments during my first year or so of college that he wasn’t sure I’d even graduate.

16. I am glad I did not quit baseball in college because of the friendships I made, even though I thought about it one year because after my wonderful high school experience, it just wasn’t the same.

17. My daughter, Halie, was inducted into her class’s Hall of Fame by her classmates at Briar Crest High School in Germantown, TN, for her singing ability.

18. I am thankful God allowed me to serve twice at the same church in the town I graduated high school and college from.

19. I gave my cousin a street sign with his last name on it years ago because his grandad was responsible for naming it. He needs to go to jail.

20. I had some guys give me a street sign with my last name on it because it was named after my grandad. They should go to jail, too.

21. Kellie is a great cook, even though I don’t mention it often.

22. My father-in-law positively influenced my Christian life when I was a teenager.

23. My dad put a deacon’s kid and me in his trunk after a church softball game because we were very dirty, and he had warned me not to get dirty because he had just cleaned his car.

24. I didn’t get in much trouble for misbehaving during church services growing up because I watched what happened to my older sister, Karen.

25. Serving as a youth minister years ago was extremely rewarding.

26. I lite a smoke bomb in my bedroom as a junior high kid, even though my buddy Irvin told me not to do it, and my dad got real upset because he thought our house was on fire.

27. I used to be deathly shy of girls as a young teenager and so I prayed earnestly about it at night for a long time. God answered my prayer.

28. The two early morning practices that I plan on doing until the day I die are exercising and having my devotional time. (1 Timothy 4:8, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”)

29. I am thankful for being raised in Kosciusko, MS, for at least sixty reasons.

30. At my core, I am a Whippet, Arrow, and a Choctaw.

31. If I were asked what I would want my epitaph to say, it would be Take God seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

32. My son, Trey, was a High School four sport letterman and really good place kicker at Eustis High School and has coached a number of high school kickers successfully.

33. I have never regretted telling someone about Jesus and I need to do it more.

34. One of my favorite quotes comes from William James, The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

35. My son and daughter were blessed with solo voices. Their mom prayed they would be.

36. My dad died when he was sixty, so, turning sixty is surreal.

37. I’m learning how to be a grandfather because mine died when I was young, and I didn’t get to observe my dad being one for very long.

38. I’m writing a devotional book this year and I am going to dedicate it to my grandsons.

39. I am beginning to forget, occasionally. The most frustrating is when I forget to put my deodorant on, which is why I usually use a lot of cologne, when I remember.

40. I don’t watch a lot of TV but do frequent ESPN a good bit.

41. I collect coffee mugs, lighthouses, turtles, and thinking about collecting cotton memorabilia.

42. I drink a lot of dark roast coffee in the mornings.

43. Jesus is real to me and continues to change my life.

44. I am still amazed God called me to pastor, but I am very thankful. He is gracious. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

45. Leading a church in my hometown to relocate was one of the greatest ministry blessings I have had.

46. I am thankful God put several Godly pastors in my life, besides my dad.

47. My grandfather Overstreet was a successful architect that had three children and numerous grandchildren. I am the only grandson he had, and I can’t draw well.

48. Thank God I had several teachers through the years that helped me know I was going to be okay.

49. About ten years ago I was asked to finish the semester for a High School bible teacher that resigned. I loved it, but I knew it was not my ultimate calling.

50. I hope to be able to be a chaplain for a ball team one day.

51. By God’s grace, I believe I have AT LEAST ten years left in me of full-time ministry.

52. I tease people because I love them, and I remind my mother-in-law of this a lot.

53. Kellie is my best friend, so, you can imagine how much abuse she puts up with.

54. I have been blessed with the greatest friends in the world and am extremely thankful.

55. I enjoy pastoring and helping people see that you can be a pastor and be “normal.”

56. The last decade of my life has been different than what I expected. (Proverbs 16:9, In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.)

57. I enjoy mentoring and hope to do more in the future. (Psalm 71:18, Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.)

58. I believe a sign that I accomplished part of what God put me here to do is if I have a number of black friends attend my funeral when I die.

59. I still miss my children, Trey and Halie, being at home.

60. Before it’s over with, I may get me some Botox at some point in the future like several of my buds.

As I share this while serving as Pastor of Fifth Avenue, I must say I am thankful for a church that accepts everyone. Fifth has allowed me to be myself for over six years now and I am grateful. I believe we are poised for the future and have the potential to have a significant impact on St. Petersburg and beyond.

Until Next Time...

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