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Archive for the ‘A Christian Life’ Category

Uncovering a Gold Mine

In A Christian Life on July 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

It has been quite a while since last posting on my blog; I have been lost in the land of social media: Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. While trouncing through the land, I have made many friends and learned a great deal about any number of subjects. For the most part, ministry has been my goal while walking through the land of endless chatter and updates. Though this post is being written for my blog, I am not going to abandon the other forms of writing – at least not yet!

Blessings from God come in a variety of shapes and sizes through a seemingly never ending caravan of resources. Don’t misunderstand me here on this very important point – God is our source; he uses resources to bless us and move his kingdom forward. God never did send his people out to work in this old world without equipping us to complete the task at hand.

Let me tell you about what God did for us at Liberty Lighthouse Church of God several months ago. This is a fascinating story – one that needs to be told so others can see the hand of God working in the lives of his people. Even now, I am amazed how God brought this about. He put people together in such a way that it would be impossible to doubt his guidance in the matter.

My youth group had been meeting upstairs in the old sanctuary for quite a long time. They practiced drama there, conducted Children’s Church and even taught a Sunday School class in that huge room. They even held the first Youth Spiritual Explosion in that old sanctuary, worn out carpet and all! We even had a luau up there. Let me just say, there have been a lot of tears shed and victories won upstairs in the old church building, and we’re not done yet.

Shortly after the luau, I was walking outside the parsonage one morning and looked across the street to see quite a surprise. There was carpet on the ground in front of the old steps. Well, it wasn’t long until I was upstairs looking at one of my youth leaders ripping up that old, raggedy, worn out carpet. “You said we could do what we wanted up here!” That’s exactly right. I began ripping carpet right along with him. Pretty soon we had piles of the old carpet stacked outside.

We called for a work night and on a Tuesday night a sizable group of people, young and not so young, showed up to continue the project. At this time there really wasn’t a clear cut plan regarding the direction we were headed or the project’s goal. We did know all the carpet had to go, though. It took quite a while to get the carpet out of the sanctuary, but it did happen after many hours of work. What was left was another story.

All we knew to do was scrape the floor with shovels and putty knives. The old glue was stuck to the old pine floor and wasn’t coming off very well, but we kept pressing forward. We spent many Tuesday nights scraping and cleaning as much as we knew how. It was a sight to see all those young and older people working together to get the job done.

Here’s where God came to our rescue. Some of our people were with family at a restaurant in town, and they met a man who owns a floor business, Beautifying Floors by DeVere. Oscar came by the church one day and to look at our project. What a wonderful man! Oscar and I hit it off and we began deciding the direction we would take to complete the project. Oscar gave his time, energy, expertise and love to the table in order to help us turn the old sanctuary into something beautiful. The meeting in that restaurant was no chance happening at all.

The word of God declares in Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” I do not believe in happenstance or luck in the lives of Christian people. God orders the steps of those who put their trust in him.

The sanctuary walls were in bad shape, too, and needed quite a bit of repair. Once again, the Lord sent someone by to help in our time of need. One of our new people works at Sea World in maintenance and knows how to do all sorts of things relating to construction and repair. He voluntarily spent a couple days of vacation time to repair the walls. What a blessing! I am also thankful for the volunteers in the church who spent hours preparing the walls for the work that followed.

Under that old carpet was a diamond in the rough. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful floors I’ve ever seen. It took a long time, but was worth all the effort. The walls that were in such bad shape are not that way any more.

God blessed in ways we couldn’t imagine. He orchestrated the whole affair, and we are not done yet. There is still more to be done, but we have no doubt the outcome will be amazing.

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Powerful Preaching

In A Christian Life, Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on July 9, 2009 at 10:11 PM

I have just been watching some powerful preaching by a man known all over the world as a prophet, preacher, teacher, college president, author and many other things, too. Dr. Ray H. Hughes has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with power and conviction for over half a century, and is one of my favorite preachers in all the world. What a powerful anointing is on his life.

For those of you who have not heard him preach, I am pleased to show you one of the greatest messages about Jesus Christ I’ve ever heard. This is Part 1, so you will need to find the other parts if you want to continue the message. Enjoy this video and be blessed by it.

Please let me know what you think.

Independence Party – A Great Success

In A Christian Life, The Pastor's Blog on July 5, 2009 at 11:19 PM

We had been planning this event for several weeks, and today finally happened. After hearing Dr. Owen Weston at our Florida Campmeeting this year, I became acutely aware of the need to reach out to the community more than ever before. Along with some of my leadership, we began planning a 5th of July party at our local church. We called it an “Independence Party.”

I’ve added a couple of pictures so you could see some of the day’s activities. The one on the left shows Pastor Lee Browning (Umatilla Church of God) on the right and me on the left. What a privilege it was to be part of what the Lord did; this was truly the highlight of the whole day.

The party began during the 11:00 morning service. The message was titled “A Fight for Freedom,” using Jude 1-3 as the foundational scriptures. The premise of the message was our need to fight for the faith which has been handed down to all the saints. Jude wanted to write to the people about their common salvation, but felt it more important to stir them up regarding the fight for their faith, which was under heavy attack. We celebrated Independence Day because brave men and women sought a better life for themselves and future generations. We must do the same in order to keep our faith active and alive.

There was a wonderful spirit of worship in our little church as people lifted their hands and voices heavenward, praising God with one voice. It was a powerful reminder that people have a desire to offer praise to the Lord of glory. I believe worship is a common denominator around the world – people were created to give honor to our creator, and that desire is a thread that crosses borders and language barriers across this world we live in.

After the service, we began setting up tables outside under a cover for the food and places to sit. The Umatilla Church of God and Praise Cathedral our of Eustis joined in with us for an afternoon of fellowship around the table. We used to have fellowship meals like this on a routine basis many years ago, but I think we got too busy; hopefully, there’s a change in the making. Our church provided the fried chicken and families brought cover-dish meals. We all shared what we had, and I don’t believe anyone left hungry.

We had the use of a water slide for the day, and there were plenty of people who enjoyed themselves in the heat of central Florida. In fact, this was the first time the pastor ever slid down one of those things; it was a blast and required another run down into the pool. Who said old people can’t have fun? Let me tell you, it didn’t take long to fill up the line after we opened the water slide for use; those kids ran as fast as I’ve ever seen.

The height of the day’s activities was our baptismal service. It was conducted outdoors in a large pool. Pastor Lee Browning from Umatilla and I shared in the privilege of baptizing 24 people. What an honor! Sister Connie Beck ministered to each person after baptism, speaking what the Lord had laid on her heart to share with them. I had asked her to take part in this important service, and she gladly accepted the invitation. I could sense the Spirit of God speaking words of encouragement and purpose into the lives of every one who made the choice to be baptized. You can look at some videos on Facebook if you would like.

After the baptism, it was time to begin cleaning up and putting things back in order. It didn’t take long because there were many volunteers from our churches who wanted to help. That’s the way it ought to be: cooperating together to reach a common goal. Chairs were stacked, tables were folded and utensils were washed. People working together – that was a beautiful sight.

After most everything was put back in order, my family and I made our way back to the parsonage, tired, but full of amazement at what the Lord had done today. We had some supper and I made my way to the couch to watch some TV. For some strange reason my eyelids closed pretty tight and what was on became very uninteresting. The day had finally caught up to me.

Thank you, Lord, for this great day. My heart’s desire would have been more people to enjoy it with, but we had a wonderful time with the ones who were here. (A pastor is never satisfied!) I don’t know what God has in store for us, but we will keep looking for his hand guiding us along the way.

Father’s Day – 2009

In A Christian Life, The Pastor's Blog on June 21, 2009 at 11:15 PM

To say there is a fresh excitement in the air at Liberty Lighthouse Church of God, would be akin to describing a Big Mac as a five-course meal. Several of our people came home from the Florida Campmeeting refreshed and with a new perspective on the kingdom of God. The Lord really did move on us as we worshipped with thousands of other people in that great tabernacle.

We have decided to move ahead with a renewed sense of purpose with God’s help and direction. There’s a world of people who don’t know Christ as savior, but need to, and we intend to do our part to reach some of them. It is a certainty we can’t reach everyone, but can affect those around us, those who can be reached by our people.

We had a great service today as we honored the fathers who were with us. There were several visitors today, and our people made them feel right at home – people are looking for someone to care for them. Do you know why many people don’t get involved in church or even show up? Simply because they’re not asked. I know what you’re thinking: I’ve asked until I’m blue in the face. You may have to ask someone else, but keep asking.

There were prizes given away today, and the guys really enjoyed that. More importantly, however, is the fact they were with Christian people and participated in the service with us. They were exposed to God’s word and fellowship. They heard singing and listened to the words of praise. It was a good thing to see them here.

Will they come back? Will they give their hearts to the Lord? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, and that is the fact one plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. If we Christians will do what we know to do, God will most surely do his part.

We normally have Sunday night services throughout the year with a few exceptions. Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and maybe a couple more. So, it’s normal for us to be at the church before the service begins, but not tonight. You never know what’s going to happen when there’s no evening service, so be prepared to be blessed by God and his people at all times.

My wife and I were at the parsonage, hanging out with our family, when she said “there’s a car at the church. Another one just showed up. Hey, that looks like Pastor Gary’s car.” Well, it wasn’t long until I changed clothes and ran over to where the cars were parked. Sure enough, Pastor Greer from the Lisbon Church of God, and some of his people had shown up at our church. I was embarrassed at first because these precious people travelled a good while to be with us, and here we were not having service this night.

Let me just tell you, all is okay. The visit was ordained of God and we had church anyway. We had great fellowship, prayer and a wonderful time in the Lord. There’s just something special when God’s people get together and share the goodness of the Lord; it is like family getting together around a big table and eating what’s been prepared.

We understand the importance of agreeing in prayer according to the scriptures. Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” After the Lisbon flock agreed with my wife and me concerning the needs of our church, Pastor Gary and I each picked up a musical instrument and let them sound in the midst of the people. He chose the ram’s horn and I had the shofar. What an awesome sound was heard as we lifted up the praise of those instruments to the Lord!

I wish you could have been here today and been a part of what the Lord did for all of us. If you live near us, pleas feel free to drop by. There is a link to our church and location on this blog.

My question is:

What will God do next?

Some New Bibles

In A Christian Life, Bibles, The Pastor's Blog on June 19, 2009 at 1:20 AM

While at the Florida Campmeeting last week, I found some great bargains at the bookstore, and would like to share them with you. One of the joys of each campmeeting is fellowship to be had as people gather around the book tables and other booths which are set up inside the tabernacle. There is plenty to see, and much to browse through.

Along with the Pathway Press bookstore, various ministries are represented, giving attendees valuable information about programs and opportunities for involvement. Some of the booths deal with missions, women’s ministries, feeding programs, media and evangelism. There is an excitement as people gather around these booths to exchange information and ideas.

This year I found a burgundy Thompson Chain bible bound in Morocco leather – 502BG. Looking on the inside, I noticed the bible was produced in 1988, so it has been on the shelf for a long time. The box looked like it was run over by a truck, but the bible is in pristine condition. It’s a little bit larger than my old Thompson Chain which was given to me in 1977 by the people of the church where I came to Christ as Savior. Bethel Full Gospel Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, maintains a special place in my heart to this day.

Another find was a Nelson hand-bound premium calfskin leather NKJV UltraSlim bible. I got a red/black and a solid black edition. These are well-made bibles similar to the Signature Series, but not close to being as polished. There’s nothing like the soft cover of a Nelson Signature Series; these two just don’t make the grade, but should be good for daily use for a long time to come.

There’s nothing at the bookstore that quite compares to either my R. L. Allan and Sons Chocolate Brown or Tan ESV1 editions, but these three bibles were great deals and will definitely be used. Who knows, they might end up as gifts, which would be a great use for them. I want them to be used – bibles aren’t much good if they just lie around gathering dust.

Florida Campmeeting 2009 – 100 Years of Holy Ghost Power

In A Christian Life, Family, The Pastor's Blog on June 11, 2009 at 2:45 PM

The Florida Campmeeting is in full swing, and God’s power and presence has permeated the place from the outset. As the title declares, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the grandfather of all Church of God campmeetings. The first such meeting was in 1909, and has blossomed into a large gathering of people from all over the world who come to be a part of this great event.

If you’ve never attended a Church of God campmeeting, you really need to. Let me encourage you to find one in your area and make plans to go. When you get there, participate in worship, fellowship and meet new friends. I promise, you won’t regret the effort you put into your experience. There is Spirit anointed singing, teaching, preaching and lives changed by God’s great power.

Campmeeting flyer

Campmeeting flyer

Bible Study Questions – June 3

In A Christian Life, Family Training Hour Questions, The Pastor's Blog on June 3, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Before getting to the questions for tonight, I would like to give you some information about the day’s events. We’ve had our 5-year old grandson with us for about a week and it was time to take him home. My wife would normally have made the trip, but she wasn’t feeling well this morning and I volunteered.

The boy and I left about 8 a.m. this morning, and I got home after 7 p.m. this evening. I only spent about 40 minutes with my daughter before having to get back in the truck for the return trip. What a day! Our grandson did very well; he played with toys and his Nintendo whatchacallit pretty much the whole trip. It was funny, because every now and then the cab would be filled with “Pappy, why does it have to take so long?” It must be difficult for a little fella to ride all those hours in the back seat, strapped in and not able to go anywhere.

I left my wife to handle the teaching duties tonight, something she is well able to do, BTW. A couple of hours before service she called me while I was navigating through some very heavy rain and told me she had called and cancelled service due to the inclimate weather. We have some who just have a hard time in bad weather, and I was fine with her decision.

Following are the questions we would have gone over tonight. I won’t post questions this coming Wednesday night as my wife and I will be at the Florida Campmeeting in Wimauma, Florida. What a great time in the Lord we will have: singing, hearing outstanding, Holy Ghost anointed preaching and teaching, fellowship and generally receiving instead of pouring out all during the year. It’s a time of refreshment and battery charging we look forward to each year.

  1. Where is the story of a captain being trampled at a gate of the city of Samaria?
  2. During a time of temple repair, who found a book of the law?
  3. Which prophet invited people to buy and eat wine and milk without money and price?

As always, please give chapter and verse. If you can’t do that, please give some details about why you believe you have the correct response. Again, I won’t give the right answers; thay way you can leave comments without me interfering. If you want to contact me for the answers I have, you are more than welcome to do so. Happy studying!

Look at This Blog

In A Christian Life, The Pastor's Blog on May 14, 2009 at 11:25 AM

While surfing around this morning, I came across an interesting blog and thought you would like to drop in a take a look, too. Margaret is a person who loves God’s word and writes often about it. Please drop by and see what I mean.

Bible Study Questions

In A Christian Life, Family Training Hour Questions, The Pastor's Blog on May 13, 2009 at 9:06 PM

This is a new feature and all are welcome to participate. Each week I will be posting questions asked during our weekly Wednesday night service. You can post your answers if you would like to join the discussion. I want to know the particular scripture where the answer is found. Let’s begin:

  1. Where do you find a list of the gifts of the Spirit? How many are listed? Name them.
  2. Where do you find a list of the fruit of the Spirit? How many are listed? Name them.
  3. Which prophet prayed for a king and had to go back inside before leaving the palace? Where is it found?

To clarify even further, our church reviewed these questions tonight, so I won’t post new question until after we’ve answered them. That way, it’s an even playing field.

Now, go study and find the answers! One thing is certain, this will help anyone who wants to study dig deeper in the word.

Pastor Appreciation Day – May 3, 2009

In A Christian Life, The Pastor's Blog on May 5, 2009 at 9:43 PM

There’s really no way to describe the day we had at Liberty Lighthouse Church of God today as the congregation and friends honored my wife and me. It was our day to relax and enjoy wonderful fellowship and the presence of the Lord along with everyone else. Understand, we always enjoy the presence of the Lord, but this time we were asked to sit back and others would carry the load, which they did quite admirably.
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Our children sang a song for my wife and me; you should have been there to see it. For your viewing pleasure, just click on this Facebook link. Those little ones sang their hearts out and we sure enjoyed hearing them. Our granddaughter is the one on the far right. She’s a tender-hearted little girl who shows her emotions in a powerful way.IMG_0232

A dear friend of ours, Sister Connie Beck, preached a powerful message about the role of a pastor. She spoke both from personal experience as a pastor’s wife and knowing my wife and me since before we were married. Sister Connie has a wonderful anointing on her life and speaks with a strong voice about things she is compassionate about. Our people were not only blessed to hear this woman of God, they were also challenged by what she had to say.

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Our drama team was also included in the service, and they really did an outstanding job. They give everything they have when performing, and our people were moved by the dramas they chose to perform. When they blessed us with the one about God breaking chains off those who have been so bound by the power of the devil, the people were deeply moved. They really outdid themselves.IMG_0236

For those of you who are not familiar with Pastor Appreciation Day, let me explain something to y0u that might give you and idea of why we like them so much. Our church ladies certainly can cook, and that’s a big part of this grand event. After the morning service, we made our way to where the meal and tables had been set up. The people outdid themselves making the room look festive and comfortable. I was really pleased as there were orange and blue table cloths scattered around for all to enjoy. Orange and blue, you ask? Go, Gators!

There were so many people who made this day happen, it would be impossible to thank them all. I don’t have pictures of all of them, either. To those of you who worked so tirelessly to make this a special day for the Liberty Lighthouse Church of God and my wife and me, thank you. You will never know how much this means to us.