Posts Tagged ‘Florida Campmeeting’

Youth Spiritual Explosion – November 21, 2009

In The Pastor's Blog on November 25, 2009 at 8:22 PM

What started out as an idea in a youth meeting culminated in a powerful event which included eight diverse churches from several local communities. It was an incredible evening of praise and worship, anointed preaching and fellowship. It was a testament to what God can do with willing vessels.

We are a small, but growing church in Central Florida. There really aren’t many youth here, but the ones we have are growing in grace and knowledge in Jesus; they are ready to step out in faith to accomplish great things in the kingdom of God. Their youth pastor is not the typical one, either, but that has not been anything but positive for our young people. It really doesn’t matter what the mold looks like as long as God is allowed to direct our journey.

The young people wanted to put on an event geared toward reaching the younger generation in our community. They came to the conclusion it wasn’t going to be something hastily thrown together to fill a time slot; rather, it would be on a grander scale. It would be challenging, lots of hard work and would have to bathed in much prayer and preparation. We would use the facilities on our church campus, too.

Many of our people were involved in preparing our old structures for what was to be an event unlike this church had ever seen. Fresh paint everywhere was the order of the day, cleaning on a grand scale, running cable and wire for sound and video are just some of the tasks undertaken by a dedicated group of our own church members. When joy is in the house, it’s much easier to get work done. There was even some hands-on training for altar workers.

We had packed the old sanctuary with chairs and had several rooms downstairs set aside as overflow in case we needed them. If that weren’t enough, we had the capability to run video and sound to our main sanctuary just in case. There was a good crowd and it was a good thing rooms had been prepared ahead of time.

One thing that still amazes me is the fact so many churches worked together to make this happen. There were four singing groups and four drama teams. That is eight churches represented in an evening when so many teens could have been at other places. What an incredible night. The groups had one common purpose, and that was to lift up the name of Jesus Christ and purposefully affect the lives of those who listened to the message they presented.

Our featured singing group was Julian Drive who hales out of Athens, Georgia. This ia group of guys who are loaded with talent and possess a powerful anointing to minister to people of all ages. Their story if fascinating, and full of a sense the hand of God led them to where they are now. You can read their story here. They really are a great bunch of guys, and I had the privilege of meeting their families during their short stay with us. If you need someone who is all about ministry, you would do well to contact them.

Bishop Jonathan Zeigler is an exciting preacher, to say the least. He has a heart for worship and a message to deliver, and he was our guest speaker. I don’t believe it was an accident he was chosen by our youth group. They had seen him at the Florida Campmeeting a couple of years ago as he preached the Friday Youth Night service. He brought a powerful, on-time word right from the throne of God. Many lives were impacted by what the Lord put on his heart to deliver that night.

Bishop told the incredible story of how he got to our neck of the woods, and it was nothing short of a miracle. He was tired and worn out from a great revival and all he wanted to do was go home and rest up for the next meeting. Well, when God gets in the arrangements, anything can happen. His office manager told him he needed to go to a youth meeting in central Florida, and he told her he was the boss and he wasn’t going. Well, she insisted and he knew it was the hand of God directing the orchestra. He didn’t even know where “here” was, but under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, traveled to “here” on assignment from the throne of God. It is an amazing story, and the word he delivered was indeed powerful. I wish you would have been here.

Our church and youth group are not done yet. We have begun making plans to do this all over again next year, but with a different focus. Some of the people are interested in Southern Gospel, and we can do that, too.


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.

Cambridge Large Print KJV 83 Black Text Only Bible

In Bibles on July 13, 2008 at 7:40 AM

Until Florida’s 99th campmeeting in June, I had never owned a Cambridge Bible. Mark Bertrand’s excellent Bible Design & Binding Blog has several articles about Cambridge, and the posts are quite informative. He has reviewed a few of the high-end sort, and includes some very nicely done pictures. Unfortunately, I don’t own a digital camera, so you won’t find pictures on this blog, yet.

My eyes are not doing as well as they once did, and it’s time to think about Bibles with larger text. Most of my Bibles would be just right if not for the fact they are so difficult to read. Browsing through Mark’s blog lets me know I am not the only who has this problem.

At all our campmeetings, Pathway Press sets up a bookstore; it’s not hard to spend lots of time looking at the offerings and talking with friends. Hanging around the bookstore is a wonderful time of fellowship and quite a learning experience, too.

I asked if there were any Cambridge Bibles on hand, and was directed to a table that had some very nice offerings. There was a wide-margin in bonded leather, which was a definite no-go. Besides, the text was way too small for me. On the same shelf was a wonderful little Bible – the KJV 83 Black bound in French Morocco leather. I asked if it would be okay to put this one aside until I made up my mind. No problem.

Well, I bought that text-only Bible, and am quite pleased with it. The text is sharp and big enough for me to read comfortably. I do wish it had been a red-letter edition, but I can certainly live with black text. I know there are many who prefer no red on the pages of their Bibles. How about you?

There are absolutely no references in this Bible, and that’s alright. It is used primarily as a daily reading Bible, and for that purpose, it’s perfect. Cambridge chose to include only one ribbon marker, but three should be standard, as far as I’m concerned. Please don’t be stingy with markers; they are so useful, especially for a daily reading Bible.

My copy came in a King’s College slipcase, unlike most of the newer offerings. I really like this nice touch, and think Cambridge should go back to using them instead of the boxes they now use. I know, it’s such a small detail, but it’s important to a lot of other people, too.

Finally, the cover quality is quite disappointing. The lining wasn’t attached very well, and is already coming loose. There’s a lump under the lining on the inside front, and the corners were poorly glued. These quality issues should not be so evident coming from the oldest publisher in the world.

I’ve already spoken to the fine people at Baker Publishing Group, which is the North American distributor for Cambridge University Press Bibles. I was told it would be no problem to exchange my Bible for a new one. The trouble is, there aren’t any to trade for. There aren’t any in stock, and no one knows when a new shipment will arrive. I stay in contact with customer service, and will eventually get word to send mine in for exchange. Until that time, I will continue using this great Bible.