Faith Assembly

July 16, 2014

This Summer marks the sixth year that Lou Ann and I have been attending Faith Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida, and it has been a wonderful place to work and worship. We have been blessed so tremendously by the Lord, and I just wanted to take the time to reflect on these past few years.

In the Summer of 2008, we had been attending a revival that had changed our lives in a marvelous way, and one of the blessings of that period was God’s leading us to Faith Assembly. We had been members of Calvary Assembly from 2001 to 2007, but when Pastor Robin Cox, Pastor of Evangelism, left the staff of that church, we made a change as well (attending a small church in Lake County for about a year-and-a-half).

Not too long after we began going to Faith, I began my first semester at Asbury Theological Seminary. It was a unique time in our lives, to say the least. The amazing part of seminary was God’s providing a full scholarship, miraculously, to the school.

At the end of that first semester, I had the privilege of meeting with the Small Groups Pastor of the church (at that time), Phil Waisanen. He would, eventually, be my mentor during my third and final year in seminary, but most importantly, he was the head of the evangelism ministry at Faith Assembly, a ministry that I would become a part of for five-and-a-half years. He would be one of the greatest influences in my life for evangelism, along with Robin Cox.

Faith Assembly is headed by a man of God who has been there for over thirty-five years, Pastor Carl Stephens. He began his work at the church as the Youth Pastor, and he has been a great blessing to me for the six years that we have been there. I thank the Lord for his vision for the future of the church, which has now included a wonderful new facility at Curry Ford Road and Econlockhatchee Trail. The youth center is in the process of construction and will be finished, hopefully, this year.

Speaking of the youth department, we have very talented pastors who head up this ministry, Pastor Johnnie Wilson, Lead Youth Pastor; Matt Engle, Middle School Pastor; and Pastor Ashley Hawks, Children’s Pastor. These three have a heart for youth, and that is apparent due to what God is doing in this ministry of the church.

Next, our Small Groups Pastor is Jim Angelakos, and he is a caring and devoted pastor in the church also. Evangelism, which I head up, falls under this department of the church, and it has been a blessing to work under this wonderful man. He is an inspiration to me.

Our Men’s and Singles Ministry Pastor is Wayne Sidley. He also co-heads the Men’s Encounters (weekend revival-type gatherings for men) with Pastor Jim. He has been a part of this church for over twenty years.

Our Music Department is lead by one of the most talented worship leaders around, Pastor Matt Perkins. The praise and worship of Faith Assembly is one of the amazing parts of attending this church. It is unparalleled.

Our Business Department is led by Pastor Ben Rhodes, C.P.A. It has been a pleasure to work with this man for several years now, and he is definitely called by the Lord to this work.

We, also, have a great Counseling Department at the church, led by Dr. Scott Bush. This is an invaluable arm of the church that is reaching many people for God.

The Education Department, led by Pastor Marcos Gonzalez, has been a pleasure for me to be a part of as well. Pastor Marcos has been with the church for three years, and his expertise and dedication to education are apparent. It has been wonderful for me to be able to teach evangelism and to come under Pastor Marcos’ care.

I could go on for quite a while, but I will stop for now. I wanted to thank Jesus for leading Lou Ann and I to this phenomenal church that is doing the work of the Lord. “Thank you, Lord, for your direction.”

Photo Credit:  turbosound.com

 

Prayer for Israel

July 12, 2014

    The Bible tells us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).  The following is my  prayer (that I try to pray daily) for Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish and Arab people living in Israel.

“Lord, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for blessing for the nation of Israel.”

“Jesus, I pray that the Jewish and Arab people will come to know you as Savior, Lord, Messiah and King.”

“Lord, give wisdom, guidance and direction to Benjamin Netanyahu and those under him.”

“Lord, protect the borders of Israel.”

“God, I pray that you would confuse, frustrate and thwart the plans of Israel’s enemies:  Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, North Korea, China and Russia.”

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Photo Credit:  veteranstoday.com

Don’t You Think…..?

June 20, 2014

Don’t you think, by now, that we should have a cure for cancer? Yes, although there are many different kinds, we should have made greater progress through research.

Don’t you think, by now, that there should have been an invention that allows seawater to be the fuel for the automobile engine? Yes.

Don’t you think, by now, we could grow twice the amount of food in the same space, thereby reducing world hunger significantly? Yes.

Don’t you think, by now, that there should be a non-toxic pesticide that would decimate the worldwide mosquito population and, as a byproduct, would reduce human life lost to malaria? Yes.

Don’t you think, by now, that there should have been a way to reduce crime in our major urban areas? Yes, assuredly.

Well, here’s what happened. The cancer researcher was aborted in 1981. The inventor was aborted in 1975. The agricultural specialist was aborted in 1990. The chemist was aborted in 1985, and the politician was aborted in the first year of legalized abortion, 1973.

Photo Credit:  blog.smu.edu

Church at the Barn

June 16, 2014

Yesterday, my wife and I had the privilege of attending worship service at Church at the Barn in Astatula, Florida. It was an actual barn that was transformed into a church. It is a wonderful sight to see in the pastureland of Lake County, Florida.

The pastor of the church is Steve Lee who was a childhood friend of my mother’s youngest brother, John. His wife, Janet (Donise), was a childhood friend of mine. They are doing a wonderful work in leading this body of believers in Central Florida.

We were welcomed like royalty by Pastor Steve, Donise and the entire congregation. It was a blessing to be able to worship with old friends and acquaintances.

Donise did a great job in leading the worship in music, and Pastor Steve preached a great sermon on the Father’s Day theme. To God be the glory!

Photo credit:  mychurchatthebarn.com

 

39th Birthday

May 27, 2014

30 A.D. to 33 A.D., this is the time when most Biblical scholars think that Jesus was crucified.  We have many sources, Biblical and non-Biblical that put the time of Jesus’ death around those years.  We don’t, however, know the exact date.

I do know, though, the exact date when the Lord miraculously saved me.  It was on Tuesday, May 27, 1975 between 9:00 and 11:00 pm.  It was a night that would change my life forever.

I thank the Lord for what He did 2000 years ago on the cross, and I thank him for what he did 39 years ago for a little twelve-year-old boy who was lost.  Thank you for saving me, Jesus!

Life in the Fast Lane

May 25, 2014

Memorial Day weekend holds the greatest day in the sport of motor car racing. Three of the world’s biggest races happen on this particular Sunday: The Monaco Grand Prix (Formula One), The Indianapolis 500 (Indy Car) and The Coca-Cola 600 (NASCAR). Without a doubt, the auto racing enthusiast is entertained from morning till night on this day.

This morning, as I was getting ready for church, I watched Nico Rosberg win the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. After lunch, I came home and watched Ryan Hunter-Reay win the 98th Indianapolis 500. Tonight, Fox will cover the Coca-Cola 500 live from Charlotte, North Carolina.

In auto racing, there are many dangers in traveling at speeds that range between 200 and 235 miles per hour. There is a fine line between a great “pass” and disaster on the track. It takes a special person to be able to handle all of the obstacles, hazards and perils that are “thrown” at these professional race car drivers.

The Apostle Paul alludes to competitive sports, in the Christian life, when he wrote, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Just as the winners of earthly races win the crown for their endurance and perseverance, so will those who are faithful to Jesus. The Lord will give them the greatest prize of all: eternal life.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Photo:  en.wikipedia.org

This afternoon, I went to the Oakland Nature Preserve, about a mile from my home, to have a devotional time of Bible study and prayer. As I sat on the dock on the shores of Lake Apopka, an alligator popped up out of the water and proceeded to “stare me down” for about twenty minutes.

I was in the book of Proverbs, but I quickly switched over to the forty-first chapter of Job which talks about “leviathan” which some believe is a crocodile or some sort of water-borne reptile. As I read aloud this writing of Job, I did see the similarities between an alligator, cayman or a crocodile when Job speaks of “his teeth are terrible round about” (verse 14) and “His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal” (verse 15).

But when I read on further in this chapter, the beast that is described does not mirror that of a “croc” or “gator.” Here is what Job says, “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth” (verses 20-21). This sea-monster that is recounted sounds like a fire-breathing dragon.

Now I know that the we aren’t supposed to believe in fairy tales, but what else could Job be describing? Could a prehistoric animal have lived in the past like the one Job speaks of? With the risk of sounding ridiculous, I say, “yes.”

Scientists tell us for a fact that dinosaurs lived on the Earth, and we have all seen the bones of these awesome creatures. But could a fire-breathing one have eluded the experts? Since none of us were there to see, I would say it is a definite possibility. Once again, what else could Job have been describing?

Here’s my main point: the scientific “experts” tell us that the world is going to end because of “global warming,” or should I say “climate change” (The climate has always changed, by the way. They’re called seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall). But despite their cries, we keep having these record-breaking cold Winters. Go figure!

Truthfully, I can more easily believe in a fire-breathing dragon than I can global warming. The scientists who did the studies on global warming destroyed their records because the data did not match the political propaganda. Global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it is a hoax.

Here is a weather forecast, however, that you can “take to the bank.” Moses writes in Genesis, after the flood, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

Photo:  commons.wikimedia.org

     On Friday, April 25, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry spoke these words, “A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”  He likens Israel to the South African government that oppressed its citizens for many years.

     Soon after his dreadful words, deadly tornadoes began to tear apart many southern states within the borders of the U.S.  Is this a coincidence?  I think not.

     In the book of Genesis it says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).  Unfortunately, Mr. Kerry doesn’t read his Bible very often.

     It appears that his statement mirrors the thinking coming out of this administration.  The United States is an ally of Israel in name only.

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

 

 

What is a Blood Moon?

April 19, 2014

     A blood moon is a lunar eclipse.  This occurs when the Earth blocks all but a small portion of the sun’s light from reaching the moon.  The small amount of light makes the moon appear a reddish color.  The phrase “blood moon,” however, is not a scientific one.

     The term “blood moon” or “moon into blood” comes from the Old Testament prophet, Joel.  He writes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come” (Joel 2:30-31).

     On the Day of Pentecost, when the Church was founded, Peter also spoke of Joel’s prophecy when Luke penned these words, “‘And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come’” (Acts 2:19-20).

     Jesus gave us many hints as to His return in the Gospels.  These signs can be found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.  In Luke, Jesus says, “‘And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity’” (Luke 21:25).

     True, we don’t know the “day or the hour,” but from most Biblical experts we hear that the Coming of the Lord is soon.  Maranatha!

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

 

Lunar Eclipse

April 15, 2014

     This morning, I got up before 3 am to see the blood moon just before it went into full eclipse.  It was beautiful.  Mars was just to the right of it, at its closest point to the Earth in six years.  Also, the star, Spica, the fifteenth brightest star was just below the moon.  This night was one for the books.

     Speaking of books, the Bible mentions signs in the heavens that would occur just before the “catching up” of the saints (the Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:17) and just before Jesus returns to Earth (the Second Coming).  Both the Old and New Testaments speak to these events.

     After coming back inside my home this morning, I went on a British website to continue watching the live lunar eclipse.  This sentence caught my attention on this site, “The eclipse was the first of four in the next two years – a rare astrological event called a tetrad which some religious extremists believe heralds the end of the world.”

     Well, here’s what the prophet Joel wrote:  “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come” (Joel 2:30-31)

     This is what Peter said on the Day of Pentecost (also quoting Joel):  “‘And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come'” (Acts 2:19-20).

     Now, here are the words of Jesus: “‘ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken'” (Matthew 24:29).  “‘But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light'” (Mark 13:24). “‘And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity'” (Luke 21:25).

     Well, I guess if believing the Bible and the words of Jesus make me a religious extremist, then I guess I am one.  Maranatha!

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

 

 

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