Tag Archives: claudette aleman

Celeste’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Celeste at Camp Kulaqua after responding to an altar call.
Celeste at Camp Kulaqua after responding to an altar call.

Celeste writes:

I have grown up in a seventh day adventist home since I was born. I followed the rules and did what was expected of me. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I really realized why I’m here. I realized that God had a special purpose and plan for my life and that it was my duty to fulfill it. But I was still scared. I still had that little thought in my head that I’m not good enough just yet. So I waited. Waited to find a change in myself before I found myself “worthy”.
A few weeks ago, I went to the annual high school bible retreat at camp kulaqua. It wasn’t until then that I really realized that I’ll never be worthy of the grace of God, but that’s okay because in his eyes, I am. I felt him calling me, so how I felt about myself didn’t matter anymore. I am “Unfinished” but God tells me that he’s that missing piece to complete me.

Pastor Claudette enjoyed studying with Celeste a couple years ago, using the In Light of The Cross Bible Study GuidesCeleste is an outstanding young lady both in our church family as well has her school where she is a high school senior. Still Celeste had not made her decision to baptized, and while Pastor Claudette and I invited her to, we did not want to pressure her. Baptism is a personal decision one must make on their own. As Celeste wrote, a few weeks ago I went as one of the chaperons to the high school Bible retreat. The theme was “Unfinished” and how we all are unfinished and imperfect without Jesus. I was very happy when I saw Celeste respond with several others to an altar call for baptism. I know the theme for the retreat was designed by God, and Celeste took her stand.

Many people, like Celeste think they must wait to be better to come to Jesus. But as Celeste realized, this is not so.

Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better; until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then, you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of Jesus, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7.-Christ Object Lessons, Page 205-206 

If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts? “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23. There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are. -Steps to Christ, Page 31

Celeste

Before the baptism today at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Brad went over the baptismal vows with Celeste.

Celeste 1

When Celeste decided to be baptized she chose November 1st as her date to be baptized as she did not want to wait any longer to give her life to Jesus.

Behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

Celeste 2

 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 

Celeste 3

All smiles! All beautiful smiles!

I am writing today from somewhere in beautiful Florida.

Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you give your life to Jesus. You will never be compete or “finished” without Jesus! Wherever you are, whatever your situation is, you can come to Jesus and He will accept you just as you are! Jesus will accept you even if you feel you are still a great ways off. God will run to meet you where you are.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 

Jesus loves and accepts unfinished and incomplete people!

If you want to come to Jesus and want someone to talk to or pray with, you can always contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net or (813) 933-7505.

Ciera’s Baptism Pictures

This morning was a special day at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Not because it was St. Patrick’s day, but because we welcomed another saint into the body of Christ. Ciera gave her life to Jesus today by being baptized, because Jesus gave His life for her. Please enjoy the pictures.

Ciera has been looking forward to this day for a long time. Over the years, at Tampa Adventist Academy, she has been in several of my baptism classes. In addition to baptism classes, she is also pictured here in my Bible marking-chain referencing class that I hold at TAA. She is learning to share Jesus with others. The other day in class I did some role playing, and pretended I did not believe in the Sabbath. Cieria quickly found Bible verses to let me know the Sabbath, and the rest we find in God’s grace is still very much in effect.

This morning, Pastor Brad Cassell, went over the baptism vows with Ciera before the congregation.

The smile on Ciera’s face shows she has been looking forward to and preparing for this day for a long time.

Even though Ciera’s family are members of another Adventist church in the area, Ciera chose to be baptized at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church by Pastor Claudette Aleman. We are glad Ciera chose Tampa First, and consider her family a big part of the Tampa First family.  All the area Tampa Bay area Adventist churches are just one big happy family!

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. Colossians 2:12 NLT

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:5 That new life sure puts a smile on your face, doesn’t it!

Ciera and her family had several family and friends over for lunch today to help celebrate!

After a long day of celebration, worship and fellowship, we closed out the Sabbath together with some songs and a devotional thought from the Bible.

Please don’t let the sun set on you before giving your life to the One who gave His life for you! If you are interested in baptism I would love to talk to you and help you prepare for this important life changing step. You can contact me at LayPAstor@TampaAdventist.net

New Testament Grace In The Old Testament

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

As I continue my journey through the Old Testament I continue discovering the same grace that is in the New Testament.

In Exodus 12 I read about the Passover and God delivering His people from the bondage of the Egyptians. In Exodus 19-20 God reminds them that they did not deliver themselves but that He delivered them by His grace, and as He goes on and gives the Ten Commandments, He in reality is promising to deliver them from sin by His grace.

When the children of Israel came to the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were chasing behind them  “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 Here we see once again the grace of God delivering by His own hand and not by our might or power.

While the same grace found in the New Testament is also found in the Old Testament, the same law of the Old Testament is found in the New Testament. “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Luke 10:25-28 This was a quote from Deuteronomy 6.

Also the command to love one another is not a New Testament law to replace the Old Testament law. John is quite clear that the law to love one another came from the beginning. “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” 2 John 1:5-6 In Romans 12 Paul tells us that love helps us to keep the law and not hurt our neighbor through murder, adultery or coveting.

 

If you are in the Tampa Bay area, I would like to invite you to experience this grace at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Brad Cassell Lead Pastor, and Pastor Claudette Aleman Associate Pastor. If you are not in the Tampa Bay area you can find a grace filled church in your corner of the world here.

Glimpses of Grace; No Harm Done

I am writing tonight from the Tampa Bay area.

After serving Laben14 years, Jacob tells his daughter’s:

“And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.” Genesis 31:7

I too can testify that over the years, everytime someone has tried to cheat me or hurt me, that God has more than blessed me, and has kept them from hurting me.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isaiah 54:17

If you are in the Tampa Bay area I would like to invite you to visit our grace filled church at Tampa First.  You can find a grace filled church anywhere in the world by clicking here.

Tampa First Adventist Youth Group Wants Your Sole!

While the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist youth group, led by Pastor Claudette Aleman, has always been interested in your soul, now more than ever they really need your sole! Actually they want all the soles you can give them.  Their goal is to collect and give to those of the community in need,  1,000 or more pairs of shoes. Now we all know our soles are not  perfect, but if they are that’s great. New soles are accepted, as well as not so new soles. They want your sole even if it has been used, so long as it is still decent.  Normally at Tampa First we would tell you there is hope for your soul no matter what, but in the case of soles and shoes, we would ask they at least be decent.

You can mail your soles to the church or just bring them by. Either way, the address is Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. 822 W. Linebaugh Ave. Tampa, Florida 33612. You can mark the package “Tampa First Youth Group”, or since we don’t really get that many shoes in the mail anyway, we will probably just know what they are for.

Everyone needs a sole! Thank you for giving your soles to those in need!

Glimpses Of Grace; Controversy Between Good And Evil

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  Exodus 25:8

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God…  Isaiah 59:2

I have often heard that the Great Controversy between God and Satan is about whether we can keep God’s law, and that God is wanting to produce a people who perfectly obey His law before He comes.  However, in my own personal study of God’s Word, and the Spirit of Prophecy, while I find promises galore about God’s promises help us obey His law, I do not find that is what the Great Controversy is all about. What I find, is that the Great Controversy, or the Conflict of the Ages, is about whether or not God is love. As a matter of fact, if you have ever read the 5 volume Conflict of the Ages, Series from the Spirit of Prophecy, have you noticed that the first line of the first book is “God is love”, and that the very last line of the last book is “God is Love” ? That is what the conflict is all about!

Many are familiar with this passage from Christ Object Lessons page 69. , “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”  While nothing changes about the truth of that statement, I believe we need to change how we apply that truth. Have you ever heard the phrase, “trophy bride?” That is when a man who wants to impress his peers, shows up at a party with his beautiful, perfectly proportioned, flawless complexioned wife, to show off for all to see. There may be no depth to their relationship but he likes to show her off to everyone.

Friends, I don’t believe God is looking for a trophy bride. I don’t believe He wants a perfect church to show off to the universe. I believe He wants a deep and meaningful relationship with His bride, the church. By God’s grace we can live victorious overcoming lives, but that is not what it is all about. God wants to remove sin, not so that He can show us off as some sort of trophy bride, but so that He can restore His relationship and dwell right inside us. While God dwelling right inside us will solve the sin problem, more importantly to Christ it restores the relationship. Meanwhile, with the relationship restored, the perfection of love is seen between God and His church, thus letting the world see that God is love, so they too can make an intelligent decision to have or not to have a relationship with God.

Jesus didn’t die for a trophy bride. He died to show us He really loves us and  is dying to restore our relationship with Him.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area, please come to the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, where you can meet and fall in love with God!

Find a caring church anywhere in the world by clicking here!

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Why I am Proud of My Tampa First SDA Church Family

I am writing today from my beautiful Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church in the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

This week’s SS lesson deals with the reputation of the church in Rome. Thursday’s section asks the question, “What about your local church? What kind of reputation does it have? Or, even more important, does it even have one at all? What does your answer tell you about your local church? More important, if need be, how can you help improve the situation? “

 

There are many reasons I am proud of my church, The Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    1.  Our community Service Center has a reputation in the community for helping feed and clothe the less fortunate. This is done while protecting the dignity of those we serve. After all, in today’s economy we never know when we will be next.

2.       Our evangelism is passionate and Christ centered. For example, our church will be reaching out to the community next Saturday evening when we show the movie, “To Save A Life.”  This is not your ordinary Adventist evangelism campaign. The movie addresses issues such as teen suicide, cutting, teenage sexuality and drinking. Topics not usually covered in a regular evangelistic meeting, but our church wants to do more than make new members, we want to meet people’s needs right where they are! I love the attitude of our new associate pastor Claudette Aleman. She has a passion for souls, not just numbers in her church. She has been inviting other churches of all denominations to bring their youth and join us. She will then provide these churches with a program to follow up with their own youth after seeing the movie. She is making it a team effort and being a team player, reaching souls not for herself or her church but for Christ! Her heart’s desire is to help young people find Jesus regardless of what church or denomination they choose. Evangelism without politics, how refreshing!

I could go on and on about how proud I am of those serving at Tampa First and I plan to as time goes on in these lessons. I want to exclaim with Paul, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:8

Find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.