Here is the video of Tojie and Anthony’s baptism as well as my sermon presentation at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, on God’s Hesed, relentless promise keeping and relentless love. The baptism is at 17:10. The sermon is around 100:00, but you will also enjoy the music and testimonies in between as well.
Today Tojie and Anthony’s friends, family and teachers from Tampa Adventist Academy came to the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church to support Tojie and Anthony as they both gave all themselves to Jesus in baptism, because Jesus gave all of Himself for them. You may watch the video of the baptism and service here. Baptism starts at 17:10.
Tojie is now in the 9th grade. When he was in the 5th and 6th grades he was in my Bible chain referencing class at Tampa Adventist Academy. Tojie told me a while back that he wanted to be baptized. Tojie and Anthony agreed to be baptized together so today was the day! Tojie writes,
“When I hear the word “baptism” the first thing that comes to mind is when Jesus got baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus didn’t need to be baptized. He was virtually perfect, but he did it anyway. Not because he had to, because he wanted to. Jesus wanted to set an example for us all. I think we should do the same.”
I met Anthony this year at Tampa Adventist Academy, where he is in the 8th grade. I enjoyed studying with Anthony as he is very transparent and sincere, and was not afraid to ask questions if there was something he was not sure about. His sincere quest for truth and Jesus has led Anthony to a very good understanding of the Bible and relationship with God. Anthony writes,
Baptism to me means that as I go under the water all my sins are being washed away, and as I come up out of the water I am free with a new start. I also believe I will have a stronger connection with God. I think he will have a stronger voice when He talks to me. When I read His Word I feel like things will be more visible. As I spread the gospel I will have a better understanding of God and He will reveal things to me.
After the baptism Tojie and Anthony were welcomed into the church family along with Anthony’s parents, Leighcraft and Sherri-Lee, who were already baptized. Pastor Brad Cassell went over the baptism vows and awarded them their certificates with the the Adventist fundamental beliefs.
Please don’t let another day go by before giving your heart to Jesus. After all, you are not going to be able to keep your life anyway, so why not give it to the One who can save it for all eternity? I would love to help you with this step. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net
On Sabbath, October 22, 2016 Maretta rejoined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Plant City. Earlier in the year Maretta was invited to some meetings being conducted by some young men from Southern Adventist Univeristy. Maretta attended more meetings than anyone else, and was soon coming to Sabbath School and church and helping out with our fellowship meals. She fit right in right away and has never looked back. Like most people who have fallen in love with Jesus, Maretta has been taking a friend with her regularly to Sabbath and School and church, who has also been having Bible studies with us. Maretta is glad to be back in God’s church and we are glad she is here!
Several years ago, some friends of my ministry suggested for financial security reasons, that I start my own ministry. That seemed like a lot of work to me, so I put it off. Then in the spring of 2015 I found myself looking for a new job. I thought maybe now is the time to take my friend’s advice and start my own ministry. However that still seemed like a lot of work, and I am really not a maverick, and would rather work more directly within the Seventh-day Adventist organization. So one morning I woke up with an idea. Instead of asking people to contribute to my own ministry, why not ask them to contribute to something that is already organized within the church? So I asked the Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church, if they would set up a fund that people could contribute to so that I could continue my ministry not only at Plant City but all over the place. As you know the rest is history and they said, “yes!”
Having been given the opportunity by the Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church, I stepped out in faith, relying upon people being moved by the Holy Spirit to contribute. Amazingly, after a year and a half the contributions are still steadily coming in! I am delighted that so many of you are still faithfully supporting this ministry so that I can focus all my time on actual ministry instead of fundraising. Now, I have been advised by the Plant City SDA church that the monthly contributions are down just a tad. God is still providing, so nobody is in panic mode, but if you are a faithful contributor, and believe God is blessing you for being a contributor, I would ask you to pray and ask God if He would like you to invite others to contribute.
Since my last newsletter God has blessed in many ways. Thank you for allowing me a moment to share just a few of those ways.
Last June I had my first Baptism at the Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church. Joyce and her 13 year old daughter Madeline were not attending church, but Madeline wanted to learn more about Jesus, and this touched Joyce’s heart as well. Soon we were studying the Bible together and they both were baptized together. Joyce writes, “I am not perfect. I thought that God couldn’t love someone like me. I was so wrong. Through my bible studies, I learned how God loves me and is there for me. Each time I read the bible, it opens my eyes and heart to a loving and forgiving God.” I am currently teaching a baptism class during Sabbath School time, and Madeline wants to help me in this class.
In May and June we had students from Southern Adventist university come to the Tampa Bay area, holding prophecy seminars at Plant City, Tampa and other areas. I was able to attend some of the training and planning meetings to do a little mentoring and even taking some of the student Bible Workers into the community to invite people to the seminars and begin personal Bible studies.
The Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church has fully embraced me as their own and even asked me to serve as head elder for this current term.
Tampa Bay area:
In the Tampa Bay area, I had personal Bible studies with Hans (Pictured) Cleveland, Paul and Nicson, who were all baptized during the June 2016 prophecy meetings at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. In addition to personal Bible studies my group Bible studies continue to grow strong in the Tampa area as well. Last Friday night, my group Bible study had 11 non Adventists, three of which have begun attending the Tampa First church after being in this study group. My other group Bible studies keep me busy as well. My Thursday afternoon teen Bible study group, again made up mostly of teens with no church, has some very faithful members. A few times a teen cannot make it to the study for family reasons or whatever, but they will join on Facetime or Skype. This week Tampa Adventist Academy confirmed with me, my Bible chain referencing schedule for the new school year. This will be the 7th year in a row that I have been teaching the 5th and 6th graders how to chain reference their Bibles and give their own Bible studies to their friends and family. All this in addition to baptism classes and taking my turns with the weekly chapels.
Around the World:
As many of you know, my mother passed away in the middle of June. I had several unexpected expenses from last minute airline tickets to funeral costs and so forth. Right before flying out, I prayed and told God that I wanted to stay out of debt, but of course would do whatever my family needed me to do. Right after my prayer, a faithful contributor in Texas saw on Facebook that my mother was dying. She sent me a message telling me that I needed to be with my family and that she was sending a generous gift which helped me with all my expenses! This was truly a sad time for me, but I was very comforted to see God’s loving hand as everything unfolded.
Being in Tulsa for my mother’s funeral and caring for my family afterwards, gave me opportunity to continue my Bible Work in Oklahoma. I was able to reach out to former Bible students during my Oklahoma days. Alan, who I began Bible studies with back in the ‘80s and even came to the Owasso Seventh-day Adventist Church when I would preach there, was able to connect with me again, and I connected him with the current Owasso Bible Worker. Alan wants to resume Bible studies after all these years, and will be returning to the Owasso Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Twice while visiting my mother while she was sick, I was able to share the gospel at the Broken Arrow Seventh-day Adventist Church.
I continue to write for the Sabbath School network, SSNET.ORG as well as my own website Inlightofthecross.com. Both websites are read from around the globe. A while back a church in Connecticut contacted me through ssnet.org and had me visit their church in Torrington twice to hold gospel meetings. Recently they told me of their plans to share my sermon on Youtube during the worship service.
So you see, even though Plant City SDA church opened up a fund where people can contribute to my ministry from around the world, this ministry also reaches beyond Plant City and goes around the world. It can even reach your neighborhood. All you have to do is give me a call. Thank you again for being such faithful loyal supporters and continuing to support this ministry, and for inviting friends to join you in supporting this ministry. Please follow me on Facebook and at InLightOfTheCross.com.
As always your tax deductable donations can go to the Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church, P.O. Box 5379 Plant City, FL 33563. Please mark your contribution “Bible Worker Fund.” Thank you!
As many of you already know, I spent most of last June in Oklahoma, because of the death of my mother, so I missed the baptisms of some of my Bible study students, who were baptized during the HOPE meetings at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church during that time. I would like to thank Pastor Brad and Dan Ferree for continuing to study with and mentor my Bible study students while I was away. God’s work is moving forward to Jesus’s soon coming where we will all meet with our loved ones agains and with Jesus, never to part!
I began studying with Paul before he and his wife Shayla had their son, William who is now in grade school. I am positive they named him after me. LOL Paula and Shayla are wonderful people. They have opened their home to foster children and have also adopted, creating a wonderful Christian home envirement for some very fortunate children.
I have also really enjoyed studying with Hans, who works at Florida Hospital and has become a valued member of our Tampa First SDA Church family. Hans loves Jesus with all of his heart, and is looking forward to helping with small study growth groups.
Hans was also baptized during the HOPE meetings, encouraging many others to give their lives to Jesus as well.
I enjoyed studying with Cleaveland before his baptism during the HOPE meetings, and am continuing to study with him and his wife, as she also wants to become a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.
As always I would love to help you in making your decision for Christ as well. If you are in the beautiful Tampa Bay area, or any other beautiful part of the world you can contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net. I look forward to hearing from you.
A few months ago Joyce told me her daughter Madeline wanted to be baptized, and that touched her heart, and made her want to be baptized also. We started studying together, and Joyce and Madeline’s lives began to change right away, as they put into practice what we were studying. Joyce asked me to share on example in particular. After studying about returning our tithe and offerings, Joyce decided to start tithing. Like a lot of us, Joyce was nervous, thinking she needed every dime she has to make ends meet. She decided to put her faith in Jesus, knowing He cared about her, and return her tithe. That same week she received a refund check she was not expecting, which was for the same exact amount that she had just tithed. She knew she could give all of herself to the One who gave all of Himself for her.
Madeline writes, “These the bible studies have helped me understand God’s word and his word is truth. I am understanding more and more about God’s love for me”
Joyce, who told me as we prepared for baptism that she wants to learn how to share Jesus in door to door ministry writes, “I am not perfect. I thought that God couldn’t love someone like me. I was so wrong. Through my bible studies, I learned how God loves me and is there for me. Each time I read the bible, it opens my eyes and heart to a loving and forgiving God.”
Joyce and Madeline were baptized tonight during our Unlocking the Mysteries of Bible Prophecy Seminar at the Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church. After the baptism we gave them their Baptism certificates and a plant as a gift. We encouraged them to continue nurturing their relationship and growth with Jesus, as they continue nurturing their new plants. Our friends from Tampa, Mike, Karmin, Kaleb and Eric came tonight to help us celebrate.
Joyce and Madeline’s family was also present to show their support as well. Joyce and Madeline are also very happy to choose the Plant City SDA Church as their family as well.
Please don’t let the sun set on your life without giving your life to Jesus, Who gave His life for you. If you are interested in being baptized I would love to help you. You can contact me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net.
I thank God I am still writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I want to thank everyone who has been contributing and/or praying for my ministry. It has been a wonderful year! I have kept all my old friends and Bible study students in the Tampa area, while making new friends and contacts in Plant City and beyond. I am enjoying the best of both worlds! Here is just a little of what’s been going on.
In Plant City: We recently did a mass mailing which brought in way more Bible study requests than I was imagining! This brought me to the door of an elderly lady who invited me in. I studied the plan of salvation with her. She asked what church I belonged to. I told her, “Seventh-day Adventist.” She told me her doctor years ago in Tampa was a Seventh-day Adventist. Dr. Guest. She told me how wonderful he was to her, even delivering medications personally to her home when she could not get out. Since he was such a wonderful SDA Christian she decided I should all right to study with too. I thought how cool that Dr. Guest helped me clinch a Bible study while resting in his grave. I hope to live such a life. I took Dr. Guest’s daughter with me on my next study and she was very glad to meet her! She told us she was looking for a church family. I invited her to our Christmas program at the Plant City SDA church, and she has been coming pretty regularly ever since. Last week she accepted the Sabbath!
Destiny is a young lady who attends the Emanuel SDA church across town in Plant City. She recently attended a Bible Worker school in Boston. She is on fire for the Lord, and has been enthusiastically helping me with all the leads we have. We have been working together on Wednesdays and Sabbaths both learning from each other and enjoying our teamwork. Destiny has lived in Plant City all her life, and is helping me find my way around, and she knows a lot of the people who sent in the Bible study request cards. She is a Godsend.
Our Acts 29, Wednesday night youth study continues to attract people from the community. Now, we have been invited to team up with the Spanish SDA Church, meeting in their church as well, to grow our group even more.
In Tampa: Last Sabbath I baptized two people at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.
During the holidays, Pastor Brad Cassell asked me to call Frank, who had completed the Amazing Facts Bible Study course. Frank joined my New Believer’s Sabbath School class and fit right in. This was the first time he was ever baptized and he is very excited about being a member at Tampa First.
Janea is the granddaughter of Larry and Janice Green, who were members of my class, and I have already studied with and baptized one of their granddaughters. Janea recently moved to Tampa in search of a new life with Jesus! Its been a pleasure and honor working with Larry and Janice’s family. Earlier in October I had the pleasure of baptizing Dekontee after our Bible studies, just like her sisters years before.
Tampa Adventist Academy: Every year I teach the 5th and 6th grade how to chain reference their Bibles to give Bible studies and get decisions for Jesus. This year I gave them a new assignment. They provided videos of them giving an actual Bible study to a friend or family member. The videos were sensational.
After one class, where we chain referenced the Plan of Salvation, Naomi was giving the presentation to her family for family worship before I even gave the assignment to share the studies with others!
Earlier in the year I held my annual baptism class at TAA, which led to four baptisms last fall.
Beyond Tampa Bay: Last October I celebrated my 50th birthday by going to Hugo, Oklahoma where I preached at the Hugo Seventh-day Adventist Church, and used Sabbath School time for a how to give Bible studies workshop. I also spoke that evening at their fall festival. I am available this year for more engagements so I would love to hear from you.
Again I want to thank everyone for keeping my dream alive to be sharing Jesus each and every day. The Plant City SDA Church is currently putting together a new website and hope to make online giving easier. In the meantime I appreciate your systematic contributions to the Plant City SDA Church, PO Box 5379 Plant City, FL 33563. Thank you for marking it for the “Bible Worker Fund.” Thank you for your contributions and for also sharing this opportunity with your friends and asking them to give and/or pray for this ministry. God bless you and happy 2016!
Your Christian Servant,
PS Please follow me on Facebook or my blog inlightofthecross.com to see even more exciting things God is doing in Plant City, Tampa and beyond!