Each one Reach one in 2015 at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church

This Sabbath, December 20th the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church will collect our Christmas offering.
Remember that this is not about money, but about the people that will be forever touched by it.  There are people inside and outside our church that need to know there is a loving Savior that longs to give meaning, purpose and forgiveness to their lives.
Our goal is to raise funds to continue to change lives through Bible studies, literature, training and the preaching of God’s Word.  We are praying to raise $20,000 for Evangelism for 2015.  Remember to bring your offering this Sabbath.  If you did not get an envelop in the mail we will have some available in the lobby.
You can also give online by Clicking here.

Glimpeses of the Cross Day 14; A Tree Makes A Bitter Life Sweet Again

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they [were] bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,  And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.  Exodus 15:23-26

Why did God have Moses put a tree in the bitter water? How did a tree make the water sweet? In 1 peter 2:24, Peter refers to the cross as a tree. In a world of hate and bitterness, Jesus died on that tree to save us from a bitter world. Sin has caused suffering and bitterness but Jesus was lifted up on the cross to make our lives sweet again. I and many others believe this is why Moses used a tree to make bitter water sweet again.

If life has made you bitter, I would like to invite you to experience the grace that can make your life sweet again, by visiting the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you are not in the Tampa Bay area, you can find a grace filled church in your corner of the world here.

Eva and Ramiro’s Baptism Pics

This morning at the Tampa First-Seventh-day Adventist Church, we celebrated the baptisms of Eva who was renewing her faith with a new beginning by baptism, and Ramiro who was baptized for the first time.

Ramiro William Tony

Several years ago, I studied with Tony (Right) and he got baptized. Tony also found Merlyn, an elderly spirit filled man in our church, to be his mentor. Merlyn and Tony both began giving Bible studies together, and even though Merlyn has had to slow down recently because of his health, (Merlyn has been giving Bible studies well up into his 90’s!)  Tony has kept right on going. Tony has been studying with several people lately who he meets in various places. One of those is Ramiro (Center) who was baptized today! Tony studied with him for quite a while, and then he felt he was ready we all studied together. As I went over our fundamental beliefs it did not take long for me to see that Ramiro had been a very diligent Bible student and Tony had done a good job of teaching him. There was not much work, if any, left for me to do and Ramiro was cleared for baptism.

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Merlyn was unable to be at the baptism due to his health, even though he is doing much better. Merlyn has been giving Bible studies for decades, and as I said earlier even recently while in his 90s. I hope I am still giving Bible studies and teaching as well as he does, when I am his age, if we are not already in heaven by then.

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Eva shared in her testimony:

“I praise our God and  Father and  His Son  Jesus Christ and their Holy Spirit for their grace and mercy towards me and you.I want to testify of God’s wonderful love and patience. I desire to renew my baptismal vows, I was first baptized when I was 19 years old. I have failed my God in many ways and have broken His tender heart many times. Today I want to testify before heaven and earth that I love my God and your God,  in 1 John 4:4 it is written” Greater is He that is in me, then he that is in the world.”

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Ramiro shared in his testimony that at age 55 he is being born again, and that by being baptized he wants to have all the power of the Holy Spirit to live a new life, walking with Jesus and obeying all of His laws of love.

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As Eva entered the water we played upon her request the song “Take me to the Waters.” It is a beautiful song setting the tone for a meaningful baptism.

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Another meaningful song that was shared was “In the Sanctuary.”  A very powerful song for a meaningful occasion.

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Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before giving your heart to the One who gave His heart on the cross for you! Why not make that decision today to give your heart to Jesus? I would love to talk to you about this. You can contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net . To find a Bible teaching church in your corner of the world you can find one here. 

Relational Life Groups Relating to Your Life

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church.

While I was a Bible Worker in another state, I studied with a divorced man who joined my church. While there, he met with other people in our church who were divorced and hurting. He told me, “This church teaches doctrines but this church does not have any divorce recovery groups or do anything to help heal hurting people.” He was right! Our church was doctrinal but not relational. In the past, I have been a part of evangelism efforts, which were little more than just  hurling doctrines at people. It takes more than amazing facts to win people to Jesus. It also takes amazing relationships. In Jesus’ evangelism efforts He always had correct doctrines but He was also always relational. He ministered to people’s hurts and helped heal their relationships with others and with God Himself.

While I currently work with a church that has it’s theology correct, I am glad it also values the importance of relationships with God and one another. We share some amazing facts, but at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church you will also find ways to have an amazing relationship with God, your family and your community. Our associate pastor, Claudette Aleman, has some amazing life groups starting for us and our community this Wednesday August 28, and will be going on for several weeks. Please check them out and share with your friends. Hope to see you there!

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Financial peace every young ladies

Abel, Ely, Janice and Ryan’s Profession of Faith

Yesterday was a special day at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church, as we welcomed four new members into church fellowship by profession of faith. Often our baptized Christian brothers and sister’s who discover the Bible truths taught by the Seventh-day Adventist church,  choose to join by profession of faith, since they have already been baptized into Christ. Please see page 51 of the Adventist church manual.  Please enjoy the pictures and testimonies of yesterday’s wonderful celebration.

Abel and Ely Study

I have had the pleasure of studying with Abel and Ely for the last several months. There home sits near a small lake, and we often enjoyed studying on the balcony overlooking the lake. They love God and His church family with all their hearts, and have already been very active in the church in many different ways, including attending my class on how to give Bible studies and lead others to Christ.

Ely Writes:

“My reconciliation with God and the Seventh-day Adventist Church

After been born and raised in an Adventist family, at the age of 17, decided to take my own path and make my own decisions as an “adult” in spite of my young age.  After such strong determination, left my parent’s coverage facing a new life filled with challenges and lessons which marked me for the rest of my life.   During those years away from the gospel, had intervals and a huge need to return to the ways of the Lord; but the distractions of the world kept me busy, maybe to the point of feeling “attached” which broke my first marriage and each us and our family.  At that very moment, it’s when and where I’d reached bottom and realized that my life had to change once and for all.

Is in the summer of 2010 when my children were with their father for vacation when I’d found myself completely alone and broken; cried out to my God, and asked for his favor to please get me out of the abyss I was in at the time. In a conversation with a former classmate at the seventh-day Adventist Academy, mentioned a book called ‘Knowing Jesus is everything’ (author Alejandro Bullón) and I said: “Let me see, I think I have it in my mini-library” when I go and look for it effectively there it was, still a ‘practically brand new book’.  This book was given to me in the year 2000 during my son’s presentation at church; also traveling to all the sites that I’ve lived; from Puerto Rico to Georgia, Georgia to Germany and Germany to Florida where I currently live.  The year 2010, was the one where the total transformation in my life started, after reading the book. Afterwards, I’d started to attend a non-denominational church where I was baptized in 2011 by both the pastor of the Church and the man who became my husband.  Only God knew what he was doing in my life.   I had no idea that God had that gift of a man, a true man of God and also that he will forgive me for all my sins and loved me and saved me and my children.

After my baptism, one of my former classmates of the Academy says “Ely, you know the truth” and I said “I won’t return to the Seventh – Day Adventist Church, I have a relationship with God and it is all that I need ‘. Looking here and there for churches, one morning passed through the Avenue in front of this church and I saw the sign that says” Seventh Day Adventist Church”. I remember a day like it was yesterday, it was the beginning of 2012 when I decided to take the step and stop by the church.  I got ready and drove to church; when I got there, Sister Isoline and the teacher Millie Mojica welcomed me and my family with such love and for the glory of God it remind me of my school days in the seventh-day Adventist Academy in Caguas, PR. At that moment, the promise of God that says: Stay faithful and I will give you the desires of your heart! Amen! I decided to establish myself in this church and told my husband “I’m not sure which church you want to belong to, but I am staying here” hoping that he was feeling the same way and to my surprise, he was. The Adventist Church is more than a church or organization, is a difference, in love and dedication all around the world. Even in Germany I found the ‘Pathfinders’ without looking for them and it brought back many memories.

My fellow brothers and sisters, the bible verse who says “Instruct the child in its way and even if it will be old will not separate of it” it became true testimony in my life. I felt as the bountiful son who was lost and returned. After trying to fill the emptiness in my life on my own, God filled me completely with the truth of the Adventism for his glory and honor. During all this process in my life my children, clearly, also were marked. To feel the voice of my son saying to me ‘Mami thanks for changing and being at home, you stopped going to clubs and now we have you here at home and in the church’. You will not know, how my son broke my heart with these words, but only it was looking at God and was giving him the glory and honor because it protected me and received me once again with open arms at home.

This is just a short part of my testimony, which I just shared with you, it’s meant for those parents who pray for  their children for them not to get tired or give up on them and for them not to stop doing it.   Also it’s intended for those children who have been feeling “aggravated” because of their parent’s ways of caring, to please  love them and forgive them because they are not perfect in any way, and for them to understand that we enter entire perfection when we turn to the arms of our Creator. These last months with the Pastor William in our house, God’s plan refreshed our beliefs and what we learned in previous years and now comprehend as adults for our lives under the coverage of the Adventism.”

Ely also supplied me with some pictures of her baptism in the same Word document she sent with her testimony. I could not get the pictures to transfer from Word to this post, but the entire testimony in Spanish with pictures are provided by just clicking on the word “Ely” on the line below.

El testimonio de Ely con fotos Ely

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Several Sundays ago we had a work bee at the church and Abel and Ely faithfully participated along with several other church family members. Abel is on far right. Ely is behind the camera.

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Pastor Brad, Center, prepared Ryan (on Pastor Brad’s left with his wife Erika)  and Janice (on Pastor Brad’s right with her boyfriend David)  to join by profession of faith.

Janice writes:

“I would like to start by thanking the congregation. I feel blessed to become a member of the church. I’ve been searching for God’s truth and The Lord led me to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Looking forward to continuance growth spiritually through the church.”

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While we presented the candidates to the church family, Abel thanks the church congregation for being family, and commended the church leadership for encouraging us all to grow together in Christ.Davis Island Dusk

Please don’t allow the sun to go down on you before you give your heart to the One who gave His life for you! I would love to talk to you about giving your heart to Jesus and becoming a part of His body which is His church. If you are not int he Tampa Bay area, you can still contact me and I will be happy to help you find a Grace filled Bible based church in your corner of the world. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Brad and Anna’s Baptism

Several months ago Mrs. Mateo, a teacher at Tampa Adventist Academy told me about a lady named Anna, who visited the school to teach a few science projects and was interested in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today Anna and her husband Brad were baptized! Please enjoy the pictures and stories.

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Brad and Anna worked on the Discover Bible Study Guides at home and would bring them for us to go over in class, as well as the In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides. Coming from different backgrounds, Brad and Anna would often bring a different angle of approach to the study which made for very stimulating study. Though we sometimes saw things differently our goal was always to go by the Bible and find out what the Bible says about each topic. This way we all learned more about the Bible from each other, as everyone’s background gives them something to bring to the table that can help others to learn more about Jesus and the Bible.

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Mrs. Wyatte and Mrs. Mateo, who befriended Anna and introduced her to me, joined us as Pastor Brad went over the baptism vows and we welcomed Anna and Brad into the Tampa First SDA Church family. Brad and Anna chose today to be baptized because it is their anniversary! Brad and Ann will also be joining my class, beginning July 6th on how to give Bible studies and lead others to Jesus.

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Anna writes:

” I have been searching most of my adult life for a faith that I could 100% fully & faithfully believe in. My  husband had told me about the Adventist faith and directed me to writings and information about Adventist. Time had past and life caught up with me….I was at a crossroads in my life and in search of guidance and answers. I was blessed to have a good friend reintroduce me to the Adventist faith and encourage me to attend Sabbath. I was pleased to find a faith that I already believed in, I couldn’t believe that a faith existed that was so true to my beliefs and values. The Adventist faith I believe is for me, its like second nature and something I believe is great for me and my family. Through my studies I have learned that all answers to my questions can be found in the bible and through prayer. Reading the bible and praying has brought me closer to GOD and given me clarity on life’s purpose. Most importantly I have a relationship with GOD and have strengthen my knowledge of the bible , this has granted me peace of mind . I am looking forward to being baptized and walking the path with GOD.    The Adventist faith has been a blessing in my life, it has opened my eyes, mind and heart. I know where I’m going and through Christ I am saved and truly blessed. I am grateful to all of those in my life that have helped me gain knowledge and understanding and I look forward to taking this journey towards GOD.”
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Brad Writes:

“William,
 It has been great studying the Bible and learning how the Seventh-Day Adventist faith can help me live a more fulfilling and Christ filled life. Without a doubt your patience in answering and explaining the basic tenets of Christianity to the more complex theological questions is a true testament to your breadth of knowledge. The encouragement and fellowship we received has helped build our confidence not only in our own walk with Jesus Christ, it has also helped us believe we are capable of helping others learn and appreciate the uniqueness of the Seventh-Day Adventist. By using what you have shown me as a foundation, I feel I am able to continue studying with a firm understanding that answers I seek about this life and the one hereafter are in the Bible. Thank you for your time and may God continue to bless you in all that you do.”
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Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:3-6 NLT 

By the way, I was very pleased, when after the baptism a lady from our church family invited Anna and Brad and myself to a celebration dinner after this Sabbath so she and her family can welcome them personally to the family of God!

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Please don’t let the sun set on you before you give your heart and life to the One who gave His heart and life for you! If you would like to know more about following Jesus all the way I would love to hear from you at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net. Even if you are not in the Tampa Bay area please contact me and I will be glad to direct you to a Bible based Christian church in your area.

Inernational Sabbath at Tampa First

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

This coming Sabbath the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church will be celebrating our unity in diversity. Several countries around the world are represented in our church family. God’s love is so big and great there is no way He could express all of his goodness in just one race or culture, so He created several races and cultures so each one can give us a glimpse of His love and goodness.

The worship service and parade of flags begins at 11:30am Sabbath, March 2. Pastor Conrad Duncan from the Florida Conference will be our special speaker. Before the worship service we will have one Sabbath School class, brought to us by our own Pastor Brad Cassell. At 5pm we will have a music festival and then at 6:30 will be our International Food Fair. The money raised at the food fair will go to help the Sabbath School department.

If you have any questions just call the church office at (813) 933-7505. Hope to see you there!