Alexander’s Baptism Pictures and Testimony

Oct. 4 006

This is a picture of Alexander several years ago in our neighborhood Bible study group. Alexander and his family have always been very active in sharing Jesus with their friends and neighbors. Several years ago, while we were all studying the Bible, Alexander told me he wanted to be baptized one day.

Now, several years later,  his parents were using the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides, to help prepare him for his baptism.  Years before, Alexander was already in love with God. One day when he was little the family had been saving up their spare coins in a huge jar. As the jar got full the family realized they now had quite a bit of money in there. One night at dinner they started discussing ideas of how they could spend their hard earned and saved money. Disney World? A vacation to the beach? An expensive video game? As they sat at the table discussing ideas, Alexander and his sister Ailyn came up with an idea. “Let’s give it all to the church to help others learn about Jesus” they said. And that is just what they did! Alexander knew that God had given everything He had when He gave us Jesus, so Alexander wanted to give God everything that he had!

Last Week at Oshkosh Pathfinders camp in Wisconsin, Alexander once again gave all of himself to Jesus because Jesus had given all of Himself for Alexander.

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Pastor Brad, our senior pastor at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church was on hand to baptize Alexander at Oshkosh.

Alexander writes: “The reason I wanted to get baptized was because at Oshkosh the preacher on the third night said something very powerful that moved me. Near the end he said, “If you would like to give your life to God, tell your director and come to the front at the end. We did but nobody was there, so we prayed with this kind guy that was standing there.

After that everyone went back to camp. Everyone was tired but I was excited to give my life to God! So I went to the charging station to charge my I-pod so I could get pictures for the baptism that started at 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning. So we woke up  I was excited. We all left we got there and there were so many people giving their life to God I was surprised we went in line again when you get up there they ask where you’re from and your name and I go into the water feeling and thinking of all the wrong things I have done in my life, and thinking that God gave His life for me that we would one day see Him that one day He will come to pick His children and I want to go with God. I want to live an eternal life with Him that I want to go to heaven. Then I go to the pastor, look around , and there under the water I saw the sun shining  directly on top of me and I heard that God said, “Welcome my son I have been waiting.” 

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

God’s love is shining on you just like it is shining on Alexander! If you too, would like to give all of yourself to Jesus, because He has given all of Himself to you, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Galatians: Boasting in the Cross

I am writing today from beautiful Collegedale Tennessee, where I am celebrating Christmas with my family. Merry Christmas!

 Here are my thoughts on this week’s SS lesson. For the phone app of the SS lessons click here.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Gal. 6:14

 

Several years ago, when I first became an Adventist Book Salesman, I was attending an awards banquet for the best sales persons in the south west. I was awe struck by the nice shiny plaques and trophies the winners were receiving for leading the region in sales, hours worked, and other categories. I was so impressed that I decided right then and there that I was going to be number one next year so that I could receive such a reward at the next awards banquet.

 

So the next year I went out and worked from early morning until as late at night as I could. After all, if I couldn’t lead the region in sales, I could at least lead in hours worked by just working all the time. Sure enough by the end of the year I had lead my region in hours worked and in sales! I could not wait to receive that award I had been fantasizing about all year! Only one problem: due to finances there was no awards banquet that year. Nothing for me! No recognition! I was angry and upset. I had been slighted. I felt insulted by my leaders.

 

Soon after that, I was on my way to an appointment to show the Christian books to a family in Grove Oklahoma. As I was driving down an old dirt road, I ran across an old historic church and a very old cemetery next to it. Being the history buff that I am, I decided to take a few minutes and look around. It was interesting! Many of the people had died in the 1800s. I saw many graves for children and little babies. One family had lost four babies over the course of a few years, and I was amazed at the faith of this family as they had a Scripture promise engraved on each grave marker.

 

As I was contemplating the suffering this family must have endured, it dawned on me that many of these people had died at ages a lot younger than I was. Soon I was contemplating the fact that I had outlived many of these people and of course was the only one alive right now. Soon a voice inside my mind started asking me the questions, “Why have you out lived these people and why are you alive right now?” As I pondered the suffering and heartache of the families represented in the cemetery and in the world today, it hit me like a bolt of lightening! I am not alive today to win trophies and awards.  Those trophies cannot heal broken hearts, they cannot forgive sins and they cannot give people hope for tomorrow. Suddenly I realized how selfish and silly I had been. I decided to minister to save People’s souls and give them hope and not to win awards. I then realized the meaning of the words in an old classic hymn, “When my trophies at last I lay down, I will cling to the old rugged cross.”  I realized my trophies were my works, what I had earned. Of course nothing that I had earned, could ever heal a broken heart, forgive a single sin, or save my soul, let alone someone else’s!

 

Finally, the regional director felt sorry for me and sent me a very nice plaque. Several years after that, I was asked to have a vespers service for a church youth group campout. I asked them to have a bonfire going as I gave my talk. I showed the kids my nice shiny plaque and let them admire it as I talked about how hard I had worked for it. Then I told them how that plaque could do nothing to save me or anyone else. I then took the trophy and threw it into the fire. As the trophy melted in the fire and the kids looked at me with shocked expressions, I told them that “My trophies I lay down and now cling to the old rugged cross.” I don’t need the trophy, I need the cross, for it can accomplish so much more for a hurting, dying world!  Now, instead of being motivated by awards and trophies to save  souls, I now am motivated by the cross of Christ. “The love of Christ constrains me.”

 

I told you about my trophy. Now what about yours? Are you holding onto a trophy in your life today? Ask yourself if that trophy can heal a broken heart, or forgive sins, or give people hope. I encourage you to lay down your trophy and join me as we all cling to the old rugged cross.  Never again do I want to live to draw People’s attention to my trophies. I am alive today for one reason and one reason only: to draw people’s attention to the Cross of Christ. Why are you alive today?

InLightOfTheCross.Com Charity Golf Classic

When I heard that a family in our church was battling breast cancer and loss of job, it was suggested that we do a charity golf tournament, to raise money to help them fight this terrible disease. I had never organized a golf tournament before, but found myself volunteering, without even really thinking about it. I was so eager to help this well desserving family, that I did not consider how qualified I was to organize this event. There was a lot of work to it. Recruiting players, finding a course, getting sponsors. I donated $100.00 myself to name the event “In Light Of The Cross.” There were also hole sponsors, and closest to the pin, and longest drive contest sponsors. Of course people would want food. While working 50 plus hours a week as a Bible Worker-Lay Pastor on top of this, I was overwhelmed. Thankfully Dera Nolan, a good friend from church, messaged me on Facebook and asked if I needed help. Did I??!! I welcomed her on board and she was a huge help. She helped find sponsors and also recruited a few players. She helped me get Eddie Kearse and the his Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church Pathfinders club involved with serving food, making the sponsor signs, and serving as caddies, for a tip towards the charity. Several others helped out big time, including Karen Alayon, and it was a huge success, taking in over $1,000 to go towards the family and their medical expenses.

I did a lot to save money, so that the event would be fun but also low budgeted so most the money would go to the family. Instead of trophies I bought blue ribbons. We found a nice reasonable executive golf course in Temple Terrace, called Terrace Hills Golf Center. They provided us with good rates. It is a nine hole course, which I thought would be good so that people could come and support the event without it taking too much time away from weekend chores, like an 18 hole course would.

It was a best ball, team tournament. Instead of every man for himself, we had teams of three or four and each team got to play the best ball of their players. Being the competitor that I am, I wanted to play every man for himself, but Dera explained to me that people would be more willing to play on a team, than individually for confidence reasons. If they make a bad shot, a better player on their team can make up for it with a great shot. It worked!

Today was the tournament, and everything went great. I played too, which was kind of stressful as I was also making sure everything else was going well for everyone, but with my cell phone and everybody else’ help all went well. Many of the players had already played in best ball charity tournaments so there was not too much for me to have to explain to them. I can’t wait to do this again for another family next year! Enjoy the pics! http://inlightofthecross.mysite.com/Golf.html