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Tim's Notes

Publish Date: June 1, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

JUNE 2012 Father's Day

KIDS PRAISE CHOIRS

Thank you children’s choirs, 3’s and 4’s choir and workers for leading us in worship on Sunday, May 20th. Jonah’s Druthers was awesome!

CELEBRATION CHOIR

Come join us on Wednesday evenings for Rehearsal/Worship at 7:00 pm.

YOUNG AT HEART CHOIR

The Young At Heart Choir has just begun working on a new Senior Adult Musical called Homeward Bound. If you are a senior adult, come join with us on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 for fun, fellowship and worship.

THE STUDENT CHOIR

I am extremely proud of the Student Choir and their leaders: David Rendek , Pam Harris, Jennifer Stuckey. What an awesome job leading our student choir. Thank You for all your hard work.

The Student Band & Worship leaders did a great job on Sunday, May 20th.  To Zack, David and Wil…Wow! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you three young men.

May God continue to use all of you in leading us into His presence.

MISSIONS THROUGH THE ARTS (JUNE 14 – 19)

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You for supporting us in raising money for MTTA. Some of the money has helped all of the students defer some of the cost for the trip and some is there to help with the mission side of the mission project.

There are several components to the mission trip. We will be helping at local churches in the area with a block party through the Calhoun Baptist Association and Renovation Ministries to help spread the gospel to the community. The Block Party will consist of a cook out, games, prizes, bounce houses, music and witnessing. The Gospel will be preached. Please pray as we prepare to tell their community about Jesus.

We will also be visiting Six Flags over Georgia as a reward for their commitment and meeting their attendance goals.

We do have several who need help in going on the trip because of financial difficulties. If you would like to help, the cost is $185.00 per person. If you could help in part, please let me know as soon as possible.

As a reminder to parents and Team Members, we will be leaving at 5:00 am on June 14th and returning on Father’s Day, June 17th at approximately 7:30 pm.

In Christ, Bro. Tim

Father’s Day Quote  "A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian...and most of all, his family ought to know". 

 



Publish Date: May 1, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

MAY 2012 Mother's Day

Mother’s Day will be here in just a few days. That just doesn’t seem possible. As I look back, I remember my mom being a “stay at home mom,” or at least that’s what they use to call it when I was growing up. I can’t imagine anything different. My mom was always there for me. How blessed I am to have a mom that loves, cares and prays for me. 

I remember my moms cleaning ritual. I remember her starting at one end of the house and by the time she got to the other end she would have to start all over again. The four of us (children) kept her busy. I love my mom.

I recently read an article from Chuck Swindoll and borrowing from him he said:

“If there’s one attitude families are guilty of more than any other when it comes to mothers, it’s presumption . . . taking them for granted . . . being nearly blind on occasion to the load moms carry.

Consider the priceless value of the one woman who made your life possible—your mother.
 
Think about her example, her support, her humor, her counsel, her humility, her hospitality, her insight, her patience, her sacrifices. Her faith. Her hope. Her love.

Old “honest Abe” was correct: “He is not poor who has had a godly mother.” Indebted, but not poor.

Moms, on Mother’s Day Sunday we rise up and call you blessed. But knowing you, you’ll feel uneasy in the limelight. You’ll probably look for a place to hide. True servants are like that.”

That’s my mother he described. What about yours? 

 



Publish Date: February 1, 2012  ::  Author: Br Tim Harris

FEBRUARY 2012

I hope each of you will be here on February 12th at 5:30 pm for the annual Valentine’s Banquet that our youth choir presents each year. The menu is Boston Butt (cooked by yours truly), Hash Brown Casserole, Green Beans, Roll, Dessert, and tea or coffee, followed by the program which will be Family Feud. We are asking the Life Connection classes to choose members of their class to represent their family. We will then call them up to compete with other families. It will be a lot of fun. We are asking a donation of $8.00 for adult plates and $5 for child plates (child’s portion). All of the proceeds will benefit those students going on Missions Through the Arts this June.   If you  find it difficult to purchase a ticket, please see me and I will gladly provide a ticket to you without cost. You are a part of our church family and we want you to come and enjoy the fun, food and fellowship. This was recently sent to me and was too good to not pass along:

Teaching Our Daughters the Difference Between Boys vs. Men A boy who flatters her
And a man who compliments her

A boy who spends money on her
And a man who invests in her

A boy who views her as property
And a man who views her properly

A boy who lusts after her
And a man who loves her

A boy who believes he’s God’s gift to women
And a man who remembers woman was God’s gift to man

And then teaches our sons
To be a man This is your invitation: Get plugged in and come join a Choir today!
 



Publish Date: December 15, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

DECEMBER 2011

Childbirth is something no man can completely appreciate. We can marvel as an observer—a helpless one at that—but we cannot experience it as a woman would. My wife tells me, “I cannot completely describe the feeling that came over me as the doctor held up Curt, cut the cord, and then laid him right across my tummy. As he stretched out, I reached down and felt him and thought, How incredible! This little life came from us!”

Childbirth is enough of a miracle on its own, but this time of year adds a completely new dimension. Long ago in a quiet, crude place where animals sleep, Mary reached down and felt the Life from her body—she reached down and felt the soft, human skin of infinite God.

The humanity of this scene appropriately pulls us in for a closer look. We can identify with Joseph’s confusion, Mary’s wonder, and the irony of God’s quiet arrival in such an inhospitable world . . . all of those thoughts is magnificent to ponder. But we cannot stop there. These are only an entrance to wonders far deeper, far more significant. Just beneath the soft, newborn skin of this beautiful story is the flesh and bone of a theological truth that is older than creation, since the plan was in place long before time began.

The incarnation—God becoming flesh—is a doctrine that is foundational to everything we believe as Christians. Most conservative scholars see with 20/20 hindsight the hint of Christ’s birth in Genesis 3:15. Speaking to the serpent in Eden, God said:

“I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Much later, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words centuries before God became man: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

In telling the story of God’s incarnation, the disciple Matthew tells us this:

Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:20-23)

When the first man plunged all of humanity into sin with his disobedience in the Garden of Eden, evil entered the bloodstream of humanity, polluting all who live in it. And each of us has ratified Adam’s tragic choice by adding our sin to his. The result is a world subject to pain of every conceivable kind: hunger, thirst, sorrow, weariness, temptation, disease, prejudice, grief . . . the list would be endless if it didn’t end with the ultimate evil: death.

Many struggle with the idea of God because they wrestle against “the problem of pain”— How can a good God allow evil to continue? The surprising answer: because He loves us. He could have ended all evil before the fruit of the forbidden tree digested in Adam’s stomach. Let’s not forget that the evil we would have God put an end to include you and me. We brought, and continue to bring, evil upon ourselves and the world, and He would be entirely justified to condemn us to suffer the twisted mess we have made of His creation. But . . . He loves us.

What an awful predicament. God must punish sin. The penalty of sin is eternal death. But to carry out the sentence, God loses the very people He loves. Just as one man led all of humanity into rebellion, another must reconcile us. But who? Who among us does not deserve the penalty of sin? And if one sinless person could be found, what mere mortal would have the power to die the death you and I deserve, yet survive the process so that He could continue to represent us? Why, only a human who is also God could do that!

Two millennia ago, God answered the anguished cry of humanity by making “the problem of evil” His own. God Almighty became Immanuel, “God with us.” He lived as we live, suffered as we suffer, died as we die, yet without sin. And He, being the God-man, overcame the power of death in order to give us eternal life.

The plan is complete. Remember Jesus’s words on the cross? “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Mission accomplished. Nothing left for God to do, except allow His creation time to respond. He patiently waits . . . but time is running out. He will not wait forever. He will one day close the door of opportunity, either by your own physical death or by bringing all earthly history to an end.

As you ponder the humanity of the first Christmas, remember that it is an invitation to slow down and think deeper. I invite you to touch the infant skin of the God-man with your imagination. I invite you to wonder as the shepherds wondered and to worship as the wise men did. I invite you to allow the God-man, Jesus, to take your own “problem of pain” and make it His. If you can accept my invitation, you will receive the greatest Christmas present on earth: God’s indescribable gift.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “An Invitation to Touch the Skin of Infinite God,” Insights (December 2005): 1-2. Copyright © 2005, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

 



Publish Date: November 15, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

NOVEMBER 2011

VICTORY ONE STEP AT A TIME 

And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. (Deuteronomy 7:22) 

When God led His people into the Promised Land, He did so step by step. If He had allowed them to annihilate their enemies at once, the land would have been too difficult to manage. So He allowed some of the enemies to remain for a time in order to maintain the land and suppress the wildlife. In doing so, God taught His people to trust Him step by step. He gave them only as much responsibility as they could handle at one time. 

As God leads you in your Christian growth, He will allow challenges that match your character and relationship to Him. God will not totally change your character at once when you become a Christian. Rather, He will lead you through a process to become more like His Son. He will keep working in an area in your life until it is controlled by the Holy Spirit. You may eagerly desire maturity in every area of your character, but steady, gradual growth is more lasting. God will not take shortcuts in His process of making you like Christ. He sees your life from eternity and will take as long as necessary to produce lasting spiritual growth in you. 

Do not become impatient while God is producing Christlikeness in you. Do not seek more responsibilities than those He has given you. Obey all that you know He has asked, and He will lead you at a pace that fits your present character 

 



Publish Date: October 1, 2011  ::  Author: Br Tim Harris

OCTOBER 2011

Could I ask our church family to pray especially for the youth choir this year. Why? Well, God has reminded me of something very special that happened to me many years ago. I went to youth choir. Why is that special? I know that began the road to where I am today…here in High Springs.
 
 I grew up in Live Oak many moons ago. My family and I attended FBC there. One Sunday my sister came home from church and youth choir practice. She begged me to go to choir the next Sunday and meet our new Minister of Music and Youth. I really didn’t want to. I think she kept asking for at least 2 or 3 weeks. Anyway, I finally went. She was right. I did like it and for the next 12 - 15 years I began to build a relationship with Bobby, our Minister of Music and Youth. I really felt comfortable around him. He didn’t live too far away from where I did and I spent many hours over at his house. I will never forget all the time he invested in me. Were it not for my sister nagging me to go to choir I don’t know if I ever would have gone on my own. I know God kept pressing my sister to bug me about going. I’m so thankful she did.

Things are different today in many ways. There are so many more choices this world offers. Often families make wrong choices. Our youth are challenged and influenced many times over by those who do not represent Christ as the center of their lives. Families spend less and less time focusing on God and more and more time on running 3 or 4 different directions, at the same time and all year long. And then….we wonder why we’re falling apart?

One of our goals in youth choir is to teach our students about the one we worship. We also teach them about missions and those who serve as missionaries around the world.

Many of you know one of the goals for our student choir is to participate on Missions through the Arts. This is a mission trip designed to combine music and missions. In order to get our foot in the door in many places that wouldn’t ordinarily let us in we use music as the tool. The key is the music. The reason is to not just serve away on a mission trip, but to teach our students that mission work begins here at home. Please pray for us as God continues to lead and direct us.

If you did not know, this past June we served in Homestead , Florida at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home. Some of the other places are the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home in Dothan , Alabama , House of Hope in Orlando and The Joy House in Jasper , Georgia .

A huge thank you to: those who were able to give scholarships to help some of our youth go on MTTA…those who gave toward the work projects…and to all of you that have supported us through buying meals and whole boston butts, thank you as well. We will have a couple of fundraisers coming up soon so, thank you in advance for helping us.

I’m not sure (this side of heaven) any of us will fully understand the full impact of the mission trip on the lives of the students or on the lives of those we come in contact with. Please keep praying for us as we seek God’s direction.

 



Publish Date: September 1, 2011  ::  Author: Tim Harris

SEPTEMBER 2011

Join a Choir Today! Don’t wait. Now is the time to join! If you have been waiting for a special invitation to join….well…here it is, Come join us! Schedule of times and locations are below.

CELEBRATION CHOIR

Come join us Wednesday evenings from until . We meet in the Sanctuary Choir Loft. 

YOUNG AT HEART CHOIR

 

Come join us Tuesday mornings from . We meet in the Choir Suite (across from the Church Off

 

 

 

 
 

KIDS

 

Please Note: The Fall Wednesday schedule begins on September 7th
 
 
 PLEASE HELP! Please call me if you are interested in helping in any way with the Children’s Choirs (Props, Drama, taking attendance, directing, etc.). Church Office 454-1505 Home 497-3177 Cell 352-317-3881

 

Celebration Praise Band/Praise Team meets on Monday evenings from 7 - 8:00.  If you are interested in playing in the The Point Praise Band meets Sunday afternoons in the FLC at  

Celebration Ringers (Handbells), please contact me at 454-1505 (Church Office), 497-3177 (home) or 352-317-3881 (cell).

 Important Dates: 

Church-Wide Fellowship/ Senior Adult Day Sunday October 30th at in the Family   Life   Center .

Student Choir Winter Retreat: (TBA) 

Missions through the Arts 2012’ (TBA)

Needs: 

HELP: We have had 60 cameras donated to use for security, they are valued at 8,000.00. In order to use them we have to buy equipment for them to record to. The equipment will run about 6,000.00. What will this do for us? Give us the ability to record 24/7. Posted signs are proven to discourage thieves from entering our property as signs would be posted at all entrances about security cameras. Can you help? Even with part of the cost…

HELP: Please help us. We need you. We need committed people to help in the media area of our church. Computer/ Audio/ Video and Lighting Technicians are needed for all Worship Services.

If God lays any of these on your heart and you can help us please give me a call. My phone numbers are: Home 497-3177; Office 454-1505; Cell 352-317-3881.

 HELP FOR PREVAILING PROBLEMS 

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.”

2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT

Does one prevailing problem leech your life? Some are prone to cheat. Others are quick to doubt. Maybe you worry. Yes, everyone worries some, but you own the national distributorship of anxiety. Perhaps you are judgmental. Sure, everybody can be critical, but you pass more judgments than a federal judge. What is that one weakness, bad habit, rotten attitude? Where does Satan have a stronghold within you? Ahh, there is the fitting word—stronghold: a fortress, citadel, thick walls, and tall gates. It’s as if the devil staked a claim on one weakness and constructed a rampart around it.

Strongholds: old, difficult, discouraging challenges. That’s what David faced when he looked at Jerusalem .

“Nevertheless David took the stronghold . . .” (2 Sam. 5:9).

Granted, the city was old. The walls were difficult. The voices were discouraging . . . Nevertheless David took the stronghold.

Wouldn’t you love God to write a nevertheless in your biography? Born to alcoholics, nevertheless she led a sober life. Never went to college, nevertheless he mastered a trade. Didn’t read the Bible until retirement age, nevertheless he came to a deep and abiding faith.

We all need a nevertheless. And God has plenty to go around. Strongholds mean nothing to Him. Remember Paul’s words? “We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 NLT).

You and I fight with toothpicks; God comes with battering rams and cannons. What He did for David, He can do for us. —from Facing Your Giants

Blessed Father, as you helped David conquer a stronghold so you can help us conquer the strongholds in our lives. You have promised freedom and victory. Father, will you break these strongholds with your mighty power? You steady us with your love, amen.

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. Psalm 50:15

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8

From Lived Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Every Day Life Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado 

In Christ, Bro. Tim
 

 

 

 

 



Publish Date: August 1, 2011  ::  Author: Tim Harris

AUGUST 2011

Join a Choir Today! Don’t wait. Now is the time to join! If you have been waiting for a special invitation to join…. well…here it is, Come join us! Schedule of times and locations are below.
 
 CELEBRATION CHOIR

Come join us Wednesday evenings at until in the fall. We meet in the Worship   Center

Come join us Tuesday mornings from . We meet in the Choir Suite (across from the church office). 

Come join us on Sunday afternoons from

KIDS

Come join us Wednesday evenings from . We (K- 5th grades) meet in the Choir Suite (across from the church office).

PLEASE HELP! It’s not that far away before the kick-off for the fall and we need help. Please call me if you are interested in helping in any way with the Children’s Choirs (taking attendance, directing, etc.). Church Office 454-1505 Home 497-3177 Cell 352-317-3881.

Missions through the Arts 2012’ TBA

HELP: We have had 60 cameras donated to use for security, they are valued at 8,000.00. In order to use them we have to buy equipment for them to record to. The equipment will run about 6,000.00. What will this do for us? Give us the ability to record 24/7 and be able to view at any time from anywhere with security clearance. Posted signs are proven to discourage thieves from entering our property as signs would be posted at all entrances about security cameras. Can you help? Even with part of the cost…
 

If God lays any of these on your heart and you can help us out please give me a call. My phone numbers are: Home 497-3177; Office 454-1505; Cell 352-317-3881.

In Christ, Bro. Tim

 

 

 



Publish Date: July 1, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

JULY 2011

I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below from our mission trip. God has done some great things through Matthews Hope. Will you keep praying for this ministry as they continue to minister to the homeless   and lead them to Christ. 
  
Missions Through The Arts Team 2011’ 
Florida Baptist Children’s Home Work Project 

  I would like to say a very special Thank You to David Rendek and Pam Harris for working with our youth choir week after week on Sunday afternoons preparing them to sing and teaching them about their relationship with Christ. Thank you parents for taking time about of their schedule to get their youth here as well none of this would be possible without you. Also, it is truly a blessing to work along side our Student Pastor and I would like to say thank you to Bro. Billy. You are a blessing to co-laboring with. Finally, thank you church family for all your encouragement, support and prayers. Our goal here is to teach our students not just to serve away on mission trips, but that the work begins here at home. 

 



Publish Date: May 29, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

JUNE 2011

Wow! Father’s Day will be here in just a few days that just doesn’t seem possible. 

I recently read an article from Chuck Swindoll I felt led to share with you men. 

“I don’t often recommend a volume without reservation, but I think every man should read Temptations Men Face by Tom Eisenman.  I’m not saying I agree with everything in it, or that you will, but it’s one of those works that deserves being read …especially by men.  I appreciate Tom’s candor and practicality.  He pulls no punches; neither does he wrench your gut with guilt.  His observations, insight, and suggestions are both penetrating and provocative.  In fact…that book got me thinking about the top temptations fathers face. 

First, the temptation to give things instead of giving ourselves – our presence, our personal involvement.  

Don’t misunderstand.  Providing for one’s family is biblical.  First Timothy 5:8 calls the man who fails to provide for his family’s needs “worse than an unbeliever.”  But the temptations I’m referring to goes far beyond the basic level of need.  It’s the toys vs. time battle: a dad’s desire to make up for his long hours and absence by unloading material stuff on his family rather than being there when he is needed.  Like in the bleachers during ball games or in the audience during a band concert, like by your child’s side when the homework calls for a father’s encouragement, or driving the boat when your child is learning to water ski.  Nothing takes the place of a father who gets involved.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G! 

Second, the temptation to save our best for the workplace. 

Nobody has an endless supply of emotional energy, creativity, enthusiasm, ideas, humor, leadership drive, and a zest for life.  How easy it is for dads to use up all those things at work, leaving virtually nothing for the end of the day.  As a result, the wife and kids get only the leftovers.  Fathers, our families deserve better!  By failing to pace ourselves, by not deliberately saving some of our creative energy for home, we tend to be listless, negative, boring, and predictable around the house.  How rare are those unselfish men who think ahead, maintain right priorities, and keep their families surprised by joy. 

Third, the temptation to deliver lectures rather than earning respect by listening and learning. 

James 1:19 is worth a look, here: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV).  When things get out of hand at home, it’s our normal tendency to reverse the order James suggests.  First, we get mad.  Then, we shout (lecture) No. 38… or is it No. 39?).  Last, we listen.  When that happens, we get tuned out (I’ve learned that the hard way).  Our family members may stop.  They may look.  But they aren’t listening.  They go through a slow burn.  It’s a sobering realization, dads, but our home is not an extension of the office…and our wife and children are not employees.  Maybe we get respect automatically where we work, but at home we must earn it the old-fashioned way.  We must work for it. 

Fourth, the temptation to demand perfection from those under our roof. 

We fathers can be extremely unrealistic, can’t we?  It does me good to remember that a .350 batting average is considered tops in the big leagues.  That means the professional ballplayer swings and misses well over half the times he’s at the plate.  Yet, .350 means that he’s still considered the batting champ.  In fact, if he keeps that up long enough, he’s Hall of Fame bound.  Sure is easy to set our expectations for the wife and kids out of reach, expecting them to bat a thousand.  Fathers are commanded not to exasperate their children (Ephesians 6:4), which suggests being an annoyance, an irritation, one who causes grief.  An exasperated kid is one who can’t jump quite high enough, thanks to a demanding father who mistakenly thinks good coaching means always raising the bar. 

Fifth, the temptation to find intimate fulfillment outside the bounds of monogamy. 

Thanks to our ability to rationalize, we men can talk ourselves into the most ridiculous predicaments imaginable.  I’ve heard most of them.  I’ve also listened to the children of adulterers after the facts, who never understand, who hurt beyond description, which carry scars indefinitely.  The charm of seductive passion is incredibly strong, able to blind even the godly.  The enticement can be powerful enough to make a man momentarily forget his family as well as ignore the crippling consequences of his sin.  That’s why I suggest that dads carry a picture of their brood and look at it often.  It’s impossible to fantasize sensual lust while looking at the smiling, trusting faces of your family. 

Sixth, the temptation to underestimate the importance of your cultivating your family’s spiritual appetite. 

Yes, you cultivate it.  Fathers, listen up: Your wife and kids long for you to be their spiritual pacesetter.  Children love knowing that their dad loves God, walks with God, and talks about God.  Never underestimate your role as the spiritual head.  If your wife is running circles around you in this area, that tells me a lot more about you than about her.  And don’t think the kids don’t notice, and wonder. 

Ready for a challenge?  Begin to spend time with God, become a man of prayer, help your family know how deeply you love Christ and desire to honor him. 
 
Why not start today?  C’mon, men…it’s one of the greatest gifts any father can give a family.” 
  

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, “For Dads” in The Finishing Touch: Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 282-284. Copyright © 1994, Charles R. Swindol, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

In Christ, Bro. Tim 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hopeand a future.
Jer. 29:11 NIV 

TECHS NEEDED FOR ALL VENUES! We continue to seek all who have an interest in helping in the area of audio, video, lighting and computers. If you are interested in joining one of our teams i.e. youth / children or Sunday Worship, please contact me at the Church Office 454-1505, Home 497-3177. 

 



Publish Date: April 29, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

MAY 2011

Wow! Mother’s Day will be here in just a few days that just doesn’t seem possible. As I look back, I remember my mom being a “stay at home mom”, or at least that’s what they use to call it when I was growing up. I can’t imagine anything different. My mom has always there for me. How blest I am!
 
I do know that many of you may never have even known your mother or maybe even your father for that matter. How blest we are who have or have had one who loves (loved) or cares (cared) for us, and who prays (prayed) for us.

I remember my mom's cleaning ritual. I remember my her starting at one end of the house and by the time she got to the other end she would have to start all over again. The four of us(children) kept her busy. I love my mom.

I recently an article from Chuck Swindoll and borrowing from him he said:

“If there’s one attitude families are guilty of more than any other when it comes to mothers, it’s presumption . . . taking them for granted . . . being nearly blind on occasion to the load moms carry.

Think about her example, her support, her humor, her counsel, her humility, her hospitality, her insight, her patience, her sacrifices. Her faith. Her hope. Her love.

Old “honest Abe” was correct: “He is not poor who has had a godly mother.” Indebted, but not poor.

Moms, on Mother’s Day Sunday we rise up and call you blessed. But knowing you, you’ll feel uneasy in the limelight. You’ll probably look for a place to hide. True servants are like that.” 

That’s my mother he described. What about yours?

In Christ, Bro. Tim

 



Publish Date: April 2, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

APRIL 2011

Easter is fast approaching, and with that, I would like to pass on one of the readings that I recently came across.

Experiencing God Day-by-Day              Tuesday, March 22, 2011  

THE UNTHINKABLE

Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me." (Mark )

Surely I would never betray the Lord! Each disciple earnestly pled his loyalty to Christ. As they reclined together in the comfort and security of the upper room, in the presence of their Lord, the disciples could not imagine themselves ever wavering in their loyalty to Christ. Yet Jesus looked at them and said, “One of you who eats with Me will betray Me!” How was it possible to share such an intimate and profound moment with the Savior and then rush so quickly toward betrayal and spiritual failure?

During the intense pressures of Gethsemane and the cross, the disciples did things they never thought they would do. They had no idea how cruel and hateful the world around them would be to their Lord. Jesus had cautioned them that the world would hate them because it hated Him (John –21; ). But only Jesus knew the full extent of the temptation they would face. In the pressure of the moment the heart does surprising things. Scripture had predicted Judas would betray Jesus, despite having walked with Him for over three years. But Peter, too, would deny Him, and all would forsake Him.

How quickly the surroundings of your life can shift from the security and tranquility of an upper room to the harsh reality of Gethsemane and the cross. Guard your heart. Listen now to the Lord’s gentle warning: the failure that was possible with His first disciples is also possible with you. You, too, are capable of forsaking Jesus, just as the first disciples did. If Jesus is warning you of an area in your life in which you could fail Him, heed His words today!

One would not think after serving with Jesus, after walking with Him and after seeing the miracles He preformed that you would doubt who He was. Judas did. As a matter a fact…Peter denied Him too, not once but three times, to the point of even cursing in his denial of Him. Even the disciples left Him all alone.

Do we do the same today? Are we silent when we need to speak up about our faith and the one who died for us? Do we curse Him when we attack one of His own verbally? Do we run when we need to stay?  I pray all of us would walk in the spirit and guard our hearts against Satan using us against one another. Think about it.

Bro. Tim

 



Publish Date: March 1, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Tim Harris

MARCH 2011

I am excited about what God has in store for us as a church family. While my heart is a little heavy missing Bro. Eddie and Mrs. Carmen, I am happy for them. This is a new chapter in life for them to begin and a new chapter for us, as well. They will be missed, but I know they are excited to begin there new journey and we should be as well.

 As we begin a new chapter in the life of our church, I pray each of us are praying for God’s guidance during this time. As it has already been stated many times before, God already has the next pastor chosen to lead us. We need to pray that He will hear from God in a very clear way, and that will be conveyed to us as well. Please, use the prayer guide given to us by our Pastor Search Committee. Pray, Pray, Pray!

 

 
 



Publish Date: February 2, 2011  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

FEBRUARY 2011

    It is with bittersweet emotions I write this, my last Eddietorial, as your pastor.  As many of you have heard me say, before I came, I told God I would never pastor in Florida .  Well, what do I know?  God decided to teach me, AGAIN, that THE HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS BEST!  This has been the best part of my 36 years in ministry.  Carmen and I have loved this ministry because of YOU, our family of faith. 
    We have shared a great deal of our lives with you.  We have been here longer than any other place in our lives.  We have rejoiced with many of you at the birth of your children, and wept with some of you at the death of your children.  I have baptized, married and buried many of the FBC family, and watched as some of you have grown up, and others of you have grown older with Carmen and I. 
    We have worked, played, laughed and cried together.  We have rejoiced in many victories and suffered and endured some tough times as well.  But, I for one know I know I am far better now, because of the journey. 
    No matter where Carmen and I may go, no matter what other ministry God may allow me to do, you will always be a part of our lives.  You have opened your hearts and lives to us.  You accepted us as we were.  You prayed for us, loved us, encouraged us and shared your lives and hearts with us.  I must confess, at times, I find myself envying the man who will become your next pastor. 
    I have always been grateful for the flexibility, and openness to try new and/or different things.  You weren’t afraid to try, and were always ready to drop back and punt when needed.  I have seen a real transformation in our church and ourselves over the past fifteen plus years.  I think most of us have opened our hearts and our eyes to realize that the church isn’t about us, but it is about equipping the saints and reaching the lost.  It is a great step of spiritual faith, when one can honestly say, we are here to reach the world, not to please ourselves. 
    I am grateful that you have realized the vital importance of giving our community an option in education by providing First Christian Academy .  As a ministry, it actually puts more time into each student than any other in the church.  I pray you will never back away from God’s mandate to provide Christian based education for our church and community families. 
    As I leave, I hope you will be as loving and open and supportive of my successor.  PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, for him and the committee that has the awesome responsibility for bringing the two of you together.     Col. 1:9-14

 

 



Publish Date: January 1, 2011  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

JANUARY 2011

    It’s hard to believe, but 2010 is history.  It has been another great year for FBC.  In spite of the tight financial year, we have managed to pay the bills, have money in the bank and still have a great spirit within the congregation. 
     2011 will be a challenging year of change and opportunity.  The change is that you will be seeking a new pastor.  The opportunity is that you will be seeking a new pastor.  This is a great opportunity for the church to work and pray together while seeking God’s man to lead the church into the future. 
    My retirement will allow me to seek new avenues of ministry and vision.  I hope the entire church family will realize its importance in the whole process.  The Pastor Search Committee is very dependent upon the prayers and support of their church family, and I know each of you will faithfully do your part. 
     I am writing this Eddietorial while on vacation for Christmas in Bryson City, NC.  For the first time in years we have the whole family together at the same time for Christmas.  With my son and daughter in ministry, it is almost impossible for all of us, as ministers, to have vacations during the holidays.  It is a delight to see all the family and grandkids interacting and strengthening family relationships. 
     As the FBC family of faith journey into this New Year, I encourage each of you to be a source of edification and blessing to one another; to bear with one another and pray for one another.  This is God’s church and we are his people and He will bless His people if we prayerfully and obediently follow His leading. 
     Carmen and I hope you have had a blessed Christmas and will have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. 
 



Publish Date: November 24, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

DECEMBER 2010

              Rev. Peter Marshall wrote this little article decades ago, and yet it seems appropriate for our day.  It is called KEEPING CHRISTMAS.  “In a world that seems not only to be changing, but even to be dissolving, there are some tens of millions of us who want Christmas to be the same….with the same old greeting “Merry Christmas” and no other. 
               We long for the abiding love among men of good will, which the season brings…believing in this ancient miracle of Christmas with its softening, sweetening influence to tug at our heartstrings once again. 
               We want to hold on to the old customs and traditions because they strengthen our family ties, bind us to our friends, make us one with all mankind for whom the Child was born, and bring us back again to the God who gave His only begotten Son, that “whoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 
               So we will not “spend” Christmas…nor “observe” Christmas.  We will “KEEP” Christmas – keep it as it is…in all the loveliness of its ancient traditions.  May we keep it in our heart, that we may be kept in its hope.” 
               This year our family decided to do something different for Christmas.  Instead of buying a lot of gifts, we decided to rent a large cabin in the mountains of North Carolina and all the family will gather to spend a week, spending time and enjoying activities that will make memories that will last forever, instead of gifts that will last a few weeks or months. 
               When I think about the first Christmas,  I can’t help but think about all the excitement and activity that may have been taking place in heaven as the angels watched with wonder as God prepared to step out of glory and become man.  And on the other hand, the simple surrounding into which the King of Glory would arrive, as a baby, in an animal stall.  A baby that would change the world; a baby that would be loved by shepherds and feared by kings; a baby that would split the world into darkness and light. 
               As I sit here at my computer typing this article, I can’t help but think of how that baby has changed my life.  That baby would turn my world right side up.  The baby grew up and the man he became shaped my life, my thinking, my destiny and my eternity.  The fact that someday I will meet Him face to face is still a daunting thought that fills my mind with wonder. 
               I look into the faces of children as their little lives are filled with the wonder of it all.  Then I wonder, will they ever really grasp the wonder of it all.  When they grow up, will they comprehend the incredible offer of God in Christmas?  Not unless someone tells them.  That someone should be us.  Let us never let the real meaning of Christmas slip away.  May it always bring us wonder, peace and a longing to share the amazing story of Amazing Grace, born in a manger. 
 



Publish Date: November 1, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

NOVEMBER 2010

By now most of you know I have announced my plans to retire, effective February 28, 2011 .  Carmen and I will be moving to Spring Hill, Fl.  We plan to take a month to set up housekeeping.  In April, I will be doing a marriage, family, parenting seminar at my son’s church in Huntington , WV .  In late May or early June, Carmen and I will be taking a cruise to Alaska , THANKS TO THE LOVE AND GENEROSITY OF OUR FBC FAMILY.
  

Over the next few months, the Nominating Committee will begin the process of recommending a Pastor’s Search Committee to the church.  Training for the Search Committee will be arranged with state convention personnel to help guide in the search process.  During this time, I am sure resume’s will have already started coming in.  By the first of the year, the search should be under way. 

In the past 34 years, FBC has had only two pastors.  That is pretty remarkable in our day and age.  That means that FBC has a great track record of doing their search well, when looking for pastors.  It also says a lot about the church itself.  I know God has already prepared the next pastor for FBC to lead this church into the future.  I know God has great things in store for His church here in High Springs.  I’m just grateful that He let me and Carmen share the last 15 years with you.  We have made friends that will last a lifetime. 

I am reading a book entitled, “Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World,” by Gary DeMar.  I feel compelled to share two quotes.   One by secular humanist John Dunphy, “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity…”  That means that some of our taxes are tithes to the state church (government schools). 

More menacing and dangerous is the mindset of the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court on the role parents have in the education of their own children: “Parents have a right to inform their children when and as they wish on the subject of sex; they have NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT, however, to prevent a public school from providing its students with WHATEVER information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.  Neither Meyer nor Pierce (two earlier Supreme Court rulings) provides support for the view that parents have a right to prevent a school from providing ANY kind of information – sexual or otherwise to its students… While parents may have fundamental right to decide whether to send their children to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their children.” 

Our government has declared that IT is the sovereign ruler over your child’s education.  Considering where our government seems to be heading, is that what you really want?  Thank God for the vision of this church in providing a viable alternative for those who wish it.  Please pray for First Christian Academy as we work to develop the next generation of leaders who will lead America back to its founding heritage.  Also pray for Christian teachers who are fighting the battle on the front lines in government schools, to be living light of divine creation. 

 



Publish Date: October 10, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

OCTOBER 2010

        We sat at the table in the teachers lounge and talked about Jesus: why he died, sin, how it makes us feel and how we feel when someone forgives us.  She was very articulate and firm in what she wanted to do.  She wanted to ask Jesus to put His Spirit in her and wanted to ask Jesus to be her Savior.  As we prayed together, in child like simplicity, the little girl prayed with me to ask Jesus to forgive her and help her live for Him. 
             I know the child had a very limited understanding of what she had just done.  But from the twinkle in her eye and smile on her face, it was very evident she felt something was different in her little heart and mind.  Jesus, on several occasions, said we need to come like little children, not understanding it all, but just trusting Jesus to do what His Word says.  He was very clear when He said, “let the little children come unto me and forbid them not.” 
            Somewhere along the line, we adults started insisting that we must understand everything about God before we can accept anything about God.  Where in the world did that come from?  I don’t understand how my body turns food into the stuff I need to sustain life, but I certainly believe I need food to sustain life.  I don’t understand a lot about God, in fact the Bible reminds us that God’s ways are beyond our understanding, yet, I know I need His presence in my life.  I believe the real key for a strong, growing faith is to begin actively and faithfully living out the parts we do understand.  As we grow in obedience, we will grow in faith. 
             The other morning, as Carmen and I were doing our morning walk, the fog became very thick.  In fact, it was so thick that we could not see from one side of the park to the other.  Even though I could no longer see the other side, I still knew it was there.  I could not see the traffic that was passing, but I knew there was still traffic passing.  I may not be able to SEE God, but the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that HE IS THERE. 
             I have often heard people tell me they can’t believe anything they can’t prove with their senses.  I can’t show you “LOVE.”  All I can show you is the evidence of love.  We can’t see, smell, touch, hear or taste “love.”  But, we can sensually experience the presence of love in our hearts and in the actions of others.  So it is with God. 
            As the days get shorter, the leaves will begin to fall, and soon the trees and vegetation will have the appearance of being dead.  The senses would tell us that life is gone.  In reality we know that come spring, all will burst forth again in life.  God and faith are a lot like that.  Just when you feel that all is lost, a whole new cycle of life begins again.  Every day with Jesus is a day for new life to begin again.
 



Publish Date: August 30, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

SEPTEMBER 2010

            The driveways to and from our school, First   Christian   Academy , were busting.  Parents of the younger children were parking and going in to check their little ones in for their first day of school.  Some of the moms looked more forlorn than their children. 
           After things had settled down for the day, I took a stroll through the school, visited some of the classes and chatted with some of the children and teachers.  The school administration and faculty all seemed very pleased with how smoothly the first day had gone.  Even most of the kids were still smiling.  As I walked down the hall, a long line of younger children were on their way to art. A few hugs, high fives and smiles later I walked out feeling like all was well with the world.
            In just four short years FCA has grown from K-3 to K-6.  We have grown from 32 elementary students to 98.  VPK is busting at the seams with 45 children enrolled and 15 three-year olds, packed out the house.  We’ve had record growth every year, in spite of the ominous forecasts about Christian and Private schools going under because of the economy.  I guess we are learning AGAIN, that when you commit to do God’s work, God will bless. 
            Yes, sir.  I was feeling pretty good about all that.  I stuck my head in another classroom, greeted the teacher and all the children stood up.  WOW!  It reminded me of my army days, when I was a Company Commander and everyone jumped to attention when I entered a room.  My head was getting pretty big about that time so I opened the door to another classroom, greeted the teacher and the children, and one child blares out, “who is that?”  “who are you?”  I was introduced by the teacher and the little girl who wanted to know who I was jumped up from her desk, ran over and gave me a quick hug.  What a blessing.  Not just the hug, but the question, “who are you?” 
            From the big head to “who are you?”  My, how easily the mighty are fallen!!!!  It was an honest and fair question.  I asked God to forgive me for my pride.  Who was I to get “the big head” about what God was doing?  Sure, I was proud of our school, administration and faculty.  It was on their back and by their labor FCA had grown and was being blessed.  I was just grateful to be a part of such a great work.  “Let us not boast in ourselves but in Christ Jesus our Lord!” 
            As I walked back to my office, I was glad that I could still learn valuable lessons, even in elementary school.
 



Publish Date: August 1, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

AUGUST 2010

            Last Saturday Carmen and I stopped in at the Coffee Clutch downtown for lunch.  Going in, I noticed a sticker in the door with a cross and the words, “A John Shop.”  As I walked by the shop of Jose Valdes , there was another of those John 3:16 stickers.  A week later, I was going in to get a haircut and I noticed on the door of High Springs Hair Design another of those John 3:16 stickers.  I could not help smiling because I knew that those stickers meant that Sammy Nelson had been at work getting the church into the town and that the owners of those shops were kindred spirits in their love of Jesus Christ.

            I was a bit early for my hair appointment, so I took my seat in the waiting area.  A few chairs over was a little girl of three or four.  She had just gotten out of her chair, walked to four black floor tiles, said a few words to imaginary children, returned to her seat, opened a children’s Bible, began to point at some pictures and started to teach a Bible lesson.  I was thoroughly enjoying the lesson, when another little girl about six, walked up to my chair, eyed me over for a few moments and then climbed up in the chair next to me. 
             I asked if the “teacher” was her sister, and she quickly affirmed my guess.  A wonderful conversation ensued.  I knew both of the girls had been in school at FCA.  The older girl told me they were very busy this week at VBS.  I asked where they were going and she said First   Baptist   Church .  I asked her if she knew who I was.  Her reply was, “I know your face, but I don’s know your name.”  An introduction immediately ensued and a more delightful conversation followed.  All too soon their mother finished her business, I was called for my haircut and I had to bid the girls farewell.  When I saw them at VBS the following day, they gave me a sheepish smile and waved. 
            I could not help but think of how blessed I was to be just a little part of the work of the Kingdom of God .  Shops all over town, with crosses in the doors for all patrons to see, a little girl from our school, teaching an imaginary Bible class at age three, and sharing a treasured moment in life where a little girl recognizes you as a safe person and shares her life with you for a few moments. 
             It’s actually hard to describe what I have been feeling over the past few days.  Perhaps there is still hope for America ; communities that are not yet bought by the demon of political correctness, kids that are absorbing the Word of God and sharing it; God’s people, doing God’s work out in the highways and by-ways of life. 
             Once again, God reminds us that the work of the church does not all take place at church on Sunday.  The far greater part occurs in the streets, neighborhoods and homes all across our community.  We can most often see it in the little things more than the grandiose, like the little stickers on a door and in the hearts and faces of little children.  God, help us to remember that when we are faithful in the “little” things, the big things will pretty much fall naturally into place.
 



Publish Date: July 1, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

JULY 2010

              June is history and July is upon us.  July!  Vacations, fireworks, the 4th of July festivities to celebrate the independence and birth of the great experiment known as America, swimming pools, floating in cold, pure spring water, watermelon, home-made ice cream and all the other things that  come our  way in the good ole summertime. 
               It is with great fanfare that we celebrate the liberty, freedom and uniqueness that is America, and which has made us the land of opportunity for courageous immigrants for generations.  Today, the very fabric of that nation is being tested in many ways. 
               When our forefathers came to America, they came with a desire to become Americans; not transplant the old country here.  After all, it was the governments, laws and political systems of the old world that they were trying to escape.  And yet today there is a clamor by many in our nation to make America like Europe, to make us become like those countries our forefathers left.  Why?? Europe is still in a mess with socialistic governments that have failed economically and politically.  And yet, many want us to be like Europe. 
               The real danger we face in America today is that we are raising a generation of young people who have not been taught by our government educational system what it means to BE AN AMERICAN!!!!   We are apologizing to the world for being the most unique nation on earth, where individual liberty, not equality of opportunity, for there are those that think we should be equal in all things regardless of our efforts or participation in the developments of the nation.  
               We are teaching present generations to seek the security of a government that will provide for our needs from the cradle to the grave.  We must teach that a government that has the power to provide everything also has the power to take everything.  And, as has been proven many times across the world, it eventually will. 
               What has become of teaching our kids to dream, to dare, to risk, to pioneer, to stand with boldness and courage in the face of daunting odds and press home their dreams of self fulfillment, lending a helping hand to those who strive with us to make ourselves and our nation a better place for all men?  Even the Bible teaches that those who are not willing to work should not be given a free ride off the backs of those who labor. (2 Thes. 3:10) 
               America did not become great on the back of government, but in the backs of freedom loving, God fearing folks, who labored, risked, pioneered, sacrificed, bled and died to insure this would always be the land of the free and the home of the brave.  It was by the hand of God, and the hearts of freedom loving people that gave us this unique nation.  Let’s teach this to our kids again!!! 
               Life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness are our cherished rights as Americans.  Government is NOT, nor ever can be, the guarantor of happiness.  Each of us must pursue that as God leads.  May America always be the land of opportunity!
 



Publish Date: June 1, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

JUNE 2010

             On June 21st summer will officially begin.  I don’t know about you, but the temperatures make it seem like summer has arrived in full force.  With that coming and the end of school, folks are beginning to think in vacation mode. 
             We have already met with most of our Life Connection teachers to encourage them to use some of those Sunday evenings to have outreach activities that will help reach un-churched friends and relatives.  Numerous activities are already on the calendar.  River float trips, cookouts, pool parties and other activities are already on the books.  These types of events are conducive to inviting the un-churched.  “We are having some friends over and would love to have you and your family come too.”  That sort of thing. 
             It has really stirred up some real excitement in several classes.  We will hopefully see some new faces starting to show up on Sunday mornings before the summer is out. 
             There was some legitimate concern expressed that we were moving toward doing away with Sunday evening worship all together.  I have no plans to do that.  However, the reality is that only about 5% of the total membership attends on Sunday nights.  That equals about 10% of the average Sunday morning attendance.  Very seldom are there any visitors on Sunday evenings and those who do attend regularly are already among the most faithful members of the church. 
             When we resume in the fall, we really need to evaluate the format of evening services to determine if we can comfortably host the evening crowd in another area, rather than keeping the heat/air on in the most inefficient building we have. The staff is always evaluating the best stewardship of our resources. 
 



Publish Date: May 1, 2010  ::  Author: Br. Eddie Gandy

MAY 2010

                It won’t be long and school will be out.  Vacations are in the planning stages, and the warmer days will start to slow down a little while the cooler nights will be inviting us out for activities and fellowship.
                Yes, the long, cold winter is finally over, and the farmers even missed their predictions of the one last frost before Easter.  In a few months we’ll be fussing and complaining about how hot it is and how ready we are for a little cooler weather.  We just never seem to be happy with anything very long.  It makes me think about the Apostle Paul saying something like, “I’ve just learned to be content with whatever situation I find myself.” Phil. (for those who may doubt the Bible could give such advice.)  In fact, he told Timothy that if he had food to eat and clothes on his back he ought to be content. (I Timothy 6:8)  Wow, could we live with that????
                Well, in spite of all the gloom and doom of global warming by politicians with agendas, we are just going to have to get used to the idea that the seasons are going to be around till the Lord comes again. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22)  Sorry Mr. Gore, I think God has you beat on this one.  I think I’ll stick with the God “that made it sustains it.”
                Most of you know by now that I am a people watcher.  I pay close attention to facial expressions and body language.  They communicate so much more than words do.  I observe the vast majority of folks so absorbed in the affairs of life, so much so, that they are missing the living of life itself.  I think we forget that we don’t have to control, run, fix or heal everything in the world.  
                Most of us would get a lot more enjoyment out of life if we would just pray the Serenity Prayer a couple of times a day.  O, what is that?  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  
                Yep, all the stuff we’ve been hearing about “change you can believe in.”  Trust me that kind of change can only come from God, not the White House.  No matter how sincere the belief is in the change.  The key is to make sure your change is shaped by God and not the world.  Even in tough changes, He is still the potter, we are still the clay and we can trust Him to make us usable vessels no matter what the circumstances.
                No matter what’s going on around us, we need to live out the words of the great old hymn, “Let others see Jesus in you.  Keep telling the story, be faithful and true.  Let others see Jesus in you.”  That will bring change you can believe in.
 



Publish Date: April 3, 2010  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

APRIL 2010

The Dogwoods are turning white and the Redbuds are showing their shades of pink all over the place.  Little buds are popping out on all the trees and the spring weeds are sprouting out in our lawns.  And, or course, the pine trees are filling the air with shades of yellow pollen.  A-h-h-h-h, spring is here at last. 

 

I have no doubt that with the warmer longer days, will come spring fever.  Kids and teachers will soon begin to feel that excitement that comes with summer vacation from school.  As a child, I loved summertime.  But, then again, what child doesn’t.  It was a real bummer to grow up and realize that the vast majority of the world’s populations don’t have the blessing of “all summer” vacations.  And few adults had that benefit.

 

As a kid, I had my first paper route about age 12 or 13.  Yep, folks still wanted their newspapers even in the summer.  Then, my last two summers were spent planting and cultivating soybeans.  Those days started by having to be in the fields right at daylight and ended at the tractor shed as the sun was going down.  Fifteen and sixteen hour days were very common, and I earned the whopping sum of $30 a week for a six-day week.  Yes, that’s right.  I really understood the old saying, “daylight’s a wastin.”  A shower, supper and bed were about all I could handle at the end of the day.  And, I sure understood the value of a dollar.  When I spent $10 on a date, all I could think about was how much dust I had to eat for that $10.

 

Looking back, I am very grateful for what my parents taught me by making me work.  I grew up thinking the world didn’t owe ME anything.  In fact, I thought I owed my town, state and country something, just for the privilege of being born and American.  I felt I owed God my life, period.  If WE messed up, we cleaned up.  If WE broke it, WE fixed it or paid for it.  Somewhere I just assumed that it was MY responsibility to make my way in this world.  Pray like everything depended on God and work like everything depended on me.

 

I’ve also learned some lessons about the family of God, the church.  The older I get, the more I realize how many people God has put in my way to teach, guide, nurture, help and pray for me.  I know churches have their issues, but I would rather be a part of the body of Christ than any other group of folks on earth.  Yes, I have been hurt, disappointed, angry, and frustrated.  I’ve also been blessed, experienced great victories, joy, peace, made incredible friends, met amazing people and basked in the light of living among people who love the same Jesus I do.

 

All of life is made of transitioning from season to season and every season has its blessings and problems.  The bottom line is NOT what the seasons do to you, but what YOU do with the season of life.  Handle with PRAYER!!!

 



Publish Date: March 1, 2010  ::  Author: Dr. Eddie Gandy

MARCH 2010

    I have the privilege of serving as the “Chaplain” for a group of WW-2 aviators, which calls themselves “The Decrepit Birdmen of WW2.”  The main purpose of the group is to provide living history education on what WW2 was about and what it was like to serve.  They speak at schools, social and civic groups, air shows, and just about where ever an invitation opens.  
    This past weekend we had an exhibit and forum tent set up at the Keystone Heights Air Show.  I spent two days with the guys, listening to them share their memories with the folks who came by to meet true American heroes.  The roar of old radial engines on WW2 trainers, the sounds and smells of the two WW2 bombers, as they came and went, carrying excited passengers fulfilling their fantasies of flight, was absolutely delightful for me.  
      A few days later I was thinking back over my own experiences in Vietnam .   My war didn’t seem to have the historical significance of WW2.  In fact, looking back, and having the insight into much of the history and politics of Vietnam , I found myself wondering if it had any significance at all.  Regardless, I was a soldier, and I answered my country’s call to duty.  I pulled out some old pictures and an old diary that I had kept sporadically during my days in country. 
     My first few months in Vietnam were in Saigon .   It was a good assignment out of harms way.  However, after three months I was transferred to an Advisor Team serving with the Vietnamese, so I got a very different perspective on the war. 
     On my first day at my new duty station in Chao Doc province, several Huey’s (helicopters) flown by Vietnamese pilots brought in a number of civilian casualties from a VC attack in their helmet.  I will never forget the sight and sounds of the bodies of the dead, wrapped in palm mats, being rolled out of the choppers onto the rain soaked ground, and the faces and cries of the wounded.  There was one little girl, not much older than my own daughter at that time, who had a severe head wound that caught my eye.  Innocence!  Suffering!  I went to the field hospital the next day and found that she had died in the night.  It made me very angry.  That memory gave me purpose for the rest of my tour.  
     Some 38 years later, I still find myself angry when I see the innocent suffering at the hands of the enemy.  When I see children wounded by selfish and neglectful parents, or see politicians defending the abortion policies of the enemy, I get fighting mad again.  When I see the filth and beguiling propaganda waged against our children by the entertainment industry, I want to saddle up and engage the enemy. 
     In Vietnam we had a very effective enemy that appeared to be friendly in the light of day, but became your mortal enemy in the dark.  So it is with Satan and his ilk today.  Let us stand vigil, put on the whole armor of God, and do our duty to engage the enemy whenever and wherever the battle is joined.  Take heart, be encouraged, we shall overcome the enemy by the power and truth of the Word of God, both written and living.
 



Publish Date: February 2, 2010  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

FEBRUARY 2010

    One Sunday morning, after the worship service was over, I was at the front door greeting folks as they left.  A beautiful little girl about four years old looked up and innocently asked, “Are you the creature?”  Obviously she had heard someone say that I was the “preacher” (well, I hope that’s what they said) and she was just restating what she heard.  We all had a good laugh as I gave her a big hug and told her, “Yes, I was the creature.”
    I have often thought about the significance of her little question.  She was totally accurate in repeating something the way she “thought she heard it.”  We all do that.  We repeat, tell, or quote something the way we believe we heard it.  We are totally honest and forthright in what we say; only to have someone believe or say that we are lying.
    When this happens people get upset, offended and hurt.  It’s not that unusual to have two people hear the same statement and “honestly” hear something different.  Upon the retelling, it seems obvious that one or the other is lying.  When, in fact both are actually telling the truth “as they heard it.”
    That is why it is so important to make sure that what we say is clear and that the person we are talking to “understands” what we mean.  Good communication is a two way street, clear speaking and clear hearing.  Often we just assume everyone understands what we mean.
    Consequently, we need to be very careful before we accuse folks of lying or saying something they may not have actually said.  And I have found it inevitably gets more fouled up as the “word” is passed along the gossip line.  James, in his little letter in the New Testament, warns us against the dangers of a tongue that is used indiscriminately.  We should also make sure we give our ears that same diligence.
    I have found myself in trouble many times, not because of what I actually said, but because of what someone thought I said.  It would probably do us all good if we prayed and asked God not only to guard our mouth and help us speak words that are true and edify one another, but to also guard our ears that we “HEAR” with understanding.
    Jesus spoke of folks who see but “do not see” and hear but “do not hear” and so they cannot understand (Matt. ).  May our gracious Lord give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a tongue that confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of our Heavenly Father.

 

 



Publish Date: January 1, 2010  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

JANUARY 2010

How many times have we heard or said, I can’t believe another year has come and gone?  When we were children, it seemed like it was “forever” from Christmas to Christmas.  When you grow up and have to start paying the Christmas bills, it seems like Christmas was just last week.

There are always several things that run through our minds this time of year.  For one thing, we are grateful to have gotten through another year and for the most part the years have been good to us.  We’ve had a roof over our head and soft pillow beneath it.  Few, if any of us, went to bed hungry, and we knew we had many blessings for which we could thank God.

On the other hand, there is the year ahead.  There is both optimism and concern.  Optimistic, because we have another year of life before us.  Pessimistic, because of what “IS” before us.  Our health, the very shaky economy, irresponsible government spending that is plunging our nation deeper and deeper into debt, aging parents, kids becoming teenagers, teenagers dating who???

I hear many, many people saying things about the seeming loss of common sense in the world today.  We abort about 2 million babies a year and yet stop huge building projects to save one gopher turtle.  We panic over extremely questionable science regarding “global warming” and never mention Genesis 8:22 which says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”  And people get huge sums of money for their own irresponsibility, i.e. the lady who sued McDonalds because she got burned by their HOT coffee.  Hello!!! It’s HOT !

When we look at all the craziness in the world today, it makes me realize that more than ever, that what the world needs now, more than ever is actually not a what, but a who – JESUS!  When we let the world become our focus, it will drive you nuts!  We need to remember that God told us, “I will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Me.” (Isa. 26:3)

Regardless of how crazy the world becomes, God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  And regardless of what others may do, our simple task is to imitate our Savior.  That makes things pretty simple.

As we begin this New Year, many of us will be making the customary “resolutions.”  Perhaps this year we might resolve to keep our minds on Him and our actions like Him, in order to allow Him to keep us in that perfect peace Isaiah spoke of.

Regardless of what the world may bring, “May the Lord of Heaven and Earth give you His grace and wisdom for a Blessed and Happy New Year.”

 



Publish Date: December 16, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

DECEMBER 2009

Peter Marshall wrote, “In a world that seems not only to be changing, but even to be dissolving, there are some tens of millions of us who want Christmas to be the same…with the same old greeting, “Merry Christmas

 

 

 

 

Written decades ago, his sentiments seem to reflect what many of us feel today.  It seems like every day we hear of another step to remove Christ from Christmas.  Washington

 

     

DECEMBER EVENTS

 

 

 

Kidz Praise Rehearsal (

 

 

 

“Camel Lot ” Children’s Musical (

 

 

 

High Springs Christmas Parade (

 

 

 

Celebration & YAH Choirs (

 

 

 

Christmas Caroling (

 

 

PLEASE NOTE:

 

ONE SERVICE – December 20th at

 

NO

 

 

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
While Christians are heartbroken by all the efforts for political correctness to remove Christmas images, we must remember that while the outward images may be removed, no one can remove our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, whose birthday we celebrate from our hearts and minds.  And there is the true place to KEEP Christmas.  As long as we keep Jesus in our hearts, there will always be “CHRISTMAS!”

 



Publish Date: October 31, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

NOVEMBER 2009

Fall is officially here.  We have experienced our first “cool snap” and it felt wonderful.  The cool, crisp air was very refreshing and put a little extra bounce in our step.
 
With the fall comes many activities: hunting, better fishing, ball games, festivals, holidays, etc. and we have to decide which of those will take precedent in our lives.  When we are going to be out of church, we need to make sure we have covered our responsibilities.  This seems to be a chronic problem in the nursery and extended session times.  Seems like we are always having to beg for workers on Sunday because someone planned other things and just forgot to fill their ministry spot, which usually leaves someone “holding the bag” with more children than they can handle.  We finally have Mrs. Beth Jones taking the Nursery Coordinators responsibility.  Help her by being willing and faithful to serve.
 
Fall is also the time the staff dies its budget and calendar planning.  It’s a good time because it causes us to focus in direction and priorities.  I encourage all of you to be in prayer for this process.  I heard some folks from another church in Gainesville talking about having to shut down one of their buildings because of a shrinking congregation.  While my heart goes out to them, I can’t help but praise God for the vital life going on around here.
 
I praise God for birthing River Rise Country Church last September and want you to remember them in prayer on a regular basis.  Please pray for Bro. Jason Ashley and his family as they pour their lives into that work.  Also, remember the new church start we sponsor in Union County on Hwy 241, Journey of the Word Church and its pastor Bro. William Burroughs.  Our 100 Club will be helping them build a wheel chair ramp at their facility in the next few weeks.  PLEASE KEEP SUPPORTING THE 100 CLUB.
 
I have also enjoyed the Pray then Play basketball season this year.  The little kids are always fun to watch, and there are some very good players in the older leagues.  I have enjoyed getting to meet some very fine African-American young men who play here.  They really have blessed my heart in their conduct and sportsmanship.  If you like good basketball, you need to come see these guys play.
 
Finally, let me encourage you to keep your spirit anchored in the Lord Jesus and not let all the “politics and economics” rob you of the joy of your salvation.  Try to keep your mind and heart focused in Philippians 4:8.  That might help keep you from getting in the daily dumps.  Remember, God’s eye is on every heart and He will be the judge of all men, great and small.
 



Publish Date: September 25, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

OCTOBER 2009

Can you believe that fall is officially here?  When we lived in West Virginia , tall was my favorite time of the year.  You could feel the nights getting cooler and watch the trees begin to change from summer green to autumn hues of gold, yellow, orange and red.  As the days grew shorter and cooler, the fall colors would grow more brilliant.  The mountains would look like they had caught on fire with their brilliance.  From high atop mountain peaks we could look down on breath-taking vistas spreading like colorful patches of carpet before us.
 
It seemed like everything quickened a bit.  The heat of summer seemed to almost stifle any energetic pursuits. The heat, sweat and humidity just seemed to make things go slower.  But fall seemed to fuel our energy.  Cool crisp nights, football games, and marching bands all seemed to make everybody perk up a bit.
 
All too soon, the brilliant colors would begin to turn all shades of brown, making things look dull.  Not long after that, the autumn leaves would begin to fall and the colder winter winds began to blow.  With the trees bare, the grass going dormant, and the rocks now visible, everything would turn in to a dull gray.
 
While everything looked dead, it was far from it.  God was just giving the earth a time to rest.  The dull gray scenes would create an air of despondency until the snow fell.  The first snowfall of the winter was always special.  The gray vistas became a beautiful landscape of purest white.  There always seemed to be a quite hush that fell over the land as the snow fell.  The crunch of the snow beneath our feet, the billows of steam that came from our warm breaths hitting the cold winter air, and the frosty flakes that melted on our faces made us feel like children again.
 
In a few months the snows would cease, the days grow longer and warmer and spring would begin to unfold.  The Redbuds and Dogwoods were always the first sign of spring.  The reds, pinks, and whites soon spotted the mountainsides, valleys and roadways.  Everyone began to get excited about the coming of spring, warmer weather and the return to outside adventures.  Soon lush shades of green would be bursting out all over, and naturally knowing summer was not far behind, kids began to get excited about summer vacation.
 
As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, “to everything there is a season…”  We watch the seasons come and go, and the older we get, the faster they seem to race by.  They are always there to remind us of a spiritual truth; the cycle of seeming life and death never ends, and in reality, it reminds us that even death will always spring forth in another season of life.  However, the last cycle will be for an eternity.  After physical death there will be an eternal season of life, separated from god or with God.  That life is determined by our decision about Jesus being our Lord and Savior.  Most have seen the cliché, Know Jesus, know life.  No Jesus, no life.  While it sounds good it isn’t true.  Even with no Jesus one will have life; an eternal life separated from God in Hell.  Why would anyone choose that option, especially when Jesus offers heaven?  The price has been paid.  Why not accept the inheritance?  What season are you in?
 



Publish Date: August 25, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

School Is In

     First Christian Academy is booming this year.  Two years ago we began with 31 students.  Last year we had 52 and this year we are presently at 78.  In spite of all the gloom and doom about the economy and alerts that Christian and private schools were going to "really suffer" this year, we have grown about another 40%.  God is good and He is blessing His work.  The government schools began about a week after FBC and the kids are walking, riding and busing to school, as well. 
      All the kids are excited about seeing their old friends and making new ones.  Few are excited about the early wake up and home work. I wasn't when I was in school. I can't help but wonder how these eager young minds are being shaped; what they are being taught, and what values are being planted.  I at least know what 78 of them are being taught and I thank God that we have so many good, solid Christian teachers out there in the government school mission field that are touching those young lives and minds with the grace of God.
      The excitement is firing up again around the church after the usual summer slump.  The children's choirs are resuming, a new Wed. night progam, Elevate, is starting and Sunday Safari has resumed.  All these for children.  Pray then Play Basketball is getting underway and church is humming.
      It great to be a part of a lively church where God is alive and well, and His people are excited about where God will lead us. I just heard the latest stastic about 91% of churches in the U.S. being plateaued or in decline. That makes me all the more grateful for where God has planted us to work together for His kingdom's mission.
 



Publish Date: July 27, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

Summer Is Going, Going...

It seems as though school just let out and now, in just two or three week, schools will be back in session.  With the ever increasing pressures in government schools to toe the politically correct agenda in "social change", even to the neglect of academic education, I wonder what our children will be taught. 
 
It had been some time since I had read the Humanist Manifestos, 1,2 and 2000. Throughout its existance, the Humanist Association has made no effort to  conceal the fact that their goal for education is to make it an instrument of social change rather than academic education.  Since 1933, the Humanist movement has taken over government and education to bring about humanist/socialistic/communistic goals. 
 
One of the major flaws in humanistic thinking is that most of man's problems stem from antiquated ideas in religion and faith, especially Christianity.  Their driving vision of one world, one government, one people, is lofty.  The only thing the humanists neglect to keep in mind is the true nature of the human heart.  It is NOT faith or religion that keeps man apart, but his own humanistic nature. The prophet Jeremiah writes, "The heart is deceiptful above all things, and desperately wicked.  Who can know it?" (17:9)  Humanistic nature must change before unity can occur among men, and only God can change the heart and nature of man through Jesus, the Christ."  Hearts must change if humanity is going to change.
 
One day there will be one world, one people, one government, and it will be under the rule of Jesus, when all power and authority is given to HIm by our Heavenly Father.  Till then, we must press on to the high call of God in Christ Jesus.
 
 
 



Publish Date: June 3, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

School is out???

     It's hard to believe that school is out.  Or is it?  Classes may be out for the summer, but "school", is not over until we die.  And life consistently reveals what we are learning "in school".  I think all of life is a school room and each person we meet can teach us something. But, we must remember that not all we learn is profitable for our well being. Some things we learn, if  put into practice in living, will cause us to self-destruct or damage others.  Sometimes a little knowledge can be very dangerous, and likewise, a lot of knowledge can make us arrogant and thus ignorant.  I think it is so sad when a person arrives at the place where they think there is nothing more they care to learn.  Learning constantly opens new horizons and new worlds.  This is especially true with God.  The  more we question, the more answers we find, and that leads us to a more intimate walk with God. 
     God wants us to know Him.  He wants to make Himself known to us and has done that especially well in the person of Jesus. While there are somthings I just can't wrap my mind around, I understand that I am still mortal, with limited ability to comprehend and thast I am trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.  All things considered, I guess I just like "going to school, well, at least learning."   I hope you will never stop learning in your life's journey, and that you will seek to learn more about the soverign God in whose image you have been created.
    
 
 
 



Publish Date: April 23, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

Put up or Shut up

     Have you ever said or heard the cliche "Put up or Shut up" or "Put your money where your mouth is?" Sure you have.  The Bible has a verse that parallels their meaning.  James 1:22, "Be doers of the Word and not just hearers only, deceiving yourselves."  Believing something is one thing, living out what you believe is quite another. Most of us believe in liberty and freedom; but who is willing to volunteer to go to war to defend or preserve those things we say we believe in?
     In Mark Batterson's book, The Wild Goose Chase, he writes, "Christianity was always intended to be a verb.  And, more specifically, an action verb.  The title of the book of ACTS says it all, doesn't it?  It's not  the book of Ideas or Theories or Words.  It is the book of ACTS."  Let me paraphrase the rest of that paragraph, "If the church did more and said less, we would accomplish a lot more for the Kingdom of God. When it's all over, God is NOT going to say, "Well thought, or well said good and faithful servant."  He is going to say, "Well DONE good and faithful servant."  James, in his little book, tells us, FAITH without WORKS is dead.
     I believe there comes a time when you need to quit singing, quit meeting, quit praying and get to moving, DO SOMETHING with your faith.  DO SOMETHING for the cause of Christ and the Kingdom of God!  It's time for the church to put up or shut up.  Remember, the church is not the corporate gathering, it IS US! Does your life flesh out in action what you profess to believe?
 
 



Publish Date: March 25, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

Spring has Sprung

     When spring arrives there always seems to be an increased feeling of energy and hopefulness.  Life seems to be budding out all over.  Of course, with all that "budding" comes the pollen and allergies.  Just another reminder that every season of life has its blessings and challenges.
      I never cease to be amazed at how some folks always seem  to focus on the "challenges/problems" and never seem to notice the budding opportunities.  Many people spend a great deal of their energy and effort simply "reacting" to the challenges of life rather than being pro-active and taking the challenge as an opportunity. Some drown in a tea cup while others use the power of a tsunami to move their life forward.
      Jesus seemed to be one of those people who was always seizing the situation to teach the truths of God, or demonstrate God's power and grace toward man.  I want to be that kind of person.  I want the Spirit of Christ to bloom in my life so that in each circumstance and in every situation I will reflect His presence and work within.
      With so much uncertainty, fear and anger about the economic situation in our world today, I am so glad that this "season for America" is still under God's control and that whatever may come, God will still provide opportunities for challenges and blessings.  And, with those options, I can choose which path my journey will take.  That is why it is so comforting to know that, "the Lord is my shepherd..."  Is He yours?
 



Publish Date: February 16, 2009  ::  Author: Dr Eddie Gandy

Great Job students and Workers

Wow!  I was really impressed with the quality of performance and content of the message presented at last night's Valentine Dinner Theater.  The food was excellent, thanks to all the cooks; the service was great, thanks to all the students and the whole thing came together because of the great staff and student council.  All of you did a wonderful job and blessed my heart and lifted my spirit.  It was nice just to be able to come with my wife and not have a single responsibilty.  Carmen and I enjoyed the evening.  We enjoyed getting acquainted with a young couple at our table as well as enjoying all that was going on.
 
I am just excited about being the pastor of such an incredible group of folks.  It is evident that God is doing something here.  I see His work everywhere.  I thank Him for the four families He brought into the fellowship this past Sunday.  Remember, it is not just enough to have a harvest, we need to keep the fruit and continue to reproduce more and stronger believers.
 
Thanks again for all the hard work.  It was work it.