Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reigning Champion

About every other year as part of the LBC Staff Christmas festivities, a battle of wit and guts rages in my basement.  This week for several hours, the Staff men waged war against each other in Monopoly in my basement to the death. 

This year, the reigning champ, Pastor Pritt met his match with a new young buck known simply as "Cruice like Juice".  Please enjoy the play by play.

Witmer jumped out to an amazing first two rounds of the board buying up many choice properties on vairous colors.  This slowed and Olinda eventually caught up to the purchasing frienzy.  Cruice took the Untilities/Railroad strategy straight from an online cheat site, and scored the first "monopoly" with Utilities (though it is debated if Utilities can be actually counted for anything).  Pritt seemed to lack "umpah" at first, but slowly built up steam and negotiated with Witmer for the first true "monopoly" in light blue slumb lands.  This trade would determine the battle at the end of the game and was only given by Witmer to secure one railroad and an orange property to kill Cruice dead in his tracts that owned two railroads and an orange.  The promise was made to Pritt that Witmer would bury the properties and they would never be sold to Cruice.  A promise that was kept.

Olinda then made several decisions that seemed to allow him to surge to an imminent dominance.  Cruice licked his wounds on the Railroad debauchery for several rounds and only made a purchase of minor properties in addition to Park Place.  Somewhere along that time, Cruice landed on "Chance" as he seemed to along with "Community Chest" about 30 times in the game.  This is no exageration.  The card read "Advance to Boardwalk".  With one turn of the game, Cruice owned Boardwalk and Park Place.

Meanwhile, Pritt developed light blue and slowly acquired the direct purple corner.  Witmer was not silent acquiring several properties an "monopolizing" red.  Olinda acquired yellow.  Pritt developed first on light blue, then Cruice in the ritz, then Witmer on red.  Before long Hotels and multi-houses lined the board.

Somewhere in those moments, Olinda's world fell apart and I believe Cruice put him out of his misery with a direct land on the properties of the quadruple figure rents.  Olinda was out.  Witmer held much longer, but finally paid the price after several Pritt hits and a final Cruice destruction. 

Then, there were two.  Pritt and Cruice exchanged rent and battled it out with no clear end in site.  Since Witmer/Olinda property was now available, several other properties were purchased to get advantage.  At the 5 hour mark, a time limit was set of 30 more minutes and the two battled it out like Tolkien warriors of old.  As the final minutes ticked away, Pritt landed one to many times on the ritzy side of town and lost most of his cash and several of his extensive web of hotels and houses.

Pritt was dethroned and there was a new Champion in town.  Hail to the new champion and be sure to go by his office to admire his new "traveling" trophy.

You may question the wisdom or legitimacy of such a game.  I will simply tell you with experience that all work and no play makes a church staff...well, no fun to work with.

Caroling, Caroling now we go...

I just returned from a most enjoyable time of Christmas caroling.  This is the first time we attempted it on a mid-week service night and we were a bit afraid that we may suffer in attendance.  In past years we have noticed that fewer people were coming on dedicated caroling nights.  Anyhow, we were most pleased to see about 60 people show up to visit several of our shutins, widows, and hurting people.

James says:  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  What happened tonight was pure religion.

Our group was the "Christiana group" of 17 people.  We had three stops in about a 10 mile radius.  The first was a member of our church who is battling cancer.  They really appreciated our stop.  The second was one of our handicapped seniors that has recently moved to a retirement facility.  She wept with joy and hugged each of us as we finished our last song:  "This is so wonderful" she said.  The last was a dear couple well into their 80's who have also recently entered a retirement community.  - "this is so nice" they said as they held Emma and listened to the sounds of the Incarnation of God in song.  On another occasion in our journeys, we were able to sing the gospel to a group of unsaved ladies who rejoiced.

I have heard that the other groups had similar experiences of great fellowship and ministry.  Anything new is a bit of a risk, but I will guarantee you that this will become part of our Christmas Tradition at LBC each year.  This is a wonderful opportunity to experience "Pure Religion" and I didn't even write of the joys of being with the other families.

Merry CHRISTmas,


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Come to the Manger

I would like to encourage our church family and friends to come to our Christmas Cantata:  Come to the Manger this Sunday.  There will be 2 showings at 9am and 10:45am. 

The Cantata has three major movements.  First, the humble scene of Bethlehem's manger with the shepherds attending.  Secondly, there is the picture of visit of the Magi in Jesus' toddler years bringing gifts of precious and meaningful treasure.   Finally, there is return to the manger with the realization of Christ's identity as future King and Lord.

I trust the Lord will use this event to be a blessing to believers and a gospel light to those without Jesus.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your Thanksgiving be void of empty appreciation and full of specific praise to God who richly blesses us with all good things !


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Important Announcements

Dear Church Family,

Please consider carefully the following:

1. This Sunday 11/18/10 is our Quarterly Building Offering - "Waiting On the Lord". Right now, we are on a "holding pattern from heaven" and we are terribly dependent on the Lord for the finances of our new Building. Now is the time for us to give in faith because we know the Lord has to do something miraculous among us. We are actively pursuing banks to loan us the money for our project, but the economy is causing them to be very stingy. We trust the Lord perfectly that He will make very clear to us what we must do. Right now, it is clear that we are to joyfully WAIT ON HIM. While we wait, we must make our own finances as attractive as possible to secure the loan. So, I ask you to give from the heart.

2. On Sunday Night, Brian Geeseman from Eagle Ranch will be with us to publicly give Joey Masarik his Diploma and to present the ministry to our church. This is the Ranch where Joey spent six months getting his mind straightened out before the Lord. I would like us to give a respectable offering to the Ranch, but I realize that "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip." I have already asked you to give to the Revival, give to the Building offering, give your tithes -- and that's a lot of giving-------SOOOOOO.........

Let's be creative..... On Sunday evening you will find an addressed envelope on your seat to EAGLE RANCH. Please take the envelope home and send the Ranch Money as soon as you can. We have JOEY to prove the value of this great work for the Lord. If you are prepared to give on Sunday Night - then, please put the money in the envelope (checks to Eagle Ranch) and place in the normal offering.

Thank you for considering these two items ----- Don't forget the Men's Prayer breakfast on Saturday at 8am) - -- forgive any Typos in this time to edit :)

Much Love to all,


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vote Righteousness

We are 2 days away from Mid-term elections.

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

• Please understand that this world cannot be changed by politics, governments, or elections - but by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

• As Christians we must not get into the mindset of changing our world through Politics.

----However - we must engage in voting and even running for leadership in America to be righteous - we are commanded to take a stand for righteousness.

Pastors and Churches have always played a huge role to shape the direction of America - Come Tuesday Morning -- You must Vote for Righteous Candidates.

*Vote for candidates that follow the Bible - Morality, Pro-life, pro-religious liberty. You must reject candidates that agree with the pro-gay agenda.

*I would step further and challenge you to realize that socialist candidates are not Biblical - God rewards hard work and says to give to others from your love and will --- not by force.

----First I ask you to Vote - you have not right to complain if you do not vote --- Then Vote Righteousness on Tuesday. Vote for candidates that line up best with God’s Morality, direction, commands.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thank You!

I wanted to thank each of you that were so thoughtful for Pastor's Appreciation Day this past Sunday.  Thanks to the Deacons who thoughtfully organized everything.

Amy and I opened each card with love and thankfulness.  Thank you for all the gifts and the kind words you expressed.  I especially want to thank the Kings Kids and children's classes for their excellent projects and displays.  I love these things and will cherish them.

It is my great privilege and opportunity to be your Pastor.  I do pray that I will be a faithful and loving under-shepherd to each of you.

Much Love,


Saturday, September 11, 2010

When the Towers Fell

When the Towers Fell by Tobe Witmer

You cannot tell a Hero by the ribbons on his chest,

You cannot tell a warrior by weapons on his vest,

But when a man lays down his life for one that’s not his own,

That man is something special and deserves great honor shown:

When the towers fell, when the towers fell,

And the hope of every American heart lay crumbled on the ground,

They may have taken brick away, with glass and metal spans,

But we still have our Courage, Faith, our love, and praying Hands.

We woke up on that morning, just like another day,

Some started school, some work, some home, and some had time to play,

But somewhere close to nine o’clock, we lost our innocence,

When wicked men with plans of death killed thousands without sense.

We reached for hope, we shed our tears, we launched our troops with nerve,

And though we were attacked with hate, our justice soon was served,

Some lost their precious loved ones then, in fires set from Hell,

Some gained their faith in Christ that day and now their stories tell.

So from this foolish- hateful mess, came courage, hope, and strength,

May God help us to not forget our life’s uncertain length.

Our country holds a special place from shore to nation’s shore,

We stand for Freedom, Faith, and Truth; we’re hated and adored.

When the towers fell, when the towers fell,

And the hope of every American heart lay crumbled on the ground,

They may have taken brick away, with glass and metal spans,

But we still have our Courage, Faith, our love, and praying hands.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mrs. Bonnie Beebe Funeral

Our hearts go out to the Beebe Family as they mourn the loss of Bonnie.  Bonnie was a faithful servant of the Lord, a great mother and wife.

Service:   Lighthouse Baptist Church, 11am, Tuesday, August 31st.  10am visitation.  There will be a luncheon in the Modular Building following the internment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Richard Bish

Our hearts are broken beyond words at the loss of our dear friend Dr. Richard Bish on Wednesday, 8/18/10.

Vistation will be at the Funeral home Sunday, August 22nd from 6pm - 8pm

Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam
130 Speer Rd.
Chestertown, Md.  21620

The Funeral will be Monday, August 23rd at
Chestertown Baptist Church
 401 Morgnec Road, Chestertown, MD - (410) 778-5844

 Visitation at 10am; Service at 11am.

Reception to follow: ***At Chestertown Baptist Church*** (This is a revision)

The service will be conducted by:

Pastor Terri Moore, Dr. Bruce Miller, Dr. Bob Hamblen, Pastor Tobe Witmer.

Lighthouse has been asked to bring sidedishes for the reception.  We will need many ladies to participate.  If you can make a sidedish, please contact Gloria Pharis or the church office.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hello Heaven?

Dear LBC Family,

I have just returned from a tremendous Men's Prayer Meeting at the white house. Once a month, men are invited to come and pray about our building project. We were especially praying today for our Summer Building Offering tomorrow.

While it is fresh in my mind, I would like to share with you a real prayer from this morning. Most of what I write is exact quote or very close to it:

"Hello, Heaven? This is your son Lit Powell, and I need a direct line to Jesus Christ. Please connect me with the best signal of phone, email, internet, whatever. Heavenly Father, we come to you needing a straight conversation with you...often we are distracted from the task at hand by even thoughts of our next meal. Keep us focused as we pray for this great financial need on a direct line of request. We need no static in this call.

Father, would you put us in contact with your best financial man up there standing by? We need a lot of money for this project. There are 12 other guys here praying for the same thing in addition to myself. We are around this big table. We need about a table full of money to do this building. Please hear our request and send it.

Now Father, I thank you for this call. We know we have a direct line to you. Thank you Jesus. In your precious name, Amen."

Now, Lit has no idea that I am posting this request, so don't embarrass him by pointing it out. He was just praying to his Abba, Father the way the Spirit was leading. It was genuine and from the heart.

Other men prayed tomorrow for the Widow's Mite. Others asked the Lord to hear the requests of our children, still others praised God for His past goodness on our church family.

I would ask you to put the same intensity in your request for this project, and especially what the Lord will give you the faith and courage to give tomorrow in the Summer Building Offering.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Decade Celebration 10-10-10

There is a lot going on behind the scenes for our Decade Celebration - here are some things for your enjoyment!

1.  We will hold the event at Clayton Hall on Rt. 896 at the University of Delaware.

This is a beautiful venue with plenty of parking, a huge open area where several hundred people can fellowship peacefully - comfortable chairs and sitting areas that will be very enjoyable between services.  Our two services will be held in a modern 500 seat auditorium that will also accomodate our multi-media presentations.  We have reserved two large rooms for child care and will be hiring faithful ladies from other churches to watch our children during the services.  Across the expansive common area is a huge banquet hall that we will use for a delicious formal lunch.

We are providing the event free of charge, BUT, free tickets must be secured by each person attending.  (Please do not secure a ticket until you are absolutely sure of your attendance.)

2.  Times:
          Worship Service:  10:45am
          Lunch:  12:30pm
          Celebration Service:  2pm

All the services will be packed with excellent content, media presentations, preaching, special presentations, etc.

3.  Additional "goings-on":
We are nearing completion of the LBC Decade Celebration History Book entitled:  From Humble Beginnings to Joyful Ministry   This book tells the story of God's Sovereign birth of Lighthouse through the events that have brought us to joyfully serving the Lord today.  You will weep when you read about lawn chairs and shout when you remember the Lord delivering the Sears Property.  You will muse on treacherous times of decisions and see the Lord gently leading through it all.

We have invited nearly everyone that had something to do with Lighthouse in the past.  We have contacted old pulpit supply, missionaries, former members, etc.  All are welcome with open arms!

There will be a special blessing in the Celebration Service as area Pastors and old friends bless the Lord on our behalf with testimonies of praise.

Lord willing, we will unveil an original Lighthouse Hymn written for our 10th Anniversary.

It should be a tremendous time to Celebrate the Lord's work. 

The Scriptures say:  Psalms105:1-2 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. (2) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.  Lighthouse Baptist Church is truly a work of the Lord alone and on 10-10-10 we should celebrate wholeheartedly all that He has done for us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Speak out believers!

I just read the above article on Fox that stirs up my God-fearing zeal.  The article is about a Christian student that was expelled from Eastern Michigan University for being a Counseling major who opposes Homosexuality.  According to the article, the university expelled her because she could not properly counsel homosexuals because she believed they were morally wrong.

Let me give a bit of true wisdom.  Here is proper and positive counsel to homosexuals:  forsake sodomy, repent and ask the Lord's forgiveness by the blood of Christ on the Cross.  Get accountable to a Pastor or Godly man in a Bible believing church that constantly asks you if you are staying pure.  Get accountable in your internet and media.  Memorize verses about fornication and purity.  Date the opposite sex.  Buy masculine clothes if you are a man - dress feminine and grow your hair long if you are a woman.   Stay pure and get married.  That is proper counsel.  I want to make a statement that I hope all Christians will consider:  Secular counseling (Psychology, Psychiatry is NOT in agreement with God's counsel.  It is not proper medicine because it contradicts the ways of the Maker.  Believers should be VERY hesitant of secular counseling and seek a Bible Based Counselor (a Pastor, or trained counselor) instead.  Secular Psychology is very corrupt and destructive to the lives of those who trust it.  It is not good as it works off of theories that contradict the Bible.  Many Christian psychologists try to integrate secular psychology with the Bible. (James Dobson)  This is not good and cannot work.  The Word of God is totally sufficient and believers should not seek a substitute or value modern Psychiatry as "medicine" or scientifically superior to God's Counsel.  Consider true Biblical counseling

Secondly, this is not a matter of meeting standards at a college.  It is Christian persecution that a Judge has now upheld.  Welcome to the beginning of creative ways to hurt believers in America.  I do pray that there is a large group of Christians organizing to picket outside of Eastern Michigan University.  I do pray that there are Pastors trying to book radio time to denounce U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh's ruling.  I do hope there is a Supreme Court to overturn this decision. 

If and when this happens around Lighthouse, I do trust that we will have the courage and character to cry for God's Ways just as loudly, as lovingly, and as boldly as we possibly can.  Please pray for this young woman, Julea Ward, who was expelled.  Pray that God would bless her a hundred fold for her stand.  Pray that perhaps she will be accepted into a Bible based Counseling program which would be much better anyway.

In God's holy zeal,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Approved Record Plan

I hardly know how to properly honor the Lord for His goodness to Lighthouse tonight.  Nothing seems adequate to say.  I just want to publicly tell the Lord "Thank You, and praise You."

After many years of meetings, thousands of phone calls and emails, 900 plus pages filed with New Castle County, public meetings, and hundreds of thousands of engineering dollars - Our Record Plan has been approved.

Our project was on the "consent agenda" tonight, which means that unless someone requests that it be discussed, we would be automatically voted on.  Well, about ten minutes into the meeting, our project was read, and no one questioned a thing, so the Council voted unanimously (with one member missing) to approve our Record Plan.  The plan will be taken to the County Executive, Christopher Coons for signature.

The Record Plan means that all requirements of site engineering, entrances, storm water management, grading, etc. have been met and the County is approving moving forward to build.  Our project is officially recorded this week in New Castle County as permission to begin building.

This is the Big Deal, and from here details are minor in comparison.  We praise the Lord for His great leadership and trust Him to lead us through the financial decisions to break ground.

Psalm 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NCC Building Meeting Workshop Praise

Our entire church should praise the Lord today for a very positive meeting with the Land Use Committee for the New Castle County Council. 

We met at their offices in Wilmington.  Our Site Engineer, Bruce Tease of Landmark Engineering and I represented the LBC building project.

Councilwoman Lisa Diller introduced our project with encouraging praises of a project that was very well organized and communicated transparently and effectively with her office.  There were a few minor questions to Bruce and then the Chairman of the Committee, Councilman Dave Tacket told the Committee and all the spectators present that he was very familiar with the church and gave us glowing accolades of being involved and impacting our community.  He placed his approval and excitement publicly on the project and we were dismissed without further questions.

We have been placed on the agenda for next Tuesday for the final meeting with County before our Record Plan is approved to be recorded.  This will give us the permission that we have prayerfully and patiently pursued for over five years to build on our property.  Over 900 pages  of documents have been filed with New Castle County, hundreds of hours work, and over $300,000 in Engineering.  We are seeing the end of the tunnel.

I praise the Lord tonight because He has placed His good hand of favor upon us to protect us and guide our way.  Thank you Lord, we follow You and trust only on Your lead.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Congrats to the Baranowskis!

With Joy we welcome Jordyn Grace into the world.  A healthy 8lb. 1 oz. beautiful girl.   Amy and Mark are doing well.  Amy hopes to come home today (Friday)

Huge Lighthouse Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Bodies Promised

Dear LBC Family,

Please pray for the courage and strength of Mrs Phyllis Thompson who was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer.  She has some decisions and another biopsy in front of her.  She will also be having chemo. in the near future.  She needs your prayers.

We also pray for Mrs. Judy Griffiths as well in her treatments.

We know that these bodies were not made for the long hall.  The Lord has new and improved bodies planned for each of us who are new in Jesus Christ.

Let's rally around those that are hurting as the family of God.  The first priority of prayer is their spiritual strength.  As you pray for their health, ask God to strengthen their faith in the inner man.  Pray that the Lord would give them opportunities to draw closer to Him, to be a witness for Him, to comfort others in the comfort that they receive.

We love each of you that are hurting.  The Lord cares about the fallen sparrow, and He cares for you even more!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prayer and More

As I stated tonight in our Midweek service, I ask our LBC family to pray for two of my preacher friends with ministry concerns.  Each of these Pastors need prayer for strength.

I also want to remind you to pray earnestly for our Building Permits as our project passes through the last step of New County County Council on the first two Tuesday's of July.  This is a major big deal and it is the culmination of five years of planning.  Thank you for earnestly praying.

The Building Team and Deacons are working through our options with the Building Finances right now.  This is a very hard proceedure and needs much wisdom from the Lord.  Please pray that we will know exactly the right steps to move forward.  Everyone wants to move forward, but we are trying to be very wise and exploring all our options.  As we all know, we are not in a financial situation to build the building "turn key" (completely finished).  However, it is our goal and prayer to break ground and get started by the end of 2010.  God can do anything and has been strong for us up to this point.  The banks are weighing in on what they can do right now and what they believe we can afford comfortably.  Pray, Pray, Pray!


Friday, June 18, 2010

A Sweet and Sour Departure

To the friends of Lighthouse that may not yet know  - our Youth and Administration Pastor, Tim Valiante has accepted the position of Senior Pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Millville, Pa.

It is with sadness and joy that I personally say goodbye to PV.  I first met Tim when he came with his Catholic background family to church at Bensalem Baptist where I was the Youth Pastor.  Tim came to youth group with his older brother John and then his younger sister Andrea aka "Youthgirl".  Tim accepted Christ under Pastor Love's preaching and got involved in the youth group and later "Preacher Boys" when he enrolled in the Christian School.  One of my first memories of Tim was taking him along with me to minister to a young man in our church who was in a rehabilitation home.

It wasn't long before Tim was preaching as a high schooler and showing the potential of ministry.  It was also my privilege to coach him in soccer where I enjoyed yelling at him regularly to make the most of his above average soccer skills.  He had a background in travel soccer and was the most valuable player on our team in his time.  Those were good times.  He put many a goal in the back of the net.  Tim went off to Northland and did an internship at BBC one summer.  Again it was my joy to push him.

When Tim graduated, became engaged, and wasn't sure of his next move - the Lord directed our paths together and of course he came to Lighthouse to minister.  I will never forget when he came to interview.  Sarah flew in from Arizona and that was the snowstorm of 2003.  Tim and Sarah (yet unmarried) were stuck at our house for 3 days.  Good Times.

Of course we hired him and that was 7+ years ago.  Tim joined me each day in the office at the warehouse and Sarah became the secretary when Georgia "retired".  Those were the struggling first years of LBC and the ministry of the first pastors.  They were not simple days and there was much work in this pioneer ministry.  PV was an invaluable asset in the renovation of the building and the organization of our ministries.

PV brought a depth to the teen ministry in his teaching and his "even keel" temperment.  I am a pusher, he is a plodder.  I am an alarmist, he is laidback.  It has been good years and I will miss him greatly. 

We enjoyed many theologic discussions and thinking through vague Greek meanings and vernacular.  He is ready and will do a great job as the Lord continues to use him as and instrument in the hand of the Master.  It will be the joy and shock of his life to sit "in the big chair".

We look ahead with anticipation at whom the Lord will bring to take up the needs of Youth and perhaps eventually administration at LBC.  Pastor Pritt is a great help to LBC and along with Jeff in the office and eager volunteers - we will keep everything afloat until the Lord fills the need.

The Valiante's last Sunday is July 11th.  We have a large fellowship planned and we will be giving them a gift from the church as well as having a "card basket" and "money tree" to bid them Godspeed.  Please let them know how much you have appreciated their ministry.  I still have cards and letters from past ministries that mean the world to me.

This will be a sweet and sour departure, but we praise the Lord for His perfect will.  Please feel free to leave comments on this blog to the Valiantes.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Unprompted Love

These days, I am thrilling in the love of God that came to us without our prompting.  What I mean by that is that God's love is not like our love, and that is what makes it amazing. See - the love that we are familiar with on this earth is love that sees something in someone and responds to it.  God's love is not like this.

Don't think you understand this easily - think through it.  I began to love Amy twenty years ago because I saw in her things I admired and was attracted to.  She was beautiful.  She was very smart.  She was kind, etc.  SEE?  My love was a response to things I had seen in her.

Now, God's love is not like this at all.  Stop and consider that He CHOSE to love you, despite NOT being attracted to you.  In fact, He is repulsed by His rebellious creation.  He was repulsed by your sin, your disobedience, your attempts at self righteousness.  This is how He found you when He came to you and loved you.  When He called you to be saved, He called you because He decided to, not because He saw anything that He liked in you.  This is why the wind of salvation is impossible to predict.  People of any status, condition, class, etc. are perfect candidates to be saved.  God is not a respecter of persons because the love of salvation comes from His side totally.

I think you probably agree with me on the surface, but don't realize that some of the things we say in evangelism conflict with this.  We (general Christianity) refer to people "seeking" for God.  WHAT?!?  This is certainly different than what my Bible says.  God found us running away from Him.  This is why His love is so amazing.  It is generated from His side.  If you find a "seeker", it is only because God's love is calling them.  He is turning them around when they are running from Him.  Amazing love.  If this really sinks in, you will have a "precarious moment" when you realize that you should not be saved - there is no reason you generated for God to save you.  If you get this, it will take your breath, your chest will tighten and you will realize how close you came to hell.  You will say with the old Hymn writer, "Lord, why was I a guest?"

If we understand this Biblically, things like "feeling like God is far away" doesn't make sense anymore.  If He initiated His love toward you in eternal salvation, the constancy of love is sustained by Him, not you.  If He decided to love you as an enemy, He much more continues to love you through your Christian struggles and failures.  He sustains the love, not you.  Not your performance.

Lately, I am thrilling in the unprompted love of God.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eulogy of the death of Princess

I almost feel compelled to give a public statement about the death of our cat because of the number of times I have used her as a sermon illustration.

On Friday morning we found Princess had passed away from unknown causes.  I was a bit amazed at how her passing affected me and the thoughts I have had since.  Andrew found Kitty and immediately alerted the family.  I sent the family into the family room while I surveyed the situation.  When I went to examine her, I immediately felt the sorrow that a very present part of our family had been lost.

I know that there are those reading this that think I must be joking.  I did not like cats.  I really did not like many of the things that Princess did.  Sometimes she had very bad habits.  But none of those things changed the feeling of looking at her laying there lifeless.  It was not her.  She had gone.  The vehicle of her life was left behind, but she was not there.  My spirit sank.  I was afraid of her body.  How odd it is that hours before we would have petted her, snuggled her, shuffled her out of the way - yet now, I felt fear.  Fear of death.  Fear of a lifeless body.  I was struck by the realization that flesh is not life.  Flesh is a vehicle, a body only.  How quickly life can be separated from the vehicle.

Throughout that day, I kept thinking how quickly things can change.  We had talked about giving  Princess away because of her habits.  Perhaps someone else could have trained her....perhaps not.  But we did not give her away....she left; she  suddenly left.  The Bible says we do not know what a day will bring forth.  The moment before we found her, everything was normal.  I am reminded that we must seize everyday.  We must value and appreciate all that is around us in every day.  We must be thankful for what we have today, because there is a good chance that tomorrow it could be gone.

Amy and I also had many thoughts about people around us - appreciating people we have today.  We do not know when death will take any one of us.  We must value each other today.  We must say the things we want and need to say today.  We may not have tomorrow.

Princess slept on each of our beds on different nights, or times of the night.  She is not there now.  She greeted the day with me as we made coffee and I opened the door for her to the porch.  Our hearts are heavy because she is gone.  Some of you have lost pets.  It is a very real sorrow; loss. 

How much more the sorrow of losing a spouse or family member.  Today in my Sunday School class, the teacher spoke from I Thess. 3 about "sorrowing with hope".  We take heart that we will see saved loved ones again, but there is still great sorrow.  How hard it must be for those of you who have lost spouses.  Loss is real.  It hurts.  It is fearful, gray, sad. 

We buried Kitty in our back yard and the children wept as we placed flowers on her grave.  Amy wept.   I wept.  It was good to hate Kitty, it was good to love Kitty.  I feel the loss of her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gone Home

Mr. Woody Waldron has gone to be with the Lord tonight.  I got a call a few hours ago. 

Woody was a great guy and it was my joy to see him for the last time this afternoon with Pastor Valiante.  The Hospice chaplain said it would not be long, and it certainly wasn't.  Our hearts go out especially to his granddaughter that is taken it quite hard.

We will be officiating over the funeral and it will most likely be next Tuesday or Wednesday.  Spicer-Mulliken will be handling the details.  For the family, I would like to thank several people who visited quite regularly.  You know who you are and great is your reward in heaven!

We will miss you Woody. 

Softball Cancelled

Tonight's Softball game has been cancelled due to wet fields.  The team is to report to the Witmers house at 314 Jaymar Blvd. Newark, De. for a team meeting.  Come hungry.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why Still the Lamb?

As I left the second showing of the Cantata this morning, I pondered in my mind why God continues to call Jesus the Lamb even into the book of Revelations.  He will be seen in the future as the Lamb upon His throne.

We are told that Jesus is also the Lion of Judah.  Why does the Father not only portray Christ as the Lion after the resurrection and exaltation?

I would like to suggest an educated guess.  Jesus still bears the wounds that He received as the slain lamb.  John the Revelator refers to the exalted Christ three times as the slain Lamb.  I believe that the Father chose to continue to call Jesus a Lamb because of these "forever wounds".

Jesus will forever bear the marks of our salvation in His blessed palms, feet, side, and head.  The Father chose that His glorified body would retain these marks as testimonies that our sins are forever atoned for.

This is my best guess...and I think it is a good one.  Praise be to the Lamb slain, resurrected, and glorified.  To Him be honor, riches, glory, and might forever and ever.  AMEN!  He alone is Worthy.  He is risen!  He is risen indeed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mint: Official endorsement

It is a very strange for me to endorse a secular product or service.  However, I am so impressed by that I feel like it could be a real blessing to your family for the income God has given you.  Incredibly, is totally FREE and simple to use.  No strings attached, no downloads.  It is all online on their servers.  It is highly rated, perfectly safe, and very popular in the financial world.

We switched to when Microsoft announced that they would no longer offer Microsoft Money after 2011.  We had used Money to budget our finances for a few years.

These products connect to your checking account via the Internet and allow you to set up a budget, show reports, etc. is only a budgeting tool and does not allow you to pay your bills.  It only connects to your bank account to download your transactions.  Anyhow, you have to pay your bills on the Bank's website, or just the old fashioned way of checks. I was saying originally - I LOVE MINT.  It categorizes all our spending almost automatically and generates instant reports of what we are spending our money on.  You see pie charts for the whole year and even compare them to the average other families are spending in the USA or Delaware.  I spend very, very little time inputting any information.  It does it automatically from my bank.  Awesome.

You can set up a budget for every category and it will warn you when you overspent for something.  It will send you a warning email or even a text message I believe.  "Too much for restaurants!" it says.....Ha, Ha, good stuff.  "Mortgage payment due in 5 days!"  There is also humor built into the service.  "Freshen accounts?"....get it?  Fresh, Mint....oh well....leave the humor to the bears and Jack Wagner.

I see this as a great help for God's Church as well.  When we as believers are good stewards of our money, we have more decision power for offerings like Faith Promise Missions, Building, etc.  Tithes should be automatic - no decision.  But, when we've blown all our money on Starbucks....well, it doesn't go to World Missions, I'll tell you that.

Hope this helps.  It sure is helping the Witmers.  (by the way, the screenshot above is NOT my account :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feed the Fish

Have you fed the fish yet on the right of this blog?  Simply click in the fish tank a few times.

Thanks.  They were hungry.


I want to take a moment and praise our present Deacons.  Tonight we had a Deacons meeting and discussed many very important things that will shape the direction of our church.

There was one issue about the new building that raised a discussion that I was not prepared for.  Near the end of the discussion, it was obvious to me that many of the guys actually had more vision for the project on that detail than I did.  On the way home, I could only smile and praise the Lord for bringing such faith and courage to our leadership.

Some Pastors have the problem of getting their Deacons to be excited about anything.  I have the wonderful "problem" of having a group of guys that have seen the Lord work in the past and are ready to trust Him into the future no matter how great the mountain to climb, or deep the ocean to swim.  Praise the Lord!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Friend and Coworker Day

We praise the Lord for "the many" visitors who had a chance to hear the gospel on Sunday morning.  You "Lighthousers" did a great job of bringing people.

We do know that at least 5 people took Red discipleship indicating that they had trusted Christ.  As you know, we don't push numbers here, but glory in obedience to preach the gospel, fruit that will remain, and being the savour of life unto life and death unto death.

The Lord worked in our evening service and after as well.  I know that many were moved by the thought of our dark world and the need for Christ from Romans 1.  It is precious to see grown men cry under the touch of the Holy Spirit.  Afterward, the Lord did His saving work and brought one to Christ.  The Lord had used several influences outside of the church throughout the last few weeks to call her to salvation.  Amen. "Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I wanted everyone to be aware that the "comments" area of The Pastor's Heart is now available for use.  I would love for some of you to leave comments periodically about each blog. 

The comments are moderated for appropriateness and then published.  Thanks to those who have already left comments to read.

Take care and rejoice in the Lord!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Lord met me at Wawa

Mondays are hard for Pastors.  In some ways they are a great rest from the pressures of the weekend, in other ways it takes half a day to feel like you don't have a "Sunday hangover".

Though I did not preach yesterday, I awoke this morning feeling rough as usual. I was so encouraged by Dr. Stephen Jones bringing our minds to the Lord yesterday, but I went to sleep bearing a heavy burden from a ministry situation.

I got ready for "the Monday" like most "Mondays" with just enough time to get the kids to school, but without time to make coffee. I told Amy not to make it which is code for "I'm stopping at Wawa to get us cappuccino".

I dropped the children off and pulled into Wawa. Though I know it will disappoint you, I will tell you because of my stupor that I intentionally parked our 23' Suburban in a space marked "Cars Only, No Trucks". I reasoned that they didn't really mean this - foolish sign.

As I drug myself toward the back of the store, I picked up two 20 ounce cups as I heard a faint voice directed toward me in the crowd of caffeine seekers. "Blah, Blah, Blah...still pastoring there....Blah, Blah...." I squinted around wondering if I were awake or dreaming within this circle of work boots. I looked up to a face with "chillin' sunglasses" that I strained to recognize.

"I'm sorry, excuse me?" I mumbled. "I worked construction in front of your you still pastor there?" It was then that I realized that God was meeting me. I don't mean physically, I mean He had intentionally put someone to minister to right in front of me on the day I least expected it.

This man's name is Van. When road crews were working on the turning lane in front of LBC in the heat of summer, the staff guys and I put out a table each day with a cooler filled with ice, bottled water, and Gatorade. We had also placed church literature and tracts on the table. Van was one of the crew chiefs and had remembered the kindness "in Jesus' name".

"Yes, I still Pastor at Lighthouse." "What time are your services? I want to parents live right around the corner." Van is a professed believer who is attending a church, but was impacted by God's love in a simple act of kindness.

I tell you this story for the main reason to show you that I had not intended to "reach out" much this morning because I was tired, dragging, and self-centered. As I left Van, I had the distinct feeling that the Lord gives us opportunities all the time if we will take them. I took my coffee to the cashier with renewed focus of living in God's will today..."I'm doing good today Pat, I want to give you this pamphlet, I'm a local pastor and I would love for you to visit our church. The pamphlet has some verses that tell you how you can be right with your Creator through Jesus."

As I exited the store, my attitude and outlook for the day had changed. "I shouldn't have parked here" I thought.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Year of the Shovel Offering this Sunday

Dear Lighthouse Congregation,

If all goes as scheduled, in three days we will take one of the last two building offerings before we receive our Building Permits. In the coming weeks I will hold a family meeting detailing the final price that we have just received. We have asked our builder and engineer over the next couple weeks to try to find “value engineering” to save us money that will allow us to break ground in 2010. Though it was our desire to build a finished building, unless there is a large surge in giving, we will need to leave classrooms, hallways, and offices unfinished.

The Congregation has given well over the years and we are in sight of the “end of the tunnel”. We have paid for nearly all of the Site Engineering in cash. We have paid for nearly all of the building design and drawings in cash. About $300,000 of the building is already paid. We need to give a desperate financial push to make up the gap between what the banks are willing to loan us and the cost of building our new Auditorium. This gap is significant, but I believe by God’s provision and willing wallets it can be done.

Let me share with you a few financial blessings recently:

1. The church was given legal ownership of a house that will be turned over upon the owners passing. (approx. $150,000)

2. Several people have recently purchased Wall of Honor Memorials ($500.00 per)

3. A kind family outside of our church recently sent the building fund a check for $6000.00.

4. People have given to the building fund “in lieu of flowers” at funerals this year.

We praise the Lord for these showers of blessing, and I am asking you to do all that you can in the Year of the Shovel offering this Sunday. Some may be able to give very large amounts, some can only give the widow’s mite. Please give all that you can. We ask the Lord to provide as we have followed His will.

Pastor Tobe Witmer

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fire Starter

Today's morning sermon is called Born To Lead.  I am preaching on the family and this deals with the Purpose and role of the man in life and marriage.

One of the points of scripture about man's leadership is his love for his wife.  Men must take the lead.  I don't only mean physically, but emotionally.  Men are the ones that must work to keep the spark of joy, friendship, communication, and attraction in the marriage.

Concerning this, there is a book out called Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.  I have not totally read the book, so I can't endorse all of the content.  The book deals with ways that people respond to be loved.  It is important to understand what "language" your wife responds to be loved in.  Some respond to gifts, some to talk, some to acts of kindness, etc.  Here are some tips that may help you men as you accept the role to lead as a "Fire Starter":

1.  Talk to your wife - communicate, don't just relay information and make necessary plans.  Build a friendship.

2.  Write random notes to her.  Leave them places.  Make them short and very sweet.

3.  Occasionally, for no reason, buy her flowers.

4.  Show your love for her publicly.  Put your arm around her.  Refer to her affectionately when around people.  Allow her to here that.  Let her know you appreciate and love her publicly. 

5.  Do something that is her responsibility without being asked.  This is not a role reversal, but just showing her that you care and want to help her by cleaning a bathroom or whatever.

6.  Include her into your business.  She isn't with you all the time.  Tell her your interaction with the business world, etc.  Ask her about her interactions through the day.  Be interested in her life, thoughts, etc.

7.  Ask her randomly to tell you stories of her life before you were married.  Ask her to tell you a story from when she was 7 or 11, or 14 yrs. old.  This helps you dwell with her according to knowledge, but also allows you to share fond memories in her soul together.

I pray that this series on the Family will greatly strengthen our homes to be what the Lord desires a home to be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The sermon this past Sunday morning (Allegiance in the Home) has stirred some positive attention.  The theme of the message was that God alone should have the allegiance of your love, service, obedience, etc. - even over other family members.  I used the examples of Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, many verses from Jesus, and the argument of I Cor. 7:15 to show this

There is another point from I Corinthians 7 that substantiates our allegiance to the Lord over family.  It is the point that Paul makes to encourage to stay "single" if possible at that time Christians .  He argues this in v.7-9, 25-26, 27-28, 32-35 from different angles.

Paul's argument to remain single is based upon two things:  persecution of the time and the ability to wholly dedicate oneself to serving the Lord. 

Here again is proof of allegiance to the Lord supremely.  Paul says in v. 35 to remain single if possible (both from virginity or if you are loosed from your spouse) so that "ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction."  He also makes clear  in this passage that marrying is certainly not sin.  He tells fathers that have virgin daughters in v. 37-38 that if they give them in marriage they do well,  but if they give them to serve the Lord as single women, "they do better."

These things may be hard for you to ingest.  They make the Lord our supreme allegiance, love, and interest even over marriage and family. 

May I ask you Christian, is the Lord your greatest love?  You would say yes - then I would counter your answer by asking is that true in the facts of the decisions you make with your time, thoughts, wallet, effort? 

How you  presently live your life shows what or WHO has your allegiance.  We must never neglect the love or our spouse or family; but we must find the balance of how to love them without jeopardizing the greater love of obedience, lordship, service, time, and worship of Christ.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti Disaster Relief

I encourage Christians everywhere to compassionately pray and support relief in Haiti. Haiti has been a place historically where the gospel has had an impact. We can give directly to a Haitian missionary with one of our Fundamental mission boards: IPM. Brother Saul is directly working with the relief effort.

“Lucien Saul Disaster Relief”
International Partnership Ministries, Inc.
PO Box 337
Hanover, PA 17331-0337

Pastor Witmer