Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teen ministry celebrates the season with giving

Our 180 youth group has been very busy with outreach projects. God is blessing the youth — and those they are touching — through these outreaches!

Kicks for Christmas shoe drive. Our teens made it to their goal of 500 pairs of brand new athletic shoes. The drive will culminate with the distribution of the shoes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday at New Heights Community Church, 340 Flomich Street, Holly Hill. Anyone struggling this Christmas is invited to attend the shoe giveaway to receive a new pair of shoes.

After an article about the shoe drive appeared in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Ormond Beach Mayor Ed Kelley delivered 20 pairs of new shoes that he himself purchased. It was his second visit recently. Back at the end of summer, he stopped by during a teen midweek service to deliver a plaque thanking the youth for their work during Summer 50, a summer of serving through projects such as raking leaves, painting and moving.

Green Pedal Bike Ministry. The youth have taken in, refurbished, and given out 650 bikes so far to those who cannot afford them.

Requests keep pouring in, but the supply of used bicycles has kept pace. “Donations have been phenomenal!” said Pastor Bill. Tom Menzel, a 180 youth partner, leads the bicycle ministry.

New bicycles given as gifts. The youth group heard about a single lady who recently began serving as a foster mother to six children -- three developmentally disabled children from two different families. The teens were moved. They decided that the bicycles for these children must be new. So they gave babysitting and allowance money, collecting enough money for five brand new bikes with training wheels and one tricycle. The teens assembled them and delivered them this past Saturday. The Guardian Ad Litem agency got wind of the gift and decided to pitch in by donating helmets for each of the six children.

More about the 180 at Tomoka youth group is online.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Discipline of Going to Church

Check out this blog by Daniel Darling, pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church near Chicago:

Going to church can become routine. I know it, because I grew up going to church three times a week (at least). It was not a choice my parents gave me. It was something we did, part of our regular routine.

As a second-generation Christian, I know full well the dangers of making spirituality overly routine. I have experienced long stretches of dryness where I was "going through the motions" and filling a pew. This can be dangerous to spiritual health. Traditionalism can become legalism. We can be satisfied with doing what we are supposed to do and avoiding spiritual introspection and growth.

However, I have come to appreciate the discipline of merely going to church. I used to say that "you shouldn't just go to church to go to church." But I've reconsidered this. The discipline of going to church every week for the majority of your life is in itself an act of worship, of sacrifice. You're saying to yourself and to the world that assembling with the called-out people of God, that the story of Christianity, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus matters so much that you're willing to dedicate at least one day a week to it.

Click here to read the remainder of his blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creation Resources

Many of you have asked for further sources and information as we're working through creation in Genesis. I hope you will find these resources helpful as you continue study God's word as it relates to His creation.

Books: (Click on the links to find them on

The Defender’s Study Bible

Case for Creation - Wayne Frair and Percival Davis

The Genesis Flood - John Whitcomb and Henry Morris


Answers in Genesis

Institute for Creation Research

The Creation Museum

Friday, November 18, 2011

Equipping the Saints Update

Gene McCullough recently shared with me about the mission team he led to Equipping the Saints in Weyer's Cave, Virginia this past October. Equipping the Saints helps ministries around the world find the materials and equipment they need at a minimal cost by networking with individuals, businesses and ministries around the U.S. to meet these needs. Whether it's finding and shipping a bus to Chile, medical supplies to the Ukraine, computers to Tajikistan, a road grader to Brazil, shoes to Romania, clothes to Sudan, food for Iranian refugees or projectors to the Philippines, ETS is ready to serve. Read below to hear how the Tomoka team was able to serve ETS on their short-term mission trip.

Each morning of the trip was started with a morning devotional and prayer time conducted by ETS staff members. Afterwards we get our daily assignments from the staff.

Most team members gathered, sorted, and moved approximately 100 computer towers away from a wall so that other team members could install a new electrical circuit on the wall.

The towers were visually inspected, using the guidelines provided by staff, and those deemed serviceable were stored while the others were moved to another area to be stored while the others were moved to another area to be stripped of their hard drives and ram chips and then sent to Goodwill for salvage.

Some team members sorted out new Spanish textbooks and boxed them for shipment overseas. Four pallets of incoming textbooks were unloaded for sorting and repackaging for shipment. Twenty-on boxes were packed and weighed for shipment. Six office copiers were removed from pallets for servicing and reshipment. Team member also sorted, wrapped, and weighed 700lbs of toner for shipment.

Other team members worked on verifying the contact information for all agencies and missionaries listed in the ETS Resource Directory. Medical supplies were sorted, catalogued, and packed for shipment. New supplies and equipment arrives almost daily and needs to be processed. 100 boxes of clothes were sorted and boxed for shipment. 85 internet access boxes were repaired by having the fans replaced, and some hard drives and ram chips installed.

Hundreds of computer cables were sorted, tagged and stored. Flat screen monitors were tested, sorted, and shelved by screen size. Many chairs were removed from a warehouse, sorted and relocated for sale shipment. Severely damaged ones were prepared for recycling.

Hundreds of printer cartridges were inventoried, sorted, and shelved. 30 retractable wall maps were checked for usability and stored for future sale. .

One of the full time missionaries had a broken window and that was repaired by team members.

Additional electrical circuits were installed by three of the team members.

We always return from these trips to ETS feeling that we have been blessed by visiting, helping, and encouraging the missionaries at Equipping the Saints.

If you would like to find out about you can serve on the Equipping the Saints mission team next year, please contact Gene McCullough at

Click here to visit the Equipping the Saints website.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Summer Camp 2011 Wrap-Up

Danny Slater, the camp director at North Florida Christian Service Camp, sent us the 2011 summer report and we are absolutely thrilled with how God is using summer camp to reach our children! Here are the stats:

· 531 campers

· 197 volunteers

· 107 baptized


Through your generosity, $1441 was given during our Wednesday night offerings so the camp can purchase all the lumber needed to build a new dock at the camp lake. Thank you for your continued faithfulness! Continue to keep NFCSC in your prayers, as well as the hundreds of children who will hear the message of Jesus Christ in 2012.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Local Mission Trip to a Children's Home

Tomoka recently planned a local, one-day, mission trip to Family Ministries in Seffner, Florida. Family Ministries is a home for children who, for one reason or another, cannot live with their parents. Houseparents provide nurturing and structure for the boys and girls that live in their homes. A team, led by Barbara Shoner, sacrificed their time and spent a day to go and bless this ministry and the children who live there. Read about their experience below.

"What a blessed time we had at the Children’s Home in Seffner. I had an amazing team of volunteers who really worked hard to complete our service project. And it was a daunting task – 15 acres of hedges! The hedges formed a fence around the entire property and they were out of control! But everyone pitched in and did what needed to be done and we actually completed it. We were all quite sore physically, but spiritually we felt very blessed to be used in this way. The ministry was very appreciative. They served us a tasty lunch of pulled pork, baked beans, cornbread, peaches, and cookies. At the end of the day we took some time to play basketball with the kids. Our youth and theirs got along very well. We couldn’t get our youth to leave! Some great friendships were built. We hope to continue that bond and do more with the Home. I will share more about that in another email. They were also thankful for the clothes and supplies we brought them. Anyway, it was truly a blessed time, and we even had great weather. God is good!!!" -Barbara Shoner

Click here to see photos from this local one-day mission trip.

We also heard from Steve, the leader of the Family Ministries' children's home:

"I cannot tell you enough how thankful we are that you all came and trimmed the bushes. I am not even sure how big of a job you all knew you were getting into but the bushes looked great. I am also glad that the kids that you brought and the children here at Family Ministries were able to get to know each other. One of the biggest things that we try to do when a work group is here is to give you opportunities to get to know the children here and to build a relationship with them. From the looks of it your kids didn't want to leave and our kids were talking about your kids and how nice they were the rest of the night. We are grateful that you took a Saturday out of your busy schedule to come and help us. If there is anything that we can do for you please let me know."

Click here to learn more about this ministry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Food Pantry 3rd Qtr Update

You may know that Tomoka Christian Church has a food pantry, but you may not realize the impact that this ministry has on our church and community. In the 3rd quarter of 2011, the food pantry served 609 families, 1,608 individuals, and gave over 35 lbs of food to each family. During this time, 2,600 lbs worth of food was provided to individuals who came into the church office in need of food and received a bag of groceries. The Food Pantry also provides meals to the following ministries:

  • The Palmetto House – Friday night meal
  • Sandwich ministry – provides desserts
  • Tuesday Church lunch
  • Mission meals served in the café
  • Food supplement for the Alliance Church homeless program
  • Thursday night hot meal served at the Daytona Outreach Center

Donations of non-perishable food items can be brought to the food pantry basket on the mission wall in the café. They can also always use plastic shopping bags. Please remember this vital ministry in your prayers.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Middle Eastern Missions Prayer Request

I am asking that you will join me in a call to prayer from one of our missionaries in the Middle East.

· Thank God for the baptisms, churches, and leaders that have come in the past 29 years.

· Pray for leadership development among the churches in this region.

· Ask that the sacrifice of villagers would bear fruit that makes their faith strong.

· Ask God to direct those writing the Arabic Bible commentary and the decisions they make while they are writing.

· Ask the Lord to protect our missionary, his family, and all of those in leadership.

"Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place." 1 Kings 8:28-29

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Philippines Missionary Update

Our missionary in the Philippines, Henry Pilapil, has sent us an exciting update that I want to share with all of you:

“By the help of our Lord God we are okay. I’m doing my part teaching and equipping for spiritual growth. We lead a Bible study to prospects, establishing good relations with our neighborhood so we can reach them. We are preparing our plans to have a 2-year Bible training to equip some for the Lord’s work. If God wills, by this coming November we could start our training. They will get the same training as in seminary, but instead of 4 years it will take 2 years and will include church planting. I ask that you would please include us in your prayer list. We are doing our best for the Lord’s glory. Our goal is to establish or to have a church in every town in the island of Bohol. Thank you and may God bless you all.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ethiopia Newsletter

This newsletter came in from one of our missionary partners in Ethiopia. If you think you’re having a bad day, read this to get some perspective:

Team Cox September 2011 Newsletter

Yeshi's husband left her because of her HIV positive status. She has a son named Bereket who is five years old. They live in a tiny, one-room shack made of mud, sticks, and wood scraps. There is no indoor plumbing or running water, even within the vicinity of their home. During rainy season in Ethiopia, the cold rain seeps in through the cracks in the roof and walls, turning the dirt floor into mud; the atmosphere cold and damp.

To read the rest of Yeshi's story, click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Japan Mission Trip Update

Below is a report on the Japan mission trip written by Justin McKee, who, along with Cindy Lescarbeau and her son, Julian, traveled to Japan in August representing TCC. They, along with missionary Garry Kline, were able to distribute the 400lbs of goods collected by TCC that were shipped to Japan following their devastating earthquake:

On March 11, 2011 at 2:34pm, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck northern Japan bringing catastrophic destruction to the entire coast. As if that weren’t bad enough, the quake caused a tsunami which swelled over 30 feet high that flooded the streets of dozens of cities. The unstoppable wave swept away cars, houses, and the livelihoods of thousands of people. The death toll was in the tens of thousands.

But as hope was returning and plans of rebuilding were formulating in the ever-productive minds of the Japanese, something even more menacing occurred. The Fukushima nuclear power plants, having lost power during the earthquakes, became unstable. Backup systems maintaining the cooling process were destroyed by the tsunami, and the threat of a nuclear meltdown became imminent. While the Japanese government maintained limited communication about the situation in order to foster calm, experts from around the world agreed the situation was more severe than Japan was admitting. A 25km (15.5 mile) evacuation radius around the Daiichi reactor was mandated, but uncertainty bred panic that reached as far as Tokyo. Panic buying in affected regions caused bottled water, food, and gasoline to run out. As despair set in, everyone’s spirits were crushed.

Meanwhile, many foreigners and missionaries were leaving the area, but Garry Kline, the missionary in Japan supported by TCC, was determined to stay and see what could be done. He and his family were about two weeks into a 40-day fast to hear God’s clear direction on their future in Japan, and the aftermath of the quake revealed such an obvious needs. He and his daughter headed north to Sendai with a disaster relief team just one week after the initial earthquake struck.

What had begun at home as a fast from sweets turned into almost a total fast at the relief center as Garry and other workers chose to eat very little so they could give away the bulk of the food to those in need. “I knew there were people going without food; I felt led to endure it with them.” Hearing this, I thought of Hebrews 13:3, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” For ten days, they would assess the damage and begin connecting needs and resources from a network of over 100 churches in the Tohoku region. “While I’ve never witnessed anything as devastating as the damage here, I’ve also never seen such resolve and unity in Christ being demonstrated by the hundreds of volunteers and pastors coming to Tohoku,” Garry recalls.

Five days after the disaster and the panic had caused a shortage in supplies, Pastor Joe called Garry to see what was needed. Money wasn’t really an option because there wasn’t anything left to buy. Half the country had bought up everything in sight. Pastor Joe sounded the battle call, and TCC came through with a 400lb pallet of disaster relief goods that were nowhere to be found in Japan. By April 14th, it was well on its way by a ship headed for Tokyo, the closest port not destroyed by the tsunami.

Of course the enemy needed to have his place in this story as well. Garry wrestled with customs to get these supplies for nearly four months. At first, the import company couldn’t locate the shipment, and then they said that an import broker would be necessary to complete the delivery. “I kept trying to explain to them that these weren’t personal items, they were for their own people!” It wasn't until August 12 that Garry was able to pick up the supplies at the dock in Tokyo. A short term mission team from TCC just happened to be visiting at the time. Ironically, it was the same team who had delivered the goods to the shipping company in Ormond back in April.

From there, Garry and the team drove the goods four and a half hours north of his home to the city of Iwaki. There, an operation consisting of Christians from all over the world was helping people who had been affected by the disaster. Each day, teams from the Global Missions Center went out performing various tasks such as clearing and sorting debris, helping local businesses prepare for re-opening by doing dishes, pouring concrete, and repairing walls all while praying with whomever they helped as they went. Some of the teams stayed behind and distributed goods to families that were still dependent upon them.

As the first day of work at the Global mission center was drawing to an end, Garry looked at the team with a smile on his face and a child-like gleam in his eye, “I saw some of our diapers go out today.” The satisfaction in his voice sufficed to say, “Thank You, TCC.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"You Can't"

I recently read a great blog from Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina. I encourage you to take time and read what Perry tells us what we can't do...

You can’t expect to be understood AND obedient.

You can’t do what God wants you to do and avoid conflict.

You can’t expect God to always make sense (it won’t always work out on paper!)

You can’t get to the next level without sacrifice.

You can’t follow Jesus and remain the same.

To read the rest of Perry's "You Can't" blog, click here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pro-Life Testimonial

I hope you read and are encouraged by this woman's testimony of triumph over a very strong temptation to abort her child:

Sometimes saying NO is an act of defiance, but in this case, almost twenty-one years ago, it was an act of faith:

We were high school sweethearts; we had been dating for four years. Suddenly after high school everything changed. My honor student, straight A, never-been-in-trouble boyfriend got his first full-time job. Unfortunately, his new friends introduced him to a new world. He began experimenting with drugs, reading books about Hitler, and drinking. All of our friends abandoned him, wanting nothing to do with his new life. In vain I held on and held out for a hopeful change. Then his emotions began to change: he became angry, bitter, volatile, and abusive.

Somewhere in the midst of everything I became pregnant. First, it was my boyfriend that absolutely insisted on an abortion. Then it was my own mother, of all people. As word spread among my friends they all gave me the same grim outlook of life trying to raise a child at my age.

However, I was raised in a Christian home: church every Sunday, devotions every night. Although I had strayed from those teachings I knew God was still there, somewhere! In desperation I cried out to Him. I confessed to Him that I couldn't face this world without Him and asked for His help. Not only did I feel all the aches and pains lift from my shoulders, I also felt His presence and strength. I confronted the demand again for an abortion, and said NO!

Don't get me wrong, life didn't all of a sudden spring up daisies and become perfect. My boyfriend left me, rumors soared, and people stared. But my life changed. I prayed the same thing every day, and still do, "God, I give this child to you. Use him, bless him, and help him to always hear Your voice."

My son is now twenty, and yes, I still pray that exact same prayer for him.

God has answered my prayer ten-fold. My son is the photographer and a youth group leader in his church, he works with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the local high school, during the summer he witnesses on the beach and during the winter he feeds and witnesses to the homeless in St. Augustine. Many times he has brought the broken, beaten, and needy in to his own home.

This might sound like gloating but I promise you it is not. What it is is absolute awe and amazement! God has used this child to touch so many hurting people and spread His word to the lost and dying. I am amazed time and time again at God's blessings and great mercy.

Most of all I think back to what would have been lost if I had not trusted God to give me the strength to say, "NO".

God CAN use our children to change the world but we have to make the decision to allow them to be part of the world.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sermons Online is a great website on which my sermons are broadcast. Additionally, you can search by date, topic, or speaker to find a sermon that interests you or that meets a need you currently have. These can be heard around the world and are a useful resource to add to your spiritual growth.

Friday, September 23, 2011

God's Love Letter to Us

Enjoy this encouraging and reaffirming writing.


You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:30

For you were made in My image. Genesis 1:27

In Me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are My offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you before you were conceived.Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, all your days are written in My book.Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know Me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts of you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Ps 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are My treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find Me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippines 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father and I love you even as I love My son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of My being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of My love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of My son Jesus, you receive Me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from My love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is - Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad, Almighty GOD...

Monday, September 19, 2011

180 @ Tomoka's Bike Ministry

Green Pedal Bicycle Ministry is an outreach of Tomoka Christian Church's teen ministry, 180 @ Tomoka, and it has proven extremely successful.

Green Pedal Bicycle Ministry was born after Pastor Bill Collins read an article in the newspaper about a gentleman who repaired and distributed bicycles for over 26 years in Edgewater, Florida. He was going blind and wanted someone to take over the ministry so Tom Menzel and Pastor Bill answered the call. The ministry takes in bicycles in any condition and refurbishes them to a "like new" condition. The bikes get a new lease on life as the teens fix broken parts, repaint them, and finally test drive them to make sure they are good as new; it also helps keep them out of the local landfills. We have "Bike Work Days" twice a month at our warehouse located in Port Orange.

Then, the bicycles are given away, for free, to those in need in the community where we partner with several organizations such as the Daytona Outreach Center, Haven Recovery Center, The Star Center, Closer Walk Ministries, The United Way Foundation and The Alliance Church of Ormond Beach, as well as provide to individuals. We also work with New Smyrna, South Daytona, Daytona Beach, Holly Hill and Ormond Beach Police Departments to assist people who have had a bicycle stolen and need a replacement.

To date we have taken in 567 bicycles and we have redistributed 528 of them this year. If you have a bicycle to donate you may contact Tom Menzel at (386) 801-5426 or the Tomoka Christian Church office at (386) 677-6455.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Team Cox Update from Ethiopia

Sean and Becky Cox are missionaries in Ethiopia who have witnessed firsthand the devastation of the drought and starvation in Africa. Below is their August update. Please keep Sean, Becky, and their children in your prayers as well as the millions in Africa who are struggling daily to stay alive.

Poverty is the image of God being marred in people (Ash Barker). That definition really resonates with me. Especially during these times; "the best of times and the worst of times", as Jody Manuel reminded us this morning in his sermon message. It definitely looks like the worst of times in east Africa right now. Millions of people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya are dying from the effects of a severe famine. Seeing the faces of starving kids in Africa on television is one thing; meeting them face to face is another. Recognizing that the image of God is being marred in those created to bear His image, knowing the enemy of God is ultimately behind it, and feeling the overwhelming burden of grief and guilt for having when so many have does one reconcile all of this?

We cannot, but we must trust the sovereignty of Almighty God. And, as the author of Hebrews writes, we must "fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the Cross..." We can focus on the difficulties and the seeming impossibility of it all, or we can trust the One who commissioned us to go and make disciples of all nations and teach them and baptize them in His Name. Well, I think I will choose the latter; it's the only option I can live with.

To read the rest of the Cox's update, click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do You Want God's Blessing?

“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” –Psalm 66:18

We all want God’s blessing, don’t we? I’m sure that most people would say, “Yes! I want God to bless my life.” The alternative would be for God to curse my life. Who would willingly put their life under God’s curse?

Sadly, many who claim to know Jesus continue to make life decisions that keep themselves under God’s curse rather than His blessing. If we harbor sin, God will turn away our prayers. John teaches us this way:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

Confession involved both an admission of wrongdoing as well as a desire to stop engaging in the illicit activity. Confession is also an affirmation that one will begin to do what is right in the eyes of God. This would include worship, ethical choices and obedience to God’s Word - in short, giving our lives away for the furtherance of Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth.

Do you want God’s blessings or His curses? Don’t answer that with words, but with your life.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:1-2

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ninos de Mexico Mission Trip

Below is an email from Panda Rodriguez who, along with her husband, led a team of 10 this past summer to Mexico:

Our mision team of 10 arrived safely in Mexico on August 6 where we were greeted by our host and three of the kids from Ninos. This year we would be helping Iglesia de Cristo, the church that the four homes attend, with their VBS. We found this information out a few weeks before our trip. We purchased small soccer balls, cones, waterballs, jump ropes and a few other items so we would be ready for the first day or two of VBS. The rest of our supplies would be purchased in Mexico whenever we could get to the store.

VBS ran Monday - Thursday from 9:00 until 1:00. We were in charge of games, so we had to come up with different ones and provide the supplies. Our team also supplied paper products and drinks for snack time. We had some good homemade snacks! We had 5 team members leading games, sometimes even without a translator. The kids were separated by age into 5 groups and one of our team members was with each group. It was rather funny when some of us had to try and say the Bible memory verse in Spanish. We think the teacher just needed a really good laugh! Our team started bonding with all the kids from day one. We enjoyed getting to know them and trying to sing worship songs in Spanish. Yes, we were undignified! We donated all the game supplies to the church so they could be given out to the local children.

Saturday night we were asked to pray for two of the houseparents during our week at Ninos: Amelia Coronel-Bethel Home because her father was very ill and passed away on Monday and Sarahi Soriano-Genesis Home as she was having complications with her pregnancy and was put on bedrest.

Monday afternoon we painted two of the school classrooms. We also sorted the donations of clothing, shoes, toys and books that we had brought with us. Later in the week we applied a second coat of paint. Our team purchased sour candy, soccer balls, basketballs and volleyballs for the four homes. We brought Gatorade bottles, towels and backpacks for the boys' soccer team. We were able to visit and play with the children at each home. Some sponsors from TCC sent a gift to their child and they were excited to receive a present. They enjoyed beating us at futbol! We enjoyed spending time with them and loving them! We visited Dr. Noe's home and the clinic. He told us about his ministry to the Indians in Chilapa. He not only does a weekend of meeting medical needs, he also does a weekend of preaching. His heart for these people is amazing and he also takes some of the Ninos children with him.

Our team raised extra money so on Friday evening we were able to have a party for the children, staff and church staff. We purchased hot dogs, chips, cookies, drinks, coffee and pinatas for around 100 people. Fun was had by all!!!

This year was really special because they let a few kids go with each mission team on their outings, so they could each have some special time with a group. Our team purchased gifts for the kids that went with us. Three of the boys went with us to the airport and we had lunch with them before we went thorough security. Tears were shed when we waved goodbye to our Ninos family.

Thanks to all the prayers, we let the light of Jesus shine through in everything we did while in Mexico. We had an awesome team this year and a lot of laughs. Thank you to everyone who supported our team in one way or another. We were truly blessed on this trip. May God continue His good work in Mexico through the children and staff at Ninos.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Continued Drought in Africa

Many of you know that my wife and I adopted 2 of our children from Ethiopia in 2007. This is the same region where the drought is claiming lives at an alarming rate. Parents just like us are watching their children go thirsty and hungry day after day. We can help. Here is a great opportunity to make a difference for a child in need:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Backpack Bash

You probably don't know about a new ministry that Tomoka supports. Pastors John & Lisa Polite started Ministries for Christ Outreach in Daytona Beach to minister to the poor, the homeless, the addicted, and the abused and to bring the message of Jesus Christ to give hope to a hopeless people in Daytona Beach. Here is a report from Lisa Polite of a recent “Backpack Bash” they held at their church in the Mason Nova shopping plaza on August 20, 2011.

I don't even know where to begin. Friday's back pack bash was incredible. At 9:45 am we had a line of 229 people including children waiting to get backpacks. At 10:30 am, when the program was to start, we had a line of 323 people. By 10:45 am all the backpacks were gone, but they were still coming for food and clothes that we also had, and boy did the Lord bless. We got rid of everything we already had in the church and everything we bought for this event, plus everything people donated. I never have seen anything like that. Families were just hungry. They didn't mind people praying for them. Many people dedicated their lives back to Jesus or they accepted Jesus Christ for the first time. For the first time in my life I felt overwhelmed. The lines just never stopped. At 12 noon we had served well over 500 families. I can never thank Pastor Joe for praying for the people to receive salvation and boy it was just like Heaven opened up. We didn't finish until almost 4 pm. We had grandmas with 4 and 5 children asking for us to pray for the families. We had addicts who were trying to kick heroin asking to be saved. People just kept coming off the streets asking what was going on. Either people were being a blessing coming to others or they were being blessed. My day was blessed at the end when a little 8 year old boy came and kissed me. He wanted to know who was Jesus Christ and if He could help him. He said he heard me telling the other children about Jesus and He wanted Him too. Tears begin to flow, and He said he just wanted the voices to stop in His head. We prayed, and praise GOD NO VOICES AFTERWARD, HIS GRANDMA CRIED, WE CRIED, AND THE ENTIRE HOUSE WAS LED TO JESUS.

If you would like to give monetarily to this ministry you may send a check to the church and we will be sure that they receive you gift. If you would like to find out about how you can get involved with Ministries for Christ Outreach contact Lisa Polite at 386-852-7046 or by email at

Friday, August 19, 2011

Drought in Kenya

As you may know, Kenya is currently experiencing a severe drought in addition to temperatures nearing 104 degrees. As a result, parents are finding themselves in even more desperate situations than usual in this already poverty-stricken country. I encourage you to read this article and be in prayer for the individuals of Kenya as well as our faithful missionaries who are serving in this region.

Tomoka Christian will be sending funds to our missionaries in Kenya to help bring relief to this area in the next week. If you would like contribute, you may do so through Tomoka Christian Church and writing "Kenya Relief" in the memo line. Or, you may give directly to our missionaries in Kenya at New Mission Systems International via their website. Once there, you will need to choose one of our missionaries - Jordan and Leann Johnson or Elijah and Ellen Ombati and designate your giving for famine relief.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

High School Youth Mission Trip-Retreat

I received a wonderful email from Pastor Bill this week in which he recounted our high school youth's trip to Kentucky and Tennesse this past week. Once again, it makes me so proud to be part of such a wonderful church family that is ministering to teens so they can in turn show the love of Christ through their actions.

They began in Kentucky where in just 2 1/2 days they were able to split up into teams in order to: tear out water-stained drywall, seal a leaking roof and put up new paneling; work at the Outreach Center digging and installing a new drainage system; hand-sand drywall and paint the interior of a home; and build a 12' x 16' front porch and stairs for the rear of a home. In Pastor Bill's words, "I have never been more proud of our teens as I was watching them minister to families in need in Kentucky. Our youth were so determined to finish their projects that they gave up free time in order to keep working. One group even went back to work after their dinner break and worked until it got dark. Even on the day we were to pack up and leave for Tennessee, they chose to stay to finish what they had started. The owner of Cumberland Mountain Outreach broke into tears as she thanked our youth for getting the tasks completed. She explained that we were the last group for the summer and if we didn't finish, those projects would have had to stay like that until next year."

Pastor Bill also shared how the group of 40 that worked so hard in Kentucky were able to bond and see the Holy Spirit work during their time of devotions and relaxation on their whitewater rafting trip in Tennessee. "The Holy Spirit moved and we began sharing with one another. Our teens opened up and decided they wanted their chains broken and wanted to come clean on things they had hidden deep inside them. I saw them rally around each other and many new friendships were made." Praise God for the work He is doing in our teens' lives!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blessing-Filled Week at Camp!

This year we had yet another fabulous week of Elementary Camp that I co-dean with Cody Davidson. We hosted 95 kids and 33 staff at North Florida Christian Camp this past week. Of those kids, 11 were baptized either at camp or shortly after arriving home and another 13 made decisions for Christ and will soon follow in believer's baptism! Additionally, we raised over $1,100 for missions! What a mighty God we serve! Please continue to keep these camp children, as well as all of our students, in your prayers as they commence their new school year.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

El Salvador Team's Holly Hill Outreach

This past weekend the El Salvador mission team initiated a successful outreach in Holly Hill in which they held a neighborhood cookout and gave away many items to students and their families. The El Salvador team traveled door-to-door by car and foot to invite families to the festivities. They gave away backpacks and school supplies to kids in great need, provided back-to-school haircuts, sent families away with their arms full of groceries, and passed out Bibles and shared the love of Jesus. In the words of Francie Phillips, mission team coordinator, "One tired looking single dad that was in need of school supplies, groceries and food for his two elementary boys said, 'I was so discouraged with worry of how I was going to provide for my boys to get their school stuff. You have no idea the relief this has provided me.' Our team was so blessed by being able to serve. We were so thankful for the support we received from Tomoka Christian youth who provided worship music, as well as Pastor Artie Rose of Holly Hill lending us his grill...other helpers brought either backpacks or food donations or just helped. It was wonderful to see everyone working together. Thanks to everyone in our Family of God. We love and appreciate you!"

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Ten Reasons I Think Your Marriage is Going to 'Make It!'"

This week on his blog, Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina posted an uplifting writing on why your marriage will succeed. Check it out to see what you can do to positively affect your marriage.

#1 - Because you are willing to swallow your pride and ask for help, understanding that you are NOT the first married couple that has ever had trials and struggles.

#2 - Because you are willing to stop pointing out all of the problems your spouse has and begin to beg God to reveal your shortcomings to you so that you can focus on the changes you need to make. (I will focus on my responsibilities and not my "rights!")

#3 Because you will stop investing tons of time in Facebook and reruns of movies you have already seen and actually begin talking to your spouse again, you you did when you were dating.

To read the remaining reasons, go to Perry's blog here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Honoring the Wrong Things

Below is an article written by Chase Rotman. This article was published online at Cornerstone Christian Church's website in Shiloh, Illinois where Chase, a student at St. Louis Christian College, is spending his summer as an intern. Before leaving for college last fall, Chase was an active leader in our student ministry at Tomoka Christian Church. I was blessed by reading this article and I know that you will be as well.

When I was younger I had this theory that whatever I prayed for, God would in time make it come true. Sitting at Bible Study Fellowship as a young lad, I can remember believing that God will answer ALL prayers in time. I spent a large majority of my childhood prayers on material items. I believed that if I prayed every night for a PlayStation, God would eventually have to grant me one, just like Santa would grant me any present I asked for. I also wanted so much to be like the celebrities in the world. I wanted to be a star on Nickelodeon (Disney wasn’t cool yet). I longed for what these people had, and even sometimes for what my friends had. I would seek out friendships for what they could do for me over other friends that might have been more beneficial for my spiritual or maturity growth.

In James 1, we see James addressing the church for the same exact reasons. They were becoming obsessed with the riches of the rich instead of caring for the needs of the poor. How often do we struggle with the same problem of prizing possessions over people, or making distinctions between people solely because of what they possess? Let’s take a look at what James has to say on the matter:

James 2:5-7: “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?”

James isn’t against the rich, but he is against the rich person’s character. As Christians we shouldn’t be giving respect to persons who own better clothes, cars, houses but we should be giving respect to all Christians in equality and in unity with one another.

If we look at the historical context of the passage, James writes “are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?” The rich are more likely those who are looking to collect their debt from the poor that took loans out and have yet paid them back. James proves here that the rich person’s character is not right. As William Barclay states: “It is not riches that James is condemning; it is the conduct of riches without sympathy.”

James tells us that we have “dishonored the poor man,” by ignoring the poor for their poverty! It’s not so much the treatment the rich person receives as it was the shabby treatment the poor person received. We must accept that our continued focus on materials of this world have brought disunity among us. James is searching for equality and unity within the church!

Likewise, we find that Jesus constantly tried to unify people to one another and to him! If we look at Matthew 18, Jesus gives us the parable of the lost sheep; one sheep leaves the flock and the shepherd reunites the lost sheep to the flock. Jesus also gave us laws about how to reconcile with our brother when he sins against us; Jesus is looking for us to be united! When Peter asks Jesus “How many times must I forgive my brother?” and Jesus replies “70 times 7.” Jesus is constantly looking for us to be united with one another and with God, regardless of who we are or what we have.

In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Marshall receive an invitation to a very exclusive party with the richest of the rich in New York City. When the group gets inside the party, Ted begins to idolize these people. He sees people with outstanding degrees, important jobs. He sees wealth, fame, and popularity. Marshall doesn’t see any of this; Marshall would much rather be hanging out with the rest of their friends instead of at this very elegant party. We are not called to be a Ted! We must not favor the rich for their riches, because in the process we can danger relationships with those people closest to us and we can also harm our relationship with God.

In Colossians 3:5 Paul writes “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” When we put to death these things that can be classified as material objects in this world, our walk with Christ gets better. It won’t be perfect but God will work everything for good if we continue to have faith and love him (Romans 8:28).

How then are we supposed to keep our focus on God? How are we supposed to put to death these things that are materials? Paul writes in Titus 2:12 that we should continue to train “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” We should always be looking to make progress in our faith.

Questions to Consider:

1. What material things in your life take your focus off of the church and what Christ is doing with the church? How can you help the church be unified on a constant basis?

2. Read Titus 2:12. What kind of life should we seek to live?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harvest Time International

I want to share with you about a local ministry in Port Orange that provides assistance with food, household, and hygiene products for families who struggle to make ends meet. Harvest Time International has served the Central Florida community since 1994 and recently opened a location in Port Orange at 3350 S. Ridgewood Ave. Participation in the program does require prior qualification by their caseworkers, however, very few are turned away. Those who qualify for food stamps are automatically qualified to participate. For more information contact Harvest Time International locally at 386-526-4736 or check out their website here. Here is a testimonial by my Administrative Assistant, Barb Kennedy, who has participated in this program:

"My experience at Harvest Time International has been great. The registration was quick and easy and the people were very kind and gracious to me. This ministry is basically a grocery store with significantly reduced prices. Items are donated by grocery stores due to damaged packaging, overstock, or expiration dates. Items that are expired are generally only a month or so past the date. They have many different types of items including a huge selection of cereal (ranging in price from $0.50-1.50), cookies, canned fruit/veggies, ready-to-eat meals, pasta, pasta sauce, bread (free - limit 4 per family), toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and other various items. I would highly recommend anyone that who needs help to make ends meet visit this ministry."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Power of Love Ministry

Congratulations to the Power of Love ministry! They have reached their 2 year mark and have grown incredibly since their inception. For those who don't know, the Power of Love ministry's mission is to witness to women working in local strip clubs through monthly outreaches where they give out gift bags and have also done food outreaches. They have successfully reached 7 of the 8 strip clubs on a monthly basis in Volusia County in just 2 years! This year alone they added a new strip club to their mission, began an on-site prayer team to cover their outreach team while on the field, and had 2 food outreaches in 5 clubs. They also began their "Breathe" support group for women who are working or who have worked in the stripping industry. Congratulations to the team on their 2nd anniversary and for boldy taking the gospel to those who really need to know God's love.

To participate in the Power of Love ministry you can email Jen Colella here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ninos de Mexico's Current Need

Many of you are familiar with and have been very faithful to Ninos de Mexico, a mission with which TCC has partnered for over ten years. In fact, every two years, TCC sends a mission team led by Panda and Rob Rodriguez to Mexico to assist Ninos' efforts. Since 1966, Ninos' purpose has been to evangelize to Mexico's lost people, primarily through orphaned children whom they counsel, educate and house via one of their four schools and multiple church plants. Currently, Ninos de Mexico is running an urgent deficit of $53,000. This past Wednesday evening, a special offering was taken for Ninos and we collected $1,371.50 for them. Thank you so much to those who have given! We will continue to accept funds to help them meet their need. If you would like to help, please make out checks to Tomoka Christian Church and note "Ninos de Mexico" in the memo line. Checks may be dropped in the offering bag at any Tomoka Christian service. For more information on Ninos de Mexico's great work, check out their website here.

Team Tomoka in Ethiopia

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Ethiopia with a mission team of 20 was presenting new soccer outfits to a group of young boys living in poverty in Ethiopia.

In this picture, members of Team Tomoka, led by TCC’s missionary Shelly Hilvety, center, show off their new uniforms that were patterned after one of the boys’ favorite pro teams from Honduras. Tomoka also paid for balls and lots of other soccer equipment. Funds came from many sources that were gathered over a two-year period, including sales of coupon books, House of Prayer devotion books and Cafe food and drink purchases, as well as donations from individuals.

Boys on the team, most of whom would otherwise be spending time running the streets, are exposed to Christian teaching and example throughout the soccer season and beyond.

It’s not the first time Shelly has led a soccer team while serving in Ethiopia. Over the years, boys who’ve been on her teams have grown up. Many still stay in touch with Shelly, and even call her Mom. More than one who became Christians due to her teaching now are studying to be pastors.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Perry Noble: 10 Reasons I Should Not Be Dating Him/Her

Below is a link to an excellent blog post by Perry Noble, pastor at NewSpring Church in South Carolina. This is a great resource for anyone in a dating relationship or anyone who plans to be in a dating relationship:

I Love Being Your Pastor,


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Testimony of Joy

I received an encouraging email this past week that I want to share with you all:

"We are so happy to be a part of Tomoka! Having visited several other churches, I have never felt so welcomed as I do at Tomoka. I discussed this with one teenager at Tomoka who had also attended other churches and he made a very insightful observation, which hit home for me. He said of the other churches, "They were missing the joy." The sermons preached at Tomoka focus on God, which is what I need, what we all need. A year ago, my son, Robby, would have nothing to do with church. Now he is involved in Mix 180, and is putting references to Jesus on his Facebook site! Thank you so much for what you have done for our family."

Thanks to everyone who help to welcome new families and show them the joy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

God's Healing

I know many in our church body who are battling cancer and other diseases. Here is one story from our church of God's healing to encourage us all.

"Praise God! Please pass on to the prayer team and the many who continue to pray for Bob during his colon cancer treatment. Today I have witnessed a true miracle from God and His powerful healing. Bob was told by the oncologist on Friday to not be hopeful for positive results from the PET scan due to the nature of this tumor. The doctor felt he had a primary cancer site above the colon and bladder, and it was probable that the lymph nodes were affected. We were looking at four months of chemotherapy before they could operate to remove it. Well, glory to God, today's results have the doctors baffled. Not only is there no sign of any other cancer sites, but the lymph nodes are not affected at all and the tumor appears to be shrinking. We will see the surgeons to schedule his next surgery to remove the tumor, reconnect the colon to get rid of the colostomy bag, and repair the bladder. Of course, there is always a chance that the Lord will heal him further by the time he goes for surgery! I have requested the copies of each of the scans he has had. I saw with my own eyes the tumor outside the colon two weeks ago, and now today it is not there. It is only inside the colon and into the bladder, which even appears to be retracting into a tight ball and not affecting other tissue. The doctor said he has never seen colon cancer present like this in his career, and definitely had not seen scans contradict themselves to such a degree. It appears to have gone from 18.4 cm to 13.4 cm in this past week. Please continue to pray for him as I know the Lord has great things in store for him." — Shirley Parks

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Numbers Matter To God


Every number, every statistic, represents a life that was changed: A life filled with hope and purpose, a story of redemption and grace, people far from God filled with life in Christ.

"Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." -Acts 2:41

"But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand." -Acts 4:4

"So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers." -Acts 16:5

"Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." -Psalm 2:8

Over the last 18 years we have seen approximately:
  • 3,263 baptisms
  • $7,030,299 given to missions locally and worldwide
  • 1,000 - 1,500 in ministry
  • 564 missionaries in 73 nations
Our future goals include:
  • 1 soul a day saved and moved into discipleship
  • 2,750 in worship each week
  • 100 in Celebrate Recovery each week
  • 100% in ministry
  • 100% in Bible study
  • 600 people to go on 30+ mission trips


Every number, every statistic, represents a life that was changed: a life filled with hope and purpose, a story of redemption and grace, people far from God filled with life in Christ.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Power In a Mercury

"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." Acts 4:31

I have the privilege of driving six high-schoolers to Seabreeze High School five days a week. Each morning one of these leaders quotes a Scripture verse and then we pray. The Mercury is full of power from God's Holy Spirit, not the power plant under the hood.

We pray for missionaries, countries, world leaders, disasters, friends, teachers, parents, each other, the lost, pastors, churches, and more. The honest, sincere prayers are powerful and pleasing to Jesus. We finish the ride with worship music. Perhaps your car needs some of this power.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Story of Faith Through Compassion

Many of you took a leap of faith when you made the decision to sponsor a Compassion International child. I want to share with you the amazing story of just one family in our church.

I have to tell you that this was a big leap of faith for my family. During the time that my daughter asked me to sponsor another child, somewhere else in the world, I was going through cancer and unemployment (due to cancer treatment) and was not really sure what God was going to do with my own family. But, I was fairly confident in my God. He has brought us to and through so many valleys and He has never left us, nor forsaken us. My daughter reminded me during this past Christmas season that it really is in the giving that we receive the most.

We went to the Compassion website that day and we sponsored a 4-year-old little boy in
Bangladesh, an almost completely Muslim country. And, you know the most amazing thing happened. The same day that I sponsored him I was listening to the Z88.3 on the way to the doctor and the scripture they read over the air was Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future." This is my favorite scripture and I just knew in my heart that I had made the right decision.

As if that wasn't enough confirmation from God that we were in His will and He was in control, I get to the doctor appointment and, on this very SAME day, I was declared CANCER FREE! What an amazing God we serve!

My family has since signed up to be correspondence sponsors through Compassion. There are children who have financial sponsors, but never receive letters of hope and encouragement from their sponsors for whatever reasons. My "Compassion family" has grown from one 4-year-old little boy in Bangladesh to include a 14-year-old boy in Bolivia, a 10-year-old girl in Uganda, and a 15-year-old boy in Tanzania! I thank God so much for the opportunity to share His love with His most precious creation. When you combine the siblings and parents of these children, we are actually reaching out and touching/changing the lives of 21 people through this one act of Compassion!!! And to think, it all started through a Christmas wish!