Church/Ministry: Lake Ellen Christian Church
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Lake Ellen Christian Church
Church Bldg. located on extremely busy main Orlando thoroughfare. Sanctuary will seat 120 but has never reached beyond 70-75 in itsí 50 year history. unimproved parking lot will accomodate 50 cars maximum. Average attendance when we came two years ago was 10-12 on Sunday morning. Now running 25-30. I am part time. Congregation cannot afford full time. We have many transient panhandlers due to our location. We have helped many of them get into safe houses, rehab programs, etc. We have just launched our first faith promise program with a goal of $40,000 to improve grounds and facilities required by the city of Casselberry. Have $13,000 promised to date by our present leaders. We also conduct through various members, a prison ministry, recovering drug abusers ministry, ministry to the homeless and missions ministry to children forced into prostitution in Cambodia, a local Crisis pregnancy center, and a local Christian sharing center. We direct those in need to many different specialized ministries in the Orange and Seminole counties and often provide transportation and food for them.
Pastorates; Albert Lea, MN, Worthington, IN, Prospect Heights, IL, Orlando, FL. 30 years Missionaries: Cape Town, Kimberley, Johannesburg, South Africa, Accra, Ghana, West Africa. 12 years Missionary pilot, South Africa, Botswana, Zaire, Airline pilot: Atlantic Coast/United Airlines, Orlando, Dulles, Washington, D.C. Assistant teacher at Lincoln Christian college on furlough years from Africa. Professor at Florida Christian College, Kissimmee Florida. Chief pilot Airline Training Academy, Tab Express Airline Academy, Debenair Aviation, all in Florida.
University of Illinios, Institute of Aviation, Minnesota Bible College, Lincoln Christian Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Proverbs 31 is a description of my wife Donna. we have been married 52 years. Relatively good health. went snorkeling in Mexico on a cruise our 5 grown children gave to us for 50th wedding anniversary. I had bypass surgery in 1995 and lymphoma cancer/surgery/chemotherapy in 2005. rituxan chemo every six months for lymphoma preventive. My heart is good and I am cancer free due to good doctors and God. We have 12 grandchildren. Our first child Timothy died in childbirth. All our four living children are serving Christ as Christian leaders in different ministries as are their spouses.
Fishing, re-bulding old fishing boats, flying.
Best advice given to me about preaching
the best advice I have ever received is from Isaiah the prophet of God who recorded the words of God in 55:8-11. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." I believe and have practiced and taught my preaching students that the most important part of any sermon is the scripture text. This is God speaking to the people and is more important than anything else you or I have to say.
Sermon or series that made a difference
Sermon on the book of Jonah that led me to believe I should go to Africa to do mission work.
One of my favorite illustrations
St. Augustine: "Oh God, you have made us for yourself, and we find no rest til we rest in thee."
Books that have had an impact
Too many to list. I like Biographies and sermons of the great preachers, Spurgeon, Maclaren, G. Campbell Morgan and a host of other great preachers.
Something funny that happened while preaching
I was preaching in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa at a well attended revival meeting 200+ in the evening service. I was giving the invitation at the end of the sermon for people to accept Christ. Just at this time a black cat strolled into the sanctuary trotted down the aisle to the front, jumped up on the platform, then jumped up to the baptistry sill jumped through the curtains and splashed into the baptistry. Immediately the cat clawed his way out of the baptistry soaking wet through the curtains and ran down the aisle and out of the church. Many in the audience saw this and could hardly restrain from laughing, including myself, but I did. The only thing that came to my mind and which I said to the audience was "Well, at least heís been baptized." That kind of ended the service and no one came forward after the cat exited the building. We had prayer. In retrospect, I think it was Satan doing whatever he could to disrupt the service and prevent people from accepting Christ. Many people were brought to Christ during the one week revival or rededicated themselves to Christ.
What my parents think of my sermons
My mother who is 96 and a faithful member of our church (dad died several years ago, I baptized him into Christ) My mom says every Sunday: "That was a wonderful sermon, I have heard a lot of preachers in my lifetime and you are undoubtedly the best I have ever heard." She is a little bit biased.
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons
Donna says (I always have to ask her what she thought about the sermon I just preached) "It was OK but here is how it could have been better...." And she is alway right on. My best sermon critic. Always supportive even when I donít preach as well as I could have or should have. Sometimes she will even say. "That was good." But that is not too often. But I know, and I think every preacher knows after he has preached whether he has done a good job or not. No one really has to tell us.
If I could Preach one more time, I would say...
Thank you God for this great opportunity you have given me, a most unworthy servant, to preach your word so that people may hear your voice and not mine.
What I want on my tombstone
A preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Comment to those looking at my sermons
All that I have is yours. I got it from somebody else and so did he. But follow Paulís advice to Timothy: "Preach the Word; (not your own or anothersí ideas.) be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2. (Parenthesis mine, not in the text.)