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Gary's church

First Baptist Fruitland Park
Fruitland Park Florida , 34731
352-787-2091

About Gary
  • Education: Bachelor of Ministry degree from Florida Baptist Theological College and working towards a Masters from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Experience: Pastored a small country church while in Bible College for two years, then became a full time youth minister at a large church in Leesburg for three years. From there I was the first full time pastor of a First Baptist Astor, Florida for six years. From there to this church, First Baptist Fruitland Park for almost nine years to date. Total of 19 years expereince.
  • Comment to those looking at my sermons: Hope it is helpful. Take my sermons and dress them up and make them your own. You will do a better job at it than me. Keep it fun. Preaching should be fun for you. If you enjoy your own preaching others will too!
  • Sermon or series that made a difference: Sermons on holiness and prayer have impacted my life. Sermons dealing with revival encourage me a lot.
  • One of my favorite illustrations: One day on a staff retreat we all were having our quiet times alone with God. I found a place out by the river and was praying to God and asking Him to make Himself real to me. I actually reached out my arms while praying and asking God if He would let me feel how close He was. I was opening my arms and asking God to let me hug Him. I did feel a warm breeze blow through my arms but nothing really manifested. I was a little disappointed that God did not make Himself more real to me. Just then I hear a voice behind me. I turned and it was a Black man with white hair and a big smile. He was back on some rocks behind me. He ask me what I was doing? I told him I was praying and talking to God. I asked him if He knew God. He smiled a big grin again and said "Oh yes, I know God." Then he said, "My name is Immanuel, do you know what my name means?" I quickly replied, "Yes, it means God with us." He smiled and we chatted a few more momnents then he left and I went back to praying. I prayed eve harder, "God please show me You are here with me, I need to see in some way You are here!" Then it dawned on me. How foolish I was. I was praying for God to make Himself know to me and out of the blue He sends a stranger who introduces himself to me as Immanuel! Taught me a valuable lesson. God is always with us, we may not recognize the way He is with is, but neverthelss He is.
  • Family: I am married to Pam for almost 26 great years. I married my high school sweetheart. I have two grown children and two of the greatest granddaughters in the world who call me papa. I melt everytime I hear those words.
  • What my parents think of my sermons: What a great praecher. I would have never thought he would have been a preacher.
  • What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: You’re the best. At least she had better say that!
  • Best advice given to me about preaching: Be real. Don’t be afraid to tell personal illustrations of your own failures. Also use humor not for the sake of humor, but as a tool to keep people’s attention and help them put down their guard. Once their guard is down you can shoot them with the gospel gun!
  • Books that have had an impact: Holiness in time of temptation by Bruce Wilkerson Hearing God by Peter Lord Soul Care by Peter Lord The Word of God with Power by Jack R. Taylor
  • Hobbies: Fishing. The beach anytime. Started scuba diving last summer. Attemptimg to learn how to fly fish, which is quite an art!
  • If I could Preach one more time, I would say...: Give yourself to the work of the ministry of the gospel. Live for eternal values. Think about what will be important 100 years from now, and live for those things.
  • Something funny that happened while preaching: While I was preaching in a small country church. My daughter around 4 years old decided she could not wait any longer to go the bathroom. My wife reluctantly let her down off her lap and told her to quietly walk down the aisle to the bathroom. The bathrooms in the country church were near the front where the platform and pulpit yet on the side of the building. No sooner did she get into the aisle she began to pull down her ruffled panties to her ankles and waddled all the way to the bathroom door. Unknown to me what was going on, I became nervous when I heard some people break out in laughter as they watched that little rear end makes it’s way down the aisle. Hearing laughter but oblivious to what was happening made my mind wonder if my zipper was down or something else embarassing was happeing to me. Once I caught on I realize the sermon was over and I had a good laugh with everyone.
  • What I want on my tombstone: Bondservant of Jesus Christ
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