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a church in pursuit of God, with a passion for people

01… Jeanine Peacock 20... Pete Vanryn

01... Sarah Evans 22… John & Jessica Anderson
02… Monique Bastidas 25... Brendon Peters
03… Mike Lindsay 26… Tom & Benachoice Caruthers
03… Tonia Hayes 28… Stephanie Porvaznik
06... Rebecca Greene 29… Jeremy Hayes
07… Cleanne Schofield 31… Conner Schofill
11… Thomas Clark 31... Jason & Rebecca Greene
12... Christopher & Brenda Rapp
14 …Benachoice Caruthers
14… Emily Cook
15... Stephen Doggett
16… Elizabeth Maggio
18... Egyptia Evangelist
18... Ron & Sheryl Sellers
19… Renee Stoffel
Randy Gideons Lead Pastor The Warehouse Church


S uch an easy thing to say but for some such a hard Now like most people I do enjoy getting and giving
thing to do! If we look at the world’s idea for a gifts at Christmas time, but those gifts are not to be
joyful holiday the prescription would be spend as confused with His gift…true joy! This Christmas receive
much as you can, eat as much as you can hold and party His true joy and give it away. Give it away in the way you
like it’s 1999. Joy is not dependent on any of these treat others, in the way you serve others and in the way
things. It is something that comes from the Lord. It rises you love others. That same joy can be expressed
in us as we are filled and operating in the Holy Spirit that through the things you pick out at the mall or make with
God has given us. your own hands.
When you were saved I hope that you were instructed But true joy starts with God’s Holy Spirit!
to ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit
then diminishes the unholy spirit that previously had Have the most joyful Christmas courtesy of God’s gift to
control of us. In this JOY begins to operate in us the way us, Jesus Christ!
it does in our heavenly father. It is not a one-time thing.
We need to continually be filled with the Holy Spirit and in
this process the Joy of the Lord continues to flow in and
through us.
Hollywood, New York and the other unholy spirit
controlled strategic command centers of this world want
to sell you joy. “You’ll be happy if…” It’s a lie. It’s only
temporary. But on the other hand the Bible says “The Joy
that is of the Lord is our strength.”
Check out Randy’s blog on the Warehouse website.

On Sunday, December 19
The Warehouse Church will be meeting at Main Street Receptions on the corner of
Canal St. and East Main St. in Leesburg.


In lieu of our annual Christmas program we are inviting you to join us for a family breakfast at 10:00am at
the Main St. Receptions. For your entertainment we will have a few specials from the Creative Arts
Ministry. Join us as we celebrate family and friends and remember the Reason for the Season.

Parking spaces are available on the site, the street,

or in the lot provided on the corner of Main and Kaolin Streets.
Look for the signage.

Hope to see you there!


B ack in late August, I found out that I had to make a trip Later on that day as I was still trying to get my emotions
to Washington D.C. for business. At first I thought it under control, God spoke to me. You see, those men were
was a big joke because everyone knows that I am a guarding
home body and unless I absolutely HAVE to go somewhere, I the honorary tomb of “unknown soldiers”. Mortal men that
prefer to be at home. At the beginning of September, I was have become heroes to both military and civilians alike.
called to a meeting where I was given the meeting location, Why do we not give the same respect and honor to our
dates, times, flight information and a hand shake with a “see Jesus? He led a perfect life and He died for us as well. The
you when you get back”. Anybody ever see “Crocodile difference is, He died for our sins and came back from the
Dundee”? Yeah, that was me. dead.
I had two opportunities to go see stuff. One of which, I How many times a day or week do you hear or say things
chose to go see Arlington National Cemetery. One of the that bring dishonor to Jesus? Why is it that we can give 100%
things that I have always wanted to do was have the honor of honor and respect to our fallen hero’s from the military, but yet
seeing the ceremony that we often call “the changing of the we will hold back when someone uses God’s name in vain?
guards”. I was given the privilege of seeing that ceremony. Why do we tolerate ourselves dishonoring Jesus’ name by
Folks, to say that I am a defender of our military is an doing the things that we know we shouldn’t do? Why do we
understatement. At the beginning of the ceremony, one soldier justify our actions because
introduced himself and asked that everyone remained standing of what someone else has
and silent out of respect. As I watched this ceremony that was done or gotten away with?
completely done with honor and dignity, I cried like a newborn Folks, I challenge each of
baby. Jennifer had to record it for me because I just simply you today, to put a
could not contain the emotion that I was feeling. I can not put measuring stick on your
into words what my eyes beheld. Words can not due justice to own life and see how you
that experience. You have to see it to understand what I am measure up to the honor
saying. Nobody said a word. Nobody moved a muscle. Out of and respect that we
complete respect, civilians granted the soldier’s request. should be giving to Jesus.

Find the Cross!

Hidden somewhere in the newsletter is a “cross” similar to the one below and possibly a different color.

If you find it and you’re the first to call the church office @ 365-2594 or email to, you’ll win a treat! Happy Hunting!

Last newsletter the cross was hidden in the picture of Lucas James on his necklace.

First to find the cross, Julian Evangelist!

Congrats to Deborah Tiller and Michael Wilnau, too!
Every Sunday ~ 1st Wednesday ~
averagejoe’s Café Light Home Group @ 6:30pm
Our group is about RELATIONSHIPS;
Free continental breakfast served from
building them and maintaining them.
10:00am to 10:20am
We are studying the Five Love
Contact: Renee Stoffel @ 253-2465
Languages by Gary Chapman.
1304 CR 245A, Oxford (West)
2nd & 4th Friday ~
Contact: Jeff Light @ (352) 427-9211
THEWAREHOUSE BAND Next Meeting: Dec 1 Harp & Bowl - Worship & Intercession
Contacts: Aaron Symonds @ 330-1928
Cochran Home
Mela Striker @ 365-1006
3233 Indian Trail, Eustis, 32726
Snacks at 6:30; Harp & Bowl at 7:00
2nd & 4th Wednesday ~ Contact: Cliff Cochran @ 483-3140
WAREHOUSE NURSERY & PRESCHOOL The A L T A R @ 7:00pm Next Meeting: Dec 10
We believe in ministering to the needs of even Sit at His feet . Be in His presence . Make intercession
our littlest members. Our qualified teachers The Lindsay Home 4th Friday ~
create a positive experience that introduces
nursery and preschool children to the love of
The Plantations off Hwy 27 Older Gents @ 11:30am
24113 Peekskill St. South Leesburg
Jesus early on. Contact: Sandy Lindsay 315-0245 Older Gents is an opportunity for men over
Contact: Jill Porvaznik @ 793-1326 Dinner served @ 6:30pm 50 to meet for lunch and enjoy great
Next Meeting: Dec 8 conversation over a variety of topics that
affect all of us.
WAREHOUSE KID’S Golden Corral, North Leesburg
Contact: Randy Gideons 793-9270
Warehouse Kid’s is for all boys and girls in Thursday, 12/9 @ 7:00pm ~ Next Meeting: Will resume after the New
Kindergarten through 6th grade. We provide a Ladies Ornament Exchange Year
combination of games, interactive characters, Bring a wrapped ornament under $5.00 to
and fun filled songs capture kid’s attention exchange. Bring a finger food to share.
while showing them that living for God is the Saturday, 1/08/11 @ 6:30pm ~
Lakeside Landing Club House
best way to live!
Contact: Ron Sellers @ 787-0385
10350 NE 54th St, Oxford The Villages
Call Rhonda Gideons @ 793-9270 or Cheryl
Love& Marriage
Moser @ 874-2865 for more info. Jeff & Sue Myers home
41737 Kendra Lane, Weirsdale
This is a monthly gathering for young
2nd & 4th Sunday ~
couples married 15 years and less
S T A T U R E Youth Group @ 1:00pm (or soon to be married)
Community Center West Room Every Thursday @ 7:00pm ~ We hope you will join us as we
Contact: Neal Hayes 365-1496 Our foundation is in Acts 2:42 pursue discovering God's principles to
Next Meeting: Dec 12 "They devoted themselves to the
"becoming one" in our marriages; in our
apostles' teaching and to the
fellowship, to the breaking of bread relationships with one another, and with Him.
Sunday, December 19th ~ and to prayer". If you need assistance in finding a sitter for
CHRISTMAS FAMILY BREAKFAST! your children, please give Sue @ 504-6506 a
In lieu of our annual Christmas program Sonia Shearer's home call and she will try to assist you.

we are inviting you to join us for a family 2112 Hollywood Dr, Leesburg
breakfast at 10:00am at the Main St. Everyone (18 and over) is welcome. elev
Receptions. For your entertainment we We’ll be discussing the book Small Footprint,
Young Adults of 18 to 29 years old gather for
will have a few specials from the Big Handprint by Tri Robinson.
fellowship and different activities. Contact:
Creative Arts Ministry. Join us as we Contact: John Macrae (407) 590-5726
Vance Harbaugh (941) 720-3912
(This class is full, please see John Macrae
celebrate family and friends and for the next available class)
remember the Reason for the Season. CREATIVE ARTS
Main St. Receptions Drama! Dance! Pantomime! Sign language!
200 E. Main St., Leesburg 1st Friday ~
Flags! Children's ballet! These are just a few
venues that have been incorporated into the
READER’S Book Group @ 6:30pm Creative Arts Ministry at the Warehouse
Every Wednesday ~ This group is for the discussion of books Church. The message of salvation through
Captivating Book Study pertaining to the Christian Faith. Jesus Christ and the ministry of worship are
Brenda Sims Home key factors in the foundation of our Creative
For Women 18 to 30 years
600 Bidwell St, Fruitland Park Arts Ministry. Many people are blessed
This is a 10 week study on unveiling the
Book to read: through the visual arts and this is why this
mystery of a woman’s soul.
Her Daughter’s Dream by Francine Rivers ministry exists. Look for future opportunities
Contact : Myra Harbaugh (941) 720-3912
(This class is full. Please see Myra for the next Contact: Brenda Sims (352) 787-5266 that will allow community oriented theater and
available class.) Next Meeting: Dec 10 dance.
Contact: Barbara Smith @ 315-1400
Brenda Petersen

I t's December (already!), so Christmas preparations are in

high gear.
A fireplace or hearth is made festive by adding candles
and greenery. Putting the candles on a mirrored base will
create a peaceful and pretty atmosphere.

You could use any color combination you want or have on

1. Skip the homemade cookie dough if what the kids enjoy is hand. The grouping of the color(s) with ribbon or lights will
the decorating. Use refrigerated sugar cookie dough and get help create the stress free and festive Christmas spirit for your
to the fun part in mere minutes. home.
2. Ask each family member for their favorite Christmas dish.
Make those and skip all the others. If everyone's favorites fall
into the dessert category, make a quick pot of soup and some
rolls for your holiday dinner and spend more time baking (and
savoring) the sweets.
3. To discourage present shakers, use color coded dots for
each member of the family instead of writing their names on
tags. Be sure to make a key for yourself and tuck it away.
4. Send out Christmas cards to others as you receive theirs.
Not only will you have their current address, but you will also
save time by not sending cards to so many people. Let go of
the guilt of not sending cards to your neighbor (from 18 years
ago) and your dentist.


Look around in each room for items the color red or green.
See those gift bottles of red peppers? Grouped together with
some green and/or red ribbon or garland and even a strand of
lights or some candles, they will give warmth to a table or a

Have a marble collection? Take out all the red and green ones
and put in a clear bottle, vase, or jar. A strand of lights nearby
would be a pretty enhancement and adds a sparkling glow.

A frugal decoration is to use synthetic strands of Christmas ivy

bought at last year’s after-Christmas sale. Remove the red
holly berries and use the garland as a year round mantle
decoration with lights behind it and perhaps a snow globe
collection in front. Adding the red berries will give back its
Christmas charm.

Pillows or throws will add to your personalized Christmas

decorating scheme.
Santa lives at the North Pole... Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly...
JESUS is everywhere. JESUS has a heart full of love.

Santa rides in a sleigh... All Santa can offer is HO HO HO...

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water. JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa comes but once a year... Santa says "You better not cry"...
JESUS is an ever present help. JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for
Santa fills your stockings with goodies...
JESUS supplies all your needs. Santa's little helpers make toys...
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited... repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then
enters your heart when invited. Santa may make you chuckle but...
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
You have to wait in line to see Santa...
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name. While Santa puts gifts under your tree...
JESUS became our gift and died on a
Santa lets you sit on his lap... tree...the cross.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy
or girl, what's your name?"...
JESUS knew our name before we were born. Not only
does He know our name, He knows our address too. He
knows our history and future and He even knows how
many hairs are on our heads.

Thank you for your support! This year we were able to purchase and give to our community 70 Thanksgiving
dinners with money left over to provide Christmas dinners also.

Sonia Shearer - Hot Chocolate Kelly Mahoney - Advent calendar, don't want all those birds making
Julie Macrae - Egg Nog a mess around me.
Brenda Petersen - Chocolate Barbara Mispel - No
Sue Myers - Hot Chocolate Stacia Doggett - Neither
Kim Coulson - Hot Chocolate Duane Sturgess - Twelve Days of Christmas
Tonya Sturgess - Egg Nog Sandy Lindsay - Advent calendar
Sandy Lindsay - Chocolate Hannah Smith - Nope
Barbara Mispel - Chocolate Brenda Petersen - Advent Calendar
Stacia Doggett - Both Tonya Sturgess - Advent calendar
Duane Sturgess - Hot chocolate. The kids like egg nog. Aimee Anderson - Advent Calendar
Jeff Myers - Egg Nog Chip Sims - Advent Calendar
Chip Sims - Egg Nog Julie Macrae - Both
Kelly Mahoney - Egg Nog Jeff & Sue Myers - Advent
Hannah Smith - Straight up Egg Nog Sonia Shearer - Neither
Aimee Anderson - Neither, I like French Vanilla drinks. Kim Coulson - Twelve Days of Christmas


COLORED LIGHTS OR WHITE LIGHTS? Stacia Doggett - Shepherds Watch By Night
Kim Coulson - White lights especially frosted white because they Hannah Smith - "The Penguin that Hated the Cold" (winter story)
really sparkle. Duane Sturgess - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Stacia Doggett - White Aimee Anderson - Short story from Especially at Christmas by
Julie Macrae - White Celestine Sidley
Barbara Mispel - Blue or colored Sonia Shearer - The Birth of Jesus
Aimee Anderson - Colored Sandy Lindsay - Book of Luke Christmas Story
Hannah Smith - Both Kelly Mahoney - It’s a Wonderful Life
Sandy Lindsay - White lights Jeff & Sue Myers - Luke and of course
Brenda Petersen - Colored Brenda Petersen - The Tale of Three Trees
Duane & Tonya Sturgess - White Jeff & Sue Myers - I subject Jeff to the same Hallmark movies
Sonia Shearer - White every year, and I watch them all.
Jeff & Sue Myer - Colored Lights Barbara Mispel - I love children’s Christmas stories on the birth of
Kelly Mahoney - Colored Lights Jesus, i.e. The Crippled Lamb.
Chip Sims - Colored Chip Sims - The Tale of Three Trees
Kim Coulson - Nativity Story
Tonya Sturgess - The Man and the Birds by Paul Harvey


Hannah Smith - Never have
Sonia Shearer - Not at this stage in life!
Kim Coulson - Never have, maybe this year... WHAT TOPS YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE?
Chip Sims - Mistletoe Kelly Mahoney - Angel
Aimee Anderson - No Jeff & Sue Myers - Angel
Barbara Mispel - No Julie Macrae - Star
Jeff & Sue Myers - You betcha, we hang two at our house. Sandy Lindsay - Berries on a branch.
Julie Macrae - Yes Duane Sturgess - Angel
Kelly Mahoney - No Chip Sims - An angel
Sandy Lindsay - Sometimes Sonia Shearer - An angel
Duane Sturgess - No. The kids think it’s weird that Tonya and I still Brenda Petersen - Angel, and then a star every other year.
kiss! Kim Coulson - Last few years a bow, but I prefer an angel or star.
Stacia Doggett - No Barbara Mispel - A beautiful angel
Tonya Sturgess - No Tonya Sturgess - A styrofoam cup angel Emily made years ago.
Brenda Petersen - Yes Aimee Anderson - An angel
Stacia Doggett - Angel
Hannah Smith - A teal snowflake
Tonya Sturgess - Both Duane Sturgess - Family, friends and food!!
Julie Macrae - Both Chip Sims - Birth of Christ
Sonia Shearer - Both Kelly Mahoney - Jesus is the Reason
Duane Sturgess - Granny Got Run Over by a Reindeer Aimee Anderson - Jesus!!!...and family.
Aimee Anderson - Silent Night Brenda Petersen - Jesus is the reason for all seasons!
Sandy Lindsay - Silent Night Sonia Shearer - Jesus is the reason for the season!!!
Brenda Petersen - Silent Night Hannah Smith - To be thankful for everything God has blessed me
Barbara Mispel - Silent Night...I hate that granny song!!! with.
Stacia Doggett - Silent Night Kim Coulson - Celebrating the birth of Jesus, the best gift of all.
Kim Coulson - Silent Night Tonya Sturgess - Jesus, the Christ.
Hannah Smith - Silent Night Sandy Lindsay - Jesus
Chip Sims - Granny Barbara Mispel - My favorite saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the
Kelly Mahoney - Silent Night Season.”
Stacia Doggett - Jesus
CANDY CANES! YUM OR YUCK? Julie Macrae - Jesus
Chip Sims - Yum Jeff & Sue Myers - Celebrating with family & friends the birth of our
Hannah Smith - Yummy Savior. A time of the year that seems to elevate our joy as
Duane Sturgess - Yum, yum, candy canes! Christians. Great season!
Aimee Anderson - Take them or leave them.
Barbara Mispel - Not for me...maybe butterscotch.
Kelly Mahoney - Yuck
Jeff & Sue Myers - Yuck
Brenda Petersen - Yuck
Sonia Shearer - Somewhere in between.
Julie Macrae - Yuck
Stacia Doggett - Yum
Tonya Sturgess - Yuck
Sandy Lindsay - Yuck
Kim Coulson - Yum. Especially as stir sticks for hot chocolate
How Can You Believe?

A pril 27, 2000 the Lord spoke to me and said this would be the Let me switch the focus, momentarily. I think it
question most often asked. Preparing our hearts to respond in wise for me to insert here something more about
the character of Christ is the purpose, I believe, for making such our understanding. Love is more than what you
a statement. and I are capable of understanding in our own
We have a choice to make. Will we be ruled by our flesh and human human nature. God is love and as you have just
rights, or will we choose to live by the spirit (Romans 8)? Like Mary seen, it is not always going to be demonstrated in
when she heard from the angel of the Lord she would conceive by the ways we accept as love.
Holy Spirit, she pondered in her heart the message; so too shall we.
Our content for consideration is found in Exodus 4. Moses has been Can you believe?
sought by the Lord, and given a mission. It would require faith, and
finally this was achieved in Moses. God was sending Moses on a
mission to Pharaoh.
Now what happens next to Moses is what many of us don’t
understand. Moses is going to do what God told him to do, yet God is
going to harden Pharaoh’s heart!
I can hear each of us in our own understanding saying, “Wait a
minute!” After Moses does what he is told, God hardens Pharaoh’s

How Can You Believe? Sandra Lindsay

P.O. Box 702015
Nowhere in all of scripture do we find the kingdom of God being built Saint Cloud, FL
upon our understanding of Him. To organize a world that has a formula 34770-2015
brought about through understanding is not the plan of God. It is only by Phone:
faith! This requires much more than understanding alone. The Lord told (813) 714-8999
me that once we have understanding, faith is no longer required. He told Website:
Peter that He was going to build the kingdom of God by faith, believing
that what God says, He will do and that the gates of hell would not email:
prevail against it. He also told him that it was this faith that held the key!
This faith opened the door that no man could close and Peter believed
what he had heard from God, “Though art the Christ the son of the living

Can you believe?

Now God speaks all too clearly, and once again, he uses Man to do
it. Returning to chapter four of Exodus we find the word of God. Israel is
my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.”
But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.
Ouch! Israel is the nation, the promised seed of God, created to
worship Him. The seed of man, represented here by Pharaoh, (meaning
the authority of this world) refuses to give Israel this freedom. God’s
action is not going to be understood by many. It certainly doesn’t sound
like love and I dare say Pharaoh doesn’t receive it as love.
by Sonia Shearer

Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers

M any of us are old enough to remember that tongue twister. Try

saying it three times really fast. A rubber baby buggy bumper is
pretty much what it sounds like. It was used on a baby carriage
so that when the carriage ran into something the rubber would absorb the
shock and the buggy would bounce off and the baby wouldn’t be hurt.
As I was walking through my house a few days ago those words came
to me. I found it odd that I would think of that for no reason. Then the
words, baby boomers came to my mind. As I thought about those all
beginning with the letter “b” I began to think about what it could mean.
Later that day a friend of mine called and told me about a dream that she
had. Her dream was very specific and she rarely dreams period,
especially with specifics. They all seemed to be very significant so I began
asking God what was up.
This is a portion of my friends dream: She walked into a room and
there were small children in the room. Some of the children were older
than others. She began to notice the smell of poop. (This is lovely for a
newsletter isn’t it?) She noticed what looked like one of the older children
had tried to change the diaper of one of the younger children and didn’t
quite do the job correctly. She went over and cleaned up the mess.
When the military recruits people, they rarely recruit older people.
Normally and 99% of the time, they try to get the young people. They do
this because the young people can do things that older people can’t do Fri, 12/3
any longer or can’t do nearly as well. Young people can withstand the
physical demands that are required for fighting a battle. The older people
however have the wisdom from previous battles and know strategies that Sat, 12/ 4
younger people do not know.
I believe that’s what God is saying in my friends dream. We have a
generation that is trying to take care of itself without the leadership of the 8:00AM to
older people (the baby boomers). We, the baby boomers, need to be the
rubber buggy bumpers for these young people. We need to be the buffers 1:00PM
or shock absorbers for the coming generation.
I have lots of friends who live in retirement communities. I see lots of Monies collected will fund our
Storehouse & Community Outreach
self indulgent life styles. These people have so much to offer, yet the only
things they do are play golf and drive their golf carts and complain that
Volunteers needed for road side
someone didn’t put their trash on the curb correctly or didn’t mow their
banner wavers and around 12
grass properly. Many baby boomers think that their work is finished when
people for the tables. If you can’t
in fact it has just begun for many of them. We need to be on the front lines
work with us all day we have shifts
of life, encouraging our young people on how to live. We need to speak
available from 7:00 to 10:00am or
life into them and encourage them to accomplish more than we have
10:00am to 2:00pm. Here’s your
accomplished. They need us to help pave the way. When they get tired,
chance to give of your time! We
we need to encourage them so they can go on.
would appreciate it greatly!
I might add that the word “retirement” is never
mentioned in the Bible.
Contact: .Julie Macrae
My challenge is to the baby boomers, to
Cell: (352) 255-0852 or
become rubber baby buggy bumpers for
our next generation. They need us and
we need them. Will you be a rubber
baby buggy bumper for someone?
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull and close their
eyes. Otherwise they might see with
their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts, and turn
and be healed”’” (Isaiah 6:4-10).
What God had in store for Israel was
far greater than the penalty they
Easy Guidance
received. Isaiah was a man of sin called
by the Eternal One to speak for him to

his people. Isaiah in verse 5, 6 instantly
ow often I have said, “I need a rewarding knowing you will ever have in
in a divine encounter realized his sins,
word from God.” You and I your knower. The road will be laid out
guilt and the need for forgiveness so that
have to shut out the voices of for you and the path will be made
he could be fit to remain in the Lord’s
the world (also religious world) for there straight.
presence as a servant and prophet of the
are so many. Some of these voices Today the Charismatic/Pentecost
Holy One of Israel. He knew that was
seem so normal, so natural, so Godly – walk is, if we pray long enough, if we get
the only way his ears would stay open
we have heard these voices from the right people to pray for us, if we give
and eyes would have sight. God even
childhood. We have to grasp the Holy enough, if we serve well enough and if
prepared Isaiah for the response he
Spirit’s concept of communicating in a we can get God attention by yelling loud
would receive from Israel. No questions
noisy environment. enough. Enough is enough. This is
need be asked for these situations
In Oswald Chambers’ Classic Daily Pharisaic thinking, concentration on rigid
necessitated only follow through. God
Devotional, “My Utmost for His Highest” performance and observances.
had just confirmed his hand on his life –
he writes, “Keep to the point; He does Your Father wants to do something
commission and service.
know. Shut out every other special in you, just for you that only he
God takes the initiative in cleansing
consideration and keep yourself before knows will delight you and makes you
us, preparing us and using us for
God for this one only – My Utmost for complete, whispering to you, you’re the
service. The Holy One still speaks,
His Highest. I am determined to be beloved one of God.
offers grace and calls us to share God’s
absolutely and entirely for Him and for message to others.
Him alone.” In time of strife and spiritual turmoil, I
I received a letter from a major found myself pressured into taking a
ministry this week that stated God is The Holy One still speaks, offers course in Correctional Chaplaincy.
really working in their ministry. This grace and calls us to share God’s Captain John Miller strongly
Christian personality wanted me to message to others. recommended (did I say that nicely?) for
understand how easy it was to be apart me to take the course and to proceed
of the Blessing. He said it is time to with the necessary paper work to
receive. Every prayer request, no matter minister in Kane County Correctional
how small, is vitally important to God. God doesn’t want us to get to a point
Institution (KCCI). Why? Because I was
After all, our Father cares about every where he has to get loud and stern. He
the only male caseworker (I was the only
one of our challenges. He wrote. “Sow a wants his people to give up their sin and
caseworker) to work in an all male
seed that is related to how big you want repent willingly. Prophets and angels
prison. In addition, the Salvation Army is
Jesus to be in you.” He wanted me to gave harsh messages as the last resort
about ministering to the lost and
know how carefully my prayer request because the children of Israel went their
imprisoned. Of course, I had other
‘would be handled’. First, he said, they own way remaining indifferent; Isaiah’s
ideas. How could I relate to prisoners I
will start praying as soon as they hear preaching would in fact turn hearts even
had never gotten into major problems as
from me. Secondly, I would be included more against the Lord.
a youth, etc? However, with my heals
on a given date in their special “At the sound of their voices the
dug in and rubber heel marks all the
“impossibilities made possible” doorposts and thresholds shook and the
way, within months after taking the
campaign. Thirdly, they would bring my temple was filled with smoke.
course by National Institute of
prayer request with them to their next Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I
Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice
gospel crusade. This personality said, am
– Bureau of Prison, I became a chaplain
“You are important to God, and you are a man of unclean lips, and I live among
At lunch of the second day, I by
important to this ministry.” a people of unclean lips, and my eyes
chance sat across from a female
What could be wrong with this? I am have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’
chaplain, one of the instructors. I shared
not fully in agreement with this approach Then one of the seraphs flew to me with
that this was not really my call and so
but its okay. (Simon Guillebaud who a live coal in his hand, which he had
forth. This five foot tall, Baptist minister
works in Burundi, Africa what do you taken with tongs from the altar. With it
who wore a habit served in both the male
think of this?) Though I do believe, God he touched my mouth and said, See, this
and female sections and at all levels of
wants to do better than that with you and has touched your lips; your guilt is taken
security in Cook County Corrections
for you – just you and him on intimate away and your sin atoned for. Then I
system (at that time the second toughest
basics. The catch is there might be heard the voice of the Lord saying,
penal system in U.S.) just smiled at me,
some struggling and even pain in the ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for
pointed her small index finger at me and
Blessing process. However, I guarantee, us? And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
said if God wants you in prison to
you will know that something precious He said, ‘Go and tell this people, “Be
minister you will not be happy doing
deep down to under your toe nails is in ever hearing, but never understanding;
anything else.
the making. Trust me this is the most be ever seeing, but never perceiving.
After passing the course, doing the inquires. A major sign or signature of promised. However, in the case of “easy
necessary paper work, I was informed God. guidance” with God jockeying me around
that they had filled all the chaplaincy After I left the Salvation Army, I was to get me where he wanted me to be in
slots. Happily, I told Chaplain Paul still going into the KCCI. Our family spite of myself, I have found the most
Johonnaber I was so sorry to hear that moved from Aurora, Illinois to Fitchburg, fulfilling.
but I would be happy to fill in at any time Massachusetts to be a part of the Spirit Do not be concerned; when you
someone couldn't make it in for services. and the Word Community so I felt open yourself to God, he has a good
(After hanging up I got this feeling that confident that I was in a new season of plan for you. God loves you and he will
the Holy Spirit was frowning.) Two my life, which didn’t include corrections. make certain you do what you were
weeks later, as my family came home Two years after we moved to created for. He is able to get you there
from the first service on Sunday morning Fitchburg I was persuaded by Brendon on time, right to the minute.
I received a phone call that KCCI needed Quilter a close friend and a community We don’t find our calling; it finds us.
me for the two chapel services. I told member to take a group to a Prison In addition, what she has done for
them I had never attended a service prior Fellowship seminar at NCCI. Because I our family in keeping all of us focused on
to this time but the person on the had been a Chaplain, they needed me to the things of God. To me Betty Jean is a
telephone assured me there would be be a group leader. Just for this seminar. hero of the faith who belongs with those
someone to lead the service. I arrived at Well, you guessed it, my Lord essentially listed in Hebrews 11. “By an act of
outer control twenty minutes before the said to me why do you resist when I faith...”
1:00 PM service. They confirmed what I have set these situations up so to fulfill The Lord is good to all and the Holy
suspicion, that I was the man. I looked the desires of your heart. I must say that Spirit shows His merciful kindness and
around saw a young gentleman with a after over twenty-four years I believe I comfort. “For our light affliction, which is
guitar so I asked him if he had ever been was called to be a Correctional Chaplain. but for a moment, worketh for us a far
to a chapel service here before and he How many times do you think I more exceeding and eternal weight of
assured me that it was very easy, (there asked is this you? Lord, I will do what glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17, KJV).
is that word easy again) and he would you want me to do, but... November the “The Lord is merciful and
clue me in as to when I would preach. 29th I will be going into NCCI and I can’t gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous
Three volunteers and I were to meet some of my brothers in Christ in mercy. He will not always chide:
processed through outer-control and (see Eph. 1:3-14) neither will he keep his anger forever.
then through inter-control. The first I think you ought to know that the He hath not dealt with us after our own
service (maximum security) started with average full time Chaplain lasts about sin; nor rewarded us according to our
the inmates standing and waiting for the ten years because this type of work iniquities. For as the heaven is high
volunteers. We took our places and (DOC, inmates, families of inmates, staff) above the earth, so great is his mercy
service started at 1:00 PM sharp. I is so intense. My dear friend Senior toward them that fear him. As far as the
prayed a short prayer and the worship Chaplain Samuel Perry has been a east is from the west, so far hath he
leader took over. chaplain for over twenty-seven years at removed our transgressions from us.
I had no notes or idea of what I would the same facilities, unheard of.
preach in the twenty minutes allotted. I During my life, I have asked for Check out Leo’s blog on the
decided to use the Prodigal son as the God’s guidance repeatedly – difficult to Warehouse website at
sermon for Pastor Del Rossin had used perceive guidance. He has done as
that text in the first service at Faith
Lutheran. (Years later I was told that the
Prodigal son was the most over used
sermon topic in prison.) I was so
befuddled that I couldn’t even find the
Luke 15:11-32 passage in my bible. I
stood up and went over to the podium; it
came to me just in time. I read the
scripture and began preaching. While I
was preaching, an inmate continually
laughed with a hideous hilarity. I knew
who was using this inmate to keep me
unsettled and anxious. That still didn’t
make it any easier. The 2:00 PM second
service (medium security) was a little
easier but not a cinch.
Monday morning was the scheduled
time that I counseled inmates. (The
Chaplain’s office was the size of a large
broom closet.) When I came into inter-
control, I was handed thirteen pink
follow-up sheets from Sunday’s two
services. I could not believe it as I
followed up on these sheets; I found that
they were what I would consider valid