Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Working on this week's sermon: 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'.  I must confess I was brought to tears as I read its history.  Were you aware -- I was not -- that this great hymn of Church and Country was written during the heart of the Civil War?  Now add this verse and you're putting it together: "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make man free!  While God is marching on."

Freedom always comes with a price ... but it is ALWAYS worth it.  Indeed, "The world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave, Our God is marching on."

Do you know of a person "enslaved" by whatever uglies life may bring his/her way -- He, our Christ, fights to set them free.  This weekend we remember those who fell in the line of duty fighting for our freedom.  Honor our soldiers.  Stand by a veteran's grave ... and go to church this weekend.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


As you enter the church from the east side of the building there is a Giant Sequoia tree, which is not yet a giant.  LOL!  Last summer it flourished, but this year it is fighting for its life.  So, please don’t hesitate to say a prayer for GCCC’s Giant Sequoia.  Now, before you chuckle at that request, let me give you the history. 

When we built the church the Township had a height restriction of 65 feet, therefore we were unable to put a steeple on the top of the sanctuary.  With that in mind, approximately 11 years ago I purchased a Giant Sequoia tree; 7 years ago we moved it from our home in Pitman to the church.  Since we were unable to have a steeple I thought a 200 foot tree would be a nice substitute.  Imagine for a moment a tree whose top towers 75 to 100 feet above the church.  Put a light (or two) on the tree and you would be able to spot GCCC from miles away – a true lighthouse for every passer by. 

So, there you have it, the story behind GCCC Giant Sequoia tree.

*Photo is taken as you exit the East Entrance looking past the area where the motorcycles park, and north east of the prayer garden.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the era of the ancient Greek and Romans.  The Greeks dedicated the spring festival to Rhea, wife of Cronus, and mother of many deities in Greek mythology.

The Mother’s Day we celebrate today finds it roots in the UK where a “Mothering Sunday” was celebrated much before the festival saw the light of the day in the USA.  In the 1600s, Mother’s Day was celebrated in England annually on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor mothers.  After a prayer service in church to honor the Virgin Mary, children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers.

The celebration today is a recent phenomenon less than a hundred years old and is the direct result of the hard work of two pioneering women of their times: Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis.  Today, Mothers Day is celebrated across 46 countries (on different dates). 

Anna Jarvis quit working and devoted herself full time to the creation of Mother's Day, endlessly petitioning state governments, business leaders, women groups, churches and other institutions and organizations.  She finally convinced the World's Sunday School Association to back her, a key influence over state legislators and congress.  In 1912 West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother's Day, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Here is my testimony (I'll try to keep as short as possible):
(PART 1) This past year (Feb 2012) I bought a 2007 HD v-Rod.  My father (which I don't have a good relationship with, left when I was 2, an every other weekend Dad), stopped talking to me for 2 months when I told him I bought a motorcycle.  After 33 years of keeping in my feelings I found the courage to tell him how I felt, which didn't go well – I’ll leave it at that.
Shortly thereafter, I watched a movie called “Courageous” and cried my eyes out wishing that my dad would "get it."  That night after the movie, sobbing and purging 33 years of hurt, I felt God touch my shoulder and say "I'm your Father now."  That night is when I felt the LORD embrace me after years of hurt, sin and pain.  He turned all of that mess into joy; I felt a peace come over me like no other experience I had ever had!  I have been new from that day since.
Immediately after that encounter I promised God I'd read the Bible, go to church, and change my sinful ways.  So, after reading the Bible and the Ten Commandments, which told me to “honor my father & mother,” I had no choice but to be obedient and forgive my dad, and talk to him (even though in my mind he had cut me off for something so ridiculous as buying a motorcycle!).
In my reading I came across Malachi 3, which addressed giving the “tithe.”  The next day I heard a minister on TV speaking from the same Chapter.  The same Voice that had forgiven me said, “Donate the bike to the church – it’s your tithe.”  You can imagine the emotions involved.  I emailed Pastor Bruce at 3:05 am (I work a midnight shift).  He emailed me back (not at 3:05am) saying he’d like to discuss this matter further.  Not knowing my whole story, I know he thought I was one of those ‘weird’ Christians who are always hearing from God, and questioned the veracity of our conversation.  We talked.  He said, “Since God spoke to you in more than one way, I have to believe you’ve heard from God.” 
It wasn’t that simple because I owed a balance on the bike.  But I knew I had heard the LORD.  To condense a rather complex situation, the Credit Union, with which I financed my motorcycle, took the truck loan from the bank, combined the two, the result of which was a $400 a month savings, with an interest rate of 4%.  The LORD is so good.  Wow!  I’m so grateful.  Not only did He let me pay my tithes for the 2012 year, He has saved me $400 a month in 2013.  However, the picture is far bigger …
I understand now the whole purpose in purchasing the bike was to reveal my pent up emotions and hurt towards my dad, and for God to bring me back to him (which I desperately needed more than ever).  It all makes sense now: Be obedient and respectful to my dad (whether I feel he deserves it or not).  The picture was far bigger than the motorcycle or even the tithe.  It was about my salvation, my obedience, and God longing to be my Father.  With Him have come blessings I could not have dreamed of. 
J. D.
(PART 2)
Saturday, March 2, 2013, after the Saturday evening service, J. D. handed me the title to her V-Rod – free and clear.  (If you’d like to see the bike, it’s in the Lobby at the ROTL table this weekend, March 9-10, 2013.)  Truly, when we obey the Voice of the LORD and walk in obedience the blessing that God has in store for us is beyond what we could ever imagine. (Eph 3:20)
Pastor Bruce


Today is National Day of Prayer.  I cannot tell you how heavy my heart is.  Will our President and our National leaders take time today to pray for our country?  Will they confess her sins?  Do they even see her atrocities as sins before God?  Our forefathers, like our present leaders, were not perfect; they had their own personal issues.  However, what they did understand is God honors National confession, therefore they would set aside days when we, as a Country, would call upon the LORD confessing our sins and seeking His mercy.  It was far more than the patronizing closing statement to a speech: "God bless America!"  

What's really frightening is: Do our National leaders even know what sin is?  Do they call wrong right and right wrong?  How can we ask God to bless America and approve of the murder of innocent children in the womb?  How can we ask God to bless America and publicly endorse and approve of same-sex marriage?  How can we ask God to bless America and allow the persecution of Americans on foreign soil simply because they are Christian and make no 'real' effort to seek their freedom?  How can we … and the list goes on.  How can we continue to keep the poor impoverished with social programs that are enslaving rather than liberating?  How can we spend billions of dollars on weapons and our own go without food?  And … we can go on!

I recently received an email from a friend who referred to some in Political office as "amoral."  This was what he said: "I was reminded recently that people like __________ are NOT immoral but amoral.  An immoral person has a basis of morality and willingly violates it.  (We've all been there; well, maybe I should simply speak for myself — I know that I've been there — it simply called 'sin'.)  An amoral person has no moral center within them to violate, hence they sin with impunity without conviction."  Wow!  That's deep and profound, but true.  

It reminds me of the movie 'Kalifornia' — the story of a serial killer.  The person who tells the story was a journalist whose commencing thesis was: "Serial killers are like everyone else, the only difference is they have been shaped by environment."  However, at the close of the movie his conclusion takes a 180 degree turn.  He says, "There is a difference between a serial killer and the common guy, even criminal — he/she has 'no conscience'."  May we as people, we as a nation, never get to that place where our consciences are seared to what God calls sin — no matter what form it takes. 

This week's sermon was born out of our Intern Homiletics Class — "Recognizing His Voice."  Quite appropriate to this email and National Day of Prayer.  We will also sit at Table with our Lord as we celebrate Holy Communion.

Attached is an article I wrote after our First Family publicly approved and endorsed NBA player Jason Collins' 'coming out' and asking God's blessings on Planned Parenthood.  (The latter still has me gasping for breath and hiding from the next lightning bolt.)  "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."  LORD, have mercy on our Nation, our National leaders and us His church.  And the Church said: "LORD, have mercy!" 

in Jesus, 
Pastor Bruce