Thursday, November 27, 2014


The History of Thanksgiving 
and its Celebrations

We often think of Thanksgiving as a day peculiar to the United States, but throughout history mankind has celebrated bountiful harvests with a variety of joyful ceremonies. Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Chinese, and Egyptians. Below is a brief history of Thanksgiving as celebrated in the UNITED STATES:

 In 1621, after a hard and devastating first year in the New World the Pilgrim's fall harvest was very successful and plentiful. There was corn, fruits, vegetables, along with fish which was packed in salt, and meat that was smoke cured over fires. They found they had enough food to put away for the winter.
 The Pilgrims had beaten the odds. They built homes in the wilderness, they raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. Their Governor, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to God that was to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native American Indians.
 The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. George Washington, our first president and the Continental Congress, on October 14, 1789 proclaimed that Thursday November 26 should be set aside to offer "PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER" 
      In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of "THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE TO OUR BENEFICENT FATHER WHO DWELLETH IN THE HEAVENS."  Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

Information from Studio Melizo edited and revised by J. Bruce Sofia


There is no better way to begin Thanksgiving then giving thanks in the Assembly of the Saints (Church).  If you're in the area why not join us.  Service begins at 9:30 am.   
GCCC: 359 Chapel Hts Rd, Sewell, NJ

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


INTRO: Some years ago when the Harry Potter books were being made into movies, people wanted me to address the subject from the Pulpit. In so doing, I addressed Halloween and Harry Potter. In order to keep this relatively short, this column only addresses Halloween. If you’d like the sermon (#2038), email or call 856-582-0222.
Every year at Halloween people ask me, “Is it alright to celebrate Halloween?” And every year I tell people the same thing: “To the pure all things are pure.” What I mean by that is, if you have a problem with it, “Don’t,” if you don’t have a problem with it, “Do it and have fun.” Personally I have no problem with Halloween. Here’s why:
ILLUSTRATION: Now that I look back on it, this is somewhat surprising. Remember I grew up “Pilgrim Holiness.” As “Holiness,” practically everything was wrong except going to church – yet we were allowed to celebrate Halloween. And celebrate it we did! We’d go out with pillowcases, fill them up, come home, empty them, and go out again. Afterwards, those of us who went out together would compare our goodies and even trade for our favorite candies. Never once, not for a moment, did any of us think we were honoring Satan by going “trick or treat.” Why? We never even thought of it as Satan’s day, it was a time for us to have good clean fun and get all kinds of goodies. 
I still remember the Halloween parties where we would get prizes for the best costume. The person who remained unidentified for the longest time won the ultimate prize. How clearly I recall Bob Westcott – we were all night trying to figure out who was under that outfit. Finally, somebody recognized the boots – Bobby boy won first place. 
When Sheryl and I directed the Youth group at Mt Pleasant Church we would run a Scare Mare at Halloween. Hundreds of kids came through. The last room was a funeral parlor. By then they’d be scared to death. We’d give the plan of salvation. We had hundred’s of “decisions.” How many “disciples” was another story. We would say afterwards, “Just because you scare the hell out of people doesn’t mean you put them in heaven.”
WHAT AM I SAYING? If you want Halloween to be an evil holiday, then most likely for you it will be. If you want Halloween to be a time of clean, wholesome fun – it will be. “To the pure all things are pure.” 
1 Cor. 8:4-6 tells us:
[4] So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
IN OTHER WORDS Paul is saying, “I could eat food offered to idols and it would never bother me, because I know idols are nothing. Only God is God.” Again, “to the pure all things are pure.”

Thursday, October 16, 2014



As I have mentioned in the past, the LORD spoke to me about closing each day with Him.  (I have since the age of 13 started the day with the LORD.)  It took me way too long to make what He asked a discipline.  Three years ago I decided to use a devotional to close the day, and that worked.  For two years I read Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening.  One year the Morning, one year the Evening.  This year I’ve been using On This Day by Robert J. Morgan.  The book takes each day of the year and highlights an event in Christendom.  Here are a few one-liners from the book (I call them One Sentence Sermons). Here is a OSS from each of the first six months:
  • Faithfulness eclipses fame as the mark of greatness.  Jan 7 (John Hooper)
  • It is not in due time - but in divine time Feb 8 (St Paul)
  • The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.  March 7 (Tertullian)
  • Few assume greatness by themselves.  April 12 (Guillaume Farel)
  • When you have something to say, you have nothing to fear.  May 11 (David Marks)
  • Hard times should never make us hardened people, and adversity should never make us abrasive.  June 28 (Luther & Melanchthon) 
What stands out in my mind is how many Christians today, especially those living in our western American world, base their end-times theology around the comforts we are presently experiencing.  When I mention that the hour may come when we as believers will have to pay a price for our faith, I am ridiculed and mocked.  Seriously!  When you read On This Day, you’ll be staggered by the great price men and women have paid for the legacy of our faith.  BTW: Even as I write, children are giving their lives, refusing to recant their faith in Christ, in Iraq.  Look around you!  It’s happening before our very eyes — we Americans will one day, too, pay a price (maybe even with our lives) for believing in Jesus Christ.

Let me close with this OSS, which was my tweet/Instagram/post today: Man makes himself God through pride; God makes Himself man through humility!  Jacques Bossuet

In Jesus,

The best of all is God is with us. Psalm 46:7/JBS

Thursday, July 10, 2014


This was Sheryl and my morning conversation, today.  (My wife is so wise.  I am truly married to a godly woman.)

How can you tell if a story told to you is of Satan or God?  Whether it’s true or not (the truth can easily be told as a lie), how can you tell if what is being told to you is of God or Satan?  

Here’s the barometer:
1) If what is being told to you is accusatory it’s not of God; Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10).
2) If what is being told to you is defending a brother/sister, than it’s of God because God is the believer’s Defense Attorney (Roman 8:1)

It is one thing to go to your brother/sister if you believe he/she is caught-up in a sin (Gal 6:1), but to talk about them to someone else is clearly of the Devil.

Do you recall the words the Holy Spirit said about Joseph when he found out Mary was pregnant and knew it was not his.  God identifies the righteous man, and in so doing, also identifies the person used of Satan.  He says this: Because Joseph her husband was a righteous manand did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19).

Note the behavior of the righteous compared with the unrighteous.  One accuses the other defends.  If someone comes to you with a story and it’s accusatory, most likely it is a gossiper’s tongue inspired by none other than Satan himself. 

PRAYER THAT IS FOREVER ACTIVE: In this week’s sermon (July 12-13, 2014) we develop the unfathomable truth regarding the eternal effectiveness of prayer – prayer that finds the heart of God has NO TIME RESTRAINTS and is FOREVER ACTIVE.  This encouraging truth leads us into our Time of Healing.  

If you know of someone in need of a healing touch, whether it be financial, emotional, physical, relational, family, job, spiritual … whatever, bring them to Church with you this weekend.  We are going to touch heaven and Heaven will touch them/you.

If you’d like a copy of this week’s sermon, “The Prayers of the Saints, Pt2”, simply reply “yes.”

In Jesus,
Loyalty is a

Thursday, July 3, 2014


This morning as I was reading today’s Word for You Today, I was moved by the story of the Pastor who shared Christ to a successful business storeowner.  The owner said he had spoken to hundreds of ministers over the years and not one of them ever talked to him about his soul.  

I was reminded of my own life and the times, although not many, when the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me about speaking to a person in my life who did not know Christ.  To be honest, when you know a person for a number of years, do business with that person, share Christ in a round-about way and there seems to be no 'bite', it is difficult to say, "Mr A, I don't mean to be offensive, but the LORD won't let me go; I am compelled to speak to you about your soul."  Most say, 'thank you' when I'm done, but not all.  What they now do with the GOSPEL (God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life) is between them and God, not me/you and God.

Immediately, I thought, “What would happen if the energy and time spent gossiping was spent sharing Christ?  Would believers not turn the world around?  So, my tweet (@brucesofia) for the day was:
 Have you ever wondered how the world would change if the time & energy people spent gossiping was spent sharing Christ?

Many responded.  Joshua replied: I have seen gossip literally tear down a church.  A church that was family for over 14 years is now gone, all because of gossip.  If more Christians spent time focusing on the word and sharing Christ, the possibilities are endless.”  

Another said, “I don’t have an answer for that, but … “  The Bible is clear why and who gossips, Proverbs 17:4 says, "A wicked person listens to deceitful lips/gossip; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue/gossip.”  May we all build the Kingdom by Sharing Christ, Connecting people and Serving others, and let “gossip” be far from our lips and circumcised from our hearts.

In Jesus,

Loyalty is a man's best friend.  Joshua 1:5

PS - One person commented about the picture being "women."  Men gossip too.  I selected this photo because it was captivating. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Alexander Cruden was born in Scotland on May 31, 1699.  His father, a strict Puritan, forbade games on the Lord’s Day, and Alexander entertained himself by tracing words through the Bible.  He enrolled in college at 13, graduated at 19 … and fell in love.  The girl’s father forbade him in the house, and when the girl became pregnant, she was sent away.  Alexander, his nerves shattered, entered an asylum.
Alexander fell in love again, was rejected again, and went to such extremes to attract the woman’s affection that he was seized, taken to a private asylum, and chained to a bed for ten weeks.  He finally managed to escape by cutting off the bed leg, then began traveling around calling himself “Alexander the Corrector,” trying to reform morals.  One evening, wanting to stop a man from swearing, he hit him over the head with a shovel.  A riot ensued, and Alexander endured a third stay in an asylum.
People thought him crazy!  But this half-crazed man gave Christians of many generations Cruden’s Concordance.  Spurgeon wrote in the flyleaf of his Bible, “For ten years this has been at my left hand when the Word of God has been at my right.  This half-crazy Cruden did better service to the church than half the D. D.’s and L. L. D.’s of all time.”
Recall God’s summary of King David?  We may remember his moral failures – murder, adultery and pride (counting of the men) – but God summarizes David’s life by saying, “He was a man after His own heart, and David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”  Acts 13:22, Psa 78:72

So don’t believe the lie of Satan, which says to you (when you’ve blown it), “You’re a lie!”  Believe the word of God that tells you: You were born with value and purpose.  Your life has promise and potential as it unfolds in accordance to God’s eternal plan. 

*From Does a Mans (Moral) Failure Mean Hes a Lie? Sermon #3334; Cruden illustration taken from On This Day.

Friday, June 6, 2014



You have heard the expression “Honesty is the best policy.”  No one questions that, although, as we have discussed in times past, it appears throughout the Holy Scriptures that God honors those who lie as an act of faith.  e.g.: The Israelis midwives, Rehab when hiding the two spies, the wife who hid David’s two spies while being chased by Absalom, and the prophets in whom God put a lying spirit so Ahab would go to his death.  God ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts.  There are some things we’ll never quite understand — oh, I’m not saying we can’t find explanations, we can — this side of Heaven.

With that said, let’s talk about the lie.  This week I sent you an email that said, according to NBC News, all Americans will receive a microchip by 2017.  The article/pcmdgazette report was false.  My apology!  (I should have “fact” it out.)  With that said, here are the facts as I see them. This was one of my replies on Facebook:

Guys, my apology for not checking this out BEFORE sending it your way.  With that said, please read my REPLY to Adam Starr and Wendy Sylvester.  Both people I regard very highly.  My reply to Adam is not relational to a ‘theological’ issue, my response to Wendy is: 1) As to the “chip" we all have one -- it's our SS#.  Did you know Rob Schenck is not allowed into the White House.  His SS# was flaged by the Clinton administration because Rob met the President face to face and called him out on abortion. 2) As to the pre-rapture tribulation ‘theory’ -- it came from a tongues prophesy of approximately 150 ago, and IMO, and that of ALL Bible Scholars BEFORE the prophesy was given, has no Biblical veracity.  We, praise the LORD, will NOT face His wrath [… we will tribulation — it is what has purified and propelled the Church to greatness throughout history].  Well, it’s off to my QT with the LORD. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE AN ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE DAY -- pray The FIVE SENSES prayer and the HOLY SPIRIT prayer -- it will alter you day in a GOOD way. Blessings and honor to the One who was, is and is to come!  [*added]

Here’s another area I’d like to see some honesty.  I would like President Obama to call (not send a form letter) the six families who lost their sons seeking to rescue Bergdaul and tell them he is sorry for their loss and proud of them, and their sons, for being willing to lay down their lives for another wearing — not a R or D — but an American flag.  And please, Mr President, don’t tell us that those who worked side-by-side with Bergdaul and said he’s a deserter (for whatever the reason) right wing Republicans.  They are simply, like all of us, US Citizens who love our country.  

BTW:  This is a great analogy for those who say they would not be able to lay down their lives if push came to shove during the Great Tribulation — it’s too scary.  If a soldier can go to war for his country knowing that he/she could lose his/her life … and be proud of it, how much more the Christian.  As the angel said to Joshua, and to so many others throughout the Bible, “Be strong and courageous!  Do not fear!”  

In Jesus,
Loyalty is a man's best friend.  Joshua 1:5

PS - Photo from Maleficent.  My date night with our daughter, Noelle, last night @ 9:50 pm, June 8.  When you have 2 boys, 1 foster child, 2 cats, a dog and a pig … Oh! and a husband … it’s about the only time to set a father-daughter date.  LOL!  

Monday, May 26, 2014


Life is filled with heroes.  Every profession — righteous or unrigheous — in life has its heroes.  Consider the following:

To the  
1)       American historian – it’s George Washington
2)         WWII Vet – it’s General MacArthur
3)         Inventor – it’s Benjamin Franklin
4)         Medical profession – it’s Jonas Salk 
5)         Civil Rights movement – Martin Luther King, Jr  
6)         (Those who say) “I was born this way” – it’s Lady Gaga
7)         Porn industry – it’s Marilyn Chambers
8)         Art – it’s Michelangelo
9)         Painting – it’s the Mona Lisa
10)    Musically cultured – it’s Beethoven
11)    Automobile – it’s Henry Ford
12)    Missionary – it’s William Carey
13)    Preacher – it’s C. H. Spurgeon
14)    Israeli Politics – Golda Meir
15)    Horse racing  Secretariat
16)    Farmer – it’s Cesar Chavez
17)    Home run – Babe Ruth 
18)    Catholic – it’s Pope Paul 11
19)    Evangelical – it’s Billy Graham
To God, the true heroes in life are those who Share Christ, Connect with People and Serve Others.  Their testimony remains true with the Bible as their final authority for life, faith and the practice thereof, even at the cost of their own lives.  They are honored by the lamb of God in Rev 6:9.  

Today, however, we REMEMBER the men and women who have given their lives for our freedoms as American citizens, their families and those who presently serve and say THANK YOU!  You are loved.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Yahoo is my search engine.  Typical I follow the 10 trending stories.  Today I looked for National Day of Prayer and couldn’t find it.  I read that Oprah was interested in buying the Clippers, Ellen Page came out, when the White House hates your tweet and X men hero in disguise just to name a few.  No National Day of Prayer. 

Do we weep for America as we watch God pushed out of the public arena and our culture?  Did you attend a prayer service today?  Are you planning on attending a prayer service tonight?  If not, have you taken a few minutes to pray for our country?  We can all do that can we not?

This week our study in Revelation looks at the Church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14-18).  BTW: The Church of Laodicea is 1900 to the Return of Christ; it is us, the 21st Century Christian.  This church thought they had it all, but God said they were disillusioned and in actuality had nothing.  Hence the sermon title: “Time for an Eye Exam.”  However, there is something very encouraging about this text.   God said he was ABOUT to spit them out of His mouth.  Which means He had not yet done so and was giving them time to repent.  Meditate on this!  Is this you?  Is this me?  Is this America?  ‘About’ … God is waiting.  Let’s not delay.


RiverWinds Community Center
West Deptford Ministerium

I’m reading selected verses from 2 Chronicles 34.  This is the setting: Judah has forsaken Jehovah and prostituted itself before foreign gods living a lifestyle contrary to God’s word and commands.  Josiah, at the age of 26, repairs the temple and calls Judah to worship the LORD.  While repairing the temple, the Book of the Law is found.

2 Chronicles 34:1-33 (NKJV)
14  … Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD given by Moses. 15  … Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan … [and]  16  … Shaphan carried the book to the king, 18   And … read it [to] the king. 19  …  when the king heard the words of the Law, … he tore his clothes. 20  … saying,
21  "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah … for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book."  
[And the LORD said to Josiah]27  because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you," says the LORD.
32  And [Josiah] made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33  Thus … the children of Israel … diligently serve[d] the LORD their God … all [the days of Josiah].

LORD, today, from all four corners of this great land (N, E, S & W), believers are beseeching You for mercy.  We ask that, as in the days of Josiah, You would hear our prayer, forgive our sin and heal our land.  LORD, revive Your Church. 

I’m reminded of the words of the hymn writer William MacKay, “Revive us again, fill each heart with Thy love; May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.  Hallelujah!  Thine the glory, Hallelujah! Amen; Hallelujah! Thine the glory; Revive us again.”  Let it be Lord Jesus! 

We Your people are beat down on so many sides.  Sin surrounds us on every front – computer screens, TV, radio, media, education, and liberal postures within the Church – give us courage in this hour of trial to be strong and courageous.  Let our lives and words be infectious, making a difference in the culture in which we live … bringing people to You.  Revive us O Lord.  Yes, LORD, send revival!

In Jesus name we pray,

Nat’l Day of Prayer, West Deptford Ministerium, May 1, 2014, RiverWinds, NJ (Theme: Revival)