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Pulled,Or Maybe Pushed, Into

The Supernatural Spectrum

In the early 1970s the Jewish Missions in Brooklyn, NY was going to show a film (movie) for their evening outreach service being held in the basement of their home when something went wrong with the projector. Some of the mission workers laid hands on the machine and prayed that it would work.

I was there as part of a Christian Service Team from Northeast Bible Institute. At that time I was still too scientific minded and thought much of what we read in the Holy Bible about demons and angels was figurative. As I watched the workers pray over the projector what went through my mind was, "Oh, just get a screwdriver!"

Things tremendously changed around ten years later when one of my sons was a attacked by demonic forces and I decided to do something that back in the early 70s I thought was, uh, "flakey," "nutty." And wait until you read the results!

That will be one of many accounts that, God willing, I will post in this fifth Throwback Thursdays Series titled, "Pulled, Or Maybe Pushed, Into The Supernatural Spectrum."

The true Christian walk is not boring, especially if one desires to bring the lost to Christ. There are spiritual realities. There is also the direct and personal providence of God that often brings about what some might call "amazing coincidences."

It is not my purpose in these posts to have Christians seek after a special experience. Also, it is not my purpose to promote me, to lift up myself as someone superspiritual. It is my purpose to bring more awareness to some who name the Name of Christ that the accounts of the supernatural in the Holy Bible, as well as certain teachings (like Ephesians 2:6, Matthew 18:10) are spiritual realities that we ought to acknowledge. And, not only acknowledge, but learn what to Scripturally do in various situations, and to do it for the glory of God.

In over forty years of ministry I have seen many wonderful things, but I have also seen horrible, evil things. In either case there are things I will not mention because for the former I do not have permission from God to do so and for the latter I will quote what Paul said by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:12 but with a caveat that a lot of such things are no longer done in secret, "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."

With that, and for various other reasons, there will be times I will be very vague, not naming people, places, and certain things. This will be especially true of my second pulpit (pastorate).

But, fear not. There will be some more funny stuff!

While at first I will try to go in sequential order of my pastorates, viz., Eagle Mills NC, special appointment WV, and Cambridge MD, I might forget a few accounts I desired to share and will have to "flashback." There will be some themes that span all decades and I will mention them in aggregate in a post.

Finally, this will be sort of the last of my Throwback Thursday series. I need to free up more time for other things needful for the Body of Christ and the unsaved. However, at whatever post this current series concludes I might be nudged by the Holy Spirit at a later date to add a new post. If so, a notice will occur ahead of time at the top of this page and at the home page, .

Post 1 will begin a number of posts regarding our first pastorate, Eagle Mills Assembly of God in North Carolina where God would begin to pull me more into the supernatural spectrum as well as help me begin to have more insight into what I call His primal decrees, and insight into other areas.

Also, as perhaps a little teaser (or maybe not), we were within driving distance of Charlotte, NC, where the PTL Club was located. And, yes, we were slightly involved in it.

   Post 1: First Pastorate Sees “Birth” Of Jake And Joe  
As described in this post As you might have read in the previous series, I finally got my very own pulpit (pastorate), and the location turned out to be a great one, in my opinion: North Carolina! Pictured in this post you can see our car in the parsonage driveway with Sam on top of it and Tim roaming around. Looking closely at the car you can see a CB radio antenna mounted on the back and also a clergy sticker near the trunk. In the distance in the background is the church building.

    Back then in the Assemblies of God (AOG) most times when a church got a new pastor the District Superintendent (DS) soon paid a visit and a church service was held to "install" the pastor — an "installation service." I have always been amused by that term. It sounds like the minister is being installed like one installs carpet, HVAC system, furnace, and you name it. When he came down he suggested to me that I attempt to develop sermons from every book of the Holy Bible, and I felt that suggestion was a good one.

    The church building had a room where a pastor could work on their sermons and Holy Bible studies. It was nothing fancy, but it was OK with me. I still remember the constant sound the electric analog clock (the type with hands) made. It was not annoying, but I felt like it was saying, "Cook something good up. Cook something good up." That, and a "modern" typewriter that you could actually switch the font on seemed to encourage me to do just that. I eventually put one of our CB transceivers in that room so I could call over to the parsonage if need be. However, it was not much help one time when I got a certain visitor, and I am saving that for a later post.

    More encouragement to cook something good up in sermons and Holy Bible studies came from the general climate and atmosphere of that part of NC with the aroma of lilacs and honeysuckle in the air in warmer months. And I think it was the first place that I saw dogwood trees.

    There seemed to be more warmer months in that part of the USA. And when it got really warm black snakes would crawl across the road. I found out that they were not as dangerous compared to other snakes. In fact, they were considered by some farmers to be very helpful.

    And that gave me an idea: a new hand puppet, in fact, two! One would be called Snake Jake and the other would be Snake Joe. To tell them apart, Jake would have a white spot on the tip of his nose. Sister Dorcas cranked them out from her sewing machine and I would eventually crank out puppet skits, especially for Kids Crusades. Both Jake and Joe would not be very intelligent and Jake would be the one to get himself in all sorts of predicaments.

    I also thought snakes would be great because 1.) Christ conquered the spiritual serpent and 2.) it is prophesied in Isaiah 11:8 that when Christ returns "The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den," NKJV.

    This post and the next are somewhat an introduction to our first pastorate, but, rest assured, things will spiritually liven up and heat up in the posts afterwards. Eagle Mills was where more things would occur that would pull me into the supernatural spectrum as well as God would reshape my thoughts on certain points.

   Post 2: I Sort Of Drop Into A Women's Meeting  
As mentioned in this post Alright, a little more background on our first pastorate and then I will heat things up a little (except for a snowman) in the next post.

    Of course it took a little time to settle in. As we took care of things from day to day we always tried to make sure our two boys were OK. For some that do not know, if you hear your child or children playing then most times things are fine (I say "most times" because especially in the 21st Century people have guns, candles, and whatever where children are playing, and that is not very wise). Well, sister Dorcas and I were doing chores and such when we realized we did not hear Sam. So we started looking for Sam. We called, but he did not answer. We started looking around and, lo and behold, he had climbed up on some shelves (close to the floor) and there he was (as pictured with this post).

    Many times when someone is called to pastor or minister in a special way God seems to place them in an area with a culture slightly, or maybe greatly, different than theirs. With that, "the other people have an accent" and a certain way to say things. This NY metropolitan boy thought it was pretty neat to hear about "maters, taters, and baccer." I still remember seeing a baccer (tobacco) leaf for the first time. It was laying on the road not far from the parsonage so I guess it fell off a truck.

    When Christmas time drew near I was informed by some in the church it was the pastor's responsibility to pick out a Christmas tree for the church sanctuary. So, I picked out a nice pine tree that would fit. However, some of the church people were a bit shocked because it was a pine tree. This crazy Yankee boy found out they always had a cedar tree. OK. I would not make that mistake again.

    Speaking of mistakes, most times it is a mistake for a new pastor to make a lot of changes during the first few months. I knew that, but I had a slight problem behind the pulpit. When I would look out at the congregation there were two sound system wires heading up to the ceiling. Looking at the situation I saw they could be rearranged without a problem by sending them down to the floor and re-routing them to the speakers. I wanted the wires moved but did not want to say anything to the deacon board. I believe it was the presbyter, brother George Beavers, that said, "Do not tell the board anything. Just go ahead and move them. They will not know." I did, and either they did not know or they did not care. After that, I used the "just do it principle" in pastoring for such minor issues.

    And it just so happened I became the pastor of Eagle Mills Assembly of God about the time the church roof had to be replaced. All the men of the church, including the pastor, was to be involved in this. I think I might have told them about the time I got stuck on our very simple trailer roof in Grantsville so they assigned me some type of task under the roof and above the sanctuary ceiling. The ladies had assembled inside the sanctuary for a women's group meeting. Everything was fine as I moved along under the roof — until my right leg slipped off of a beam, and went through the sanctuary ceiling. I almost literally dropped into the women's meeting. Well, in most Assembly Of God churches the pastor IS the ex officio member of all groups.

    Alright. So I caused a little damage. However, sister Dorcas did a positive thing for the church. The church pews were very hard. She suggested she would make pew cushions if the church supplied the materials. They did, and after some time they had pew cushions.

    However, before she ever started on the cushions I was trying to get area non-church-goers into church. This is where things heat up slightly, like almost meeting a possible Pit Bull and almost definitely meeting a two-by-four.

   Post 3: A Possible Pit, A Non-Church Board, And An Ancient Curse  
Whenever a church gets a new pastor sometimes it is an opportunity to draw more people to visit that church and hopefully turn out to be regular attendees. So, go around the area to see who is not going to church and invite them to yours. But, a pastor must be careful lest something happens to him that would draw him to a hospital.

    After we moved into the parsonage probably two or three weeks later I began to canvass the area. On one of my first efforts I headed north pass the church to "go around the block," although no block existed. There were just roads lined with houses, or fields, or farms, or woods. Just after you would get past the church you would go downhill past a bar and eventually over a creek.

    After making a number of left turns I was almost back home when I stopped at a house. There was no answer, so I left some literature there. As I headed back to the car I heard . . .

Woof!  Grrrrrrrrrr!  Woof! Woof!

   After I quickly got into the car and shut the door I heard . . .

T h u m p !

    The protective pooch was really set on getting me and smacked his head on the car door. Thankfully, he did not damage it, but I had to wonder what type of dog was that? Back then I did not know a lot about dogs but most likely it was a pit bull.

I briefly addressed the topic of generational curses in a message live streamed on April 2, 2023 which you now may find on YouTube at My YouTube channel is .

    In those days, most of the people in that area were pretty amiable and quite often if you made it inside they would insist you sit down and have a soda. I sure did not mind a Pepsi, a Coke, and other selections. However, there came a time when I almost had my soda in a hospital.

    One day when I made my rounds I went to a small wooden house just slightly back in the woods. I soon met a young Black boy, maybe six or seven years old, and started talking to him. About a minute later I sensed that I ought to look behind me. Good thing I did. There was an older boy, probably the brother of the young man I was speaking with, and he had a board in his hands behind him.

"Hi! Hey, you are not going to hit me with that, are you?," I asked with a bit of nervousness. He was a little surprised that I spotted him at the moment but let me know he was not going to wallop me.

The snowman mentioned in this post

    In the course of our conversation one of them said he had heard all Black people were cursed and asked if that was true. This theory probably stems from the curse that Noah placed on one of his grandsons, Canaan (see Genesis 9:22-27), but if we carefully read that passage we will see it might not have extended to all Hammites (Ham was the father of Canaan). However, I did not say all of that to the young men.

    My reply to them was that if there was a curse it was taken care of in the cross of Christ.

    By the way, while talking to them I found out that about nine or ten people lived in that small house. Anyhow, I invited the two guys to visit Eagle Mills Assembly Of God. No one in that household ever did while I pastored there. However, I saw that the church actually has a spot on Facebook and found a picture of a group of attendees, a few of which were Black.

    When winter rolled around the area actually had some snowfall. We took an evangelical advantage of the situation by building a snowman which held a sign that read, "Be cool. Come to Sunday School." Tim stood next to the snowman when we took this picture.

    Another way to encourage people to visit was to have guest speakers, one of which was a Biblical prophet.

   Post 4: A Pastor, A Presbyter, And A Prophet  
As stated in this post. Hey! Since this post will be published near Resurrection Day 2023 I thought it would be a good idea to post a picture of sister Dorcas with Tim and Sam wearing their Resurrection Day outfits and standing on the steps of Eagle Mills Assembly Of God.

    It is great to bring the unsaved to Christ and sometimes that means trying to have them visit your church. Having a guest speaker every now and then is one way to get visitors.

    I had nothing to do in the planning of one of the first guests while I was a pastor. Eagle Mills Assembly was having a home coming service where a former pastor is the guest speaker. And an added feature was "dinner on the grounds," which might also be a "drawing card" for some people. The event and guest speaker, who was originally from Hawaii, was planned before I was ever elected as pastor.

    But then, after a while, I arranged to have the sectional presbyter, George Beavers, to come in and have a few meetings. This was another time when a message (sermon) has stuck with me down through the years. For one of the services his message was "Would Ye Receive A Mark?" He did not preach about the mark of The Beast (Revelation 13), but about a mark from God as recorded in Ezekiel.

    Years later I would hear some other preacher claim, "You know that when you hear a preacher say, 'Turn to Ezekiel,' you know that he is going to preach on the valley of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37)." "Nope," I thought, remembering brother Beaver's message. Other interesting passages include the four cherubim of Ezekiel 1 (and, no, they are NOT space aliens and the wheels were not flying saucers), and the prophecy of God's work upon the remnant of Israel as recorded in Ezekiel 36:25-38 with the sprinkling of the Jews mentioned in that passage having a connection with what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3. If you want, hear my message on this by selecting a link at for the message Prophetic Insights And Evangelistic Directives From John 3:1-8 and Ezekiel 36.

    On the other side of the spectrum, I was disappointed one time with an evangelist we had. At the end of one of his messages he invited people to come up to the altar and pray and also to be prayed for. One lady had gone up and he asked "You love God, don't you?" Now, just what do you think most people would answer in front of a preacher and others? I felt that what he should have asked was something like, "Are you fully surrendered to Christ?"

    And then another preacher told me one time I ought to get an Assembly of God prophet from Charlotte to come for services. I did. Lest anyone misunderstand, a true prophet of God does not always speak of the future. The true prophet of God exhorts in regard to God's will, guidance, caution, and the like for a person or a group. I felt that the prophet we had did pretty well although quite often his exhortations were not specific.

    He also gave me a general one, that I, too, have to be careful. Now, when you think of that, is that not true for every disciple of Christ? Nonetheless, his statement has stuck with me down through the years.

    I cannot recall if any of these special services brought new people in to stay, but I found something else that would help Eagle Mills Assembly of God.

   Post 5: Tapping A Resource  
Having people surrender their lives to God through Christ is of utmost importance. When someone does make Christ truly their King they become part of what the Holy Bible calls The Body Of Christ, also referred to as the Church. While no earthly denomination or fellowship in itself is completely and exclusively the Body Of Christ (see Luke 17:21), individuals of the Church, God's Church, can be found in many groups around the world provided the groups adhere to the essential teachings of Holy Scripture (see As mentioned in this post

    And, when someone comes to Christ it is good for them to attend a local fellowship that adheres to the essential teachings of the Holy Scripture. Some churches have an official membership. While various people might be able to attend, in most cases only the official membership can make certain decisions and only official members can hold office and serve in certain ways.

    With this post is a picture of one of the groups at Eagle Mills Assembly of God. I can only recall the name of one person in this picture, and I am pretty sure the older sister is Lottie Templeton. I am not sure if this group was a Sunday School class or not.

    I forget how many people Eagle Mills Assembly Of God had but, like in many other churches, there was a mixture of the saved and unsaved. Among the saved and those of proper age it seems to me that there were only seven or eight that were legal members. However, there were a few more attendees that were saved that I thought could be added to the membership roll. To make sure, I presented the various names to the church board and they were fine with the list. I then proceeded to visit each person and offered official membership to them. All, except one, agreed.

    I was disappointed that this one brother, who lived right across the way from the church building, did not agree to become an official member. He seemed to be an exemplary Christian. Nonetheless, he was good friends with the church and us. He had a cow or two for milk and we would often buy milk from him. He also had a horse and would sometimes give our children a ride in a cart.

    In regard to children, it is always good to try to get them to church. Though they would be too young to be official members, every child needs to come to Christ and remain in Him. Sunday School and Junior Church are good tools for this, and so are . . . . To be posted, 😀.

   Post 6: A Crusade (Which Might Not Be A Very Good Term)  
As mentioned in this post At least for the U.S.A., most times when summer rolls around many churches have a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children and youth. However, a VBS requires a number of qualified people to be teachers and helpers, something that smaller churches do not have. An answer to that dilemma is a Kids Crusade which can cost less and usually does not need as many people as a VBS.

    From what I know, there is more flexibility with Kids Crusades in that they can be designed with various elements and the number of days a crusade runs can vary. There is a drawback though. Some time ago during the earlier decades of our ministry I heard that the term crusade might not sound pleasant at all to any Muslims that might be in a community. Sadly, centuries ago the nominal "Church" carried out crusade after crusade with violence in an attempt to rescue Jerusalem from the Muslims. Many Muslims today equate true Christians with the nominal Church, not realizing that true Christians were heavily persecuted by the nominal Church.

    We invited Arnold and Ellen Probst to help us with our Kids Crusade at Eagle Mills. In the image with this post you can spot Arnold on the left at the top of the steps of the church building. As you can see we had a goodly number of children to show up for the event. Not all were able to get on the picture.

    I cannot remember how many people surrendered to God through Christ during the crusade, but this might have been the time that our oldest son made a commitment to Christ. After a week or so he asked to be baptized. Was it just a fancy whim on his part or did he mean it? I felt that I should wait a little to see if he would ask again and he did. I reviewed with him the basics of what water baptism means. The little river that ran through the area was not far away and so we made the trip to its reddish shores and baptized him.

    Others came to Christ while we were at Eagle Mills. But one day I got a little edgy when a certain lady visited me when I was alone in the pastoral work area of the church.

   Post 7: Alone With A Woman — And Not Just Any Woman!  
Never be alone with a woman who is not your wife is what the male prospective ministers heard at Northeast Bible Institute (NBI). We were told some had fallen into sin, others were accused of something they did not do and, in the very least, rumors easily started. Over time, many ministers were defrocked due to any of those three points. When I attended NBI it was forbidden that any student be alone with the opposite sex.

    Billy Graham and others made sure they were never alone with a woman other than their wife. To my knowledge, these good examples of old were never severely mocked for being careful. Let a us fast forward to the 21st century. Just a few years ago from the date of this post a certain Christian politician was mocked by some people because he would not be alone with another woman who was not his wife. These mockers would be the very first to rip into him if he would be unfaithful to his wife.

The church building of Eagle Mills Assembly Of God

    Eagle Mills Assembly Of God had a room where a pastor could work on his messages and studies. I had a place in the parsonage for that (which you will see in a later post), but it was next to our bed which makes it too easy to be relaxed while studying and working. So, the room at the church was helpful to keep me alert. Besides, there was a typewriter there on which you could switch the font and type in cursive. It was there in that room that I worked ahead on Holy Bible studies, some of which I have called Perpendicular Truth. You can read what I mean by that at .

    Sister Dorcas and the boys were in the parsonage one day when I ventured across the road to that church office. There I was all by my physical self (God is always around), working on a message or Holy Bible study, when a lady walks in. And, this was not any usual lady. She was some sort of relative to the head deacon, and the head deacon had told me she was an active prostitute.

    What was I to do? I had one of our CB radios in the office and the other at the house. Both were on and we used them as an intercom between the office and the parsonage. I wished and wished I could depress the microphone button and keep it depressed so sister Dorcas would know what was going on, but the CB radios were not designed to keep transmitting unless you kept the button depressed.

    I did not have much time to think as the visitor started talking. She wasted no time in telling me she knew she needed to surrender to God through Christ! And that she did, as I led her in the sinner's prayer. Some people take great delight in knocking that prayer, but the one I use is partly based upon Romans 10:9-10, and I make it a point to let them know that they need to mean it and live it every day of their life. They need to make Christ King of their life and live for Him all of the time.

    She showed up for church that Sunday and gave her testimony of salvation. But her testimony was followed by one from the head deacon. I forget what all he said, but what he did say seemed to downplay the lady's testimony, suggesting that she did not really change. I speedily went to the lady after the service and encouraged her to ignore the tone of the head deacon's remarks. She indicated that she was not flustered at all by what he said and I got the impression she knew what he would say. She did not return to Eagle Mills Assembly Of God though and probably started going to another church.

    Well, thank God she came to Christ, and thank God there were no rumors about me. But wait until the next post when I accidentally made a colleague say something that COULD start a rumor! Also, sister Dorcas says something that causes me to rethink my position on a certain issue.

   Post 8: Rethinking The Small And The Big  
Whether it is sports, work, or anything else, many people enjoy teamwork. It is even better when someone truly knows Christ as their King and Savior and understands that the true Body Of Christ works together.

    As previously mentioned, at that time, being credentialed as a minister of the Assemblies of God (AOG) one had various avenues of ministry open to them. As you might have read in the previous series (TBT 2 and 4), God permitted a whim I had to be fulfilled — sectional youth leader — which I held for two years in Maryland. Sometime after we moved to The Piedmont Section of the AOG in North Carolina that section held its annual council. I was in my late 20s and still eligible by age to be a sectional youth leader. Well, that position went to someone else, but I was voted in as Missions Secretary, a position I would also hold during my third pastorate.

    Among the ministers of that section, sister Dorcas and I developed a friendship with Pastor Tim and Ann Moose. We would visit them every now and then. One day while I was petting one of his cats brother Tim said to me, You know, Pete, I think God has given us pets to enjoy. Oh, why did he say THAT? Sister Dorcas and I did not want any pets. In fact, I used to trap stray cats behind the parsonage and send them elsewhere. But brother Tim just had to say THAT as I was somewhat enjoying petting his cat, and the cat was enjoying it too. Well, that was one seed planted in my mind and soul that would bring about a change later on.

    Before I get to the other seed, one that would have a direct bearing on my ministry, I want to tell you something funny that will lead into that topic.

    I do not know what it was, perhaps it was the whole day or so of prayer and fasting set aside by the North Carolina District for its ministers, during which time a flow of thoughts came to my mind about certain Holy Scriptures. I am not sure if I still have those notes today or not, but I can remember writing numerous things down.

    I think we had to travel to Winston Salem for that meeting. Many of the spouses, including mine, had to stay behind. Brother Moose had secured a hotel room with two beds and asked me to come along with him. We attended the day's services at the local church and retired to our room later that evening. While there, the phone rang. It was the front desk. Brother Moose picked up the phone and heard the man at the front desk say . . .

Your wife called.

    While I figured it was sister Moose, I thought perhaps it could have been sister Dorcas. So, I asked brother Moose to find out.

Brother Moose: Hey, which wife?

Front Desk: Aha!

    Stupid me. I forgot that the hotel did not know I was staying with brother Moose.

    And while in a way that was sort of funny, in another way it was not. Any sin is not funny, though the devil often makes it that way.

    It might have been during that time there was a discussion among the ministers about whether or not the AOG should grant ministerial credentials to those who were divorced and remarried before they came to Christ. I was of the opinion that the grace of God wiped out the past, so I saw no problem with such Christians holding credentials. Sister Dorcas suggested I rethink that position.

    A Biblical reason why I should rethink that position were passages such as 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 that state a pastor (bishop, etc) is to be the husband of one wife. At that time the three AOG credential levels (viz. Christian Worker, Licensed, Ordained) permitted one to be a pastor. But yet, in my mind, there was always Luke 16:18 which points out that divorce does not end a marriage.

    There were a number of ministers that were against granting credentials to the divorced and remarried. Although some that held that view were older ministers, I did not write them off as a bunch of fuddy-duddies.

Whenever I can get away with it, I never capitalize that name because when I was a satanist I refused to capitalize God.
I began to research the Holy Scriptures and the institution of marriage in general. I do not know when it happened, but God had me do a complete reversal on my original position. This Throwback Thursday series is not the place for further explanation (which may be found at This series is to show how God works in people, that there is a supernatural realm greater than what some Christians realize. There are both godly and satanic forces at work.

    Though I knew there were godly and satanic forces at work, I did not know the magnitude of that realm. I was still of the mind that if you want to show an evangelistic film (movie) and the projector repeatedly refuses to work — never mind prayer — just get a screwdriver.

    But then, through a miracle of God, a certain organization came to the area, and God planted another seed in my mind, one that would cause me to see the magnitude of the supernatural and, at the next pastorate, push me (or maybe shove me) into the supernatural spectrum.

   Post 9: A Pull Toward The Supernatural  
I forget when it happened and how we found out, but I do recall sister Dorcas and I heard some exciting news: Teen Challenge was coming to Harmony, NC, just a few scant miles / kilometers from Eagle Mills. And not only that, they had acquired the property in Harmony for only one dollar!

    Teen Challenge was a work of God started by the ministry of David Wilkerson, an Assembly of God minister who had a church in Pennsylvania but was directed by the Holy Spirit to intervene in the gang culture of New York City in the 1960s. Many of the youth and young adults he encountered were enslaved to drugs, but God directed him and others to bring them to Christ, and many who surrendered to God through Christ were freed from their addictions. This ministry developed into Teen Challenge (TC). After a time, more TCs began to spring up in the U.S.A. If you want to know more about what happened, you may read it in the book by David Wilkerson, The Cross And The Switchblade.

    The TC in Harmony was a women's induction center. The property they purchased for $1.00 included a swimming pool, and you know very well that once TC got a hold of it it was also used for water baptisms.

    Of course, we went to see the facility in Harmony. After a few weeks I received a phone call and I was asked to come to TC to teach Revelation (The Revelation Of Jesus Christ, aka The Apocalypse — the last book of the Holy Bible).

As mentioned in this post

    Revelation? Teach Revelation to these ladies who either just came to Christ or who were still struggling with drugs and other issues? But, that is what they wanted so I agreed. I then asked God how to do it and His reply to me was chapter after chapter according to the outline the Holy Spirit established in Revelation 1:19. So, that is what I did.

    In regard to Eagle Mills Assembly of God, following the good suggestion from the District Superintendent, I endeavored to develop a sermon (message) from each book of the Holy Bible. In the image with this post you can see I was working on something in my study area in our bedroom. Yes, there are boxes. But also note in the picture the very same shortwave radio mentioned in TBT 1, as well as one of our CB radios. Below my shortwave radio is a set of Matthew Henry's Commentaries on the entire Holy Bible. That set is now over one hundred years old, and perhaps it was one of the original sets published. See the cassette tape recorder? It was probably used for puppet skits.

    TC of Harmony would visit Eagle Mills Assembly Of God from time to time. One particular evening I was preaching from Philemon, a very short epistle, and so short that there was no need to later divide it into chapters. After the message, one of the TC ladies told me she was surprised that a sermon could be derived from that small book. Hopefully the message helped her to realize there was abundant treasure to be found in every book of the Holy Bible.

    However, probably before that night, God used TC to help me realize that what I considered in the Holy Bible to be simply symbolic, and that since we were in the days after Christ's ascension we did not have to be dealing with it, were the struggles and other issues that the Holy Bible records about angels, good and bad. In my mind I felt that if there was a problem just mention it to God in prayer and move on. In my mind we did not fight and fight and fight.

    So it happened one day when we were visiting TC that the staff asked us to join in prayer with them as they went around anointing with oil various areas and rooms, rebuking the forces of darkness and asking for the covering of Jesus' blood. One of the staff told me they would do this from time to time because of the demonic forces and influences the young ladies would bring with them.

    Well, we prayed with them, but I had to wonder if the staff was not a tad flakey. But the Holy Spirit nudged me to not write it off. Back home, I asked God that if this was something we should do that He would please give me a Holy Scripture passage about it.

Pow! . . .

    Leviticus 14:33-53 came to my mind! This passage contains instructions for the Hebrews as to what they are to do if leprosy was found in the structure of a house. While that could have been referring to mold or something else, it did not matter to me because the word leprosy was used and leprosy in the Holy Bible is symbolic of sin and sinfulness. And then, I recalled the unpleasant incident that occurred at Maranatha (see previous TBT) when the pastor's wife vented in the main sanctuary and how hard it would be for some people to get it out of their mind every time they would sit in that sanctuary.

    The images from some of the Chick tracts came to mind where, in one drawing, a grandmother is desperately interceding with God for her granddaughter who was enslaved by drugs and while she was praying demons were next to her saying It's no use! In another frame her granddaughter was having a bad reaction from LCD and a demon caused her to see her skinless skull in a mirror. I also thought of the years before I came to Christ when demonic forces were very heavy on me and I felt like the chief fool of all the earth.

    It also came to my mind that an the actual rendering of ask, … seek, … knock of Mathew 7:7 is keep asking, … keep seeking, … keep knocking. Ephesians 6 points out we war against demonic forces.

    So, I accepted the practice as valid. Now my mind was reshaped once again. However, it would not be until the next pastorate when we would start anointing buildings. This mind-opener in North Carolina was a pull into the supernatural spectrum. Something would happen at the next pastorate that would push — or shove — me into the realm of the supernatural. And a purpose in writing this final series is to get more Christians to open their eyes to the Scriptures and the supernatural realities that surround us and even influence us.

    Also, each person is a spirit-being encased in a body. If you have read the first TBT you would remember about an uncle I refer to in these series as Uncle Number One. He was the one that influenced me to dabble in the occult before I came to Christ. He visited us while we lived at Eagle Mills and brought to us something I wanted to do without.

   Post 10: A Gripe, A Desire Granted, And A Questionable Gift  
Before I tell you what my uncle, the uncle who nudged me into the occult when I was younger, gave to us that I thought we could do without, I want to mention a small confrontation I did not want and an opportunity I certainly did want.

    The confrontation occurred when we applied for food stamps. With my small income from the church we definitely were eligible for government help. During my interview with the government agent with he asked, with a smirk, What do I put down for your employer? God? That was a very unkind thing for him to ask and, if it would happen today I would soon be in contact with his supervisor. I think I told him I was self-employed. Back then, we actually had to pay a fee to get the stamps and when we used them we could only get certain items. Anyway, that little confrontation I had was another seed planted in my mind that, after other incidents later occurred, would cause me to be cautious about dealing with governments in later pastorates. It would be a factor in an important decision I would make less than twenty years later.

As mentioned in this post.

    For the opportunity I DID want, if you had read the series Countdown To The Week Christ Saved me you would know that when I was a child that during our trips to and from Jersey City our family would often go by the AM transmitter sites along NJ Rt.7: WOR, WNEW, WMCA. I wondered what is in those buildings. Before I knew any better, I thought the music I heard on the radio was always live, and that the singers and groups were at the station. However, I never saw a bunch of cars at any of those transmitter sites so I wondered how it was done. Regardless, I developed a desire to get into radio, right at the controls of the station. It was in North Carolina that God laid a foundation to have that desire eventually fulfilled.

    The phone rang one day. Pictured in this post is Sam picking up the phone at Eagle Mills. Was he the one that answered the phone so I could get a message from a fellow pastor? Probably not. It was most likely me. In this picture Sam wants to call his Grandma in Grantsville, MD.

    However, one day the Assembly of God pastor in Yadkin County called and asked me to fill in for him on his radio broadcasts. Wow! A childhood desire I had before I came to Christ was partly being fulfilled. He was doing a radio series on the Resurrection of Christ and for some reason he needed someone to take over. Of all people, he asked me! God delights to fulfill our desires provided that our desires are in His will. So I think it was for eight weeks I drove over to WYDK in or near Yadkinville to record a series that began as Because He Lives (like, because He lives we can have forgiveness, … peace, etc). It was a blessing to get on radio. I was not at the controls, but God was saving that for later.

    At some point we found out that one of my uncles, whom I have labeled in the first TBT series as Uncle One, was going to visit us. I designate him as Uncle One not because he was some sort of wonderful uncle, but he is the first one I mentioned as I started these Throwback Thursdays accounts. He was the one who influenced me so much with mystical things like yoga, ouija boards, non-Christian prophets, non-Biblical prophecies, unexplained accounts, and more that I eventually wandered off into satanism.

    Uncle One just happened to be living in or near Fayetteville while we were in Eagle Mills. He visited us only one time and did not stay long (perhaps having a concern that I would again try to bring him to Christ). He brought us a TV. I think he had asked us if we wanted one and I slowly decided in my mind that it might be OK. Up until then, we did not have one. I sort of did not want one for a number of reasons. However, I thought perhaps we could take it. Though evil abounded on the airwaves, a TV would be handy to watch the news and weather reports. I also enjoyed sports like golf, soccer and football. And, back then most sports were sports. People actually had a level of decency, even in the late 1970s and 80s. There was no sexual filth at the football halftimes. Things were not politically charged as they are today. By the way, regarding Uncle One, that might have been the last time I saw him alive.

    Also on TV was the PTL Club (you know, Jim Bakker et al). After a short time we did more than watch the PTL Club, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

   Post 11: Sensing Something About The PTL Club  
As mentioned in the previous post, we accepted a TV from Uncle One. One reason I decided to take it was probably because I was still interested in DXing, long distance listening, which includes the TV broadcast bands (under the proper conditions TV signals can skip to distant locations). However, I never had time in Eagle Mills to try that, but we did take time to watch the PTL Club out of Charlotte, NC. As mentioned in this post.

    Our two sons, pictured in this post, enjoyed the PTL Club theme and would grab make-believe microphones to sing along. After a time, we visited the studios in Charlotte. I even got to shake hands with Jim Bakker. On a tour we were told that just one of the lights needed for the studios was thousands of dollars. As we walked past some cameras we noticed that their lenses were pointed toward the floor. Our guide said the cameras always had to stay on. If they would be turned off, it would take a long time for them to warm up and be ready for the next broadcast.

    In later visits to the PTL Club I joined others in answering the phones as people called in for prayer. One day I got a bummer of a phone. I had to speak a little louder for the other person to hear me. That caught the attention of one of the studio workers monitoring the audio and I was reassigned to another phone.

    Either the PTL Club, or a group closely associated with them, acquired property in South Carolina for, if I recall correctly, a Christian amusement park, so we also visited there.

    It was during those years when someone came up with the term, The Electronic Church. While God has used The Electronic Church there were many pitfalls that had to be avoided. If they are not, then failure is sure to come both in the temporal realm and in the spiritual realm. God willing, I will write more when I write about our third pastorate, when both The PTL Club and Jimmy Swaggart Ministries ran into trouble.

    Although the fall of the PTL Club was a few years away, as I watched the PTL Club on TV I sensed that there was something wrong. I questioned the feeling and tried to lay it aside but it was persistent. That was probably foundational for me to learn that I might just have at least one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Every Christian ought to be open as to what gift or gifts of the Holy Spirit they have. If you are a born again Christian be very open as to what gift you might have. Carefully and prayerfully read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. For those that are interested, here is how all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit might be described according to brother Hobart Grazier who taught Greek while I was at Northeast Bible Institute: .

    God willing, for the next post a little more on the PTL Club followed by a holiness repairman and a Baptist that got shook up.

  Post 12: From The PTL Club To The Mind Of John Calvin  
The letter mentioned in this post from the PTL Television Network I cannot remember if I was notified by phone or by mail, but the PTL Television Network had contacted me to minister to some lady that had called them with a need. I do not remember all the details as to why she needed a visit from a pastor, but she was within the area of the church I pastored and I was a PTL Club Follow-Up pastor.

    So, the spirit of brother William Ferguson (see previous TBT) came upon me (so to speak) and we went to where she was supposed to be. Either she was not there or the address seemed to be wrong. I tried other locations, and if I had been given a phone number to call she never answered or maybe the number was not in service. After a week or so I quit my pursuit and let the follow up director know.

    A week or so after that, to my surprise I received a letter of commendation (which is attached to this post) from the PTL Television Network for my efforts. I did not expect that because I imagined most pastors would also make an effort. However, according to what they wrote, sadly it seemed that there was not an abundance of pastors that would make much of an effort. The letter stated, Other pastors could well emulate the steps you have taken to reach and to help her.

    There could be a variety of reasons, some bad and some reasonable, as to why a pastor might not make such an effort, but there is always that element of the negative. Not everyone is saved which is true of some people we might call evangelical. You will be hearing more about such things in future posts because not every disciple of Christ is aware that we are definitely near the end of the Gentile Age. We are reminded from the Holy Scriptures we are in a spiritual battle. We must be aware of negative elements that will pull on those who might not be strong enough in the Lord.

    There is also a lack of Holy Bible knowledge as well as knowledge as to what true Christians in other countries face. One time I called the PTL prayer line in regard to a Christian lady I knew who was facing heavy persecution from her unbelieving husband who had threatened to harm her. The lady counselor at the other end prayed and said that I should tell the persecuted woman that God would protect her. Did not this counselor ever read where Jesus Himself said we would be persecuted, even physically persecuted? Was this counselor not aware that many Christians in other countries suffer many injustices and brutalities? Why would God protect a Christian woman in North Carolina and NOT PROTECT a Christian woman in another country? And we hear this same bologna today from unknowledgeable teachers, pastors, and wannabe prophets.

    Regarding some off beat teachings, there are always the cults. While I do not recall meeting Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons in North Carolina, the Moonies (The Unification Church) were making their rounds. They were followers of the self-proclaimed reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Rev. Moon. The overweight Moon had a number of followers who believed the bologna that Jesus did not finish His mission so He had to come back again and be born in Seoul, Korea and, of course, that was where Moon was born. I presented them with what the Holy Bible says in Acts 1 — Christ would come back in the clouds. By the way, Rev. Moon died sometime ago. As a side note, just a few years ago I saw some tweets on Twitter where some lady in China was claiming to be Christ. Lunacy.

    Then there came a day our phone did not work. So one of us went next door and called a repairman. It was a simmering hot day and when the telephone repairman arrived he was wearing a long sleeve white shirt. I was walking around in a short sleeved shirt. I figured he was a member of one of the holiness churches in the area. At one point he said to me, It is a very hot day today. I agreed, and did not say much more. I thought he was attempting to get me to ask why he was wearing a long sleeve shirt on a very hot day, which might give him an opportunity to point out his beliefs and get me into whatever movement he was in. Something like that is fine though, provided you do not go the route of salvation by works.

    Weather-wise, on a completely different day, in late winter or early spring, the roads were a little icy. Varoom! Smush! A car accident occurred not far from the parsonage. The man, a Baptist, was fine, but one of the first things he said to me was that he could not believe in once saved always saved any more. To this day I am not sure how the slight car accident might have him to question that doctrine. Nonetheless, after that he would call me now and then with questions and talk a while.

    Eagle Mills North Carolina was a beautiful place to be a pastor. But the days drew near when I felt I and my family had to move on.

  Post 13: The Call That Sent Me Toward The Call Of The Supernatural  
While I know of one reason why I felt we had to find another church to pastor, I do not feel led of God to mention it. However, to be clear, it had nothing to do with anyone in Eagle Mills Assembly of God. I am not too sure about any other reason except the one concerning finances. As you might recall, back in the 1970s the pastor of Eagle Mills Assembly of God was paid a percentage of the tithes and offerings each Sunday. The parsonage was free to live in. Naturally, the offerings fluctuated. Remember, this was a small country church at that time. Nevertheless, I had a family with needs (two growing boys — Sam pictured in this post) and, once again, I felt it imperative on my part to provide for those needs. After all, I was raised during the years when society as a whole taught responsibility and government handouts were not as abundant as they are today. As mentioned in this post

    So the process of contacting districts and sending out résumés started again. This time it was a little different because I could now attach copies of that nice letter from the PTL Television Network and at least one recommendation from a local pastor. As I recall though, there were not many churches that needed a pastor and if I had tried out for any churches I was not voted in.

    After some weeks, I received a call from brother Howard Spruill, the District Superintendent Of The Potomac District Of The Assemblies Of God. They had a burdensome situation with a church and wanted to replace the current pastor. God willing, in the next post I will give you what details God will permit me to share. After praying about it I felt that I should go ahead and take the assignment. We decided upon a date when I would arrive at that church. As that time approached I submitted and announced my resignation to the church at Eagle Mills. As I recall, the head deacon seemed to be a bit surprised.

    As I continue I want to make it clear that this final series is about the supernatural spectrum. There will be many bad things, and there will be many good things. The Church, the Body Of Christ, is comprised of various types of people and none of us is perfect. While that is no excuse for stuff that should not happen, it does explain some things. No one should look at any church or any individual Christian as something or someone who will not err. I say all of this as a reminder and as a preface to the next paragraph. I would add, though, a real Christian might err but they will repent and endeavor not to err again. The grace of God is given so one will grow into the sinless life of Christ.

    A neighboring church in North Carolina was having serious problems. Brother Z, the District Superintendent Of The NC District to came to the church to speak with the pastor. Brother Z heard I had resigned Eagle Mills and wanted me to meet with him when he spoke to the other pastor. Once there, brother Z spoke with the pastor about the problems in that church. I cannot recall what advice, if any, he gave to that pastor. He then turned to me and spoke at length as to why I should not be leaving Eagle Mills. He gave some type of scenario about why the South lost the Civil War. After a time, I think he said that he knows I was not paying attention.

    With all due respect, he was probably correct, because I remember thinking he should have given me Biblical reasons why I should not leave Eagle Mills. I did not want to hear about the Civil War. I preferred that if I were to be corrected it would be based upon Biblical principles and pastoral examples. Anyhow, brother Z would still be the NC District Superintendent when the PTL Club debacle would occur.

    Probably just like anyone else, sometimes I look back and I have to wonder did I make the right or the wrong choice. I feel sorry for that church in NC because they really needed a pastor to stay for a time and work a work by the grace of God. But, I made my choice and it would be one where I would be pulled more, and then pushed (or maybe shoved) into the supernatural spectrum.

  Post 14: The Troubled Church Where I Was Pushed (I Think Shoved) Into The Supernatural Spectrum  
As we begin this section regarding my second pastorate, remember I wrote at the start of this series that for various reasons there will be times I will be very vague, not naming people, places, and certain things. Also, due to the fact I need to end my entire TBT series in the spring of 2024 I will be cramming a lot of things into some posts. One more thing, there will not be many pictures for this second pastorate. Do not worry. I will make up for that in the balance of this series.
For our second pastorate we accepted the need for help by the Potomac District Of The Assemblies Of God (PDAOG) regarding one of their dependent churches. At that time in the Assemblies Of God their were three levels of churches, viz., home missions, dependent, and sovereign. A dear man of God, whom I shall term as brother Y, had started a home missions work under the PDAOG. For a time his congregation flourished. I think, if I recall correctly, they even reached 80 to 100 people attending their services. Because of this growth the church was able to reach the dependent level.

    And, not only were they able to reach dependent level, they were financially strong enough to consider buying property and perhaps a church building. At one point, what seemed to be the perfect opportunity arrived and they bought a church building. The pastor and many others felt this was the definite will of God. The sanctuary was pretty nice, and there was ample parking outside. However, a few months after securing a mortgage, for which the PDAOG was co-signer, the church basement, which included a number of rooms used for Sunday School as well as a baptistery area, was severely flooded leaving a layer of mud throughout that lower level.

    That was bad. Worse than that was a large number of the congregants forsook the pastor and the church. That made the financial contributions to drop which in turn made the church unable to pay the mortgage and so the PDAOG had to start paying. As I recall, the amount of the mortgage was more than $1,000 per month. Naturally such pressure was intense upon brother Y and if I recall correctly he appeared to the District to be unable to function. The District asked him to step down as pastor but he refused. The District felt that it had no choice but to revoke his credentials due to, and note importantly this word, insubordination.

    Some reading this might feel it was wrong for the District to take these actions. However, please consider the fact that if you or I agree to work with a denomination or fellowship then we are obliged to follow their rules and submit to those above us. When I heard about the term insubordination in regard to this minister I had to think of Saul, the first king of Israel who, despite God and the prophet Samuel, increasingly chose to follow self and make wrong choices. The spiritual breaking point is seen in 1 Samuel 15. What strikes me hard in that chapter is the first sentence of verse 23, For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Given the context, it certainly refers to being stubborn and rebellious against the voice of YHVH, but it is to be remembered that God uses people to develop His Kingdom and we must be careful to not be rebellious and stubborn to those above us. And this would come into mind directly involving myself around ten and a little more than twenty years later.

    With brother Y's credentials being revoked I was appointed the pastor of that church. When we arrived, though, we had to live in the back part of the church because the trailer used as a parsonage was still occupied by brother Y and his family. That was OK for a time, except for the fact the pro-brother-Y group was having prayer meetings in the main sanctuary on Saturdays. There is nothing wrong with most prayer meetings, but this one seemed creepy to me which was partly due to the creepiness in 1978 of the Rev. Jim Jones (see and the Jonestown massacre. I am not saying they were that bad, but what I am saying is I was that nervous. Each Christian grows at different speeds and I was surely lagging in that area. So I told this to another AOG minister above me (NOT brother Spruill) whom I shall designate as Rev. W and he suggested that I loudly play rock music to have them leave! That was one piece of advice that I felt was certainly not of God. Nonetheless, after some time they stopped, and eventually pastor Y moved out of the trailer. We moved in.

    Before I continue about pastoring that church I want to add to the sad point about how some ministers are. One day an AOG pastor from a neighboring state wanted to have fellowship with me so we agreed to meet somewhere for lunch. He was ordained with the AOG, but I only held a license. During lunch he asked me what I was going to preach on that coming Sunday. I said it would be the rapture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). He said he did not believe there is a rapture. And I could hardly believe he said that because every Assembly Of God minister was to believe there is a rapture. He added, God does not get glory by an escape. When he said that I had to immediately think of how much glory God received when Israel escaped Egypt and went through the Red Sea. I was too shocked to say anything. He was ordained and at the end of each year all AOG ministers had to reaffirm the AOG tenants of faith, signing their name to a document. Either he lied and signed anyway, or he had changed his mind after signing. What happens at times is that people “sign up” with a large denomination or fellowship so they can have more opportunities and I have to wonder at times if they really believe what they are supposed to believe.

    Getting back to when we first arrived at the church I found another challenge: For the first few Sundays brother Y sat on the platform and audibly wept while I preached! Eventually he stopped and just sat in the congregation.

    Faith is faith, but sometimes people mix fantasy with faith. I felt the pro-brother-Y group was wrapped in a fantasy about the building they could not pay for. So from time to time in some of my messages I would attempt to direct everyone into the reality of things. I think it was after the second or third month I asked the church board, which was a mix of pro-brother-Y and pro-district members, if my messages were too hard hitting or too soft. Half said I was too hard and the other half said I was too soft. I took that result to mean I was doing fine.

    Something pleasant did occur, though, during one evening service. Quite often in the AOG, especially in the evening services, there would be a time of prayer at the end of the service at the altar. I followed the habit I saw in other pastors of walking by each person, laying a hand or two on their heads or backs, and praying for them. One evening as I did that I came to one young boy whose parents were pro-brother-Y and prayed for him. After I was finished he lifted his head and thanked me.

    After some time that same family paid us a visit at the parsonage trailer. Soon after that visit I would be pulled, and perhaps shoved, into the supernatural spectrum. Please do not miss the next post!

  Post 15: The Push, Or More Like A Shove, Into The Supernatural Spectrum  
If you have not read the previous post please do so you can have a better understanding of this one.

    Despite the trouble in our second pastorate, every now and then some would make an effort toward unity. After some weeks a young couple on the pro-brother-Y side came to visit us. I sensed, though, there was a certain spirit about the young man, that he was somehow into witchcraft. In the previous post I noted 1 Samuel 15 where there is a spiritual fact that rebellion is as witchcraft.

    Nevertheless, we had fellowship with this couple. I cannot remember if we had a meal together. A main purpose of theirs was to give us some clothing for our boys that their children were no longer in need of.

    A few days afterwards our oldest son, around six years old, began to ask questions — very strange questions, two of which we remember were, Mommy, if I move this will I go to hell, and What if the devil died on the cross? More questions occurred over time and then —
he developed a fever!

    We did not have any family doctor where we were pastoring so sister Dorcas took him and his brother to the Grantsville Maryland area.

Remember, I avoid capitalizing the name satan.

    It did not take much for me to figure satan was attacking our oldest son. I then had to think of what I observed from members of Teen Challenge and the Holy Scripture God gave to me in regard to anointing not just people, but buildings (see Post 9). Angry with satan, I took olive oil (other oils may be used if need be) and anointed the trailer, rebuking satan and pleading the blood of Christ over our oldest son and the rest of us.

    Do not get the wrong idea. When I, and most others, say anoint we usually mean dipping our finger into the oil and transferring the oil to a person or object by making a small cross.

    I cannot remember if I did every room, but I probably did both the inside and outside of the trailer, casting out the forces of darkness in the Name of Jesus and pleading His blood. As I recall, a sense of relief came over me when I was finished around 4PM.

A couple of hours later sister Dorcas called.

I told her I anointed the trailer.

She said that she could tell me when I did, around 4PM —
because our son's fever broke around that time and he stopped asking those strange questions!

    Consider John 4:49-53, and if you are truly a redeemed child of God in Christ, born again by His Spirit the Word of God says that we are kings and priests in Him (Revelation 1:5-6). Such terminology sounds like we ought not to sit on the sidelines, but are to be open to being used by God in any capacity He decrees. I encourage those active in spiritual warfare and the like to remain active, and for those on the sidelines to draw near to God in order to be used more by Him.

    Such anointings are part of our ministry today along with other forms of intercessory prayer and a number of other things. We see results, not because we are good but because of Who God is.

    Well, that was my push, or perhaps a hefty shove, into the supernatural spectrum. More is to come in these posts. I would say some are quite amazing, especially the one about my Dad.

    The next post will cover a few interesting things I came across in that second pastorate as well as His dealing with me about a certain issue. Indeed, by His grace He directed me about anointing the trailer, casting out the forces of darkness. However, He would also direct me to cast some things away from me.

  Post 16: I Had To Burn Them!  
Permit me to mention a few other things before I tell you what God told me to cast away from me at our second pastorate. Though the situation at our second church seemed dismal, God blessed me with certain other brothers in Christ of the Assemblies of God (AOG) that helped to perk me up at times. One was pastor John who pastored a church in another state and AOG District, but his location was less than thirty minutes from where we were at.
Pictures coming your way starting with the next post.

    Though we are made from the same dough God does not use a cookie cutter when it comes to individuals in the Body of Christ. Well, let me get scriptural with that thought. The altars that God had people make as recorded in the Holy Bible were made of natural stone and not cut or shaped stone (like bricks). The Body of Christ is described in 1 Peter 2:5 as being made of living stones. If you consider people in the New Testament like Paul, Peter, Timothy, and James you can see that each had a slightly different personality from the other, but all worked together for the cause of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

    In the AOG there was always a smattering of "fun preachers" who never went too far with their fun. In those days back then there were such things as payphones. I cannot remember if he or I had to use one when we were in a store, but there was someone using the store's payphone. Pastor John said that if someone was using a payphone and I had a need to use the payphone at a certain moment to just act crazy nearby while they were on the phone. They would soon hang up.

    He, himself, was amused one time. He told me there had been a man roaming through his town dressed in a robe and wore sandals who said he was Jesus. He did not work. Pastor John asked him from where he gets food. The guy said he might find something on the street now and then like a can of beans.

    For me, I eventually had to find some employment and I secured a job with a nearby gas station. One evening someone got gas and tried to use a credit card to pay. Back then we had to call for approval so I called the number on back of the car. The card company told me the sale was not approved and I was not to give the card back to the customer. I asked the company what if they get angry and want to kill me? Thankfully they said to let them have the card. However, there was no problem. I kept the card and when I sent it back to the company they sent me a small reward.

    On another evening near sundown some Muslims came to get gas. After they were finished they pulled out some mats an one of them asked me which way was north, so I pointed in the correct direction. After a few moments they were prostrate northeastward on their mats. I assumed they were praying, but the northeastward direction had me baffled. So when they were finished I asked that if they were praying toward Mecca then why were they facing northeast? They explained that because of the curvature of the earth that northeastward was the shortest distance between them and Mecca. Well, it is good to know that when one is surrendered to the true God in Christ we do not have to be in any specific condition or aimed in a specific direction to pray.

    Then there was one time that a couple got gasoline and after I finished fueling their car I went over to the driver in the car to get the payment. He said for me to get it from his hefty passenger. When I went over to the other side to get the money she was topless! She also took her time to shell out the money.

    Being close to an Interstate meant that one might come across some unsavory characters at anytime. One day sister Dorcas walked down from the parsonage to the church building. As she headed into the church driveway someone came by in a car and asked her to come to the car. She kept walking toward the church and they drove away.

    Getting back to where I pastored the District wanted to install a drainage pipe on one side of the church building, so I was assigned to dig a ditch. As I was digging near the corner of the building, I looked at the side of it and just inches from my head was a hornet's nest! They started to take notice of me and I darted away.

    After a few days Rev. W (see post 14) came by and I told him I had a little concern about striking a water line with my shovel. Believe it or not he suggested that I witch the area (get a forked tree branch, hold it level by its extremities over the area with the singular end away from me and it will pull downward when I crossed a water line). Again, I did not take his advice. I had been into satanism for a short time before coming to Christ and I did not want to do with anything even remotely related to satanism.

    But sometimes Christians have things they might like but do not realize that satan can use those things to pull them into a trap. If you read back to an earlier TBT series you will see that I had been a fan of Simon and Garfunkel. I enjoyed what I felt was the intellectual deepness of their music with melodies that often sounded solemn. I had two of their albums, one of which included the famed Bridge Over Troubled Water which I felt pointed to Christ, and then pointed to the Church near the end of the selection.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters
up in smoke!

   However, God said I had to burn them! So, with some reluctance I placed them, along with some trash, inside a barrel in the church parking lot and set them ablaze. I felt a little more free after that. That was a step in the right direction, because a few years after that I would know I was terribly prone to depression and would seek help from God to get out of it.

    It also gave me more freedom to hear from God. It help to open the door for a stunning occurrence at a fellowship meeting.

  Post 17 Revelations Of Providence And Mercy  
For this post I want to mention particularly two things that God showed me in the earlier days of my ministry. The second one occurred while we were at our second pastorate which this post deals with. I think the other occurred at our third pastorate, but I will write about it now because I promised the readers at a picture with this post. I am also posting that occurrence to encourage younger people in school to surrender to God in Christ and listen only to Him because many of the voices of the world will lead us to a dead end. As I write this, some employers are now considering dropping higher education requirements for certain positions and are instead looking at skills and abilities.

    If you go back to the very first of my TBT series, Countdown To The Week Christ Saved Me — And Beyond!, you will see that I, like many children, had desired a certain profession when I grew up. Because the world made many fascinating scientific advances before and after I was born, I took very great interest in science and greatly desired to be a research chemist. And, I had the academic grades for it! However, it was in fifth or sixth grade I was arrested for doing something wrong. I felt I had terribly disappointed my parents. If you want more details about that horrible time read my posts in that first series. In 1969 I applied to three colleges and was rejected by all three. To me that was the final crushing blow. I would never be a research chemist. My life, the life I wanted for myself, was destroyed. That dark December I attempted suicide twice in one night.

    However, I came to Christ in January 1970 and since that time one blessing after another has occurred. Also, God presented me with a new profession: Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As mentioned in this post

    So, whether it was at our second or third pastorate, as I was running errands I came across a magazine. As I flipped through it I came across the picture you see in this post. Someone about my age who had around nineteen years of schooling would soon graduate with a PhD in chemistry. Looking ahead to provide for his family he sent out over a hundred résumés to various companies and government agencies. He got a reply back from each one that they did not have a need for a chemist! In the image, those pieces of paper hanging from the ceiling of his college laboratory are all rejection letters!

    But when he and I were just children we saw oodles of literature stating that in the future there would be a lot of work available in the realm of chemistry and other sciences too. That was the voice of the world in the 1950s and 1960s. Interesting scientific kits for children were made available in those years. In fact, a favorite Christmas gift I received was a chemistry set with chemicals in various colors. Some were Cobalt Chloride (red), Tannic Acid (brown), and Sulfur (yellow). That last one was a bummer because you could not do much with it except stink up a house and ruin a test tube. Yes, they had an experiment whereby one would melt sulfur in a test tube. For me it was impossible to clean, but that is OK with the kit companies because that would mean buying another test tube — money from your or your parents' pocket to theirs.

    I was overwhelmed when I first saw this picture and read the brief article. God spared me from my life that would not be much of a life after all! In later years I came to realize that my childhood dream of becoming a chemist and starting my own company with employees would have been an absolute nightmare with all the legal paper work along with other things to meet Internal Revenue Service's requirements!

    But over ten years from the night I wanted to commit suicide I was now born again and a pastor. While at our second pastorate, I was contacted by a local Aglow Fellowship, a fellowship of Charismatic / Pentecostal women, and was asked to be their advisor. For a number of months I attended all their board meetings and fellowship meetings. Part of my job as their advisor was to pray over the numerous prayer requests that they had. The ladies would write their prayer requests on slips of paper which were then placed in a box. The advisor never saw any specific request.

    During prayer time the advisor would hold or lay hands on the box and pray for want needs came to their mind. Now, you know very well that in a crowd of people there was always someone who needed prayer for healing, a trouble they were facing, unsaved loved ones, guidance and a few other things. But prayer is not only speaking to God, but also hearing from Him.

    So, one time as I was praying at an Aglow meeting all of a sudden the thought of an abused child came to my mind. When I prayed out loud about it I heard a gasp from the back of the room. I had no idea why there was a gasp until the conclusion of the service. Two ladies with a baby in a stroller approached me at the end of the service. They said they were from Social Services and the child in the stroller had been abused. God, indeed, is not a far off God.

    I write these things to let the unsaved know that God does care and that He has provided powerful remedies in Christ for all our needs. It is a most blessed thing to have our sins forgiven by Him and for Christ to dwell in us if we surrender to Him through Christ. Is your life at a dead end? In Christ, and in Christ alone, there is living hope.

    I write these things to fellow Christians, encouraging those on the front line to remain on the front line and for others to draw closer to God through Christ and be a loving servant for His honor and glory.

  Post 18: God Answers Our Children's Prayer  
Ever do something stupid? Many of us do from time to time. Thankfully, God is well able to fix Mr. Stupid, and also use the negative results of a stupid action to increase the faith of others.

    We were returning home from somewhere through a state I will not name since I do not wish to give identifying statements about where our second pastorate was located. Because the car had no air conditioning, the car's windows were rolled down. That was a help, but it would feel better back home. Yes, I was driving, and driving through a lightly commercial area of a small town.

    There happened to be some type of truck along that stretch of highway and we were soon behind him. I was getting impatient because the truck was not moving up to speed. The road was pretty straight so I decided to pass the truck. However, I did not recognize there was an intersection just ahead. That is exactly where the truck driver needed to turn, and that is exactly where the nose of his truck met the side of our car. Everyone was OK, but I received a fine for being stupid.

    The side of our car sustained a lot of damage, and so our car became almost unusable. Our income was quite meager, so we could not just buy another one. Had we been able to buy one we would have gotten a car with air conditioning if we could afford it. We went to prayer about it, and so did our boys. However, when our boys prayed, they asked for a car WITH air conditioning.

As mentioned in this post

    After some days, maybe a week or so, we were contacted by a local Freemasons group. One of their members wanted to donate a car to us! You can see we had our two boys with us. Tim is in the background on a walkway and you can see the top of Sam's head near the passenger's door.

    We thanked the donor and chatted for a short time with him along with another member of the local Freemasons. As we headed back home we checked out whatever features the vehicle had and, indeed, it had air conditioning!

    Mr. Stupid learned to drive more safely, and our boys learned that God does answer prayer when it is in His will.

    For the next post I will mention an insight I had when working at a job with a Jehovah's Witness (learn what time is good to witness to a JW), a couple of creepy things, along with a fateful decision about the church we were at.

  Post 19: The Sad But Necessary Decision  
In his book, The Kingdom Of The Cults, Walter Martin analyzes numerous groups and he has a tremendous amount of information on The Watchtower Society, better known as Jehovah's Witnesses (JW). It is important for people, especially real Christians, to learn about such groups. Real Christians will have a desire to reach the unsaved for Christ, no matter who they are. However, it is very advisable for young or weak Christians to know what the Holy Bible says and know the Biblical reasons why real Christians believe what they believe before making any attempt to witness to a JW or any other cult member.

    Most cult members stay away from any information and any situation that might jeopardize what they have been trained to believe. Most times one will be visited by not one JW, but by at least two JWs. In my encounters with the JWs they will not take any literature from me, though they expect me to take theirs. And, they sure will not accept prayer. However, the situation often changes when you deal with a JW on a one to one basis. I had that opportunity while at our second pastorate while working, of all things, as a salesman.

    Generally, I do not like selling things for a living but my reluctance is greatly diminished if it is something I use and it works well. We had an Electrolux vacuum cleaner and we liked it very much. So, when I saw an ad in the local paper that indicated a need for an Electrolux salesmen in the area I became an Electrolux salesman.

    The commissions were pretty good, but I realized a person would have to sell a decent number of units to make a living. I doubt that I would want to sell door to door in this present time because I have to think of an awkward, uneasy situation I found myself in one day. I had knocked on a door and a young child answered my knock. I told them who I was and what I was doing and he asked me to step in off of the outside porch. I did, but when the child's mother found out, she hollered at the child for letting a stranger inside. I could not blame her, and I should have stayed outside until she came to the door. If I or you would do that today we might be shot.

    There came a day when I had to take another salesman with me. I do not remember why that was the case. Perhaps the guy did not have his vehicle that day. It turned out, though, this guy was a JW! We stopped for lunch somewhere. I prayed over my lunch and, if I recall correctly, he had a comment about it or, in the least, he intently observed me.

    Before we completed our work for the day he mentioned to me a problem he was having. I offered to pray for him right then and there and, he accepted! It goes to show that some cult members are less tough when alone. Through the years I have found that a good time to witness to JWs is when they are alone.

    Quite often I was alone while cleaning the church basement, scraping mud off of the stone hallway floor and cleaning the carpet in the Sunday School rooms. Toward the end of the building there was a room with an unplugged refrigerator. When I opened the door there was a stench which probably came from some meat, I think liver, left in the refrigerator. Sometimes it was just a bit creepy in that basement and it felt even more creepy the day there was an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

    The District office required a written report from me, and I believe it was once a week. An image of one of my reports has been placed in this post. I was also told by the Superintendent to call him if I had any questions, which I did from time to time. But it was at least once that he was not available to be contacted, and God reminded me I could always contact Him. When I would be able to get brother Spruill on the phone quite often I noticed he was on some type of speaker-phone. A favorite phrase of his to me was Grab the bull by the horns.

    During this time, the group that preferred the founding pastor started to do their own thing and were having meetings on the side. Some wanted to split from the church. I reported this to the Superintendent. He replied he was coming up for a visit.

    When he did, at some point we were traveling together when he said to me, You know Pete, I never believed in purgatory until I visited West Virginia. At that point I looked at him and he saw I had to wonder about that remark. In response he mentioned an advertising slogan for the state, West Virginia, Almost Heaven.

    While that was a bit funny, that fact that pro-founding-pastor group was starting to do their own thing was not funny. Previously I mentioned that the mortgage for the church building and trailer was over $1,000 per month. Looking at my records, it was actually more than $2,000 a month. If there was another split the church would be left with around twelve people or less. It was either on his visit or by a letter that he informed me that the District would close the church.

    That was a sad result, and there would soon be pressure upon my family and I.

  Post 20: Under Pressure To Leave  
Have you ever seen a UFO? I have, perhaps three times. I say perhaps because the first two could have been explained as very high flying jets. But that was not the case with the third one, which I spied when we were at our second pastorate.

    I was on an Interstate highway approaching the exit ramp which was close to where we lived when I saw a strange object in the sky to my left. It was somewhat cylindrical with a few appendages protruding from it and it seemed to be moving slow. I wanted to really look at it, but I could not because I had to take my exit. As I headed down the ramp I briefly moved my eyes to the left and it was still there — until the ramp drop low enough to where the main road blocked my view.

    While I did not know what that was, I sure knew I had to find another church to pastor when the Potomac District informed me we had to move — they were putting the church and parsonage up for sale. And, as I recall, we only had a few months remaining for us to stay in the trailer.

As mentioned in this post

    I expressed my concerns to the Superintendent, brother Spruill and in return he sent me the letter you see attached to this post. Yes, I partially blotted out his signature because with today's technology signatures are easily copied by those with ill intentions.

    As you see in the letter, he wrote that he would do all that he could to recommend me for other works and assist in relocating my family and I. However, as I recall, nothing was open anywhere. No churches needed a pastor, assistant pastor, or youth pastor (I was still under thirty five years old).

    I began to get more nervous as the weeks drew near to a tentative target time for us to absolutely leave. One time I was shaking really much, but sister Dorcas consoled me. Still, my nerves were jittery.

    It was about that time that some ministry friends, and I think it was pastor and sister Bowman who were ministering in Grantsville, introduced us to Shaklee food supplements. I had been taking GNC supplements, some of which were the B-complex. It is said that the B-complex helps our nervous system. When I tried the Shaklee B-complex supplements my nerves greatly improved. While I thought that was great, I switched back to GNC so I could finish taking what was in the bottle. However, I started to get more jittery. So I went back to the Shaklee B-complex and things were much better.

    I did not write the previous paragraph in order to sell you anything. I wrote that to underscore the point that while their spiritual being is most important, a disciple must also strive to do their best to take care of their body. Taking a good source of B-complex vitamins is one of many tools that we can use to eliminate nervousness and overcome depression (as mentioned in a four part series I have at Neocities).

    After some time we received a phone call from brother Spruill informing us that one of the District's churches had a few problems and the pastor had resigned. While they could have gone through the process of finding another pastor, the situation was rocky enough that some of them might have to settle down before the majority could agree on a pastor. Because it was a dependent church, the District had authority to simply appoint a pastor, and brother Spruill had thought of me. Well, that sure seemed like a good idea and we agreed to go.

    Of all things, it was a church I tried out for back in the late 1970s, Flintstone Assembly Of God. And I have a number of interesting supernatural interventions and training sessions I have to share with you. One of the most amazing deals with my Dad and I think most of my readers will see it was not happenstance, but the blessed hand of God!

  Post 21: Ministry And More Spiritual Training Begins At Flintstone  
As mentioned in this post.
As mentioned in this post
I need to begin this post with a whoops. I overlooked a picture I should have used for our first pastorate, Eagle Mills Assembly Of God (AOG) in North Carolina. It now appears with this post. The young people in the picture are standing before a wall mural by sisters Dorcas and Rachel Tice Wolf. A picture of the mural which features a phrase from Psalm 46:10 is below the picture of the young people.

    I will be cramming in a lot of information into most of the remaining posts in this current series because I need to close my Throwback Thursday series in the spring of 2024 in order to get other work completed. As a result, some posts will span a number of years and might include insights from more than one pastorate.

    As you see in the previous post, I was appointed as pastor of Flintstone AOG after the previous pastor resigned. As I recall, there had been some turmoil when a member was denied the opportunity of being a candidate for a deaconship because he was divorced and remarried (see Luke 16:18 and 1 Timothy 3:12). He got married to a young lady to win a bet and after he received the money he divorced her and later married someone else. I think he left the church before I got there but when I did communicate with him he seemed to think that what he did was not a problem. But, it is. The institution of marriage ordained by God is nothing to play around with and vows, spoken or implied, must be kept.

    While that problem was no longer around it was during one of the first few Sundays I came across a small, personal challenge when I noticed that one of the sisters brought the Guide Posts magazine to church to give to anyone else. What was wrong with Guide Posts? It sometimes included quotes from religious sources that did not match up to the Holy Bible. I knew I had to say something to the sister but I was a bit edgy because I was new at the church and that the church had just gone through some trouble before I arrived. I prayed, asking God for direction and that the sister would understand. She did, and she stopped bringing Guide Posts to the church.

    In later posts I will have pictures of some of the people who attended while I was there and you will see that a number of them were senior citizens. Most likely many came to Christ when they were younger and were in the Pentecostal movement decades before I was. They were closer to the time of the early 20th century fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

    The sister I just mentioned in regard to Guide Posts was strong in the Word. She, and most of the others (if not all) knew that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and that divorce and remarriage was not acceptable to Him. This sister was so firm in that area that she did not permit her divorced and remarried son to bring his second wife into her house! That might sound too firm to some people, but if we look through society through decades going back to at least the start of the 1900s we will see that a very firm stance in these matters helped to prevent others from falling into error. After all, note how much of today's society is more tolerant and at the same time we have more domestic violence, crime and many other harmful things. In an upcoming post you will see how things really soured at Flintstone school when a certain procedure was dropped.

As mentioned in this post

    The other image in this post is a picture of the Flintstone AOG Church building. It was built in three parts. To your left is the somewhat A-frame section built in the 1920s. It is not the original and, God willing, you will read why in the next post. On the left is the 1950s section which includes Sunday School rooms on the first floor and a staircase to the second floor where the parsonage was. The third section, built in the 1970s I think, is a two story add on for the section on your right which was in the back. The building was located about a mile (1km) or so east of the main town of Flintstone in an area called Gilpen or Gilpentown.

    It was in my early weeks at this third pastorate that while I was in the town of Flintstone that I decided to visit one of its main stores. There were two men in it at the time from the local volunteer fire department. One said to me they will burn Flintstone AOG down if I started to have Blacks in the church. The other fireman said nothing. I do not think I replied, and I did not know what to do since they were both in the fire department. And, if I told the Sheriff or State Police, there was a possibility they might have been in the same frame of mind. So, I said nothing. However, in all of the years I pastored there, which was about eight or nine years, I never came across a Black person in the entire area.

    To my knowledge, the church building was mostly wood. Every now and then some type of repairs were needed and most times I was the only man around. One time I felt the vestibule needed to be repainted. After painting the ceiling I looked at it and it seemed very streaky to me. So I redid it. Same thing. I redid it again. Thinking I was making some type of mistake, I was frustrated with myself and lay on the floor looking up. I lay there for over ten minutes and as I kept looking up I saw the streaks were disappearing. I then realized what God was showing me. If we do what we are supposed to do to the best of our ability, in due time He, by His Holy Spirit, will smooth out what we think is a mess. Even if we err, if we confess our ways to Him and seek His help, He will develop us into His likeness, if we let Him. But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10) It takes fire to purify us at times, with the Holy Spirit blowing the breath of Life upon us and into us.

    While church repair is helpful, the most important things for a pastor to do is to shepherd the flock God has granted to him and try to bring the lost to Christ. One way to locate spiritually needy people was to make visits at a hospital. Back then, for most hospitals a minister would be free to look over the patient list to see if anyone from his church was present as well as anyone from his community that did not attend church or was not affiliated with any church. For the Flintstone area we would visit a hospital in Cumberland, Maryland. After speaking with the pastoral secretary a few times I learned she was a Baptist. Despite what you might have heard, not all Baptists believe in once saved always saved, so I was curious and asked her if she believed in that. Sadly, she got a bit angry and said,YES! What about it? Nothing, I replied. I was not looking for a theology argument. I was just curious.

    As you know there are numerous ways to have new people visit a church. However, for Flintstone AOG there seemed to be an opportunity that was repeatedly missed: a church anniversary celebration. Most, if not all, of the pastors before me stayed no longer than three or nearly four years. I think the church missed celebrating its 50th anniversary. I became pastor a short time after its 60th year. After discussing things with the church board we made provision to celebrate the church's existence for over 60 years. A featured speaker would be a former pastor who was the District Youth leader, Wendell Cover. Featured guests and singers would be the descendants of brother Walter C. Long, the man God used to start the church.

    The church was started in the 1920s, a time when the Pentecostal movement was hated by many people. In the next post you will read about the amazing way Flintstone AOG got started. You might be surprised as to how Pastor Long was able to get a deacon. You will read about arson, dynamite, and gunshots!

  Post 22: Some Of The God-Powered History Of Flintstone Assembly Of God  
Part one of the news article mentioned in this post.Part two of the news article mentioned in this post.    Though Pentecostalism is generally accepted today in the United States, such was not the case in the early years of the Twentieth Century. This was due to a number of reasons. Point blank, one reason was that tongues and related things are easily faked. This caused some to think of any Pentecostal group as a bunch of nuts and perhaps even a cult. On the other hand, I would venture to say that most Christians at that time considered many passages in the Holy Bible as symbolic because the nation of Israel did not exist as a geographical country. There was nothing in the world for anyone to think that the Jewish Temple would be rebuilt. And, barring the short-lived League Of Nations, there was nothing on earth to support the slightest idea of Joel 3 being fulfilled. My friend, that, indeed, is not the case today! Prior to Joel 3 you can read in Joel 2 that God's Spirit would be poured out on all flesh in the last days. This points to the Pentecostal experience initially seen in Acts 2. However, soon after all of the original apostles died sin greatly increased within the Church. Soon there was the real Church and the nominal Church. Fast forwarding to the early 1900s many who called themselves Christians figured the Pentecostal experience had expired and developed “work arounds” for passages like Acts 2 and 10, and 1 Corinthians 12-14. If you want the actual Holy Bible facts see my free lesson dealing with the Baptism Of The Holy Spirit at .

    Sometime after I became pastor of Flintstone AOG I heard about how the church was started. With this post are two images of news clipping provided to me by the descendants of brother Walter C. Long who started Flintstone AOG. The article is actually an interview of brother Long's son, James Long, found in a newspaper that had Gazette as part of its name, and was written by Ned Frear. Hopefully you will be able to read it pretty well. The wider image should be read left to right two columns at a time.

    As I recall what was told to me by various sources, brother Walter C. Long started Flintstone AOG in the early 1920s and had two other AOG churches on his charge, Chaneysville Pennsylvania and Green Ridge Maryland.

    After acquiring property in Gilpen (a short distance east of Flintstone), an A-frame structure was built but was soon destroyed by fire due to some very unhappy local people. The structure was rebuilt, and brother Long kept on preaching. The image on the right (the long narrow one for Facebook users) will mention dynamite at least twice and a rattlesnake thrown into the Long residence.

    A most interesting account for me are some paragraphs you see below the red arrows. It relates how brother Walter Long was ambushed one evening. The tires of his vehicle were flattened when he crossed a bridge because boards with protruding nails were placed on it. After getting out of his car, Pastor Long was confronted by a large fellow whose job was to get him down so others could kill him. Long, who was a superior boxer (pugilist) knocked him out. The article says subdued, and I was told Long knocked out the chap. One thing the article does not mention is that his attacker eventually surrendered his life to God through Jesus Christ, and became a deacon in the church!

    As you read the article you will see that not only was brother Long very tough, he was also Holy Spirit tenderhearted. He held no grudges against his persecutors and would help them as led by the Holy Spirit.

    I was also told that Flintstone AOG continued to receive persecution right into the 1950s. People would walk by the windows of the church when service was in progress and holler, Cover your heads! This was in regard to many of the ladies in the church who did not wear anything on top of their heads especially while praying. Some people felt that the cultural directive mentioned by the Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 11:5 had to apply for today. However, when we read the Holy Bible it is a great help to us if we permit the Holy Spirit to show us distinctions between an actual command or directive and what is stated as simply a matter of record. You will also note in 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 that a woman's hair may be considered as her covering if it is long.

    Another thing that would occur until around the mid 1950s was that people would ascend the mountainside behind the church and shoot at the church building. You can see the mountainside behind the church building in an image in the previous post.

The announcement of the anniversary celebration of Flintstone Assembly Of God

    With all of this interesting history I felt that it was time for Flintstone AOG to have an anniversary celebration. The third image attached to this post shows an old flyer to announce the event. Imagine, four services in one day! In our time some people can hardly show up for one!

    Potomac District Superintendent brother Howard Spruill and former pastor brother Wendell Cover were the guest speakers. By the way, the 1950s addition to the building was built while brother Cover was the pastor who put his blood, sweat, and tears into the work.

    The Long family was present. They are not mentioned on the flyer probably because I did not know they were coming until after the announcements were printed. In conversing with them I heard how they had noticed how things changed over the course of around five decades through much of the Body of Christ mainly in the United States. To them, things were spiritually going downhill. I know that sounds negative, but it is true. However, keep in mind at least two things: God always has a remnant and there might just be a true, sovereign, revival.

    One of the general signs that Christ gave about His return was that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). That would foundationally be peoples' love for God. The prophetic time clock has been really clicking since the re-establishment of Israel in 1948. Society is going downhill, and it has been drawing spiritually weak and unlearned Christians with it. God willing I will report some of what I saw in the upcoming posts. But, as I wrote above, God always has a remnant and there might just be a true, sovereign, revival.

  Post 23: Lawlessness On Two Fronts  
In the previous post I partially quoted Matthew 24:12. The entire verse reads as follows (NKJ): And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. W.E. Vine shows lawlessness is the better rendering for the Greek word expressed as iniquity by the old King James Version in this verse. Lawlessness in this verse as in many others basically means without, or apart from, the laws of God. The only way to truly keep God's laws is to have Christ as King in one's life and remain in Him. Those outside of Christ are all lawless, but in an earthly sense there are some less lawless than others.

    Matthew 24 and similar passages point out that things will get spiritually worse until Christ returns. One blaring example is that back in the 1980s school shootings were rare. Today, sadly they frequently occur. Sure, we can point to the fact that currently there is no prayer in school. But a big factor is most children are never physically disciplined.

    When we pastored in Flintstone I saw tremendous moral decline in the public school system as I taught as a substitute school teacher in Allegany County Maryland. Most times I would be called to substitute at Flintstone K-12. A Mr. May was the principal there for my first year as a substitute. There was hardly any problems with the students and the students treated the faculty and staff with respect. And when there was a problem with a student it was handled with some type of strong discipline, even with a public paddling at times. Indeed, the school was easy to teach at and was pretty safe.

    However, a change occurred in the second year. Mr. May was no longer principal but, worse than that, the Maryland State Board Of Education barred the use of physical discipline. Things rapidly deteriorated, even to the point of where the tires of a vehicle were slashed.

    The lawlessness extended to the administration. When I substituted at Flintstone I would walk home for my lunch then back to the school. One day, as I passed by a driveway where the old firehouse had been I noticed a white powder on the ground. I think I called the sheriff's department about it. When the vice-principal or principal found out about my concern he said I could no longer walk home for lunch.

    I also did some private tutoring. Most of that was fine, but there was one snooty boy that apparently did not like me. After the second or third session he said he will have his parents fire me. I beat him to it and immediately dropped him as a client.

    Lawlessness also tends to creep into the Church at times. Keep in mind, though, what I have written in articles and said in podcasts and videos: Each individual Christian grows in Christ. Step by step we become more like Christ.

As mentioned in this post.

    In traveling to nearby LaVale and Cumberland I found out there was a Christian radio station available in the evenings, Servants For Christ (SFC) Radio. I think I heard they were looking for volunteer announcers so I gave the owner a call and, just like that, the childhood dream of being in radio came to pass. Had I not surrendered my life to Christ it probably would have never happened. Attached to this post is me, probably in the SFC studio.

    I remember driving through Cumberland in the evenings and at night and as you drive along what was then US 40 one would see a tall building with a sign lit that said WTBO. That was the station SFC bought airtime from, from 6PM to 12AM. There were to be two volunteers each night doing three hour shifts. Mine was 9PM to 12AM. The SFC studio was in LaVale and WTBO would open a phone line from the SFC studio precisely at 6PM.

    During my first night the owner called and said I was doing fine. He should never have said that because after we hung up I got a program on a reel-to-reel tape and as I place the reel on the recorder it slipped out of my hands and rolled a short distance leaving a small trail of tape behind! Thankfully I recovered that mess in time.

    A few years later I would regret playing programs and music by Kenneth Copeland. I did not know much about him at the time, so I just played what was scheduled. But, here is a point about lawlessness. It has greatly influenced Christian media and in a few cases has taken some stations and networks over.

    One evening we were driving through the area around 6:15PM I tuned our car radio to WTBO's frequency and heard dead air. In other words, you could hear the carrier from the transmitter but there was no audio. That is not good. If I am not mistaken, prolonged dead carriers are against FCC regulations. So, we went into the studio and no one was there! I went over to the controls, turned on the mic, gave the WTBO call letters and told any listeners that this was SFC on the air and programming would begin shortly. So I found a record (yes, we had vinyl records) and placed music on the carrier. I got a second selection ready so I could call the owner.

    I told him the other volunteer was not there and asked if I should just stop at 7PM. He said I had to continue on to 12 AM. So, that was the case. But, I had to wonder about the other volunteer. She did not call the owner to tell him she would not be there. I then had to think of what I read before I came to Christ about the Communists. They were dedicated to their cause and did their best. However, some people who name the Name of Christ show little dedication or concern.

    After being on SFC for a few months a Christian man contacted me and asked to meet with me. When I did, he told me he had plans to launch a Christian radio station in a nearby county. He asked if I would consider being the station manager. Spiritual warning bells went off within me. God helped me to sense something was wrong, terribly wrong. So I declined. It was a very good thing I did.

    However, I did become an employee of that station. Yes, I am being very vague now. You will see why shortly. But, to fill in the background, this was no set up where time was bought from another station. It was a completely new station with its own small transmitter and tower site. The studio was about two miles (3.22 km) away in an old church building.

    Things went well for me as an announcer there for a few months. Not only did we announce, we also did production work, something like Public Service Announcements. I think there were some churches that paid for some advertising and programming. We had to produce the advertising.

    Before I get to the nasty stuff, I want to tell you a funny incident. We would have to give the call letters a few seconds from the top of the hour and then, if scheduled, tap in the news from the satellite feed. One evening when the news was scheduled I gave the call letters and raised the pot the news feed was on. Pot? That is the shortened form for the word potentiometer, a variable resistor which, in this case, was used to raise or lower the audio of the incoming feed. Anyhow, when I raised up the pot there was no audio except for a somewhat quiet hiss. After a few seconds there still was no audio from the satellite, so I turned on the mic and said as I grabbed a production recording, Well, you know what they say — no news is good news, but now hear this. As that played, I got a vinyl record, placed it on a turntable and got it ready to play.

    Along with making sure to give the call letters between 10 minutes before an hour and ten minutes after an hour, the person at the controls had to make sure there was no over modulation. In an FM station neither needle of the two meters you observe must not venture into the red area.

    And now, the sad stuff. A few years before I got to that station there was an AOG evangelist who forsook his first wife, divorced her, and married another woman. Though the AOG dropped his credentials, his first wife was terribly hurt. She worked at the hospital in Cumberland and one time when I was there for visitation I saw the tremendous pain and sadness in her eyes. Well, this evangelist started a radio program at the station and for a time it was scheduled on my shift. One time when I read the preview, he was going to speak about marriage. I did not play it, gave a little sermonette as to why I would not play it, and played music instead. The owner of the station rebuked me for that and said I was grandstanding. I think he threatened to fire me if it happened again. However, after that I do not think the evangelist addressed that topic again. By the way, to this day I still can see in my mind the great pain and sorrow the divorced woman bore.

    We would take prayer requests from time to time. One evening a lady calls and asks me to pray that a guy she likes divorces his wife and starts dating her. I told this lady there is no way I would pray that hideous request and gave her some Holy Scriptures. Can you imagine? Asking God, Who specifically said He HATES divorce (Malachi 2:16), to have a person divorce their spouse so you could date that person and marry them? God, Who, as the Son says in Luke 16:18, Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery!

    Oh, but it got worse at that station. Some of the Christian music that is (present tense on purpose) produced is tainted with error and untruth. Keep in mind there are some people who cannot read and might depend upon Christian media for some of their spiritual food.

    Enough. I want to shortened this now. Let me just summarize this second radio station as follows: a questionable financial practice and at least two cases of adultery by the """"""Christian"""""" owner. A few years later he was ousted and that is all I want to say about that radio station.

    However, rejoice. God is still in control despite the advance of lawlessness on both fronts. He has a remnant. If we name the Name of Christ let us determine to be part of His remnant.

    For the next post, God willing I will mention some funny stuff at Flintstone. Also, among other things in later posts you will read about a few miracles and what God did for me in regard to my Dad.

  Post 24: An Assortment Of Incidents And Lessons  
I wrote that there would be some funny stuff in this post, and there will be. But I want to put that into the middle of this assortment of events that I want to mention.

    If you have read Post 34 of Bumps, Blessings, Surprises And More In The Boot Camp Of King Jesus you might recall how sister Dorcas was influenced by the Lowell Lundstrom evangelistic team. Their godly example of family ministry encouraged her to join an Assembly God (AOG) church, and you can read the rest in the link that was just mentioned.

    With that, you can imagine we were very pleased to learn that they were coming to Cumberland for an evangelistic outreach when we were pastoring at Flintstone AOG. And we were a bit thrilled when Lowell Lundstrom called us to ask us to do a favor. Lowell and Connie's daughter, Londa, was not with them when they arrived in Cumberland but had planned to take a plane to Cumberland to join the team for the opening service. Lowell asked if we could pick Londa up at the airport and bring her to the service. Of course we would!

As mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermonAs mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermonAs mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermon
As mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermon
As mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermon
As mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermonAs mentioned in this post about the rooftop sermon

    That little trip with Londa made a positive impression on me. The Lundstroms, which included Lowell's brother Larry and his family, were great musicians and singers. During the trip from the airport to the location of the event, Londa took some moments to warm up her singing voice. While some people realize that professionals do warm up prior to singing, I am afraid, especially in our time when the teaching of cheap grace is so prevalent, that some Christians would not realize it and / or think it is not a big deal. Whenever we minister (and all Christians ought to minister) it IS a big deal. We ought to do our best for the Lord Who gave His best for the worst of sinners. Christ is YHVH in the flesh, and according to Malachi 1:8 YHVH desires our best when we minister. Londa's warm up was a reminder for me to do my best in serving the Savior.

    Reaching more souls for Christ is a goal every Christian ought to have and for a pastor that sometimes means having a special event at their church. At one point, the thought of having a rooftop sermon came to my mind. That was a pretty safe thought for Flintstone AOG because the roof of the newer section of the building was flat. It was accessible by using the eastward windows of the parsonage which faced the A-frame area of the first section.

    To the right is a column of pictures from the rooftop sermon. The first image shows how things were setup on top of the roof. I am at the right with my back to the camera. Looks like I was fiddling with something. The second picture shows me horsing around before the service with me sitting sideways on the edge of the roof's safety wall with my left foot dangling down (I do not think that I would try that again.) The third shows what looks like me fooling around sometime before I got on the roof, like I am afraid to go up there and I am hiding my face from the camera. The next picture shows sister Dorcas leading the worship. In the background is an audio cable coming down from the roof into the sound system. And then there is that picture that shows me preaching on the roof. After sharpening the old photo I saw that I even had my big red water cup perched on the edge of the roof's safety wall. The cup is visible just below the Christian flag. The next picture shows part of the congregation standing for prayer. Maybe they were praying I do not fall off of the roof or, in the least, that my water cup would not fall on them. A lot of them had already been baptized. The last image is a picture of two boys that were present. The one boy acts like he might have been showing the other boy the coins that fell out of my pocket when I sat upon the safety wall.

    Before I write about the funny stuff, what is not so funny is how some people just do not care about sinning against God. It is always good to have someone with you when knocking on doors to witness to people and / or invite them out to church services. Sister Dorcas accompanied me in such outreaches when we were in Flintstone. One time we were at the top of Polish Mountain when I pulled the car over to knock on the door of a house. Sister Dorcas opted to remain in the car while I climbed some steps. After knocking, a lady opened the door and we began to converse. I forget much of what was said except for when I was about to leave. The lady told me to come back sometime when my wife was not along! Of course, I did not do that. We did drive by a couple of years afterward and that house seemed like it was vacant.

    Well, let me put in a few funny things now. In our efforts we were able to get an unchurched man to start attending Flintstone AOG. This new chap would add an interesting touch to our services now and then with his audible uh hum huh toward the latter part of a message I would be giving. Thinking of the two-minute warning of football, I told sister Dorcas that was a fifteen minute warning on his part.

    Now, some preachers hardly make any mistakes when speaking while others have at least one per service. While I do not do one per service, I certainly do make mistakes from time to time. One Saturday night or Sunday morning someone had given us a box of chicken. During the Sunday morning service I announced that there was a box of chicken in the trunk of our car, that the trunk was open, and they can take what they want. But then, given the fact I had other stuff in the trunk I added, Uh, take what you want — of the chicken.

    One time I when I was preaching on Mothers Day I was really getting into the message when all of a sudden I said, What we need today is more big mothers. Immediately I realized that was not the best phraseology so I walked over to one side, placed my head against the wall, and told the congregation sorry.

    However, sometimes things are said all of a sudden and it can be directed by God. A lot of Christians, or people that call themselves that, waste valuable time by listening to and watching things that are worldly and spiritually detrimental. Soap operas were the thing decades ago and in the last two churches I pastored (which includes Flintstone) there had been at least one person bound up in watching them. I forget what I was preaching on a Sunday when a soap opera loving lady was there. As I was getting more emphatic in my message I mentioned the great waste of time and spiritual damage that soap operas were. After the message, sister Dorcas said I had emphatically mentioned soap operas while that lady was there. I figured the Holy Spirit made me forget who was sitting in the service so I would not be impeded in my message. I had an uneasy spirit back then and had too much concern of what people might think or say. It should not be that way for a pastor. To me, the Holy Spirit was training me not to care what people think, but to care about what God thinks.

    Every Christian, pastor or not, must learn to be directed by the Holy Spirit. That lesson is often crushed by what some of us call name it and claim it. Name it and claim it is based upon passages like Matthew 18:19, Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Some people grab that verse out of context and think that whatever they choose to be done or undone it will come to pass if they get another Christian to agree. It would be good for them to read the literal rendering of the verses before that and at the same time jolly well keep in mind passages like 1 John 5:14, Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. It is good to keep in mind that we are not to decide what God's will should be, but that we ought to listen to what God tells us. And, whatever He tells us will never go against the written Word.

    Also, the context of Matthew 18:19 indicates the agreement by two or more Christians is not premeditated or predicated upon what is desirous, and even observed, in our eyes. The agreement is somewhat spontaneous and realized individually by those present.

    Somewhat of an example of this occurred while we were at Flintstone. For our first few years there was a certain man who was the treasurer. There came a time that both he and I went to a Speed The Light Rally in our AOG section. Speed The Light is an organization within the AOG that raises funds to buy needed equipment for AOG missionaries. Such equipment might even include an animal like a horse or camel because there are some areas of the world that such animals are the only way to travel.

    Before going to the rally the treasurer and I figured that Flintstone AOG could afford a $50 pledge. The church did not have a lot of finances. Somehow he and I were not together as the minister bringing the message completed his discourse and what was to follow next was the taking of the pledges. All of a sudden it came to my mind we must not pledge $50, but we were to pledge $100. Immediately I began to look for the treasurer to see if that was OK. The same thing happened to him. God also told him we were not to pledge $50. We were to pledge $100. And so the treasurer was eagerly looking for me. Once we conversed we saw that we both felt the same direction from God. It was not premeditated. It was spontaneous. It was not based upon what he nor I knew about the finances.

    Looking at the upcoming pictures I have left, for the next post I need to tell you about a decision that sister Dorcas and I had made, but God decided something else.

 Special! The image below refers to post 22 
After I posted above in post 22 about brother Walter Long starting the Chaneysville PA and Flintstone MD AOG churches I came across this article. It says a lot about how the forces of darkness come against Christians, and that it does so at times without any direct human persecution. There is a spirit realm that must be recognized by anyone naming the Name of Christ. It would be good for each disciple of Christ to learn about spiritual warfare. Look what pastor Long did as recorded in this article when he felt the forces of darkness. Also, remember there is another post after this which I have posted at the same time.
As just mentioned.
Now see the other post for today, August 31, 2023. ↓

  Post 25: God Might Say Wait. He Might Also Say Surprise!  
I must mention a few reminders. In the past few days we came across an image of a page of an article from A/G Heritage that relates to the establishment of the AOG churches in Chaneysville PA and Flintstone MD. Talk about the supernatural! WOW! Read what it says in the image above.

    We also came across more pictures from the rooftop sermon I gave at Flintstone. Go to post 22 to see those.

    The final reminder is what we stated at the start of this final series: Posts may not be in order of actual occurrence over time, and that there will be a lot of cramming of events and points.

    In a real Christian's walk with Christ there will be some things they will desire, and those things are fine to desire, and perhaps it is God's will for us to have them — but we have to wait for them. Such was my case in getting our first pastorate. It took a number of years for that to happen. That is why, while we were at our third pastorate (Flintstone), I was a bit frustrated with a new lady minister in the AOG who wanted to pastor but could not get a church. I tried telling her my story and the absolute fact that the AOG had more ministers than churches, but that did not satisfy her. She implied it was because she was a woman. However, the AOG treated Christian women just like any other Christian. She finally got in contact with the United Methodist and got a church. She saw me in a store a few months after that but I did not see her. She complained that I was ignoring her. The fact is, even with glasses or contact lenses, my sight is not the sharpest.

    But another thing I had to wait for was ordination. Do not misunderstand, though. The moment someone is called by God to the ministry they are ordained (set apart) by God. That is also the view of the AOG. But to work with many of our brothers and sisters in Christ there are safeguards that they desire to follow. So I was ordained by God in February 1970, but once I joined the AOG there were safeguards in place before they would openly recognize a person's ordination. Additionally, at that time in the AOG only ordained ministers of the AOG could hold certain governing positions. To make a long story short, my ordination from God was recognized by the Potomac District Council after being pastor of Flintstone AOG for over a year. Ordination candidates were ordained at the yearly district council held at the District Camp in Fallingwaters WV. Our former pastor, William Ferguson, was one of the presbyters to lay hands on me and pray for me. Those who were thus ordained were given thin KJV Holy Bibles (I like the thin ones).

    Before Dorcas and I were married we talked about a number of things, including how many children we would like to have. Four seemed like a fine number for us. However, I think it was while we were in Eagles Mills NC that we thought we would just have two. That was the plan we made. But it was not God's plan. He said, Surprise! a month or two after the ordination ceremony.

It is what is described in this post.

    Judging from a picture I have here, it seems like soon after that we visited my Dad and step-mom in New Jersey. Attached is a picture of Dorcas's and I family. Standing next to us is my sister Pat, her husband George, and their children, Denise and George Jr. Seated is my Dad. The picture was taken by my step-mom, Phyllis. Both Phyllis and my Dad were great fans of the PTL Club. In a post a few weeks away from now I want to mention an amazing providential event that I always look back upon as a blessing. There is no doubt in my mind God was behind what happened regarding my Dad.

    As the months rolled by God's surprise to us was born: Jon (Jonathan). Now I need to be very vague. I had some great issues with the hospital where he was born. One time as I walked past the nurses' station there were two or three patient charts left viewable on the counter — and not one nurse was in sight. One of the charts was sister Dorcas'. Anyone could have read any of those charts. But there was something much worse.

    Sister Dorcas was assigned a four bed room. That was OK, but one time when I came to see her the door was shut, and I heard talking and laughing. When I opened the door, here was a fellow maternity patient and she was not alone. HER HUSBAND WAS IN THE BED WITH HER! They were fully clothed, but they were rowdy. I was very angry. Eventually I found the doctor and told him I wanted to take Dorcas home, NOW. He objected, saying she needed to rest. I responded she could rest better at home. I signed the documents for her release and got her and Jon out of there. As a side note, years later that unruly man would have a run-in with the police. I will say no more about that.

    As the months went by, naturally Jon began to crawl around. As I was watching him one time I wondered what did God have for him. He had been in God's plans, not ours. Fast forwarding a few decades later it turned out to be that God would use him and his wife to rescue two boys by adoption, and to bless them naturally with a third son. There is more to this. The adoption of the one boy was definitely a miracle. But that would be their story to tell.

    Next post: critical spirits, visions, and other stuff.

  Post 26: Spirits: Godly, Human, And Those Of Darkness  
Arnold and I with the puppets. As you might remember, a favorite area outreach of ours was Kids Crusades (KC). I might describe Kids Crusades as a low-cost, low-manpower version of a Vacation Bible School. I believe it was for one of the first KCs at Flintstone that we asked Arnold and Ellen Probst and family to assist as guests. Attached to this post is picture of Arnold Probst and I flanking a puppet stage with sisters Ellen and Dorcas working the puppets seen in the image. To this day I still have packets of KC material that I, by the grace of God, had created. I might be in my 70s now, but I think I can still do more KCs if the opportunity would arise. The Kiefer family

    Prior to KCs we would produce announcement flyers. Back then, we would use stencils and mimeographs to produce such handouts. We did so for Flintstone, hanging up flyers in whatever location we were permitted. We drove around looking for prospects in Flintstone and within a certain radius of Flintstone. This led us to a mountain road a few miles east of the church. It was on that road we found the Kiefer family. The children came to the KC and at one point their mother made Christ her Lord and King. As the years passed, when we were looking for a replacement trustee (or it might have been a deacon) for the church I suggested that she should be considered. There was a concern by some that she was not able to read well, but I suggested those that could read well could help her. I had suggested her because of her sweet tender spirit in the Lord and that she was a woman of integrity.

    Quite often a Christian realizes that God will take many of the negative things that occurred to them in previous years, heal them when they get saved, then use those past experiences to mold the Christian to serve in specific areas. If you read back you will recall my mother struggled with mental problems. So, God has given me a concern for people in similar situations, and such was the case for a man and his family that lived somewhat across from the church.

    This man was on Social Security Disability (SSD) for his problem. He said he was unable to work because of his disability. However, one time when he wanted to do some fishing at the confluence of two creeks down the road he was able to use a machete to chop out a path to the waters' edge. And, he did a very good job at it. Yet, he was convinced he could not work. We began to realize that the U.S. government, and many doctors and psychiatrists, while intending to help people, do more harm than good by telling such people, or agreeing with them, that they cannot work. This is part of the forces of darkness at work. Remember, even good people in government along with doctors and others are part of the world system currently controlled by satan if such people are not walking in Christ. Satan wants no one to be saved.

    In reaching out to this family for Christ, I went fishing with them at least once. That was an overnight event, catching eel and catfish. We tried some eel meat, but from now on I will pass on it! Sadly, for the eight or more years we were at Flintstone, no one in that household came to Christ. Additionally, his three sons were killed in the Oldtown, Maryland area when there car smashed into a tree. The Dad was so upset that afterwards he drove to Oldtown and asked the owner of the property if he could cut down the tree. The owner did not give him permission.

    Then there was another chap that we were able to get to church. He is the one that had a fifteen minute warning (see post 24 above) during my messages. This guy was one of those guys that did not care much about their living conditions. His home was not neat at all and rather a bit unclean. Some people would even feel uncomfortable even just visiting there. Nevertheless, he was happy living like that. However, for some reason some health department officials began visiting him. After one visit, he soon shot himself. Did he do that because they were going to force him out of where he was living? But this was very sad to me, because one thing I have felt that I need to do in my ministry is to prevent suicides. Before I came to Christ I also attempted suicide. And, sadly, this man was one of at least four suicides in the Flintstone area while we were there. In fact, there had been one family who dropped out of coming to church. We tried to visit them after they left but somehow they were never around. Eventually, one of them committed suicide.

    In the previous post I said I would mention visions. I will save that for another time because I am running out of time. Let us now move to critical spirits. A lot of pastors encounter those that are filled with the spirit — the spirit of criticism. A man I never met before one day visited me on a weekday when I was in the sanctuary. He told me that I should have started Royal Rangers (an AOG scouting group for boys and young men) at the church. I forget what I said to him, except maybe that I had to have secular work while being the pastor of Flintstone AOG. And, I cannot remember if I asked him or not why he did not come to the church and start such a group. The fact is, some people think a pastor is supposed to do everything.

    Nay, rather, we see in God's Word it is a good thing to involve others in the work of God. So, in the earlier years I had asked a man to help pick up people for church. He did for a while, but one day when he was in the sanctuary and I was a few feet behind him I saw him adding up the miles he drove. I figured he would soon quit picking up people and he did. After a while, he and his wife left the church, complaining there was nothing for them to do in the church. They were big fans of the District Camp which was about an hour or so away. The pastor before me had also been a big fan of the camp. Years later, he drove by the church on his motorcycle, stopped, and shook his head that the evergreen bushes out front were gone. I had no choice. The Department of Natural Resources made the church remove the bushes because they were infested with some type of destructive caterpillar.

    Most of the people at Flintstone AOG were not critical at all and were very nice. However, there were two upon which the spirit of criticism often moved. One time a lady came to me and said as a pastor I should not be rebuking people. I was a bit surprised at this because the lady claimed to be a Christian and Christians are supposed to be reading and studying the Holy Bible. The majority of its books will at times mention rebuking. Titus 2:15 indicates it is something a pastor may do. She eventually left the church.

    Then, there was that one critical whopper. She was not a regular attendee, though. She had a group of friends, some of which were charismatic / Pentecostal. I would have loved for them to attend Flintstone, but no, they did not. I forget where some of them went to church. Anyhow, they started having prayer meetings south of the church. They invited me to drop in sometime. There came a point where I was able get some free time to do that. I was having a headache, but I decided to go.

    That was the time they decided to talk about starting their own church, headed by some local man. All of a sudden my headache went away due to that thought. I figured here I was in Flintstone trying to increase the attendance and membership of Flintstone AOG. I would have greatly enjoyed having these people in our church, but I got the impression, as I often did in other cases, people would shy away from the AOG. And I am of the opinion they would do so because back then the AOG operated their churches based on the Holy Bible and based upon the Biblical purpose of the Pentecostal experience. In other words, I feel such people wanted to do things their way without oversight.

    My headache was gone, but I was really bothered by the prospect of this charismatic group doing their own thing. A week or so later we were slated to go to the amusement park Kings Dominion in Virginia. Even when we were there I could not get it out of my mind. So, I thought I might try their new stand-up roller coaster. Well, I forgot about that group, but only for two minutes while I was on that ride. That is a good lesson though. We need to seek help from God and not from the world.

    Either just before that, or around that time, I had an evangelist at Flintstone AOG for a few days. He was pretty good, but sadly he was invited to meet with this critical group who evidently told him I tended to teach line by line from the Holy Scripture. So, during one message at Flintstone he actually said that it was lazy to go line by line, insinuating topical was the way to teach. Actually, when I was trained at Holy Bible Institute we were told line by line teaching was very helpful for a congregation. Topical can be helpful too. But line by line was emphasized. Hard work or hardly any work can be put into any form of teaching. By the way, some in this critical group had also been critical of the previous pastor.

    Well, I did get a compliment one time. I had Bob Wittik (the man God used to witness the Gospel to me) come down from New Jersey for a service or two. I do not know what he had observed, but as we drove northward of Flintstone he said, You must be a pretty patient person, Pete. I was definitely shocked at that because I thought I was very impatient. But, evidently he saw some type of improvement from when I first started walking with Christ in the 1970s.

    Nevertheless, the forces of darkness were pestering me. Years later I would discover that I had been suffering from bouts of major depression. This is not the same as sadness. I would describe it as a hole, a dark tunnel that seemingly has no end. And you might find surprising what one tool He used to get me out of the tunnel.

  Post 27: A Major Thing God Told Me To Do To Get Out Of Major Depression  
It would not be until over ten years later that I would find out that I had been grappling with a mental problem back in the 1980s — major depression. Nevertheless a great psychiatrist helped me: Jesus Christ. And, He continues to standby lest I fall back into that tunnel.

    That is how I would describe it. A tunnel that seemingly will never end. For me, the foundational gloom that is always there might be shaken off for a short space of time, but it returns. It is normal to get sad from time to time, but a person has a real problem on their hands when it lingers and grows heavy. It can be difficult to think and make decisions.

    Quite often, all I had to do was to see something slightly sad and I would dwell upon it and then dwell upon the spirit of gloom. It was back then a video came out called I Know My First Name Is Stephen. It was about a boy kidnapped by a sham preacher and the child endured years of sexual corruption and abuse. That story really ransacked my mental condition. But even something very minor would trigger continuing gloom. This is going to sound stupid to some readers, but one time I was watching a video of where some park rangers had to capture a bear to move it to a safe location. They set up a device with bait and after the bear went for the bait the bear slid down a barrel a very short distance and struck a syringe with a drug to sedate it. The bear groaned when that happened and that is all it took for me be weighed down with gloom for days. In my mind, I equated what happened to the bear as what happened to me in certain situations. If you think that is stupid please do not think that way. There are lots of people like I was.

    But, one might say, you are a Christian, a minister of the Gospel! You should not have been that way. True, but keep in mind Christians grow in Christ, and all one has to do is read a few case histories in the Holy Bible where some had stumbled quite a bit, but they kept walking with God and after a number of years they were much better.

    Some might think that when this happens to a Christian that the Christian has a demon. However, a real Christian cannot have a demon. What does happen though is that there are three other levels of satanic activity. The first one is temptation. The second is oppression and and the third is obsession. If there is some type of lack in one's spiritual life a Christian can be oppressed or obsessed.

    So, I knew I had a problem which was somewhat amplified due to the fact that my mother and her sister had mental issues along these lines. With that, I asked Christ for help. He told me to do certain things, one of which, believe it or not, was the following:

    Join the volunteer fire company.   

As mentioned in this post.

    Wow! That sounded counter intuitive. But I did just that, specializing on the medical side (Flintstone Volunteer Fire Company, FVFC, had two ambulances). I started out as a gopher (go for this, go for that) learning to locate certain equipment, tools, and other items. I was then trained to drive the ambulance. Attached to this post is a more recent picture of one of the ambulances FVFC has. After a time I took an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course, was licensed as such and, by the grace of God, gained two other modules. Sister Dorcas also joined and became an EMT.

    By the way, let me tell you some things about the EMT class I was in. First, I will mention something not funny. The background to this is there were no Blacks who signed up. I am not even sure what was the Black population was in Allegany County back then. Nevertheless, our instructor was telling us the importance of looking for cyanosis, i.e., blue, grayish, or purple skin, lips, or nail beds, which can indicate oxygen deprivation. The question came to my mind as how one could detect cyanosis in an African-American. I raised my hand and asked, and a number in the class giggle. However, the instructor thought that was a very good question. He mentioned a few ways, one of which was to slightly pull down on a lower eye lid and check behind it. There might have been only two or three Blacks in the Flintstone area, but U.S. 40 (and, later, I-68) went by Flintstone.

    Now, some funny things. During the EMT class the instructor was describing human rib cages as having twenty-four ribs. Someone raised their hand and said they had heard men only had twenty-three, referring to the urban bologna that all males are missing a rib because God took a rib from Adam to create Eve. I quickly raised my hand. He and the class knew I was a Christian and a pastor. The instructor indicated I may say something and I replied, We all have the same amount of ribs. Only Adam got ripped off. That provided a chuckle for them.

    Near the end of the course we had to not only take a written test, but also pass a practical test. In the event of any physical trauma, one thing an EMT had to do was to check a patient's body for any broken bones, bleeding, and other things. For this we had to test all of the body of the patient which included gentle pressing on most of it, looking for signs of pain. Well, my partner and I (who was a male) felt a little awkward doing this to any female, so we asked those in authority that when it came time for the test we would be given males to check. The next day was the test and when it came our turn we were given females to check. I am sure that was done on purpose so we would be used to checking anyone. Well, we did it and passed. However, once I was licensed and I had a female trauma patient that was conscious, after explaining the procedure like we were told to do I would tell the lady that when I got to her chest I would instead pressed more heavily on the sides of their chest. I figured if I used enough pressure the patient would still feel pain.

    Anyhow, as far as I know our entire EMT class passed, and they wanted to have a party. The instructor indicated that would be fine. Uh oh! Were they thinking of getting alcohol for the feast? I quickly raised my hand and said that I would bring the beer. Boy! Did THAT turn some heads! But I quickly added, root beer.

    There were two more levels available at that time: Cardiac Rescue Technician (CRT) and Paramedic. As I went through my first year as an EMT I thought I should advance to CRT. As a CRT I would be able to administer an EKG, defibrillate, administer medication, start and maintain intravenous therapy, and a few other things. Passing point for all tests and quizzes was 80%. By the grace of God I passed.

    For training I had to learn how to give injections of medication. First you learn from the book and instructor. Next, you are given a fake arm to work on. After that, you go to a hospital and work on real humans. Tip: do not depend on people over you to do things correctly. We were instructed that when giving an injection that after you pierce the skin and before you push the medicine you are to pull back the injection rod slightly to check for blood. This is called aspirating. If you see blood, you have hit a vein and you must not inject the medication. So, at one point we came across a patient who needed an injection. The nurse explained who I was and asked if I could do the injection. The patient agreed. Now, when this occurs, the person being trained must be visually observed by the nurse to make sure proper procedure is followed. I cleaned and sanitized the injection site. As I was doing so another nurse started talking to the nurse that was supposed to be watching me. I pierced the skin, aspirated (which took less than a second, and should take less than a second) and injected. The nurse that was supposed to be watching me turned her head to answer the other nurse just after I penetrated the skin far enough to aspirate and then inject. When the nurse looked back at what I was doing she said I did not aspirate and I said that I most certainly did while her head was turned.

    Then, once again I had to learn to get over dealing with female patients. I was at the hospital waiting for opportunities to practice. A nurse came over and said there was a patient that needed an injection. The nurse and I went to the patient who was female. For emergency purposes we were trained to give injections in an arm, so I was surprised that this time I had to give an injection in the person's seat. Well, after the nurse indicated where to place the needle in the muscle I went ahead and injected.

    There are more things I want to say but I want to go back to the point about God telling me to join the fire company. Doing so helped to train me to stop thinking about me. I had to learn to stop internalizing negative situations. So, whenever I came across a tough situation, I would think to myself two things, viz., (1) this is not happening to me or a loved one of mine, and (2) if I lose emotional control I will be unable to help and I may have to be helped myself, depleting my squad's resources.

    Also, joining the volunteer fire company gave me numerous examples to explain things to others regarding the Holy Bible, how God works, and more. For example, I know that when I read The Revelation before I came to Christ I was baffled that there were two deaths. When I took the EMT class I saw there was a parallel in the medical realm. There are two deaths. The first is called clinical death. The person stops breathing and their heart stops beating. The second medical death was termed biological death. The brain begins to die and, for the vast majority of times, only God can bring the person back.

    It is my hope and prayer that all who read this would make Christ their King and Savior and remain in Him so that they may pass from death into Eternal Life.

    More information about fighting depression may be found at .

  Post 28: More Than Emergency Medical And Fire Fighting Training  
Because it is more important than other things I am going to write in this post, I want to bring out a number of Biblical spiritual principles that God placed in my mind while in emergency medical care.

    Authority Is Granted In Proportion To Authority Obeyed: Excluding human politics, in most cases those that held positions of authority (like fire chief, ambulance captain) had previously obeyed authority when they were gophers (go for this, go for that), just members without rank, and so on. In Christ, in the spirit realm, more prayers are answered, and more tedious situations are neutralized, when we faithfully obey God, especially when we take responsibility to develop the character of Christ and remain faithful in doing so.

    2 Corinthians 5:10: While this verse does not speak about The Great White Throne Judgment, it does speak about The Judgment Seat Of Christ. It is like an award ceremony to come, probably before the physical reign of Christ on earth, where Christians receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. When serving in emergency medical service one may at first attain to EMT and, if they so desire, receive training in modules so they are able to put a breathing tube in person and / or special trousers below the waist to increase blood pressure to vital organs. Then there were the levels of Cardiac Rescue Technician and Paramedic. In each of these cases when one attained those objectives they were able to get patches to wear on the outside of their right upper arm. So, what I picture in my mind is that while all true Christians have the same Lord quite often we go through different things and I get the impression we are being trained for when the Kingdom Of God is physically established on earth. How well we learn our lessons now will determine what authority we will have and will be somehow indicated on our body.

    80 Percent Was Required For Passing: I am not sure about the EMT level, but I am sure that eighty percent was required on tests and perhaps quizzes for our CRT classes as passing. That is rightfully so. The physical life of a person is nothing to skimp on. But how much more in the spiritual realm. So, in later years when God would permit us to start a church in Cambridge, Maryland, I required eighty percent in a course I developed for certain areas of ministry.

    Continuing Education: To maintain a medical license one had to have a number CEU credits during a year. This was even more involved for a CRT and, if you did not get enough of certain skills while serving on an ambulance, you had to make up the deficit by getting them at a local hospital. How much more for a pastor? So I would do this with various scripturally solid books I had and now, with having the Internet, reliable sources. This can also be true for non-pastors. And, really for all disciples, continuing education definitely includes reading the Holy Bible over and over again. But, please do use a trustworthy translation. I suggest that if you have trouble with the King James, use the New King James. I highly recommend Young's Literal Translation. Some questions we have are really cleared up when we go past our native tongue to see what the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek (for the New Testament) has in store for us. For those that want a translation that strongly adheres to the oldest manuscripts I might suggest the American Standard Version.

    One's Family Can Be Their Spiritual Enemy: Passages like Luke 14:26 and Micah 7:6 became more vivid to me in that they not only refer to strong persecution by family members when someone comes to Christ, but also in a more subtle manner. There was a Christian lady who had lived on one of the mountain ranges nearby and this lady was mainly bedridden with multiple sclerosis. Her nearby Assembly Of God church had a series of special meetings one week and some people got her into a wheelchair and brought her to the service. She was prayed for, felt God's healing touch, and started to walk around, although a bit weakly. Nevertheless, she continued her short walking treks at home. However, some of her family members told her to take it easy and stay in bed more — much more. As a result she relapsed into being mainly bedridden.

    Be Sure To Call Consult: Protocol required the lead medical person to contact Medical Command while transporting a patient prior to their arrival at the hospital. You ask dispatch for a radio med channel. Once assigned a channel you were to go to that frequency, call for Medical Command and give the ambulance number with indication as to whether your vehicle was operating as basic or as advanced life support. Our ambulances at that time were 377 (a box type) and 338 (van type). If a CRT or higher was on board we would say Medic 377 or Medic 338, and say your license level (EMT, CRT, Paramedic) followed by your name. As you have read above, eighty percent was passing in our courses and there was a lot to remember. So radio contact was very helpful at times. One time we had a patient with smoke inhalation. Protocol required CRTs and higher to draw blood in such situations. Well, I forgot which tube (purple or pink top) to put the sample in so I called Medical Command with the ambulance level, my license level, and my name. When I asked which tube I should put the sample in the nurse snapped back Who gave you authority to draw blood?! Uh! Evidently there was a nurse at that radio that was unfamiliar with the emergency medical laws. I had an impulse to reply, The State of Maryland. That might just encourage an argument over the publicly monitored airwaves. So I repeated the needful identification again: This is Medic 377, CRT Peter Macinta, and asked again about which tube. This time, thank God, another nurse had been nearby, took over the consult, and gave me my answer. I imagine that after the consult the one nurse explained things to the nurse who presented the challenge. Perhaps God permitted what happened in order to save someone's life in the future. Every EMT, CRT, Paramedic, LPN, RN, NP, and Doctor is human and can err. But, God does not err. We ought to stay in constant contact with God and always consult Him for various aspects of our life.

    I hate to make such a long post but I need to in order to eventually finish this series so I may be free to accomplish some goals. So, I must continue a bit more.

A Bit Mysterious

There were times when things seemed a bit mystical, in that God is going to do what God is going to do no matter what we expect. When I was an EMT, I responded with other crew members to the home of one of Flintstone Assembly Of God's older members. I think I was the ambulance driver. When they brought the man out on a stretcher he was alert and conversing. I thought, Good! He is going to make it! However, he died.
    Then there was a time when we responded to a vehicle accident on top of Polish mountain and the female driver was trapped in a car. The doors would not open. We broke a rear window and, because she experience physical trauma, we placed a short backboard between her and the seat so we could place her on a full backboard once she was extricated. I was assigned to hold traction on her head while the Jaws Of Life were brought over to part the doors. One problem: The motor for the jaws would not start even though fire personnel pulled on the starter cord a few times. So, as I held her head, I audibly prayed that the machine would start. They gave the cord another pull or two and it started. We got her out — but she died at the hospital.

Ashamed That I Did Not Pray The Big Prayer

And then there was a time when I should have forgot about self and prayed the big prayer. It was a Wednesday night and we were almost finished with the midweek service when the siren went off. I turned on a portable scanner so we could pray for the need. It turned out to be a very bad vehicular accident on the curve just down the road from the church. I asked the congregation permission for me to leave and to go to the scene. They gave me permission and I went. I had attained my CRT license by that time.

    Multiple patients were involved and they were people the whole volunteer fire company knew. They were trapped. Those that specialized in the medical realm got equipment ready while fire personnel extricated the victims. After about five or ten minutes the first victim was freed. Everyone knew who she was. As personnel brought her to our location she looked at me, but then passed out. Once they placed her before me I did what is called a primary survey. She was not breathing. I checked her carotid artery for a pulse and there was none. Immediately I commenced CPR. After a few minutes a fellow CRT came to the scene and told me to stop so he could reassessed. This was perfectly OK and, besides, he outranked me in experience. He was a very good CRT.

    He determined there still was no pulse so we continued. By this time there were close to around a half dozen medical personnel helping with this patient. And, of all things, a traveling doctor showed up to help.

    But then, the fire personnel had made great headway in getting the rest of the victims out and they needed medical attention. The doctor on the scene recommended we call the code on the lady we were working on so we could concentrate on the others. Calling the code meant that we would stop trying to resuscitate her. We agreed. I did not want to, but the other victims needed help. I and an EMT were assigned to place the deceased on an ambulance and stay with her until transport to the hospital.

    The EMT and I began to load her body into the ambulance. And then, the thought came to my mind to pray that her life would be restored. But, sadly I did not. I was far too self conscious, but in days after that I looked back and knew that the EMT, and probably others, would not think it would be silly to pray. In fact, the EMT would probably have joined in. But, no. Shamefully I was too wrapped up in self. To this day I deeply regret that moment. But, thankfully God forgives, and uses our failings to train us to do better.

    Her death was somewhat mentally traumatic for most of the fire company members, so the company's officers called in a psychiatrist to help and asked the members to come to a group meeting if they were bothered by the incident. I did not think I needed to go. However, I decided to go in order to see how the psychiatrist did things. What I found useful is that in the meeting, before he would ask someone to say how they felt, he would look at them for a second or two and then ask. I thought that was a good idea because it mentally got the person ready to respond. So, I use that technique today when I feel it is necessary.

A Good Way To Die

During most days on daylight hours the other two CRTs had to work miles away from Flintstone. As a pastor, I worked not far from Flintstone. So, eventually it was arranged that I would keep an ambulance in the driveway of the church, plugging it into the power so certain equipment stayed fully charged.

    One day, not only were both CRTs at work, but others were also away for various reasons. On that day I had to bring something back to the hospital. I did, and when I got back in the ambulance to return home I heard our alert tones go off. Then the announcement came that there was a cardiac arrest on one of the mountain ranges. I knew exactly who it was. And aged couple, Christians, we had visited numerous times. I started heading back but I called dispatch to let them know we did not have any members available but me. So, as Flintstone continued to be alerted Allegany Central also alerted the Old Town Volunteer Fire Company for medical personnel. We would meet on the main road. I think we took the Flintstone ambulance to the location.

    When we got there we were told the man was feeding his bedridden wife when he collapsed. His shocked wife was the one that called 9-1-1. Despite our efforts, the gentleman died.

    A few days later it was relayed to me that one of the family felt that was a terrible way to die (dying in front of his wife). I disagree. The man died faithful to God and faithful to his bedridden wife. He died while serving her. To me that is a very honorable death.

Stupid Rumor

One time there was an emergency call on Martins Mountain. It was a pretty nice day and the sun was shining brightly. I would not think much about that until later on.

    When we got to the scene there was a man who had been ejected from his vehicle. He was face down. He had to be flipped over for proper assessment and treatment. But I could not do it immediately because there were debris from the vehicles. So I quickly tossed the pieces away and, lo and behold, there was someone there with a camera, taking my picture. I sort of glared at him as I turned the victim over.

    The rest of the crew was busy too. And the sunshine was having an affect on me and on a female EMT. Both of us almost passed out. I called what I experience a brown-out. I was unsteady on my feet.

    A day or so later I was told the fire company got an inquiry as to why they would let members drink (alcohol) before going on a call! I imagine the caller did not know that a couple of us almost blacked out and a medical fact about me is that I usually have lower blood pressure than most people.

Basic Firefighting

As about to be mentioned. Along with our two ambulances the company had a number of vehicles for firefighting. Attached to this post is a more recent picture of the side of a firetruck and if you look closely you will see, Barney of the Flintstones. Yep. You will find decals of Fred and Barney Flintstone on their vehicles.

    At one point it was decided that even the medical personnel get at least basic fire training. So, we did. I learned a lot of great stuff. I learned that the fire hose couplings were Pete proof, that I, as unsure of myself at that time, would be unable to mess up a connection. They were right!

    In one class we were trained on using various fire extinguishers. Near the end, a vat of flammable liquid was set ablaze. The instructor looked at me and said, Go ahead preacher. I replied, You want me to pray it out? The class really liked that one.

    During basic training we had to learn about fighting fire and doing a victim search inside of a structure. There was a training maze available for that lesson and you had to go through the maze with your visor down, and your visor was completely covered. Why? We were told we would not be able to see inside of a burning building. A fire hose or two was laid throughout the maze and we were told we would be able to find our way out by following the direction of the couplings on a hose. Also, when you went through the maze there was an air tank strapped to your back.

    One can draw a number of spiritual parallels from that last paragraph but, in case someone missed it, consider the inability to see inside a burning building. Some people think they will be able to party, or at least help someone, when in hell. They think wrongly.

    In the next post: Where I was when the space shuttle exploded and why I had to be examined at the hospital after an ambulance call.

  Post 29: Ambulance Lessons In More Ways Than One  
As mentioned in the first paragraph Major depression is not a good thing for anyone to remain in, but I have a Great Psychiatrist, Jesus Christ, Who ordered me to do a number of things in order to get out of it. One order was for me to join the local volunteer fire company. That was a good tool to train my mind to stop focusing upon self and focus more on serving Him by serving others. During our remaining time in Flintstone, Maryland, I was voted in as Chaplin of the fire company, became the second assistant ambulance captain, and was awarded a certificate and a snazzy fire jacket for being on the most ambulance calls for 1989. Attached to this post is a 2018 picture of the new headquarters of Flintstone Volunteer Fire Company.

    Second Assistant Ambulance Captain or not, as a Cardiac Rescue Technician one had to keep their skills up. If you did not get the required amount of certain skills while serving on the ambulance, you had to make up the deficit by helping at a local hospital. One of the skills was doing IV (I V, Intravenous) sticks (needle insertion). One time a nurse was having trouble getting an IV stick into a heavy patient because the veins were difficult to see and maybe too curvy. However, I noticed that for most people we have a pretty straight vein on the medial side of our forearm. So I asked if I could try, both nurse and patient agreed, I started the procedure, and was able to get the stick in.

    Then, there was the morning of January 28, 1986. As I recall, things were slow on the unit I was in because there were just a few patients. As I passed by a patient room I saw the launch of The Challenger Space Shuttle was being displayed on the television. With nothing much else to do I watched as the rocket lifted off. A minute later I heard the launch announcer say the mission was go for throttle up, and then there was a BOOM! The rocket was gone leaving behind a confused trail of smoke. The announcer, who only was monitoring the audio feed from the command room, said there had been some type of anomaly, and he did not know at the moment what was happening as witnessed by viewers across the United States. I hurried to the nurses' station and said the shuttle had exploded. They hurried to where the television was and joined in the shock and the sadness of the nation.

    On a brighter note, a rewarding part of emergency medical service was the ability to help young children and babies. One time we were alerted for a vehicular crash south of Flintstone. Upon our arrival we had two patients — a mother and her baby. Carseats back then were not what they are now and though the baby showed no sign of injury or distress, according to medical protocol I was to expect trauma to the child. That meant calling for a medical helicopter for immediate transport which in turn meant our station had to be alerted for more personnel to establish a landing zone.

    The ambulance driver fussed at me for calling for a helicopter. He was a long time member of the fire company going back to the days when an ambulance was nicknamed a meat wagon and people would just get the patient on and whiz over to the hospital. However, thank God, in later years an ambulance became a mobile emergency room. But, that did not matter to this driver. Nevertheless, I told him we were going to fly the child to the hospital. Mother and child survived everything very well.

    There are two sides of this. One, and the most important one, was about the safety of a patient. The second is that an emergency care provider is to follow protocol because if you do not there are legal ramifications besides possible adverse affects to your patient. Always go by the rules. And, the best rules we can ever have are God's rules.

    On a slightly different note, oftentimes emergency hospital personnel will do everything in their power to save a child. However, every now and then I have seen the opposite for senior adults. In some cases they are too quick to give up just because a person is old.

    Well, speaking of old, like I said this particular ambulance driver had served back in the days of scoop and swoop — get the patient in and whiz off to the hospital. And there might have been one or two more on the fire side that wanted to get things done fast. One time after a call we were at the hospital and, as according to protocol, I had paperwork to fill out regarding the emergency call. One guy was getting edgy but I told him I needed to fill out the forms. So, at the next meeting of the fire company I told the members that when the siren goes off that whoever responds should expect to be tied up with that call for a least two hours or more. If they cannot handle that they do not need to show up.

    Now, there came the time we had a call east of Flintstone late in the evening. The patient I had was physically stabilized on a backboard to prevent injury to the spinal cord. And, the ambulance driver was the same one mentioned above. He was in the grab and go mode as we headed on to the main highway. Even though it was a main highway there were many curves along the mountains we had to cross. He was told to slow down. He did not.

    We approached Martins Mountain, which meant I would have a good chance at radio contact with Medical Command. I was up and about working with the patient, but the driver kept taking the curves fast and probably weaving in and out of traffic. I asked him to slow down. He did not. I was standing up, either to go over to the patient or to the seat where I would call dispatch to ask for a medical channel when the driver made a very sharp swerve. I fell backward onto the large orange trauma kit. The rest of the medical crew yelled to the driver to slow down, peppering their orders with a curse word or two. He slowed down. I got up and went back to patient care, but mentioned my back hurt.

    When we were at the hospital and I was filling out the paperwork the medical crew said I ought to be examined. I declined. But, they kept saying I ought to be examined. So, at around 1AM, I told them to palpate my back and if I feel pain I will asked to be examined. My back was palpated. I felt pain. So,I was examined and received an X-ray. One of my ribs were broken. I was treated and released. Our car had a manual transmission and I was told I could not drive it for a week. A few days later the fire company suspended the driver for thirty days. However, if I recall correctly, he chose to never drive an ambulance again.

    Next post: a few more directives from the Great Psychiatrist. And, I get a good scare while in prayer.

  Post 30: Rebukes, Healings, Lessons, And A Tree Scorpion  
One does not hear much today from some pulpits about living in victory, but, thankfully, when I came to Christ in 1970 I was led to a church system back then that taught a Christian can, and ought to, live in spiritual victory. This is one of many reasons why I write these posts, to call whosoever will out of the gutters and shadows of depression and begin to learn to walk in victory. Another reason why I write these posts is to place in peoples' minds that God most certainly does speak to us today directly by His spoken Word to our heart.

    In the more recent previous posts you read that I had been under the darkness of major depression. One tool God used to get me out of it was to get busy with the local volunteer fire company.

    His telling me I needed to join the fire company was no doubt instructional. But there are times He chastens us with His Words spoken directly to our heart. Back in the early 1980s I had a tendency to, as the saying goes, make mountains out of mole hills. I was by a double room of Flintstone Assembly of God which housed a small Sunday School room and a small room for the church office, worrying and whining about something concerning the church. As I kept whining I felt God say to me something like, Stop it! Quit crying! Have I not been with you for over a decade? Will I not be with you now and in the future?

    While God most certainly is ready to console and seems to not mind our whining in our first few years of our walk in Him, there comes a time He admonishes us to grow up. Consider 1 Corinthians 16:13 YLT, Watch ye, stand in the faith; be men, be strong. See also Ephesians 6:10, Colossians 1:11.

    After that, I made it a point to try to quit whining. However, I still fell into it occasionally until a shocking, supernatural incident in 2006 which, if God permits, I will post about a number of weeks from now.

    There is a balance to be struck. Though we ought not to whine, we are to be earnest in our needs, and sometimes very earnest. Such a case occurred to me while we were in Flintstone. I started to bleed. We did not have medical insurance. I was very concerned. I had no idea if the bleeding was something minor or major. I went to a room in the Flintstone Volunteer Fire Company. Being very afraid of what was happening to me I quietly cried out to God — and I felt His healing within me. God then ordered me to mind my diet more.

    To feel that healing was very wonderful. I had been earnest in prayer, but why was I earnest in prayer? We had no health insurance. Like some people, when my back was against the wall I was more apt to be completely dependent upon God. That was a main reason why I was against the stipulations in the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obama Care) that insisted almost every U.S. citizen have health insurance. Even though I endeavor to be completely dependent upon God I would still have the thought in the back of my mind that I have health insurance. I felt that this would hinder me from being earnest in prayer. However, I am currently finding out that it does not have to be that way and, God willing, I will try to write more about that near the end of this current TBT series.

    Though I endeavored to quit whining I realized I still had to have a level of earnestness. So, one day, in the same area of the church building, I noticed some repair work had to be done to the back door and porch. I did not have adequate repair know how. So I asked God to help me. I paused, and ran all the facts through my mind on what had to be done and how to do it. Soon, God gave me the directions and the patience of how to do it. God will do this for you if you let Him.

    At some point the church received a notice from the county that the church must connect into the county sewer line and destroy the septic tank. I really bulked at that. However, I would find out about a decade and a half later why it would have to be done. But, at that time, I was really angry that church would have to spend money to do all that was required. Well, it was done, and the church had a dirt pile behind it and additional bills to pay. I was very concerned, but this led to a lesson from God about prayer.

    I was in a habit many Christians have: You have a time of focused prayer, and you ask and you ask and you ask. I was praying about the bills, my aging congregation, various needs in the church, and more. I kept asking, and became more depressed! But at some point the Holy Spirit brought to my mind Philippians 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. The key to avoid depression while praying is add thanksgiving to prayer. And, thanksgiving could branch out to praise, worship, and adoration. I would later incorporate that gem into spiritual warfare.

    Also, God added a one-time (I hope) means to be less depressed in prayer. There were times I would go into a wooded area behind the church and sit under a tree by Flintstone Creek to pray. As I was doing so one day a greenish critter fell down from the tree and it sure looked like a scorpion! There are tree scorpions. I got out of there fast!

A picture of our youngest son, Jon, seen sitting at our kitchen table.

    The area behind the church was pretty nice. Sister Dorcas started a garden there and in the first year or two I built a sandbox for our boys, Tim, Sam and Jon (who is pictured in this post), to play in. Of course, I would play with them at times. But the area behind the church turned out to be dangerous at least one time. While I was away somewhere the boys were out back playing when the area creeks began to swell. Flintstone Creek was no exception. Sister Dorcas immediately called for the boys to come inside. Soon, the flooding got worse and if I recall correctly it reached the back porch.

    Other than times like that, the creeks were nice places to fish and investigate. One day our sons and I were over at Town Creek. I forget how exactly it happened but somewhere we got back in the car and one of the older boys accidentally closed the car door on Jon's hand. He was crying with pain and his hand looked like it could have been broken. It just so happened that one of the firefighters from the volunteer fire company was visiting relatives nearby. When he looked at the hand he also thought it was broken. So sister Dorcas got into the car and we drove to the hospital. She prayed. Jon stopped crying, fell asleep, and his hand started to slowly take its normal shape. Nevertheless, we continued to the hospital. Because broken bones are usually considered a low priority I thought we might have to wait hours at the hospital before someone would examine Jon, but that was not the case. They saw him after a time and x-rayed his hand. Nothing was broken.

    Next up, varied comments at a wedding and I get a little involved with the building of Interstate 68.

  Post 31: Weird Thoughts And A Surprise Invitation  
While the Holy Bible does not state that a minister of the Gospel must officiate weddings, some do. I did back in the 1980s. I officiated at least one while pastoring Flintstone Assembly Of God (AOG). I cannot remember if I did any others while at Flintstone, but I remember one because I have a couple of reasons why it is in my memory banks.

    There was nothing wrong with the couple and nothing went awry during the ceremony. It was what was said during a planning session for the ceremony.

    The couple had selected one of the standard set of traditional vows. After we reviewed what the couple would say to each other and before God and those present, one of the groomsmen took exception to the mutual vow of pledging all of one's earthly goods to a spouse. I do not recall replying to him, but I thought, You had better not get married.

    But, more surprising, either the same groomsman or another felt it was wrong to have sexual relations with one's spouse! I tried to explain from Holy Scripture that God decreed it to be so and that it is not a sin in a Biblical marriage. He still felt that it was sin.

As about to be mentioned

    On a different topic, at some point we learned of the good news that the State Of Maryland was going to add a section of Interstate 68 (I-68) through our immediate area. A section of the new highway would be built about 500ft (152.4m) north of the church building. For the history of I-68 visit .

    On top of that good news, after a few weeks or months I got a surprise letter or phone call. There would be a ground breaking ceremony, and I was asked to be present to pray a prayer of dedication over the new section. Attached to this post is a picture of various officials ceremonially breaking the ground. I am to your left behind the canopy. Knowing how clumsy I was, they did not trust me with a shovel. Aw, I am just joking! However, they did give me a memorial helmet.

    In the next post, among other things, a lady in the church mentions a vision of Jesus that she had and, I and the treasurer get a rebuke from God.

  Post 32: Visions, Lessons, Rebukes  
Let us begin with the topic of visions. Some who name the Name of Christ tend to think any vision that they, or someone else, might have had is equal to the Word of God. That is not so. From the earliest years of my walk in Christ I was taught that visions, dreams, prophetic utterances and the like were inferior to the sure written Word of God, and that they must be analyzed by the written Word.

    Nonetheless, the piano player at Flintstone felt that a vision she had of Jesus was completely accurate. She said He had no wounds on Him. However, Revelation 5 depicts Him with wounds before the throne of the Father and Zechariah 12:9-11 infers the Jews who remain at the end of the Great Tribulation will recognize Him by His wounds.

    Regardless, she was a very good piano player but became a little concerned one time after I played and sang during a service The Storm written by Lowell Lundstrom. For years I had been very rusty at piano playing. Flintstone Assembly of God had two pianos so I great chances to brush up on technique. She told me she was afraid I might take her place, but I assured her that I would not. I had plenty to do as pastor. Besides, she could sight read the music. I can too, but not well enough to play at the same time.

    This reminds me of something I forgot to mention. When Jon was much younger Allegany County had some type of free wellness program. One time when sister Dorcas took Jon to it the nurse remarked about his hands being somewhat small and that he would never be able to play the piano. That made me angry because my piano teacher taught me that if I or anyone else could not reach a span on the keyboard for a simultaneous strike of two notes that we could strike both almost simultaneously with a swift hand movement. My piano teacher taught a good thing to me.

    However, the best teacher we can ever have is Jesus Christ (The Messiah). Here are some lessons I learned from Him while at Flintstone.

Be Careful About Material Blessings

    While at Flintstone, or maybe just before we got to Flintstone, we bought a willow green Pontiac Phoenix with a V6 engine. I really liked that vehicle, perhaps too much. It was a winter when we were driving along a curvy road up a mountain. I was not going fast but somehow the car was disabled due to ice on the road and we were at the side of the road. We could not get enough traction to get out. Someone came along with a medium sized snow plow and attempted to pull us out by chain or by rope. However, when they tried, their plow lost traction and began to slowly slide downward toward our car. The impact cracked the front lid of the car. There went the niceness of our nice looking car. I also learned that some hoods were made of fiberglass.

Do Not Be Hasty In Making Promises

    For a time, an older couple from the Cumberland area had been coming to our church services. I really appreciated that because for much of Flintstone AOG's later history a lot of people would drive to churches in Cumberland instead of attending any church in little old Flintstone. However, one night after this couple left they had a vehicular accident not far from the church. Before an ambulance could get there I went out to help them. I told them I would go with them to the hospital. However, the Flintstone ambulance was not available that night and a paid ambulance crew showed up. They refused to let me go with them. That was a lesson from God to teach me to use phrases like if I can, if I am able to, and most importantly, if God wills.

Obey God When He Speaks

    The final lesson I will mention in this post is somewhat a heavy one for me. Yes, it is good, very good, for a pastor, or whoever is in charge, to start a church service on time. However, it is always best to let God's commands supersede your agenda.

Cars at the front of Flintstone Assembly of God

    One Sunday morning I was heading to the church with some people I had picked up for church. I was almost running late. As I turned off of old U.S. 40 onto the road that went past the church there was a lone lady sitting on the slope of the berm between the two roads. I felt that I should stop and ask if she needed help and perhaps ask her to come to church, but I did not stop. I had in my mind that the service MUST begin on time.

    After I got to the church, our treasurer (the new one, who was a lady) parked at the front of the church and so did others. A picture of a few cars parked near the front of the church is attached to this post.

    All during the service I was bothered by the thought that I should have stopped and asked that lady to come with us. After the service I mentioned this to the treasurer. The treasurer said she saw the same lady and felt the same thing! Then I knew, for sure, it was God speaking to me. That is a lesson I have not forgotten, and it has spurred me on to be more apt to respond in similar situations.

    In the next two posts I want to speak about the amazing, tremendous, providential hand of God that occurred in the latter 1980s. Some might say that what happened was just a coincidence. I would say it was definitely the hand of God!

  Post 33: No Bum Steer From God - Part One  
I trust that these next two posts, No Bum Steer From God, will show to many the providential direction and care of God to those that need encouragement, and maybe to some that think God does not care about us. I have previously written about the providential direction and care of God, and this one is one of the main ones I have seen. My Dad flanked by eleven men, fellow employees of the community college where he worked, at his retirement party.

    While we were at Flintstone (Maryland) we had a few opportunities to visit my Dad and step-mother, Phyllis, in New Jersey. Sometime after they were married my Dad secured employment as a custodian at a nearby community college. After a time, he retired from that job and worked evenings as a security worker at a local Jewish cemetery. Attached to this post is a picture of the retirement party for my Dad at the college.

    In or near the mid 1980s we had to make an extra trip to New Jersey because Dad was in the hospital. If I recall correctly he was there because of a flu. We went to see him and to pray for him. As I talked with him I noticed a nitroglycerin patch on his arm. So, I asked, Dad, what is that on your arm? I think he replied that is was nothing, but as a Maryland emergency medical volunteer I knew very well it was a nitroglycerin patch. For information on nitroglycerin heart patches see .

    His reply could have been one of two things: a little lie or an expression of hyperfaith. A lot of people often do not speak the real truth when they are at times asked how are they doing. It could be thought that my Dad did not want me to worry about him.

    However, Dad and step-mom Phyllis were avid fans of the electronic church and enjoyed viewing The PTL Club, The 700 Club, Trinity Broadcasting and much of whatever else styled itself as Christian, Pentecostal Christian, and Charismatic Christian. Many of that day, and even now, feast on what I call Carbohydrate Christianity. It is very tasty, but it lacks the full nutrients of the in-depth Word of God.

    For example, many who adhere to a hyperfaith attitude look to the mustard seed passages where, if you have enough faith, you can just command a mountain to be removed (Matthew 17:20) and you can send a tree into the sea (Luke 17:6). Additionally, based on Matthew 13:32, many say that in order to do such great feats all you need is a tiny bit of faith.

    Go to Strong's Concordance and you will see least (for the mustard seed being the least of all seeds in Matthew 13:32) does not always mean size, but it can mean small or little of rank or influence. And, in fact, Matthew 13:32 carries that precise thought because although we humans would prefer things like wheat and barley for sustenance, the lowly mustard seed can grow into a haven for birds. So, mustard seed faith really deals with quality of faith, not the size of faith.

    Many who venture into hyperfaith mean well. Any Christian that really loves God desires to please Him by having faith. However, hyperfaith tends to be low quality faith because, among other reasons, it ignores the sovereignty of God. Think of the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3:16-18). But, to be concise, every Christian ought to keep in mind 1 John 5:14, Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

    Nevertheless, knowing the influence upon his spiritual life I would tend to think Dad was in hyperfaith mode. At the extreme other end of the spectrum would be no faith at all, which is not pleasing to God. From what I have seen in the Holy Scriptures and from personal experience, when it comes to sickness I feel that a good type of faith we might have is to admit we are confronted with a problem and ask God to heal us while, at the same time, we listen to what He tells us about that problem. It might be we will hear from Him how to correct that problem, and this has happened to me a number of times.

    After staying in New Jersey a day or so we returned home and Dad was eventually released from the hospital. After some time, perhaps a year, we needed another car. I forget how it all came about, but we purchased a station wagon. I always wanted one of those, and there are pros and cons of having one.

    We never had a station wagon, but now we had one, and near the end of 1986 someone called with what I thought was a pretty odd request. They said they found out we had a station wagon and wanted us to ship a load of beef to some location in New York, New York. Why? That was how they were paying their rent, at least for that year. I asked them how much meat needed to be transported. After they gave me the figure I checked the specifications of the vehicle. It was able to handle the beef and our entire family! So I said we could do it.

    Of course, they paid me to do it. I was quite tickled! It was a free trip to see my Dad in New Jersey on the way back after delivering the beef! However, with Jon still being young and it being winter, sister Dorcas opted not to go and kept Jon with her.

    We made it to New York without a problem. We then went to see my Dad and step-mom and stayed overnight.

    The next day, Dad followed us as we went to the car. Except for the goodbyes I forget what was said, but I do remember he gave me a twenty dollar bill. My Dad stood near the curb, and as we began to drive away I glanced one more time at him – and he appeared a bit serious. That was normal for him at times, so I did not think much about it.

    Well, we had a nice Christmas that December and the boys enjoyed their gifts they got from sister Dorcas and I, and others. Jon got his first calculator. When it was opened it played We Wish You A Merry Christmas. I mentioned this for a reason which comes up in part two.

    1987 rolled on in and we were keeping busy. As the second half of the month came along our telephone rang.

TO BE CONTINUED! Return next week for No Bum Steer From God - Part 2.

  Post 34: No Bum Steer From God - Part Two  


    I picked up the phone to see who was calling. It was my sister, Pat.

Dad died last night.

    She continued by saying that his body was discovered sometime after midnight in the vehicle he was using while working as a security guard at a local Jewish cemetery. The car was backed into a snowy embankment.

    As she was telling me the details I was thinking of how God provided for me a completely paid way to see him just over a month before he would die! We never had a station wagon before, but when we got one we were asked to take a load of beef to New York City. God saw to it I was able to see my Dad shortly before his death.

    Naturally, we all drove to New Jersey for the viewing and the funeral. Before the day of the public viewing the family was at the funeral home. I forget what all of us were doing but at one point I was left alone with the casket. I knew that because he had surrendered his life to Christ and had remained in Christ my Dad was no longer around and was with Christ. But I just felt I had to lean over and lightly kiss what had been my Dad's forehead.

    After some time the rest came back. I think it was then that we went to my step-mother's Phyllis's home. She told us how she became worried when he did not come home from work. If I recall correctly, she said she had heard sirens and then later received the call that my Dad was found dead.

    When we were in the basement she said I could take what I wanted of what my Dad had. I saw at least two fly rods for fishing and maybe a few other things, but I said we would return the next day after the funeral to get them.

    I think there might have been two viewings before the funeral because I remember there were not many people there when we were sitting before the open casket. I do know my sister and her family were there.

    Jon, our youngest son, was busy with things we brought along for him to stay occupied with. We were very quietly sitting there. No one said a thing, if anything. However, the silence was broken by an electronic rendition of …

♩ ♫ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♬ ♪,

♩ ♫ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♬ ♪,

♩ ♫ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♬ ♪,

♫ ♩ And a happy new year! ♬ ♩

    Jon had brought along the calculator he received as a gift at Christmas! I grinned and laughed as some others did. Had my Dad been around he also would have thought that to be funny!

    I believe the pastor of the church that step-mom Phyllis and Dad had been attending did the funeral and interment. The poor guy made a whoops when he referred to my Dad as Phillip, but we let it slide after correcting him.

I purposely
do not capitalize
the name of satan.
Along with our family and my sister's family I believe a few other relatives were there and at the interment. Missing was Uncle Number One, the first uncle I mentioned at the start of all of these Throwback Thursdays posts almost five years ago. In case you do not know or remember, he was the uncle that got me interested in the spiritual realm of satan. He might have been out west when my Dad had died.

    Sometime that day or evening we had gone back to my step-mom's home. I went to the basement to get the fly rods. They were gone, along with some other things I wanted to take. Phyllis said her relatives had probably gotten those things. All I had left were some tools, a vice, and odds and ends my Dad had. Among the items were perhaps my grandpa had, like two non-electric hand drills. There was at least one item that I could not figure out what it had been used for, but I think I got a very good clue just over thirty years later when God blessed us with a very amazing year shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. God willing I will write about it near the close of this series.

    I forget when, and it might have been over a decade later, that my sister Pat sent a copy of my Dad's autopsy report to me. He had died of a major myocardial infarction (dead spot on his heart) and other infarctions were starting to develop. This eventually made me to think that when we had last seen my Dad he knew his time was short, and that perhaps it was why he was looking so serious as we drove away.

    By the way, we were not called again at the end of the year to deliver beef to New York City. December 1986, just before my Dad died, was the only beef trip we ever made.

    Regardless, it is a blessing to know my Dad had made peace with God through Christ almost a year after I did and remained in Christ when God summoned him away from this world. And, it seems to me his graduation from this life came just in time, because a shocker to many Christians, especially those of the Assemblies Of God, was about to strike. And, there would be a second shocker!

  Post 35: The Shocking Double Whammy!  
For about a year or so before God took my Dad from this world there was something simmering away in North Carolina. Accusations and rumors began to develop about Jim Bakker and the PTL Club. However, as I wrote earlier, I had sensed things were not right, even regarding sex, in the 1970s. I was not sure if what I was feeling had been impressed upon me by God so I usually kept quiet about things.

    There was a time, though, I probably had said something. There was a very well known Assembly of God (AOG) minister as a guest on one show that stated it was OK that Catholics prayed to Mary! My friends, this is completely against Holy Scripture and if anyone would like more information on that topic please see The Only Mediator Ordained By God at .

    To my knowledge, no AOG official corrected him, and Jim Bakker did not mind the comment at all. And this is one reason why there has been no true spiritual, back to the Holy Bible, revival in the Catholic Church: Many Protestants do not know what the Holy Bible says and they have been hoodwinked into thinking there is no need to win Catholics to Christ. Along with this, many who operate the Electronic Church really appreciate the finances received from all sorts of religious groups so they do not desire to engender any ire among them.

    In the months before my Dad died I kept hearing about the accusations of sexual misconduct and the mishandling of funds and felt it was a great embarrassment to The Church. I felt embarrassed. After the death of my Dad there was so much pressure upon the Bakkers and the PTL Club that Jim Bakker resigned from the Club. He was later defrocked by the AOG and you can run a search on the rest.

    At some point the AOG had sent out a letter with a written statement for any press inquiries to all pastors. I think I still have mine somewhere, but no press knocked on our door or gave us a call.

    Back then (and I am sure it is the same now) the AOG offered a spiritual rehabilitation process in many cases like this. It was something like the minister would have to repent and cease their ministry for at least two years. They would be offered counseling, perhaps a retreat or two, and their credentials would be restored if there was proper improvement. As I recall, Bakker declined.

    Jimmy Swaggart, another AOG big-name preacher, criticized Bakker for not agreeing to the AOG's procedure. At that time, I liked Swaggart for various reasons, one of which was that he had no problem rebuking and admonishing Catholics and tried to win them to Christ. And, by the way, many Catholics really appreciated his firm, Biblical stance.

    I felt Swaggart was doing great. But then, about a year later Swaggart was defrocked by the AOG for moral failures. To add to it, Swaggart refused to go through the AOG process! His ministry went downhill but picked back up again — but never to the level it had prior to his fall. In my opinion, Swaggart would have been a great example and his ministry would really have flourished if he had agreed to the rehabilitation.

    From all of this developed what I feel to be a treacherous snare for many denominations and fellowships. In the AOG and other groups there was a strong push for financial accountability. Audits were being insisted upon and churches and ministries were told they should achieve 501c(3) status if they have not done so. And, many did.

    The 501c(3) status seemed good because the word on the street was, and still is, a church needs that in order that those who give finances may be eligible for a tax deduction. But here is why this is a snare. To the best of my knowledge, in most states if not all states, to achieve that status the church (or ministry) must be chartered by the state. And, to the best of my knowledge, that means a church will have to follow the laws of the state, which is OK until laws are passed that conflict with the laws of God.

    And does the tax deduction sound good? Think again. Let us say a citizen has given $5,000 to a ministry. We do not subtract that money from the main form, but we are to use a form where we itemize deductions. Most times our itemized deductions never exceed our standard deduction. For the year 2023 the standard deduction for those married and filing jointly is $27,700. So now though someone has a receipt for $5,000 they need to find another $22,701 in additional legal deductions in order to itemize.

    Also, the wording of the law does not insist that a church or ministry be 501c(3) in order to have donations qualify as tax deductible. They do, however, have operate as a church or religious ministry.

    Let me fast forward a little to the early 2000s. Historically, some churches have been quite vocal about political issues. Due to the political climate of the early 2000s some churches received emails, letters, and other forms of communication from non-government groups warning them to remain silent or their 501c(3) status would be revoked. Ah, the pressure was on!

As mentioned in this post

    Going back to our time at Flintstone, a few years before the double whammy (Bakker and Swaggart) sister Dorcas and I had heard about satanists praying to satan to have Christian groups and families fall apart. And because many were not walking real close to Christ that is what happened. Some ministers and music artists had flings with the result being numerous divorces.

    Well, there is always a remnant. Always. And with that thought I have posted a picture of a rainbow that appeared across from Flintstone AOG.

    To this day I have to wonder if God was protecting my Dad from the shockers that were to come. And, to this moment, I have seen a number of times where it seems to me that God in His great mercy took a few of His children away from this world before something came along that might have unsettled them. God willing, you will hear of another case near the end of this series.

    Well, how about a more positive post next time? God willing, I will tell you about a miracle of salvation that some people thought would never happen.

  Post 36: George — A Really Big Catch!  
You will never get him to church, was what George's daughters told me in regard to their Dad in our first few weeks at Flintstone Assembly Of God (AOG). I do not know if I said it or not, but I probably thought, True. But God is able. However, while attending a Holy Bible believing church is important, most important is spiritual salvation. George and his wife lived in a camper a mile (km) or two west of the church along a mostly dirt road. We had to drive up a short but steep access to get to his camper.

    I cannot exactly recall, but I think one way I befriended him was due to my interest in electronic parts. Some of the work he did before he retired was repairing televisions. At one point he gave me an oscilloscope he no longer needed. Some time later he came over to the church to fix a problem with its oil burner. Before then, brother Frank Fratto, a pastor from one of the AOG churches in Cumberland, had dropped in. In my mind I called him The Amazing brother Frank Fratto because he was in suit and tie and shiny shoes but for some reason he did not get smudges on him when working with the heater. But, brother Fratto was only over one time and George took over.

    All during this time George was not born again in Christ. He cussed, had a chewing tobacco habit as well as an occasional cigar. There were times that the chewing tobacco bothered his throat and he would loudly and intensely clear it in such a way that I and my sons thought he would almost gag to death. Nonetheless, he was old school, had common sense, and was quite knowledgeable in some areas. As a result, though my Dad was still living, I began to look at him somewhat as a second Dad.

    As I might have written earlier, at some point I caught the fishing bug due to the fact that the church was near two creeks — and George also enjoyed fishing. So, every now and then he would call to see if I could go fishing with him. He introduced me to the C&O canal in Oldtown, MD, and various points along the Potomac River. One time we were on a slightly steep bank of the river that was about a foot (30cm) above the water. I got too close, the bank gave way, and I got stuck in gooey mud and unable to get out. George helped me out. Nevertheless, I enjoyed fishing in the Potomac, and always had a little fun when the water was shallow enough that I could walk over to West Virginia (WV) and back.

    On the first few trips George would mention something to pray about and would tell me I would have to get to my beads (referring to non-scriptural practice of using rosary beads). I kindly told him that neither I nor other real Christians use rosary beads. Such conversations gave me the opportunity to talk about the Scriptural fact that each of us needs a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Afterwards, from time to time George would ask me questions about God and the Holy Bible. George still gave no indication that he might want to surrender his life to God through Christ.

    Now, what I am about to tell you is not designed to put me on a pedestal, but to point out the power of Christ in those that have become truly born again. It will also show you the providential protection of God.

    I forget how it came about, but there came a time when another pastor joined us for a fishing venture on the Potomac. However, that morning I was having trouble with my eyes due to my contact lenses. Years before we ever came to Flintstone a doctor saw that I could wear contact lenses. In fact, he said my eyes were made for contacts. I agreed to it and got a set of hard lenses. However, for the first time, the doctor himself placed them into my eyes. It sort of stung at first but I soon found out they really helped my vision. So, I began to wear them on a regular basis. However, every now and then they would slip off to one side. The doctor told me how to get them out in such cases, but I had a little trouble at times and bought a small plunger.

    There were days when that would happen, or something else had gotten in to my eyes, that my eyes were irritated for a few days. Such was the case the morning of this threesome fishing venture. So, I wore my glasses that day.

    We met with the pastor on the WV side of the Potomac. I think it was because we were using his small boat. We put our stuff on board the boat and climbed in. The pastor was at one end, George was at the other end, and I was in the middle. We cruised out to the middle of the river, and it was one of those days the fish were not biting. So, we would recast our lines every now and then. However, for some odd reason the pastor from WV thought it was a good idea to cast his line over my head.


    I cannot remember if George or I said anything about that. Even if you are in a small boat with three people there is no need to cast a fishing line over someone's head, especially if the boat is in the middle of the river. After a short time he reeled in his line and got set up to cast again. And, once again his line went over my head.


    If I recall correctly I think I asked him to cast in the other direction next time. However, after some time, he did not have any bites. He reeled his line in. He got set to cast again, and, again in my direction. He cast out his line and . . .

  WHAM ★ ☆ !  

    His lure glanced off of the top of one the lenses of my glasses and became lodged just above my eyebrow!

    The unsaved George had a number of choice words for the irresponsible fisherman. But, just moments after I was struck I realized — my eye! God spared my eye! He permitted my eyes not to tolerate my contact lenses and so I had to wear my glasses! And, when that thought came to my mind I felt peace. God was in charge of what was happening. A decade or so before this I might not be cussing along with George at this guy, but I would probably be nervous and whining. But, by the grace of God I was calm.

    The line was cut and we headed toward the shore. I told the irresponsible fisherman that we needed to find a doctor. I got the impression from him that he was not going to take much responsibility for the incident. Nevertheless we drove to the doctor's office in Paw Paw WV.

    Of all things, the doctor was not in, but his nurse was. By the grace of God I was still calm and more than calm. I began to joke about the situation. So, I said to the nurse, This needs to get out of my head. I am an Assemblies of God minister and the Assemblies of God does not want their pastors to wear jewelry.

    I need to get permission from the doctor to get it out, she said. Jokingly I replied, You have MY permission.

    She picked up the phone and called the doctor. He told her that she may remove the lure if the injury was superficial. She examined where the lure had struck and how deep the hook went into my head. She decided it was safe to take the hook out.

    All this time I could sense George's anger toward the pastor. But I also sensed he was a bit amazed at me that I did not at least yell at the man. I could not. I had the peace of God and the realization that God was in control of the whole matter from the time my eyes got irritated so I had to wear my glasses to this very moment when we were in the doctor's office.

    The nurse was successful in removing the lure and the three of us went to our homes. I think I told George of how God protected my eye. George still had a few unsavory words toward that pastor.

As is about to be mentioned

    Now, I forget all the circumstances, whether it was on another fishing trip or I had come to George's camper to pray for him when he was ill, but once again an opportunity arose to talk to George about his salvation. And, this time the conversation went in the right direction to where George surrendered his life to God through Christ. And soon after that, George indeed started to attend our church services. So, attached to this post is a picture of a church dinner and right in the center, lo and behold, is George. No one but God could get George to go to church but, most importantly God rescued him from sin and hell. George eventually stopped cussing and, if I recall correctly, he also stopped chewing tobacco. All the people appearing in the picture are, from left to right, Edna Elbins, Sammy Grasser, George, Sherry Ruby, sister Dorcas, and Jon.

    To this day I have to think of all of this as one of the highlights of pastoring Flintstone AOG. There were many other goodies too. However, something else was looming. In fact, more than one thing. And those in Dorchester County Maryland reading these posts will soon find out how we came to Cambridge MD, and that it took a number of miracles to do it.

  Post 37: Holy Spirit Lessons And Leadings  
As you saw in the picture from the previous post, despite naysayers God saw to it that the guy named George surrendered his life to God through Christ and came to the church services at Flintstone Assembly Of God (AOG). The other man at the table with him was another one who came to Christ and started attending services.

    For me, pastoring Flintstone AOG was loaded with great spiritual lessons from the Holy Spirit. One lesson was the reinforcement of the truth that it takes the Holy Spirit Himself to perk up the mind of a listener. One Sunday morning I dwelt a little on Colossians 1:13-14, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. At one point I said that translated could be expressed as transferred (see Strong's Concordance), and dwelt a few seconds on that concept. At that point, the eyes of a young person near the back of the sanctuary lit up and after the service he mentioned to me the concept of being transferred from one spiritual condition to another brought some enlightenment to him. Something like this has happened countless times to other ministers too and it can only be said that it is God working on hearts and minds. And this is why it is good to intercede in prayer for all as directed by the Holy Spirit, that hearts and minds would come in tune with what God says.

    In regard to prayer, it was at Flintstone that I realized one of the tools to stay out of depression was to stay busy. I saw that joining the local volunteer fire company really helped, so I prayed Lord, keep me busy. And, from that time on, He most certainly has. This is one reason I will be closing this series in the spring of 2024. I have many other things I feel God wants me to do.

    In our first three or four years at Flintstone AOG we had seen some progress of growth, but things began to level out after that. To my knowledge that church never had a pastor stay more than three years, and the community was probably accustomed to that cycle too. Around our fifth year there I wondered if I should move on. I prayed about it and felt that I should not.

As mentioned in this paragraph.

    To help with the finances of the church we began to not use the main sanctuary in the winter and use the area off to the side. Attached to this post is a picture of one of those services. Another change that was made was to remove a wall between two Sunday School rooms in order to hold the midweek service in a smaller space, heating it with electric heaters and not with the oil furnace. Thankfully, I had the church membership vote on whether or not the wall would be removed. You will see why in the next post.

    So we continued a few more years, but I finally felt we ought to move on. We began trying out for open AOG churches, and that, indeed, was an eye-opener!

    We tried out for a church in LaVale, Maryland (MD), and the head deacon was not there to hear me speak. Well, he did briefly show up in shorts, spoke with a few people, and left for a vacation. But I knew right then I would not be elected because another candidate, a more well-known one, was trying out the following Sunday and I sensed he was the one the church had really wanted.

    At the end of one October we tried out for a Virginia church not far from the North Carolina border. I was shocked to see that one of the men had a meeting with some of the young people and he was telling ghost and horror stories!

    Some time later we tried out for another church in the same area of Virginia. Things seemed to be hopeful when I spoke in the morning service. During my message, among other things, I indicated to the entirely Caucasian congregation that Christians ought not to discriminate in the propagation of the Gospel. I sensed that the majority tended to agree. However, there was a little problem when I met with the church board that evening. By this time I had decided that when I would send out résumés that I would include a sheet that expressed my pastoral philosophy. One of the points was that I would not discriminate. During the board meeting I asked if they had read the page. They did, and one man rose up and indicated he disagreed with my non-discrimination statement. I also sensed that most of the board members had the same concern.

    The vote on me would occur sometime later. My mind was a bit torn on the return home. I sort of wanted to be the pastor but, because that church voted every two years whether or not a pastor should stay I was really concerned about accepting the position. Why move my family hundreds of miles and then perhaps be forced again to relocate? Even if I felt we could start another church in another city about twenty miles (32.19 km) away, we would still have to move out of the parsonage. I called the presbyter of the section and said I withdrew my name from consideration. He thought I should keep it in. I said no. He called a few days later and said some people wanted to keep my name in. I said no. He called again asking me to keep my name in so they could vote. This time I said OK, but told him that if I were elected I would not accept the position.

    After trying out for these churches and others I sensed there were some problems in the AOG. But, let me quickly add this: This is probably true of most, if not all, church groups. Churches are comprised of Christians and some who think they are Christian but are probably not. There are strong Christians and weak Christians. Christians spiritually grow at different speeds. All of this affects denominations and fellowships.

    Additionally, I was not liking what I was seeing out of the AOG-USA headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. The Pentecostal Evangel, a main AOG publication at that time, began to change from having a godly, uplifting front cover and a similar approach in their articles to a less than victorious sentiment. One summer issue came out with an artist's cartoon-like conception of hectic situations in homes when Christians were getting ready to go to church camps. It was as if the passages of the New Testament in regard to victory were considered figurative or out of reach, and a lifestyle similar to the unsaved was being accepted.

    All of this was going through my mind one day as I was sitting on the front steps of the Christian radio station I worked at. One thing that would help the AOG would be a sovereign revival from God. And, then another thought came to my mind: fresh blood, i.e., new churches from new converts to Christ! So, the thought of home missions came to my mind. But, I had to laugh at what might be said to me by the AOG. A decade before that time I was told I was too young and inexperienced for home missions. So I figured now I would probably be told I am too old!

    My attention was now focused on where we could start (AOG would use the term plan) an AOG church. One of the first places that came to mind was the Thurmont - Emmitsburg area of MD. We had been through there before and I felt it would be a beautiful place to plant a church. It is also the area where Camp David, used sometimes for presidential retreats, is located. Surely we should go there. However, when we drove to the area to assess it I felt the Holy Spirit told me no. The same held true for a place in West Virginia, as well as Reisterstown and Frederick MD.

    Well, how about the Eastern Shore of MD (MES)? AOG churches were few in number on the MES, Chestertown, Pocomoke City, Salisbury, Crisfield and Easton being some of them. Easton? That is where I wanted to plant a church in the latter 1970s but was told I was too young and inexperienced. A few years after that, an AOG minister started a church in Easton WITHOUT DISTRICT APPROVAL!

    Anyhow, in between Easton and Salisbury was Cambridge. When we had visited Cambridge back in the latter 70s I felt a spirit of fear when crossing the then two-lane bridge with people of color fishing off of the sides of the bridge (see However, this time in the latter 80s I did not sense that. After driving through various parts of Cambridge we stopped for a treat at one of the mini-malls near U.S. 50. As I enjoyed an ice cream sandwich I felt God saying this is where we were to go.

    So I informed the District Office and was instructed that, among other things, I had to create a home missions survey of Cambridge and submit it to the Eastern Section of the Potomac District. That Section would decide whether or not I would be permitted to plant a church in Cambridge.

    I have often taught that we have to be careful with what we feel we think is God's will. But, if I had any doubts at first about God's will for us to go to Cambridge they would be shattered in the coming months. In the next post I will mention a number of miracles by God to get us to Cambridge.

  Post 38: I Was Told No, But God Said Yes  
If you had read the previous post you will remember that I felt led by God to start (plant) an Assembly Of God (AOG) church in Cambridge, MD. District Superintendent brother Spruill told me I had to create a survey of Cambridge with certain details and objectives, and submit that report to the Eastern Section of the Potomac District Council as well as be interviewed by them to receive permission to start the work. I knew very well I was not much of a shining star in the District and decided that I would not ask for District financial support to plant the church.

    I mentioned all of this at some type of family gathering at Dorcas's parents' home in Grantsville, MD. Present was one of Dorcas' nieces and her husband who were working with Wycliffe Bible translators. What are you going to do if they tell you no?, asked the niece. That was a tough question for me because I felt, and still feel, that when a minister of God belongs to and works with a fellowship he ought to be submissive to those above him otherwise he enters into rebellion and, based on the King James rendering of 1 Samuel 15:23, rebellion is as witchcraft. On the other hand, I definitely felt it was of God we ought to go to Cambridge and, above all, I must not rebel against Him. So, I told her we would go anyhow. That might mean I would lose my credentials with the AOG, but I did not tell her that.

    Back in Flintstone I began working on my Home Missions Survey of Cambridge, MD. I researched the city of Cambridge, created certain goals by the direction of God, and revisited Cambridge. Another pastor from a nearby AOG met me and showed me around the area. As I looked at some of the existing churches they were either all white or all black — except for one. And, most of them were jacket and tie fellowships, except for the same one. That one church was Jubilee Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational Pentecostal group, pastored by brother George Wheatley. That church had a pretty good mix of white and black and seemed to tolerate casual apparel. Because I had a concern for the underdogs of society I felt that the church I would plant by the help of God should be the same way. I saw only one church like that so I figured Cambridge could use another church like that.

As mentioned in this post

    I wrote up the survey (its page of contents is shown in this post, and, yes, I know I spelled schedule incorrectly at first) and sent it to the presbyter of the Eastern Section. In a few weeks I was told by that presbyter that I was to meet with them at a church in, I believe, Annapolis on a certain day.

    I do not recall what questions they asked of me, but I do recall I was asked to wait in an adjacent area while they discussed the matter behind closed doors. But the acoustics were not good, and I could hear them talking. To this day I have to wonder if they knew, or did not know, that the acoustics were poor. Was it done on purpose or not? Nevertheless, I just had to inch over to the door. When I did, someone, and I think it was the presbyter himself said, We do not need another weak church on the Eastern Shore. I knew right then that their answer would be no.

    Probably what some of them considered about me was that the church we had before we came to Flintstone was closed while I was the pastor there. Yet, as you can see from post 14 to post 20, that was not my fault, and I had actually helped the Potomac District out of the problem they had with that troubled church. Some of them also figured that I had been in Flintstone for over six years and there was no numerical growth. They did not factor in that eastern Allegany County was economically depressed and I was appointed to a church which had a number of senior citizens and some of them died while we were there. They also did not factor in any of the people God helped me to lead to Christ nor the fact that I stayed the longest out of all the pastors that had that church.

    When they came out of the room the presbyter told me he would call about their decision in a few days. I was really seeing some weakness in that presbyter. He was afraid to tell me then and there that I did not have permission. I went back to Flintstone, waited a few days, and he never called. I am of the opinion he was afraid, because he, and some of the others, did not seek God for the decision.

    After some days I called him. We do not think you should go, he said. I cannot remember what I said to him, but after we hung up I still felt like we were to go to Cambridge. So I called the District Superintendent, whom I think agreed that we ought to go to Cambridge, and he told me to hold steady while he worked on some things.

    The Maryland's Eastern Shore only had a handful of AOG churches. I felt there was a need for more and I was perturbed at the sectional ministers for not letting me try. I was not asking for their money.

    A few weeks went by and we, as Shaklee Independent Distributors, received a referral card from Shaklee headquarters of a potential customer in Denton, MD. My eyes got big!

    Where is Denton?, asked sister Dorcas. On the Eastern Shore, where we belong, I replied. I considered this a providential sign from God! So, I asked God for two more signs that He would overturn the decision of the presbyter of the Eastern Shore.

    A few weeks later I received a phone call from an AOG minister in the Northern New England District who had a teaching ministry. He wanted to come to our church in Flintstone to do some teaching. While talking with him he named an AOG minister in the Potomac District that would vouch for his teaching ministry. Guess who he named — the presbyter of the Eastern Section who did not have the courage to tell me no in person! My eyes got big again and I had a big grin on my face!This was the second sign! Of all people he could have mentioned! To me this was proof we would go to Cambridge.

    So, with a smile on my face I called the presbyter and asked about this certain teacher. The presbyter gave me a very good reference on him. Before we hung up, still grinning, I said to the presbyter, By the way, I still think we should go to Cambridge. He said he did not think so and we hung up. I was still grinning. He was saying no, but God was saying yes.

    Month after month went by until sometime in the first week or so of December. I was distraught about the situation. There were unreached people in Cambridge. The AOG certainly could use another church. Frustrated, I started flipping through the Holy Bible. As I was paging through The Psalms a repetitive word in Psalm 37 grabbed my eyes: Wait. Peace came over me and I closed the Holy Bible. I considered that incident to be the third sign. Within about three to five days the phone rang. It was brother Spruill, the Potomac District Superintendent.

    Brother Macinta, do you still want to go to Cambridge? I replied yes. He continued by saying there had been a change. The Executive Presbyters of the Potomac District, which was comprised of all of the district's presbyters, voted to let the AOG ministers on the Eastern Shore to decide. Of course, the vote was not unanimous because the presbyter of the Eastern Section was a member. However, the majority agreed that the handful of Eastern Shore ministers would decide. What I now had to do was to write a letter of intent and send it to pastor Wood who was the pastor of the AOG church in Crisfield, MD.

    I was so calm and absolutely sure we were in the will of God that I waited until after Incarnation Day (what the world calls Christmas) to send the letter. I sent it, and soon Pastor Wood either called or wrote that I would have to meet with them at English's Restaurant situated between U.S. 50 and the end of Washington Street (that restaurant no longer exists in Cambridge and a Family Dollar is now in that location).

    When I met with them, I was asked, Do you want to start a church in Cambridge?

    Sometimes in moments like that my mind gets into a silly mood. The reply came to my mind to say, Nah. I just came here for this free meal you guys offered me. But, of course I did not say that. I replied, yes.

    You know, it is going to be hard.

    What place is not hard in its own way?, I asked.

    After some more questions and answers they gave me permission to come.

    I soon told Flintstone Assembly Of God that I would eventually resign as their pastor and plant a church in Cambridge. And, we began to make preparations to go.

    At some point during all of these months sister Dorcas and I said to each other that we would like to see an actual court case some day. Little did we expect God to answer that passing thought too, and little did we know about certain things in Cambridge and the rest of Dorchester County. And, some in Dorchester County are either smiling, or chuckling, or even laughing out loud at this point. And, as you keep reading this series you will find out why.

    By the way, we did not simply pull out of Flintstone and go to Cambridge. More miracles would definitely have to occur before we would open an AOG church in Cambridge. God willing, you will read about them in the next post.

  Post 39: Miracle After Miracle  
As you see from the previous post, it was miraculous that we were cleared by the Potomac District Assembly Of God (AOG) to start a church in Cambridge, MD, but we would definitely need additional miracles to get there and get it open. The first miracle that was needed was for me to find employment in, or near, Cambridge. This meant about one trip per week to go to Cambridge for a day and travel back to Flintstone. I think it was on my first trip that I secured a post office box for the future church, Cornerstone Assembly Of God. Though the District itself would not fund me to start a church I did have permission to do my own fund raising. However, during those early weeks of job hunting I was using our own money for gasoline.

    When I did the Home Missions survey for Cambridge it seemed like, according to one or two sources, Cambridge was bustling a little so I thought it might be easy to find a job. However, though some of the data I had was only around ten years old a lot happened in Cambridge. For one thing, the shirt factory on Race Street, a main street of the city of Cambridge, had shut down. So, when I checked in at the unemployment office there seemingly was nothing available for me, and it seemed like the shirt factory workers were given priority.

Tim bringing a box to the back porch, which is mentioned in this post.
The Kids Crusade, which is mentioned in this post.
Sister Dorcas stamping tracts, which is mentioned in this post.
Jon sorting children's material, which is mentioned in this post.
The front of 507 Race Street, which is mentioned in this post.
Painting the inside of 507 Race Street, which is mentioned in this post.
The finished main meeting area, which is mentioned in this post.

    Then there was an opening at Pleasant Day Adult Day Care on Pleasant Street. It required a Bachelor's degree but when I went there I was told they wanted that degree in social work. It did not matter to them that I was a pastor (social work right there) and had experience as a nurse's aid.

Miracle One: Employment

    Cambridge was so sparse for employment opportunities that I included Easton as a possibility. I had to chuckle at that thought because the AOG pastor in Easton worked in Cambridge so I figured it would mean an AOG pastor in Cambridge would have to work in in Easton. After some days Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Easton placed a job opening in a local paper. I went and applied and returned to Flintstone with no hint of whether or not I would be accepted. By this time I had only about $10.00 remaining for travel expenses.

    That Friday KFC of Easton called and asked me to return that coming Monday for an interview. Like a dummy, I moaned and groaned to the lady manager that I had just been there. She said the KFC District Manager would be there on Monday and I would not be hired unless I came back down. I went, and I was hired for $6.00 per hour! That was somewhat higher than minimum wage, but I asked for that.

Miracle Two: Temporary Housing

    Next I had to find temporary housing. Not too many things were available, but then I saw an ad stating there was a room to rent on Henry Street. I went to see the owner, Mrs. Horner, and said I just needed a place for a few months until I could bring my family down to Cambridge that fall. She said she only rented rooms for a year. I started to worry a little. But, within a second or two she said she would make an exception! To me that was another miracle.

    During those months, even before I got the job at KFC, I had a few bundles of Gospel tracts stamped with the P.O. Box address of Cornerstone. I would place them at houses around Cambridge. A block or two of Phillips Street was my first target. Cambridge had numerous houses and it was no problem to place Gospel tracts where I legally could.

Miracle Three: Get An Apartment

    As I kept checking the newspapers I saw there was a two bedroom first floor apartment to rent on Peachblossom Avenue. Having three sons, we could have them in one bedroom while we were in the other. I paid the amount needed, which I think was $300 first month rent and $300 deposit, and went back to the apartment. However, when I stepped into the main bedroom I was attacked by fleas! In a huff I went back to the landlord and asked for our money back, but she said she would take care of the fleas. She did.

    Now, remember a few posts back that I had Flintstone AOG vote on whether or not I could remove one wall from a back room to make a bigger room for midweek services. During a meeting before we left Flintstone one of the oldest members asked if I was going to put the wall back before we leave. I nicely told her that church agreed to remove the wall. They could ask the next pastor about putting the wall back.

    The day came we left that precious little pastorate in Flintstone and headed to Cambridge. I can remember the feeling of definitely being in the will of God as we drove along I-68 and I-70. By the way, we had a U-Haul truck. Pictured in this post is Tim bringing a box to the back door of the apartment.

Miracle Four: Sister Dorcas Lands A Job

    After we moved, my wife secured employment with Dorchester County Public Schools in food service, and therefore became an official Lunch Lady.

    Though we had moved a lot of our things it seems to me we went back to Flintstone to get a few more. We left some things at the back door of our apartment, one of which was Tim's bike. When we got back, the bike was gone. Pretty nice welcome to Cambridge, eh? By the way, bikes are still stolen quite often in Cambridge in 2023.

    Being listed as official church planters, Dorcas and I were blessed with at least one or two AOG church planter retreats / training sessions. I remember one where they wanted to serve the Lord's Supper but there were some other very young children there. We volunteered to entertain them with a puppet show while the others partook of Communion.

The Best Of All Miracles: People Coming To Jesus

    Church planters were instructed that the best way to open a church was to get a core group of converts, train them in their homes or wherever we could, and then open a church. Besides distributing Gospel tracts, we would visit the local hospitals (which included one for those with mental troubles). Back then, before HIPPA was ever birthed, we could look at a list of patients and find those with no church affiliation and we would offer them prayer. We would leave donated AOG literature for them to read, and we had loads of cardboard boxes of literature donated to us mainly from Frostburg Assembly Of God. Tracts were also donated.

    Another way to find souls was by holding Kids Crusades with our puppets. Our apartment was just across from the Meadow Avenue Playground. We received permission from the city to hold our puppet skits there. With this post is a picture of some people at the playground raising their hand to receive Christ as their Savior and King. By the way, I do not remember if it was before or after the crusade, but one of our sons was at the park and somehow lost his hat. Then, we saw another boy with that hat on. When we talked to the dad about it he said it was his boy's hat. We asked him to take it off and look on the inside. Yep. Macinta was marked on the inside, so we got the hat back. But, the dad and his wife eventually came to Christ and became part of our core group.

    We offered our converts the opportunity for us to come to their homes for Holy Bible studies. By the grace of God, by this time I had developed a series of lessons on Basic Christianity. (See what I currently have online at

    During these months there were two men, one who was a Christian and I dare say one who claimed he was Christian, that were delighted we were going to start a church in Cambridge and hung around us at times to, uh, help us. What they did not know was that the AOG just about insisted a core group be established first. There was a special AOG dinner by the District for us where we would tell about our plans to open a church. The bubble of excitement these two men had was burst when I set a target date of two years away for opening the church. They sort of gave up right away, but the one who claimed to be Christian (I will begin to refer to him as Mr. Questionable or Questionable), came back to hang around from time to time. I think that was a plan from the devil and you will soon see why.

    Our entire family was involved in getting things ready for Cornerstone to open. Tim helped with getting pages ready that I would use at the piano for choruses that we would be singing. Sister Dorcas also helped with that as well as stamping more Gospel tracts as pictured in this post. As pictured in this post, Jon, among other things, worked on sorting the vinyl records and picture slides for a pre-computer age make-believe TV for children. Sam, of course, was helping too but, God willing, he will be pictured in the next post.

    As the core group grew and the time drew near for the target month for the church opening, we began to look at some possibilities of where to have the church meet. I definitely felt it had to be in the city of Cambridge. With the financial donations coming in along with the tithes and offerings of our core group I figured Cornerstone would be able to afford a place for round $300 to $350 per month. One place we looked at was a little narrow sliver of a storefront that had been used by local Black Muslims, but it was horribly too small. The old First Baptist location on Locust Street was open but out of our price range as well as the old armory on Gay (nothing to do with homosexuality) Street.

    Alexander's Music Shop, owned by Ocean Odyssey, on U.S. 50 closed. We went to look at it and were shown a certain portion of it that might be suitable for a church. It was suitable, but the owner wanted $450 per month. A picture of that area will appear in a later post. When Mr. Questionable found out about that location he said I should rent the entire building! That would have meant over $2000 per month and would deplete Cornerstone's finances within six weeks. God willing, you will hear more about the location next to Ocean Odyssey in a later post.

    Finally, 507 Race Street was available. It had a handicap accessible bathroom, water fountain, three rooms, a closet, and a larger room. It looked good to us. Brother Ken Burtram, in charge of Potomac District Missions, came down to look at it. He indicated it was a little cramp but then approved the idea of Cornerstone using that facility. We paid the needed money to acquire that storefront. A picture of 507 Race Street appears with this post.

    Within a few days Pastor William Wood of Crisfield AOG called to arrange a painting session where some of the attendees of his church would help paint our selected location. Pictured with this post is pastor Wood speaking with one of the young men from his church who was painting near the handicap accessible bathroom. Also pictured in this post is how the main room looked after being painted and filled with folding chairs (some of which were donated) and other items. 507 Race Street was all set to open as Cornerstone Assembly Of God of Cambridge, MD.

  Post 40: Cornerstone Assembly Of God Opens!  
Some of the people on opening day.
Page 2 of church bulletin
Last page of church bulletin
Page 1 of church bulletin.
I would like to give a little more background before I write about the opening day of Cornerstone Assembly of God in Cambridge, MD. We had a number of home Holy Bible studies active within or near the city limits. We had one in Lodgecliffe, an area on the west side of Cambridge, which came about as result of a door to door community survey we had done about starting a new church. One lady showed interest and agreed to a study in her home. She committed her life to God through Christ, but was reluctant for some reason about being baptized in water. She wanted to, but seemed concerned about doing it. She died about a half year before Cornerstone opened.

    We had a Holy Bible study on Gay (nothing to do with homosexuality) Street with a senior lady. For a time, Mr. Questionable (see the previous posts) was attending. In one study I mentioned 1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV), For the love of money is the root of all evil. Before I could say anything else Mr. Questionable says, I don't believe that. Now, literally in the Greek it says, all sorts of evil, and if Mr. Questionable was objecting to the KJV rendering we would not know. So him stating that without explaining casts doubt upon the entire Word of God in the mind of a new convert. I began to pray that he would quit showing up, and that is exactly what happened.

    Regardless, this senior lady was coming along quite well and about a month or so before the opening day she agreed to be our first Sunday School teacher. However, she died about two weeks before the church opened! Brother Ken Burtram, Home Missions Director (aka Decade Of Harvest Director), desired to have new churches open with the standard set of Sunday services, but that would not happen in our case.

    Early in the week before the opening Arlene Chase of The Daily Banner interviewed sister Dorcas and I in regard to the church opening that coming Sunday. I remember saying to her that there were a lot of homes in Cambridge where no one attends a church and there were streets like Cemetery Avenue and Pleasant Street within walking distance of our location on Race Street. If I recall correctly, her article came out the Thursday before the Sunday we were to open.

    With everything set to go for opening day, we headed to bed Saturday evening. After snoozing for some time our phone rang, and I think it was around 1 AM. A young man was on the other end just about in tears, elated that an Assembly of God church was about to open. He spoke at some length and I was quietly praying he would stop. He eventually did and he did say he was coming to our service.

    Cornerstone Assembly of God opened Sunday morning, April 5, 1992 with twenty nine people attending. Attached to this post is an image of those who remained after service for the picture. In our first morning service five made a decision to follow Christ. Two more made a decision for Christ that week.

    For some reason I do not recall what I preached about on opening day but I do recall speaking on John 1:12 the following Sunday to let young converts know that they can grow spiritually in Christ. Seventeen people attended on that Sunday with three more making a decision for Christ.

    Also attached to this post are portions of the church bulletin for opening day, with the back page showing something special happening for each of the remaining Sundays in April. For the first Sunday in May, Decade of Harvest Director Ken Burtram would be our first guest speaker.

    By this time we had amassed a lot of Sunday School literature, various publications from the Assemblies of God, Gospel tracts, and other literature to be used in church services and evangelism.

    However, two problems arose. One was quite simple and it involved Mr. Questionable who offered a bus for Cornerstone. The problem with that was that he wanted to keep ownership of the bus. Think about that one for a moment, and it only took a moment on my part to turn down the offer. His retaining ownership of the bus would give him too much control of the development of the church. He could use that as a tool to control my preaching as well as my administrative actions.

    The other problem was the most difficult one for me. If you read back you will remember I held a Cardiac Rescue Technician (CRT) license for Maryland Emergency Services. I had to keep both my skills and education up to date. That was very difficult to do while being a husband, dad, pastor, and KFC worker. The next to the last education module I took was being trained to assist the Maryland State Police in their Medevac services. The last module had something to do with something else and it was held at Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge. During that class it was announced there would be an updated module on Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT). It would be done over the course of three to five days and it would total twenty four hours! In addition to this, the local EMS nurse noted I was having trouble keeping up the required skills and / or classes and she said I had to make a choice whether to stay in EMS or not.

    What she said and the fact I would have to donate twenty four more hours of my life for training was too much for me. I lied down in bed and I knew I had to surrender my CRT credentials. When I was in Flintstone I had greatly enjoyed serving with the Flintstone Volunteer Fire Company. We were a team, and I liked that teamwork. Tears came to my eyes. I knew I had to resign, and so I did. However, a few years after that the State Of Maryland phased out the CRT level anyway.

    Nevertheless, I was still part of a team. It is somewhat an invisible team, because no one can pinpoint any headquarters on earth. It is called the Body Of Christ. While saving physical lives is important, most important was saving souls for Christ.

  Post 41: Various Lessons, White And Black, And A Few Laughs  
As mentioned in this post Soon after Cornerstone Assembly Of God of Cambridge (AOG), MD opened we figured it was a jolly good idea to get a sign for it. I worked on the design for it and submitted the proposal to Cambridge Department Of Public Works (CDPW) and a copy for our son Sam to make the sign. It was to be made from 2 sheets of weather treated wood, and would feature additional pieces of cut wood attached to it featuring an empty cross stuck in the rocks that represented Mount Calvary. It would also include the AOG emblem. The colors would be blue and gold. Attached to this post is a picture of Sam bringing a table to work on the sign at the church meeting place on Race Street. We had to get help from some men with scaffolding to put up the sign. At the moment I cannot locate a picture of the sign nor even the official plans for it. As mentioned in this post

    In a few weeks time we had a youth team from another AOG church on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay to try to reach the youth in the area and they also held a service or two. A picture of them bringing supplies back to their vehicles behind the location on Race Street is attached to this post. Also, a team from a Teen Challenge dropped in sometime later to help in reaching out to the community.

    About a year or so later we had the treasurer of the Potomac District Council (PDC), T. Burton Pierce, minister in a service or two. We had him over for lunch at our apartment. During that time he heard that I was not drawing a salary from Cornerstone. Based upon 1Corinthians 9:9-11 and 1Timothy 5:17-18 there is nothing wrong with that, but I hated to do it because Cornerstone was such a young church. Additionally, regarding home mission works the PDC strongly recommended that a pastor must be supported by their church before a church would buy or build a building. So brother Pierce said I should draw a salary, even if it was only $5.00 a week. Because of the Holy Scriptures and the home missions rationale of the PDC I decided to do that and I felt God was pleased with that decision.

    While $5.00 per week is a start you know very well that our family could sensibly use more, and I still had my job at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Just after I started working there the franchise was sold to a Black family in the Easton MD area. As you know, not only can Whites be prejudiced, but also Blacks. However, the lady of that family was not racially prejudiced, but, in my opinion, somewhat gender prejudiced, preferring females. As the weeks passed, for a time there were no male supervisors or managers.

    Regardless, I started off as a biscuit maker, then moved up to prep cook, and, believe it or not, eventually became a chicken cook. Most chicken cooks were male and the fastest one was an Afghan name Abdul. His brother eventually worked at KFC too. Looking back, these two guys were blessed to be out of Afghanistan and working in the U.S.A., and these chaps were good workers.

    I forgot to mention that in the first few weeks under new ownership, the female owner said to me I wonder why they hired you for $6.00 per hour. Soon, to save costs, my hours were cut. That is when she found out why I was being paid $6.00 per hour. No one else did the amount of work I did. I was soon back to full time.

    Now, I must tell you these two funny stories. One day we had a cleaning day at KFC with the district manager (DM) dropping in to see how well we did. Knowing this, after I cleaned out the bug-zapper in the storage room I placed a piece of paper into the clean tray with the words Extra Crispy written on it. The DM got a laugh out of that. After that, as I went about my work, sometime later I went to the area where the cooler was. Huddled in the area were the DM, the owner, and I think a supervisor looking at a container of pills. They were my pills and they were not medicine or drugs, but a bunch of natural supplements I took from Shaklee. So I told them they were my pills and what they were. The DM said they thought there was a worker there with a big time drug problem.

    Sometimes it takes numerous weeks for me to learn a new skill and such was the case for being a chicken cook (what I eventually called a chicken slingger). However, by the grace of God I eventually built up speed to the point where I was the second fastest chicken slingger at KFC Easton. But. it did not stop there.

    The gender ceiling at KFC opened up a bit and a younger Black guy was eventually a supervisor. Also, the female owner and a female manager were supposed to go to a meeting at the KFC regional office and they asked me to come along. I went, sitting in back of the vehicle. As we were driving there, the owner said to her female manager, What do you think about making Pete a supervisor? The manager said that would be fine. I then jokingly asked if that meant I had to have a sex change. They both laughed at that. They knew why I said that. And, by the grace of God, I became a supervisor, and did so without a sex change.

    I now had to work up front (not backline) from time to time, packing orders and working a register now and then. One day the owner and management moved things around up front. As a result, out of habit I kept reaching to the former places where the napkins and other items were stored. That gave me a sermon illustration I use now and then to explain partly why that, before they mature, Christians sin the same sin from time to time.

    Something else happened that help to modify my thinking regarding the Christian Sabbath. I strongly opposed working on a Sunday in any non-essential commercial capacity, and I still do. However, there are passages in the Word of God that present a deeper principle when there is a need. There came a day that the Black supervisor asked me to work a Sunday morning for him so he could attend a funeral of a relative. I was a bit stunned. I asked him to let me think about it for little. Of course, I was praying. He did have a true need. I was the only one available and qualified to help him. I felt the peace of God that I could do it this one time, and so I told him I would. This probably occurred before Cornerstone opened so I did not have a pulpit duty that day to fulfill.

    Now, remember I wrote about my son's bike being stolen when we moved to Cambridge? I am pretty sure it showed up, with a little damage, one night when I was at KFC. One of the workers who lived in Easton rode the bike to work one night. However, because we did not have the serial number written down I could not prove to the police it was our son's bike.

    Another thing I saw at KFC was a bit sad. One of the chicken cooks asked me to help locate a certain box of chicken. So he and I went to the cooler and the boxes were quite visible. I then asked him, Tell me the truth. You cannot read, right? He nodded his head. So I told him what to look for on the boxes. Years later I would find out his inability to read was due in part to the poor educational system in MD.

    Most of the Blacks there treated me quite well. In fact, one called me homey. At that time I had no idea what that meant, so I asked a White lady who had a Black boyfriend. That means he considers you part of the family, she said. I felt relieved.

    Some Blacks were a little different. I think one young lady expected me to be a bit prejudiced. What happened was that one day when we were slow I assigned the workers different things to do. After a time I checked on them. She was busy working the tasked that I assigned to her, but acted tense when I was about to speak to her. Regardless, I commended her for working and not slouching. She still seemed a little tense after that. Nevertheless, I commended her to those over me.

    But there was one that just had to be nasty. And she was lazy. She got angry at me one day and said she was going to tell such and such relative. I said to her, I don't care if you tell Mr. T, a Black TV character that acted tough. Some days after that, I was asked by management to make a chicken delivery somewhere in Easton. I did, but when I tried to stop my car it would not stop. I bumped into the back of another car. No damage was done, but the owner of the other car insisted I wait until the Easton Police showed up. I cannot remember if I was fined or not, but it was soon after that I discovered the car's brake line had been cut!

    Though it had simmered down some, the racial prejudice of Dorchester County was still around. In the year or two before Cornerstone opened I was talking to a Black man at the front of a store at one of the outdoor malls. When I went back to our car two White men asked, You're not from around here, are you? I told them that was correct. But as the years rolled on more outsiders who were not racially prejudiced would move to Cambridge and things got a little better.

    Back in the early years of Cornerstone we tried to reach more Blacks. One year we had our own Biblical Black History month, but we did not get anyone new from that.

    Cambridge has a Christmas parade on a Saturday in December. In the early days of Cornerstone we would pass out Gospel tracts to those lining the streets before the start of the parade. I remember it rained one time and I got a slight cold from it.

    Then there was a time during a parade I was passing out tracts near the corner of Race and Muir Streets. The particular tract at that time dealt with the fact that sin was spiritual slavery. One of the Black men said to me No doubt your ancestors were slave owners. I told them they were not because my ancestors did not arrive in the USA until the early 1900s.

    For the next post I need to interject some events about, and observations of, satan's realm of darkness. I must do this to give some people more insight into the realm of the supernatural, and perhaps warn some people.

  Post 42: It Is Getting Darker Before The Dawn  
For some, the prophetic comes to mind at the close of each year. We are told in the Holy Bible that, among other things, iniquity shall abound before Christ returns. Though it has always been around since Adam fell into sin, it is obviously becoming worse. So, this post will not be a pleasant one. After all, this final Throwback Thursdays series deals with the supernatural, a realm that some people deny and one that some Christians take lightly as I did during those early years after coming to Christ.

    Some might complain about this post, that a preacher should not be posting such things. For those that might complain, you might want to start reading the Holy Bible because one of the subthemes of the Sacred Scriptures is to point out some of the evil spiritual depths into where some venture.

    The events and observations in this post occurred in any year from 1970 to 2023. Any name mentioned is not the actual name of a person.

Some Children Are Outright Spiritually Dangerous

    There are times when people get accidentally touched or tapped in the wrong spot. There was a young girl who was at our parsonage, perhaps to play with our boys. She got sick and we allowed her to rest in one of the beds. After she was there for a while one of us went into the room to see if she was OK. When one of us leaned over to talk to her she was accidentally touched in a certain spot. Her expression on her face changed to one that indicated a level of delight and an invitation for more. That was the last time to be at the parsonage.

    Then there was a time that a husband and wife were having serious marital problems. We were asked by one of the parents to take their two boys swimming with our boys for a time while the parent took care of some business. While we were in the water one of the boys purposely touched us in the wrong place. In this situation this might have been a case where the boy, who might have been hurting over the discord of the parents, wanted attention. It is still wrong.

    In the course of all these years I have heard of numerous cases of child sexual abuse. I suspect that in at least a small percentage of these cases the abuse was invited by the child. Of course, it still does not make it right, but the point is that all of us, even small children, have a sinful nature and sometimes it is really overboard.

    On the other hand, some children, usually girls, have a hyper-trigger where they are ready to complain about being touched in the wrong spot when nothing at all occurred. This happened to a relative of mine while he was playing with a child. I told him to not even physically interact with her anymore. I, also, did not bother with her.

    This moves us into the realm where some people, including those who are not children, imagine things. I know someone that said there was a fire in her house when there was no fire at all. People will assume you or I said or had done a certain thing when we never did. The list can go on.

A Really Weird Couple

    During all the churches that we have pastored we have attempted to get people to come to Christ and come to church. We came across a certain couple and they started to attend church. The wife was a bit heavy and the husband had a permanent stoma in his throat. The only way he could speak was to place a vibrating electronic device at the base of his throat and move his mouth and lips. But that is not what was weird.

    Naturally, when someone is absent from church for a time we would go visit them. This happened with this couple. They would come every now and then but they were usually absent. At this point I will call the man Frank and the woman Francine.

    One day our phone rings and it was Frank. I forget what we were talking about but at one point he said to me, . . .

    Francine loves you. Immediately I had to wonder about that one. I replied something like, it is good for people to love their pastor. He replied, No. She LOVES you. Well, she needs to LOVE YOU, I insisted. The conversation soon ended. But it did not stop there.

    About a week or so later the phone rings again and this time it is Francine. She said she was in bed sick, had soiled herself, and asked ME to clean her. I asked her where Frank was. She said he is there watching TV. I told her that Frank is the one that is to clean her.

    That conversation soon ended and to this day I find it hard to believe that some lady would call their male pastor to clean them! Sometimes I wonder if I am the only pastor this craziness has happened to, but given the times we are in I am sure there are others. What would have happened if I would have taken Sister Dorcas with me over to their house? The thought ran through my mind that Frank had a gun ready for me. Other horrible things could have happened. This strange couple eventually moved to Salisbury, Maryland and I never heard from them again.

On Guard

Dorchester Square Mall parking area

    In every place we have lived I tended to hand out, and place, Gospel tracts. Dorchester Square Mall, along U.S. 50, in Cambridge is one location. Sometime back I was at that location around 6AM. Attached to this post is a picture of where I was when a car with at least two people drove in from U.S. 50. They rolled down a window and tried to summon me to the car. I felt very uneasy about that so I kept walking. They called again and I ignored them. They then continued to drive over to Walmart.

Homosexual Activity

    Even before we ever settled in Cambridge I had sensed over fourteen demonic powers had some sway over that small city. I cannot find that list at the moment, but chances are sexual immorality and deviancy was on it.

    After a few services at Cornerstone on Race Street I sensed that one man (let me call him Butch) had been into homosexuality. At another service, another man who is into a religious cult and of whom I had also sensed that he was into homosexuality, was also present. When he saw that Butch was there he said, You?! You're HERE?

    There also had been reports of homosexuals taking sinful advantage of a highway rest stop just east of Cambridge. The State Highway Administration finally closed it.

Marital Infidelity

    During the 1990s we had opportunity in various ways and at various times to minister at the Bradford House, an apartment complex, in Cambridge. During a time when a local resident was in charge of Christian services in their meeting room, I had been asked to speak on an early Sunday evening. They also had special music from a male and female Christian (note the quotation marks) duet team. They were not married to each other, which is OK, but when they would sing together they mainly looked at each other with, uh, VERY nice expressions. There spouses were never around. This duet had a recording studio in another town in the county. Methinks certain things have happened in studios that had nothing to do with music.

    In later years at Cambridge I would become a reporter for The Daily Banner, the local newspaper. Indeed, it was one of the most educational jobs I ever had. I had opportunity to learn about various organizations. There was one group that I had to cover a lot. However, there were times a few would make certain comments that pointed to the possibility of a little sexual activity among a few of its members.

    Of course, I covered political activity. One day when I showed up to cover a political rally the wife's politician was greeting people at the door. However, she wanted to give a kiss on the cheek (at least the cheek) as a greeting to every guy that was going to enter. I glared at her and offered my hand for a handshake instead. Years later her husband would be unfaithful and I think that ruined his political career.

    There are many more recollections but I will close with this incredible one. There had been a lady who would tell you she was a Christian and seemed to have some very strong standards. However, her standards were skewed. She told her husband she would never tolerate him smoking, and told him that she would rather see him with other women than to see him smoking!

    As we enter into 2024 the world is getting spiritually darker. For those of us who are in Christ we must walk ever closer to Him. God help all of us to purify ourselves (see 1 John 3:1-3) so we may remain in Christ (See John 15) and be a shining light to draw others to God through Christ. If you are reading this and you do not have Christ as your King and Savior I encourage you to surrender your life to God through Christ before things get much worse in this world.

  Post 43: From Messes To Miracles Then Heading To Court  
With this post we return the focus back to the new Assembly Of God (AOG) God helped us to start in Cambridge, Maryland. One way to encourage the unchurched to visit is to have guest speakers now and then. We had some pretty good guests, but every now and then I regretted what came in.

Unhappy Church Incidents

    In the previous post I mentioned how things are getting spiritually darker. When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I never encountered a situation where individuals of opposite gender would change clothing in the same room at the same time. Imagine my shock when I had a ministry team come to put on, if I recall correctly, Bible plays and when it came time to switch scenes or topics a male and female go into the same Sunday School room at the same time to change their outfits.

    Then there was a time we had a Christian lawyer address our church and during his talk or devotional he indicated that the Pentecostal experience was not real. However, I was so glad when two or three of our people immediately spoke up to tell him otherwise. This lawyer was not a member of the AOG.

    There also came an opportunity for us to have an AOG lady minister that worked with the famous Mother Theresa. Now, understand the late Mother Theresa was a Roman Catholic nun and, sadly, for various reasons the Roman Catholic Church is not truly Christian. If anyone wishes to challenge me on that feel free to contact me, but bear in mind I was raised Roman Catholic. Anyhow, before I agreed to have her come I asked her why she had worked under Mother Theresa. She said that she wanted to gain discipline. At that time I felt it was then OK to have this lady speak, but if the same opportunity would occur again today I would turn it down. But, I did agree to let her speak and I thought for sure I would get a crowd out to that service. I had announcements printed and spent a day or two driving to many points in Dorchester County to put the notices in stores and wherever else I could. If you have time, look at a map of Dorchester County and see how much traveling I did: Taylors Island, Church Creek, Fishing Creek, Hoopers Island, Crapo, Eldorado, Linkwood, Salem, Galestown, Vienna, other locations, even way down to Bishops Head. Some of these places were so sparsely populated and remote from Cambridge that occasionally a few guys seemed very delighted that an outsider would venture to visit them. For sure I would get a crowd. Nope! Perhaps two or three new people showed up. I was VERY disappointed and it really dampened my evangelical enthusiasm.

The Street Beat

    On the other hand, as I did other things like passing out tracts I was blessed by the work of God from time to time. One day I got the hankering to pass out tracts and felt impressed to walk from our apartment on Peachblossom Avenue to a point around 3 miles (4.8km) away to the east called Jacktown. However, when I got to Jacktown it seemed like no one was around, but I soon spied one lone man walking along a road. I attempted to witness to him but he indicated he was going to keep walking so I just gave him a tract. He was the only one out there, but it just seemed like God wanted me there at that moment.

    Similar to that was the time I drove westward out of Cambridge on Hudson Road and turned right on to another road. Again, one lone man. I rolled down my window to give him a Gospel tract and he said that was the third time that day for someone to give him religious literature.

    At least twice I encountered a situation where residential housing was supposed to be locked, but God opened the doors. As I walked down Race Street one evening as I approached such a building near Muir Street I thought it would be nice if I could get in there. When I ventured into its entrance way I saw the inside doors leading to the upstairs apartments was not locked and took advantage of it. Then there was the newer building on Academy and Market Streets, right next to the creek drawbridge. Lord, it would be great if I could get in there, I prayed. As I walked closer I saw some contractors were there and, lo and behold, they had the main door wedged open. I did my thing and left to walk across the drawbridge. I kept my tracts in a back pocket, but there was a guy coming in my direction and must have sensed I was, uh, dangerous and crossed to the other side.

Two Miracles From The Days Of Unrest

    Cambridge had gone through torment during the days of the Civil Rights movement. At one point H. Rap Brown gave a speech here and soon a block or so was set ablaze in the Black section of town. During those days the National Guard was called in to simmer things down. A young White guardsman named George Wheatley was on Pine Street (I think that was the street) when he spied a quarter on the ground. Just as he bent down to pick up the quarter a bullet whizzed over his head. That was one miracle. Either some time before or after that he and other guardsmen were doing some crowd control and at one point for some reason he had to subdue a Black man by placing the tip of a bayonet near his throat. That man was Lemuel Chester. After some years BOTH men surrendered their lives to Christ and BOTH men became pastors! And, yes, because they were true brothers in the Lord they became friends.

I Get A Friendly Warning

    And, after the 1960s there was some spiritual healing, as well as emotional healing in Cambridge. Pockets of racism remain here and there but from what I see things appear to be better than what they were.

    But I still sensed I had to be more cautious in some areas than others. There were times I went to the Black sections on my own but there were a few times I was accompanied by a Black from our young church, Kevin Gibbs. However, one day when he was not available I felt like I had to place tracts at homes in the Schoolhouse Lane - Chesapeake Court area. By the way, no matter where I go unless I am told by God to do otherwise I never knock on a door. As I finished I went along Chesapeake Court and on to High Street. There, a young Black man nicely told me that I had to be careful around that area. I smiled, thanked him, and assured him I knew.

Threatened That A Lead Pipe Would Be Used On My Congregants

    Now let us fast forward to the 2010s. When sister Dorcas worked at Arbys at Dorchester Square Mall, on warm days I would go around the parking areas placing Gospel tracts in any vehicle that had a window opened to any degree. One time I tossed a whole Gideon New Testament into the cab of a tractor trailer.

    But one day a jeep, without a rear window, pulled into the Arby's parking lot. Now THAT's an invitation. Plus, it sported a Don't Tread On Me bumper sticker, so I thought the owner would not mind someone practicing a little freedom of religion and speech. So, while the driver was in the restaurant I went to the back of the jeep and gave a Gospel tract a good flick into his jeep. The tract ricocheted off of the side of the front passenger seat and landed in the center of the console.

    That night the phone rang and the man left a nasty message on our answering machine, saying that one of our church members broke into his jeep and left the tract there, and that he was going to come to our church, stand outside, and beat us with a lead pipe when we came out.

    I did not pick up the phone, but he kept calling back! Around 10pm I finally picked up the phone and listened to his rant. I calmly told him that no one broke into the jeep but had flicked the tract into it from the rear. After some time he calmed down. After he hung up, I had to think about Pastor Walter Long of Flintstone (see Post 22). Maybe this angry guy with the lead pipe would become one of my deacons. It has not happened yet.

New Potomac District Section

Five people are seen seated in our little sanctuary. We had more people that day, but this is all that my camera caught.

    Anyhow, back at the church, while I had no deacons I did have a nice little bunch from time to time as pictured with this post. Other Assembly of God churches popped up on the Eastern Shore where it got to the point the Eastern Shore became a separate section in the Potomac District Council. I was pleased to be at Falling Waters WV for that session where the District voted we may become a section. The ministers of the Eastern Shore were then told to have a business meeting in one of the back rooms of the tabernacle to select our officers, which we did.

    By the way, as a home missions church we had to be audited by our sectional officials and that occurred a few times. At one point they voted to up my salary to $50 per week.

Let Us Conclude By Going To Court

    Remember I wrote that while we were still in Flintstone we thought it would be great if we would see an actual court case sometime? Well, welcome to Cambridge!

    When Cornerstone was situated on Race Street one of the residents upstairs had gotten into some type of legal problem. I think he allegedly had stolen from a restaurant across the street. Anyhow, he tried to muddle things by saying he was jumped by a cop in the mutual entrance way of our church and the apartments upstairs. His lawyer had me summoned to be a witness for the defense. I was baffled. He said his client claimed a cop had hidden behind a door and jumped him and I was there to see it! I told the lawyer I was not there. The lawyer said I still had to appear in court and tell the judge that I did not see any such thing.

    That was my first trip. There are two courts in Cambridge, one is the District Court and the other is the Circuit Court. Soon, Dorcas and I were summoned to jury duty from time to time. Ha! Ha! Be careful what you desire.

    But, there came the day I would be both the accused and the plaintiff. However, it all worked out for the glory of God which, God willing, you will read about in the next post.

  Post 44: A Lot Of Trouble, But Worth It When Our Front Porch Became An Altar  
It seems to me it was 1997 when we still lived in a downstairs apartment at 707 Peachblossom Avenue in Cambridge Maryland when I became both the accuser and the accused in some court cases.

Weighing crab meat.     By 1997 I had switched secular jobs and was working for the Ocean Odyssey (OO) in Cambridge, mainly as a supervisor of their crab meat processing room (aka, picking room). Start time was usually 6 a.m., so it behooved me to get to bed by at least 10 p.m. A picture of me weighing crab meat is attached to this post.

    Upstairs renters changed from time to time, but that year Ronnie and his girlfriend moved in. It was just around that time the owner of OO decided to get additional crab meat pickers from Silver Springs, Maryland. These workers had legally come from Southeast Asia (like, Cambodia and Thailand). This additional crew doubled the number of personnel for my oversight. I considered this group of Buddhists as a mission field. I needed to get enough sleep.

    However, the apartment was so constructed that Ronnie's living room was directly above our bedroom. No doubt, the man wanted to relax before he went to bed so he had his TV on, but it was loud enough to keep me awake. This continued a few times, so I decided to write a nice note to him, asking him to lower the volume. I made a copy of the note, attached it to his door, and went to work.

    Ronnie was not happy. After loudly knocking on the front door sister Dorcas answered and he raised a vehement fuss. Another time, when Ronnie knew I was at work, he banged on our front door, thinking sister Dorcas would answer so he could yell at her. However, Sam was home from school that morning. Sam opened the door and Ronnie immediately took a step or two backwards. Sam told him that I was trying to provide for my family and I just wanted to be able to sleep at night. Nevertheless, Ronnie would still fuss at us from time to time. That was bad enough. More was to come.

Front Porch Confrontation

    We are independent Shaklee distributors and so from time to time we would have a few business get-togethers with others at our apartment. One day, some guests had parked out front on Peachblossom Avenue. Ronnie was out somewhere but when he came back he was not pleased, even though there was plenty room in front and in back of the parked vehicle.

    Ronnie knocked on our door and I answered, while at least two of my sons remained nearby in our hallway. One son had a baseball bat in his hand.

    Ronnie was very angry. He cursed at me. He mentioned arson. If I recall correctly, I tried to witness to him, something about God's love, at which point he called me a fag. He got angrier and took a swipe at me with an opened hand but did not hit me. I think he purposely kept his hand away from by about an inch.

    At this point, one of the guests came out and moved their car. Ronnie simmered down and went upstairs. We returned to our meeting. After it was finished and the guests left, I pondered what I should, or should not do, about Ronnie.

The Decision

    I thought that Ronnie might move after some time, but if he did, his next neighbor might not be a Christian. His next neighbor might kill him or, in the least, beat him severely. Also, what about the arson threat? If he moved elsewhere, would he really do it?

    Would his swing at me, observed by witnesses, be considered an assault under Maryland law? One lawyer friend thought it would. As I prayed about these things, I felt it would be in the best interests of Ronnie and whomever else might displease him to file an assault charge against him. Maybe he would stop.

    I went to the court commissioner and filed the charge. And, as you can very well guess, Ronnie was not happy to receive the charging documents. The next day when we had to take Jon to school, as we went out our back door Ronnie banged on his window upstairs. When we looked up, he was displaying his bare buttocks to us. There was a stone on our back porch and if there ever was a very intense moment to crucify myself in Christ that was the moment. My soul and body wanted so much to throw that stone through his window, but sister Dorcas said we had to get going to school.

    On the way back home I, again, dropped into the court commissioner and filed charges of indecent exposure against Ronnie. Ronnie worked as a carpet installer. In a matter of time he was arrested.

I Am Charged With Assault

    He was enraged. He and his girlfriend tried to file an assault charge on me, going back to the evening he had confronted me on the front porch. The court commissioner, knowing the history, refused to find probable cause. However, he was off the next day and they tried again, this time with more drama, stating that I had grabbed his girlfriend's arm while she was holding a baby and spun her around. This court commissioner picked up his pen and marked the probable cause box. Now, I was charged with assault. That did not bother me too much because I had at least a half dozen witnesses that saw that I had touched no one.

    I took a seat in our purple chair. I had a little concern, but by God's grace and only by His grace I was not overly worried. I felt that God was doing something, for everyone, not just Ronnie. By His grace and by this time in my walk with Christ I had learned to quit asking God Why me? and to ask God, What do you want me to learn from this? In a nutshell, the lessons I would learn were ones I already knew, but had to be reinforced. I also had to heavily exercise my dependence upon God.

    If convicted I could face imprisonment or a $2,000 fine or both. I did not think I could be convicted, but felt I should get a lawyer. I was able to qualify for the Public Defender, but was a bit unhappy that I still had to pay $50.

    As an Assembly of God (AOG) I also contacted the Potomac District Council of the Assemblies of God. I had to be immediately upfront with them. I was the pastor of the new AOG church in Cambridge and this secular battle might not look good to the public. I also asked them for a written letter regarding my demeanor over the years.

The Days Before Court

    The weeks before our court cases saw more turmoil from our neighbors upstairs. One time they loudly played a recording of a heartbeat. Other times there was very loud music. In regard to the loud music, I had called the police one day. The music stopped, but started again. The officer was still in the area and came back.

    One of the lessons I had to have reinforced to me was that we cannot depend upon people. At least once or twice an officer would be convinced by Ronnie that I was the trouble maker, even though it was quite obvious Ronnie had been drinking. One female officer, after responding to one of our disturbances, figured I was the culprit and told me to go back inside. However, she and Ronnie continued to talk, like they were good friends. I called the police department and they radioed her to clear the scene.

    One day when we came home we saw that one of our outdoor security lights was broken off. I had to get a potato to jam into the socket and twist out the stub.

    Just as his living room was above our bedroom, his bedroom was above our living room and noises often originated from there. Since I was his target, I made every attempt not to be home when none of my family was present. I kept record of everywhere I went, when I was there, and why I was there. One early evening I spent an hour or two at the bandstand, where President John F. Kennedy gave a speech, in Spring Valley on Circuit Court property. These attempts to stay clear of Ronnie made me feel something like David being chased by Saul with Saul on one side of a mountain and David on the other.

Praying Psalm 10

    As do many other disciples in times of trouble, I would go to the Psalms and select one to read and use as a prayer. Psalm 10 became my spiritual warfare prayer-psalm. I left out verse 1 though, because it reads as follows: Why do You stand afar off, O YHVH? Why do You hide in times of trouble? I knew YHVH was with my family and I, and that He was certainly not hiding Himself.

    As the days passed, we started to receive things in the mail that we did not order. There were one or two cases where the company sent either a copy or the original of an order form. The handwriting belonged to none of us. So, one day when our upstairs neighbor put out some mail to be picked up I walked over to their mailbox next to their door to look at the handwriting, and the handwriting matched. But, suddenly their door opened and I was cursed and hollered at. Ronnie demanded that I stay on my side of the porch. The next day or so I saw that he had placed a wooden trim between our two doors resting between the front of the house and the center pole for the roof of the porch. Attached below is a picture of the front of 707 Peachblossom Avenue before he put up the wooden trim.

    As the fusses continued and the police were often called I was told by one officer not to talk to Ronnie. That was one order I could not obey since I felt I needed to speak to Ronnie about the Lord.

    As the plaintiff for the two cases against Ronnie I was told by the States Attorney office that Judge Norton of the District Court was going to hear both my assault case and Ronnie's assault case the same day. About a week or so before the court date I was informed I had a new public defender! I was a bit concerned because I had personally talked with the first lawyer. So, I spoke to the new lawyer and she told me Judge Norton would not do the cases together. She would be proven wrong.

To Court We Go

    Court day finally arrived. I had submitted the letter from AOG about my demeanor and I had present with me almost at least a half dozen of witnesses who were present the day of the alleged assault or who would witness to my character. And, at this time, I want to again thank all of those who stood with me.

    Judge Norton, however, did not get to our cases until sometime around 10:30 a.m. He chose to do the assault case against Ronnie first. He informed Ronnie he could be tried that morning or he could opt for a jury trial in Circuit Court. Ronnie chose the Circuit Court. Then, after informing me that I also had the right to be tried before a jury in Circuit Court he asked what would I like. I said I wanted to be tried right then and now in District Court. Immediately he had both parties and any witnesses to stand and affirm our veracity (we may simply affirm in Maryland) or take the oath noting the same.

    After Ronnie and his girlfriend said what they wanted to say it was my turn to say what I wanted to say. Judge Norton, knowing I had a number of witnesses present, told my lawyer to pick one of them to testify on my behalf and said, Give it your best shot. At that moment I had to wonder if the judge wanted to get everything done before lunch.

    After that, and whatever else had to be done, the judge asked me to stand.

    Mr. Macinta, I find you not guilty. However, he continued by addressing Ronnie and said, Mr. (last name), if you would have been tried today I would have found you not guilty.

    Personally, that told me that the judge had his mind made up about both assault cases and I did not think his statement to Ronnie was appropriate. Also, no mention was made about the indecent exposure charge I had filed against him.

    Because Ronnie might have been tied up with paperwork, we made it back to the apartment house first. However, in due time, Ronnie and his girlfriend came home. He slammed the door and stomped up his steps. However, they remained quiet after that.


The front porch of the apartment house at 707 Peachblossom Avenue

    A few days later sister Dorcas and I went out for an evening walk, going out our front door. When we came back home, Ronnie and his girlfriend were sitting on their side of the front porch.

    Mr. and Mrs. Macinta, can we talk with you? It is nothing about court. We agreed.

    Ronnie and his girlfriend told us that they wanted to get right with God. So, after a few moments, when we confirmed that they really wanted to surrender their lives to God through Christ all of us knelt and we reached across the wooden divider, laid our hands on them and prayed the sinner's prayer.

    The next day I felt that I had to contact the States Attorney Office. If Ronnie was now my brother in Christ I felt that I could no longer bring him to court over the assault and indecent exposure charges. However, did he really make Christ his King? When I called the States Attorney Office they suggested I put the cases on stet docket. If after a year of no trouble the charges would automatically be dropped. I agreed.

    They no longer gave us any trouble. Things were now peaceful. I sat in the purple chair and thanked God for the whole thing. However, I had one request. Lord, I sure would like to get the $50 back that I paid for my lawyer.

    About a week later, we received a letter from the Maryland Weatherization Program. Enclosed was a check for . . .



  Post 45: Lessons Directly From The Master, And When He Chooses To Use Humans  
Every disciple needs to listen to God, not just from the written Word, but also to their heart, spirit, conscience by the Holy Spirit. Of course, when the Holy Spirit speaks directly to us, He will never contradict the written Word.

    While every disciple needs to listen and obey God, it could be said that those who have been called to teach or preach have a greater obligation to listen and most certainly obey out of love for Him.

Word Of God, Not Man

    Before we ever started Cornerstone Assembly of God in Cambridge, Maryland, while we were still in Flintstone, Maryland, I had the habit that many ministers have when referring to a Biblical text saying things like, Paul said. Peter said. Isaiah said. However, I along with others firmly believed the Holy Bible was written by the Holy Spirit, each word chosen and placed as it was in the original texts. So I sensed from that if we say something like James says or Paul says some may think there was some type of conflict among the human writers as well as certain passages being less than the Word of God. As a result, I started to make an effort to say phrases like, The Holy Spirit said through Jude, God says through James.

    God also dealt with me on the way I was administering The Lord's Supper, i.e., Holy Communion. When we look at when it was first instituted it occurred in the evening. When Judas Iscariot left the gathering, he left a lighted room and went into the darkness. This was a great illustration that if we are in covenant with the Lord we remain in light. If we leave Him we go into darkness. There were no separate prefabricated wafers. Instead, unleavened whole grain bread was broken and used. In short, one aspect of Holy Communion is that it is to be a visual illustration of what Christ did for us. About that time, some churches started to use white grape juice which looked more like urine instead of any color that would suggest blood. So, I transitioned as time went on by holding Communion in an evening service and using matzo, or sometimes brown bread. However, in later years at Cornerstone I started baking unleavened whole wheat and not giving it much shape (consider Isaiah 53:2). At church, while Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 is being read, at a certain point one person with hands washed and gloved begins breaking the bread while another pours the juice into cups.

Attendees for our communion service

    Attached to this post is a picture of our church when we were meeting at a different location than Race Street and we were observing the Lord's Supper.

    In more recent years, additional modifications to my behavior were insisted upon by the Lord. As I have written before, prior to coming to Christ I was very shy, but the Lord chipped away at that over the years. Up until about twelve or a few more years ago after the main service started I would pray at the usual times when many pastors pray. However, there came a spiritual tap on my shoulder with Jesus directing me to kneel and pray in front of everyone just before the service started.

Thou Shalt Not Be A Pole Parrot

    God will also providentially use events to train us, and even the unsaved, cult members in fact! It was probably when we were at Flintstone that I began to use the New International Version (NIV) for teaching and preaching. After all, at least one of our professors at Bible institute stated that it was, or at least he heard that was, one of the most accurate translations ever made. Years later I would find out that what he heard and believed, and what I also touted without personal research, was a sales pitch. Nevertheless, when God used us to open Cornerstone I had all the attendees on the NIV. That was a very big mistake.

    God corrected that mistake by permitting me to use the NIV with two Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) I was talking with one day. In the course of the conversation the topic turned to the Godhead, i.e., the Trinity. In desiring to show distinction within the one true God I went to 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. There are only personal pronouns in the actual text of verse 27. However, ignoring the actual Greek text, the NIV uses the terms Christ and God and constructing the sentence in such a way that logic would deduce Christ could not be God. Thanks to the NIV, there was no way a JW could plainly see there is one God, Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After they left, I checked a Greek text. Neither the terms God nor Christ were present, and the entire sentence showed no notable variants. The NIV translators made up verse 27. If they did so in verse 27, they probably did it elsewhere which, in later years, I found out that they did.

    At the next service at Cornerstone, I explained what happened. I apologized to the attendees and told them that we would switch to the New King James (NKJ). That was a lesson for me to learn to not be a pole parrot.

Thou Can Be A World Missionary

    Eventually we purchased our first modern computer, complete with Internet access. Once I found out how worldwide the worldwide web was I realized that God permitted this to come about before Christ returns. Now every Christian could be a worldwide missionary! I found out that I could get a free web site and began to learn hypertext markup language (html), a main coding language for web pages. Our first spot was Oasis Of Hope on Geocities. With God's help I developed pages on marriage, depression, and suicide.

    During this time, I felt impressed by God to learn how to type. I started with some typing books we have, but I felt it was crazy to learn by not typing actual words, but practicing things that I would not normally type, like mklyn, sfcer, and vwdwc. So, I did something a brother in Christ did. He could not read, but he picked up a Holy Bible and learned to read. To learn to type, I stopped using the typing books and started typing passages from the Word of God. Little did I know that God taught me a skill that I would use in a future job.

    I had one problem, though. I could not care less about spelling. But God used at least one person on the Internet to straighten me out. I was on a forum writing about God, salvation, and whatever when someone wrote back and told me that I needed to use proper spelling. No one will believe what you say if you do not spell correctly. I ignored that for a short time until I sensed God saying that they were correct. Besides, are we not to do our best for Christ?

Directed To Look More Closely

    Another correction occurred to cement my decision to use the NKJ. I was on a Bible prophecy forum when I mentioned a phrase in Revelation 19:7, ... and His bride has made herself ready. I might have been quoting the New American Standard Bible, but the more recent English Standard Version and others also have bride. Soon, a reply came back, it says wife, not bride. While that might sound trivial to some people, it is not trivial for at least two reasons. First, we ought to desire what God actually had John write. The second reason is that it destroys the force of prophetic utterance quite often seen in both Old and New Testaments. In other words, quite often God expresses the future (to us) prophetic as already completed. It is a done deal. It cannot be changed. John, having Jewish roots, would have easily been moved by the Holy Spirit to indicate the future marriage supper of the lamb would be a done deal.

    Again, I went back to the Greek text that I have. The vast majority of the oldest manuscripts, the ones we have that are closest to the time of the original, have wife.

    Sometimes we can learn some good things from some people. But there are other times it is good to respectfully turn a deaf ear. As we walk in Christ, His Holy Spirit will let us know. If it were not for that, I would have made two big mistakes during the 1990s. That comes up in the next post.

  Post 46: Incorrect Counsel  
Sometimes it is good to listen to others but sometimes it is not good to listen to others, even if it is those above you in a church you attend or a denomination that you are associated with. If you are a Christian, our primary counselor is the Holy Spirit.

    If you have read, Post 44: A Lot Of Trouble, But Worth It When Our Front Porch Became An Altar, you will see we had gone through much while living in an apartment in Cambridge. There are quite a number of other events that occurred there which I do not have time to write about. There were also the usual things that go along with renting an apartment and the worst for me was that you always had a sword dangling over your head. Your landlord could but you out of your apartment for just about any reason whether you had done something wrong or not. Most of the time, a renter only has thirty days to find a new home. Summing it all up, we felt it would be best to buy a house.

    However, for some reason our presbyter felt that we should not buy a house. I disagreed. It is good to think ahead. Back then, the rent per month was something like $400. Today, in 2024 $400 per month will get you nothing in lowly Cambridge Maryland. For many of the least expensive apartments the current price is around $800 per month. I have heard of rents like $1,200 and around $1,400. I think that is absolutely horrible.

The house mentioned in this post.
Sister Dorcas and the three grandchildren at the front door of 1405 Race Street.

    After looking around we found a three bedroom, two bath house for less than $55K. See the first attached image with this post. The second picture shows Grandma Dorcas coming back from a walk with the three grandchildren back in 2005, Liandra, Garret, and Savannah. By the grace of God we paid off the mortgage last decade. So, just for the house, at the moment we pay less than $5K per year for taxes and insurance. That is less than $500 per month. Also, there is no sword over our head.

    Getting back to the later 1990s, there was a lot of talk that it would be great for all Assembly of God churches to acquire 501(c)3 status. At first I cringed at the thought. To me it was bad enough that we had to get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) to establish a bank account for the church. I have always felt that a real church is not an employer. It should not act like one nor should it act like a business. But, after more and more talk, 501(c)3 began to sound pretty good.

    So, I researched what had to be done to get 501(c)3 status. One of the rules was that we had to have a Constitution and By Laws (C&B). Cornerstone did not have one, but we could create one. On further study I saw that we would have to be chartered by the state which would mean, if I am not mistaken, we could come under some level of state influence and even control.

    THAT raised a red flag in my mind. Though it was still the 1990s, I figured there would be a push for same-sex marriage and other things. The state might try to make us comply. Fast forward to 2024 and same-sex marriage is legal in Maryland. However, no law has been passed that ministers would have to officiate these sinful unions or, in the least, honor them in some way. However, I imagine that will come to pass in a few years.

    By the way, your gift to any church is still tax deductible even if they are not 501(c)3. Carefully read the tax code. Besides, I have read that less than thirty percent of Americans do not even have enough of other Schedule A deductions that their gifts to churches would even matter. Most of us take the standard deduction which, most times, is far better than itemizing deductions.

    Though we bought a house in the later 1990s the incident with Ronnie was one element that would combine with another element to create a most vicious and potentially disastrous rumor about me. It would be worse than me being accused of assault. But wait until you read what God told me to do in response!

  Post 47: A Reluctant Pastor, A Vicious Rumor, And Holy Scripture  
A most vicious rumor about me arose a few months after our family moved to the Race Street residence in Cambridge, Maryland and, as a result, God instructed me to do something I certainly did not want to do. But, before we get to that, I need to provide some background as to why God would give me a certain command.

    The background goes way back to before when I came to Christ. I was a macho boy, so much so that I considered certain things to be somewhat sissified. Part of that temperament carried over when I came to Christ. At first, I did not like the Psalms because some of them seemed a bit wimpy. When reading 2 Samuel I felt that David was not acting very manly when he rejoiced with dancing. As an Assembly of God (AOG) minister I did not mind other Christians dancing by the Holy Spirit but I felt that such action was not for me nor for other more manly ministers.

God Taught Me That I Had To Change My Mind

    That attitude stayed with me for a few years until I felt God nudge me to start using a reference book I had purchased for well over $30.00 but hardly opened. That book is Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies by William Wilson. After buying it I browsed a little across the pages but was not quite sure how to use it. It sat on one of my shelves for a time but eventually I felt God tell me to start using this tool I had paid so much money for.

    One day, while getting a message (sermon) for an upcoming service, I was drawn to a passage in Zephaniah, viz., Zephaniah 3:17, YHVH your God in the middle of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing. I saw it said he will rejoice over you and he will joy over you. Similar words in English, but was there any difference in the Hebrew? When I took basic Koine Greek in Holy Bible college I heard that the Greek was quite often more expressive than English. But then, a fellow student told me that Biblical Hebrew was more expressive than Greek. Various words had different shades of meaning and I very recently discovered that Hebrew has the ability to show intensity of action.

    So I opened Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies and checked these words in the Hebrew. Indeed, they were two different words. The first one, for he will rejoice over you meant, to exult, to be glad, to rejoice; the primary idea is that of springing, leaping. Uh, YHVH (YHWH, Jehovah, The LORD) Himself would spring and leap with immense joy over the Jewish people. Dare I consider Him to be a wimp, a sissy?

    For the other phrase,he will joy over you, the Hebrew word means, to be joyful, to be very glad; to rejoice with a joy which expresses itself in the gestures of the body. I thought had the first phrase meant that I could just stay with shouting, clapping and, perhaps, waving my arms. However, the first phrase specifically had the primary idea of springing, leaping. At that moment I knew that I had to change my ways of thinking about certain things.

Back To The Rumor

    Usually, there has to be an ingredient, or ingredients, to concoct a rumor. In the case I am about to tell you, remember that I had been charged with assault and was found not guilty. Nonetheless, word gets around town and whether you are guilty or not the basics of your court case, at least in Maryland, are usually available as a public record (although, I saw that as of 2024, my case is no longer available online). This was one of the ingredients for a vicious rumor about me.

    The second ingredient came about in the course of pastoring the new AOG church in Cambridge. Some of the youths and older children that were attending tended to be unruly at times. There were times sister Dorcas and I had to settle them down. They could be nasty. I cannot remember if one either threatened or actually did kick sister Dorcas in her knee. Regardless, I felt like giving that girl a hefty slap, but I held back knowing that would be considered child abuse. There were a few times we had to have that girl leave the service and go home. There was also another girl I placed in a corner one time. Perhaps some would consider that to be child abuse. Well, I say child abuse also occurs when parents and other responsible people do not discipline children. I thank God for the discipline, physical and otherwise, that I received from my parents, relatives, and teachers. My mother's wooden spoon knew me quite well! Sure, a person can overdo things, but I would say doing nothing is worse.

Our Holy Bible study at The Bradford House. Pictured are my wife and I and two ladies.

    One of our community outreaches included some Holy Bible teaching and some preaching at an apartment complex, The Bradford House. We would meet in the community room. Attached to this post is a picture of sister Dorcas and I holding a study in the community room. Some adults there (no one who is pictured) were unruly at times, loudly talking when I would be preaching. On top of that was the tables were greasy from food at times and had to be cleaned before I permitted our keyboard and other items to be placed upon them. By the way, look at this first picture and note how hefty I looked at the time. You will need that to imagine something in your mind in a moment.

The Rumor

    There came the day I received a call from a resident of The Bradford House, and let me call this guy Burt. Burt, at the time, was not a Christian. He was, using the Holy Bible term, a drunkard. Burt told me that he had heard that I had to go to court because of child abuse.

    I usually carry a decent reading of blood pressure but, guaranteed, if someone had checked my blood pressure at that moment I am sure the systolic would be over 140. I was concerned about my reputation and standing as a minister when I was charged with assault, but this rumor really concerned me. It was a very vicious rumor, one that would definitely be very destructive to my ministry. There was a piece of Pete that felt like ripping this drunkard's head right off of his shoulders. But, by the grace of God and Christ within, I did not verbally blast this guy.

    I told Burt that I did go to court, but it was not over child abuse. I also told him he had probably heard that we did have to discipline some girls in church. Burt was convinced. I do not know if I talked to him at that moment about salvation or not, but we spoke with each other a little more and hung up.

    After we hung up, my mind analyzed the situation and I came to the conclusion that I and my ministry had come under persecution, not by Burt or anyone else, but by satan. As I thought about this, Matthew 5:11-12 came to my mind: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Did you see that command from Jesus? He said, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. EXCEEDING glad. I knew what I had to do but I did not want to do it at first. Nevertheless, I had to be EXCEEDING glad. And, I had to be EXCEEDING glad in public!

    I got up. I went out our front door. I started skipping down Race Street, lifting up both hands at times. I had to ignore the fact that my neighbors, those walking along the sidewalks, or driving along the street would see me. Picture it — a somewhat plump man in his mid-forties skipping down the street with hands uplifted and moving back and forth at times. It was a sight for sure! I did that for about a half block and went back home.

    At some point I did talk to Burt about salvation, and he did receive Christ as his Savior. I think he also quit drinking, but soon died. Perhaps God took him before he would slip back.

My ugliest tie award.

    Ministers, especially male ministers, must be very cautious with their demeanor, otherwise, one opens themselves for attack. Years back there had been a minister in North Carolina that was accused of rape (this was before DNA testing was available). Although he firmly denied the accusation, the state seemingly had a strong case against him. If he went to trial pleading not guilty but was found guilty he would have faced many years in prison. So, under such pressure, he pleaded guilty. His ministry was destroyed anyway.

    We heard of many such cases when being trained at Holy Bible college and at various minister meetings. This is one reason why I always try to have someone else with me when interacting with ladies, or at least do so openly in public. Not that I am good, but because Christ within is good that I tell you I received one of the best of compliments in my life when I was transferred for a couple of years to work at a crab meat processing plant in a tiny place called Crapo. While going there, I had to pick up most, if not all, of the pickers — all ladies — with the company van before getting there at 6am. Sometimes it was still dark. I would open the picking house door and the ladies followed me. One lady said she felt safe around me. Apparently someone who did the task before me was a questionable character.

    I now end this post with a lighter occurrence. As a member of the Eastern Shore Section of the Potomac District of the Assemblies of God I would often attend their monthly meetings. One time, wanting to have a little fun, the presbyter suggested we have an Ugliest Tie Contest. At the next meeting we were to wear the ugliest tie we could find. I had a few, so for the next meeting I wore a red tie that looked like it had paint dribbles on it. Someone else had a very ugly one too, but the presbyter settled on mine and I won the award, a small wooden plaque with ugly writing and design. I have attached a picture of it with my winning tie.

    Hey, I was advancing in the AOG, no? But 2001 would see what I feel was a devastating change in the Assemblies of God. Also, Nine-Eleven would occur.

  Post 48: Major Ministry Shift  
As many know, much destruction occurred in the U.S.A in 2001. Adding to that, there was much destruction in the Assemblies of God.

    Before I get to either of those two horrid events, I would like to point out that ignorance and stupidity was on the rise throughout much of the world in 1999, and it spread much faster because the worldwide Internet had come about. I do not blame the Internet. It is a great tool, but any tool can be misused.

    A rumor began to spread that when we entered 2000 none of our computer systems would work because they could not recognize any date beyond December 31, 1999. However, I saw that our computer could and I figured other computers could. January 1, 2000 came and went with hardly a glitch anywhere in the country or elsewhere.

    However, as 2000 rolled along, and even before then, I had heard the AOG was considering a change in their by-laws that would permit those who were divorced and remarried before they came to Christ to hold ministerial credentials and become pastors of churches.

    If you have read the previous TBTs you might recall that before I acquired my first pastorate I saw no problem with those who were divorced and remarried before they became born again becoming pastors. After all, the grace of God wipes everything out from one's past, right? However, after sister Dorcas suggested I reconsider my viewpoint, and knowing that there were many gentle hearted fellow ministers that felt some divorced and remarried ought not be a pastor (based on Luke 16:18 and the requirements for an undershepherd seen in 1 Timothy and Titus), I began to do a personal study on the matter. I came to the conclusion that though God forgives us of our sins (when we ask forgiveness) what we have done within society cannot be undone. There is much more to this and a more clear explanation does not fall within this TBT series. Please see for more information.

    As time went on, I felt that I would have to leave the AOG if they ever permitted the divorced and remarried to be pastors. Why? That would be a signal to me that the AOG was beginning to not adhere to the Word of God, and that the AOG was beginning to go the downward path like many denominations and fellowships before them. Through the years there had been other signs that the AOG was slowly beginning to think and act like the world and not the Word of God. I thought, perhaps, it might be corrected but when I heard about the possible by-law change I felt the fellowship was deeply in trouble. I also remembered what one of our professors, brother Walter Beuttler, said in Bible institute. Revival strikes, fellowships form, then become denomination, they do well for a time, and then start going spiritually downhill.

    As a result, I started a group for like-minded AOG people on Yahoo titled Reclaim Our Fellowship. At some point I wanted to pitch the idea of specialized credentials, creating a group of credentials for those who would pastor and another type of credentials for those going into other areas of ministry.

    I cannot recall how far I got with that plan, but I do recall that around two months before the AOG Council scheduled for August 2001 that about a half-dozen or more members pulled out of my group. Most were churches that had joined, but there was at least one individual that would soon become a main leader within the AOG. By the way, during the early summer of 2001 AOG ministers and churches received information on what resolutions would be presented at the August General Council (GC). The resolution permitting the divorced and remarried to hold credentials was one of them.

    The week came along when the GC was held. Due to work restraints, finances, and other reasons, we were unable to attend. Each GC goes on for about a week. I think it was a Wednesday night when the resolution I mentioned was presented. We were up in Easton, Maryland at the time, enjoying an Italian meal at Giuffrida's Pizza. When we returned home I checked the church's email. The resolution passed.

    That was devastating. However, I did not resign my credentials at that time because I thought that the decision could be reversed at the next GC in 2003. I continued in my efforts toward that end.

    Oh, by the way, the certain person that left my group was elected as a main leader of the AOG and I found out that he had been in favor of the resolution. So, he did not really join my Yahoo group to help reverse the resolution. On top of this, there was another AOG top officer that was against the resolution and he was one of the people that would sign our credentials. I thought he would have resigned, but he did not.

As is about to be mentioned.

    All of that was bad enough. However, on September 11 I stopped at the Cambridge Post Office before heading to work at Ocean Odyssey. They had a radio on and I soon found out that a plane struck one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City (NYC) along with a few of the other attacks. After I got to work the owner locked all of the back doors. It was already planned that there would be no crab picking that day and so my task was to wash the restaurant's dishes and cooking equipment. I also had to bring stock up the steps to the second floor. Around 1pm I was doing just that when I saw a young man dressed in full military uniform enter through one of the back entrances and into the restaurant section. I imagine the owner had one of the back doors unlocked so this young man could get a free meal before getting into action.

    Like most Americans I was smitten over these unwarranted attacks. My sister lived in Kearny, New Jersey at that time. The NYC skyline is very visible along most streets running west to east on the east side of town. She, and others, were able to witness the destruction.

    Though I was 49, there was a piece of me that wanted to get into the armed forces in order to help defend the U.S.A. However, that could no longer be. Instead, like other Americans I started to display our flag more. I had a copy on the back of my bike, we hung a small one on the mirror of our car along with a red, white, and blue cord, and I would wear one on my work shirts as seen in the image attached to this post which pictures sister Dorcas and I at home.

    Now, a note of praise of how God can work in a person's life. As I wrote in previous years in these TBT series, I had been prone to clinical depression. Though I was saddened over both the AOG fiasco and the 2001 Nine-Eleven attacks by the grace of God, and in obeying what He taught me, I did not go into major depression. From what I have read about it, a person with major depression finds it very difficult to function. By God's grace I continued to function.

    I continued my efforts to get the new by-law reversed throughout the remainder of 2001, all of 2002, and into the summer of 2003. However, some time during 2002 or 3 I was told that the policy of the AOG was not to take up the same issue in a General Council that immediately followed. It was beginning to look like I would need to resign my credentials.

    Though that was on my mind I continued to attend our sectional meetings. In fact, at our sectional council of 2002 I was elected as Alternate Presbyter. What that meant was that if the District Council did not approve our section's choice for Presbyter, my name would come up as a replacement. For me, by the grace of God, that was an honor. And, thinking back to the years before I came to Christ when I, as a teenager, felt like a piece of trash and an ultimate failure, we can see what God can do through Christ with any life. Anyhow, I knew our selection for presbyter would be fine with the District Council, and he was.

    We were still home missionaries with the Potomac District so we were allowed to visit the Dorcas Room at District Camp. The room was stocked with various useful items. We went to the Dorcas Room in 2003. Sister Dorcas went to the room while I waited in a portion of the camp tabernacle. I did not want anything. As I sat there I remembered the days when the AOG was spiritually stronger. I did not want to resign my credentials, but unless there was a reversal in 2003, I had to resign.

    On the way back home we headed toward the Baltimore Beltway in order to take I-97 south and then US50 to the Bay Bridge. As we neared the Beltway the traffic suddenly became fast and congested and got on my nerves, so I pulled off. Then, it felt like God was saying, Get out [of the AOG]! Get out now! Back home I made proper, legal, plans to not only resign, but to remove Cornerstone Assembly Of God from the fellowship and declare it an independent work. I would then see what the August 2003 General Council would do. They did not undo the by-law nor modify it.

    By this time I had a new EIN for our independent church. We established a bank account for that church, transferred all the money from the old account to the new account, and closed the old account. I typed up my resignation letter, noting within it that I was removing the church from the AOG and declaring it an independent work. On August 31, 2003, I went to the post office and dropped it in the mail slot to send it to the Potomac District Council. When I stepped outside the post office I sort of pictured myself stepping into an office where Jesus was sitting at the desk and saying to me, Hi there!

    In other words, I now had to answer directly to Him. That is not to say that was not the case when I was with the AOG. However, I strongly feel, based on Holy Scripture, that if one is in a denomination or a specific fellowship that one must be respectfully subordinate to them. If you cannot, then it is almost a sure indicator that you need to leave.

    So, I was now an independent minister of the Gospel, and around a quarter of a century before that I did not think highly of such ministers. But, over the course of time I found out a person could be an honorable or dishonorable minster whether or not they were part of a denomination or corporate fellowship.

    A few days after mailing my resignation letter my presbyter called. He said it was not that easy to leave the AOG. Well, perhaps for them, but not for me. Regardless, they would not be getting the annual $180 check from me to keep my ordination credentials. To me it was a done deal.

    But, a few weeks later I received a phone call from the District Superintendent who said he was coming to town to speak with me and asked me to choose a location. I chose the Ocean Odyssey. In our discussion he told me the issuing of credentials to the divorced and remarried was not a big issue to him. I forget what I said, if anything, but I thought to myself that if a district official could not see that the issue was wrong based on God's Word then this was another reason for me to leave the AOG.

    After affirming to him I was sticking with my decision he asked, What are you going to do Pete? A silly answer came to my mind but I bit my tongue and probably said something like trust God.

    I was told that my resignation had to be presented to the General Council office in Springfield Missouri. Some other minister told me that the AOG could list me as dismissed because I had taken a church out of the AOG. Finally I was told I would be simply listed as resigned.

    Naturally I had to drop the AOG name from our church. It is now called Cornerstone Assembly Independent Pentecostal.

    Referring back to the statement by my presbyter stating it would not be easy to leave the AOG, time showed that was true — for the AOG! Despite the legal change of the church name, for years we kept getting mail for Cornerstone AOG. Additionally, because we still sent financial support to some AOG missionaries and two orphanages, for about six or eight years the Springfield office could not switch our name from AOG to Independent Pentecostal for the receipts because they could not figure out how to do it! Cornerstone Independent Pentecostal had the same address as Cornerstone AOG, and they could not get their computer system to understand that for a few years.

    On my part, somewhat missing the level of teamwork with like-minded ministers I started searching the Internet to see if I could find one. I sort of did, but — anyhow — God willing I will mention that next time.

Bingo! Hey! Yo! Like, YO! Hey! Right smack dab here is the latest post!

  Post 49: Almost Got On The Road To Zion 😁  
What I am about to write for the first part of this post is not meant to deride the Assemblies Of God (AOG) but to demonstrate the observation that was brought out by Brother Walter Beuttler who had been an instructor at Northeast Bible Institute (NBI) during my first year there. And that would be the final year that Brother Beuttler would teach at NBI. He had told us during a class that a revival by God comes forth, fellowships and denominations form from it, some do well for a time, but then spiritual liberalism creeps in, after which the denominations and fellowships become so worldly you cannot tell them apart from the other spiritually dead groups.

    It was around the early 2000s, and before I had resigned my credentials, that I had received a survey from an AOG man studying for his Masters Degree (in Psychology, I think) at one of the AOG schools of higher education. The cover letter indicated that this survey, with scores if not over one hundred questions, was a project he was working on in pursuit of his degree and it was being sent to a number of AOG ministers.

    There were a few questions that made me wonder why he would send such a survey out to true men and women of God. One question that I recall was something like, Do you have trouble losing your inhibitions at a party? Now, wait a minute!

    Why would even a Christian WANT to lose their inhibitions at a party? Why would a Christian WANTM to lose their inhibitions at anytime? And, this question is being asked of AOG ministers! Was he seeing something in the AOG on a much larger scale than what I had seen from a small minority of credential holders?

    Getting back to the resolution that was passed during the AOG 2001 General Council (see previous post), it is to be noted that a few decades before that horrible decision the AOG began to use Scripture from the NIV at the same time with the KJV for their statement of fundamental beliefs. After that, more worldly behavior and thinking began to surface in their literature and meetings.

    It was during the early 2000s that it seemed to me that satan (I do not want to capitalize that name) and his demons were working overtime to destroy the truth that once a person is married they remain married until one physically dies — and not by an act of divorcement. Around that time we attended a camp service in Denton, Maryland, and the speaker we heard that night presented a message that devastated holiness and marriage. For details on that travesty please see .

    One of the so-called side benefits of permitting those who were divorced and remarried before they became born again to hold credentials was, well, more finances coming in. After all, at that time the top two levels of ministers had to have their credentials channeled through the national headquarters and, at least, ordained ministers were to pay for their credentials. That was around $180 per year before I resigned. So, thanks to the 2001 resolution there was now an influx of such people. However, sometime past 2005 I was getting mail from AOG headquarters asking ME for money for the AOG! They had a dire need for money!

An informational book from Zion Fellowship, as is about to be mentioned in this post

    At my end, though I knew I did the right thing by resigning my credentials I still yearned to be a part of a larger specific Pentecostal fellowship. After searching the Internet I came across Zion Fellowship International (ZFI) headquarted in Waverly, NY ( I looked at their fundamental truths and they somewhat matched the AOG, except that they were very strong in their stance regarding marriage, and that they did not credential anyone who was divorced and remarried.

    This looked pretty good. So I began to listen to messages from some of their ministers. A pleasant discovery to me was that most of them were trichotomists, i.e., they considered people as each having a body, soul, and spirit. Dichotomy (body and spirit) was emphasized by most of my instructors at NBI, but I still felt it was best that we look at ourselves as a trichotomy.

    However, a lot of the ZFI ministers believed that the rapture of the Church would occur at the end of the Great Tribulation. I do not. Also, many felt that the 144,000 in The Revelation Of Jesus Christ were a special group of Christians. I do not, and it is very plain that they are Jews. So, I either wrote or called one of their ministers and they indicated to me that those two points were not required to be believed by credential holders. Great! So I requested a credentials application packet from them, part of which is pictured with this post.

    As I read through one batch of material it all looked good, so I filled out the forms. But then I read some more in the book pictured with this post and discovered that it is required by them that my church be incorporated. For reasons mentioned in a previous post, that is something I could not agree to. Nevertheless, I was still relieved to have come a across a fellowship that really guarded marriage.

    However, I remained unaffiliated with a small church. That is fine, though, because God works in various ways. God willing, I will bring out some examples in the next post.

Previous "Throwback Thursdays" Pages:

First page: Countdown To The Week Christ Save Me

Second page: What A First Year In Christ!

Third Page: Bumps, Blessings, Surprises And More In The Boot Camp Of King Jesus

Fourth Page: Funny, And Not So Funny, Stuff On The Way To My Very Own Set Of Pulpits

♦     ♦          ♦     ♦

Selected Pages From Brother Pete's Oasis Of Hope

Suicide Prevention | Beat Depression | Help For Marriages

Godly Self-Esteem |  The Forgiveness Factor | Be Ready!

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