Estefania’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

June 20, 2015 was a very special Sabbath at the Iglesias Adventista Hispana de Efeso in Miami and in heaven as Estefania gave all of herself to Jesus, because He gave all of Himself for her.


Estefania and her brother really enjoyed their first year at Tampa Adventist Academy, where they both joined my baptism classes. Estefania was also in my Bible class, where she eagerly participated in choosing to have a close, real and personal relationship with Christ.

Estefania 2

After attending my baptism classes at Tampa Adventist Academy Estefania shared a desire to be baptized in the summer at the church in Miami that is very dear to her heart. You can see she is very dear to their hearts too.


Estefania was baptized by Pastor Samuel Diaz.

Estefania writes of her baptism:

It meant that I was a new person and that God had forgave me for all my sins. That also meant was I can be with God when he comes back to save us so we can go to heaven with him. Also I feel a new person in Jesus Christ.

Don’t let the sun set on you before you decide to give your life to the One Who gave His life for you. I would love to help you in this decision. You may contact me at

Thank you Miss Peggy Fisher!

I am writing from beautiful Tampa Bay today, while my heart is back at Tulsa Adventist Academy.

I am writing from beautiful Tampa Bay today, while my heart is back at Tulsa Adventist Academy.

Okay for throw back Thursday we are going to throw it way, way,  back! Its 1975 at Tulsa Adventist Academy . Oklahoma City is not known for the Thunder but it has a nice zoo. John Erling is waking Tulsans up every morning on KRMG, telling them to ski the Tulsa mountains. We are having our classes in the Sabbath School rooms in the church across the parking lot, while new classrooms are being built along with a new gym.

On this particular morning, I am sitting with my third and fourth grade class, listening to a lecture given by our teachers, Mrs. Sharon Krueger, and Miss Peggy Fisher. I don’t really remember what we did wrong this time. I vaguely remember it may have had something to do with, where  did we all hide the score sheets, or chalk and erasers or Jimmy Hoffa. Actually there is only one thing that I remember vividly from the lecture, as if it was yesterday. While Miss Fisher was trying to set us all straight, she told us,

“If you only learn one thing from us this year, we want you to always remember that we love you.”

Funny. I remember that! Actually that is the only thing I do remember from that talk that day or even the whole day itself. In the fourth grade I was already clamoring for acceptance. I really knew nothing about football at that point, but all the other guys in my class were all talking football so I wanted to join in and sound cool. “I can’t wait for this Sunday” I said. “Why?” The other boys asked. “Because the Dallas Cowboys are playing the Oklahoma Sooners!” I answered, not thinking ahead on how quickly that lie would be found out. I just made it up to have something to add to the conversation. Of course the other boys made me feel like a fool when they quickly told me they are not even in the same league or level. A lie I thought would get me “in” just made me look stupid and ignorant.

Welcome Back Kotter, was a popular sitcom at the time, and at the end of each show, Kotter, played by Gabe Kaplan, would tell a joke to his wife. I decided I was a comedian, and announced to Miss Fisher that I would have a joke to tell each day at lunch. Problem is I didn’t know any jokes, and making them up as I went along did not amuse the kids or the teachers.

So you can imagine, what good news it was that I was loved. I didn’t have to make up lies anymore to be accepted. I didn’t have to make up witty jokes to be liked. I was loved. I was accepted just the way I was.

Miss Fisher taught me more than just that I was loved, but that is the one thing I remember. By being loved I did not have to spend all my time thinking of silly jokes and lies to tell, and I could now focus confidently on my school subjects. I hated diagramming and structuring sentences back then. How was I to know back in 1975 how important that would be, and that I would be writing sermons and blog posts and lessons and devotionals for a living? How was I suppose to know that I would be substitute teaching at another TAA, Tampa Adventist Academy 40 years later, and would meet a kid like me, who really did not want to spend their time structuring sentences, but I would assure them how important it is. How did I know back in the fourth grade that one day I would be teaching my regular weekly Bible class at Tampa Adventist Academy, and would meet students who’s greatest need was knowing that they are loved and accepted so they can behave and learn?

In Miss Fisher’s 40+ years of teaching and working in the education field, I am not the only young person she has mentored.  In addition to Tulsa Adventist Academy, places like Parkview in Oklahoma City, and Gentry, Arkansas, and Philadelphia, PA and Valley Grande Academy in Wesleco Texas benefited greatly from her teaching and mentoring. She has also served as educational superintended in New England and the Rocky Mountain SDA conferences, among other places. Later she returned to where her passion lies, in the classroom, at Gold Coast SDA school in Oregon.

Its teachers appreciation week, and I want to thank all of my teachers for mentoring and teaching me. I realize now, as a teacher-Bible Instructor, that teachers get paid regardless if the kids learn or not. The passion teachers pour into their jobs and into their kids is not for a paycheck. They could care less and still get a check. Teachers go the extra mile and often times make themselves unpopular in doing so because they care. They care so much, that their popularity and approval rating does not matter to them as much as making sure students succeed. If you have to occasionally make a student or even parent dislike you in order to make them successful then so be it!

In the fourth grade I had Miss Fisher pushing me and encouraging me to do my best, all the time assuring me, no matter how bad my test scores were, or corny my jokes were, or how little I knew about football, I was always loved and accepted. Today she is on my Facebook cheering me on, liking all my corny comments, and sending me notes on how proud she is of me.

Well today Miss Peggy Fisher, we want you to know, from Philadelphia, PA to the Gold Coast of Oregon just how proud we are of you! For over 40 years you have taught and prepared us for practical living by teaching us Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, as well as preparing us to thrive emotionally, by stressing while you were teaching, that you really did care. Today I know even more just how much you care. You don’t get paid to care about me anymore, but You still do in every conversation or email that we share.

Auto correct can fix misspelled words but it can’t make a kid feel special. Google can give you facts and information, but it can’t make you feel accepted, and give you a sense of belonging in the world. Thank God for teachers who do more than just teach. They care!


Miss Fisher, I know you are retiring from the classroom, but your passion for learning and mentoring continues. Its not your job. Its you. Enjoy your retirement and THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES!

Miss Peggy Fisher

Miss Peggy Fisher

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 21 (Beyond the Manger, Jesus’ Giving)

I am writing tonight from beautiful Panama City Beach, Florida.

I am writing tonight from beautiful Panama City Beach, Florida.

When I was in the 3rd and 4th grades at Tulsa Adventist Academy, we had our classes in the church building as the school was being remodeled, including the cafeteria. For those two years we had to bring our own lunch to school each day as there were no warm lunches. Occasionally, one of my classmates would forget their lunch. When this happened, the rest of us would share a portion of our lunch, maybe an apple or two, and part of a sandwich and some chips, so that with our combined offerings, they would have a complete lunch. However, I don’t remember any of us giving all of our lunch away, but look at what Jesus did, as a child growing up with his step brothers, when he found someone without a lunch.

Jesus sought out these very ones, and spoke to them words of encouragement. To those who were in need He would give a cup of cold water, and would quietly place His own meal in their hands. As He relieved their sufferings, the truths He taught were associated with His acts of mercy, and were thus riveted in the memory. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 87

Jesus gave all, and because of His acts of mercy people listened to what He taught. His acts of mercy gave to merit to what He taught. Later in His life it was said of Jesus,

“No man ever spoke like this Man!” John 7:46 NKJV 

The reason that Christ spoke as no other man spoke was that He lived as no other man lived. If He had not lived as He did, He could not have spoken as He did. His words bore with them convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, burdened with love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. . . .Ellen White, Heavenly Places, Page 237

Are your teachings accompanied  by acts of mercy and sympathy?

Thank You, Joada Korgan

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area, while my heart is back at Tulsa Adventist Academy 35 years ago.

On a fall morning in 1978, I took my seat along with the rest of my 7th grade classmates at Tulsa Adventist Academy, as we set out to embark on a new adventure called junior high school. We were greeted by our teacher,  Joada, McGehee, who began by giving us a pep talk on where we were in life now. She told us we were not little kids anymore. She said we were becoming adults. We were somewhere in the middle, and on some days we would feel and be real mature, and on other days we would want to run out onto the play ground yelling and playing like little kids. She was right. For the next 35 years, some days I feel mature, and other days I want to go play on the playground. But I digress.

And so began my teen years, my formative years. For the next 6 years, Mrs. McGehee would be there every fall, winter and Spring day, teaching me history and English, and writing. She was even there when I made my failed bid for the Presidency in 1980. My campaign slogan was, “William Earnhardt for President: he’s poor but honest, just like Abraham Lincoln.” Well as it turned out I was not as poor or honest as Abe Lincoln, but when you are young you have big dreams and ambitions. One of my ambitions was writing. I started keeping a journal. I started writing poetry. I remember writing poems about this girl I had a crush on back then.  Today I look at that poem, written on yellow paper that used to be white, and I laugh at myself for writing such nonsense, that at the time seemed so real. I wrote sacred poems as well. I would share my writing with Mrs. McGehee and she would tell me I really had a gift for writing. I preached my first sermon when I was 15 and she was there to encourage me then too. During a period of your life, where you are not sure who you are in life, and where you are going, she was always there to encourage me on my way. She taught me how to write and even how to type. Who knew, while typing on those old typewriters  in 9th grade typing class, that one day I would be typing on blog posts? There was so much about the future we did not know.

Many years later, Joada McGehee, now Joada Korgan, ran across one of my devotionals online and sent me a personal e-mail telling me how proud she was of my writing and ministry. We kept in touch over the years by e-mail until Facebook came out and we became Facebook friends. She was there in 2008 for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. In September of 2011, she and her husband Julius, drove from Claremore Oklahoma, to Owasso to hear me preach as a guest speaker. Just a few months earlier she had written me, to put me in contact with a friend of hers here in Florida who needed some spiritual guidance. Joada told me how glad she was that I was there to help. It was cool being able to network with someone who goes all the way back to your childhood.

Last Friday morning my phone rang. It was the lady Joada had put me in touch with here. She was telling me that Joada had just been put on hospice and that It was only a matter of time. My first thought was that I had to tell Joada thank you before it was too late. That afternoon our mutual friend called, telling me Joada wanted me to call her. I called. She recognized my voice right away. I told her how sorry I was about the news and that I wanted to thank her for everything she had taught me and for encouraging me in my writing and preaching. Her first reply was ,”Well I know I made mistakes.”  I told her we all had. When you are young you can be critical of your parents and teachers, until you grow up and start making the same mistakes they did. Then I told her that was not what this call was about. It was about saying thank you to someone who had been one of my greatest cheerleaders over the last 35 years. We had a brief but meaningful conversation. I savored every encouraging word as it fell on my ear. Even when your ministry takes you 35 years and 1300 miles down the road, to another place and time, it still feels good to know, someone from your childhood is still there cheering you on. When someone has been there for so long, you start to assume they will be there forever. I was so glad I got to call and say thank you. In the 7th grade I wasn’t the best in getting my assignments done on time, but as we hung up she gave me my last assignment. She told me to be sure and pray for my classmates who have wandered from Jesus. I won’t forget this assignment like I did so many others. Thank you Joada for the pep talks in the 7th grade. Thank you for teaching me how to write and how to type what was on my heart. Thank you for the encouraging notes over the last 35 years. Thank you Jesus for the encouraging people in my life.  Today I got a phone call. Joada fell asleep in Jesus today. I’m glad I got to say thank you.

Glimpses Of Our God; The Triune God

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area where the Bucs play.

Out of all the things I forgot while in school, sometimes I wonder what it was that made me remember the things that I do. I remember sitting in my 7th (or 8th?) grade English class at Tulsa Adventist Academy. The teacher, Miss Childers, asked if the word “crowd” was plural or singular. Since a crowd is a lot of people, I answered “plural”.  Miss Childers told me she understood why I said that, but she went on to explain that while there may be many people in the crowd, it is still just one crowd, and therefore is singular.

That was over thirty years ago, and if I posted all my memories from all my English classes onto Google, it may use up 1KB. So why do I still remember such a mundane conversation that took place over thirty years ago? Maybe because that simple explanation by Miss Childers helps me understand the Trinity. While I go to a football game with over 70,000 people (Okay a Tampa Bay Bucs game with only 56,000 people) we are still just one crowd. That helped me understand how God can be singular while still being three Beings. Just like over 500 members make up one congress, likewise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make up One Godhead.

Gospel Workers, page 315, tells us that every truth from Genesis to Revelation needs to be presented in the light of the cross and God’s love. So how does the Trinity help us understand the cross and God’s love? 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. At the cross we see that love is putting other people first, when we think of their needs and wants instead of our own. Now I don’t know when it was or how long ago it was, but logic tells me there had to be a time when nothing else existed except God. Now if God had only been one Being, at that point in time, He could not have been love, because love is thinking of others instead of yourself, and if God had only been One Being, He would have had nobody else to think about besides Himself. God has always been love, because even before anything else existed at all, God was three beings, each One always thinking about the needs and wants of the Other.

By the way, the Godhead is the First Family of the universe. They are an example of what our families are to be. One family, with several members, each one always thinking about the needs and how to please the others in the family. Likewise, our families can be love just like the First Family is love.

To study this week’s SS lesson click here. To download the SS lesson app to your phone click here.

Garments of Grace; A Brand Plucked From The Fire

I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Download SS lesson guide app. to your cell phone here.

On my current vacation to my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a couple of things made me think of this week’s SS lesson  memory verse. “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (Zechariah 3:4

When I fly I love to have the window seat. I have flown a hundred times, and each time we taxi down the runway and takeoff, while other seasoned passengers read their magazines or lull off to sleep, I am looking out the window thinking “man this is cool!” I never cease to be amazed by the wonders of aviation. Each flight is as exciting to me as my very first one. I love looking down from above and recognizing places and streets on the ground. Sometimes though when we are coming into a city to land, even a city I am very familiar with, it takes a while for me to recognize the highways and streets, especially if I don’t know which direction we are entering the city from.  I do remember my first flight over Chicago, I saw Wrigley Field, and was so moved by the historical masterpiece that when I got home, I planned a road trip with my friend Tom, to go back and see it. So I don’t think the lady really understood what a sacrifice she was asking me to make, when she asked  if her little boy could have my window seat. I boarded the American Airlines jet in DFW to make the final leg of my journey to Tulsa. I headed to seat 30F. A window seat I had reserved months in advance. When I got to my seat, the young mother in the isle seat, asked if her little boy, about 5 could have the window seat. I complied. After all, I have flown a hundred times before, but I was looking forward to seeing my favorite city of Dallas from the sky again. Who can say “no” to a cute little kid? So the mother moved over a seat, letting her son take the window seat, and I took the isle seat.

Not long after take- off, the little boy closes the window and falls asleep! I started to ask the mother if we could change seats since the boy was not looking out the window any way. I did not. I just sat there and thought, how could the mother ask me to give up something the boy did not even really appreciate or was not using. She obviously did not appreciate my sacrifice. Then I thought of all the sacrifices God has made for me. Do I appreciate them all? Do I use all the gifts God has given me? God has given me some wonderful experiences that should strengthen my faith, but do I sometimes doubt? Then I am just casting those experiences aside, like the boy seemed to be casting my window seat aside. God has promised me strength in time of temptation. Do I sometimes cast those promises aside for the sake of sin? God has given His life for millions to be saved, but will they accept and appreciate that sacrifice? This made my little sacrifice seem so tiny. After all, I would not have seen anything I had not seen before.


Soon we landed in Tulsa. I walked outside of the Tulsa International airport, into the city of Tulsa, and suddenly it was like I had never been gone. I have always found that amazing. I have not lived in my hometown for about 18 years now. I visit about once a year. This last time, though it has been more like a year and a half. Still, when I get back home everything is familiar again. It is like I have never been gone. My favorite restaurant, Chimis, is right there at 15th and Peoria where it has always been. My school has changed since I attended 27 years ago but the neighborhood looks the same. So does my old church, though the sanctuary has been remodeled over the last 45 years, and there are a few new smiling faces. Still, its home. It is familiar, and no matter how far I have travelled, and no matter how long I have been gone, the moment I get back, and see my family and friends, it is like I never left. I wonder, when I sin, and ask Jesus’ forgiveness, and He wipes away my sin, and gives me that robe of righteousness that He sacrificed so much to give me, does He look at me as if I had never sinned? Even after I have wandered away so far and for so long, when He welcomes me home, is it as though I had never been gone? Yes. I think so!

Preparation Day; The Other Forgotten Day

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday evenings always bring fond memories of Sabbaths at home when I was a kid. We always had our Friday rituals even though they changed from time to time. We would play family games, or go on drives when I was little. Later, I remember we would get all the chores and baths done and groceries bought for the week and then would get a Godfather’s pizza and bring it home to enjoy with the family as the sun went down. In the Summer we could get in an episode of Benson before the Sabbath began. Tulsa Adventist Academy, the school I attended let out early on Fridays so we could go home and prepare for the Sabbath. This was in accordance with the counsel we had been given from the Spirit of Prophecy.

“On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness and that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked and the baths be taken. It is possible to do this. If you make it a rule you can do it. The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight. Parents, explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them share in your preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.   


     We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their  workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord’s day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.


     There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, “confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:16. 


     Before the Sabbath begins, the mind as well as the body should be withdrawn from worldly business. God has set His Sabbath at the end of the six working days, that men may stop and consider what they have gained during the week in preparation for the pure kingdom which admits no transgressor. We should each Sabbath reckon with our souls to see whether the week that has ended has brought spiritual gain or loss.”  {6 Vol. Testimonies to the Church, P. 356.} 


Later in life I decided that not all of this counsel was practical. Back in the day this was written baths were a lot of work, hauling in water and all. Today you can take a shower just at the turn of the knob, which to me could easily be done on the Sabbath without causing too much work. Cooking on the Sabbath does not require so much work either I thought. While that may be a justifiable argument, the fact is, that if we do not make a big deal out of preparing for the Sabbath then the Sabbath will not be a big deal either. While it may not take as much effort to prepare for the Sabbath nowadays, I think we lose some of the specialness of the day by not preparing more. We rob ourselves of a special blessing when we forget the other forgotten day besides the Sabbath, which is the preparation day.

“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their  workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord’s day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.”  {6 Vol. Testimonies to the Church, P. 356.} 


I remember Sabbath evenings before the sun went down Saturday night, my family would have worship as we closed the Sabbath. My mind would wander from the Bible reading to the Tulsa Roughnecks soccer game that we would be going to as soon as the sun went down. Since all secular things had been put away for the day, I was excited to get to the game. Looking back I think it made both the Sabbath and the game more special. Each had their place in my routine. Sure my mind should have been all absorbed in the Bible reading, but hey, I was just a kid. Even so, today I log on my computer on Sabbaths to read emails or check my Facebook and I can’t help but see the game scores. While I tell myself I can’t help but see, and it is not a sin to just glance at the scores, still, my mind goes back to my childhood when things were more black and white, and I miss those days when Sabbath was a big deal. I am not saying it is not a big deal now, it is. I mean when it was more special because we put more thought and effort into those holy hours. The point of me sharing this is this, while we live in a time where it may be easier to prepare for the Sabbath, and maybe some of the old rules do not apply anymore, i.e. taking baths before sundown, still, I think the Sabbath would be more special to us if we would make a big deal out of preparing for it. Let’s not just remember the Sabbath day. Let’s also remember the preparation day. If we do, there are some precious memories still to come!

 You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.

Also please visit a couple of good Christ centered sites by my friends.