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The Message of Christmas

merry-christmas-nativity-300x214Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. – Colossians 3:16

As we enter into the Christmas season this year, we once again are hearing about complaints and threats of boycotts against companies and malls that continue the trend of removing traditional and even non-religious symbols of Christmas from their stores and retail spaces.  Though this might be disappointing and even ridiculous as to why anyone would be offended by a nativity scene or a Santa parade, it really should not come as any surprise.   Jesus clearly stated that since the world hated Him, the world would also hate those who belong to Him, and by extension anything that, religious or not, communicates Christmas (see John 15:18).  This shows that even the world knows you really can’t remove Christ from Christmas.

Fortunately, there is a better and truly sustainable way to get the message about Christ and the true message of Christmas out into the stores and malls.  It the same method that has worked without fail from the time the Church came into existence.  The method is to simply let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill our lives.

The message of Christmas is the message of Christ’s entry into this world in order to rescue and transform people and families from slavery to sin to the power and freedom to live for God!   This is why there is no greater or more effective symbol of Christmas than you and I who are the recipients of that deliverance and power to live for God!  This is what Paul, the Apostle, was referring to when he wrote the Church:

“Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.  It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.”  (1 Cor. 3:3)

So let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.  Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.  Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.   And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.  – Colossian 3:16

Also, remember and be encouraged because the Gospel (the Good News) and the message of Christmas is….

  • The only message that has the power to liberate people, families and nations from slavery to sin and the powers of darkness.
  • It’s the only message that causes mercy to triumph over judgment.
  • It’s the only message that brings sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf.
  • It’s the only message that brings healing to the sick and handicapped.
  • It’s the only message that heals the broken-hearted.
  • It’s the only message that brings a joy that this world cannot rob you of.
  • It’s the only message that brings life to where death once has reigned.


May God abundantly bless you this Christmas!

Pastor Neal

A Time for Courage

keepcalm“…be courageous…I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33b


In the scripture referenced above, Jesus is encouraging His disciples, and us, to be courageous, to take heart, though we will face trouble, tribulations and sorrows, He is giving us perfect peace as we rest in Him—for He has overcome the world and all of it’s sorrows and troubles.

Right now, in our church life and some of us in our personal lives, are facing trials and tribulations.  In Greek, the word “tribulation”  carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (“hemmed in”).  In addition to the financial pressures, ministry pressures, our senior Pastor is now in a physical battle for his health. And since we are a family, we are in it with him. So this word definitely fits our current circumstances. However, we, like Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”  So this is not a time to worry, to be frightened, to fret, be anxious or driven to despair. This is a time to fight, to trust in the Only Healer, the Only Ruler, the Only King of Glory, The Lord Strong and Might, the Lord Invincible in battle.  This is a time where we must gird up our minds (1 Peter 1:13) and be sober-minded and hope-filled.

In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul exhorts us, “that our present trials and troubles are small (when looking at them with a heavenly perspective) and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! That is what God is after.  The process that continually makes us into the glorious image of His Beloved Son Jesus!

So “we don’t look at the troubles we can see now, but rather, fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we can see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  We fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.  In this process, we can rest, why? First, He tells us in advance that troubles would come—so He is not surprised—and so we shouldn’t be either. Not only that, but He tells us in Him we will always have perfect peace.  He is the Prince of Peace.  We just need to stay “in Him.” How do we do this? We stay connected to the Vine (John 15). Because apart from Him we can do nothing. He then goes on in John 16:33. to exhort us to be courageous, be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy, for HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD (Amplified)!

In John 14:1, He tells us, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust God. Trust also in Me.”

In John 14:27 He tells us, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

God has spoken to this church that we are His War Horse; that He is making us into His Special Forces. Special Forces and warhorses fight! Let us have the mind of Christ in this season and be undaunted, unyielding, unstoppable!

Onward Christian soldiers!


God bless you!

Pastor Nancy

Some Things Change, God Remains the Same

Mal36“I am the LORD, and I do not change. – Malachi 3:6 (NLT)

As I think about Lighthouse Tabernacle Church approaching its 22nd anniversary, it is amazing how quickly 22 years passes and how much has changed in that time.  For example, many of our children are adults now, some with families of their own.  Some families have moved on, while new families have joined our flock.  Some of us who were just starting out in our walk with the Lord are now ministering in divine callings we discovered in our going, while God has moved others into new and different divine assignments, all according to His will and good pleasure.  Culturally speaking, we live in a nation whose values have shifted dramatically.  Things and ideas that are accepted today would have been considered unthinkable and even ridiculous 22 years ago.

The good news however, is that God never changes!  With that, God’s plan for our individual lives and the way He has created us to neatly and perfectly fit into the body of Christ (His Church) doesn’t change; this includes His plan and purpose for Lighthouse Tabernacle Church and the other churches that make up the body of Christ on Staten Island.   The only question is whether we will allow Him to take us through the process of building and refining our character so that we’ll be able to fulfill and sustain those plans until Jesus returns, bringing glory not to us, but to God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Though we have seen changing and challenging times over the past 22 years, and I expect that will continue to varying degrees, I am fully persuaded that the best days of Lighthouse Tabernacle Church are ahead of us because the Lord has told us as much!   As we’ve continued to pray and intercede for our people and families, our community, our city and our nation, the Lord has encouraged us to not be afraid, but to be courageous and to keep building what He has called us to build from the day Lighthouse Tabernacle Church was founded.

“Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!” – Zechariah 8:13

So I’m passing on to you that which we have received from the Lord.  Wherever you are in your walk with Jesus, don’t be afraid!  Instead, be courageous because He has chosen you and called you by name!   Be ready for the Lord’s return by being “dressed and ready for service”, discovering and doing the Kingdom work God has entrusted you with in integrity (Zechariah 8:16-17), and in accordance with the abilities He has gifted you with (or where the need is) as you go!

Because of who God is, we have every reason to be optimistic and believe His report!  Remember, the Kingdom of God is an eternal Kingdom—Christ’s Kingdom shall have no end (Isa 9:7; Dan. 2:4) and the Kingdoms of this world have and will in fact become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ!  (Rev. 11:15).

God bless you!

Pastor Neal