Tag Archives for " Pine Castle United Methodist Church "

  • Home >>
  • Pine Castle United Methodist Church

Holy Spirit Series

Several have requested the notes from our recent series which is a quick overview of the Third Person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit.

Here is a zip file you can download all 9 lessons at once. To open it double-click and extract the files you your hard drive. The files are in .PDF format so you use Adobe Reader or other software to open them. Most computers will open the file with a double click.  The Holy Spirit     3.5MB so will take a few seconds to download.

Or individual files are here:

The Holy Spirit 1

The Holy Spirit 2

The Holy Spirit 3

The Holy Spirit 4

The Holy Spirit 5

The Holy Spirit 6

The Holy Spirit 7

The Holy Spirit 8

The Holy Spirit 9

2 It was an International Experience

How do you transform a gymnasium into an International Market Place?

Is it even possible? Why would you want to? They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so I will show you with a few photos, “how” we did just that. And the “why”? It was our church’s (Pine Castle United Methodist Church) annual mission’s weekend called GIC or Global Impact Celebration. Kelly and I co-chaired the event with our Missions Pastor and many, many other volunteers.

Friday night was to be a world affair banquette with the movie “Peace Child,” and Sunday would feature our guest speaker, missionary and author – Don Richardson, followed by an Expo display of the missionaries and outreach ministries which our church supports.

First the expo draping went up to help disguise and soften the gymnasium walls. Tables were skirted in preparation for the Sunday Expo and stored to be used on Sunday. (Thanks Jeff for providing these for us!)

Backdrops from the Children’s department added color and definition to our ‘international’ theme. (Lee holds the ladder for Stephaney.)

Round tables were decorated (by a small army) for the banquet (thanks to Eleanor and her team). We were going for a South American ‘fiesta’ look with bright colors that popped, and colorful helium balloons to fill the dead space above the tables.

The perimeter of the gym would feature the International Market Place, displaying cultural artifacts and trinkets from around the world. Here Connie and Jeanette discuss how the Africa market will look.

An African ‘Safari’ look was the finished product (thanks Jeanette).

From Africa we transition into South America. Bright, happy and fun colors draws one into this village scene that could easily be Mexico or even Guatemala.

South America came alive thanks to Kim, Sondra & their team.

Next, we move into our Asian market (above and below photos).

This area included , China, Thailand, Myanmar and the country near and dear to my heart, Indonesia (two photos above), and the Marshal Islands & Japan (as seen below)

The Island Nations (above)

Stephaney and I are smiling because the work is done and we still have a half hour to change our clothes before the banquet starts.

Now, just add ‘people’, and let the festivities  begin.

Volunteers like Marilyn and Liz served close to 200 people.

Our school chef, Patrick (in the black hat), outdid himself with an international meal that was amazing…from the pita bread & hummus to the couscous and adobo chicken with rice and more.

With the tables cleared, it’s now time to “let the program begin”. Kelly was the MC and the program began with a dramatic video of “Peace Child.”

It’s Don Richardson’s story of a primitive tribe of cannibals in Irian Jaya (Papua, Indonesia). The Sawi people honored & practiced treachery and betrayal and thus in the Gospel story (to Don’s dismay), chose Judas over Jesus as a hero. But hidden within their cultural, Don found a practice that would point them back to Jesus. It was the tradition of a ‘Peace Child.” When the chief’s only infant son was exchanged with the warring tribe for peace, Don was able to point them to Jesus, the perfect Peace Child. (Link to YouTube clip of Peace Child)

On Sunday, the round tables are replaced with the expo tables holding the displays put up by our missionaries. The missionaries line up in front of their tables waiting for the church members to enter.

Church members use their passports (found in their bulletin) to enter the expo and participate in the prize drawing later. They fill the aisles as they talk to the 40 some ministries attending and supported by PCUMC.

Some of our missionaries were unable to attend so church members volunteered to “represent” that person and share their ministry with others. Here, Jo shares with this couple about Suzanne’s work in Africa.

Our Guest Speaker, Don Richardson and his wife Carol join us at the Expo with their book table. (Books by Don Richardson: Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child, Lords of the Earth, Secrets of the Koran, Acting Without Agony and Unhidden)

And finally, a photo of Kelly standing in front of our Expo table, sharing about our ministry with fellow church member, Armand. (Kelly is wearing his Indonesian batik shirt and a black felt cap, or peci, as the Indonesians call it.)

Mission Accomplished

One of our goals was to create an atmosphere that would help make missions more touchable for the people.  The encouraging part was the great turn out of volunteers helping bring it all together.  It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it. It was a fun time for all.

4 It Happened on a Sunday!

Two weeks back, our church service at Pine Castle United Methodist Church (PCUMC) started as it normally does, with praise and worship, followed by the offering. But ‘normal’ stopped there. An outsider might have been shocked by what happened next. We all got up and left the sanctuary, some 400 of us. We walked out the front door.

Let me back up and explain a few things. The situation with our economy is affecting everyone in one way or another. Our church is among those to be counted as struggling to stand our ground. So much of what has happened in this past year and a half would discourage most, and yet we continue to see the Lord at work in many different ways.

In February 2008 I showed this picture of our church in one of my first blogs.

PCUMC SanctuaryNew Worship Center (on the right) featuring a 1,250 seat sanctuary is nearing completion. Our original sanctuary is on left side of road.

And then in an April blog, I announced that on Easter Sunday we had moved into our new sanctuary.

PCUMC front

Pastor Blake in The Master's House

As you can imagine, this beautiful building has become a bit of a financial challenge for us during these hard times.

A lot of hope had been placed on selling the old sanctuary, but we all know what has happened to Florida’s real-estate business. A deal that had been in the works in early 2008; crumpled by the end of that summer. Everything seemed to dry up after that and looked hopeless.

And then all at once in June of this year, we had an offer from a group to “lease with an option to buy”. In July our church membership, through our Charge Conference, voted unanimously to accept the offer. By August the members of Greater Trinity Baptist Fellowship Church of Orlando were moved in and starting services. We are thrilled with our new neighbors. They have joined us in many of our activities, like our Pot Luck Night and our ladies functions.

So, when we walked out of our Sanctuary two Sundays ago, all 400 of us marched across the street and joined our brothers and sisters in their Celebration Service. It was a grand time.  A Baptist Church and a Methodist Church, one African American and one not so much, rejoiced in what the Lord had done. Hallelujah.

I forgot to take our camera but Kelly came to the rescue with his cell phone. He was able to capture this shot of the two Pastor’s wives standing in front of their husbands who are giving each other a brotherly hug.

Celebration Service


Our two pastors are becoming good friends and we all look forward to getting to know each other better. Both churches hope to find shared projects that will allow us to work together for the good of our community.



Are we “asleep in the bottom of the boat” like Jonah, and “is the church failing in our mandate“?

Missions Cost God His Son was the theme for our “Global Impact Celebration” missions’ conference held at Pine Castle United Methodist Church, where Kelly and I are members. (See photos at end of this posting.) Keynote Speaker J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, author, award-winning journalist, and ordained minister delivered a challenging and thought provoking message from Jonah 1: 1-5.


Rev. Grady spoke about Jonah being in a deep sleep in the bottom of a ship, when God sent a violent storm that threatened to break up that ship. He shared that the storm came, because of a disobedient servant (Jonah). Rev. Grady related this to; ‘We are in a storm today, not just because of the politicians & Wall Street, but also because the church is asleep in the bottom of the boat’.


He explained that the church has been given the Words of Life – life saving equipment – and we are failing in our mandate to take it out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & the Ends of the Earth. We are keeping it to ourselves. God wants our GPS systems to be reprogrammed so we can be heading in the right direction. If we obey, we will see our ship taken to the shore of Nineveh and we will take life to the people.


Rev. Grady’s serman ties in with a webinar Kelly listened to about Significant Facts & Trends in the North American Missions Movement (NAMM). The researcher was Michael Jaffarian, Senior Research Associate for Operation World. Here is just one area that he spoke about:


The NAMM is a $6 billion industry with 822 separate organizations;
Those 822 divide into 5 major kinds of mission agencies:
Founder  Based
Task Based
Mom & Pop
International Expansion of North American Ministries


  • There are about 43,000 N. American long-term missionaries, numbers growing, modestly. (Length of service-more than 4 years.)
  • There are about 8,000 N. American middle-term missionaries, numbers may be declining. (Length of service-less than 4 years.)
  • There are about 150,000 N. American short-term missionaries, numbers growing strongly. (length of service-two weeks up to one year.)


The best estimate of the number of American short term mission-trip participants: 1.5 million. (length: 2 weeks or shorter)

The North American churches are sending more than sixty times as many mission-trip participants overseas as long-term missionaries.

Imagine, if an average of $2,000 is spent to send those 1.5 million: that = $300 billion compared to $6 billion given toward long-term workers. Would we consider this a good use of our missions funds?



Strong growth in short-term missions & mission trips has not produced strong growth in long-term missions. (The number of long-term missionaries is not even keeping up with the rate of national growth.)


It was thought short-term trips might give participants a heart to give to the missions’ program. Research shows that those who are giving, are giving to others going on short-term trips. Again, long-term missions has not benefited from this program.

Mr Jaffarian ended on a positive note: “Trend is not destiny.”       The direction of God trumps the direction of trends.”

This webinar was sponsored by: The Mission Exchange

Photos below are from our Global Impact Celebration – Missions Conference:

Children in Parade of Flags Opening Ceremony Wed. Night

Children in Parade of Flags Opening Ceremony Wed. Night

Wed Night Children's Program

Wed Night Children's Program

Children in Tradional Dress Performing Their Songs

Children in Tradional Dress Performing Their Songs

Youth Skit: Missionary Sharing Her "LIGHT" with the Lost World

Youth Skit: Missionary Sharing Her "LIGHT" with the Lost World

Congregation Visting With Missionaries at Their Display Booths

Congregation Visting With Missionaries at Their Display Booths

Kelly & Connie in Traditional Dress with their display booth set up in the "Missionary Hall"

Kelly & Connie in Indonesian Traditional Dress with their display booth set up in the "Missionary Hall"

3 Jaclyn says: “YAY…YYYYYYYYY!!! STORY’08 WAS AWESOME!!!”

Christa says: “WOW! Last night was amazing! I never felt that close to God. It was the ideal way to start off the New Year! I loved Story ’08! It was great to hear from all these different missionaries and to meet new people.”

Those are quotes or “reviews” from a couple of attendees at Story ’08 which I have copied from our  Story 08 Facebook page.


The main sessions were held in the sanctuary where a world globe helped us all focus on the needs of the world. Worship was sweet and the speakers were great.

Sanctuary with World Globe

Pine Castle United Methodist Sanctuary with World Globe

The crowd was great, some 300+ in attendance with the majority coming from out of state. Just take a look at the young people in these photos:

The crowd gathering in the lobby between sessions.

The crowd gathering in the lobby between sessions.

College students come to Orlando for the conference.

College students come to Orlando for the conference.

The Lobby Is a Great Gathering Place

The Lobby Is a Great Gathering Place

Kelly and I were in charge of book sales and they were brisk. It looks like we sold over $8000 in mission’s books and resources.

One such book table full of resource material

One such book table full of resource material

Kelly runs the cash register

Kelly runs the cash register

The Line Gets Longer as Kelly Adds up Sales

The Line Gets Longer as Kelly Adds up Sales

Taking A Break Between Sessions

Taking A Break Between Sessions

We finished the event off by bringing in the New Year with a “Concert of Worship and Prayer.” It started at 9 PM and closed at 12:30 AM on Jan 1st.

Concert of Worship & Prayer New Year's Eve

Concert of Worship & Prayer New Year's Eve

We took the globe off its stand and everyone gathered around to pray for the world.

Praying For The World

Praying For The World

Then, just before midnight we started passing the air-filled globe from one side to the other. It was a blast. It was also “heavier” than I thought it would be.

The Globe Goes Up and Over The Heads

The Globe Goes Up and Over The Heads

Hands Go Up and Globe Is Passed Overhead

Hands Go Up and All Join in as the Globe Is Passed Overhead

Here are a few more quotes:

Lesley: What an amazing week! Thank you, Pioneers, and all the people who worked to pull it off! What a great way to ring in the New Year…thanks for the experience. I hope there is a Story 09!

Irma from NY: STORY ’08 was awesome. I’ve been so blessed this week and am glad I came to the conference. Thank you Pioneers!!! God bless~

Emily (student at TCU): Thank you so much, Story’08 Crew!!! I know it was a ton of work, and it was such a blessing for me to learn from y’all and watch your example lived out in front of us. Thank you so much for the incredible amount of yourselves you poured out for us!! It was such a privilege to be around you, and I’m challenged to pray and seek hard to follow your examples in Christ. THANK YOU.

Ted (Valencia Com. College) Story 09…… Story 09….. Story 09…..

I don’t know if there will be a “Story 09”, only time will tell.  Kelly and I were exhausted when it was all over, but it was worth it!


Young and old lined the street with anticipation; some were standing while others had come early to stake out a choice spot with their lawn chairs. What was the attraction?

Pioneer Days - Let The Parade Begin
Pioneer Days – Let The Parade Begin

A parade was about to start to kick off the 35th annual 2 day event put on by our church Pine Castle United Methodist Church (PCUMC)and it is called – ”Pioneer Days Family Festival”. The mission’s department at our church organizes this event every year as a community service and outreach.

People came "dressed in costume" for the parade
People came dressed in costumes to watch the parade.
Everyone wants to be in a parade!
Everyone wants to be in a parade!

Last weekend, Kelly and I were a small part of our church’s large volunteer group who help with making it all come together.On Saturday, he and I worked the main entrance gate handling money and placing admission wrist bands on everyone wanting to take part in the festivities. I made change and handed out free gift bags while Kelly gave out the wrist bands.

Kelly passes out admission braclets.
Kelly passes out admission braclets.

Pioneer Days is a Family Event and kids love it!
Pioneer Days is a Family Event and kids love it!
Kelly helps a vendor carry her props & supplies to her booth.
Kelly helps a vendor carry her props & supplies to her booth.

Even our ministry organization (PIONEERS), had a float and booth at the event to advertise our upcoming missions conference called “Story 08” that will be held at PCUMC. Click on the link to learn more about “Story 08” being held Dec 28-30, 2008.

Our Mission Agency's float advertising "Story 08"
Our Mission Agency Advertises “Story 08” Mission Conference

What’s Pioneer Days Family Festival About?

“The festival offers an education about our American heritage through arts and traditions with exhibitions of traditional pioneer crafts and skills such as: Basketry – Blacksmithing – Cane Cooking – Civil War Encampments – Indian Village – Pottery – Quilting – Spinning – Storytelling – Weaving – Wood Carving – and more… like live music, and local vendors providing food and souvenirs.”

Indian Dance Demonstration
Indian Dance Demonstration
Tractor Display for Pioneer Days
Tractor Display for Pioneer Days


The Pioneer Days Family Festival was created by the Pine Castle Center of the Arts in 1973 to bring the community together in a celebration of the rich heritage of our forefathers. When the Pine Castle Center of the Arts disbanded in 1993, Pine Castle United Methodist Church carried on the mission that our heritage must be remembered and shared with today’s generation. Therefore, the annual festival has continued.