An Update On Big Al

November 18, 2014 — 2 Comments

Last week I posted about my friend Big Al.  He has been an alcoholic living on the streets of the Parker Street Community for over 20 years.  On Sunday, November 9th he gave his life to Christ during the Sunday service at Impact! Church and pledged to get sober. I told him that I’d take him to a steak dinner when he got clean.  After a week in the hospital getting help, Big Al was discharged yesterday CLEAN AND SOBER!!!  Last night we had an great time laughing, talking and praying around the table at Longhorn Steakhouse. You should have seen the smile of Al’s face as he devoured a porterhouse.

Today Big Al will begin his rehab program.  Because of his past all of the local rehab centers have refused to take him.  I can’t blame them – he has quite a history of being difficult to work with.  However, everyone that knows Al has seen a HUGE change in him.  I attribute that to the power of God in his life.  As a result, Impact! Church will be taking Big Al through a rehab program supervised by Lighthouse Ministries – a great local addiction ministry here in Lakeland.

Please continue to pray for us, Lighthouse Ministries and – of course – Big Al.  I truly believe that the best is still to come!

Jeff Eppinette does not live in Florida. He lives in Texas. Jeff Eppinette does not attend Impact! Church.  I do not know how he heard about our ministry to the Parker Street Community. All I know is that a few months back Jeff started contributing financially to Impact! Church via our online giving page. Jeff’s generosity is making a HUGE impact in people’s lives that he will most likely never meet. On behalf of the folks in our community and Impact! Church, thank you Jeff Epopinette for loving God, loving people and making an impact!

The Truth About My Salary

November 12, 2014 — 4 Comments

About 10 months ago Impact! Church made the move from an upper middle-class area of town to one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in Lakeland. Every homeless shelter and most of the rehab centers in the county are within a block of our church.  In the transition we lost our biggest giver and several of our most consistent contributors.  After the move our church became predominately homeless people and addicts – which means there is very little in the offering plate each Sunday.  After a few months we saw some very stark financial realities set in – we could not afford to do ministry and provide the pastor – or anyone else – with a salary.  We couldn’t even pay part time allowing me to be bi-vocational.  So I became a tentmaker – I substitute teach special needs and high risk kids in middle school and high school. My wife and I have also been blessed by occasional financial help from our denomination and other churches.  Make no mistake though, I still get paid!

  • I get paid every time Impact! Church gives a single mother free clothes for her kids.
  • I get paid every time the church makes rent on the building – knowing that people living on the streets will have a warm place to sleep on cold or rainy nights.
  • I get paid every time I get to call a family to let them know that their loved one is alive, safe, sober and now in rehab.
  • I get paid every time a person that has been rejected at other churches finds hope and belonging at Impact! Church.
  • I get paid every time I get to watch a high school or middle school student with learning difficulties do well on an assignment and gain much-needed confidence.
  • I get paid every time the Bible comes alive for someone that has never been to church or gave up on the church.
  • I get paid every time a person far from God introduces me as their friend.
  • I get paid every time Impact! Church helps an addict get clean and stay sober.
  • I get paid every time our church feeds a mentally-challenged homeless man or hungry junkie.
  • I get paid every time a prostitute in our neighborhood finds unconditional love and acceptance at Impact! Church.
  • I get paid every time someone makes the decision to give their life to Christ.

In essence I have the best salary in the world!!!