Pastor David Myers Blog

Not in 50 Years

In 1967 a small group of people came together and started a church in Palm Bay.  Just up the road at Kennedy Space Center, the best and brightest minds in America were trying to put a man on the moon.  Both groups were successful.  One group planted a flag on the moon.  The other group planted a church on the earth.

In 1971, Reverend J. E. Myers brought his young family to Palm Bay to assume the role of pastor.  The city was so small that you only needed one postman and that postman was in our church.  We stood around the pulpit and sang, “Not in a million years.”  They put me up on a chair so the congregation could see the little boy with big hair and a high voice.

The song talks about how when we get to heaven we will, “never long for this world again, not in a million years.”  Coming to Palm Bay seemed like Heaven to us.  The excitement of rockets going into space and Disney World opening just an hour away was more than an eight-year-old boy could imagine.

Yes, we arrived on the Space Coast the same summer that Disney World opened in 1971 on the other end of Highway 192 in a funny sounding city called Kissimmee.  No doubt Disney World will have quite a celebration when they celebrate their 50th year jubilee in 2021, but first, we must celebrate the 50th year of jubilee for the First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay.

More than a celebration of people or buildings, we celebrate the faithfulness of God.  We celebrate that not in 50 years has God ever failed us.  We celebrate that not in 50 years has God ever left us to live in this present world without spiritual support.  Not in 50 years has this congregation been without the favor of God.

The Bible describes the 50th year as the year of Jubilee.  A time when people were given freedom from debt.  The land was returned to its rightful owner.  It became a celebration of Pentecost.  Fifty days after the Passover they celebrated the feast of Pentecost to remember the year of Jubilee.  Jesus chose this special time to pour out His Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2.

The name Pentecost, meaning fifty, became synonymous with the Spirit of God becoming a personal jubilee.  The Sprit of God releasing us from the burden of sin.  The Spirit of God returning to us our rightful place in the purpose and will of God.  The Holy Ghost holding us in the faithful hand of God.

Rockets and Shuttles have come and gone from pad 39a just up the road.  They had powerful engines that burned out as they lifted their vessel into outer space.  Men and women explored the outer reaches of our atmosphere. Most were successful, some had tragic endings, but not in 50 years has God ever failed the First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay.

Disney World challenged a culture to dream and to imagine the impossible.  They have explored and harnessed the outer reaches of man’s imagination.  They built a magic kingdom that thrives and prospers but yet they can only celebrate the achievement of man.  Far beyond the imagination of man is the faithfulness of God.

First Pentecostal Church may not receive the headlines that Kennedy Space Center and Disney World enjoy, but in the hallowed halls of heaven, there is a radar that is fully focused on people in a strange land.  A spiritual place in a secular surrounding.  A flag as it were that has been planted on the earth.  A banner that exalts the name of Jesus.

Make no mistake about it, the Kingdom of God will never fail or falter.  It will never burn out, burn up or close down. Not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus is.  Not in fifty years, not in one hundred years, not in a million years.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

Joy To The World

Joy to the World!  A song that is sung by many in the month of December.  An expression that permeates cultures, nations, and partisanship.  Everyone with even a minimal sense of civility seems to endorse peace and joy to all.  Peace is popular, and joy is encouraged in secular and religious circles alike.

The quest for joy is indisputable.  The well wishes of joy are abundant.  The challenge is how do we embrace joy!  How de we make joyful living a part of our lifestyle?  How do we get our arms around what is routinely considered a feeling or emotion?

Joy flows from something deeper than circumstances.  Joy flows from a well within.  It comes from a part of our spirit that is focused on the end game rather than instant gratification.  It is a decision more than an emotion.  It is a belief that what I am feeling will catch up with what I believe rather than the other way around.

I recently viewed a video clip of a young girl who had lost a leg.  She was presented with a gift from her family.  The girl opened the box and to her delight was introduced to an American Girl doll that looked just like her and also had a prosthetic leg.  The tears of joy welled up as she hugged the doll.  Apparently, the American Girl Company had designed a doll for the girl that shared her handicap.  I wondered who had received more joy, the recipient of this gift or the designers.

Joy is a two-way street.  While happiness is based on happenings or happenstance, joy is based on an intrinsic sense of value and worth.  If we give value to others, we receive joy from that exchange.  If we receive love and encouragement from others, we find that our joy increases.  Nothing gives more joy than understanding our purpose on this planet.

Jesus gives us more than a good feeling when we give our heart to Christ.  Jesus gives us an identity makeover.  We receive joy from the salvation experience because we realize our worth and our value as a human being.  The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, says in his writings that we “draw water out of the wells of Salvation with joy.”  Joy is the bucket that brings salvation from eternal wells to our individual lives.

As a young teenage boy, I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis.  My spine curved to the left 56 degrees and then to the right 64 degrees.  I was told that I would most likely be in a wheelchair by the time I was 25 years old.  This kind of report does not necessarily bring a lot of joy to a 14-year-old boy.  My family and I were encouraged to have a very intrusive, life altering, surgery that would fuse 17 vertebrae in my back with two steel Harrington rods.

We decided to forego the surgery and instead I was fitted with a back brace, which I wore 23 hours a day for three years while my spine was still growing.  The brace seemed to help but wrestling with a back brace every day is not on most teenager’s wish list.

I would not characterize this experience as an incubator for happiness but what about joy?  Is there any joy when we receive unexpected news that changes our life forever?  Is there any intrinsic value in receiving a life rattling report from a doctor?  I would suggest that joy comes not from the difficulty but from what the difficulty teaches us about our God and ourselves.

We learn that we must trust in someone greater than ourselves.  We learn that this trust relieves a lot of self-induced pressure.  We come to terms with the fact that life is more than the accumulation of days; it is the accumulation of special moments when our eyes are opened and our heart is touched with how great our God is.  We find the joy in helping others rather than being consumed with our issues.

Joy is when we focus on what we have left rather than on what we have lost.  Joy is discovering that our value is not determined by the sum total of our trials alone but instead by the sum total of our decisions to turn hurt into hope.  Joy is measured by the moments that we are awake rather than the moments that we slumber.

Christmas is a time to reassess that perspective.  We have hope as a human race because we have a risen Savior.  Bethlehem and Gethsemane combine to give us a mountain called Olivet. Joy comes to the World because we reflect our Creator that brings life and death together in a symphony of possibility.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

A Christian’s response to the Presidential election

2016The 2016 presidential election season has been like driving past a car wreck on the interstate. You know it is going to be destructive and harmful, but you can’t help looking.

The inundation of news from all of the media outlets that modern technology affords us has put each of us in the crosshairs of observing how rich people fight. It is not pretty and sometimes you find yourself gagging, but the stakes are too high to ignore.

This season has been particularly difficult for Christians and evangelicals due to the lack of choices in candidates. This election cycle has put us in the untenable position of having to choose between a candidate that lacks conservative values historically and one who promises to have conservative values in the future.

I recently returned from the country of Haiti where they had to remove their president because he would not call for an election. The interim president was also removed because he did not meet the timetable of 6 months to get an election set up. Now Haiti has been without a President for more than two years, and there is no end in sight.

In light of the recent election season in America, one could consider the lack of a presidential election as a blessing, but this short-term knee-jerk reaction would fail to take into account how important the selection of our president, regardless of how messy the process.

I was sent to candidacy school in Washington D.C. with all expenses paid more than ten years ago and learned enough to know I never wanted to run for a political office. One day the entire session was spent teaching us about opposition research. Opposition research is the process of digging up dirt on your opponent. Opposition researchers have made a lot of money in the last two years.

This entire political backdrop begs the question of what our response should be as Christians. Do we just turn away our head? Do we embrace the process with unhinged enthusiasm or do we look for a Biblical solution to a secular system? I would suggest the latter.

In the midst of a lot of variables and uncertainties, there are some absolutes that we know. The next President will appoint at least two Supreme Court Justices that will have lifetime tenure to make laws that will govern our nation. The next president will embrace social and economic policies that will determine the future of our country. The stakes are too high to bury our head.

Staying at home and not voting or any vote for someone other than the two major candidates is a vote for the person you would be most likely not to vote for. The reality is that more than ever before whom we are voting for is more about whom we are voting against. Not voting at all is not the moral high ground in this election.

I, like most Christians, choose to vote against the certainty of state protected perversion. I choose to vote against the certainty of killing those who are most vulnerable in our society: the unborn. I choose to vote against the certainty of religious persecution. Even if I have to hold my nose when I pull the lever, it is a small sacrifice when I consider the alternative.

The Book of Romans says, “The powers that be are ordained of God.” Yes, in the end, God directs the outcome, but God’s will does not always prevail over man’s will. God will sometimes give you, “the desires of your heart.” It was not God’s will for Israel to forsake the leadership of a prophet for the selection of a king but God allowed the people to have what was in their heart.

Ultimately, the election is more about what is in the heart and soul of the American people. After all the ads quit running, and the full-color mailers are not filling up our mailboxes, we will have a leader that reflects our moral values as a nation. Will God allow us to get what is in our hearts or will God speed up the clock of prophecy?

Regardless of who our next president is in America, I will continue to serve the King of kings and hold fast to the moral compass of the Word of God. It is the safest route to take in the rocky waters of our immediate future.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Joy of Giving

I was aware as a boy that the Bible said something about “it is better to give than to receive,” but I am not sure if I believed it.  The idea that giving something away would somehow be better than receiving it was not a concept that I was able to get my brain around.

 

My parents were givers and taught my sister and me to give, but human nature and all its appetites attempt to override Bible-based teaching.  The secret to discovering the joy of giving is that giving has to be practiced.  After having traveled to more than a hundred countries and been a part of numerous mission projects, I am convinced that giving is the key to living a life of purpose and passion.

 

FPC MenGiving, by its very nature loves company.  A great experience is greater when shared.  When you learn the joy of giving you want to get others involved in the fun.  Some fifteen years ago, we started taking our men on building trips to third world countries. Our mission was to build churches and help our missionaries.  We soon learned that we benefitted more than the recipients.

 

Manaus RoofThe group of guys from Palm Bay, Florida that paid their expenses and took a week off of work only to arrive in the sweltering heat of the Amazon basin never had so much fun.  Putting a new roof on the central church in Manaus, Brazil was the mission, but the joy is in the journey. The challenges of language barriers, lack of tools and dehydration is lost on the camaraderie that develops between men united for a similar cause.

 

Float PlaneIt didn’t hurt that the work was peppered with anointed church services and fishing for peacock bass from the pontoon of a floatplane.  Or sleeping in a hammock on the Amazon river with only the sound of howling monkeys and croaking frogs to serenade you to sleep. A place where your cell phone is only used as a coaster for your diet coke.  Luxury has its limits.  Nature reminds us that less is more and purpose is more powerful than a purse full of pennies.

 

Only two months earlier, our team of men with a revelation of what real living is all about had joined with another church from Bloomington, Minnesota and traveled to Santiago in the Dominican Republic to build a church.  The first day they hauled buckets of concrete upstairs to finish pouring the walls.  They trudged back to the room like an army of men walking out of a bomb shelter.  I tried to cheer them up with steak dinners.

 

The next day as we laid out the pattern for the wooden trusses and began to construct them with glue and screws, we quickly discovered that the trusses were all stuck together and would have to be dissembled.  The electricians could not make heads or tails with the beehive of wires that would be our source of power, and yet everything worked out as two groups of men from two different parts of the country built a church in a third world country and became life long friends.

 

Somehow in just three days, we forgot about all the unexpected setbacks and had completed building a church.  I had brought my twin sons on this trip so they could learn the value of hard work and fall in love with missions.  Other fathers had done the same.   We concluded the trip with a free day of climbing waterfalls and cliff jumping, but the testimonies at the dedication service revealed that the best part of the journey were the smiles and tears of the faces of the young congregation that now had their very own church.

 

Santiago was preceded with five trips and dozens of men going to Guatemala City to help build a children’s orphanage.  Guatemala is a country that has three generations and hundreds of people living in the landfills and thousands of orphans living on the street.  In a fertile valley of farmland in the shadow of a smoking volcano now lays a city of refuge.  A first class place of hope and care.  It is beautiful to behold and to think of the lives that are going to change, but I can’t help but reflect on all the lives of grown men from America that have been changed forever by giving and going.

 

A growing church is a giving church.  Sometimes we think we have to be bigger or more blessed before we can give, but the opposite is true.  Giving precedes growing.  A person who gives of his or her time, talent and treasure grow as a person.  We become what God has designed us to be.  A growing church is a going church.  Many years ago Jesus instructed his followers to GO.  This mandate was not just for the propagating of the gospel; it was the formula for abundant life.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

Trickle Down Freedom

freedomAs a young boy, my concept of freedom was when the school bell rang, and classes were dismissed. We were free to play ball and visit our friends. The greatest threat to our freedom was the idea that parents and school officials could set rules and laws requiring us to be in school. At the ripe old age of twelve, we knew what real freedom was, and it became apparent to us that there was a massive conspiracy from authority figures to restrict our freedom. The paradox of such a perspective is this: The very thing that we thought was captivity was, in reality, our ticket to freedom.

In my first year of law school, our criminal procedure professor told us American law is based on the underlying principle that, “It is better for a hundred guilty men to go free than one innocent man to go to prison.” This approach would ensure us of the freedom intended by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the professor explained. I took issue with that interpretation. I countered that this type of thinking restricts our freedom. When people are fearful about walking down the streets of their neighborhood after dark, have we preserved freedom?

History demonstrates that as a culture continues to embrace instant gratification at the expense of future freedom, society begins to unravel morally. The fire hydrant of liberty that propelled America in its infancy was agreement that the preservation of principal comes at the expense of personal prosperity. This freedom fueled the engines of a young nation driven by dreams of democracy and steered by the determination of hard work.

When the concept of freedom becomes redefined as the pursuit of pleasure, the underlying tenet loses strength, and the fire hydrant is reduced to a trickle. “Pay now and play later,” is exchanged for “play now and pay later.”

stgIn his book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Robert Bork explains, “Real freedom is the space in between the walls. It is healthy to discuss how far apart the walls should be, but it is cultural suicide to have all space and no walls.” The walls are rules and laws that keep freedom flowing. Rules and laws do not threaten our freedom. They protect our freedom. Restricting my behavior now will ensure me of freedoms and choices for the rest of my life. A society that believes in handing the next generation more than a higher Dow Jones average will embrace the safety of personal disciplines and the consequences for the lack thereof.

In the Bible, the Old Testament is often criticized for all of its rules and laws. Many Christians will exclaim with a sigh of relief, “We no longer live under the law!” The notion that God’s law brings freedom often produces a chuckle. Some believe that the law puts us in bondage. Nothing could be further from the truth. The law stands as a wall protecting our freedoms and protecting our choices.

The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:24 why God gave us the moral law: “to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.” The fire hydrant of freedom that flows from such a holy book is shrouded in laws and commandments. It becomes a trickle when modern day Christianity embraces Grace without the protection of the Law.

What is freedom? Is it the ability to do as we please? Is it the release of ten thousand red, white and blue balloons at a political convention? Is freedom defined as the license to pursue personal fulfillment or is it just the smell of hot dogs and the sight of fireworks on the Fourth of July?

I would suggest the opportunity of choice is a trickle of freedom; the ability to make the right choice is the definition of real freedom. More than two thousand years ago, Jesus had a choice. One option would give him immediate but limited freedom. The other option would bring ultimate freedom to many but cost him his life. The right decision at Calvary ensured that the fountain of liberty and freedom would never run dry for Christians that embrace the law.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Marriage of Church and State

The church and the state have attempted to live together for more than 240 years in America.  Like a good marriage, one could argue that they need each other.  Unlike a good marriage, we pretend that they don’t influence each other.  Occasionally, they come together to have a dinner or an event and hope and pray that everyone can get along.

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate begin their sessions with prayer.  State houses across the land do the same. The inauguration of a U.S. President includes a solemn prayer. Our currency proclaims that it is “in God we trust.” It is not uncommon to hear a president or presidential candidate conclude their speeches by invoking the “blessing of God.”

In April and in May of this year, the First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay, Florida hosts the baccalaureate services for Heritage High School and Bayside High School.  Both public High Schools at the request of the students in their senior class have a traditional event to honor God for their achievement and to ask for His blessing on their future.  Like a family reunion, the services are voluntary, well attended and full of memories, speeches, singing and fun.

These occasions where church and state merge seem to be a fabric of our country and filled with tradition and good will.  Most understand the balance and cherish the union.  Others, struggle with the fear of encroachment of one over the other and cry foul.

The balance comes from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” The establishment clause and the free exercise clause that emerges from this sentence have an awkward dance to protect citizens from the state.

The establishment clause seeks to protect citizens from the state endorsing one religious belief and mandating compliance.  The free exercise clause attempts to protect citizens from the state or state actors infringing on its religious beliefs by eliminating or restricting their ability to live out their sincerely held faith.  Neither clause seeks to protect the state from the church.

The difficulty arises when we attempt to apply these principles to everyday life.  It goes without saying that morality is foundational for both church and state.  George Washington said, “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be obtained without religion.  Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

The state attempts to keep religion at arms length, yet they both have the same foundation of morality and civility.  They can’t successfully live apart because they share the same heritage.  Any attempt to do so is an exercise in futility and folly.

The climate of our culture in a presidential race begs the question, “Who will find the balance that everyone can live with?”  Do we protect all citizens at the expense of those that have sincerely held religious beliefs?  Do we put children in jeopardy to appease a vocal minority?   Is morality subjective or objective?  How far should government go to promote morality if what is moral to one is immoral to another?

History teaches us that washing our hands of the dilemma, like the Roman governor Pontus Pilate in the trial of Jesus, is not a viable solution.  Kicking the can down the street or hiding our head in the sand will not bring about a more sure union.  The leader of the free world must stand on principle rather than popular opinion.  The fabric of our democracy demands it.  Democracy only works when those that rule are ruled by God.

I have heard friends and peers say, “We do not elect a pastor, we elect a president.”  This statement supposes that a president is not required to make any decisions that involve the interpretation and the application of morality to citizens.  It is easy to say, but it is not practical to apply in the absence of clear guidelines of what a president would look like without moral judgment.

The Old Testament in the Bible tells us of a period in the history of the Israeli nation when they demanded a leader who was a king rather than a leader who was a prophet.  They wanted a strong army and a walled city without the pulpit of morality and law.  God gave them what they wished for and it was the beginning of centuries of struggle.

I look forward to speaking to the senior class of Bayside High School on May the 10th as they gather in the church that I pastor.  My message is the same to them as it is to my parishioners and friends.  Regardless of whether it is a country, a class or a citizen, we need a prophet and a king.  We need the church and the state.  We need morality and civility.  It’s a marriage that we must work at.  It’s a marriage that is worth saving.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Easter Rabbit 

I was ten years old, and my father pastored a small church on the East end of Palm Bay Road.  Easter was approaching and to promote a record attendance my dad offered a free rabbit to everyone that brought a visitor.  It seems that someone associated with the church had offered us a bundle of baby rabbits.

The promotion worked, and we had a record attendance while handing out more than fifty rabbits to those “lucky” families that had brought visitors.  The rabbit I carried home was immediately named Peter, and my father built a sturdy cage for him to live in.

Peter, the rabbit, was a good pet.  We even let him out during the day, and he would hop around the yard and always stay close to his food where we would put him in his cage at night.  One day, I noticed Peter was pulling all of his hair out, and that worried me. He became very ill, and it looked like he might die. Before long, Peter shocked us all and gave birth to several little bunnies.

Peter, whose name was changed to Petress, proved to all of us that it is not easy to determine the gender of a rabbit, but as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”, and when the reproduction started we had to rethink our premise.  Before we knew it, we were building more cages and unable to control the rabbit population.

Ardent Christians often feel that our sacred Biblical stories and holidays are replaced with trivial secular symbols.  Santa Clause and Rudolf, the red-nose reindeer rather than baby Jesus and a long donkey ride to Bethlehem.  Peter Cottontail and Easter baskets rather than a resurrected savior and an empty tomb.  Winter Break and Spring Break rather than Christmas and Easter vacation.

Peter Rabbit may be a living example of what Easter is all about rather than a secular substitute for the aisles of Walmart.  Not just any Peter cotton tail story or rhyme but the Peter Rabbit that I knew as a boy.  One that sacrificed her fur to make life more comfortable for those that would come after her.  One that surprised us by coming back to life from a place of weakness only to produce more life.

The story of the resurrected Savior is one of sacrifice, humility, brokenness, death and new life.  It is more than anything a message of hope and renewal.  The celebration of a resurrected Christ is new life springing forth from unlikely circumstances.

The Old Testament tells us about Jacob whose name changed to Israel after an encounter with a supernatural being.  The New Testament tells us about Saul whose name changed to Paul after an encounter with God.  Not only does our nature change with greater potential when we meet Christ but so does our Identity.

Easter illustrates the changing character of all of us at the point that we sacrifice our life and give our heart to God.  We move from turmoil to triumph, and new life demonstrates all of this.  We are born again, and that transformation is a celebration that started at Calvary.

This year at the First Pentecostal Church, we celebrate this season with a dramatic portrayal of the risen Christ.  “Messiah” 2016 is a 2-hour music drama of live animals, special effects and a cast of more than 150 people.  It will keep you riveted as you journey with Christ through the three years that preceded his death and the days that followed.

“Messiah” 2016 will be presented four times this year.  March 18th (Friday), March 20th (Sunday), March 25th, (Friday) and March 27th (Sunday) at 7:00 pm.  This year it is presented free of charge by going to www.messiahdrama.com for your electronic ticket or calling First Pentecostal Church at 321-723-2030.  Doors will open at 6:00 pm and standby tickets will be given at 6:30 pm each night.

Petress was just a rabbit that I got one Easter, but she taught me to look at life through the lens of possibility rather than through the paradigm of preconceptions.  Easter is more than eggs and baskets; it is life.  New life. Resurrected life.  Impossible life.

 

 

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

My summer with Antonin Scalia

pastor-david-myersAttending law school and pursuing a Jurist doctorate has many challenges, but also many rewards.  One high point that stands out in my mind occurred in the spring of 1998 when I received a letter in the mail from the University of San Diego.

I had been fortunate in the summer of 1997 to be accepted into a comparative law program in Oxford, England.  In addition to living on the campus of Oxford and studying under state Supreme Court justices, the experience had broadened my perspective of American jurisprudence.

The letter from the school that had sponsored the Oxford program now extended an even greater opportunity to study under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.  I was ecstatic, and then I considered the reality of taking another summer off to study abroad while employed full time as co-pastor of First Pentecostal Church.

I sought the advice of my father and staff.  Everyone was very supportive of the opportunity and encouraged me to attend the program.  I accepted and arrived in Dublin on a beautiful summer day not knowing what to expect.  I soon found my small dormitory room and unpacked my belongings.  The room faced an alley and was more akin to something you would find in an American prison.

The cramped space would soon become my sanctuary.  A place of intense study and preparation.  I felt out of place the next day as I reported to class, surrounded by younger, brighter minds. We all looked around and sized up each other as we waited for the professor.  Antonin Scalia entered without fanfare.  Dressed in a suit and fully prepared, but yet very relaxed and conversational.  A study in contrasts!

He started the class by asking a question, and the questions never stopped for the next several weeks as we met each day with this man who was short of stature but yet had a huge reputation as a brilliant jurist.  Our class was comprised of many Ivy League law students from the Northeast that were anxious to take on Scalia and show him how flawed he was in his analysis of the law.

He was not what many people were expecting.  He was not bombastic or braggadocios as his famous dissents would suggest.  He was humble in the discussion of his majority and minority opinions.  He was thoughtful and respectful of each student as they presented counter-arguments.

He would win students over each day, not with intimidation but with logic, questions, and humor.  All the while, not so concerned with converting us to his way of interpreting the Constitution but with an emphasis to remain consistent with our legal analysis.

It seemed like regardless of what side of the issue we were on in our classroom briefing of the cases, he would challenge the status quo.  He would force us to take a look at it from a different angle.  There were times when students, including myself, felt that we made a good point only to have him take it several layers deeper and force us to reconsider our premise.  I had never been in an arena with someone this bright and this intellectually honest.

The banter in class that he allowed and encouraged intrigued me and consumed my every waking moment in preparation.  I had never considered myself a serious student, but this was different.  I was determined to be ready each day and to be prepared for the legal jousting that would ensue.

The younger students took advantage of the 714 pubs in the Temple Bar area that surrounded the school campus in downtown Dublin each night while I retreated to my closet dorm room to study half the night and be ready the next day for class.  Inevitably, Justice Scalia would start the class by saying, “Mr. Myers, you brief the case for us; it’s obvious you are the only one that reads it, or at least sober enough to remember it.”

Justice Scalia told us how the Supreme Court worked behind the scenes.  How the Justices decide who is going to write the majority and the minority decisions.  How they hire their law clerks and how the judicial branch is the least powerful of the three branches of government in America. He said, “We don’t control the guns or the butter (military or the money) we just have the power of the pen.”

I’m not sure if any of us students agreed with him about the limited strength of the judicial branch, but we could all certainly agree with the fact that there is great power in the pen of U.S. Supreme Court justices. He took it one step further, as he was prone to do, and taught us an impromptu lesson on the power of dissent.  He said, “You must state your convictions with authority even when you are not in the majority.”

All of the moments and memories flooded back to my mind when I heard the news that he had passed.  I wondered if he died of heartbreak because of how much he loved our country and worried about its future.  My silent prayer for his life and family was interrupted with a smile that came to my face.

I remembered what he said as we were saying our goodbyes in Dublin.  “Mr. Myers, Our families are from Sicily, and we both love to laugh, but your love for God supersedes your love for the law.  Don’t lose that, it’s the only thing that matters in the end.”

Thank you, Justice Scalia for not only your knowledge of the law but also for your understanding of what is important in life and your courage to live out those convictions even when it was not popular.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

Miracle on Emerson Street 

Have you ever had those moments in your life when you felt compelled to do something that seemed completely illogical?  You were trying to do the right thing, but something called common sense kept getting in the way.

More than five years ago, the United States of America was in the throes of a recession that had stymied our economy.  Florida was hit hard with the slow down of construction and tourism.  Palm Bay led the nation in home foreclosures and was featured in the national news for that unenviable distinction.

The trajectory of growth in the years of the building boom and skyrocketing home values was now being reciprocated with a correction that saw the same path in reverse.  In other words, the areas that had the greatest growth were now experiencing the most significant decline.

In 2010, Palm Bay and all of Brevard County had ridden the roller coaster of growth and was now in the vortex of a downward spiral.  In addition to the standstill in construction and house values cut in half, the shuttle program had concluded at Kennedy Space Center, and the new Orion program had been gutted.  These factors caused unemployment to rise to historic highs.

This triangular strangulation caused good, hard working people to lose their homes.  Foreclosure was an unwelcome reality for many people. The members and friends of First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay were not exempted from this environment.  At the same time, in the midst of this financial fiasco, I felt compelled to pay off our mortgage and be debt free as a church.

I resisted God, good advice, and my fears in that order over a period of fourteen months.  For churches to be debt free, the extra giving comes from the members of that local assembly.  How could I ask people to give over and above their usual donations to pay off a church that was not in a financial crisis, when many were facing the loss of their jobs and homes?

I argued with God, but he would not let me off the hook.  He challenged me with this revelation, “If my vehicle for a financial blessing is based on giving by faith, then your pride and your fear hinders me from blessing my people.”  I countered with, “This is not the right time to issue such a challenge.”  He concluded the discussion with this mandate, “Do it now in an adverse environment and I will show my power.”

We launched a stewardship campaign in the winter of 2012 that we called, “Breaking the Chains.”  Our goal was to pay off the church mortgage of close to 1.5 million and break the chains of debt.  Paying off this mortgage in three years as opposed to twenty-five years would save the church one million dollars in interest.  Finances that could be put in missions and other ministries rather than given to the bank.

The Bible says God fulfilled his promise to Abraham that Israel would multiply into a great nation during the four hundred years that the Hebrew children were in captivity in Egypt.  A hostile environment to say the least!  The Scriptures also remind us that,  “the borrower is a servant to the lender.” Based on Biblical principle, we begin to give by faith.  We were startled by the immediate results!

One testimony after another dotted the early months of 2012 as people began to get their jobs back and their homes back.  The sacrificial giving became joyous giving as God showed his mighty hand of power.  Members who were supposed to be let go from their employment were now given raises.  These reports produced momentum that resulted in sustained commitment.

Our original plan was to invest in additional ministries when this debt was completed, but our timetable was once again turned on its head.  Opportunities came to us right away to open more campuses in South Brevard.  Global Mission needs and local community projects beckoned us.  During this time of sacrifice, we built six churches and one orphanage in third world countries.   We were blessed to start three more church campuses and open the second largest food bank in Brevard County.

 

During the last week of December 2015, we faced the final link in the chain as we had reduced the debt of 1.5 million dollars to thirty thousand dollars.  Early Monday morning on December 28th I was praying about the right path to take, as we were still several thousand dollars short of our goal.  At this same time, I received a text from a member of our church with a donation of the exact amount needed.  God reminded me of a scripture in Hebrews “He is the author and the finisher of our faith.”

The work that “He has begun, He will finish.”  The important lesson for us is always to remember the miracle.

On Sunday, January 31st at 10:45am we will have a celebration, joint campus, service that will conclude with a mortgage burning and ministry fair. Come and join us. The main campus of First Pentecostal Church is located at 1021 Emerson Dr. in Palm Bay.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Original Star: The Force Awakens

On December 18th, after having to wait for over seven years, fans of the Star Wars series were treated to a new movie release that had the “force awaken” and Han Solo put to rest (my son freaked out upon hearing this last detail).  Sci-Fi junkies waited in line for hours, and many dressed up in costumes to commemorate the opening of the movie.

 

Only seven days before Christmas, the movie captured the attention of an American populace that is intrigued with a fictional battle in a far away place.  Imagination has always been a powerful tool for exploration and entertainment.  Rabid moviegoers spend millions as George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, and Disney, the recent purchaser, celebrate their production.

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, thousands of churches in America will celebrate Christmas with children plays, musical cantatas, candlelight communion services and perhaps even a living Christmas tree or a spiritual adaptation of the old Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol”.

 

nativity3Somewhere in between lies an interesting conversation about the power of a Star to lead us, and the intrigue of a battle to save us.  Notwithstanding the fact that many consider the story of Jesus in a manger to be just as fictional as Luke Skywalker and Princess Lea, one must admit that the staying power of the Bethlehem birth of Christ is more revealing than the success of Star Wars.

 

Although, I am probably one of only a few humans on earth that have not ever watched a Star Wars movie, my understanding of the series is that there is a battle between good and evil.  A rebel alliance and a galactic empire.  Then of course, based on my extensive research, there is a war in the stars.  All of which makes me yawn until I think of its spiritual application.

 

The book of Matthew records that wise men over two thousand years ago and from somewhere in the East followed an unusual star for thousands of miles to Jerusalem.  There must have been something special about this star that they followed for such a distance and to King Herod of Israel’s court.  Upon arriving, they announced by asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?  We have seen His star in the East and are come to worship him.”

 

This declaration did not sit well with the present King of the Jews, Herod.  He concocted a plan to kill the baby Jesus, but when the wise men did not participate in this scheme, Herod had all the infants in Bethlehem killed to remove this threat to his throne.  Not only were the wise men supernaturally warned of the plot, Joseph, the father of Jesus, was also warned and he had already moved his young family to Egypt.

 

Beyond the miracle of God clothing himself in flesh and being born in the most humbling of all circumstances… in a barn and laid in a feeding trough, lies the contrast between the greatest gift bestowed upon humanity and the greatest battle known to man.

 

This story was the original Star Wars.  It was not Han Solo or Darth Vader.  It was not the galactic empire or the rebel alliance.  It was Jesus, Joseph, Herod and wise men from the East.  Sort of a Holy Alliance and an Evil Empire.  The miracle was born in the midst of danger, fear, intrigue, and uncertainty.

 

A star is light, and this Light called Christ was born under the cloak of a pretty serious lampshade. The Star of Light was shrouded with unlikely circumstances and unappealing surroundings.  Although, it was the answer to the prayers of millions of people over a period of thousands of year, it was not obvious.

 

That light is the hope that each of us has in Christ.  It is the real force, and when it awakens, anything is possible.  The lyrics of a Jane Taylor poem in the 19th Century reminds us of the dream and the wonder: “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.  Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky…”

 

The beauty of a star or the wonder of a child is not easy to bottle, and no doubt will always have the adversity of dream killers and naysayers, still it is what illuminates our hearts and brightens our soul.  It is the Christmas message, and it is alive and well.