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God’s Spirit Within You – Christian Andrews

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My pastor Christian Andrews kicked off a new sermon series this past Sunday. Would you invest a few minutes with me to watch his sermon from Sunday? I know that it will be a great investment of your time. Please watch this video and share it with your friends.

If you would like to join me at Park Church, please reach out to me at 732-672-2356.

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I Start My 8th Lifetime With Carrie Hemphill

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Tonight my fiancée Carrie Hemphill is flying to Italy to checkoff one of her bucket-list items; three weeks of language immersion in Italy. For the past two years she has studied the Italian language tirelessly, three times a week, with my cousin Elio Mussi via Skype. I am so blessed that Carrie shares my love of Italy, the Italian language, and my family heritage.

On June 24th we will be married in Pescara, just 45 minutes from my grandfather’s birthplace, Popoli Italy. I know that my grandfather Francesco di Gregorio will be smiling from heaven on that day. It will be the first time that my mother has stepped foot on Italy soil and will see her father’s birthplace.

God has blessed me with an incredible life partner in Carrie Hemphill. She is a loving Christian woman who is growing in her faith in Jesus Christ. My mother was instrumental in her conversion to a living faith in Jesus Christ. It is such a twist of fate; I led my mother to Christ over 30 years ago!

As I sit in our brand new home, alone for the first time, I was compelled to write about the incredible blessings that God has bestowed in my life. I often joke that I have had many “lifetimes” of blessings as my careers have changed over the years. There are so many people that have mentored, encouraged, loved, collaborated, and lovingly disciplined me over the years. Tonight, I decided to make my first attempt at reflecting on my path, which has brought me to a new beginning in my life, marrying Carrie Hemphill in June of this year.

Before I recount my “experiential lifetimes” I have to thank my parents for a wonderful childhood. James and Frances Pasch will receive an award in heaven for putting up with the antics from five crazy boys. My brothers and I can look back now and laugh, but we did put our parents through some very difficult times. Now as a father, I understand how easily a parent’s heart can break over the smallest things.

I have to start my first “lifetime” and rebirth with Joe Pecoraro, my High School Physics teacher, who first introduced me to a living Christian faith: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My conversion experience led me to Hydewood Park Baptist Church and a youth program led by Gordon Schuitt. I was blessed to be mentored by Gordon in High School and I miss his counseling as I write this post today.

As a result of the welcome I received from Gordon, I became involved in church programs and outreach. Our friendship was critical in later years as I was comforted when going through a very difficult time in my life after Randy and I separated. I often think of Jeff Graves, Mario Romero, Jack Darida, Danny Parker, Ruth Kirkland, Dane Lowrie, Joanne Lowrie, Pat McCord, and Ed Nicholson from those wonderful days at Hydewood.

My second lifetime was an amazing, but short career as a High School Physics teacher at Westfield High School. I look back on that great experience and thank David Stoneback, Head of the Science Department, for believing in me. I loved being a teacher despite having to work “two” jobs: teaching during the day and working on creating lesson plans at night.

My third lifetime was spent learning how to be a land surveyor. My mentor was Ted Hallard, a member of Hydewood Park Baptist Church and a wonderful Christian man. I loved working for Ted as I drove his dilapidated Dodge Dart vehicles on land surveying projects. I learned that being a successful businessman and Christian were not mutually exclusive. I often think of Dan Parker, John Alessi, and Jonathan Kirtland from those days at Hallard & Associates.

My fourth lifetime was my first business called “Customer Computer Systems.” We built personal computers for small businesses. I also wrote a software program using Rbase to manage the billing, accounting, and map files for surveying companies and engineering firms. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people including Scott McCauley, Sharon Lima, and my brother James Pasch. When the economy started to tank in 1989 I decided to look for greener pastures.

My fifth lifetime was a great adventure that led me to New York City. I was hired at Goldman Sachs in 1990 when Goldman was the finest company to work for on Wall Street. In my role as a Senior Telecom Analyst I learned so much. My experiences at Goldman influenced my life in ways that I could never imagine. I could thank many people who mentored me at Goldman but those who come first to mind are Michael Marsh, Brian Duffy, Mary Byron, Liz Martin, Dan Haddad, Edie Hunt, and Fred Portuondo.

My sixth lifetime was a rollercoaster ride as I joined my brother’s telemarketing company and was also married in the same year to Denise. There were so many people who impacted my life during this time and none more than my son Connor James Pasch who was born on March 26, 1997. During my years in the telemarketing industry, I developed lasting relationships with great people including Leif Maiorini, Travis Rodgers, and Inna Zelepukina.

My seventh lifetime was a resurrection experience. Losing everything and building a new business from nothing. Starting my new business, which is now known as PCG Companies, I was the only employee back in 2005.  Over the past 11 years, I have developed a new appreciation for entrepreneurs and the work it takes to build a successful business from the ashes of failure.

Only now can I clearly see that God had something even better in store for me. During this time I came to learn the many talents of my brother Glenn Pasch, who is a trusted business partner and friend. My local friends that supported me during this second “rebirth” include Joe Monte, Pat Scire, Jeff Wrightson, Gabe Farina, and my future father-in-law Joe Hemphill. I also count my early employees as core to our current success. My veterans include Carrie Hemphill, Shawn Hoagland, Renee McGowan, Melanie Ferrato, Lisa Grande, and Marc McGurren.

My eighth lifetime is about to begin with my love, Carrie Hemphill.  We are the definition of “iron sharpening iron” and God has blessed us with a great local church, Park Church in Tinton Falls. I am so excited that Christian Andrews (our Senior Pastor) and his family will be joining us in Italy to officiate our wedding. I am blessed with great health, a growing business, and a loving future bride. Together, Carrie and I look forward to starting a family and sharing the blessings that God has given us.  I am more than excited!

You may ask what inspired me to publically thank God for his blessings over the past 54 years? It was my trip this week to Syracuse, New York.

I met with Roger Burdick and Lou Bregou, partners at Driver’s Village and Firas Makhlouf. On Thursday night, these three Christian men shared their testimonies at dinner. Each man shared a story of redemption and God’s grace. Together we prayed for our meeting on Friday and that God would bless our efforts to grow the business. It struck me how wonderful it is to work with passionate, inspired Christian businessmen. It also reminded me of my many blessings over the years.

As I embark on my eighth lifetime path, I encourage you to count the blessings that God has given you over the years. I am at peace. I could not be happier to be spending the rest of my life with Carrie. I look forward to seeing Connor grow and find his way. The future is bright.

How about you? Are you content? It is never too late to change your path and find favor in following the path that God has for you. Regardless of your past, God’s forgiveness and grace can cleanse your entire soul. I can attest to that.

I pray that I will be a great husband to Carrie, continue to be a role model to my son Connor, and a witness to the living God that is within me.

Amen.

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I Had The Good Samaritan Parable Backwards

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If you were raised in a Christian home like me, you probably heard the story of the Good Samaritan 100 times. Last week, our Pastor Christian Andrews started a sermon series that kicked off with the story of the Good Samaritan. Just in case you forgot the specifics of the story, here they are, as found in the Gospel of Luke (NIV):

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Who Are You In This Story?

When I heard the story of the Good Samaritan in the past, I always saw myself in the role of the Good Samaritan. I interpreted the story as a reminder to help others. I looked at the story as a parable that illustrates how we must show Christ’s love to others, even when it was not convenient or if it has a cost.

Did you see yourself in the story in the same way as I did?

However, when Pastor Christian Andrews shared this story at Park Church last Sunday, it was different. He said that as Christians, we are also like the man who was beaten, robbed, and lying on the road half-dead. The man had no ability to save himself. Without the help of the Good Samaritan, the man would have surely died.

Then it hit me. I was the man lying on the road in need.  

Jesus saved me and paid my debt with his life. For the first time, I saw myself as the man on the road. I would have surely died if Jesus didn’t come to me and save me.

How Did I Get It Wrong?

Pride.  I have always been a hard worker and someone who wants to fix things. I have had times in my life of great success. I have also recovered from a time when I lost everything. I try to make the best of things and stay positive despite adversity.

I also try to help others and to be generous, like the Good Samaritan. I have been blessed with a great family and circle of friends.

But in need? That’s where my weakness is. I don’t like to feel that I am in need of help. I like to be self-sufficient. Maybe a few readers can identify with this perspective.

But last week, when Christian shared the story, I couldn’t help but ask God for forgiveness for my pride. I didn’t want to see myself as the person on the side of the road. Accepting that image would mean that I would have to acknowledge my utter need for God’s help in ALL that I do.

You see, even though I accepted Christ into my life 35+ years ago, I needed to be reminded that my own strength is insufficient to save me or sustain me. Each day that we forget this truth, we are like the man, left to die along the roadside, we miss an opportunity to reconnect with the love of God.

Thank you Christian for opening my eyes to look at this parable in a new light. Thank you Jesus for being the Good Samaritan and paying my debt.

If you live in the Monmouth County area, join me at Park Church for this exciting new series.  Here is a quick overview:

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Christians Should Not Have To Go To Church On Easter

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That’s right. If you are a Christian, you should not HAVE TO GO to church on Easter Sunday. Are you feeling the annual holiday guilt trip? Which scenario best describes your Christian dilemma?

I have to go to church on Easter Sunday because…..

  1. my parents would be disappointed if I didn’t attend.
  2. my spouse really wants me to go.
  3. my children should have some religion in their lives.
  4. I missed Christmas service so I need to go at least once a year.
  5. its a tradition since I was a child.
  6. if I go on Easter and take communion my sins will be forgiven.

So, if these apply to your situation, I have some great news for you. You shouldn’t have to go to church on Easter Sunday if you don’t want to. Stay home and remove those feelings of guilt. Maybe it is time to give up on calling yourself a Christian….maybe the flame has burned out?

Easter Is Special

The good news of the Easter season is that Jesus died for people that didn’t ask to be redeemed. He died for people who were “burned out” from “religious” traditions. Jesus died for people who were going through the paces of religion for their family. He died to become a focal point of people’s lives more than once a year.

If you are attending a worship service on Easter Sunday:

  • you should WANT to be in church on Sunday.
  • you should WANT to thank Jesus for dying on the cross.
  • you should WANT to thank him for his gift of salvation.
  • you should WANT to proclaim and affirm your faith.

How will you arrive at church this Sunday?

Will you WANT to attend or will you HAVE to be there?

The later experience will lack the joy of the Easter season.

All I ask is that you pray to Jesus that he will restore your faith or for the first time, reveal Himself to you in a new way.

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Join Me on Sunday

Join me on Easter Sunday at Park Church in Tinton Falls, NJ. I will be attending the 9:30 am service, and I would love to sit with you. Drop me an email if you can join me: brian@pcgmailer.com. The church is located just a few minutes from the Monmouth Mall, near Exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway. Here are easy to follow directions.

Park Church is an amazing place to worship; come as you are. Families with children will be glad to know that the church offers classes on Sunday for children of all ages, so bring the family to church on Sunday. If you love music, you will love the singing and church band. So join me this Sunday and let’s celebrate our faith together.

Happy Easter everyone!

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When Attacked How Do You React?

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Today at Park Church in Tinton Falls, New Jersey our Pastor kicked off a series entitled “Look Again; the art of seeing Jesus.” The six part series looks at six famous paintings that depict different aspects of the life of Jesus. The first painting in this series is called “The Taking of Christ” and was painted by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

The artist captures the scene that was described in Matthew 26: 47-56 and I have included that passage below:

While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Look at The Hands of Jesus

hands-prayingWhat hit me the most from today’s sermon was the pastor’s remarks about Jesus’ hands. In the painting you can see that Jesus is not resisting the arrest. He is not trying to defend himself against the angry mob. His hands are clasped together as if in prayer; Jesus sees the bigger picture for his life and does not let the moment overwhelm him.

Jesus could have reacted in self-interest when his friend Judas betrayed him. Jesus reprimanded one of his followers, who drew a sword to cut off the ear of a servant. Jesus said that he could have called twelve legions of angels to his defense. He was claiming that 72,000 angels would have appeared at his command but he didn’t react that way.

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?

With all his power he did not react to the mob like you and I might have reacted. Jesus knew that what looked like a temporary win for evil would be the true downfall of evil. He knew that evil would never win against the goodness of God.

His disciples ran from the scene, as depicted by the man in the olive green shirt on the left side of the painting.  The disciples lost their focus and thought that evil had won.  The following day Jesus died on the cross. Three days later, on Easter Sunday he rose from the dead.

I Missed That Message

Having read the above passage in Matthew, hundreds of times, I must admit that I missed the single-mindedness of Jesus at that moment. Caravaggio didn’t miss that fact! He beautifully portrayed the scene described in Mathew Chapter 26 in his painting.

Sometimes it can feel that evil has the upper hand in this world. If you watch the evening news it can be easy to forget that good will overcome evil. You may be under persecution right now from family, friends, or evildoers and may be losing hope. The good news is there is hope. Take a minute to look how Jesus reacted when he was attacked.

According to Caravaggio’s vision of that day, Jesus held his hands together. Jesus knew who was ultimately in charge of the immediate scene. The painting “The Taking of Christ” is a great reminder for us today:

When we are under attack it’s time to pray and let God take control on the scene.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you can take great comfort is his sacrifice. You can learn from his example when he was unfairly attacked, accused, and punished. It’s time for you to “look again” at the example of Jesus.

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Join Me at Park Church

If you enjoyed this post then you will really enjoy the six-week sermon series that just started today. There are five more messages in the series and I hope you will be compelled to hear them. Park Church has two services every Sunday and there are three services schedule for Easter Sunday.

For more information visit: http://www.parkchurchnj.com or call 732.530.7737