9/12/10 - Today I visited The International Community Church PCA, in FWB, FL
I had just come from Bible Study early Sunday morning as I drove South on
Beal Pkwy., in Fort Walton Beach on my way to find a service downtown. I was
day-dreaming as I passed the cemetery and then suddenly noticed this delightful
church on the right.
I had driven this road perhaps a thousand times during my four years in FWB
and really do not have a clear recollection of noticing the church before. There
is usually so much traffic; or often with my wife in the car we talk about her
family members buried in the nearby cemetery; or we're on our way to the VFW, or
Ruby Tuesdays; or we're rushing back to the office to see a patient ~ or
something; but today was my first conscious notice of the empty parking
lot and unusual sign.
I had to turn around and retrace my path to get there. As I stepped out of
the car, a lady pulled into the adjacent space. I asked what time the service
would be and what was the denomination.
She said: "Presbyterian, at 11 O'clock. Is your wife Korean?"
That took me a little by
surprise, but she quickly added: "Anyhow, you should be able to understand the
sermon since it is translated!"
Well now, that got my attention! And before you knew it I was inside, fitted
for my earphones, cordially welcomed by Youth Pastor Hong who was filling in for
Pastor Joshua S. Jea on mission in China, cleared to take pictures, and
listening to some great music as the choir warmed up!
This was The KOREAN-PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH of Fort Walton Beach,
The church enjoyed a unique flavor. It had all the stained glass one usually
sees in a Presbyterian church and there were even vestments worn by some
assistants. But quite apart from the fact that much of the service was in Korean
~it was certainly different!
For one thing it was much more evangelical than your average Presbyterian
congregation. The youth Pastor conducted a fine group of young singers and
musicians who were casually dressed and who generated some very
contemporary music, albeit with alternating verses rendered in English and
Korean. The congregation stood, waved hands, clapped and gave "Halleluiah"; and
the words to songs and readings were projected up behind the pulpit just like in
a Baptist environment!
I had no difficulty transcribing a brief English version of the sermon from
the translation given in my earpiece. Pastor formally welcomed me from the
pulpit. The meet 'n Greet occurred late in the service, after the sermon, and I
was warmly welcomed by many parishioners, most of whom bowed deeply with
traditional Asian courtesy. In all it was a very invigorating worship and I was
cordially invited to luncheon following the service.
I was conducted by a charming lady to the indoor basketball court doubling as
a fellowship hall, seated and then taken through the buffet by another elegant
damsel, Michelle Smith, President of The N.W. FL. Korean American Association,
who personally served my portions onto my plate! Then we sat and chatted with a
group that included the Pastor and another gentleman who said he had voted for
me in the recent Primary election!
At the conclusion, Pastor blessed my "Pilgrimage" activities; and everyone
waved, smiled and murmured encouragement as I left. I do not believe I have ever
been more graciously treated in any church on my travels. This cordial and
polite Korean Culture certainly created a unique worship experience!
Thank you all!
< MUSIC VIDEOS
"Who is in control?"
(A summary, adapted & edited from the sermon
8/12/2010 by Pastor Zadok Hong at The International Community Church PCA; Fort
Walton Beach, FL, referencing John 2:1-11).
Full Text <Click
Summary: Before the sermon, Pastor Hong projected a video of "The Luckiest People In
The World." It had a "Three-Stooges," Mad-Cap quality that showed folks falling
off motorcycles and escaping injury, pedestrians avoiding car wrecks that
miraculously slammed into trees before impacting them, and all manner of escape
from near-mayhem. Then Pastor abruptly turned to the Gospel: In today’s reading
Jesus, His Disciples and His mother were at a wedding feast when the wine ran
out. "Jesus’ mother said to Him: ‘They have no more wine.’"
Jesus replies: "‘Dear woman, why do you involve me?’"
But Mary basically ignores the question and tells the servants to do whatever
Jesus directs. Jesus then performs His first miracle; that of turning the water
into wine. Pastor Hong noted that for some reason the bride’s family – who
should have ensured a sufficiency of wine – appeared to lack "control" of the
Pastor said that when he first studied English, he was a little puzzled by
that language’s use of the word "Control." In Korean, the word means
"Everything’s fine ... someone’s in charge." In Korea "Control" is not used
except in a strict sense, with for example military or formal authoritarian
In the U.S., on the other hand the word is used easily to speak of casual
authority. In Korea, God is in "Control"; whereas if we misuse the word
"Control" too casually, we may mistakenly give ourselves high status and fail to
relinquish authority to The Lord.
The ability to exert effective control takes a lot of effort and training.
When a baby is born it first tries to control its limbs. It takes time for the
infant to learn to stand and control its bodily functions and surroundings.
Later the child discovers how to build friendships, win the love of a girlfriend
and even manipulate it’s parents for pocket money! Then people try to control
everything, including society.
God gave us a desire to control. It all started in Genesis 1 when God said:
"Let us make man in our image to rule ..." For us humans to do this job well, we
set a goal, prioritize and act. That is good in God’s eyes. But sometimes we can
misuse this power. And other times we just lack the capability.
Today’s reading shows a wedding feast arranged and "Controlled" by a wife and
her family. Biblically, these affairs lasted for up to two weeks! No one was in
a hurry. Everything needed to be arranged, to be "Neat & Tidy." Usually, one to
two years engagement preceded the nuptials. So there was ample time for all the
plans and preparations to be made. All the details including the menu were
finalized far in advance.
Because these ancient festivals entertained the family and guests, wine would
have been the most basic necessity. Much of it was generally prepared and stored
in stone jars. However in the wedding festival of today’s reading, the wine ran
out. We don’t know why. But its Lack embarrassed the hostess. The situation
would have resulted in censure with mocking and loss of honor for the hosts.
Thus Jesus was asked to help.
This type of situation can happen to us too, and we can fail in many ways: A
musician, despite intense practice can miss the prize; a Korean, in spite of
deep study can fail to pass an English test; health issues like cancer can
afflict us even if we live a healthy life. The list of unexpected failures is
We do want our lives to be like a festival with lots of success and
congratulations. But it doesn’t always work out that way. We too can "Make wine
for our festival" (by studying, practicing, etc.) ~ and then sometimes be
surprised to find that our wine jars are suddenly empty; and you may find
yourself without grapes and lacking a plan to fill the empty jars. Then you
cannot "Control" the outcome! You will have lost control of your
Our life is never guaranteed and many times we have no control: "I didn’t
finish that Term paper by deadline ... I crashed my car when I fell asleep. I
lost control due to an element I’d never experienced before." And the list goes
So, when YOU lose control (Ezra 8:23), who will you count on? Jesus of
He changed water into wine. He changes sinners to righteousness; darkness
into light. So if you lose control, go to The Lord, turn it over to Jesus. He
wants us to bring our problems to Him. So Pray and approach Him. All
blessings, grace and mercy come from God. Count on Him 100% of the time.
Sometimes we are wrong, but He is the solution to our all our problems.
Why don’t we pray? We pay a lot to see the lawyer, doctor or dentist and make
an appointment for our health or legal problems. But we don’t make an
appointment to bring our problems to God! He will help you in diverse ways
beyond your imagination. So relinquish control to God.
Let God control the easy and the difficult in your life. I want you to have
your celebration. Then others will say that you really are "one of the luckiest
people in the world!"
THANK YOU FOR YOUR
WILLIAM ESCOFFERY III,
- CONTACT DATA
- (850) 225-7228
- Postal address
- 265 Country Club Rd., Shalimar, FL 32579
- Electronic mail
- E-Mail: dr.Escoffery@SenateBill.US
- WEB-SITE: http://www.senateBill.us/
- Webmaster: dr.Escoffery@SenateBill.US
U.S. SENATE, FL
(NOTE: I want to emphasize that, pursuant to the relevant campaign
prohibitions, none of the churches, Pastors nor parishioners in their official
church capacities ~ referenced or pictured herein ~ officially support my