Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Coming Year 2010

As the new year begins, I feel the Lord speaking loudly and clearly that we are approaching the time in our history when He is about to directly intervene in this earth. As darkness is on the increase, so too must God's light and glory begin to shine forth from His people. The Bible tells us that the earth is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God. We witness to this Scripture, because within us there is a groaning not only to see God's sons manifested, but to be those sons who will bring God's deliverance in the earth.

My wife, Joanne, has said numerous times from the pulpit, "The leaders that you see are not the true leaders." We see in the political realm a cry for real leaders, yet I wonder if we realize that those who have been presented to us as the leaders in the church are, in the end, not going to be the true leaders as well. We have been following leaders of a social gospel, and quite frankly, it has not produced an overcoming people, but rather a people that are dependent, defeated and powerless.

God is looking for emerging leaders to present themselves before Him and to allow Him to prepare them for the hour ahead. It is time to abandon our excuses and fall upon the mercy of God, to repent for our cold hearts and let Him reignite the fire from Heaven that alone can produce true godliness and true holiness within us, for it is Christ in us who is the hope of glory.

Do you find you are so encumbered by the things of life that you have come to believe that you are too old, too young, too weak or too late to cast off the hindrances that weigh you down and sell out totally to God and His purposes?

It is time to make the decision to allow God to take you, deal with you and work within you what He has purposed for you. It is up to you. Break free and hear from God afresh and anew. You honestly have nothing to lose.

God has the answers for the coming day. He will have a people prepared to march at His orders and to go forth into a world literally dying for the knowledge of God and groaning to be set from from the kingdom of darkness and to be translated into the Kingdom of His Son.

Your place in this coming day is largely going to be determined by your choices.

This New Year, make your decision for God.

P.S. As a side note, Pinecrest is one place where God can prepare you for the times ahead. If you feel God calling you to lay aside distractions and abandon yourself to His purpose, consider coming to Pinecrest.

- Jack Picataggi, President

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Pinecrest spread the joy of Christ's birth in an outreach to Dolgeville on December 14, with groups going door-to-door bringing Christmas carols and cookies to local residents. Here are a few pictures from the evening.

Friday, December 18, 2009

May God’s peace and joy be yours as we celebrate our Savior’s birth!

Christmas Specials Chapel 2009

Before heading off for Christmas vacation, students (and a few others) showed off their talents at our annual Christmas Specials Chapel on December 18.
Chris shows that he's more than just a good cook!

Will sings a song he wrote

Stephanie raps about hope

Emcee Francis cracks a joke


Jack and Joanne Picataggi enjoy the show

The international men (Joel, David, Benson and Ernst)...and Julianne, Rebecca and Christa

Some First Year students pose for a picture

Christmas Dinner 2009

As the Second Quarter draws to a close, Pinecrest residents gathered on December 17 for our annual Christmas dinner.

Anahi, Tabitha, Lauren and Rebecca

Shane and Jeremiah

Joy and Tori

Paul and James


Don and Jean

Chris and Will

Richard, Joel, Ernst, David and Christa

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mary: Servant of God

When you think about Christmastime, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Sleigh bells? Christmas trees? Mistletoe? Pumpkin pie?

Or maybe if you’re a Christian, you think of baby Jesus, the wise men, shepherds, angels, or even the innkeeper.

Now, all of that is great, don’t misunderstand me, but when I think of Christmas, there are two things that are most obvious to me. One is God’s love for mankind. The other is Mary.

Let’s think some about Mary. She was a virgin; an unmarried, God-fearing woman. The angel Gabriel appeared to her one night, woke her up, and said to her, “You’re going to have a baby. But not just any baby—the Son of the Most High.”

What was Mary’s reaction? Did she put her hands on her hips, fix Gabriel with an angry glare and say, “A baby? Are you kidding me? It’ll ruin my reputation, not to mention my figure! I’m an unmarried woman! Why would God do this to me?”

No. Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be unto me as you have said (Luke 1:38).” No thoughts about her reputation. No complaints. No hesitation. She was completely submitted to the will of God.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened if Mary had said, “Go away, angel. I’m trying to sleep.” Or if she had said, “I don’t want to have a baby.” I don’t have all the answers, but I don’t think God would have forced Mary to have Jesus. He gave us a free will. No, God would have found another woman eager to do His will, and Mary would have been left out of the picture.

God chose Mary, and she acknowledged that. She saw His will for her life and she surrendered her future, her dreams, her very being to His will.

So, what do you think so far? Do you think God was pleased with Mary's submission? Of course He was. And do you know what? God wants our submission as well.

One of the most important things I’ve learned since coming to Pinecrest is that if I want God to change me, I have to surrender to His will. We have to give up control of our lives. We have to hand God the reins, because God has a plan and a will for our lives, and in order for it to be carried out, He needs our submission and cooperation.

So, you may ask yourself, how can I be like Mary? How can I submit to God? It’s simple. God cares for you, and He has a plan for your life. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. Ask God what His will is for your life and when He tells you, give it to Him. Let Him do it His way.

This Christmas when you’re sitting on the couch, full of pie, surrounded by friends and family, remember the real reason for Christmas. Remember the Baby in the manger. Remember who died on the cross for you. And may we all strive to follow the example of Mary, who through her submission to God was part of the greatest story ever told.

- Honnah Wiederhold

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Caroling and Cookies

Freezing rain didn't dampen students' spirits as they gathered for Pinecrest's annual Christmas caroling and cookie decorating on December 9. After singing to campus families, students met in the Dining Room to decorate (and eat!) cookies and to compete for the best decorated cookie.

Christy, Heather and Andrea show off their winning cookies

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Northside Hispanic Ministry Outstation

On Sunday, December 6, twelve of us filled the school’s big, white van to capacity and traveled out to Syracuse, New York to participate in the morning service held at the Northside Hispanic Ministry.

The service began with a Spanish worship set, then Second Year student Stephanie Polivka, backed up by several other students, did a few of our favorite worship songs, even attempting one in Spanish! Gloria a Dios!

Third Year student James Culver gave a testimony regarding his five-month internship in Rapogi, Kenya. He spoke about how nothing is impossible with God and how real that became to him while visiting small villages in Africa.

Second Year student Samuel Torres, who was a part of the church prior to attending Pinecrest, then preached on the power of God being greater than any circumstance we face. Sam’s message was followed with a time of personal prayer ministry at the altar.

“This church has been a big part of my life and it was nice to bring in some of my friends from Pinecrest so that both groups could experience worship with one another," said Torres.

Those of us from Pinecrest were equally blessed by the visit to the warm and lively Hispanic church. Hopefully this is a relationship that will continue!

- Evie Kowalewski

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dedicated for Worship

In Chapel today, the students came forward for a time of prayer and dedicating their instruments and voices to the Lord for worship.

In the same way that we might dedicate a child to the Lord, these instruments and voices were dedicated--set apart for the purpose of bringing worship to God and for the purpose of expressing His heart. We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and have been made kings and priests to minister to Him. We have a special, new song that we can sing to God.

Teacher Michael Smith shared with the students about David, who established a tabernacle as an expression of his heart of worship to God. He talked about the importance of worship in both our lives and ministries; how our very lives should be worship to God.

The students responded with a time of spontaneous prayer and worship.

- Jeanmarie Vargas


We got a light dusting of snow a few weeks ago that melted the next morning, but it looks like snow is here to stay now at Pinecrest! It's always fun to see the reactions of our international students and students from down south, many who have never seen snow before.

Welcome to winter in upstate New York!

- Andrea Laughridge

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Blog

We've toyed around with the idea of starting a Pinecrest blog before, but this is our first attempt at keeping our friends updated on what's going on at Pinecrest without having to rely on the formality of news articles.

We plan to ask several people here to post updates about what God is doing in the student body, conferences, or just day-to-day life here in upstate New York.

Let us know what you'd like to hear about!

- Andrea Laughridge