Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thoughts From A Student On Faith

Lately God has been showing me the great importance of faith in our lives and how we should not take it for granted, because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

Without faith, we are not able to offer God that which He is due or receive anything He wants to give us and bless us with (Hebrews 11:4, 7–8, 11, 17, 27, 30, 33–34).

Everything we are and do is based on our faith in God: “The righteous will live by faith” (Gal. 3:11). Our source of life is God alone, we find our life, righteousness, and freedom in faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:23–24).

By faith, we have assurance about the truths and realities we cannot see and we have confidence in times of trouble (Heb. 11:1). Fear brings doubt, but faith enables us to obey and follow God. Fear prevents us from moving and growing in God, but faith produces fruit and “faithful actions” (James 2:18).

Faith is our shield (Eph. 6:16). We need it every day and in every situation so we can prevent the flaming arrows of the evil one from hurting us.

Through faith, we are able to find strength in weakness, to conquer every situation in our lives, to obtain the promises of God, and to become the mighty men and women He has called us to be. As His people, we are to walk a life of victory which only comes through faith in Him who overcame.

We should remind ourselves of who God has been in our life and believe in who He says He is, no matter the situation or season we are in. He does not change; He is the same yesterday, today and forever! We must not let ourselves be like the Israelites, when they let unbelief come and blamed God by saying that He brought them out of Egypt to kill them. They forgot who He was and what He did for them. God is faithful in all that He does, and wherever we are, God has brought us there with a purpose: to bless us and use us to bless others.

The place of “holding on” might be the hardest one; it is a place where faith has been tested. It is a place of believing and waiting on God. There we can either let unbelief come, which leads to fear, or we can believe in God, in His Word, and in His promises, and go with courage and boldness into the battle, knowing that it has already been won. No matter how long you have been waiting and holding onto His promises, believe that the One who promised is faithful to bring it to pass (Heb. 6:12, 15).

 God has called us as His people to walk a life of faith, taking up our cross and following Him. He is with us, as our Captain and Shepherd, King and Friend, every step of the way. He has provided everything we need so that we can walk as confident sons and daughters in the victory He has already provided for our lives.
Vyara Markova is a Second Year student from Silistra, Bulgaria. Her name means “faith.”

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord

“The Lord said that He was here to stay and that he was going to make us a habitation, not just a place that He likes to visit. The question is are we ready for revival and the answer is, absolutely yes. We may not feel like we are ready because we are more aware of what we need, and not what He wants.
What is the lord is speaking? Are we ready for a revival? Are we soldiers? What direction is the Lord taking us? The Lord is saying that we are soldiers in His army. Either we understand, or perish.

 I was frustrated because I thought that I was not going to be a part of what the Lord was going to do. We need to understand something and that is, He never takes us to a desert to leave us there. We also need to understand that the hardest part of traveling through the desert is the end. It is at the end when you run out of supplies, you run out of water, and most of the time you’re hopeless. At that point you are ready to step into the oasis. So the Lord’s been saying recently that we are soldiers in His army. As a soldier we are given orders. One of those orders is to not abandon your post. You must carry out your command to the last detail and I believe the Lord has sent us here with a purpose and a plan to accomplish. I believe the Lord has said that He is going to start a revival!

 Let’s turn to 2 Timothy chapter two. Many of us concentrate on the process but as we read this, I want you to focus on the purpose and the reason why we have been enlisted. Focus on why He is calling us soldiers. Do you think it’s just so we can be organized and trained? Are we prepared for a battle that will never come? Are we farmers who sow seeds but never see the harvest? If the lord has called us to be soldiers, surely there will be a battle. If you are a farmer, you are preparing for a harvest. Our strength is found in Christ Jesus, not in ourselves. Our hope is in God.  For me this is a basic principle of revival. I have heard a preacher saying that the common denominator for revival isn’t prayer, although that is a part of it. The key factor for revival is desperation! Is my desire for God so strong that I want nothing else? Am I truly desperate? By enlisting as a soldier, I know that where I will perform is in the battle. I can be very good in the training but when the battle comes, I need to be able to deliver what I’ve trained for. We have been prepared for such a time as this. I asked the Lord if revival is now, then where are the people? The Lord answered me ‘Cast your net!’ What I’m saying is that each one of us has a responsibility. Each one of us has a gift. Maybe you are thinking why am I even here? Maybe you think you are wasting your time. I believe the Lord has brought you here and you do have a purpose in this city.

You are in a time and place where the Lord is waiting for you to respond. This is a time where you are going to use what the Lord has given you. I want you to be aware of the process and purpose that the Lord has called you to. It’s time to become ready and step into it. Let’s be obedient and understanding of what the Lord is doing.”
                                                             Pablo Molina
                                            An excerpt from last Thursday's chapel
                                                         October 10th, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Alumni Highlights

We are so honored to announce Bethany's former graduates Shane and Rachel Roberts’s ordination as Youth Pastors! Congratulations to you both!

Shane and Rachel are originally from Lowville, NY. After graduating High School, Shane felt the Lord prompting him to attend Bible School at Bethany. He was a student from 2009-2011. Rachel later followed in 2011 and graduated in 2013. After completing her course of study, they said their “I do’s” in May, 2013.

Shane and Rachel are members of New Heart Ministries in Syracuse, NY.

Hello Friends!

Rachel and I wanted to share with our Bethany family what the Lord has done in our lives since graduating in May 2013. As of Sunday, September 15th, we were ordained as Youth Pastors in our home church New Heart Ministries. We have felt the call to be youth pastors for many years and we can’t believe that we are actually seeing it come to pass. We were blessed to have our friends and family come and share this moment with us. We were especially honored to have Rod and Wendy Levey be there and share in this exciting new step of our lives. The presence of God was there and it was beautiful. We received prayer and impartation; it was an emotional time for us. Having Rachel’s family there to support us was an even greater blessing. I believe our marriage has been a true testimony to Rachel's parents of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness.

It is a huge responsibility and privilege to minister to the youth and we don't take it lightly. Our hearts desire is to lead a generation sold out for Jesus Christ, who will walk in the destiny that God has for them.

Thank you, for all of your love and support. We know we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys and of course God, guiding and teaching us. We love you and can’t wait to see all of you again.

Feel free to follow New Heart Ministries at www.newheart-ministries.org.


Shane and Rachel Roberts

Friday, September 13, 2013

We Have Arrived To Chesapeake, Virginia!

We have finally arrived to our new school location in Chesapeake, Virginia! Chapel and classes have resumed and we are excited to see what the Lord is going to do in this new phase of Pinecrest/Bethany's history. Thank you all so much for your prayers and financial support in our endeavor to follow the Lord's leading. Seven years ago when we arrived in Salisbury Center, Joanne and I were sure that we were signing on to a very critical time in the history of Pinecrest, not fully knowing what the Lord had planned. It amazes me how we think we "know" and the whole time the Lord has something else in mind. Thank God the scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 2:9 "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him," yet somehow we think we know. I certainly would rather be in the center of His plan than my own. We do have a few events coming up that we would love for you to be apart of. On October 18th, we will be having our Bethany Dedication Service. November 7th-9th we will be having our Fall Women's Conference. Both events will be held at our new school location at New Life Providence Church, located at: 423 Shell Rd. Chesapeake, VA 23323 For more information visit us at bethanybtc.org, or call us at 757-995-5345. May I ask you once again to please continue standing with us, both in your prayers and financial support? We are in a vulnerable stage and need the strength of your prayers, and of course your financial support. Please note our new mailing address. Bethany Bible Training Center P.O. Box 6010 Chesapeake, VA 23323 If you mail something to the Salisbury Center address it will certainly get to us, just a little slower. You can still call us at 315-429-8521 and it will be forwarded to our temporary number. Just leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Our permanent landline should be connected shortly. Once again, to those of you who are supporting us, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for partnering with us. For those who have not yet decided to support us on a monthly basis, may I remind you of your time at the school and how the Lord changed your life? Your help will make it possible for those the Lord is yet to send, to have the same opportunity that you had. Please pray and ask the Lord if He would have you support us and if He says yes, know that we would be most appreciative.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

End of the Year Reflections

The final school year in New York is coming to a close here at Bethany. This week is the Week of Prayer and graduation is this Saturday, May 4th.The year has flown by, but it has been a wonderful time of meeting with the Lord and allowing our lives to be transformed in His Presence. As we have kept our hearts open to Him, He has been faithful to meet with us and change us, molding us into His image. As the year ends we look back and are thankful for all that He has done, but we also look forward with excited and hopeful anticipation at what He has in store for the future. No matter where He leads each of us after this school year, we have come to know that He is faithful, that He is going before us, and that He will indeed complete the good work that He has begun in us, both individually and as a school. Also, a big thank you to all who have made this life-changing year possible: students, staff, faculty, and partners.The Lord has done great things through your prayers and sacrificial service. May the Lord bless you and lead you into all that He has for you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

NYC Youth Rally

Bethany Bible Training Center is excited to be a part of a special youth conference on Friday April 19th through Sunday, April 21st in New York City. Pastor Lionel Etwaru of Global Christian Ministries is hosting the event, worship will be led by the Bethany worship team, and Jack and Joanne Picataggi will be bringing a present Word from the heart of God. We feel that this will be a special time of the Lord calling and commissioning those who will be future leaders in the Body of Christ to a greater level of intimacy and devotion to Him in preparation for the days to come. Meetings will be held at Global Christian Ministries 86-02 115th St Richmond Hill, NY 11418. Service times: Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 10:30am. For more information please contact Bethany Bible Training Center @ 315-429-8521.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Letter To Our Alumni

Dear Friend,

By now, I am sure that you have heard the news of Bethany Bible Training Center’s move to Chesapeake, Virginia for the upcoming school year. Sometimes when news of this importance is announced, there can be some confusion added as the story is passed along, so I wanted to contact you so you could hear some of the details of this move from me personally.

I have included a link to the letter we recently sent to our mailing list regarding the move. If you have not already read it, please take a moment to read it here @ http://blog.bethanybtc.org/2013/01/there-is-excitement-filling-air-as-news.html before you continue with this e-mail.

As you know from the letter, this move has been four years in the making, and during that time, the Board and I have held the decision before the Lord in much prayer. Even though we are stepping out in faith and obedience in how we believe He is leading us, we do not want to be ahead of the Lord or behind Him, but right in the center of His will.

It can be hard to convey to you in writing, but I feel such a great sense of anticipation for what the Lord has in store for Bethany, and I have heard the same from so many of our friends, donors, staff, and students. Since the announcement has been made, I have been contacted by several seasoned men and women of God who have prophesied that God is in this move, and who, without knowing, answered questions that I personally have held before the Lord about how this move will affect the school. More and more each day, my confidence has grown that God is leading us step by step in this decision.

As far as what the future holds for Bethany, we are planning to start a full schedule of classes in late August at the New Life Providence Church Deep Creek Campus in Virginia. While the church has been generous enough to allow us the use of their building, which is the original church building attached to their larger sanctuary, the school will remain a separate entity from the church.

Regarding the campus here in Salisbury Center, at this time I do not feel we should sell the property. We are planning to hold graduation here in May and Youth Week in July, as well as a few other retreats. For the future, we are looking into opening the buildings for the summers for our conferences, possibly making the campus available to other churches to rent out for retreats, and continuing to have our Work Scholarship students work here in the summer months to help pay for their upcoming school expenses. Then, each winter, we will close up the buildings until the next summer. We do have several major repairs to tackle, including overhauling our water and sewage systems, and we are planning to replace the roofs this summer. I believe that the Lord is not finished with this property, and all that has been spoken over it may still have its fulfillment in the future. We are still seeking Him for exactly how it will come to fruition, but we know that our God is a big God, and He is able to accomplish great things.

As to finances, we will end this school year not owing our outside vendors anything, but we are still behind in our payroll. Our staff and faculty—many of whom you probably know—have been so faithful to serve in this ministry for without receiving a regular paycheck for many months. Bobbi Adkins approached me about starting a fund to help pay the faculty and staff, and if God puts it on your heart to contribute, please feel free to contact her at 315-429-8521, Ext. 46 or bobbi@bethanybtc.org. Beyond that, I believe we have a word from the Lord that He will fully provide for our staff pay and relocation expenses.

Today, I am going to ask you for four things: your prayers, your confidence, your faith, and yes—your financial support. I believe that God met you during your time here, and I ask you to stand with us now and in the future so that the students He sends our way will have the same opportunity you did to encounter Him through the ministry of this school. You can donate online @ http://www.bethanybtc.org/Donate.htm or contact Tico Rios in our Business Office at 315-429-8521, Ext. 12 or businessoffice@bethanybtc.org.

Please feel free to call me at 315-429-8521, Ext. 25 or e-mail me at jack@bethanybtc.org If I can answer any questions for you, or if you have any insight or encouragement for us as we take this step of faith into the future God has for Bethany Bible Training Center. Hope to see you for a visit either here or in Virginia.

May God bless you,

Jack Picataggi


If you are not on our mailing list, please send me an email with your address, phone number and any other contact info you would wish to share, also let me know if you wish to receive the Banner and we will be glad to add you to it. If you would prefer not to receive these email updates, send me back an email at jack@pinecrest.org asking to be removed and I will take care of it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Host Your Event at Bethany

Are you or your church looking for a location to hold annual Conferences, Church Retreats, and/or Youth Events? Contact us here at Bethany and make your summer plans!  For more information call us at (315) 429-8521, or email at reservations@bethanybtc.org.

Monday, January 28, 2013

We are Now Accepting Students for the 2013-2014 School Year!

Would you like to be a part in making Pinecrest/Bethany history? Come join us as we step out into what the Lord has for us.

We are now accepting students for the 2013-2014 school year in Chesapeake, Virginia!

Applications are available at www.bethanybtc.org/school

Monday, January 14, 2013

There is Excitement Filling the Air as News of Significant Change is Upon Us!

Dear Friends,
I am writing to you with news of a significant and exciting change for Bethany Bible Training Center. I have a lot to try to communicate, and I know this letter is long, but I ask that you read it carefully, and I pray that God will witness to your heart the things I am about to share.
As a friend of Bethany, you probably know that we have struggled throughout our nearly 45-year history to meet our financial obligations. In the seven years I have been President, we have done all we can to live within our means, but the cost of constant repairs to hundred-year-old buildings, and even the expense of heating in upstate New York winters, just drains our finances. You would be amazed at the number of staff required to maintain the grounds and our 55,000 square feet of buildings.
In the past, I was never sure what we would do if we came to the place where the needs of the buildings required more than we had. I have gone before God again and again and questioned whether it was possible to carry on without the finances we needed to pay our staff and our bills. I had assumed that if we were not able to continue on in this property, then we would close our doors and the school would be finished. But while I was praying this past May, I felt the Lord begin to speak to me that He had different plans for the school’s future.
Let me take you back four years to one of our Board meetings. As we were seeking God for the school’s future, Joe Nieves gave a prophetic word that, just as God led the Israelites by a cloud in the wilderness, the cloud was beginning to move, and it was time to move on from this location. The Board of Directors (Dan Backens, Alan Bugos, Jack Buskey, Steve Chiyka, Donald Laughner, Joseph Nieves, Joanne Picataggi, Ed Szumowski, and Tom Worth) unanimously voted for me to begin to look for a new location for the school. At the time, nothing opened up, so I put the idea on a shelf.
But back in May, I felt the Lord speak to me that the time had come to move the location of the school. With the Board’s blessing, I contacted Board member Dan Backens, who pastors New Life Providence Church in Virginia Beach, and with whom Joanne and I have had a 15-year relationship. I met with Pastor Dan in October 2012 in a meeting I felt was very much orchestrated by the Lord. With the unanimous approval of Bethany’s Board of Directors and the consent of the elders at New Life Providence, we are making preparations to move Bethany Bible Training Center to begin the 2013-2014 school year at the New Life Deep Creek Campus in Chesapeake, Virginia.
The Deep Creek Campus, a church plant of New Life Providence Church, provides us with a chapel that seats about 200 and office and classroom space—even a cafeteria. We are also looking into renting houses on the same street as the church to use for men and women’s dormitories. We are taking things one step at a time and trusting that if God is leading us, He will open the right doors for us.
While we are still arranging all the details of the move, for many years I have sensed a connection in the Spirit between the school and the Virginia Beach area, which others have witnessed to. I did not necessarily expect to see that connection work itself out quite in this way, but I see the Lord’s hand in so many aspects of this move.
Not only will the school be relieved of the expenses of the buildings (which cannot be livable indefinitely without major repairs), but we can also pare down staff needs and operating expenses. From this position, we can concentrate on being a “School of the Spirit” instead of tending to school buildings. This location is also accessible to more students and will provide them with more job opportunities to support themselves, which will relieve the school of the number of scholarships we presently award at our own expense. Of course, we will continue to make the school available to those God sends our way. Our goal is not to become a profit-making organization, but by the grace of God, to be self supporting, and to faithfully continue in the purpose God has for this school.

Let me be clear: relocating the school has been discussed at different times throughout the school’s
history, but it is never—never—a decision we would make for purely logistical reasons. Moving to Chesapeake is not just a “Plan B” because finances are tight; I and the Board believe we are being obedient to the Lord’s direction for the school at this time. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we have approached this decision soberly, and we know that we answer to God for our stewardship of His school and ministry. It is a weighty responsibility, and one that none of us takes lightly.

I know I also speak for many of you when I say that I love these old buildings in Salisbury Center. As a student in the 1970s, I met God in Small Chapel services that lasted for hours and carried up through the tunnel and into pot-clanging singing sessions in the Cafeteria. As Dean, and now President, I have seen students on their faces at the altar or dancing for hours or just sitting and talking in the “Caf.” I have walked the grounds of this school and encountered God here in a way that has been unique to any other place I have ever been. I have spent 16 years of my life in the various positions God has called me to here, and I will profoundly miss this place, just as I know so many of you will. Whatever your experience here, and however God has impacted your life through Pinecrest/Bethany’s ministry, I know that for me, what God has done in my life here is tied up in this campus, and it is something I will always treasure.
When Peter, James, and John witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain, Peter cried, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4). But Jesus did not even respond to Peter’s emotional proposal. His intention was not to build stationary monuments to God’s glory where man would begin to worship at the altar of past experience; it was to have a people who lived in such intimate communion with Him that they would carry His heart and His presence into the ends of the earth. We cannot remain stagnant, pitching our tents at the literal or figurative location of past revelations of God’s glory; we must be obedient to move with Him as He leads.
There is no substitute for God's presence, and as Moses prayed, so our hearts cry to the Lord, “Unless You go in the lead, do not make us leave this place. For how shall it be known that Your people have gained Your favor unless You go with us…?” (Exodus 33:13-16, JPS Tanakh, a modern Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible).
As profoundly as God has moved here in Salisbury Center, I am convinced that His purpose for Bethany Bible Training Center is not confined to this campus; His intention goes beyond a location, and I believe He has a continuing, unique call for this school to fulfill. I have great anticipation for what He has in store for us and for the students He has yet to send our way. If He is leading us to a new place, then His plans for us there are greater than anything we could try to manufacture on our own.
You have been a faithful friend of this ministry, and I ask you to continue to stand with us in this next phase of Bethany Bible Training Center. We need your support now more than ever. Our financial situation has not changed since the last time I wrote you: our staff is now 44 weeks behind pay, and we have overdue bills, as well as the coming costs associated with moving an entire school across several states. Your donation, large or small, is so needed and appreciated at this time. I have also included an insert with some specific ways you can lift us up in prayer.
Please also mention Bethany to anyone you think might be interested in coming as a student. We believe God is going to continue building on the spiritual foundation that has been laid here in Salisbury Center and what He has been doing in the lives of our students, and we are expecting great things in the years to come.

Jack Picataggi, President
and Bethany Bible Training Center’s Board of Directors