Death of Rev. Cleveland Becton

The Emmanuel Pentecostal Church of Mesquite, Tx. has announced the death of our beloved Brother Cleveland Becton. I grieve with his family and friends. A remarkable man of God has passed from this shattered world into the Glory beyond.

Brother Becton served as the General Secretary of the UPCI for 25 years and as the Assistant General Superintendent for three years.  He was a current honorary member of the General Board of the UPCI.

“A prince and a great man has fallen. . . .”

– II Samuel 3:38

It is with heavy hearts that Emmanuel Pentecostal Church announces the passing of our beloved Pastoral Elder, Rev. Cleveland M. Becton.  Bro. Becton entered eternity peacefully and comfortably while surrounded by his family at approximately 10:45 p.m., November 16, 2010.

We grieve because of the vast emptiness his promotion leaves in our lives; we give thanks for his indelible impact upon our church and the world; and we rejoice in the God of his Salvation.

“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful….  Enter into the joy of your Lord.”


Leadership Seminar in Casa Grande

We’re in Casa Grande, a town halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, for a leadership seminar, staying at a hotel called the Francisco Grande. After we arrived here yesterday afternoon, I prowled around a bit, taking lots of pictures of this interesting place.

Brother David Bernard, the newly elected superintendent of the UPCI is the speaker for the sessions; last night was exceptional. A capacity crowd united in purpose and spirit, beautiful worship, plus an anointed and intellectual presentation made for a perfect service. Our final session will be at 10:00 this morning.

We’re on the 7th floor. There are a couple floors higher than ours, I think.  Beautiful soaring lines.

View off our balcony. Makes you dizzy, huh?

Tranquil gardens, here in the dead of winter, yet…unique pots…

Edit Saturday evening: Because we were at this resort such a short time, I didn’t really learn all its history until a few minutes ago when I watched the video that is on the hotel link. Very interesting. Take a look and a listen. Think you’ll like it.

MORE PICTURES on my Flickr site.


Nona Freeman Left Us Last Night

Nona Freeman 1916-2009
Dear Friends of Nona Freeman:

We sorrow, yet rejoice to inform you of the earthly departure and heavenly arrival of our mother Nona E. Freeman 93 years old. She was a Jesus name Minister; Foreign Missionary; Daughter; Wife; Mother; Grandparent and beloved friend to millions around the world.

She took the 10:45 pm flight, Saturday, December 26, 2009 at our home in Fort Worth Texas. Take-off was smooth after 93 years of waiting on the run-way. There was often layovers at various terminals in her life but she never complained.

She began her Ministry in 1939. She spread the gospel of Jesus Christ for over 70 years as a Preacher; Speaker; Columnist, Evangelist and beloved author of more than twenty books. She preached and served as pastor’s wife throughout the U.S. and the continent of her burden, Africa.

Upon arrival she was greeted at her Heavenly Destination by Jesus then she was finally greeted by her spouse of 62 years; her beloved E.L. ‘Bug’ Freeman!

She was also greeted her daughter and our sister Marla, and not only a fellow minister but her beloved mother, Carrie Eastridge as well as a host of loved ones, the apostles and prophets of old.

Those left at the terminal upon her departure; daughter and travel companion Sandra Freeman of Fort Worth, Texas, daughters, Linda, Sharon, son Dale Freeman, several generations of grandchildren, siblings, family and a host of friends around the world.

The Home Going Service and Celebration of her life commonly called a ‘funeral’ will be announced Monday, December 28, 2009

The Nona Freeman family thanks you and asks for your prayers at this time.

Sandra Freeman/Nona Freeman Ministry
Telephone: 228-497-4396Non

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Western District Camp Meeting 2009

After the end of the short cruise we drove to Lake Havasu, attended our Sunday service, and by 4:00 in the afternoon we had pulled our rig onto the highway and were headed to Santa Maria, CA. for the Western District camp meeting. I cannot remember a better one. It was outstanding in every way.


The preaching was phenomenal, coming from Rev. Brian Kinsey the evening preacher and Rev. James Hughes the daytime preacher, and including four preachers from the district, in addition to Rev. Mullings who preached on Monday night. I missed hearing the Wednesday morning local preacher, but I can vouch for the others as being superior. Rev. Ed Allard was the Tuesday morning preacher and in a sincere, positive manner, he challenged us as Apostolics to take a careful and honest look at ourselves. “Has our gold turned to bronze?” He clearly asked for direction from our elected leaders. It was a powerful, courageous message, that resonnated soundly with the congregation.

DSC_0011The teaching and preaching by Brother Hughes was profound.

One problem existed: For the first time I can remember, none of my children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren were with us at camp…until Thursday evening when in came Chris and Christina and their two youngsters.

DSC_0014Friends ministered to each other.


Families reveled in the presence of God.DSC_0029

DSC_0005New dedications were offered up to our God.

Family Apostolic Camps–the best meetings I have ever attended. Another one coming up in a couple of weeks in southern California: If at all possible, be there. All over the country–please, make your way to an Apostolic family camp! They’re the greatest!

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And So Went the 2nd Anniversary Services

It is Sunday evening, the dedication festivities are over, all the company is gone, and Jerry and I are alone here in the motor home. If all was not perfect, it was so close as to never be remembered otherwise.

…except that for the opening service on Friday evening we had carpet in only half the building…then at 5:00 on Saturday morning, Ken, the carpet layer, let himself in the building, and by 5 minutes before 10:00, had the job finished. It is beautiful.

More beautiful was the quality of every service, the visitation of God, our wonderful visitors–family, friends and new people from Lake Havasu. Guest singers blessed us, Brother Keyes’ preaching was outstanding as usual, Brother Branks’ testimony was striking, Rebecca baked and brought over from her home in California 300 cookies, and she and Rosalinda served them after church. It was a marvelous time.

The best part? Five people received the Holy Ghost!

Our son Andrew opened the service with a time of worship.


Denae Abbott joined her parents in uplifting music. At 15, Denae just dsc_00162released her first CD. She wrote 6 of the songs on the project.

Charley Branks spent most of his adult life in prison, and finally had been sentenced to over 200 years in the penitentiary. During his time of incarceration, he began seeking God; God revealed His word to Brother Branks and filled him with the Holy Ghost. He was dsc_00331baptized in Jesus name, then miraculously received a full parole. He is now a successful businessman, who has been serving God for more than 30 years–a unique, dynamic testimony.

Randy Keyes ministered dsc_00391in a powerful, anointed way.

Dale received dsc_0057the Holy Ghost!

Andrea received dsc_0051the Holy Ghost!

Dustin received the dsc_00301Holy Ghost!

George received dsc_0017the Holy Ghost!

Numerous ministers honored us by attending all or part of our three-day dedication/anniversary services. Among those were Gary Hogan, superintendent of the Arizona district, Robert Allen, secretary of the Arizona District, and Rick Faulkner, regional director of Spirit of Freedom. With his wife and three small sons, our grandson Joel drove all the way from Carson City, Nevada, a 10-hour drive, to be with us on Friday night. Early Saturday morning, they drove back for their own services on Sunday.

To everyone who contributed in any way, we say thank you. It was a tremendous time of worship, ministry and of fellowship.

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Faces Around Camp Part 2

In another post, I mentioned the WAY choir, which is composed of young, unmarried people from around the state of California and Nevada, a small group of singers. Their ministry on Thursday night was astounding, and I wanted to share it with you, but knowing there had not been made a professional video, I went to YouTube hoping to find something of theirs I could bring over. I was surprised to find that someone had posted a video of the very song I wanted. It is not professionally filmed, but I want you to see and hear this.

Although there are other groups who do so, of course, Pentecostals may lead the way in demonstrative, exuberant worship. Such worship is biblical; it is healing and refreshing and soul-satisfying. In heaven, there are created beings whose only job is to worship God. On earth, during Jesus’ ministry here, there were those who objected to loud, exuberant worship of God. “If they don’t praise me, the rocks will cry out,” Jesus warned. In our small way, we too worship.

What you will see here is only the ending of a spectacular musical presentation. I don’t even know the name of the song that comprised the first part, but it started with rather modern sounding, little bits of music and morphed magnificently into this.

The entire congregation was profoundly moved by this beautiful hymn of the church. Our ministerial leaders intensely worshipped.

As did the keyboardist and director, Ken Fitzpatrick,  whose spirit was “overcome” by the presence of God. By these few dedicated young people, we were truly ushered into heaven’s throne room.

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Glorious Camp

The last day of camp has scrolled into view, and from my seventh heaven perch, I pronounce it marked with excellence: From my memory cache as I pull up camps of both close and distant years,  I judge this one–Santa Maria 2008–unsurpassed.

I started feeling better when on Wednesday morning, Michael rolled onto the grass beside our motor home in his ’72 Volkswagen pop-up-top “Hippy” van, which after service on Tuesday night, he and his friend Brandon had driven from Lake Havasu, AZ. to Ventura, CA. At 3:00 am, they had pulled over somewhere, slept for less than an hour, and had then driven onto the Santa Maria Fairgrounds.

“Mom, I feel like I’m in a candy store,” Mike had told me on the phone as they pedaled our way. “I can’t wait to be there.”

Last afternoon, I walked the grounds, and the tents erected on the far lots cheered me, as did the youngsters riding bikes, little boys throwing footballs, coveys of conversation on white slatted benches, BBQs smoking, the exhibit hall buzzing, and the food court throwing out the scent of sizzling hamburger and salty french fries. Beautiful children smiled at me, and I asked Dayna, (who I don’t even know) “May I take your picture?” and she smiled shyly as I snapped the shutter, and Berl’s great-grandson teased me and covered his angelic face.

Preaching that surely caused angels to lean down for a listen soothed and invigorated me. Federated in worship, a thousand voices anointed me, waves of manifest glory edged healing into my broken places. I saw God, high and lifted up…and all was well.

Young ministers who expertly and humbly spoke messages from God affirmed my thought that The Church is in good hands. The Way choir (comprised of young, unmarried people from around the district) effected such grand and magnificent music as should be heard in the finest of concert halls, except that their singing was accompanied by such deep and sincere worship that only in chambers of the sacred should such performance occur.

God’s in His Heaven; All’s right with the world. (Robert Browning)

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The Hole

There is a hole here–here in Santa Maria–here at the camp meeting. It hovers over the sum of the thing, extending its vacuous, invisible tendrils in a hang that floats over the big tent; and of greater consequence than the tent, are the hearts, for the hole is a canyon whose gap tears at us; likely not all the hearts, for there are some who are oblivious, but into a slew of hearts, and I tell you frankly, into mine.

I’ve hesitated over writing such a piece, and even as I tap the computer keys, I’m not sure I will have the (excuse me for the crudeness) “guts” to press the submit button. But I’m pretty gutsy, and honesty is important to me, and while I know one does not have to blurt out every thought, nor discuss each mundane (or otherwise) personal issue to be honest, and I do understand there are things best left unsaid, this happening is such a vital part of me, and so tearing at my soul, I feel most compelled to write.

It may be a conglomerate of happenings that have fed into my angst; I know for sure of a couple  that are contributing to my unease: None of my grandkids are here, and none of them will be here, and if you recall last year, youngsters were tearing around by the score and there were tents set up beside our motor home and Rebecca was sleeping on our couch, and Thane had his 5th birthday cake on the picnic table outside, and it was controlled, exuberant confusion.

Andrew and his brood can’t be here, for his job situation forced him into work this week. At the last minute, Rebecca had a scheduling problem and she and Nathaniel can’t come. Steve and Dearrah aren’t coming, but…hang on…one glitter of light…Michael will be here this morning…but with no grandkids.:(

And could this sense of loss I’m feeling be connected to my recent birthday when I turned 70? I don’t think that to be the case, but I’m trying to analyze everything, for with all candor, I feel awful.

I won’t stay with this feeling, I promise you, and more importantly I promise myself, for despite the ugly hole, there are positive elements in the atmosphere and I’m wise enough to look forward and anticipate such development. Overarching the chasm are Truth and Stability and Faith.

Some of you understand on the flash, for you too observe the gorge and its ugliness. Notable are you who have helped carve the gaping place, or slipped into its edges: You went kicking or screaming, or silently, or feeling helpless at its creation. Others may see the hole as a glittering place; you occupy the ground from which the hole was dug. You’re the new, the fresh, the launcher, the pioneer. But wait, you there on the excavated mound, you too may sense hole and loss, I give you that, while on the very moment you are giddy with the spinning of precision, and inoculated with faithfulness to honor and to principle. You wear the mantle of discovery and of intrepid and bold architect. I understand that, truly I do, and you know I admire your many abilities, your intellect, your passion, your preaching.

But yet remains the hole.

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Mike Huckabee Plays Guitar in a United Pentecostal Church

Last Sunday, Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, visited a United Pentecostal church, The Apostolic Church, where he worshiped, addressed the congregation and played guitar in the band. Rev. Steve Warman is the pastor of this large, beautiful church in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Sarah Holland writes this account:

Pastor Warman had already announced his coming to the congregation in our morning service, so there was no warning when Governor Huckabee slid in with the band, and began to play the bass for praise and worship. After praise and worship, Governor Huckabee greeted the congregation. He spoke about abortion and marriage, and the importance of realizing the value of life. He spoke about how even if one’s intention is pure, but their definition of what is right is not right, then intention doesn’t matter. He was well spoken, but what impressed me was that he not only showed up early, but stayed late. Too often when politicians stop in for a visit, they leave before service ends. Governor Huckabee stayed through church, and then took time to visit with our congregation.

As I stated here, where we discussed at length Hillary Clinton’s speaking at Saddleback, I am not accustomed to having political candidates in our pulpits, although I know it is common in other areas of the country. Yet, to be honest, I must say if Mike Huckabee’s agent had called when Jerry pastored New Life Center in Rialto, saying he wanted to worship with us on a Sunday night, I would be hard-pressed to think, “No.” Once he was there in our sanctuary, it seems incomprehensible to refrain from asking him to address the audience.



My devotional blog is here.