Dear Precious Family of God,

In one of my early morning devotions on Periscope the subject of moral integrity came up; what is it and how do we live and apply it in our lives? I came across a blog written by Simon Lazarus that tried to explain it in what I would call laymen terminology that helped us get a better understanding on it. EthicsQuotationBannerThe problem with the blog is that it does not determine where moral values originate and define what morals values are. Unless there is a starting point one could go anywhere with it which would then clutter the origins and definitions with cultural precepts, social norms, past experiences and just about anything we want to throw in the mix. The blog reads as follows:  “Moral integrity is a very abstract term. It refers to a moral value and an ethical notion which is complex by nature. Many philosophers and theologians have tried to explain and describe this concept for a long time. The most satisfying definition is that it is a virtue that lays the foundation for all other virtues and is therefore fundamental to all others.”

I would like to say it this way, “The definition of moral integrity is based on the love of God that lays the foundation for all other virtues and is therefore fundamental to behavior that governs consistent actions of love towards other.” The love spoken of here is the Greek word ‘Agape’. This is in reference to God’s love, it is God’s willful direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires. For example, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave.” What did He give? Not what man wanted, but what God knew man needed, i.e., His Son to bring forgiveness to man. We see this best described in 1 John 4:7-13; (NASB) it says  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

Integrity can only fully be appreciated once the foundational virtue or moral value has been established and then it gives meaning to actions, methods, measures expectations and outcomes. MoralCompassIntegrity as a whole is regarded as the accuracy of one’s actions in relation to the set virtue. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties that seemingly hold conflicting values should account for the discrepancies or alter their beliefs. The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” received from the love of God  and is consistent with the character of Christ. As such we may observe that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act in accordance to the values, beliefs and principles that Christ delivered to us through salvation.

IntegrityThe value system of Kingdom of God is based on the love of God demonstrated through the life of Christ towards us, God’s creation. The depth and range of its application may be identified as moral integrity; that ‘God stands over His Word to perform it’. No matter what man did over the centuries God maintained his moral integrity by fulfilling His promise to man to be his savior. We measure our own moral integrity by our ability to hold to God’s value system in the midst of the trials and the challenges of life that desire to draw us away from doing what is right in the sight of God and toward others. Jesus expressed moral integrity this way, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Consistent in virtue and compassionate in action.

Trust that this has blessed you as it has me. Trying to define moral integrity over the years has led to all a lot of speculation and sentimental garbage, getting our definition from the word of God gets us back on track and living a consistent life in Christ that glorifies the Father. Continue to walk in the love of God and allow His love to flow to others. We pray that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.

All our love,

Pastors Gerri and Michelle Di Somma.

Dear Precious family of God,

I am back in Houston and eagerly waiting for the bride of my youth to arrive. It felt like a whirlwind tour in going to Bristol UK, we were so busy and di so much, loved being with all the people there. 13450967_10157099467095515_3578819218735957753_nOur highlight was being part of the graduating ceremony for this year. Let me also remind you that from now on it will be Carmel Bible Institute, you need to check out the new website and see whats new. While we were in the United Kingdom Brother Charles Graham who is on our board in the U.S. once again ministered in the church in Houston. He ministered under such a wonderful and powerful anointing that the church just fell in love with him all over again as he loved on them. His ministry website is

Last week I decided to write about leadership and I shared some of the truths I am blogging about with the graduating students during the ceremony. As there is so much teaching out there on leadership I am sure you did not want anymore but I am sure you will glean from these practical application of leadership that I want to share with you. I love the biblical examples found in the word of God and we can learn so much from them and about them and I trust that you will find this helpful and challenging at the same time. Last week I wrote about the Apostle Paul and Nehemiah about believing in something bigger than yourself and using whatever you find in your hands, nothing is insignificant with God. Here are the others that played a significant role in leading the early church in the call of God and the furthering of the gospel.

 Peter bounced back after he made a mistake:  The Apostle Peter was both a “rock” and a “stumbling block.” He was both blessed and disgraced almost in the same breath. He was brought into the intimate circle of Christ with his revelation of who Jesus is and then a little while later rebukes Jesus about His mission of going to Calvary. apostle-peterThe Peters of this world is enough to discourage any pastor, one moment they are so spiritually useful and then go and do some questionable things. Peter was both a foundation stone and the devil’s advocate in a matter of moments. Although Peter was discouraged by this betrayal of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and hiding from the Romans and Jews, we see something take place in Peter after he is filled with the Holy Spirit, he bounces right back into his mission. Peter commits his deepest devotion to the call of God when Jesus asks him, “Peter do you love me Peter?” The thing that stands out about Peter is his ability to keep bouncing back after the many mistakes he had made, even the Apostle Paul had some issues with Peter in Galatia, but once again Peter bounced back.

Barnabas bridged the gap of differing opinions: We see in Acts 4:36; Barnabas was nicknamed the “son of encouragement.” He was instrumental in bridging the gaps between the Greek and Jewish worlds and later between the Jewish and Gentile believers. BarnabusIt was Barnabas who went and found Paul after the Damascus encounter and brought him to the very people Paul had persecuted to be reconciled to them. Born a Cypriot and reared a Levite, he linked the Hellenistic world and the Jerusalem church. Even when John Mark was being severely ostracized by Paul, Barnabas stood by John Mark. He was generous and that in itself bridges the gaps of selfish and greedy people if God’s grace is given the opportunity to operate. He sold his land and gave it to the church treasury. He was not an “out front” kind of person, but rather stayed in the background as a fan and supporter of Paul. The most memorable aspect of effective leadership is when we can survive the polarities of differing opinions and model respect for each other, Barnabas seemed to have a handle on this.

So in closing let me remind you not to let discouragement captivate your heart but learn to bounce back, be a bridge builder when ever you have the opportunity. It was this time last year that we began in earnest to start looking for a Home for Carmel Houston, we now have a lease agreement to look through and decide the next step forward. I am seeking legal advice as it is a long legal document and would covet your prayers for us as we seek the wisdom of God in this matter. Thank you for always being a blessing to us and giving us the encouragement to do what we are doing. We love you all dearly and miss you very much and we look forward to connecting with you through social media and visiting with you when possible.

All our love,

Pastors Gerri  and Michelle Di Somma

Dear Precious family of God,

This past week was the Graduation Ceremony of our Bible College Students, what a precious time it was seeing them all come and receive their respective certificates. 13620182_1027021253999681_306843445898217085_nI so appreciate the families that supported the students during their time of study and all the sacrifices that were made to see them get through. I always get choked up when I see the students walking in carrying the different country flag and singing, “How beautiful are the feet of them that bring Good News,” gets me every time. It was also the last year that it will be called ‘Carmel Bible College’, from now on it will be called ‘Carmel Bible Institute’, you need to check out the new website and see what is new.

I decided to write about leadership this week as I shared some of the truths I am blogging about with the graduating students during the ceremony. There is so much teaching out there on leadership but one thing I struggle with is the practical application of it, theory and theory and more theory. I love the biblical examples found in the word of God and we can learn so much from them and about them. Trust that you will find this helpful and challenging at the same time. As a church staff or volunteer ministry leader, we can learn valuable and unique lessons from several biblical characters. Here are some that played a significant role in leading the nation of Israel and the early church in the call of God and the furthering of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul believed in something bigger than himself:  All vision comes from God and vision can be defined as the mind of God that has been revealed in the heart of His servant. Often we get distracted by believing in the vision instead of believing in the One who gives the vision. Apostle-PaulPaul believed in the vision, but he believed in something bigger than the vision, namely, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” 1 Corinthians 2:2. Paul thought of himself as nothing but had a vision from God and that made all the difference to him and the call of God. In Acts 13:46-49; (NASB) Paul shares the vision God had given him for the Gentiles.”‘I have placed You as A light for the Gentiles, That You may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’”  When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.” Paul was thoroughly captivated by the will of God and saw himself as a prisoner in the call, he was committed to the specific and meaningful vision God has shown him, but more importantly he was captivated by the love of God.

Nehemiah built a city wall on what God had given him: Nehemiah was obscure in comparison to other great Old Testament heroes, he was a kings cup-bearer, but faithfulness separated him from mediocrity. nehemiah-1His leadership was built not so much on ancestry from the Jewish lineage as by faithfulness. He would build the walls Jerusalem on faith in the face of great opposition. God gives each leader specific gifts to help them build the vision of God. Some gifts are not as visible but all are useful, even if you feel inadequate remember it is God who is building and not you. In Psalms 127:1-2; (NASB) it says “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”  It was Nehemiah’s faithfulness to God that helped him keep focused and build what he found in his hand, he never made it about himself but about the mission God had given him.

Next week I will continue with the blog because there are two more characters I want to talk about that will help you in your leadership role. So in closing let me remind you to keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and use what ever you find in your hand to get the job done. I leave this week back to Houston to continue the work there, Michelle will stay and minister in the Bristol campus and I am sure it is going to be a wonderful blessing. Thank you for all the messages of encouragement, the prayers, the financial support and the commitment to the vision of Carmel. We love you all dearly and miss you very much every time we need to leave. We look forward to connecting with you through social media and visiting with you when ever God permits, until then remember to enjoy the journey.

Much love
Pastors Gerri  and Michelle Di Somma

Dear Precious Family of God,

As this weekend is the celebration of the Declaration of Independence here in the United States, I decided to post the transcript of “The Declaration of Independence” and hope y’all would read it and be reminded of its content and the importance it holds for the citizens of America.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.Declaration–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

*He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
*He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
*He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
*He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
*He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
*He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
*He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
*He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
*He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
*He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
*He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
*He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
*He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
*For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
*For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
*For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:IST-IS162RM-00000177-001
*For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
*For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
*For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
*For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
*For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
*For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
*He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
*He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
*He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
*He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
*He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

DeclarationofIndependenceWe, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Dear Precious Family of God,

Success is not more money, better relationships, emotional well-being or exceptional health, and is never measured by what you do, but rather by what you carry out that improves the welfare and good of others. Illustration depicting a green roadsign with a success concept. Blue sky background.This is what is called destiny and is often referred to as the will of God. Every healthy human being wants to know that they are valuable and successful, but few have it to the degree they would like. One thing that is important is what you do in the process that will greatly contribute to what is to be successfully accomplished. Whatever your personal definition of success may be, here are a few habits that are necessary to get you where you want to be.

The first habit is to have a working knowledge of what God said. This is both the written and spoken word of God. Knowing the known will of God often opens the door for you to hear the unknown will of God. In other words, where God wants you, what He wants you to do and the potential He sees in you. success2Prophecy is often the unknown will of God revealed to a select few for a work to be accomplished by the one chosen for the benefit of many. In the parable of the sower sowing the seed found in Mark 4:1-20; this is Jesus as the sower and the seed is the Word of God that when cultivated in the heart of the hearer will produce a harvest of abundance for the benefit of others. Without a working knowledge of God’s word you will wander around wondering what is going on and never get to your potential in Christ. Make sure that the beliefs you hold are established on the Word of God and that they are your own and not an inherited conclusions. Presumption is the lowest form of knowledge and often leads to speculation and judgment, hence an inherited conclusion.

Another good habit is to gather with growers. The Bible clearly states in Hebrews 10:23-25 that we must not forsake to gather together to encourage and stir each other up to love and good deeds. We need each other to help us develop to our highest potential, it is only through relationships that we are able to prove character and realize gifting. We must set up a broad range of people to interact with to make sure that we stay open-minded and explore all avenues of possibilities. success3Opportunities exist for those who can see beyond their own biases and personal preferences and have the ability to celebrate those that challenge them to grow. Our biggest hindrances to greater achievement is to try to go it alone. The Bible says by wise counsel we are wage war, Proverbs 24:6; it is in the company of others that we explore the possibilities that help develop our potential. Success is a dynamic state. It grows as you grow. Challenging yourself forces you to enlarge your comfort zone. By doing so, you enlarge your sphere of accomplishment. Ongoing success requires that you be a visionary. Nothing stays the same. Just because you have had success in the past does not mean you will have it in the future by doing the same thing. Anticipate changes and act so allowing room for flexibility. Keeping success to yourself will always limit you in how much you can experience. The act of sharing the fruits of your success or “secrets” of your success will always come back to you exponentially.

Another habit that has helped me to progress is to reflect back to learn. It’s never a good thing to wallow in the past. However, it is beneficial to check what worked well, what didn’t, and what needs to be revised. You can’t drive looking in the rear view mirror, but you do need to know your place at any given time. The things that didn’t work can still work for you. Failed attempts are simply navigation tools. Use them for fine-tuning your approach. There’s always something to learn if you choose to see it that way. Although it’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of processes that directly affect you, it is impossible to be a master of all. Don’t waste your genius by trying to conquer the tasks in which you lack efficiency. Take the time to check your progress and give yourself time to rejuvenate your energy, just like a device needs time to recharge to full capacity so we owe ourselves the same courtesy.

So what are the elements missing from your success strategy? What, if anything, do you have to strengthen, add, or remove? Are you limiting your potential and the progress to the success you could be experiencing by neglecting to face your biggest hindrance, and that is namely you. Trust that you will consider these habits and reach forward to the purpose of your life and obtain your potential in God. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and share it with others if you have found it helpful.

Much love,

Pastors Gerri and Michelle Di Somma