2140 Crystal Beach Road, Winter Haven, FL 33880

(863) 293-0689 info@faithbaptistwh.org


Summer Music Lessons for Only $10

Fine Arts Academy


Summer is almost here.  The school year is winding down and the temperatures are rising.  Around the church, things are changing as well.  Awana has ended.  VBS is in full planning mode.  The snowbirds have definitely migrated north.

It is also a season of change for our Fine Arts Academy.  During this past year, we have had the privilege of providing private music instruction to 45 different students.  These students took private guitar, piano & violin lessons.  Some took lessons all year.  Others took for only a few short weeks.  Whatever the situation, we were able to provide quality instruction to them.

As we transition to the summer, I want to let you know about an exciting opportunity that is available through the Fine Arts Academy.

Once again, we will be offering our popular $10 Summer Music Lessons.  All summer long, our private lessons are only $10.  This is a great way to try out private lessons and see if they are a great fit for your family.  Keep in mind there are some ‘hidden’ costs of Music Lessons.  There is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ registration fee of $15 per family that will apply to our Summer Music Lessons.  There is also the cost of any books that may be needed for the lessons.  Books usually cost between $15-$30 depending on the instrument.

If you would like to sign up for our Summer Lessons, please Contact Us through this link.   Also, feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.

We look forward to helping you grow as a musician!


Five Reminders from My Son (who is in Heaven)

If you see a few extra tears coming from our family this weekend, this article will help you understand why.  Re-sharing this article helps us acknowledge that we have a son who is in heaven right now.  ~ Stephen

(originally posted 10/31/14)

This week has been difficult for my family.  On October 29th, 2009, my wife delivered our oldest son.  He was only 15 weeks old.  Sadly, miscarriages in pregnancies are very common.  But, they are still very real and they are always painful.  So, for us, this week marked 5 years since we held him in our hands.  In our home we have been talking about him all week long.  We have cried and laughed and cried some more.  But, I have also been reminded of several glorious truths.  I would like to share them with you today.

  1. Life is a gift.  It is so easy to think that making a baby is easy.  In reality, life is very fragile.  There are no guarantees when it comes to life.  No one is guaranteed a baby.  Every life is a gift from the moment of conception.  Life is a precious gift.  Whenever I think of my son I am reminded that life is a gift.
  2. My wife is a gift.  My wife suffered tremendously during each of her four pregnancies.  She endured numerous hospital stays, IV fluids, medications, blood transfusions, and a PICC line. She clearly fit the profile of a pregnancy where the life of the mother is in danger.  There were times when I (and our doctor) were considering the fact that she might not be here.  You may think I am exaggerating, but when I think of my son in heaven, I am reminded to thank God that Nicki is still here.
  3. My son Josiah is a gift from God.  While every pregnancy was difficult, it was our third pregnancy that ended with a miscarriage.  After that you can imagine the range of emotions that we went through.  After some time we decided to see if God would allow us to have another child.  Keep in mind – nobody thought this was a good idea.  Everyone thought it was too dangerous for Nicki to get pregnant.  We got many strange looks when word started to spread that we were pregnant.  In short, God saw fit to bless us with another son – Josiah.  I cannot describe the joy I feel when I look at Josiah.  When I think of my son in heaven – I am reminded to praise God for Josiah – my son on earth.
  4. God is good.  It is so easy to forget this truth.  There is an old song which says it well, “What God Ordains is Always Good.”  (The full text of the song is below.)  I do not always understand this, but for some reason whenever I think of my son in heaven, I am reminded that God is good.
  5. Abortion is the modern Holocaust.  When I think of my son in heaven, I am reminded that he is not alone.  He is with God and he is with millions (perhaps even billions) of other babies.  Many of those babies went to heaven just like he did.  Tragically, many of those babies went to heaven because their mothers chose to send them there through abortion.  I hate abortion.  It is murder.  Anyone who calls it otherwise is simply wrong.  During the horrible days of the Holocaust, our country rose up to defend those who could not defend themselves.  Our nation recognized the evil that was occurring and stood up against it.  A similar evil occurs today and our nation gives millions of dollars to fund it.  How tragic.  How evil.  When I think of my son in Heaven, I am reminded of the thousands of babies that are murdered each day.

I miss my son.  I often wonder what he would be like.  What would he look like?  I don’t know the answers to these questions.  But I do know that God is still there.  He is still reigning over all of the events of my life.  Remember this, life is not always easy – but God is always good.



What God Ordains Is Always Good

by Samuel Rodigast, 1649-1708

1. What God ordains is always good; His will abideth holy.
As He directs my life for me, I follow meek and lowly.
God indeed in every need Doth well know how to shield me;
To Him, then, I will yield me.

2. What God ordains is always good. He never will deceive me;
He leads me in His own right way, And never will He leave me.
I take content What He hath sent; His hand that sends me sadness
Will turn my tears to gladness.

3. What God ordains is always good. His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup That my Physician sends me.
My God is true; Each morn anew I’ll trust His grace unending,
My life to Him commending.

4. What God ordains is always good. He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm, Though many storms may gather.
Now I may know Both joy and woe, Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.

5. What God ordains is always good. Though I the cup am drinking
Which savors now of bitterness, I take it without shrinking.
For after grief God grants relief, My heart with comfort filling
And all my sorrow stilling.

6. What God ordains is always good. This truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, I shall not be forsaken.
I fear no harm, For with His arm He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me.

$700 in Prizes Awarded at Sacred Music Competition!


On Saturday morning, October 8th, the Fine Arts Academy at Faith Baptist Church hosted its 3rd annual Sacred Music Competition.  Competition was fierce as 24 students competed across three age based divisions.  In the end, nine students walked away with prizes totaling $700.

Started in 2014, the Sacred Music Competition exists to promote excellence in sacred music.  The competition is really quite simple.  Students play one piece of music.  It does not have to be memorized.  There is no fee to participate.  The only rules are that it must be an arrangement of a sacred song and they must provide an original copy of the score.  The intention is for the students to play something they could easily play at their home church.  Three judges assign a score to each student.  The students with the top scores win cash prizes.

Competition director Stephen Simpson remarked,

“For what amounts to a small amount of money, we now have 24 young people armed with a piece of music ready to be used in their local church.  It truly is money well spent.”

By God’s grace, over the past three years, this small competition has awarded $2,100 in prizes.  It truly is amazing to see what God has done.  Would you pray with us for this competition?  We would love to see it expand beyond being a ‘piano-only’ competition.  Our long-term vision is to have multiple competitions for Piano, Voice, and other Instruments.  Pray that God would direct us and provide so that we could make this happen.

To God be the Glory for all that He is doing through the Fine Arts Academy at Faith Baptist Church.

FBC to Host 3rd Annual Free Piano Competition with Cash Prizes!

In 2014, a long-time dream finally became a reality.  I had dreamed of a piano competition for students of all ages that promoted excellence in sacred music while give out a prize (Cash!!) that truly appealed to students.  I am excited to tell you that on Saturday, October 8th, the Fine Arts Academy at FBC will host our 3rd Sacred Music Competition.

Our goal is very simple.  We want to promote excellence in sacred music.  Many organizations do a fantastic job of promoting excellence in non-sacred music.  We want to do something different.  We want to focus on music that is explicitly sacred.  Our competition is also very simple.  Students will play one piece of sacred music.  Winners will be chosen by a panel of three judges.  These winners will receive a cash prize.  You can read the full description about our competition and register on our webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much does it cost to enter this competition?  – Nothing, Zero, Nada, Zilch – It is completely FREE!
  2. Can I play anything I want?  There are two stipulations.  It must be sacred and it must be published.  In other words, it cannot be a sacred arrangement that you have made up on your own.  There needs to be published music that the judges can follow while you play.
  3. What does “memorization is strongly suggested” mean?  Well, it means that we strongly suggest that you memorize your music 🙂  But, it also means that memorization is not required.  We do not want memorization to be a barrier that prevents you from participating.  However, most of us will admit that we play the piano much better when our music is memorized.
  4. Who can compete in this competition?  Anyone who is 18 years old or younger on October 8th is eligible to compete.  We will be dividing all of the students up into three divisions:  Elementary (ages 9 and under), Junior (10-14), & Senior (15-18).  There are cash prizes available for each division.
  5. How much can I win?  We have a total of $700 available in cash prizes!  You can see a breakdown of cash prizes by division on our competition website.
  6. Do I have to play the piano?  We would love to encourage sacred music on all instruments.  However, we have chosen to focus our competition on piano music.
  7. Do I have to attend Faith Baptist Church in order to compete?  No.  The competition is open to anyone 18 years old or younger.  In fact, we welcome students who may want to travel from Japan just for this competition 🙂

Will You Join Us for This Unique Event?

  • Register today – If you are 18 or under, register today!  Choose a sacred arrangement.  It can be one you already know or one that is completely brand new.  Get it ready.  Work on it with your teacher.  Then come on Saturday, October 8th, and play it to the best of your ability.
  • Spread the Word – Will you help us by spreading the word about this competition?  Share it on facebook.  Forward this email to your friends and family.  Talk about it.
  • Be a Sponsor – Consider making a financial contribution to FBC to make this competition possible.  Think of the impact we can have on our community through a simple piano competition and a few hundred dollars.

I hope that you will get excited about our upcoming Sacred Music Competition.  Last year’s competition was a huge success.  Twenty three students competed.  Nine prizes totaling $700 were awarded.  If you have any questions at all about our competition, please do not hesitate to contact us.



FAA Prepares for 8th Year of Private Music Lessons

Fine Arts Academy

In the fall of 2009, FBC began its Fine Arts Academy.  Since that time, countless students have received private instruction on their instrument.  We have been blessed to teach students of all ages.  Some have come for just one lesson.  Others have remained for years.  Through it all, God has blessed as we have sought to provide God-honoring excellent instruction.

Monday, marks the beginning of our 8th year of teaching.  It is amazing to see how God has blessed this ministry.  This past year saw us host our second Sacred Music Competition which we hope to continue again this year.  I am looking forward to seeing what God will continue to do with this ministry.

Why do we do this?

Why has FBC taken on this ministry?  Why do we not simply refer these interested students to the local music store?  Historically, churches were always centers of musical training.  Nowadays, that is seldom true.  Let me share 3 reasons why FBC has taken the unique step of establishing a Fine Arts Academy (FAA).

  1. Identification – One reason we began our FAA is to help us identify those with musical abilities.  Our FAA has helped us identify individuals with the ability to play piano during our services, sing in our choir, and play in our orchestra.  Additionally, our FAA helps us identify younger students with the potential to one day serve in our music ministries.  Identifying these individuals helps us provide opportunities for them to serve.  It is very simple.  If we do not know who has musical abilities, then we cannot help them use those musical abilities.
  2. Inspiration – A second reason for our FAA is to inspire.  We want to encourage and motivate individuals to use their musical abilities in their local church.  One of our primary goals is to develop church musicians.  We want to train these individuals to serve effectively in their local church.
  3. Instruction – A third reason for our FAA is very simple – instruction.  Church musicians need quality instruction.  Too often, especially in our independent Baptist circles, we have many willing musicians who have not received any quality training.  A willing heart is a wonderful start.  But, ideally it will be paired with exceptional musicianship.  We aim to provide excellent instruction.  Private weekly instruction when paired with consistent and quality practice will lead to the development of a fine musician.

In short,

Our FAA seeks to produce quality musicians who love the Lord and have a strong desire to use their musical talents in their local church.

Stop Hiding

Sadly, many fine musicians sit anonymously in the pew of their local church.  Their church is simply unaware of their hidden musical talent.  What greater joy can there be than using your talents for the glory of God?  If this is you, stop hiding your talents!  Use them.  Honor God with the talent he has given you.  I know it requires a time commitment.  I know it may be hard.  But, I also know that it will be rewarding to you and it will honor God.


Let me close with this.  I stay active with many piano accompanying opportunities in our community.  These are often very rewarding musically.  I enjoy the opportunity to play quality music with other fine musicians.  But these opportunities are not rewarding spiritually.  They pale in comparison to the musical opportunities I have at church.  Church music is tremendously rewarding in a spiritual sense.  The difference is the audience.  Church music is presented to bring honor and glory to Almighty God.  That is vastly different than playing a Mozart Violin Concerto before a judge.

Hopefully, all of this makes sense.  You can learn more about our Fine Arts Academy on our website.  You can also simply contact me if you have any questions.


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