11 08 2015


In 1978 I began my training for the ministry at Philadelphia College of Bible that was located in center city on 17th and Arch Street. The male dorms were in the Robert Morris Hotel and my room was up on the 14th Floor. The guy that lived about 3 doors down from me during that freshman year was another newcomer to the school named Tom Savage. We became good friends back then and we also both met our wives during those university days.

Tom ended up marrying a young lady named Barb Crouthamel and our paths would cross again when Barbie’s Mom and Dad- Tom and Barb began attending The Lighthouse Church back in 1998. The senior Crouthamels have been so instrumental in the blessings of what God has done through the years while I have had the privilege of being a Pastor here in Cape May County. They have even become like Parents to me and what a kick we have had counting all the ways that our lives had intersected with one another even before we ended up here together! It actually got even more amazing this past Wednesday Night.

Terri and I have been given the privilege to raise four of our nine children and our second child Leah is our oldest daughter and a living miracle at that. There were several moments during the pregnancy with Leah that we weren’t sure that she was going to make it. I remember a terrible August night in 1987 that I thought for sure Leah was going to go right to Heaven but she survived and also fought her way through about 3 months of constant bed rest with her Mother! Then on January 28, 1988- in Dayton Ohio- the baby with the biggest brown eyes that I had ever seen was born into the Sheptock Family! Yes- we Daddy’s have a great bond with our sons but there are no words strong enough to define the connection between a Father and a Daughter.

Leah is an incredible young lady with a tough exterior but a tender heart. She is a spirited competitor and does not back down from a challenge. Yet she is so good with children and has spent the last 2 years teaching the First Grade in Santiago of the Dominican Republic. We have had many adventures together and of all my children, she is the one most like me from her olive skin to her determined soul. I have prayed through the years that God would raise up just the right man to be a godly husband and loving partner for her as I know she can be feisty and extremely hard to pin down.

A few years back we invited the son of my College Buddy, Tom Savage and the grandson of Tom Crouthamel to come and work at The Lighthouse as an Intern. Jeff Savage excelled at what he was doing in our midst; it was a no brainer to invite him to stay on and become one of our Assistant Pastors. But there was another relationship that has been brewing over this time. And who would have thought that all those years ago that someday Tom’s son Jeff would ask my daughter Leah to marry him! I am so grateful to welcome Jeff Savage into our family as well as seeing Leah Sheptock becoming a part of the Savage Clan! Thanks Barbie Savage and Barb and Tom Crouthamel as I have always hoped that we could be family and in a way that only God could have designed it all together, now we are!

So my daughter Leah is now engaged to our Pastor Jeff! I am not losing a daughter, I am gaining a Minister! When Jeff asked me for my blessing- I couldn’t have been happier. What a gift to be able to see my Princess being courted by a real Gentleman! I can only imagine the adventures that God has in store for them in the days to come! I couldn’t be more ecstatic and proud.

So there is a wedding to come sometime later this year and I can assure you that this Father of the Bride will probably blubber like a baby! But I promise that they will be tears of joy combined with many whispers of thanksgiving because God has faithfully answered the prayers of two Christian Parents who just wanted the best for their babies! It is never too early to begin to pray for your children’s future mates and my prayers for all of you is that you will know the joy that I have today in announcing this awesome news!



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