“Wow, Awesome, Incredible”

There are many words that people use when they pull up to Elijah’s Harbor- “wow”, “awesome”, “incredible”, but the word we walked away saying was “thankful”.

Elijah’s Harbor partnered with our ministry, The Academy of Arts Ministries, this weekend as we came to Greeneville, TN to perform The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We came to Greeneville on tour with our production that will be traveling to Scotland in August as a part of the AHTSF (American High School Theatre Festival). Our mission through these programs is to spread awareness about the opportunity we will have to present Christ through our ministry on a global stage, as well as help raise the funds still needed to make the trip! After 4 SOLD OUT performances, our trip thermometer was raised $10,000 closer to meeting our goal! Continue reading “Wow, Awesome, Incredible”

Coffee Lovers: Raise Your Mugs!

There is an exciting project underway at Elijah’s Harbor. Mark Ferguson and his crew at Ferguson Builders have been donating their time and resources to build the Harbor a custom coffee bar.

coffee_cupAnd, this coffee bar will offer more than just coffee with cream and sugar. “Cappuccinos, lattes, Americano, Espressos are all on the menu,” said Joe Gatas, ministry director at the Harbor, “along with the future goal of smoothies and frozen drinks.” Continue reading Coffee Lovers: Raise Your Mugs!

Elijah’s Harbor Guest Book

At Elijah’s Harbor, we are blessed to host and serve some of the nicest people anywhere. That’s a big part of what makes our ministry so special to us. Pastors, ministers, families, youth groups, church staff, newlyweds – it’s our privilige to  help by providing a place for christians to rest, rejuvenate, and rejoice. Many of our guests leave comments and feedback when they visit, and we would like to share a some of those with you:


“It was a welcoming, peaceful environment that gave us the opportunity to relax & getaway. It’s just beautiful here. the pool is fantastic! This is the best place we have ever stayed! Blessings!”
– Nathan & Tara Cherry


“I loved the grounds and being able to walk around and reconnect with God here. thank you so much for your ministry, it has been such a blessing!”


“The meals & your service was phenomenal; you made our stay so restful. The atmosphere, the beauty, the time alone with God was incredible, Thank you!”

Continue reading Elijah’s Harbor Guest Book

Newness of Spring

Elijah’s Harbor is filled with newness in so many ways! Our new Ministry Directors Joe and Pati Gatas and initiating many new and exciting programs.

We now have a full-fledged Bed and Breakfast program at the mansion. Many couples are enjoying the suites, pools and spa, special dinners as a part of the new activity calendar.

The new Sikkelee Pools and Spa is in full operation. Families are jumping and bobbing in the new stone and brick pools. Continue reading Newness of Spring

Rebuilding the Walls

Scripture tells the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls. As I was getting ready to enter the 2015 busy season at Elijah’s Harbor, the walls of the pools were in ill repair. 65,000 gallons of water pressing on the walls and waterfalls for over 15 years had created cracks and bulges and the three pumps and two heaters were showing their age.  It took a great amount of time, effort and money to keep everything working for our guest.

Then a preacher named Les Olila came driving up with a friend.  I knew something was unusual about this visit.  First, they pulled up in his friends brand new Corvette. Secondly, the friends name was Craig Sikkelee from Signature Pools in Greenville, South Carolina. Craig was visiting the Harbor with Les just to see what we were doing on this mountaintop. Immediately Craig was drawn to the two pools.  He could see I was in over my head and offered advice.  It was good to have a true industry expert tell me what needed to be done. Continue reading Rebuilding the Walls

Stretch Limos and Zebras on the Mountaintop

Elijah’s Harbor is not your average retreat. And that is how we meant it to be! When I take guest on tours through the main mansion, I generally hear “wow” as we round corners to new parts of the 22,000 square foot retreat. I tell them, we built it with a goal. In every room someone says, Wow!

Each year we have continued to add new “wows!” Dr. Jim Berg and his family enjoyed a photo session with a new 1934 Ford 3 Window as the back-drop. The new sitting room on the third floor has become a favorite place for guest to enjoy. New Coffee Bar plans are under way and will be a great place to sip specialty coffees, do a little internet work and look at the north valley at the wildlife. Continue reading Stretch Limos and Zebras on the Mountaintop

From Checkers to Elijah’s Harbor

Joe and Pati Gatas were on the fast track. Owning 25 Checkers Franchises and COO of 25 Burger King and 47 Pizza Hut restaurants was just a small part of their portfolio of enterprises. But God had even bigger plans for this dynamic driven couple.

Joe and Pati were key members of Open Bible Baptist Church in New Jersey. Pastor George Riddell and his wife Desiree were invited by Dr. Tom Farrell as guest at Elijah’s Harbor Christian Retreat. Along with four other couples in Ministry, George and Desiree had a week of fellowship, rest and retreat.

“I was speaking with Retreat owner Mike Jackson about the future of The Harbor. Mike was looking for a couple to take over the retreat. I immediately thought of Joe and Pati, but was conflicted because the Gatas family is very important to our church.” Continue reading From Checkers to Elijah’s Harbor

Thoughts are things

Where did the automobile, the International Space Station, or the airliner I flew on today come from?  The answers is a thought.  Napolian Hill says in his book Think and grow Rich, “Thoughts are things.”  Some would say that is humanistic.  I say no, this is scriptural: Proverbs 23:7 King James Version (KJV) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Continue reading Thoughts are things

Pressure in the Pulpit

I went to Bible College in the late 70’s.  I learned allot of Bible knowledge but decided being a pastor was not my calling.  Over the years, I have watched those in leadership roles in the church and observed their lives and families.  The numbers are pretty disturbing.

American church statistics have reported:

  • In America, 3500 – 4000 churches close their doors each year
  • Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth
  • Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism
  • 1,400 pastors in America leave the ministry monthly.
  • Only 15% of churches in the United States are growing and just 2.2% of those are growing by conversion growth.
  • 10,000 churches in America disappeared in a five-year period.

Continue reading Pressure in the Pulpit