The 121 blog has been anticipating this moment for a while now, an interview with our beloved pastor, Leo Acosta. Words could not express how dear he is to both Ricky and I; he is a pastor, mentor, leader, and friend to us both and we are grateful to be a part of his ministry. He is founder and senior pastor of New Life Ministries Miami and overseer of New Life Ministries North. Pastor Leo is a gifted teacher and expositor, he holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Trinity International University (the school I presently attend) and an M.A. in Christian Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also holds two ordinations (Evangelical Free Church & Christian Life Mission), is an avid blogger, and is happily married with two children. Here is part 1 of 2 of our Q & A:
Mike: Thanks for your time, Pastor Leo! Please describe your morning devotions. What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.? What book are you presently reading?
Pastor Leo: I start every morning with a devotional from Tozer and end with Spurgeon. My Days usually begin between 5:30am-6:30am and end 1:30pm-2:30pm. My devotional times vary from reading, worship, and prayer. My devotional time is never the same, it goes from 1hr to 4hrs even 6hrs hours a day. I don’t sleep much those days, but thats ok! My goal is not to have a time based on quantity but quality. Here are the books I am presently reading: The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel & Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur.
Mike: I know you have quite the busy schedule, but do you read multiple books at once? For example, do you read books for your soul, for pastoral ministry, or for personal enjoyment all at once or a book at a time?
Pastor Leo: Ok, funny but really true, for the first time in my 20+ years of being saved I’m reading two books at once. Honestly, last time I do it, I really like reading one book at a time. Definitely for the soul! I am not the type to read for personal enjoyment.
Mike: When it comes to studying Scripture do you have a set pattern and do you have any recommendations for ways to study?
Pastor Leo: Yes, I love to study Scripture in a topical manner. (Salvation, Condemnation etc). I like to grab a topic and just dissect it as best as possible through Scripture and then bring that information into a form that is applicable to my life. I try to be very practical, but also never lose the deep meaning of topics as I teach.
Mike: What single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?
Pastor Leo: I believe that my preaching has improved mostly through my experiences. I have been preaching the Word in groups from 10-500 since I was 13 years old and really the more I do it, the more I think I need to work at it. My wife is my best critic. One thing that was told to me in a form of counsel that would never be forgotten is that “God made one Leo, so I am going to be that one Leo. He made Piper to be Piper, Jakes to be Jakes, Mahaney to be Mahaney and Leo to be Leo,” so I am going to be myself! Iam the best Leo out here, actually, the only one. So God has purpose with me.
Mike: What books on preaching, or examples of it, have you found most influential in your own preaching?
Pastor Leo: Anything Supernatural. When God grabs us, the ultimate example of natural, and flips it inside out and the Spirt that God Deposits in our lives now is prominent and is the only thing that is visible to people!
Mike: What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?
Pastor Leo: Mike, not sure who is reading this, but I live to love God above all things! Simple theology, just live to LOVE God because thats all that matters to Him!
Pastor Leo, these are some great answers. Thank you again for taking out the time to answer our questions. Be back to tomorrow for part 2 of our Q & A with Pastor Leo.