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Zachery Tims had led what he admits was a “messed-up life.” But he left that behind and devoted his life to preaching, telling millions that “it’s never too late” to start over. Now he is dead.

His testimony of a changed life, after a bout with drugs and gangs, was reflected in the name of the church he started – New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla. – and told in his 2006 book It’s Never Too Late: How a teenage criminal found his divine destiny and became an entrepreneur and pastor of a thriving church with a global ministry.

The message read as follows:

“Today has been filled with rumors and speculations regarding Pastor Zach.  We are having a meeting on tomorrow, Monday, August 15th at 7:00pm.  Please join us. We look forward to seeing you there.”

Condolences have poured out across the nation as many grieve the loss of the young, 42-year-old pastor who wasn’t without his share of difficulty, weaknesses and scandal.  He and his wife, Riva Tims, ended their 15-year- marriage after it was learned Tims had been involved in a yearlong affair with an exotic dancer, Judy Nguyen. It was approximately this time two years ago that their divorce was finalized in August 2009.  Following the news of the affair, Zachery Tims stepped down from ministry to receive counseling.

He released a statement to Charisma magazine on August 14, 2009.  Zachery Tims stated, “I submitted myself to an ecumenical council  of clergy that came into my ministry and ran the spiritual operations while I submitted myself to a counseling and ministry facility for several months out of state.” Tims said it was never his intention to hurt his family, “It was never my intention to hurt anyone, and over this reality I have spent many days seeking God’s grace.   I am grateful for the love my family continues to extend to me as an individual and as a child of God.

Recent reports by My Fox Orlando state that they confirmed with New York City Police that a person inside the hotel room called 911 at approximately 5:00 pm.  The report did not say if the caller was male or female, worked for the hotel or was someone who knew Tims personally. The police have said that a glycerine package containing a white substance was found in the minister’s pocket.


The funeral has been scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 20 at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Orlando.Tims’ funeral will be preceded by a wake at NDCC on Friday, August 19, in which Tims’ body will be lying in state from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be a limited viewing at First Baptist Church of Orlando, according to NDCC minister Wanda Robinson.

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