Author Archives: Marella Rudebaugh

From Leader to Leader – Agents of Change

by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference

The biblical record shows that God used people who didn’t look or act like leaders in the traditional sense. People who wouldn’t have interviewed well for a ministerial position and whose resumes would have failed to impress. However, Scriptures reveal that God chooses to use the weak to glorify himself and display His strength and stubborn love for us. (Exodus 3-4; 1 Cor. 1:26-27; 2 Cor. 12:9-10).

When Jesus was inaugurating his ministry and establishing His Kingdom, He didn’t go after the learned, savvy, highly educated minds. He called men who were rough around the edges, small business owners with very limited schooling. I am not proposing that pursuing an education is useless or that education limits God’s ability to glorify Himself through the studied human instrument. What I am suggesting is that teachablility is a characteristic God values. These fishermen had humble origins; however, they were not unskilled, as fishermen. As business owners, they had learned to maintain an open mindset to new ideas that might heighten their profits. A wise business person doesn’t assume he knows everything there is to know about something. Actually, savvy entrepreneurs have an innate urge to continue learning and growing. Typically, entrepreneurs are willing to take risks but know the value of a good investment. They like to get things done. These were some of the characteristics Jesus desired for his group of disciples. He would have much more to do with this group of men; but He felt that in the disciples’ simple life, he had a good foundation to begin forming his future church leaders. This group was going to become the most successful salesmen in the history of the known world as they sold the “Pearl of great price, the Bread of Life and the only Water which satiates thirst”. They were going to convince others that there was a better deal to make rather than gaining the whole world, but losing one’s soul.

We can learn much from the life of Jesus regarding spiritual leadership principles. Before Jesus preached a sermon, or healed a person, He chose disciples. Jesus knew a thing or two about spiritual leadership: 1) Spiritual leaders work hard to work themselves out of a job. They will intentionally prepare others to take their positions. 2) Spiritual leaders understand that their task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be. To illustrate this point we can refer to Jesus and his first encounter with Peter who was involved in his everyday business of fishing in the lake of Galilee. He understood that Peter needed to move from where he was—concerned about his family’s welfare, worried about how he was going to pay his taxes to the Romans, pressed by the need to remodel his boat, etc.—to where God wanted him to be; a fisher of men. Spiritual leaders influence and inspire others to make these types of monumental, life transitions.

How did Jesus do this? By opening before Peter the realities of another world. Jesus helped him become attuned to an invisible, supernatural world where fish could swim right into a fisherman’s net in the middle of the day. Jesus got Peter’s attention and now he was ready to listen to the Master’s words. In fact, in that first encounter with Jesus, Peter recognized that the Continue reading

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Why Not Try This? – Improve Your Church’s Welcome

Learn how you can make your Sabbath morning worship welcome time excellent, intentional, strategic, and short. Click on the article 9 Tips to Improve Your Church’s Welcome Segment to find out!

 

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From Beyond the Pulpit – Coins and the Roman Press

by Stan Hudson who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference

In continuing our series on Biblical coins, remember how I mentioned that (for the Romans at least) coins were meant to send out political messages? That’s right; before there was the Internet, Imperial coins were the thing.

For instance, take a look at how coins reflected the wars between Judaea and Rome. After Vespasian and son Titus beat the Jews and destroyed their temple in AD 70 they minted coinage that was meant to get that word out to the empire. Here is a dime-sized denarius of Vespasian with a mourning Jewess on the back besides a pile of war trophies. Under her weeping frame is the word “IUDAEA.” 

And when the art platform was large enough, like on a silver-dollar sized bronze sestertius, Vespasian himself can stand triumphantly with his war standard and the words “IUDAEA CAPTA.” That Judaea was captured was meant to tell the Roman world that Rome was doing its job with “terrorists.”

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Momentum – Re-inspire and Revive

by Dayv Lounsbury, Pastor of the Spokane Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

For over a year now the Spokane Central Church has been planning and preparing for these reaping meetings. Our primary focus was to reach those who were part of our interest list developed over the year. We have contacts with people from our many ministries like: God’s Closet, STEAM Ahead @ Discovery Junction, VBS, Kids Bible Club, Pathfinders, local outreach seminars, weekly Bible studies, small groups, and many from just our regular Sabbath worship services. We had about 30 active interests that we specifically were hoping would join our meetings in some way. About 10 actually did participate.

We also love how local evangelism re-inspires and revives our membership as well. So we also reached out to our inactive or infrequent members. We were very pleased to average about 90 adults and 10 kids for our meetings each evening. About 30 of these in regular attendance were part of our specific target group. And we continue to see growth and spiritual development from these contacts. We currently have 7 in active baptismal preparation and another 13 filled out decision cards saying they are “rededicating their lives to Jesus” in response to the meetings.

Our theory for the meetings was simple: construct them in a way that removes the normal barriers/excuses that people have to avoid them. By reducing the meetings to just Fri/Sab and sharing 2 topics on each night, we were able to share 17 fundamental teachings in 3 short weekends. By providing meals and childcare it made the meetings very accessible and enjoyable to all. We also kept the timeframe palatable by keeping them to 2 hours (6pm-8pm) and that included the meals. So the first presentation was from 6-6:45, meal from 6:45-7:15, and second presentation from 7:15-8pm. We had very few preliminaries or added “fill” and kept things simple. We had limited music, with just a “theme song” after the meal to welcome people back to their seats, and then wrapped up each evening with a special music presentation as people contemplated the topics heard that night.

I am VERY pleased with how things turned out. I currently project we will have 6-8 baptisms as God still moves on hearts and I am shocked at how many of our own members still tell me they have not heard some of these teachings before (even the lesson on eternal torment??) We have created a survey asking people to respond to how the meetings went and so far the responses are very favorable. Our fellowship hall proved the perfect venue for the evening meetings and our Outreach Team is excited to learn from this attempt and make it even better next time. Since our main target audience is our ongoing interest list, we avoided the normal large expense for public marketing, although we are not opposed to doing more of this in the future.

I am thankful to God for his protection, inspiration and blessings for allowing our church to hold these meetings. Our members are not exhausted (some are already asking “When can we do this again?”) and our interest list keeps growing. I know God still has great plans in store for our church as we follow him and are faithful to share His gospel with our community.

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Changed Lives – Couple Finds Truth at Adventist Prophecy Meetings

by Randy Maxwell, Pastor of the Renton Seventh-day Adventist Church

In early March of this year, Joe and Marilyn were watching TV when an advertisement for a “Revelation Speaks Peace” seminar caught their eye. The seminar was being held in Puyallup, Washington.

Marilyn, who had never heard of Voice of Prophecy or Shawn Boonstra, suggested to Joe that he invite their friend, Bruce, to go with him on opening night to see if it was worthwhile as Puyallup was a long way to drive with Seattle traffic congestion.

Joe went to the seminar and came back home that night very excited about what he heard. The couple attended as many nights as they could and learned from Pastor Boonstra how perfectly clear the Bible can be when allowed to speak for itself. “We learned about the Sabbath,” said Marilyn, “and the Holy Spirit spoke to our hearts that we had been attending church on the wrong day.”

Encouraged to find a Seventh-day Adventist Church in their area, they began a search and attended three Adventist churches—one of those was Renton SDA. “We had a checklist: Are the people friendly? Does the message line up with the Bible? Are they talking about prophecy and how it relates to what’s happening in the world today? Renton SDA checked every box on our list.”

On October 5, Renton pastor Randy Maxwell began a prophecy seminar entitled, “Unlocking the Mysteries of Prophecy.” The timing was perfect for Joe and Marilyn, who were having their new-found faith confirmed in Bible studies conducted by the Renton Bible Worker and at the meetings.

Each presentation was followed by a short health talk, a nutritious snack, and a question and answer period. “Pastor Randy Maxwell is a very gifted pastor and speaks directly from the Bible and makes it relevant to what is happening in the world today,” said Marilyn. “We met his wife Suzette and discovered that she and Pastor Randy have a true heart for people and the Word of God.”

Before the Boonstra meetings, they had been searching for truth two years! “We attended four different churches and none were teaching the full Bible like the Seventh-day Adventists!”

On October 28, Pastor Maxwell, accompanied by the Bible Worker, baptized the couple a week before the prophecy series concluded. “Joe and Marilyn are enthusiastic witnesses for Jesus,” says Maxwell. “They are excited about the truth and it was a thrill to baptize them into Christ and His remnant church,”

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Resources – Social Media Guidelines

Social media represents a bold new frontier for mission and is a powerful communications tool. The purpose of this document is to provide resources and guidance regarding best practices for professional social media communication for all denominational entities and individuals in the NAD. CLICK HERE for a digital copy of the NAD’s social media guidelines.

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From Leader to Leader – Eternal Bliss

‘Tis the season to look back to trace God’s hand in our personal lives and ministry in 2017.   I stand in awe of Jesus’s compassion, mercy and grace towards us broken, malfunctioning humans that He graciously chooses to call “friends”.

In between our flurry of ministry travels & responsibilities, God granted Carolann and I the privilege of taking our first trip to Europe to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary last year. I devoted hours planning a romantic, surprise anniversary trip to the two countries I imagined my wife would like to visit.

When we arrived in Spain, Carolann fell in love. . . with Spain . . . In fact, she loved Spain so much that she became seriously disheartened when after a week of excursions to various cities, we had to abort our final day trip in the enchanting town of Toledo to board our plane to Paris. She didn’t hide her displeasure, “Do we have to go to Paris?”. . . “I love Spain; I wish we didn’t have to leave.” I didn’t say much; I didn’t want to ruin my upcoming surprises, so I just quietly listened to her express her regret about having to board a plane to Paris. On the inside however, I was thinking, “Boy, Carolann must be the only woman in the world who is not excited she is going to visit the city of Paris for her anniversary.” In truth, Carolann had no idea the hours I had spent choosing what I thought would be the very best hotel (within our budget) in the city, she had no clue as to the excursions and sites we would experience. I had thought that it would be romantic to celebrate our actual anniversary day in the “City of Love”.

Thankfully . . . after just a few hours of walking around the enchanting city, crossing iconic bridges over the Seine, and visiting historical sites, Carolann laughed out loud and expressed how utterly foolish she felt about her ill-informed attitude towards our departure. “I had no idea this city was so beautiful!” “I hope we are here long enough to see everything”. Boy, had her attitude changed! Every time she saw something that took her breath away, she would laugh and say “I can’t believe I was so disgruntled about having to come to Paris”.

Is it possible that we can be equally ignorant regarding the indescribable eternal bliss the Father is tenderly preparing for us? Could it be that because we have no idea how astounding it will be to live in the eternal ecstasy of God’s loving presence, we can become foolishly attached to places or things that were never meant to be permanent? Might we become so stuck in “survival mode” of earthly living that we can fail to prepare for, anticipate, or long for the surreal heavenly destination not yet seen or even remotely imagined? My favorite author writes:

“Oh the mystery of godliness—God manifest in the flesh! This mystery increases as we try to comprehend it. It is incomprehensible, and yet human beings will allow worldly, earthly things to intercept the faint view it is possible for mortals to have of Jesus and His matchless love… How can we be enthusiastic over earthly, common things and not be stirred with this picture—the cross of Calvary, the love that is revealed in the death of God’s dear Son…? . . . All this humiliation and anguish were endured to bring back the wanderers, guilty and thankless, to the Father’s house… There will be NO suffering ones in heaven, NO skeptics whom we must labor to convince of the reality of eternal things, NO prejudices to uproot, but ALL will be susceptible to that love which passeth knowledge. Rest, thank God, there is a rest for the people of God, where Jesus will lead the redeemed into green pastures, by the streams of living waters which make glad the city of our God. Then the prayer of Jesus to His Father will be answered: ‘I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am’.” (White, KH 371, italics applied)

Fellow sojourners, let us not allow any person, place, or circumstance derail us from the intentional contemplation of the incomprehensible, tender love of the Father in this New Year! We are all broken people living in a broken planet in desperate need of the salvific atonement that was lovingly planned and executed on Calvary’s cross to ensure a blissful eternity with our Creator & Redeemer. “There may be some things here that we do not understand. Some things in the Bible may appear to be mysterious, because they are beyond our finite comprehension. But as our Saviour leads us by the living waters, He will make clear in our minds that which was not before clearly understood” (RH Aug 8, 1907). We are one year closer to reuniting with those loved ones who have rested in Jesus and await the glorious day of His return and the first resurrection foretold in His Word.

It is my prayer that as we approach 2018, we will intentionally turn our eyes upward and know that we are serving a Mighty General who has lost no battles. Let us carve time in our busy ministry lives to spend in the contemplation of his life, salvific sacrifice and soon return. He is worthy to be trusted, loved and worshipped. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”. Psalms 90:12

Blessings & Victories in Jesus to you and those in your circle of influence!

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Why Not Try This? – Making an Annual Church Calendar

by Seth Pierce, Pastor of the Puyallup Seventh-day Adventist Church
Source: NAD Ministerial

The Bible says, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Too many churches approach ministry with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality. Instead of carefully making plans for outreach and church life they coast along hoping something good will happen by accident, dumb luck, or God simply taking pity on their depressing lack of effort. I have found that it isn’t only local churches that struggle with this, but schools and occasionally conference departments too. A lack of planning creates an undercurrent of stress that saps energy and fun out of serving Jesus. While planning is hard work,  it prevents even harder work in the long run.

Several years ago, our church rented to a Methodist congregation and I was Continue Reading…

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From Beyond the Pulpit – A Window’s Huge Gift

We continue on in the series of coins of the Bible and what they might tell us about the stories that they fall into. Today we take a little look at some very small things: “mites.”

“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.  So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’”

First of all, it’s kind of telling that Jesus notes what we put in the offering plate. He is interested as is heaven. When the rich put in large gifts heaven yawned, as there was no sacrifice, no faith in those gifts. But when the widow put in her two mites, you can almost hear whistles and “Wow! Did you see that?” from the angels.

The Greek word for mite is lepton. It’s not a money term, but simply means “tiny thing.” Mark is writing to a Roman audience, so he mentions that they were smaller than the smallest Imperial Roman coin, the quadrans. Pictured is an example of a lepton minted by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. This particular coin, dated to Caesar Tiberius’ reign, was made in the year that Christ died: AD 31. The legend says “Tiberius Caesar’s.” And prominently depicted is an augur, a pagan religious symbol, that was part of Tiberius’ personal religious faith…but it certainly would have deeply offended Pilate’s Jewish subjects.

Notice the sharp edges. You can see why Jesus encouraged disciples to get leather pouches that didn’t “wax old” (or wear out from sharp-edged coins!). But more germane to the story is that the widow gave a gift that would inspire others through the centuries to give so much that she really DID “put in more than all.”

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Momentum – The Summer that Changed Everything

by Terrance Taylor, Pastor of the Pasco Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church

Summer was approaching and I was looking forward to it! Not that much of a shock, right? Who isn’t looking forward to the summer? Almost everyone I know already has something planned for the summer. Vacations, weddings, road trips, you name it…any reason to get away is a good reason. While the summer is exciting for most people, it’s the absolute worst time for a Pastor.

Pastors know that when summer comes around, their members usually don’t. Attendance is down, giving is down, and the church seems to be on Sabbatical. Except for the occasional VBS program lead by some extremely driven person, everyone else is M.I.A. The best pastors can do is try to overlook the obvious and plan for the fall.

So why was I looking forward to the summer? For the last three years, I noticed a trend in my church that I almost missed. As we have become increasingly less inward focused and more outreached focused as a church, we have adjusted our ministry plans to the pace and personality of our local community. And what we discovered was the summer and winter seasons were actually the best times of the year for Evangelism. Evangelism for us simply means, sharing the Good News with people who have never heard it before. This makes our target demographic very specific and gives us a strategy that requires us to be prayerful, creative, and responsible. This keeps the focus off ourselves and motivates us to leave our building and be in our community.

Ministry of Healing pg 143-144 provides the best strategy that we have found to engage with those around us in a healthy way, “Christ Method Alone!” Christ Method Alone has  become the core value of our ministry practice. It reverses the order of what we had typically done without compromising our vision and mission. Christ Method Alone takes time, ingenuity, and sacrifice. There’s no silver bullet. No cheat code. Nothing about this is easy. But it is rewarding! Being Jesus to someone you are building a relationship with is so much more fulfilling than telling someone about Jesus that is essentially a stranger. It’s David with a slingshot vs Rambo with a machine gun. Getting close instead of getting lucky!

I was really looking forward to the Summer! Our calendar for the summer was full and it was going to be exhausting. We planned nine outreach events, live streamed our service, added an evening worship service offered at 6pm, and moved our service time back two hours from 11am to 1pm. We planned more in nine weeks than we had done in the previous two years combined.

About halfway through the summer I was thinking to myself, “what did I get myself into?” Signs of the summer slide began to show. The faithful few began to get stronger and stronger while others seemed to rail behind, unable to keep up with the pace. I was out of timeouts and I was ready to throw a Hail Mary and get this game over with…until week seven.

There was a young couple with children that had not attended church in over a year and a half. Despite the many calls and facebook likes, life seemed to have their hands tied behind their backs and church was out of reach. Until week seven. Our 6pm service was new and not very well attended by the church. I tried to stay excited about it but it was becoming harder and harder to do. Finally…week seven came. Week seven…halfway through the service…at about 6:20pm…I saw them walk in. They walked in like they were looking at the house they grew up in. Filled with nostalgia, being reminded of things they had forgotten, noticing what had been painted or moved. I saw a smile. I gave a wink and a nod to say hello…and to say thank you. Thank you for giving me my strength back. Thank you for allowing God to bring you to remind me of why we signed up for this summer maddness. Thank you for the strength and courage to get ready for week eight.

 

Fast forward. They’re still coming! Three other families that weren’t coming, came back, and are still coming! The church has a new energy and a renewed focus to our mission. Evangelism may not be easy, but it simple. I’ve learned that taking risks and being willing to fail is a great way to learn. New things come with new methods and new expectations. Change happens when you want it to happen, either on purpose or by accident. This summer changed everything, I’m glad it’s over, because I’m looking forward to the next one.

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