Author Archives: Marella Rudebaugh

Why Not Try This? – Welcoming Newcomers into Your Church

by Kumar Dixit
Source: NAD Ministerial

When I walked into the sanctuary, I darted toward my “regular” row that my family has been sitting in for years. But on this particular Sabbath, the space had already been occupied by visitors. I needed four more seats for my family, but there wasn’t enough room in that row. In fact, I couldn’t find enough seats except in the back rows of the church. So that is where my family sat, next to a woman in a her 30s, who kindly moved over a few seats to provide enough space. After church, I introduced myself to this young-adult lady.

“Is this your first time here,” I inquired. She laughed shyly and said, “I’ve been attending here for over a year.”

“Oh wow,” my wife and I responded with curiosity, because we had never seen her.

“Yes, you guys are the first people to ever welcome me,” she explained.

I was stunned. Continue Reading…

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Changed Lives – Lighthouse Testimonies

by Hasani Tait, Pastor of the Maranatha-Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Church

Below are Testimonies from two young ladies who have recently given their lives to Jesus and have been baptized at Lighthouse Christian Fellowship at the end of our recent “Health & Wholeness” Evangelistic Series. They are brand new to Adventism and on fire for God! Their testimonies are extremely powerful.

Lydia is originally from the continent of Africa and has been attending Lighthouse for two years, but was hesitant to join. She is originally from a first day denomination and I have personally seen God work in her. I have also seen God totally heal her body from cancer as we have spent much time in prayer for her healing.

Alice recently moved to the States from Kenya. She grew up Catholic her whole life. After moving to the States, she found Lighthouse Church through members. After much prayer and study, she has been converted to our wonderful message.

At the conclusion of our “Health & Wholeness” Evangelistic Series, both ladies made a stand to be baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Below are their testimonies (Please don’t mind the grammatical errors, English is their second language).

Testimony of Lydia:

I had resisted God for a long time, was busy with work and business. When money was not my problem disease struck. I got cancer of the breast in 2012. I was devastated, but vowed to soldier on. I changed my lifestyle, moved from where I earlier lived and came to this state, I found new friends, and found the Lighthouse church through a friend. In this church, I have learned how to depend on God. I never shared my problem to anyone except my daughter and God. I cried to God to heal me as I continued with treatment. God healed me. I AM FREE OF CANCER.

Before my healing I went through many struggles. I lost six relatives. My son to a road accident. This almost shattered me. I’m thankful for my friends and pastor Tait who prayed with me. Two months later I lost my sister who had gotten a scholarships to join a university here. It was tough but God saw me through and brought me healing.

The same month I was baptized, I got real sick on my knee and was not able to walk, but God is good
after prayers with pastors and friends I am restored. I give honor and glory to God.

Testimony of Alice:

I was just baptized last month and became a believer of the SDA church. I was a born Catholic and attended Catholic Church my whole life. But last year, I came to the US and met an SDA family who invited me to church. I was hesitant at first, but eventually decided to go. In church we found other believers in Sabbath School. I was curious to know why go to school instead of just starting the divine service, since I knew Sunday School was for little children. The Sabbath School that day was amazing, the lead preacher taught some very interesting things that I have never heard. My curiosity was aroused and I so became interested to know more of the new things I was hearing, since they were being read from the Holy Bible. After Sabbath School, I enjoyed the divine service as well and decided to join my friends family the next Saturday.

Next Sabbath came and I was eagerly waiting to go and learn more. We went and I wasn’t disappointed since the teachings were very educative and exciting. I was allowed to ask questions and I got very satisfying answers from the Bible. At that point I decided that I will always go to Sabbath School whenever I got a chance, but hadn’t made my mind to become a believer of the SDA church. My friend always asked me if I would like to be baptized but I continually refused citing that I was baptized before and didn’t need another baptism. She respected my decision, but always reminded me to join them for church every Sabbath, which I did.

One Sabbath, a pastor, who is a friend of the same family, told me he was starting Bible study for some new believers who wanted to be baptized and asked me to join them and learn the basics of the SDA church. He said he was teaching them the 28 fundamentals. That got my attention since I am a very curious person, I wanted to know what these fundamentals were. I started going for the lessons and the same thing that happened before happened again. I learned of very new things that were read from the Bible. I really enjoyed the lessons, but one lesson really got to me.

One day, the pastor taught about baptism, I was very attentive to know why it was good to be baptized again. To my shock. I was really drawn to that specific lesson and God really, really wanted me to know about baptism. By the end of the lesson, I had this burning desire in me to get baptized. I couldn’t wait for the pastor to finish his lesson before I put up my hand and told him I wanted to be baptized. I couldn’t believe it was my hand which was up and my heart burning with desire to be baptized, but I knew that it was God who put that desire in me. So we finished the remaining lessons and three weeks later, I was baptized and I have never felt so good and complete before. I hope to continue being part of this great congregation. I hope that I will continue serving God and living holy so as to see and be with Him after He comes for His people, I want to be among the saints.

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Media & Adventist Benefits – Teacher Embarks on Bike Ride to Chicago

Skagit Adventist Academy Math Teacher, Monte Saxby, started a 2300 mile journey to Chicago on Monday, July 16. The community has pledged $4.86 per mile to the school’s student fund. Read more about his story here.

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Resources – How to Lead a Church Board

By Keith Bowman
Source: Adventist Learning Community

The purpose of this course is to help you transition your church board from committee to an effective ministry community focused on mission. By the end of this course you will understand the marks of community in your church board, know how to form a ministry description and group norms with them, know how to build community, trust, and teamwork, how to manage the agenda, and the meeting itself in a way that furthers vision and mission. You will identify competencies of a board chair, and learn how to chair a board meeting with greater success.

To learn more click Here

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Health & Temperance – Fast Food Genocide?

The world’s growing obsession with fast, processed foods is killing more people than any war. On “HeartWise”, Dr. Joel Fuhrman talks about how we can learn from the past and help shape the future for everyone in our community. Listen to “HeartWise” on LifeTalk Radio, Thursday at 2 p.m. Check for a radio station near you at www.lifetalk.net. Or listen online via www.lifetalk.net, ROKU, Amazon Echo, or the free LifeTalk Radio mobile app.

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From Leader to Leader – Create Fresh Memories with Your Family

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

For many, summer graduations and weddings have been attended and in a blink, the summer season will soon be intruded by a myriad of fall season life and ministry tasks and responsibilities.

Kingdom-builders must be intentional about strengthening the relational bonds with spouses, children and grandchildren by planning memorable relationship building activities and conversations that will be remembered and cherished. If a vacation isn’t in the family budget, no worries. One need not break the bank in this endeavor. Last week, I noticed my son was outside washing his car, I was tired and had emails to catch up on, but I felt impressed to go out and join my son in detailing his car. Last Sunday, before my younger son left for his Portland Campus dorm room, I joined him in the mundane task of cleaning out and organizing his disheveled, post-college, closet at home. Having his parents join him, transformed a mundane task into an afternoon of belly laughter and silly horse-playing that we will all cherish.

The Fuller Institute, George Barna, Lifeway, Schaeffer Institute of Leadership Development and Pastoral Care Inc. have provided the following revised statistics.

  • 72% of the pastors report working between 55-75 hours per week.
  • 84% of the pastors feel they are on call 24/7.
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church no because of what the church has done to their parents.
  • 65% of pastors feel their family lives in a “glass house” and fear they are not good enough to meet expectations.
  • 65% of pastors feel they have NOT taken enough vacation time with their family over the last 5 years.
  • 35% of pastors report the demands of the church denies them from spending time with their family.

Find the full list at: http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/

I found the following list of pastor’s retreats and getaways around the country that are discounted (and sometimes free) for pastors and their families: https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/march/free-or-discounted-getaways-for-pastors.html  

Some outdoor family activity ideas:

  1. Planting and/or weeding your own or an elderly neighbor’s garden.
  2. Family Car Washing: after washing own car, offer to wash a neighbor’s car too!
  3. Backyard picnic & fun: Consider inviting a single mom and her kids to join your family
  4. Day-tripping Photo contest- everyone shoots their most inspiring pics and votes later
  5. Outdoor summer reading contest: see who clocks in most hours reading outdoors this summer
  6. Go jump into a lake, creek, pool or river!

Whatever you do, don’t let the summer end without making and executing some family fun that will not only strengthen the bonds of your marriage and family but will also be a blessing to those God puts in your circle of influence.

“All of our powers are to be used by Christ. In forming a relationship with Christ, the renewed man is but coming back to his appointed relationship with God. . . His duties lie around him, nigh and afar off. His first duty is to his children and his nearest relatives. Nothing can excuse him from neglecting the inner circle for the larger circle outside. . . A great good done for others will not cancel the debt you owe to God to care for your own children.” MS 56, 1899 (MCP v. 1 162).

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Why Not Try This? – If Evangelism Doesn’t Work, What Works?

by Jose Cortes, Jr.
Source:
NAD Ministerial

A frustrated pastor called me not long ago, he was crying and said, “my church board just voted another Evangelistic Meeting for this year, just like we did last year, $20,000.00 to pay mostly for flyers and a guest speaker to hold meetings for four weeks.
Continue Reading…

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From Beyond the Pulpit – Does God Save Our Pets?

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

Will God save our pets? Will we see again our beloved furry family members in the earth made new? Great questions, but with no clear affirmative or negative “thus saiths” we will need to do a little harmless speculation….

As you may have guessed already, I am leaning towards a “yes” answer. And here’s why: I base it on several character traits of God. First of all, God understands sentimental value. The lost coin parable of Luke 15:8-10 illustrates this. It was a parable for the women present, imagining the loss of a silver drachma. An archaic coin term, it was part of the woman’s bridal dowry, probably her mother’s and grandmother’s as well. The value wasn’t in the silver. A husband would offer a replacement, but it would not be the same. God understands that sentimental value trumps intrinsic value.

Secondly, God loves animals. The ark, a symbol of Christ’s salvation, contained animals as well as Noah and his family. God told Jonah of his care for the animals of Nineveh. Most of all, Matthew 10:29 reveals the amazing love of God for His sparrows, in that not one of them falls to the ground “without your Father.” The word “will” has been added; it was not in the original Greek. Quite literally Jesus was saying that “not one sparrow falls alone; the Father is present and feels the loss of that sparrow.” This is a clear refutation of theistic evolution which holds that God’s plan to create life and new species called for millions of sparrows to fall.

Finally, God is into restoring originals. Think of how easy it would be for God to copy more cooperative versions of us to replace us! Yet, He knows it’s not the same. Ellen G. White tells us that God salvaged the original Garden of Eden to present to Adam in the new earth. He understands how Adam would feel in getting back the original vines he dressed…so why not the original animals, too?

Since copies of the originals wouldn’t be the same, which are the best candidates to return to a restored earth with us? How about these: the original creation week animals, the ones on the ark, Elijah’s ravens, the talking donkey, the colt that Jesus rode on…and maybe our companions of youthful days as well as the ones who comforted us in our later years? I wouldn’t be surprised.

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Momentum – The Goal

by Hipolito Morales, Pastor of the Canby Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church

It all started when the church board agreed to host an evangelistic campaign. The speaker would be the new district pastor, Hipolito Morales.

The Goal:
The church decided its goal would be 10 baptisms.

Preparations:
That same day preparations began with small groups. In these small groups, Bible studies, on the series The Faith of Jesus, began. Spiritual and social activities were also held. This way guests and member of the church could get to know one another. The whole experience was wonderful. This whole process took about two months. The evangelistic campaign lasted 15 days.

The Evangelistic Campaign:
We wanted to reach our goal and every night we had different guests come in through our doors. During the 15 days we had a total of 20 guests. Almost half of the guests did not miss a single day. Among them a family of seven, another family of four, a girl and a young man.

During the Campaign:
The topics during this evangelistic campaign were Christ centered, simple, practical, and to the point. At the end of every night, I would ask the guests if they understood everything they heard and the answer was always, yes.

Call to Christ:
A campaign without a call to accept Christ as your savior is not a campaign. I made a call for people to accept Christ to which 9 people accepted. 3 days before the end of the campaign 11 people stood up deciding to be baptized. It was a joy to see 10 people baptized. God blessed us with the number of people we had planned on reaching.

Conclusion:
The honor and glory be to God. Now our responsibility is to include these new members in different church activities so their faith may grow and they may also share with others.

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Changed Lives – My Friend, Jesus

by Kim Berg, Pastor of the Highline Seventh-day Adventist Church

Evangelism is rewarding and is always a blessing to you and your members.  It can be a special blessing when God has prepared someone to respond to your invitation to follow Jesus.  Dave George was that someone.  Dave came to every meeting.  He was personable and enjoyed meeting people and getting to know them.  He listened attentively and always asked questions.  He wanted to know more about what the Bible had to say.  He is in his 50’s and has led an eventful life.  He will tell you that he travelled a crooked path and did not always make good decisions.  Throughout his life he was looking for meaning and acceptance.  At a particularly low time in his life he asked Jesus into his heart.  He began a serious journey to know Jesus better.  He received a flier in the mail and decided to come and see what ‘Hope in Bible Prophecy’ might mean for him.  He was encouraged and when he was invited to be baptized and become a member of a local group of believers, he said yes.  He wants to tell people about Jesus.  He wants to be part of a family of believers that wants to know and please God more and more.  Dave was baptized into the Highline SDA Church family.  He invited his friends and he can’t wait to make new friends and invite them too.  Dave is on a mission to tell the world about his friend, Jesus.  He wants to personally invite them to begin a journey to get to know the one that can make an eternal difference in their lives.

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