Category Archives: Lifelong Learning

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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Lifelong Learning – Is Your Website Content Written Conversationally?

Source: Social Media + Big Data Services

Fancy writing doesn’t sell anymore. Simple, honest, and conversational does.

While our English teachers and professors worked hard to convince us that the art of elevated, academic writing is the key to intelligent discourse, we might have to take a more simplified approach when it comes to the basic yet crucial principle of connecting with people.

People are looking for things that help them, make them feel happy and safe, and answer their questions. They don’t want to be Continue Reading…

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Reflections from Beyond the Pulpit – Coins and Theistic Evolution

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

Leave it to me, a Biblical numismatist (coin collector) and a born-again creationist, to see connections between those two favorite topics of mine….

In continuing the series on Biblical coins today we’ll focus on the large Roman coin called the “assarius.” These half dollar-sized bronze coins were worth ten to the denarius. These were imperial coins, meant to circulate around the Roman Empire. And they were the First Century’s way of conveying government propaganda to the farthest reaches.

The example we are showing is a commemorative piece struck by Tiberius. With it he is honoring his late adoptive father Augustus Caesar. On the obverse we see Tiberius’ bust with the following inscription: “DIVUS AUGUSTUS PATER.” That is, “Father Augustus the god.” Of course, this is another way of saying that he, Tiberius, is a “son of god,” too.

Jesus mentions the assarius as what “two sparrows are sold for.” But the text relates well to the great subject of origins and God’s image. “And I tell you that not one of them shall fall without the Father.” Matthew 10:29 ASV. Yes, the American Standard Version catches it best, as they don’t supply the word “will” as do other versions. The sparrows don’t fall with “the Father’s will.” No, they don’t fall alone! Theistic evolutionists believe that sparrows do and did fall with the Father’s will. In fact, God designed death as a part of creating sparrows. But that image of God is contrary to what Jesus said. In essence He was saying that people believe sparrows are worth two for a penny (assarius), but God feels the loss of every one of them.

“Fear not,” Jesus continued, “for you are worth more than MANY sparrows.” However, He didn’t say that we were worth more than ALL sparrows. All of God’s creation are valuable to Him.

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Reflections from Beyond the Pulpit – Coins of the Bible

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

We’re continuing a short series on “Coins of the Bible” and what they tell us about the stories that contain them.

In Luke 15:8-10 Jesus tells a parable of the “Lost Coin.” This was the second of three stories about how heaven rejoices over the saving of the lost, contrasting it with the attitudes of the Pharisees. There is more to this lost coin story than simply the usual observations of: First, the lost sheep know they are lost, but don’t know how to return home…the lost coin doesn’t know that it’s lost…and the lost son both knows he’s lost and how to go home. These represent the three basic conditions of the lost. Second, the coin bears the image of its maker, reminding us of the divine image, though somewhat obscured, still present in the lost soul.

What is sometimes lost is more about the audience this parable was for: it was specifically for women. The clue is in the word Jesus uses to describe the coin. He calls the coin one of ten “drachmas.” This is an archaic term, even in Jesus’ day. Imperial Roman coins were current, including the same-sized silver coin denarius. Why wasn’t denarius used then in the parable? Because these ten drachmas predated the Romans. They were part of the woman’s bridal dowry. More likely, it was part of her mother’s and even grandmother’s dowry. The imagined loss of a drachma would have caused the ladies present to gasp at Jesus’ story. Men wouldn’t have gotten the sense of loss. To them simply replace the loss with another coin. But the sentimental value was much higher than that.

Jesus was saying that heaven sees the sentimental value of the original children of God outweighing any potential copies or replacements. God wants the originals. The woman asked her lady friends to rejoice with her after her efforts were successful in finding her coin…the men wouldn’t get it!

Pictured is a possible candidate of the coin in the parable. It is a late Seleucid drachma circa 44 BC. It is the size of an American dime.

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Reflections from Beyond the Pulpit – Coins of the Bible

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

“Show me a denarius,” said Jesus. A denarius was a dime-sized silver coin that was an Imperial Roman coin meant to circulate throughout the Empire. Since Jews under the Romans were not permitted to mint silver or gold coins, they had to use Imperial coins. A denarius (a ten-assarius denomination) was a day’s wage for a common laborer in the time of Christ.

Roman taxes were collected in Imperial coinage. Those asking Jesus whether it was “lawful” to pay taxes to the Romans were trying to trick him into saying things that could possibly be considered treasonous.

The denarius of Tiberius shows his bust on the obverse, with his adopted mother Livia (Augustus’ widow) on the reverse personifying “Piece” (Pax). Tiberius had been named “Pontif[ex] Maxim[us]” by the Roman senate, which is a title for the chief priest of Rome. This coin was minted to mark that event: the title means “great bridge-builder.” Today’s Catholic pope continues the title from those ancient days.

The obverse superscription says in Latin: TI CAESAR DIVI AUG F AUGUSTUS. Translated it means: “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the divine Augustus.” Since “Augustus” could be translated as “Magnificent,” Tiberius claiming the title of his adopted father. Thus he was saying he was “Magnificent Tiberius, son of god (Augustus Caesar was declared a god!).

When Jesus said “render to Caesar” his things, made in his image, He also said “render to God” the things in HIS image…that would be us.

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Lifelong Learning – Free Online Course on Empowering Young Adult Ministry

The Next Steps course is for the purpose of understanding the findings from the Adventist Millennial Study conducted by the Barna Group, and empowering a research-informed, relevant approach to young adult ministry. The Next Steps course does not assume any prior knowledge in young adult ministry, welcoming any and all participants willing to learn, grow, and implement mentorship with next generations. By the end of the course you will be able to apply the research findings from the Adventist Millennial Study to young adult ministry in various contexts. Read More

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Lifelong Learning – What are the Differences between the Two Views of History?

Disclaimer – as Seventh-day Adventists we believe the earth is young, but not the universe as is stated in the article below.


There are two basic views concerning the history of the earth, with the essential difference being their views of time.

  1. The young earth, Historical Genesis view says the earth and universe are less than 10,000 years old and that the events recorded in Genesis happened in a literal way.
  2. The old earth, Conventional view says the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 13.7 billion years old, with differing parts of Genesis 1-11 being symbolic or non-literal.

All who hold to the Conventional view agree on what may be termed cosmic evolution or development (the first 9 billion years of the universe) as well as geological evolution or development (the next 4.5 billion years when the earth was forming). They agree on the Big Bang, the formation of atoms to planetesimals to galaxies, how volcanic forces shaped the earth over billions of years, and the deposition of the fossil record over long ages as oceans slowly transgressed and regressed many times over the continents. They agree there was a local flood in the Middle East at some point in the last 10,000 years which was recorded in near eastern literature.

In other words, there is enormous agreement on all Continue Reading…

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Lifelong Learning – Get to Know God

Many of us struggle with fears and insecurities. We worry about our jobs, our ministries, our future, our families, so much so that we don’t fully enjoy life. It’s difficult to learn to let go and let God lead. God wants us to focus on what we can do and not worry about what’s out of our control. Click here to read this insightful article from to learn a great perspective on getting to know God. “Because when you get to know Him—really know Him—it releases new hope and confidence in the One who can change every single area of your life.”

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Lifelong Learning – Why the Modern Church Has Failed

by Marcos Torres
Source: The Haystack

I grew up in a traditional church that was more interested in hanging on to its formalities than it was in open-mindedly assessing why it was losing its youth. My own youth group was quite large but by the time we had reached 18 the vast majority of us had walked away from the church. As a result of these experiences I have, for a long time, been quite interested in the topic of youth and church.

Enter the modern church. Among many other things, the modern church was an attempt to create a church culture that was both attractive and retentive of its youth. However, after many years of going down that road we are still publishing books on how youth are leaving church in droves. It appears the modern church has failed.

But why? The answers are as complex as the problem, but allow me to present a paradigm that I believe contributes, perhaps more than any other reason, to the youth exodus that plagues churches everywhere.

Before I do so, allow me to dissect the church into three chunks. The first chunk we will call the “heart beat” of the church. This is what gives the church its life, breath and relevance. In other words, the heart beat is the purpose of the church. The second chunk we will call the “muscle”. This is what enables the church to live out its purpose. In an Adventist local church this would include- in part – the “business meeting” (most powerful meeting in the church which involves every church member), the “board meeting” (where appointed leaders of the church meet to implement the decisions of the church and to steer the church through representative decisions) and “ministry meetings” (where ministry leaders of diverse ministries get together to plan for the year). In other words, the muscle of the church is Continue Reading…

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Lifelong Learning – How Successful People Handle Toxic People

Most of you have had or have someone in your life who drains you instead of uplifts you. They always need something from you, but are never willing to help you in your need. You sometimes feel the friendship is one sided. Many times, it’s even a family member, which makes it all the more heartbreaking to discover that person is toxic. Once you make that discovery, what should you do? Here are some practical tips on How Successful People Handle Toxic People. The focus is mainly on toxic people in the work environment, but we found it to be helpful when dealing with toxic people in your personal life as well. Disclaimer: although the article mentions to limit caffeine intake, we think it would be best to refrain altogether.

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