Category Archives: Lifelong Learning

Upcoming Events – EvangeLead

The EvangeLead Conference, coming April 22–24, is especially designed for pastors and lay leaders to join together in learning strategies for creating a culture of outreach and evangelism. Guest speakers Russell Burrill, César De León and Roger Walter will discuss why evangelism still works, how to create a culture of outreach to the community and more. The event will be hosted at the Adventist Community Church in Vancouver, WA. Click to find out more. Read More…

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From Beyond the Pulpit – Coins and Constantine’s Sun God

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.

Moving on to the later empire Constantine the Great’s (AD 307-337) personal religion evolved from sun worship to Christianity. The conversion itself supposedly took place at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312, where a voice from heaven admonished Constantine to put Chi-Rho symbols of Christianity on his army’s helmets and shields to ensure victory. He did just that and was victorious.

What is interesting is that well past AD 312 his coins still showed predominantly “Sol,” the sun god. But in this rare example of a bronze follis from AD 317, the sun god has a Latin cross in the field to the left, a clear blending of the two religions. In fact, all of his later coins show this enigmatic tendency…which god is Constantine promoting? At his death commemorative coins showing his flying off to heaven in a chariot where a god’s hand welcomes him (Sol or the Christian God?). Also there is a series of coins showing his pious gazing towards heaven, again something that could promote either religion.

Is was not until his sons’ coinage that clearly Christian designs prevailed.

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Lifelong Learning? – 4 Important Realities About Today’s Young Adults

What Twenty-Somethings Need From Us More Than (Almost) Anything Else – Today’s young adults are getting married later, starting their families later, launching their careers later, and becoming financially independent later than those in their parents and grandparents’ generations. So what do today’s young adults need most from their church?

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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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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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