Category Archives: Soul Winning

Changed Lives – Sleep Induced by God?

by Matthew Vixie, Pastor of the Clarkston Seventh-day Adventist Church

His name was Ray, he had lost his wife recently. He told me he was hoping she would hang on a little while longer for “the rapture.” Jack had invited him to come to the meetings. He accepted the invitation but didn’t return until one night when our topic was the 2nd coming. I said a prayer and preached the topic, certain that Ray would be offended by the information and never return. As I preached the sermon I noticed something about Ray, his eyes were shut, his head bowed down, he was either sleeping or in a very long prayer! Is God in the business of causing sleep to a kind old man who just lost his wife and isn’t ready for what he is about to hear?

A week or so later Ray showed up again, he apologized for being sleepy the last time he came. That night our topic was the Millennium. I said another prayer and proceeded with the information from God’s word, we went over the same information and Ray wasn’t sleeping this time. After the meeting he asked me a question that went something like this. “Pastor where is my wife tonight?” Certain questions have answers that change the way some individual lives. I went over some of the same verses from scripture concerning what happens at death. Ray responded, “I want to know where you personally think my wife is tonight.” I told him I believe the Bible when it says the dead are going to rise first. Ray told me something then that struck me as profound. “All my life I believed the dead go to heaven when they die, that Jesus comes back in the rapture. Now I don’t know what I believe.”

For me that was a high point during these meetings. Why? I saw firsthand the word of God move someone from a belief whose foundations are outside of scripture to a willingness to study what the Bible really says. Did he get baptized? Not yet. Anymore conversations about the Bible? I plan on having them with him first chance I get. For now, I am rejoicing that the word of God still moves men and women.

Comments Off on Changed Lives – Sleep Induced by God?

Filed under Changed Lives, Soul Winning

Momentum – Make Prayer a Priority

by Hugo Villalobos, Pastor of Hermiston Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church

This year our church decided to make prayer a priority.

As we sat with our leadership team in we noticed that last year a good number of families had experienced some type of loss or suffering in their lives. Marriages were struggling, teenagers where losing interest in church and attendance was slowly declining.  These types of circumstances made us aware of the spiritual reality we live in and the influence the enemy has to destroy families and therefore a church. We weren’t going to let this continue. If we wanted revival in our church we needed to humble ourselves and seek God through prayer on a personal level and as a church. “An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NCV). We began to plan out our year and include as much prayer as possible in all our events. It has been so worth it. We have seen God move in a powerful way like never before.

I preached an evangelistic series on the power of prayer. We had several first time guests come to our meetings. They heard that our church was praying every day for healing and anointing. Our theme song was called “God Will Provide”. We kept singing this song on our mid-week prayer meetings as a reminder that the best is yet to come and that God always provides. Fast forward a few months, many of those guests have been attending church ever since; some have been baptized and other are planning on taking the next step in the weeks to come.

Another new thing we did was pray every morning for 40 days at 6am via teleconference. We had people from different cities and states join us on this journey. It was refreshing and a big blessing. We also began seeing a need to be more involved in our community. We decided to give back to the community and held a free kids festival at a local park with food, games, bouncy houses, booths, giveaways, and Christian music. We held a vigil at our church the day before our community festival where we prayed for our volunteers, guests, safety, and Holy Spirit. We saw our prayers answered because as a result of this event we had 250 guests and a family of 3 got baptized the next week. Prayer has become an essential and a non-negotiable part of our church.  We believe in prayer and rely on prayer.

Seven months ago we began meeting and praying with our teens and young adults to find a way to reach our city in a relevant effective way. Since we are a Spanish church, many of them had friends that didn’t know Spanish. God put in our hearts to reach our English speaking community and now seven months later, we have begun the process of planting a new church company with English services. It’s amazing what God can do with prayer. We’ve had 2 pre-launch services so far and have had an average attendance of 70 (all Millennials and Gen Z). Nine people have accepted Jesus in their lives and we will celebrate with baptisms. We have teens and young families serving in church inviting their friends. Lives are being changed. People are finding purpose and making a difference. We will officially launch weekly services on October 6, 2018. We will exist to share love, hope and faith to our city. Please keep us in your prayers. We’ve started our fundraising campaign and know God will provide. For more info visit www.myrekindle.com

Comments Off on Momentum – Make Prayer a Priority

Filed under Soul Winning

Changed Lives – Bible Truths

by Benjamin Orian, Pastor of the South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship Church

I’m always concerned about opening night. Will anyone show? Is anyone coming? But we’ve prayed about it, we’ve prepared, we’ve advertised, we’ve reached out to our active interest list—which at present is about 600 individuals. What will we see?

We mailed 20,000 brochures, as well as our interest list. I was hoping for 40-50 visitors on opening night. We got 23.

Norma came and told me she has been receiving our mailers now twice a year for the past four years. Every time she received one, she thought, “I should go,” but never did—until this time. She was quite spiritually hungry as she came each evening, commenting how much she appreciated that we preached the Bible and the Bible only. “Other churches,” she told us, “claim to do this, but we truly did.”

On the evening I was preaching on the state of the dead, I couldn’t read her. She looked as though she was struggling. My Bible worker, who was sitting with her that evening, later told me that while I was preaching, she became angry and wanted to leave. It was too different from anything she had ever heard before. But, then, she said she prayed and asked God to lead her. She said everything she had heard prior—including the Sabbath—was Biblical, this must be too. So she asked God to give her discernment and to take away her anger. He did. And she said afterward how relieved she was that she had stayed—it made sense. While Norma has not confirmed a date for her baptism or profession of faith, she has stated to us and to her children (whom she is encouraging to come to church and check us out) that she considers us her church now.

At our meetings last fall, with Pastor Tyler Long, one of our attendees, Rose, was baptized on the final Sabbath of the meetings. She brought with her, her Catholic friend Verna to witness her public baptism. Verna has been attending ever since, but because of her elderly husband’s poor health, cannot come out at night. So Verna got a copy of my DVDs from previous meetings and has been going through them by herself and with Rose. She comes to church and we discuss what she’s learned. This past Sabbath as I was wrapping up the series—preaching on heaven during the 11 o’clock hour, I made an appeal. Verna will be baptized!

Comments Off on Changed Lives – Bible Truths

Filed under Changed Lives, Soul Winning

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.

Comments Off on Momentum – The Goal

Filed under Soul Winning

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.

Comments Off on Changed Lives – My Friend, Jesus

Filed under Changed Lives, Soul Winning

Why Not Try This – Sabbath-to-Go

by
Source: NAD Ministerial

Sabbath may be the very best day of the week to shut the church doors and serve your community.  Here’s why. And how. Read More

Comments Off on Why Not Try This – Sabbath-to-Go

Filed under Outreach, Pastoring, Soul Winning

Momentum – The Emotionally Healthy Church

by Huascar Rodriguez, Pastor of the Yakima Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church

The presentation of this series turned out to be impressive for the church and the friends who accompanied us.

In the Christian world, and especially in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, faith has become only an orthodoxy. Where rites, methods and institutions have replaced the experience of faith, the spontaneous expression of a life in Christ, witnessing and Biblical edification that comes as a result of the permanent presence of the Holy Spirit. They have been relegated to a Christianity of forms.

It is suppressed from the spiritual experience, the emotional experience leaving as a result a coldly reasoned theology that in the end does not move people to live the experience of conversion. The apostle Paul defines this process as dead in the letter. 2 Cor. 3:6

When talking about the emotionally healthy church, we reviewed six of the characteristics that an emotionally healthy church possess. These are:

  1. Look under the surface.
  2. Break with the power of the past.
  3. Live with a grieving and emotionally vulnerable attitude.
  4. Accept limitations as a gift.
  5. Accept our hurts and the losses.
  6. Make the incarnational your model for true love.

I do not present here an exposition of the presented topics, I only list them. If someone would like to know more about what each one is about, he can review the book: The Emotionally Healthy Church written by Peter Scazzero and Warren Bird.

The result was amazing to me as a presenter and speaker for our church.

We can see how our emotions and personal experiences affect our faith and impact, in a positive or negative way, the church’s environment.

Many of us, including myself, made the decision to evaluate our life’s processes and ask the Holy Spirit to help us heal and stabilize our emotions.

By contemplating the faith and the Christian life from a realistic perspective, some of the non-Adventist friends who visit the church could see a church with the ability to sincerely admit their shortcomings and initiate the process that will help them change. As a result, some confessed they wanted to be part of such a church.

It was a very enriching experience and I am happy to have taken on the challenge of speaking to the church in this series of sermons.

I made the personal commitment to seek an emotionally healthy Christian life.

Comments Off on Momentum – The Emotionally Healthy Church

Filed under Soul Winning

From Leader to Leader – Evangelism STILL works?

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

Just yesterday, the first annual Evange-Lead Conference, sponsored by the Oregon Conference and NPUC, concluded. It was very encouraging to fellowship with pastors, elders, deacons, chaplains, social workers and other Kingdom-building lay people that joined the engaging and stimulating dialogue regarding evangelism.

Dr. Roger Walter, Oregon Conference’s Outreach Director and lead pastor at the Adventist Community Church in Vancouver, Washington, in conjunction with the NPUC evangelism department created and hosted this conference with the hope that pastors, church leaders and lay people would come out to be part of the evangelism conversation. Dr. Walter has just published a compelling book, Evangelism Intelligence, that invites us, as the remnant movement, to be intelligent about how we continue to fulfill the mission and purpose of Christ’s remnant church. He shares, through his own personal ministry journey, how public evangelism has proven to be effective, especially when one integrates the reality that Adventist churches grow very differently from traditional evangelical churches. Dr. Walter has continued to budget generously for annual public evangelism through the years which has resulted in a consistent flow of new members joining his church family. Adventist Community Church in Vancouver, Washington, continues to be the fastest growing, non-Hispanic, church in the Oregon Conference. If you missed this year’s Evange-LEAD Conference, I highly recommend you read Evangelism Intelligence (2018, Flaming Arrow Publishers).

Attendees also got to hear Continue reading

Comments Off on From Leader to Leader – Evangelism STILL works?

Filed under Leadership, Resources, Soul Winning

Momentum – Home Bible Studies

by Fredy Reinosa, Pastor of the Hood River Seventh-day Adventist Church

Our program started in January of this year . We did a week of prayer at the church from and at the end of the week, we made an appeal for people to open their homes to have home Bible studies and invite their friends to meet one day a week for 9 weeks . We had 6 people offer their homes and start Bible studies there. I meet with the leaders of the small groups every other Sunday for training and visit their homes to support and encourage them. Every Sabbath one of the 6 groups share during 10 minutes about how about their week Bible study and invite people to attend. After 9 weeks , we had 2 weeks of reaping and sowing events at the church.

During the weeks leading to the reaping and sowing (we reap from our meetings at the small groups and we sow new interest for continued growing in small groups) event at the church we had several visitors in the 6 different homes. I was leading a group on Wednesday (the elders lead the other groups) and I got to know Victor and his wife Aracely , they are new in the church. They have been in the Hood River Church less than 2 years. Last year they invited a couple (Emma and Alberto) to the church and they were baptized. They always invite friends to church and to the small groups. During the meetings they invited Alberto and Emma’s parents and they also decided to be baptized. We had a total of around 30 visitors and former members who are attending church now and also small groups.

Comments Off on Momentum – Home Bible Studies

Filed under Soul Winning

Changed Lives – Gospel Long-Term Project

by Sergey Kuzmin, Pastor of the Russian-Ukrainian Federal Way Seventh-day Adventist Church

The program was prepared as part of the gospel long-term project to introduce people to Biblical end-time prophecies. Three families who belonged to a Pentecostal church visited the program. Their personal study of the Bible led them to believe that it was necessary to examine more closely the question of the Sabbath as the fourth commandment. They were opened to the influence of The Holy Spirit studying the Bible. Getting to know more about Daniel and Revelation prophesies they became convinced that the Sabbath is the true day of worship to God. Currently, communication with them continues in order to open to them other truths of the Bible.

Conducting Bible study programs among Russian speaking people is difficult because most are affiliated with a particular denomination, mostly Baptist and Pentecostal Churches. Thus, it is necessary to consider this fact, that these people have already accepted Christ as their personal Savior, and do not need an additional call to give their lives to the Lord. But the fact that many of them are willing to go beyond that level of understanding of the Bible, which was lacking in the churches of the Baptists and the Pentecostals, opens opportunities to preach the truth for the present time. Our new visitors questioned the stand of the church on temperance and the gift of prophecy as well. We pray that our loving Lord will continue to lead our new friends to steadily increase their knowledge and understanding the Adventist beliefs.

Comments Off on Changed Lives – Gospel Long-Term Project

Filed under Changed Lives, Soul Winning