From Leader to Leader – Emulating the Consummate Disciple, Part 1

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

I returned last week from our NAD’s E-Huddle (the annual session focused on Evangelism in North America). As is customary, attendees were invited to articulate their thoughts and reactions to the multiple speakers invited to share what was working for them. Attendees traditionally sit at round-tables to share their reactions and any other meaningful dialogue pertaining to evangelism.

One of the several comments shared that stuck in my head was, “The reality is that we need more evangelism money to reach our culture.” At the time, I remember nodding in full agreement. Reaching middle, upper-middle class individuals has indeed proven to be, well . . . pricey.

What Would Happen IF . . .

As I shared some of the highlights of this year’s event with my wife upon my return, we began our own round table discussion and we wondered out loud, “What would happen IF. . . ”

  1. What would happen IF every church invested monies to train their members on how to better imitate Christ’s methods of reaching broken people for His Father’s Kingdom?
  2. What would happen IF members learned how to approach their neighbors with kindness?
  3. What would happen if members learned how to be more compassionate with the hurting in their workplaces?
  4. What would happen IF members learned how they could become more empathetically engaged with those in their own circles of influence, who suffer under the banner of the enemy because they truly don’t know a better way?”

Jesus’ evangelism budget was ZERO dollars, yet the majority of those He came into personal contact with were transformed into contagious disciples. The budget for His 12 disciples was zilch. . . nada.

“Never was there such an evangelist as Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, but He humbled Himself to take our nature, that He might meet men where they were. To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the covenant, brought the tidings of salvation.” (MH, 22).

Yet, Jesus and His disciples birthed the primitive Christian church movement, that while sadly divided today, still remains a force to be reckoned with.

Doing the Father’s Will

Jesus—the consummate disciple—realized from his childhood training years, that His primary mission in life was to do His Father’s will. He understood that all other life and culture priorities would necessarily have to fall beneath his primary mission which was to align himself to those activities His Heavenly Father’s was already involved in, while intentionally reflecting the Father’s love infused character.

After healing the man at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus responded to the infuriated Jewish leaders, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). Then again in verse 19, Jesus clarified further, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner…” Later in the verse of chapter 5, Jesus reiterates, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

“In all things He brought His wishes into strict obedience to His mission. He glorified His life by making everything in it subordinate to the will of His Father.

He was always patient and cheerful, and the afflicted hailed Him as a messenger of life and peace. He saw the needs of men and women, children and youth, and to all He gave the invitation, “Come unto Me.” (MH, 19, italics applied)

Jesus had a way with people. His approach was winsome. His heart intentions were felt by those He approached. Christ’s friendliness with nothing like the “Amway friendliness” many of us have encountered, that initially appears to be an offer genuine friendship, until you announce you aren’t interested in buying into their product line.

“He taught in a way that made them feel the completeness of His identification with their interests and happiness. His instruction was so direct, His illustrations were so appropriate, His words so sympathetic and cheerful, that His hearers were charmed. The simplicity and earnestness with which He addressed the needy, hallowed every word” (MH, 24, italics applied).

The time Jesus spent in His Father’s presence during the early morning hours before sunrise and often during full nights of prayerfully seeking His Father’s directives, was non-negotiable. He understood that broken people desperately needed to encounter the transformational presence of Father’s Grace, Love, Compassion and Mercy.

“Gracious, tenderhearted, pitiful, He went about lifting up the bowed-down and comforting the sorrowful. Wherever He went, He carried blessing” MH,24.

I wonder. . . What would happen if we went about our lives. . . open and attuned to our Father’s workings as we intentionally followed Jesus’ example of “lifting up the bowed-down and comforting the sorrowful”?   What would happen if every Adventist disciple became so attuned to the Father’s heart as they daily sought communion in His presence, seeking His directives, that each one became a contagious disciple who carried a blessing everywhere they went?

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Why Not Try This? – 7 Design Trends for Church Websites in 2018

In order to catch people’s eye and move them toward a visit to your church, your website must be functional, easy to navigate, and visually pleasing. It should look professional, and represent a community where someone would want to hang out and spend their time-just like your current church members. Read More Here!

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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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Momentum – We Love Baptismal Sabbaths!

by Scott Tyman, Pastor of the Tacoma Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

After a month long seminar with Shawn Boonstra and his Voice of Prophecy (VOP) team, I decided to have a follow up prophecy series at our local church. Tacoma Central has a history of doing at least two evangelistic meetings a year for nearly 12 years. We have been doing a lot of health outreach, cooking schools, personal studies, community events…etc We had nearly 100 interests to follow up on from the VOP meetings. So we had a number of people we had been working with and hoping to help make decisions.

We decided to do a Prophecy series in a classroom setting, since several people had attended a traditional evangelistic meeting. We sent no fliers or brochures, just letters to our interests. We had somewhere between 20 to 25 attend most of the evenings. We went twice a week for nearly three months. The people who came out to the meetings came from health classes, personal studies, and just few from the VOP meetings. We were certainty thinking there would have been more interests from VOP, but just a few came out.

The prophecy series was a good follow-up as well to the some of the new people who were baptized during the VOP meetings. We roughly had 30 attending. At the conclusion of the meetings we had three make decisions and were baptized and became a part of the church family.

Personal studies have continued to happen with still 20 to 30 interests to follow up on. We are still planning on at least a few more baptismal Sabbaths before the end of the year.


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Changed Lives – Defeating Evolution

by Dustin Serns, Pastor of the Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church

Right now, the Port Orchard Church is in the middle of an In the Beginning: The Origin of Species Seminar with Dr. Stan Hudson and God has been working.

Although raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dillon* (name changed) had gotten discouraged and become a self-proclaimed atheist. He still lived near his family but wanted nothing to do with church. The family was praying for Devin. When it came time for the seminar, they invited him to come with them. The topics peaked his interest and he decided to come step foot inside a church for the first time in years!

Sean, a high achieving high school senior, has aspirations of becoming a cardiologist. He regularly attends church with his family, but only his mom has made a decision to become a Seventh-day Adventist. They were among the first to pre-register for the seminar and have been loving it. His mom shared, “Praise God! Sean said that he really likes Dr. Stan and he is using great science to defeat evolution!!! This has been a bit of a battle for him being so scientific and had me worried.”

We praise God for how He is working and continue to pray for Him to change lives. The church plans to follow-up the seminar with a study on Genesis to invite people to continue growing in their love for their Creator.

Please take a moment right now to pray for continued blessings as the seminar wraps up on Saturday.

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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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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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Resources – Grace-Filled Internet Radio

Jesus 101 has just launched its new 24/7 internet radio station! Jesus 101’s “Grace-Filled Internet Radio” station is commercial free, has ACM (adult contemporary music), and teaching programs featuring Jesus 101’s Speaker/Director, Elizabeth Talbot, Ph.D. The station is available for streaming at any hour, every day, and is completely free. Visit; or download the Jesus 101 mobile app (on Apple and Android devices) to tune in today!

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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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