From Leader to Leader – Pastor you are SOOOOO Appreciated!

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

As National Pastor Appreciation Month nears its end, I am always curious to know how creative church boards have been in expressing their appreciation to their local pastors. I am also aware of the likely possibility that comparing one’s “appreciation moment” with another ministry colleague could result in not only a splash of “appreciation-envy” but even in disappointment or discouragement; especially when we discover our neighboring colleague and spouse received a paid weekend in a lush resort, while we got a card stuffed with an Olive Garden Gift Certificate.

Pastoring in these end-times is not for cowards. The people-problems that both ministry administrators and field pastors have to deal with are increasingly complex. The boundaries of civility and mutual respect are eroding by the second, and sometimes it seems easier to just not take definitive sides in order to avoid further conflict and making new enemies. As you well know, burying our heads in the sand rarely results in positive lasting solutions that cultivate emotional and spiritual growth and maturity.

Paul’s warning delineates the specific characteristics and behaviors of end time people: “. . . lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boaster, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). And yes, you have been called to pastor in this time in history, these types of people!

Regardless of how (or even if) you were demonstrated appreciation this nationally designated month, here is a thought I pray will deeply encourage you on your ministry journey:

“In this life our work for God often seems to be almost fruitless. Our efforts to do good may be earnest and persevering, yet we may not be permitted to witness their results. . . While the great final reward is given at Christ’s coming, truehearted service for God brings a reward, even in this life. Obstacles, opposition, and bitter, heartbreaking discouragements the worker WILL have to meet. . . But in the face of all this he finds in his labor a blessed recompense. All who surrender themselves to God in unselfish service for humanity are in cooperation with the Lord of glory. This thought sweetens all toil, it braces the will, it nerves the spirit for whatever may befall. Working with unselfish heart, ennobled by being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, sharing His sympathies, they help to swell the tide of His joy, and bring honor and praise to His exalted name. In fellowship with God, with Christ, and with holy angels, they are surrounded with a heavenly atmosphere, an atmosphere that brings HEALTH TO THE BODY, VIGOR TO THE INTELLECT, AND JOY TO THE SOUL.” (White, GW, 512,513).

We deeply appreciate all that you ( & your spouse and children) have done to Kingdom-build this year. Now go celebrate that God saw fit to include you in this end-time Kingdom-building army!

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Why Not Try This – 17 Tips for Better Church Meetings

17 Tips for Better Church Meetings – Meetings! I think I’ve met one person who lives for them. Everyone else complains and just muddles through on a prayer. They are an inevitable part of pastoral ministry. Here are some great tips to help improve the quality of those meetings so you’re not just muddling through them.

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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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Momentum – Win Souls, Be Wise (Proverbs 11:30)

by Viorel Negoi, Pastor of the Grandview Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Grandview SDA Church has strong leaders and friendly members. They network with each other throughout the week. Also, every child, youth, or adult who attends this church is very much appreciated. Representatives of various age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and social statuses are the strength of our membership. Furthermore the neighboring community recognizes the hospitality of our local church for helping struggling families with work on the farm, finances to pursue Christian education, finding jobs, overcoming drug addiction, and getting food.

There is something to do for every member of our small congregation. Everybody is encouraged to participate in an uplifting Sabbath worship service, to enjoy monthly vespers and gym night games, summer outdoor church, camping, and nature walks. An intentional caring ministry is extended weekly to friends through the Grandview Adventist Junior Academy and Food Bank.

Constant outreach efforts by pastor, church leaders, and members focus on reclaiming three families of missing members, several former Adventists and non-Adventist graduates of GAJA. Church members are great in witnessing to their relatives and friends. At our prophecy seminar more than 30 visitors attended the presentations. Three young people were baptized, and two adults were re-baptized. All member involvement, or friendship evangelism, and felt-need ministry, are key factors in retaining visitors.

We are committed to continue a healthy relationship with the surrounding SDA congregations. In the past, significant support was provided by church leaders and members to help raise the Spanish work in Grandview and Sunnyside and the same continues today in making sure that both the English and Spanish work expand. There is a healthy relationship between members of the English and Spanish congregations on a weekly basis. There is also a strong bond with both Prosser and Sunnyside congregations at the Food Banks in operating facilities of and presence at school events, gym activities, and in conducting prophecy seminars.

 

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Resources – Favorite App Resources of Adventist Pastors

How many apps do you have on your phone? How do you find ones that aid in your ministry? Some pastors in Carolina Conference share the apps that they use to help make their ministry run smoother.  Watch the video here.

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Health and Temperance – Healthy Pastor, Healthy Church

Have you been taking care of yourself lately? I mean, really taking care of yourself? It’s difficult when you have sermons to write, board meetings to run, visits upon visits to make, church elders and leaders to oversee….the list goes on and on. Sometimes your health takes a backseat to all the things you need to do, but are you really helping the church by being unhealthy? One pastors thinks otherwise. Read the story of a pastor who decided to make a change. Healthy Pastor, Healthy Church

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From Leader to Leader – Come and See

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

Facebook, Twitter, and Messenger, are all venues used to create connections, a sense of community and “family”. However, the feelings of loneliness and disconnection continue growing in our culture. According to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (August 5, 2017; apa.org), loneliness and social isolation may represent a greater public health hazard than obesity, and their impact has been growing and will continue to grow.

“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. “Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”

Approximately 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. In addition, the most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined. “These trends suggest that Americans are becoming less socially connected and experiencing more loneliness,” said Holt-Lunstad ( www.apa.org: Session 3328: “Loneliness: A Growing Public Health Threat,” Plenary, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017;Washington, D.C. ).

Many talk to at least one person daily, carry out business transactions, and may even attend church; however, loneliness is a Continue reading

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Why Not Try This? – Just Say No

by
Source: NAD Ministerial

After 22 years in ministry I have noticed some patterns in myself and others. What I share today is the product of personal observation and experience. While it may not be the same for everyone, it is common enough to warrant a blog. Here are three things to consider: Continue Reading…

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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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Momentum – WWU Theology Student Mentoring Reports

Over the 2016/2017 school year there were 8 Walla Walla University students who participated in the Theology Student Mentoring Program. These are their stories:

Joel Barajas

Words cannot express how blessed I have been a part of the City Church family and learned from Pastor Mike Bamett. In the beginning of this journey, I was a bit hesitant in working with Pastor Mike because we have different personalities, but we have the same mission and that is to share Jesus to the people we come in contact with. Pastor Mike has started a high school ministry within the City Church, but it is with public school students that are not Adventist, which was perfect because I went to public school all my life. After meeting the youth, I noticed that our backgrounds were very different. They came from broken homes, parents in and out of jail, separated parents, and abused both physically and emotionally.

I had a difficult time with connecting to them, but God created me with the ability to share a laugh and a smile with broken people. With the gift of humor that God has given me, it didn’t take long for them to warm up to me, especially Tyler. Tyler is a high school super senior that has been searching for his identity in Christ and for a sense of purpose. He opened up to me and shared his past experience in school and his home life. Although they made me sick to my stomach because no one should have to go through the situations these kids have gone through, I was able to share with them of the Gospel of our soon returning Savior. I thought I was there to help the kids get closer to God, but they have shown me that even though we have different paths, we all have a Savior that is by our side through the bad and the good.

Being a part of three other ministries on campus and being invited to go preach around Washington, I had a difficult time connecting with the Adventist youth within the City Church because my Sabbaths have been hectic this year. Pastor Mike has given me opportunities to lead the youth Sabbath school and allowed me to preach for the congregation three times this year. I focused my sermons on the youth and encouraged them to stay in the church with my testimony, treat others with love, and be unashamed for what Jesus has done for them. I feel that God has truly worked through me during my time at City Church and I have received valuable information from Pastor Mike.

 

Matthew Cosaert

It takes some time to get to know a high-school student. Though I have Continue reading

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