The AdventistGiving App is a game changer for the local church. It provides easy access for member giving that is even more secure than the tithe envelop! Read more
by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference
As I write this, I find myself near the lake of Galilee where evangelism was born. The preacher was an itinerant rabbi preaching to peasants, fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes. His primary ministerial district was a relatively small area around the lake where small communities worked hard for their daily survival. If I had been given the task of preaching the gospel to all the world, I would have likely started my ministry in Jerusalem, or even Cesarea Maritima; but Capernaum? Yet, in a matter of a few decades, Jesus’ evangelistic methods proved to be successful: “During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds. . .” (Acts 6:1 MSG). Jesus’ methods worked, His message was relevant, powerful, and transformational! Time has passed and the Gospel continues to radically change lives and relationships.
By now you have probably heard about vision 2020. It is an ambitious, strategic evangelistic initiative by the North Pacific Union Conference and its six conferences to adopt an evangelistic lifestyle in our local churches in order to turn around the declining growth and attendance of our churches.
Vision 2020 consists of five quarters of intentional, dynamic church activity supported by evangelistic tools designed by the Voice of Prophecy to help church members focus their lives around spreading the good news of Jesus throughout their NPUC communities.
RENEW—which began the 1rst quarter of 2019 was designated for personal renewal and spiritual growth through prayer, Bible study and sharing. To spark this ongoing progress, the North Pacific Union launched the reading of the book “Steps to Personal Revival” by Helmut Haubeil. This author not only encouraged the evaluation of the condition of the spiritual man, but also aimed to create a hunger for Holy Spirit baptism.
REFOCUS—2nd quarter of 2019 is designed to encourage churches to discover and prayerfully align with their biblical purpose and mission through mission alignment seminars and encouraging church pastors to seek resources on how to revitalize their churches.
RELATE— Beginning the 3rd quarter of 2019 will focus on each member and church learning to apply Jesus’ method of relating to people. Challenging every member to enlist in the joy of becoming involved in mission, encouraging and empowering congregations to launch community focused seminars on health & nutrition, marriage & parenting, finances, singles, or any other seminar that will bless the local communities; are just some of the ways we can connect to the needs in our communities to create and grow ongoing friendships.
RECLAIM— the 4th quarter of 2019 is focused on reclaiming those members and friends that at one point were regularly attending our churches but have stopped coming. This stage may entail the systematic revision of names and church records identifying potential names of people that can be contacted through a card, a phone call, a caring visit to let these missing members know that they are missed and that we would love to see them back in our churches.
REACH—is the phase in which evangelistic meetings will be held in every church. The Voice of Prophecy has prepared a series of brand new, Power Point evangelistic presentations that our pastors and lay leaders throughout our union will be able to utilize to preach a series of meetings that will bring the unique, Christ-centered, Adventist message of hope and wholeness to all the people of our union and the world.
Our Adventist movement has about a million members in North America, but unfortunately, only a few disciples that are willing to follow Jesus into the mission of the church. Just like in the early church’s evangelistic thrust, we are conscious that none of these planned efforts will be possible without a special anointing of the Spirit as a result of heart-felt prayer! Spirit-led pastors and members will be empowered by the Spirit to fulfill their mission and purpose.
We have been told that “If Christians were to act in concert for the accomplishment of one purpose. . . they would move the world.” (Gospel Workers, 277).
We have for too long loaded our church activities with sermons and board meetings. However, it is interesting to note that before Jesus preached a sermon or performed a miracle, He made disciples. Making disciples seems to have been Jesus’ priority. As I said before, I am writing this in a hotel close to the lake of Galilee. As I observed the distance between the main cities and villages where He preached and made miracles, with the exception of Nazareth, the territory that He covered around the lake was very insignificant. I became aware of how small the towns and villages were around the northern part of the lake, in particular Capernaum where the Bible tells us that “He withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zabulun and Nepthatli . . .” (Matthew 4:12,13).
So, Jesus didn’t try to impact the whole world with His message, though He did. He didn’t try to preach to all the world, although He has. He didn’t try to make a difference in the life of millions of people, although this is what He accomplished. He only sought to change the hearts of twelve men and impact the community that He had at hand. Nothing else was more important that to try to change the minds and character of the men and women that were around Him. Once He did this, the whole world was radically changed.
Recognizing the importance of making disciples Jesus said: “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.” (Matt. 10:25). When Jesus called his disciples, He did so with the intent that they would be like Him. The true disciple is like his master and does what his Master does. Paul became a disciple of Christ, and then wrote to the Corinthians: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Vision 2020 will be a success as long as our church leaders and members recognize that we are here to make disciples, not just to make a living and raise a family. God’s prophet stated: “The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character, they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.” (COL 415.5, italics applied).
The following five quarters in our lives can be lived with intentionality and give us a reason to live lives with deep meaning and purpose and offer us an opportunity to join hands, between members, pastors, churches, conferences and the North Pacific Union Conference. Let’s come together and tell others, through the use of our love-infused talents and spiritual gifts, what a wonderful God we have and His plan to redeem our desperate, lonely and broken humanity. We are told that “God could have proclaimed His truth through sinless angels, but this is not His plan.” (AA 330.2). God has designed that we, His disciples, will join Him, in fishing for men.
God doesn’t need us to accomplish the mission; we need the mission to accomplish God purposes in our lives. It is time to change the course of the declining church attendance, church growth and church participation. If we seek the Lord with all our hearts and ask Him to pour His love for lost souls into our hearts, He will open doors of opportunity we cannot imagine. Join us in praying for an outpouring of His Spirit as we pray to join God in reaching all the people of the North Pacific Union Conference and the world with the distinct, Christ-centered, Adventist message of hope and wholeness!
by Ben Lundquist, Director of Young Adult Ministries for the Oregon Conference
Recently I have been obsessed with building church culture. I’ll get to the reason why in just a moment. Google the phrase “church culture” and your search will return with thousands, if not tens of thousands, of websites, articles, blog posts, and video links about the topic. There are even entire conferences dedicated to building church culture, taking place every year around the country.
I’m an avid podcast listener, usually catching a few podcasts a day, and building church culture is one of the most frequent topics for church leaders, and for good reason. Jesus built a culture that drew people in. Luke 15:1-2 says plainly that all of the “sinners” made a habit of hanging around Jesus. This is healthy culture at it’s finest.
Think of church culture as the atmosphere in which a church functions, it is how the church does things. Figuratively speaking, you can smell culture when you spend enough time with any particular church. Culture is the single strongest driving force in a church, even more than vision, strategy, or a pastor’s leadership style. A church’s health, growth potential, and kingdom impact will all rise and fall based on culture.
Currently, I serve the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the niche of young adult ministry. Today’s young adults, generally referring to those in their 20’s, are possibly the most gifted, driven, networked, and creative generation this world has ever seen. This generation wants to change the world for the better; they believe they can, and so many of them already are making their mark.
Meanwhile our church has been sounding the alarm for Continue Reading…
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
How does one value something? What determines its price?
Have you ever seen “Pawn Stars” on the History Channel? When someone brings an item in to sell, you can see it is based entirely on “demand.”
I have a couple of hobbies where I can illustrate this. I am a collector of ancient Biblical coins. This includes Christian symbolism on early Roman coins, like coins of Constantine. Despite his so-called conversion his coins did not depict Christian symbols…except for one! And this super rare coin came up recently in an auction. I’ve NEVER seen this coin offered before, so I was interested.
The coin shows on the reverse a “chi rho” at the top of a battle standard, piercing an evil snake and having the legend say “for the hope of the public.” This is purely Christian, unlike his other pagan themes. The auction catalog put a value of it at $1,000. What do they base this on? “What previous examples have gone for.” In other words, the value is placed on what people have shown they’ve been willing to pay before, called the “purchase history.’ I thought the estimated price far too low and became an active bidder, hoping people didn’t recognize the coin for what it was. But they did! And I was severely outbid to the tune of over $11,000.
Value. I also collect elements, partly for my work here in Creationism. I love the precious metals family. But once again, demand is everything. The super rare metal Iridium will suffice for an example. It is over 1,000 times rarer than gold, but is actually worth about the same. Why? Because everyone wants gold.
And this brings me to the main point. How much are WE worth? Do you remember the old evangelists’ illustrations about how our bodies’ chemicals are only worth a few dollars? Modern science has declared humans as being mere hairless apes, even animated pond scum, walking mutants with no future, purpose or hope. And given that low value constantly preached to our youth, suicide rates are high among the young. Low self-esteem and personal value issues are common.
Well, value is based upon demand, nothing else. And there is only one Person Who knows exactly what we are worth. When God lost us to Satan, He placed a bid to win us back. He “Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” Who owns galaxies and riches beyond measure offered up something He only has one of…something irreplaceable. He offered up His mostly valuable gift: His Son.
Did He offer up His Son just because He’s so loving and kind…or is His value of us accurate? Well, this one thing I know: “He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” God will be more than happy with purchasing us, even at such a high price. Perhaps we should view each other (and ourselves) with this established purchase history in mind.
Idaho Conference reports that recent efforts have resulted in many commitments for Christ. By the end of the Prophecies Unsealed meetings with evangelist Brian McMahon in February, 38 individuals joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church by baptism, rebaptism or profession of faith. More than 20 others are continuing to study toward baptism. Read more about this collaborative project by clicking below. Watch for a more in-depth story and video report in the weeks ahead. Continue Reading…
by Lloyd Perrin, Pastor of the Milton Seventh-day Adventist Church
Milton Church’s evangelistic strategy for 2018 involved two components: a spring and fall emphasis on reaping series. We started in the spring with “Three Great Weekends to Easter”. Each week prior to the weekend’s drama event a full-page newspaper advertisement was published. I would play a one-man drama series of two characters who played significant parts in the Easter drama.
On the weekend of March 16, I played Pilate and then on the weekend of March 23, I played Judas. These two one-man plays were to be a build-up to the final Easter weekend drama on March 30, where I would play the part of Jesus along with a full cast of actors as we portrayed the Last Supper that Jesus would spend with His disciples.
Countless hours were spent getting ready for these dramas. I have played dramas around the world, but somehow these dramas touched me in a way I have never been moved.
If a speaker wants to affect a change in his audience the change must first begin within the speaker. As I wrote the script for Pontius Pilate, I found myself understanding him, his dilemma and his struggle in a new way. Pilate caved into the pressures around him, he made a decision that compromised his personal values of being a fair and impartial judge. He made a huge mess of his life.
In my study of Pilate, I discovered that he may have become a Christian. His heart may have been changed after his encounter with Jesus. It gives us all hope. No matter what kind of mess we make of our life when we accept Christ into our life, there is hope.
It may seem strange to play a character like Judas for a community drama. Yet, I found as I stepped into his life, this man, so full of contradictions, could deeply move us. Judas chose to be close to Christ. He desired to be His disciple, but he couldn’t let go of the pull of the world, his desire for prestige, honor and wealth. He wanted to be with Jesus, but on his own terms. He thought he knew better what was best for Jesus.
These two men, a coward and a betrayer, reveal how God’s purposes move forward despite man’s attempt at trying to control and orchestrate events according to his own will.
The portrayal of Judas was particularly emotionally draining for me. I was so looking forward to my next weekend where I would play the part of Jesus.
Friday, March 30, the morning of the day I was to play the part of Jesus I woke up with the play on my mind. That was when my life took a decided turn. The medical event that I experienced took me on a journey that has literally changed my life. My one thought, as I lay on a gurney in the ER, was… the play must go on!
by Walter Ramos Escobar, Pastor of the Adventist Hispanic Church in Beaverton.
Elizabeth attended the “Time to Speak with God” evangelistic series from the first day with her two children. The theme of the second coming of Christ filled her life in such a way that after the first series she expressed the joy of having found what she was looking for, and the desire to continue studying the Bible.
Despite the joy of the gospel in her life, Elizabeth experienced the emptiness of not being able to share this same joy with her husband, since he did not sympathize with Protestant churches. In the church the members began to pray for him, asking God for an opening so Elizabeth could share the gospel with her husband. Finally she was encouraged to invite him, he accepted, and that day the prayer warriors were more active than ever.
God heard their prayers and Elizabeth and her two sons were baptized together and her husband is preparing for baptism, is involved in the church and active in a small.
“My family has been living joyfully since the gospel arrived,” says Elizabeth. “l am happy to see them full of joy,” says her husband.
|Love Serves is the theme for this year’s ASI NW Convention coming to the campus of Walla Walla University, April 18–20. Karl Haffner will be the keynote speaker. The organization will be conducting a two-day free dental and medical clinic. And, the event will award $10,000 in prize money for the most creative WWU student ideas in an Adventist version of Shark Tank. For more information and to register for the event, go to asinorthwest.org/conference.|
Northwest members are invited to join in a weekly prayer call hosted by the North Pacific Union Conference. Each Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. PST, members and church leaders gather to share in a short reading and pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the Northwest and our world church. Each prayer call lasts about 30 minutes. To join the next prayer call on Tuesday, April 2 at 8 p.m. PST, call 360-302-2720.