Sunday evening Shane and Amy’s small group laid hands on Shane and pleaded with God to give him a different job. He worked as a sales representative for Pepsi, but delivering those cases of pop was killing his already-bad shoulders. He was their top salesperson, winning yearly awards for sales, etc. But Shane just couldn’t continue—and yet he didn’t know what else to do.
He had a family to support and couldn’t afford to be off work. For Shane, the love and support of his small group that evening were a gift.
The next day when Shane arrived at work at 5:00 a.m., his boss called him into the office and fired him. Although a bit confused as to why the company would fire a longtime, model employee, he walked out with a smile on his face, thinking, I wonder what God is up to? Getting Shane to that place of comfort in the midst of the storm was quite a journey.
It all started in the spring of 1998. I received a call from the Rocky Mountain Conference to do something I was very passionate about for nearly six years: to plant a church in northern Colorado with an evangelistic approach. It was an opportunity to see if what I said either worked or didn’t work.
I had been on the development team of two other church plants, and as a kid was baptized in a church plant. But I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Church planting turned out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done READ MORE
Rumors were beginning to swirl around our church. Was it true that one of the couples was having trouble with their marriage and even thinking about divorce? The battle in my mind began. Should I say something to them or was it none of my business? What if I said something but it was taken the wrong way? But if I didn’t say something and they later divorced I would feel guilty for not doing anything. They probably needed counseling and since I’m not a trained counselor I was off the hook. But was there anything I could do as a friend and fellow believer to help them with the underlying spiritual issues that were causing the problems?
I decided to pray for each member of the family by name that God would bring peace and good out of the difficulties. Next I asked God for wisdom and courage to act quickly before I came up with more excuses for inaction.
Finally I made the (uncomfortable) phone calls. Continue reading
Recently one of our northwest Seventh-day Adventist pastors went through a very difficult experience. He was encouraged by several friends to attend a weekend in Portland called “Foundations.” He paid the fee and attended but had such serious reservations about some of the process that he left early. He wrote down his experience and perspectives . Afterwards he started doing more research into “Foundations” and other related activities. He came across an article titled “White Collar Cults” and stated that even though the article was written over 15 years ago it described numerous parallels with what he had just experienced.
What becomes abundantly clear from these experiences is that many people are searching for answers to deep relationship and emotional challenges. The ultimate solution can only be found in a deeper relationship with Jesus and healthier relationships within the body of Christ, in spite of all its flaws. As Seventh-day Adventists we have the tremendous advantage of have inpired counsel to help us filter out false therapies and embrace those in harmony with the principles of the Bible. For those who have never read them I highly recommend the two-volume set of Mind, Character and Personality (read some chapters online at Google Books and see free online study guides here) which has inspired counsel and Chapters such as Heredity and Environment (Chap 17), Security in the Home (18), Christ deals with Minds (21), Selfishness and Self-centeredness (30), Infatuation and Blind Love (32), Guilt (48), Worry and Anxiety (50), Depression (52), Pain (55), Anger (56), Hatred and Revenge (57), Communication (62), Imagination (63), Emotional Needs (66), Rejection (69), Thought Habits (72), Mind Controlling Mind (78), Hypnotism and Its Dangers (79), Safe Mind Therapy (80), Dealing With Emotions (84) and Safe Mind Therapy (81). There is no need to be led astray in these last days.
“This is the best, most spiritual book on dealing with church conflict I have ever read,” said John Freedman, Washington Conference President a couple weeks ago to all of his pastors. “That’s why we’re giving a free copy to each pastor in the conference.”
The book Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict is published by Moody Press and is available on Amazon.com.
Here is a review, by Pastor Tom James of the Centralia Seventh-day Adventist Church District, that was read to the pastors.
“Making Peace is more about Spiritual Growth than about conflict. Van Yperen is a skillful writer who argues that conflict in the church is controlled by God to bring about Spiritual Growth and Renewal. Rather than viewing conflict as the problem, Van Yperen shows that conflict is Continue reading
- Defending Adventist Fundamental Beliefs www.SDAforme.com (or sda4me.com). Various articles and discussions with Dale Ratzlaff, Desmond Ford and other on topics such as the Sabbath, Ellen White, Pre-Advent Judgment, the Gospel, the Law and Final Events. Maintained by Martin Weber, Communications Director for the Mid-America Union.
- Creation, Faith & Science. Seventh-day Adventist World Church President Jan Paulsen’s recent statement on faith, science and creation.
- Which Old Testament laws have universal application and which were for the Children of Israel? Jacques Doukhan shares a Bible study on this important topic in a 2006 issue of Shabbat Shaloam titled “The Torah: The Law of God”
- Clergy Sexual Abuse. Hope of Survivors Ministry (www.thehopeofsurvivors.com) helps victims of pastoral sexual abuse. This video clip describes the need for this ministry.
- When God disciplines us. When God chisels the dead weight out of our lives it can be very painful. In one of their most requested skits, Tommy and Eddie (“The Skit Guys” at www.theskitguys.com) give a very creative look at a typical believer having to go through the process of discipline. Click to watch video clip.
- Preach better sermons. www.BetterSermons.org provides Adventist tools for better preaching such as sermon outlines, videos, etc.
- Plusline Resources. If you haven’t checked out www.plusline.org recently you’ll be amazed at how you can find almost any North American Division event, resource, article or piece of information there.
D. Paul Monteiro- To Religious Liaison in the White House’s Office of Public Liaison. He also serves as youth liaison in the same office. From private sector (read more)
Montana Conference Constituents voted to return their four elected leaders to office for another four years on Sunday, June 21. They are–
- John Loor, Jr, President
- Raymond Jimenez III, Vice President for Administration/Finance
- David Prest, Jr, Church Ministries/Ministerial/Planned Giving & Trust Services
- Archie Harris, Communications/Education/Youth/Health Ministries/NSO
Steve Wallace- The following information is provided because of continuing questions–
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church has no money to pay people who aren’t busy telling other people about Jesus.”
– Don Schneider, President, North American Division. Years ago Don and Marti’s daughter was working at Glacier View Ranch summer camp in Colorado. On the phone one day he asked “How many kids have you prayed with?”
She replied “Dad, I work with horses. That’s for other staff to do.”
“Go tell the camp director Ron Whitehead to fire you, because the Seventh-day Adventist Church has no money to pay people who aren’t busy telling other people about Jesus.”
A few days later the daughter called her mom. “Tell Dad I’ve started praying with campers!”
Don’s passion is to help every church member share Jesus with those around them. He does it himself, too. He Knows What He’s Talking About (H.K.W.H.T.A.).
From the article “FLY ON THE WALL; UNDERCOVER AT WAL-MART” by Charles Platt in The New York Post, February 7, 2009
“…If Wal-Mart was such an exploiter of the working poor, why were the working poor so eager to be exploited? And after they were hired, why did they seem so happy to be there? Anytime I shopped at the store, blue-clad Walmartians encouraged me to “Have a nice day” with the sincerity of the pope issuing a benediction….”
“On average, anyone walking into Wal-Mart is likely to spend more than $200,000 at the store during the rest of his life. Therefore, any clueless employee who alienates that customer will cost the store around a quarter-million dollars. Continue reading
Andrew MIchell had a compulsion to steal. By the time he was sixteen he went to prison for ten years, the first two in solitary confinement. Today Andrew is in his late twenties, has a college degree, is a member of the Puyallup Seventh-day Adventist Church (WA Conf) and wants to share how Jesus transformed his life. Watch his testimony on the latest Northwest Spotlight on Mission (sent to all first elders and Sabbath School Superintendents in the NPUC) or online at http://www.npuc.org/article.php?id=340.
Let your friends watch about this amazing story by sending the email link above. There are five individual segments (4-9 minutes each)–
The single most important factor in helping kids grow up loving Jesus and the Adventist church is Interesting Family Worship.
That is probably the most important and useful finding from the Valuegenesis study, conducted in 1989 of over 13,000 Adventist youth, their parents, pastors and teachers.
When I read a summary of the research about 1990 I told my wife “If we don’t do anything else right as parents, we’ve got to do this right. We have got to ask God to help us have regular and interesting family worship for our little kids.” Continue reading
“Pastor, we have a difficult situation.” The first elder and I were out making visits during my first few weeks in the district. “One of our church members brings different men home to go to bed with her and she has her passive husband sleep on the floor at the foot of the bed. What do you think we should do?”
He obviously had my attention. I thought of the verse in 1 Corinthians 5:1 that says the church at Corinth had a case of sexual immorality that Continue reading
- Roger Hernandez- to Hispanic Coordinator OR Conf in addition to Senior Pastor, Hillsboro Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church District (OR Conf)
CORRECTION- Jerry Russell (not Doug Hilliard) to WA Conf Treasurer from Kentucky- Tennessee Conf Associate Treasurer (not Treasurer). $20 goes to Shelley Schurch, Administrative Assistant in the WA Conf Education Department for being the first to notify us of the needed correction!
Steve Wallace- North Pacific Union Conference is no longer able to support Steve’s Revival Seminars ministry (If you would like more information contact the NPUC)
Dave Livermore, Senior Pastor, Kelso-Longview District (OR Conf)writes:
“Church discipline is a must. Accountability in every aspect of life is best, and being a Seventh-day Adventist Church member is no exception to that. I always ask myself before I jump in with both feet; “Why” am I willing to enter the tunnel of chaos and bring about church discipline? I am willing to bring discipline upon an individual if I can determine that the reason we are doing this is redemptive. I am convinced in my mind this is the best thing we can do, and if the discipline works as prayed for, we will save this person from further mistakes or foolish choices.
Let’s use for illustration sake someone is accused of adultery. I meet with the individual with my associate pastor or assistant pastor and we ask if there is any truth to what we have heard. They say “Yes, I’m in a relationship that is the most wonderful relationship I’ve ever had.” I will tell them that they are deceived. I will encourage them to stop the relationship immediately. If they are willing to do that, we don’t move any further towards discipline. Remember our goal is redemption not punishment. We are a church not a law office.
If they say they won’t change their relationship, I ask them to pray about it and we’ll meet again, I usually allow a specific amount of time to go by, let’s say two weeks. Then we meet again and I ask if they are willing to stop the relationship at this time. They say; “No, I’m not.” I then tell them that they have two options. 1. Resign their membership, right here, right now. 2. I will recommend to the church board that church discipline begin with the objective being redemptive. We must do what we can do to stop this behavior and hold the standard that the rest of us have agreed to live by.
I wish I could tell you that it always works out for everyone. But that’s not true, it’s an emotional drain on the Pastor, elders and board. It is something we enter into reluctantly, but it’s something we have to do. Our characters are maligned because of administering church discipline, but we can hold our heads high and look to Jesus if our reason for doing it was redemptive. At times it works with unbelievable results, marriages are restored, families reunited and joy returned. It’s those that choose to focus on and try to repeat.”