Volume 15 Issue 6

Ideas, Inspiration & Opportunities for Adventist Church Leaders in the Northwest & Beyond.

Jesus in the Outer Court

by Byron Dulan, Vice President for Regional Affairs at the North Pacific Union Conference

(This article is based on a devotional Elder Dulan gave to the NPUC Staff on June 2020)

The United States, indeed the entire world, were shocked, when video of the murder of George Floyd, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, went viral, on May 25, 2020.  Sworn to protect and serve, Officer Derek Chauvin, instead, pinned his prone, handcuffed victim’s face, into the street; and ignored his repeated, desperate cries, warning that he could not breathe. Heedless, Officer Chauvin continued to kneel on the neck of the 46-year-old man, for almost nine minutes — the now infamous, eight minutes and 46 seconds.

By the time medical help arrived, George Floyd, no longer had a pulse. The official police report — which we have since learned, was fabricated by police officials, as an elaborate cover-up on behalf of the four arresting officers — was filled with false accusations and innuendo against George Floyd.  This unmitigated case of police brutality has sparked large protests and acts of civil disobedience, across cities, large and small, in America, and around the world.

America surely cannot be surprised today, by the regularity of the killing of Black males, given the history of slavery, Jim Crow era laws, and the recent public slayings of Freddie Gray; Tamir Rice; Laquan McDonald; Michael Brown; Eric Garner; Trayvon Martin; Sean Reed; and now, George Floyd.  Who will be next?

But such evil did not originate in America. This evil reflects the “wages of sin”,  which has engulfed the earth since the time Adam and Eve favored the word of the serpent, over the Word of God.  We are witnessing scenes from the ongoing war between good and evil.  The battle between Jesus and Satan, heaven and hell, has entered its final stages.  This battle is not centered solely on the lives of individuals; but rather, for control of the powers, and internal operations, of the communal, corporate, political, economic, and spiritual systems of the world.

Paul said: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:5, Andrew’s Study Bible).

Since the murder of George Floyd, there have been numerous peaceful marches and public demonstrations, calling for a variety of civic reforms. Anarchists, however, have followed behind these concerned citizens, for the purposes of stirring trouble and raising bedlam; causing some segments of the the media, to label the peaceful demonstrators, as those who are “Disturbing The Peace” Continue Reading...

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We are all eager to get back to normal, but the reality is that the COVID-19 is changing the way we will do the digital aspects of life and ministry going into the future. How will we respond? Read More...

From Beyond the Pulpit – Monuments

by Dr. 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

There is a nationwide movement currently to tear down certain monuments.  Mostly, it is because they are considered to have negative ramifications in the ongoing debates about systematic racism.  Statues of Confederate war generals, representing a large part of America that endorsed and practiced slavery, are coming down.  Images that included stereotypical representations of African Americans or Native Americans are also coming down.  Product brands such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, or Lady of the Lake are being rebranded, in an attempt to clean up such dated views.  These are all genuine attempts to move on from the past into a more positive future.

Some years ago, I was part of an “Operation Bearhug” evangelistic team that went to the then newly-opened Russia.  This was the era of Glasnost, and the country of Russia was in the middle of a complete shaking of their national image.  They had given up the “Soviet Union” (not much was really unified) and they were moving into a realization that they were NOT the superpower they had thought they were.  And in that insecure period they were very open to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Shaking a secure nation is not always a bad thing.

It is also a part of human history that when a new culture or power takes over a nation, sometimes it includes removing old images of the previous rulers.  Ancient Egypt serves as an example.  You will be hard pressed to find many images of Moses’ Egyptian adopted mother, the “daughter of Pharaoh” named Hatshepsut.  Her statues were defaced as were many other representations, apparently done by the successor Thutmose III and his son.  The new rulers wanted to move away from that past.

In the Biblical record, monuments were erected to mark events of God’s grace.  For instance, when Israel marched into Canaan over the dried-up Jordan:  “Then he [Joshua] spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”  Joshua 4:21-24.  I suppose remembering how God had led them out of Egypt would include memories of resistance to His leading?  Nevertheless, they were to remember God’s power in deliverance as foremost.

Here in America the idea is to remove reminders of the painful past, especially when the reminders seem to glorify those most responsible for it.  I think we all should listen carefully to these voices calling for a new view of the past.  For some Americans our national history is mostly positive, which is where we wish it would stay.  For many others that history is not so positive and images that recall that part of our past should be removed.

Perhaps some images should be left, if for no other reason than to show how the past really was and to learn and grow from it.  Perhaps. 

I am personally grateful that the monument to my painful past, the record of my sin, will forever have been removed and buried “in the depths of the sea.”  Oh, but that’s not entirely true!  For the reminder of my sin will be preserved in the only physical remembrance of this rebellious planet that will endure:  the scars of Calvary on the hands, feet, side and brow of my loving Savior.  These He will bear for eternity.  They are monuments to God’s grace, pictures to remind us of His patient leading of us over the River Jordan.  But instead of drawing tears of regret from millions of sinners it will draw “hallelujahs” and praises from glorified saints..

So, here’s a statement you can take to the bank, something I’ve preached for decades:  “God is far more interested in your future than He is in your past.”  Amen!

Changed Lives – Washed Clean

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

February of 2019, Mitch walked away from his house with a noose in his pocket, a beer in his hand, and a plan to take his life. Mitch had been a severe alcoholic for all of his adult life. Now he had given up… but God hadn’t.

Mitch’s wife took him to the hospital. When Mitch told the lady at the reception desk his plan to kill himself, she acted immediately and got him into an alcoholic rehabilitation program. There, a girl looked him in the eye and said, “Whatever you do, please don’t drink and drive.” She had been hit by a drunk driver and broke almost every bone in her body. It was a miracle she was still alive.

“I’ll do you one better!” Mitch responded. “I’ll never drink again!” God gave Mitch the strength to follow through on his decision. After five days in the program, Mitch came home sober. 

God continued to transform his life. He began reading the Bible and praying every day. A few months later, a couple people showed up at his door with a flyer for an upcoming Bible prophecy seminar. Mitch was interested. At the seminar, Mitch surrendered everything to Christ. By the time the seminar was over, Mitch was attending church regularly, had joined a couple Bible study groups, and was continuing to grow in his love for God. 

He wanted victory over smoking. After decades of being enslaved by addictions, Mitch wanted Jesus to set him free completely. He began asking Jesus for power to overcome. He asked a few friends at church to pray for him and encourage him through the ups and downs of trying to quit.

A few weeks later, one of those friends called, “Mitch, I’ve been praying for you. How long has it been since you had a smoke?”

“You know, I can’t even remember!” Mitch said. He was free.

On October 5, 2019, Mitch was baptized into the Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church. The same man who had wanted to end his life eight months earlier was now “made alive in Christ.” He shared a powerful, joyful and tearful testimony about what Jesus has done for Him and encouraged everyone to put their trust in Him. He was so happy to be “washed clean.” 

We praise Jesus for offering each of us victory and a new life of hope and wholeness!

Lifelong Learning - Adventists and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Adventism was forever altered by the 1918 pandemic in far-reaching ways that are largely taken for granted today. This legacy of responsible and balanced action meant cooperating with government officials and other relief organizations, embracing best practices based upon what they knew from medical science, exercising common sense, and prioritizing the safety of both their communities and themselves, with the understanding that all Adventists had a sacred responsibility to help those who became sick. Read More..

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