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Showing posts from September, 2006

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 19 (Thurs, 9/28)

THURSDAY, 9/28 We got a chance to hang out with the teens who have been attending the meetings. We went to a younger church member’s house and had about 8 teens. As we got into the apartment, the kids immediately felt at home. It’s amazing how much energy they have and how they can entertain themselves so easily. It’s clear that music shapes their lives and they just like hanging out together. After eating some pizza, we had a discussion about whatever they wanted to talk about. It’s clear that the teens are asking different questions than we are answering in the church. Some of the questions were really random, others profound, others kind of meaningless in my mind but important to them. We had a really good time and tried to bring everything back to Jesus and his forgiveness for them. I think they were really encouraged and clearly have A LOT of questions and few answers. I really believe that the teens just want to talk and be heard as well as gain wisdom from older people. This als

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 18 (Wed, 9/27)

WEDNESDAY, 9/27 FIFTEENTH NIGHT Attendance is very low tonight--around 30 people. This is probably due to the fact that it is Wednesday and it doesn’t seem to be a good meeting day for people. If my memory is correct, Wednesday is the most poorly attended evening. The topic is the Remnant. Again, we have not broken up the topics at all but just keep on going hard. How much change can we expect people to embrace in a month’s time? I think at this point we just need to deal with topics like prayer, Bible study, and other spiritual disciplines. We basically have the same group of visitors coming and we need to lighten up. The other problem is that we have only dealt with issues that deal with the mind. We haven’t focused on Christian living and how to get to know God better. The only Christian living issue we will deal with will probably be the standards sermon where we tell people to take their jewelry off. Is that really Christian living? What about service, love, forgiveness, etc? One

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 17 (Tues, 9/26)

NOTE: I’m not going to write much about anything but the meeting unless it’s really important. I also am not going to separate the commentary section but just put it all together. I’m basically just doing commentary now so it’s not worth the separation. I also want to apologize for the writing. I’m basically writing and posting so I know the writing is choppy and scattered but bear with me. TUESDAY, 9/26 FOURTEENTH NIGHT One of the features we do every few nights is answer questions from the “Question Box.” The question for the night asked why the pastor was so condemning of other Christians. He asked Moses and I before the program if we felt he was too hard. I told him that I thought he had been very hard on pastors and other Christians and should tone it down some. He took it well and said he would try to do so. Of course, he said that he had to tell the truth but he would try to do it in a more loving way. The topic tonight was on speaking in tongues. He actually was very respectfu

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 16 (Sun, 9/24)

SUNDAY, 9/24 We got a chance to go to the 49ers game today. Wells Fargo and the 49ers give away a lot of tickets each game to community groups for free and we were able to get 30 tickets. We took some of the visitors who were doing their lessons as well as the workers. We had a good time and it was an exciting game won by the Eagles 38-24. THIRTEENTH NIGHT Tonight was time for more Papacy and Sunday worship bashing as the topic was the mark of the beast. The usual arguments were used and again the key topic was the Sabbath. The whole 666, Vicarius Filii Dei and the Pope’s tiara thing were used despite the fact that it has been discounted by many Adventist scholars. The evangelist continues to stress the need to leave Sunday churches and not follow pastors but follow God. He has been really tough on pastors and as I recorded before, he said that Pastors who tell people to worship on Sunday are “not of God.” He tells people that he knows what he’s saying is hard but he has to tell them t

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 15 (Sab, 9/23)

SABBATH, 9/23 This morning was going to provide the first opportunity for many people to keep the Sabbath. We tried to make sure the service was excellent and Sabbath School was appropriate. To do this, we decided to not do the Sabbath School lesson (no comment) and we did a lesson on habits of highly successful Christians. It went really well and provided good discussion and practical tips. The worship service was excellent again and my man Moses preached an excellent sermon. We had around 5-6 people who decided to keep the Sabbath from the series attend. This seemed to be about half the people who had said they were going to do so. We’ll see how things progress in the coming weeks. TWELFTH NIGHT (I dedicate the following to Shakespeare) Attendance continues to be 40-50. Tonight’s main attraction was 5 teenagers who attended. We had a girl do an interpretive dance so she had four of her friends come. This got the evangelist very happy and he addressed them quite a bit throughout the

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 14 (Fri, 9/22)

FRIDAY 9/22 Yesterday was a good day. We had class and took care of some business. In the evening we ate at a church member’s house who is a fun guy and great cook. Today, I finally got to the gym for the first time in probably a month. We went to a local YMCA and they gave us a pass for 10 free visits which will cover us while over here. It’s a great facility and it was good to get some exercise. It’s very easy to not take care of your body while working at these series. ELEVENTH NIGHT I was anticipating the evening meeting as we had talked about having a healing service and continuing to build on the momentum from Wednesday. My hopes and dreams were dashed. The sermon was on the judgment and it was presented in a condemning way. The preacher talked about how the angels are writing everything we do and we can’t fool God. It was devoid of grace and he even mentioned that he hoped he was ready when his name was called during the pre-Advent judgment (I thought we had moved on from that).

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 13 (Wed, 9/20)

WEDNESDAY, 9/20 Today was a good day. We had a quiz and then we started talking with our teacher about some of our concerns. I think everyone was feeling like keeping the status quo was not going to work. Throughout the classes and conversation you could sense that many people were dissatisfied with what was going on. Changes needed to be made. So, we regrouped and worked on making some positive changes. Everyone also felt a stronger burden to pray more. We felt like we were just kind of going through the motions and not truly seeking God. So we had positive meetings about how to improve the series and hopefully they will be for the better. At Rainbow, we decided that we needed to pray more. The evangelist was preaching for an hour and a half every night on the Amazing Facts topics while weaving in his testimony. It was becoming clear that that the A.F. prophecy stuff was simply not meeting the need. So, we decided that he would preach for 30 minutes and then after that have prayer and

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 12 (Tues, 9/19)

TUESDAY 9/19 As you can tell by now, I usually go a few days without posting and then post summaries for the last few days. I should be much better at writing down a few thoughts every night to help me write the full posts but I haven’t been doing that. Anyways, I honestly can’t remember what happened Tuesday before the meeting. I know we had class and did stuff but don’t ask any more questions. I told you this thing was a marathon and everything is just all jumbled together. NINTH NIGHT Attendance continues to be low, 40-50 maybe. It looks like we have the same visitors and maybe one or two new visitors a night. Tonight the topic was on unmasking the antichrist but it really was a sermon about how the Sabbath changed to Sunday. It had the usual documents from the Catholic Church saying they had the authority to change Sabbath to Sunday, etc. At the end he actually made an appeal for people to keep the Sabbath this coming week and go to a church where people worshipped and kept the Sab

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 11 (Mon, 9/18)

MONDAY, 9/18 Today is the day where we do no work at all on the meeting and we are living out the Sabbath principle. I thought I would share a few personal thoughts about the series. This is a marathon. I’m exhausted already and we’ve only done 8 out of 24 meetings. In all honesty I don’t want to be in “church” this much and I don’t really expect others to either. It’s just way too much. What’s funny is some of the old school guys tell us about the glory days of 3 months, 6 nights a week series. So, I guess I have it good but I still just think it’s way too much. It’s hard for me to put on my happy face and greet people and stay interested. I’m not really learning anything new and it’s just really hard to stay motivated. Second, it’s wrong to separate families to do God’s work. It is Seminary policy that all NAD students have to help with a field school. Basically, it’s mandated that husbands leave their wives and children for at least a month, usually six weeks. Spouses and children a

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 10 (Sun 9/17)

SUNDAY, 9/17 The morning brought us another class session. My parents came down for the afternoon so I got a chance to eat with them and go to Costco to stock up on water and snacks. We also did an anointing of a church member’s father who was going in for hip surgery on Monday. We didn’t have any oil so while others went to get it we had a chance to talk and he’s great guy with a lot of wisdom. He’s promised God that once he gets better he’s going to teach some English classes for the people in his Hispanic church. EIGHTH NIGHT: Attendance continues to be low, around 40-50. Apparently there were no new visitors and the vast majority in the audience were church members. There still seem to be a group of 5-10 visitors who are coming regularly. The topic of the evening was the Millennium. This ended up being the shortest night yet. We actually ended at 8:15 instead of the usual 9:00pm. COMMENTARY: I predicted that rough nights were ahead and I think this is going to continue to be the tr

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 9 (Sabb, 9/16)

SABBATH, 9/16 MORNING: We had an excellent church service in the morning. The music was outstanding as always. The church has a person who comes every week and plays for them who isn’t an Adventist but is really part of the church and is a great pianist and singer. We had some great special music as well. I preached a sermon on the need to worship with our whole lives that was received well. I was told later by one of the leaders who wasn’t there that someone called and told him that I preached “black” and that I had a black wife too. After the service we had another good potluck then went to a local hospital and anointed a lady who has cancer and is the friend of a church member. EVENING: There was quite a jump in first time visitors and it was definitely in the double digits. This was the big night on the Sabbath so there is always a bit of anticipation to see how it will be received. Reports indicated that there were 2 pastors in the audience, one has been coming regularly, so this

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 8 (Fri, 9/15)

FRIDAY, 9/15 After a Thursday morning class, and work in the afternoon, I got a chance to go to the mall and eat at a good restaurant with some fellow workers. We had a good time and it was a nice break to not have a meeting that evening. Friday provided a happy reunion of Shari and I. We decided to fly her out for the weekend and it was great to see her again. SIXTH NIGHT We have gotten into the flow of meetings and preparation has become routine. We started a new health segment that will start at 6:30 and cover different health topics then have prayer for healing and good health. I don’t think many people will come this early but it’s a good addition and we’ll see how it grows. The attendance picked up a bit, probably due to it being Friday. There were a few first-time visitors but there seems to be a contingent of about 10 visitors that are coming nightly. The topic was called, “Grace or Disgrace, Which?” The sermon was really about the 10 commandments and the need to keep them. The

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 7 (Wed, 9/13)

WEDNESDAY, 9/13 MORNING: Excellent class today. We learned about youth evangelism that works and is very relevant. Great ideas and inspirational. We also had a workers meeting because we are going to start visitation. I’m going to be working with a great guy who is a pastor and site-manager. So, I’m going to be getting a lot of experience in administrative responsibilities which I’m happy about. We got the preliminary numbers of visitors at our meeting. We’ve had 100 new visitors over the first four days. The first night was 40 visitors and after that about 20 the other three nights. That only includes new visitors and not returning visitors. So, we felt like that was good news. The list of visitors was divided up among the teams and calls and efforts to visit them are going to be getting underway. FIFTH NIGHT: We decided to hit the streets before the meeting. We took flyers and headed out in different directions. We went to the main street and decided to visit the businesses and leave

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 6 (Tuesday, 9/12)

TUESDAY, 9/12 MORNING: We had a great day off on Monday that restored us. Today, we start with another morning of class. We always learn a lot and get good ideas. It’s clear that some of the leaders have different philosophies and methodologies which are all valid and can work because different methods meet different people. We are meeting at a small Adventist school outside SF that in its glory days had 200 students but is down to about 50. It provides a good meeting place except for the extremely uncomfortable pews in the chapel we meet in. FOURTH NIGHT: Attendance is very sparse when we get started. However, by the end of the meeting, we were back up to typical numbers of probably about 60-75 people. Typically, there is a dip in attendance after an off day but by the end of the evening we were doing well. The sermon was on how to be saved and we had our first decisions cards tonight. As usual, virtually everyone went forward for the appeal and in this case turned in cards. You were

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 5 (Sun, 9/10)

SUNDAY, 9/10 MORNING: Had class this morning and it was a good session. We were able to share stories and hear about how things were going in both churches. The attitude is very positive and we all feel good about what’s happened thus far. One thing that was brought out in class was the need to respect people’s time. We always announce what time we’ll start but don’t say when the program will end. The teacher feels like this is a major problem and we need to be more respectful of the decisions people make. I agree and think this is an area for improvement at our meetings. THIRD NIGHT: Things were uneventful leading up to the meeting until we realized that the evangelist forgot the PowerPoint clicker so I was going to have to try and switch the slides for him. Luckily, my roommate, Moses, had a clicker that he was able to use instead. Money is a powerful motivator. One man actually brought 10 people tonight and the evangelist gave him 100 dollars. It really was amazing and he was really

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 4 (Sabb, 9/9)

SABBATH, 9/9/06 MORNING: We had a rousing discussion during Sabbath School led by a couple of Seminarians. Then a Spirit-filled church service. There are only 30-40 people but there is a wonderful attitude of worship and joy. Prayer requests were solicited and more than half of the people shared which was good because we got to know a little bit more about what the people are going through. There are very few men in the church. It is basically run by women which I think is great. What’s really interesting is that there are 3 or 4 new converts who are young adults that have become committed members in the last few months. Overall, a wonderful time and a good potluck (I can’t stand potlucks but the food was really good). SECOND NIGHT: We feel better tonight because we have gotten through a service without any major problems, except for starting late. We realized that there was too much in the program the first night so we kept it simple. Sing a few songs, have a special music, and get to

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 3 (Fri, 9/8)

FRIDAY, 9/8/06 Morning: The morning consisted of a few hours of class time. Yes, in good academic fashion, learning by doing is not good enough but we still have to sit and get theoretical discussion (Excuse the sarcasm. Maybe my dad will respond and defend academia). Actually, I think the class time will actually be very beneficial because we will be able to immediately implement the theory. We’ll be having class for a few hours on Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday. We will have Monday completely off which I can already tell will be much appreciated. Our teachers are very knowledgeable and will provide us with not only what has already been done, but challenge us to explore what hasn’t been done but should be done in the future. Opening Night: Everything has been set up and it's time for the meeting. Thursday was a long day of getting the gym ready for the meetings and trying to iron out the kinks. The group is excited and ready to finally experience the fruit of our labor. Setting up c

Evangelistic Endeavor ---2

I'm already running behind and feel the pressure. Tomorrow is a free day so I'll get a chance to catch up. Beware of loooong posts though to get things back in order. There are two different series going on in San Francisco right now. The title is called, "Rays of Hope Prophecy Seminar" and are also utilizing the question, "What Next?" They chose this because it is the 100 year anniversary of the SF Earthquake. One church, Philadelphia, is located in the heart of San Francisco and the other, Rainbow, in the roughest part of SF. SF is a very interesting city because it has some of the nicest neighborhoods just one block away from the worst neighborhoods. The Philadelphia church is in the heart of the city surrounded by wealth. The Rainbow church is in a rough neighborhood that has a lot of problems. I will be working at the Rainbow series so I will only have short remarks about Philadelphia based on what I hear from the people working there. The Philadelphia

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 1

Well, this is the beginning of what should be an interesting journey for the next couple of weeks. I have been in California visiting family and friends for about two weeks now. Starting today, I'm going to be helping with an evangelistic series in San Francisco as part of my requirements for the MDiv which I'll be completely finished with in December. I decided that it might be fun and educational to blog through the series. I really have no idea how busy I'm going to be so we'll see how often I post. My goal is to post about every other day. I don't plan on sugarcoating how things are going but instead will provide an open and honest evaluation from my perspective. Hopefully it will provoke good discussion and fresh ideas of how to share the Gospel. I realize that being critical about an evangelistic series can be controversial. After all, it might seem as though God is on trial. Our efforts will be prayed-up and our deepest desire is to trust in God and lean on h