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Showing posts from 2009

Life of a Pastor

It was shaping up to be a long, draining Sabbath an Adventist pastor experiences quite often. I got up around 7am and didn't finish the day until 10pm (I did get a chance to sneak a nap in so that helped). Although too long, it provided a lot of thought-provoking experiences that made it manageable. The week turned out to be filled with good news. On Monday, a member had a baby so that was exciting. Another member had back surgery on Tuesday that went well. Wednesday, one of our members' sons was had a very rare and serious surgery. It literally took all day but by late afternoon we got the great news that everything had gone well. So, we were coming to church in a celebrative mood. Then, before Sabbath School started, a mother and daughter-in-law were crying and hugging each other because another daughter-in-law was given bad news about her cancer. The doctors have told her she has two months to live. This actual is quite typical in church. You have people coming full of prais

Evangelism as an Invitation (Part 2)

In our last post we looked at the idea of evangelism being an invitation to join a shared faith journey. It’s not about presenting a completed theological package but a process of shared discovery as the Spirit unfolds truth. I ended that post with the idea that this is a better way not just because it “works” but more true to our Christian experience and calling. One of the guiding principles of the Adventist church that I connect most deeply with is the idea of progressive truth. The early church founders were dead set against any kind of creed because they felt it would stop the church from growing in its understanding of God and his Word. I believe the church has gradually lost this sight of this guiding principle but it must be regained. Our greatest fear cannot be what new things God might reveal to us that would cause discomfort but instead remaining mired in our present understanding of the amazing God we all want to know. Jesus serves as the model of someone who constantly c

Evangelism as an Invitation (Part 1)

Evangelism is typically viewed as something done by full-time ministers who preach a message that the evangelized person accepts and starts a process leading to baptism. It’s usually presenting a completed theological package and is a one-way street from evangelizer to the evangelized. While that approach has its place, I’d like to suggest that a different model is needed today. What if we viewed evangelism as an invitation? Not an invitation to hear a proclamation but an invitation to a shared faith journey. The woman at the well in John 4 gives us the model for this approach. She has a life-transforming experience with God and then has no choice but to share it with the community. She doesn’t have it all figured out but actually asks the question, “Can this be the Messiah?” In this way she invites people to engage in discussion and discovery together. It’s not based on a neat theological package she has developed with all the answers but a reliance on the Holy Spirit to unfold tru