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August 2022 Carolina's 10,000 P5

1. PRAYING FOR GOD’S PRESENCE AND DIRECTION AT THE COMING 43RD CONSTITUENCY SESSION OF THE CAROLINA CONFERENCE

In just a few weeks, delegates from around the Carolina Conference along with representation from the Southern Union Conference, the North American Division and the General Conference World Headquarters will gather at Nosoca Pines Ranch to transact the business of the church for the next quinquennial period of 2022 – 2026. The 43rd Constituency Session of the Carolina Conference is scheduled to take place between Thursday, August 18 and Sunday, August 21. The purpose of this meeting will be to hear reports that have guided God’s church in this part of His vineyard over the past six years (2016-2021) and to elect the individuals and governing bodies that will give direction and guidance to the mission and ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in both North and South Carolina. These include:

A. The Administrative Officers

B. The Departmental Directors and Associate Directors

C. The Executive Committee

D. The Constitution and By-Laws Committee


Although the focus of this gathering will primarily be on those who are elected or re-elected to serve, this weekend has been set apart as a special weekend of spiritual renewal and commitment to those who will be called and used by God to accomplish His purposes and plans for His church in the Carolinas. We are honored to have Elder Mark Finley as our guest speaker for this special weekend.


Pray for God’s spirit to embrace and enfold this gathering with Heaven’s angels of protection as people travel to and from the session, as they gather together and seek God’s wisdom and blessing in the decisions that are made, and as we unite our efforts to be faithful to Christ’s calling and the sacred mission, He has entrusted to each of us.


It has been my highest honor to serve God’s church in the Carolinas for the past 10 ½ years. Thank you for being a wonderful family of believers who have been my prayer partners during both times of trial and triumph. Irrespective of whether or not the members of my amazing team of colleagues or I continue our service for Christ in their elected positions here in Carolina, let us always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and cherish our confident assurance of His soon return. May that hope burn with a passionate zeal in our hearts.


2. PRAYING FOR OUR CHURCH SCHOOLS, ACADEMIES & TEACHERS AS OUR SCHOOLS RE-OPEN THEIR DOORS

The world in which we live in today is vastly different from what it was during my years of schooling. Modern society has, for several decades now, been described as “VUCA.” This is a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Coming at a cost to individuals in society (especially young people), VUCA finds expression in rising tides of anxiety and depression.


It results in confusion, uncertainty, and a growing sense of distrust within and between communities. Unpredictability and competition affect every aspect of our lives, which can result in vagueness of purpose and direction for individuals and our institutions – especially in our churches and church schools.

From the visions given to her by God, our early founder and enthusiastic proponent of Adventist education Ellen White spoke at length about what Adventist education should look like. We could get confused here, too, if we didn’t stay mission- true to the principles envisioned for Adventist education. Let us protect our spiritual underpinnings and influence others with our culture instead of allowing competing cultures and beliefs to influence us. While we might find new and exciting ways of interpreting the vision, let’s be confident in applying the heart of what has sustained us for over 150 years. True Adventist education offers something of unique value for people facing complex and uncertain times.


Let us uplift each of our elementary and secondary church schools, our teachers, our students, and our families across North and South Carolina as these schools open the doors to the sacred hallways and classrooms that will impact hearts not only for service on earth, but also for eternity with Jesus.


We live in a world that is saturated with the sadness of sin and secularism; a world of satanic confusion with gender identity and an acceptance of sexual orientation outside the will of God. We live in a world where the beauty of God’s creative power has been replaced with an acceptance of a demonic doctrine of evolutionary processes. We live in a world in which guns are regarded as instruments of entertainment rather than killing machines.


We need to pray like we have never prayed before. We need the angels of Jesus to surround and shield our church schools from the vicious attacks of our archenemy. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to whisper truth into the hearts of all God’s children who will enter our schools this year. We need the love of God the Father to be the cornerstone and foundation that undergirds the education of every child, adolescent, and youth in the hallowed grounds of His church schools as we open the doors and pages of the 2022-2023 school year.


3. PRAYING FOR OUR PASTORS & THEIR CHURCH DISTRICTS

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these words of encouragement were penned for our churches: “Ask of me, and I will answer your requests. The promise is made on condition that the united prayers of the church are offered, and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another.” [9MR, 303]

Praying for our pastors is very important. They are serving God and the attacks of the enemy are relentless. They must be covered in our prayers on a daily basis.


Our prayers should be personalized by saying the title of pastor along with their name since they hold a position of sacred trust for God’s remnant church.

Why not pray specifically for our pastors by name using these seven needs and scriptural promises:

  1. For Protection from Satan — "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

  2. For Protection from Our Own Sinful Hearts — "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." (James 1:14-15)

  3. For Deep Spiritual Encouragement — "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine." (Romans 1:11-12)

  4. For Wisdom — "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5)

  5. For Doctrinal Faithfulness — "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." (2 Timothy 1:14)

  6. For A Healthy Body — "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27)

  7. For A Strong Marriage & Family — "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church." (1 Timothy 3:2-6)

PASTOR CHURCH(ES); COMPANIES & GROUPS

Associate Youth Pastor

Spartanburg SDA Church

Pastor

Little Creek Adventist Fellowship Church

Goldsboro SDA Church

Little Creek Spanish SDA Mission Group

Pastor

Charleston SDA Church

Moncks Corner SDA Church

Lieber Correctional Institute SDA Group

Pastor

Asheboro Spanish SDA Church

Asheboro SDA Church

Biscoe Spanish SDA Church

Interim Pastor

Waynesville SDA Church

Asheville North SDA Church

Pastor

Charlotte Korean SDA Church

Asheville Evergreen Korean Company

Pastor

Whiteville SDA Church

Delco SDA Church

Elizabethtown SDA Church

4. PRAYING FOR OUR DEPARTMENTAL MINISTRIES

Beginning with our April 2019 issue of P5, we began highlighting a department of the conference each month – not so much as to give a full-length report of all that they have been or are accomplishing, but rather to simply uplift all our leaders and their faithful service in our prayers.


During the month of September. 2021, we began the second full cycle of remembering all the ministry departments of the Carolina Conference.


The Ministries of the Carolina Conference are basically structured under 6 organizational department functions. They include:

1. The Adventist Christian Book Center

2. Camp Meeting

3. Administration

4. Outreach

5. Church Ministries

6. Children & Young Adults


We have been focusing our prayers for the Administrative Branch of our conference. The Administrative Branch of the Carolina Conference is divided into the following branches of service:

In our last combined June & July Issue, we focused on praying specifically for our Membership Services.

This month we want to focus our prayers on another vital ministry of the conference in the role of our Religious Liberty Department for the Carolina Conference. I have served as the Director for this ministry since I came to the Carolina Conference in 2012. I am very grateful for my secretary, Ginger Bentley, who assists me with the correspondence and communication vital to this ministry.


The Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) Department of the Carolina Conference is dedicated to the defense, promotion, and preservation of the religious freedoms granted to us in our national constitution, bill of rights, and by our Creator. We assist our constituents with in preserving these rights—including Sabbath accommodation issues.

As Seventh-day Adventists, we have always embraced religious liberty as an important part of our beliefs, history, and mission. Religious liberty is in the very DNA of our Church. For us, courageously standing firm for the freedom of conscience and religious liberty for all people is not an option.


An attitude of vigilance, as Ellen White clearly foresaw, is by far the most essential tool we have in the fight to defend and protect religious freedom for all. Speaking about the threats to religious liberty in her day, she wrote to the church: “O awake, I pray you, awake! For you bear the most sacred responsibilities. As faithful watchmen, you should see the sword coming.” [E.G. White in “An Address in Regard to the Sunday Movement,” Review and Herald, December 24, 1889].


As your Religious Liberty Director for the Carolinas, I thank you for your prayers and for your faithful and generous offerings as we work together to be faithful watchmen in these difficult times.



6. SATURATED WITH THE WORD Fundamental Belief #8 — The Great Controversy

As a President’s Prayer Partner, we again invite you to truly be a people of the Word. As Seventh-day Adventists, we embrace 28 Fundamental truths that are based on the Bible alone. This is the second cycle in our emphasis on these vital beliefs that are centered in Christ as our Savior and as our Lord.

Let’s continue to place His Word prayerfully in our hearts each day of this month. I carry a set of these passages with me in my car and repeat them aloud as I drive from place to place. My goal is to prayerfully say one verse at least five times a day for a week, thus embracing the promise of God’s Word – “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11.


Repeat these passages over and over till they become a part of your very being. Of course, you can always choose to do more. Prayerfully consider how you can saturate your soul and make His Word a part of your heart every day.


FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF # 8: The Great Controversy All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation.

A. Isaiah 14: 12-14 (NKJV) — “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”


B. Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV) — “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”


C. Romans 1:20 (NIV) — “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what had been made, so that people are without excuse.”


D. Revelation 1:7-9 (KJV) — “And there was war in heaven; Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him.”


6. PRAY FOR OUR CHURCH IN COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA


Our church family in Columbia, South Carolina is facing a monumental crisis. It is unlike anything that we as a conference administration have experienced in all the years of our service for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Recently it was discovered that there are some serious structural issues to the main trusses of the Columbia First Seventh-day Adventist Church that are causing the walls of the sanctuary to show cracks and bending. To avoid a catastrophic collapse of the building, the sanctuary has been cordoned off as a major risk to the safety of our members and anyone who would gather to worship there. At this point the liability for the attached offices and education wing is still being carefully analyzed.


This flagship Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Carolina was built in the early 1970’s in a strategic location off the main Interstate. Working together with our conference’s owners’ representative, Steve Cruze, and reviewing a study by engineers, it appears that repairing the damage to meet current code expectations for insurability may be far more cost prohibitive than demolishing the current facility and starting all over. The officers of the conference along with our owner’s rep met with the church board earlier last month. Then about one week ago Elder Rick Russell, our VP for Finance, and I met with the entire church in business session.


Although no final decisions have been made yet, a number of questions and concerns have surfaced and various alternatives are being considered. Unfortunately, another major challenge we are facing is that our insurance carrier has informed us that there is no insurance coverage in a situation in which there is evidence of existing structural damage. It is our intent to appeal this decision this week.


Two things for which we can praise the Lord for in this crisis:

1. There has been no loss of life. The collapse of the sanctuary appears to be a very realistic hazard. It appears to be a matter of time, and by God’s grace and protective provision, we have not experienced a catastrophic tragedy.


2. Secondly, directly across the main driveway and parking lot of the church is the school facility with a full gymnasium that has not been in use for the past year. This facility has provided a safe place for worship and the gathering of our members during this time of uncertainty.


What we need to pray for with earnest and heartfelt sincerity:

1. Pray that God will go ahead of us in our letter of appeal so that the leadership of Adventist Risk Management (our church’s insurance carrier) will find a means to offer some degree of compassionate relief-assistance in the restoration of our sanctuary in Columbia.


2. Pray that God will give the leadership of our church and our church family the wisdom to know how to navigate the complexity of issues involved in making decisions that are not going to be easy in the restoration of their sanctuary.


3. Pray that God will guide the leadership of our conference with Heaven’s discernment in helping our church in Columbia with the needed resources through this crisis.



7. REMEMBERING AND UPLIFTING GOD’S ANOINTED LEADERS FOR THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN CONTINUOUS PRAYER

Be part of God’s praying church across North America by uplifting these leaders also in the Pacific Union of Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada who guide God’s work in these territories of God’s vineyard:







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Elder Leslie Louis
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