January 2022 Carolina's 10,000 P5
1. A PRAYER FOR THIS NEW YEAR OF 2022
I wish each of you as my precious president’s prayer partner team a very hope-filled, health-filled and happiness-filled New Year!
We have now arrived this month at the dawn of this brand New Year - 2022. When the year 2020 ended, we all anxiously hoped to see the diminishing of a horrible year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here in our nation 2021sadly didn’t bring our lives a period of relief as we desired. The Delta variant continued to infect lives at an alarming rate. Then there was the attack on the United States Capitol, the Israel-Palestinian crisis in the spring, the swift take-over of Afghanistan by the Taliban in the summer, a horrific 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, and the blockage of the Suez Canal by the MV Ever Given that held up 12% of the word’s trade for six restless days. As we look back on these global events and weave them into the tapestry of our personal perceptions, we often measure the success or failure of the past year through the lens of our own triumphs and tragedies. What then will 2022 represent for us?
David Roepik, an author for Psychology Today attributes the significance of New Year’s Eve to the opportunity it gives each of us “to reflect, look back, take stock, assess how we did, and resolve to do things better.” There is power in stopping and reflecting.
Think of another David who lived over 3000 years ago. The great psalmist of Scripture described his walk with God so eloquently in Psalm 23 – especially as he assists us in pressing the pause button by painting a vivid picture of the peace that God desires to bring into each of our lives. So, for just a brief shining moment close your eyes and experience Heaven’s peace in your life irrespective of the unknown uncertainty before each of us this year:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psalm 23:1-3 (KJV)
Join me in embracing the hope that the Lord, our gracious God, longs to bring into each of our hearts. He offers us a hope to end all our struggles.
I’m being blessed as I read a book just published by Gary Moyer, my dear friend and fellow colleague in ministry. It’s entitled Opting for Optimism. Whether you view 2022 with a sense of uneasiness or optimism, the time we take to prayerfully reflect on the year before us could be our greatest moment of change.
So, my fellow prayer partners in Carolina – Rest your feelings and your future for 2022 in the final words of the Revelation of Jesus Christ – “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen". (Revelation 22:21 NIV).
➢ In 2022 Pray to make praying a priority.
➢ In 2022 Pray to invest morning moments in quiet reflection with God as your faithful Guide before you ever step out the door to meet a new day.
➢ In 2022 Pray to meditate on His Word through the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy to help restore your life and bring you into a beautiful union with Him.
➢ In 2022 Pray to be a light to every divine opportunity you encounter so others may see Jesus in you.
2. PRAYING FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
This month gives us an opportunity to focus our prayers for Religious Liberty and our annual campaign to raise revenue and resources to support this vital ministry. As Seventh-day Adventists, we’ve 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.
The Department of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty (PARL) serves as the official voice of the Adventist Church on matters of religious freedom and human rights, PARL maintains offices in Washington, D.C. to allow for convenient access to the U.S. Congress; New York City, to liaise with the United Nations; and at the church’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. PARL also sponsors the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) on behalf of the Adventist Church. IRLA is a non-sectarian organization supporting religious freedom around the world.
During this six-year term (2016-2021) The Carolina Conference Religious Liberty Department has worked together in close partnership with the Southern Union PARL Department to assist members in both North and South Carolina specifically with respect to Sabbath and other accommodation issues. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Amireh Al-Haddad, Director for the Southern Union PARL Department and her associate, Elder Kevin James, for their tremendous support and assistance with this valued ministry. Kevin James especially worked on most of the cases that impacted our Carolina members.
The chart to follow indicates the following measures that transpired within these years with one exception. The year 2021 does not include specific accommodation tallies because most of the calls during this past year involved requests for assistance with COVID vaccine exemptions.
Of the 2 complaints that were filed during this time from our conference with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), one was resolved with a $40,000 settlement.
23 members received counseling, 9 received other support, and 17 cases were resolved.
One item not reflected in the chart above is an unemployment case that was addressed in 2017.
These accommodation totals include all the different types of cases/problems we work on including workplace issues, unemployment, vaccine exemptions, testing requirements and immigration/non-combatant letters.
How have we done with respect to our support the annual offerings that specifically aid in the ministry of public affairs and religious liberty (PARL) issues? The funds collected serve a number of valued purposes. These include the distribution of Liberty magazine to key thought leaders and lawmakers in both North and South Carolina, as well as litigation funding. A portion of this offering is utilized by the Southern Union for education and outreach purposes – which includes our legislative watch program. The following chart indicates our giving pattern between 2016 and 2021:
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.
3. REMEMBERING OUR CHURCH SCHOOLS
As we continue to uplift our Carolina Church schools, let’s pray specifically for:
God’s protective care over our teachers, parents, and students during this pandemic period that has impacted all our lives during the past two years and now into our third year.
Let’s pray for wisdom and happiness in the lives of each of our principals, head teachers and teachers as they mentor and prepare our students for a life of service on this earth, but most importantly for their citizenship in Heaven.
Let’s pray for our school boards and church boards as they manage the operation of each of our church schools as centers consecrated for the salvation and education of our children and youth.
4. 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:
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)
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)
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)
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)
For Doctrinal Faithfulness — "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." (2 Timothy 1:14)
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)
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
1. Bryan Aalborg ...................................................................................................................Lead Pastor
Charlotte Sharon SDA Church
2. Glen Altermatt .................Carolina Conference Director of Evangelism & Pastor
West Columbia SDA Church
3. Bryan Arvelo ..........................................................................................................Associate Pastor
South Charlotte Spanish SDA Company
Charlotte Spanish SDA Church
West Charlotte Spanish SDA Church
Rock Hill Spanish SDA Company
Lancaster Spanish SDA Mission Group
4. Ryan Ashlock ...................................................................................................................Lead Pastor
Fletcher SDA Church
5. Eric Bates ...........................................................................................................................Lead Pastor
Arden SDA Church
6. Jorge Baute ................................................................................................................................Pastor
Upward SDA Church
Fairview SDA Church
Asheville Korean SDA Group
7. Marcos Bernal ........................................................................................................................Pastor
Wilmington Spanish SDA Company
New Bern Spanish SDA Church
Myrtle Beach Spanish SDA Group
Morehead Spanish SDA Mission Group
5. 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
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:
Last month we focused specifically on praying for our Treasury Team who oversee the management of the sacred funds and resources that undergird all the ministry functions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church within the Carolina Conference.
This month we will focus on praying specifically for our Communications Team. The mission of the Communication Department is to create a
favorable image of the church; its mission, life, and activities; so that many will become followers of Christ and members of His church. Through the Carolina Action, our Conference newspaper, and the Southern Tidings magazine they are able to inform our members of what their fellow churches are doing to fulfill the Gospel commission. They also have an in-house video production facility where they create various promotional and informational videos, evangelistic television commercials, and more.
This month I invite you to join me in uplifting our amazingly gifted and dedicated Team of Three who serve in the ministry of communications for our conference:
6. SATURATED WITH THE WORD – Fundamental Belief #2 – The Trinity
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 # 2: The Trinity There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation.
A. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NKJV) — “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
B. Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) — “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
C. II Corinthians 1; 21-22 (NIV) — “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
D. Ephesians 4: 4-6 (NKJV) — “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
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: