October 2020 Carolina's 10,000 P5
1. PRAISING AND PRAYING FOR ALL OUR PASTORS
One of the joys of my ministry, as your servant leader for the Lord, is to see the affirmation of a church for their pastor. This past weekend, I was at the Banner Elk Church in North Carolina for their annual homecoming Sabbath. My heart was overjoyed by the warmth of the church and even by the gentle reminder to me that I was not to take their pastor from them! Why? Simply because he was a wonderful representation of someone who truly loved and uplifted Jesus.
Brandon Ford, his wife Ashley, and their precious 6-month old boy Jethro are dearly loved by their church. How I desire this to be the sentiment of EVERY Seventh-day Adventist Church across the Carolinas towards their pastors!Nearly 30 years ago, the ministry known as Focus on the Family initiated the idea of Pastor Appreciation Month during the month of October. Over the years there have been many beautiful examples of how congregations have expressed their appreciation to their pastor. Some have offered an assortment of gift cards to favorite eating establishments or entertainment venues. Others have given generous cash gifts or bonuses. Others have provided time away – whether it was a personal retreat, a romantic getaway for the pastor and their spouse, or some family time away at a special place.
I also have had far too many sad conversations with pastors who were painfully aware that “pastor appreciation month” had come and gone without a mere mention, a card, a letter or any kind of gift or acknowledgement. Those have always been such painful conversations that left the pastor wondering “did they just forget or am I doing something wrong?”
It is not a secret that 2020 has been a year like no other! Over the course of the last six months, my life has been filled with conversations with pastors who are weary and frustrated by all that the pandemic has rearranged. I know this is not unique to just our pastors – Everyone is feeling a good dose of that these days. But, there are many pastors who have had to learn a lot on the fly and continue to find ways to serve, shepherd and lead the people that God has entrusted to their care and a little encouragement and appreciation would go a long way. It might be a note or a card or a gift of some kind. What could you do to express “we notice, we’re grateful and we just wanted to let you know that you are appreciated and being prayed for in a very special way this month”?
2. PRAY FOR THE RESULTS OF THE COMING ELECTION AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR NATION AND ON GOD’S CHURCH
In this campaign year of 2020 that looks to be as heavily religious as it does political, it is every member's duty to be cautious and protect the Church's tax-exempt status. While there is currently an executive order in place by the President of the United States directing the IRS to ignore campaign prohibition violations by the church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America has intentionally decided that our churches exist for the spiritual and not the political. The Seventh-day Adventist Church stands in support of the longstanding Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations such as our churches, church schools and institutions under the organizational umbrella of the Seventh-day Adventist church from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
In Paul's teaching on prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, one of the major thrusts is praying for those in authority. According to Paul's reasoning, we should all want good government that allows us to live "peaceful and quiet lives"— ultimately freeing us to evangelize those who are lost.
In his day, Paul would have been quite taken back at the thought that Christians could someday actually take part in selecting those leaders. I believe he would have been even more amazed (and appalled) that many of those Christians didn't even bother to get involved in selecting those leaders for the purposes of God to be fulfilled.
Praying for the electoral process is the first step in seeing the fulfillment of what Paul is writing about to Timothy. I don't believe we should wait for a leader to be selected before we move into obedient prayer for those in authority. In prayer, we invite the Lord into the process of electing those leaders who will ultimately allow us to lead "peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (v. 2).
So why pray for the elections? There are a number of compelling reasons:
The Bible commands us to pray for those who are in leadership, which would include those who are desiring to become leaders.
Godly leaders can help slow the erosion of religious liberties in our land, providing an increased window of opportunity for the Church to pray and evangelize.
The selection of leaders who understand and lead according to God's righteous standards can bring great blessing to a nation (Prov. 14:34).
Scripture also says, "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers" (Prov. 11:14). The determination of who leads our nation will also determine who advises that leader and how we are guided.
In a few more days, America will cast its vote for a host of leadership positions from the federal to state and local authorities. They will be entrusted with their respective leadership roles across our present homeland. Let us never forget that as Adventist Americans, we are just pilgrims bound for that homeland – that Beulah Land, sweet Beulah land. During the next days of anticipation, unrest and division across our land, let’s be united in prayer that we will not let the elephants and donkeys make us forget that we most importantly belong to the Lamb.
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:
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. Phil Roberts ............................................................................................................................................Pastor &
Overseeing Pastor for VLL or VLP*
Sumter SDA Church Columbia Midtown SDA Church Camden SDA Church*
2. Phil Rosburg .......................................................................................................................Associate Pastor
Ashville Foster SDA Church
3. Ben Rueda .....................................................................................................................................................Pastor
Winston Salem Spanish SDA Church Burlington Spanish SDA Company Greensboro Spanish SDA Mission Group High Point Spanish SDA Group
4. Elias Sandavol-Mantilla ....................................................................................................................Pastor
Fayetteville Spanish SDA Church Saint Pauls Spanish SDA Church Raeford Spanish SDA Church Lumberton Spanish SDA Company Bladenboro Spanish SDA Company
Red Springs Spanish SDA Group
Hickory Spanish SDA Church Lincolnton Spanish SDA Company Hamptonville Spanish SDA Company Valdese Spanish SDA Company Statesville Spanish SDA Group
High Point SDA Church Eden SDA Company
7. Tim Sheridan ................................................................................................................................................Pastor
Marion SDA Church
4. PRAYING FOR OUR DEPARTMENTAL MINISTRIES
Last year, starting 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 doing or are accomplishing, but rather to simply uplift in our prayers all our leaders and their faithful service. The ministries of the Carolina Conference are basically structured under 6 organizational departmental functions. They include:
1. The Adventist Christian Book Center
2. Camp Meeting
5. Church Ministries
6. Children & Young Adults
Over the past few months, we have focused the departmental functions of Administration and Outreach. We continue with this issue to focus on another vital outreach departmental ministry – that of our Adult Sabbath School Ministries.
So during this month of October, I invite you to prayerfully uplift our
Carolina Conference Family Ministries Department
under the leadership of Elder Eric Bates andhis secretary, Jayme Rouse
The objective of the Family Ministries Department is to disciple families as they walk with Christ so that they reflect Christ to their friends and neighbors.
As our families grow in the likeness of Christ, they will Embrace Carolina with Christ. Ellen White stressed the evangelistic impact of a Christian family when she wrote, “One well-ordered, well-disciplined (disciple) family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached.” Adventist Home, p. 32
Services provided by the Family Ministries Department include:
Romance at the Ranch; a marriage retreat hosted at Nosoca Pines Ranch in February
From This Day Forward Seminar
Camp Meeting Seminars
Journey Towards Intimacy Seminar
Family Emphasis Sabbaths
Seminars ministering to those who struggle with pornography
The department also provides families with resources outside of the Carolinas. In addition, the Family Ministries Department maintains an up-to-date library from which families and their pastors may borrow resources at no charge.
Families in the Carolinas are prayed for, and when requested, they are ministered to individually, couples and families are provided Biblical counsel, and are referred to Christian professionals for additional ministry. Our intent is to help families bear fruit in the rough spots in their everyday lives and relationships as well as in the smooth spots. Our vision is healthy families for eternity.
5. SATURATED WITH THE WORD – Fundamental Belief # 15 — Baptism
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 # 15: Baptism
By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings.
A. Matthew 28:19-20 (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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
B. Romans 6:1-4 (NKJV) — “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
C. Galatians 3:27-28 (NKJV) — “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
D. Colossians 2:12 (NKJV) — “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
6. REMEMBER AND KEEPING IN FOCUS OUR 2020 VISION
VISION VII: EXPAND OUR PUBLISHING MINISTRY
PRAY AND COMMIT to expanding the work of our publishing ministry in the distribution of truth-filled literature by:
▪ Promoting a visible display of a Glow Tract Rack in every Carolina Church for members to utilize in sharing seeds of truth in every church community across North and South Carolina.
▪ Developing the Magabook program to include and demonstrate a growing number of students from our church schools and academies in our conference territory in conjunction with an annual rate of increased sales.
▪ Supporting the work of our dedicated full-time literature evangelists by adding a full-time field district leader.
Does your church have a visible display of a Glow Tract Rack for members to utilize in sharing seeds of truth in every church community across North and South Carolina? What a wonderful and simple way to share seeds of truth across the Carolinas – Simply to say, “I believe in Jesus and just wanted to share a special message of His truth with you today.” At a restaurant or hotel, at the grocery store or bank – wherever we come in contact with people, Jesus has given us the story of the sower who kept on sowing – even if only 25% of those seeds yielded a harvest of souls for Heaven. It’s something all of us can and should do as Adventist disciples of Jesus.
It is also our desire to develop the Magabook program to include and demonstrate a growing number of students from our church schools and academies within in our conference territory in conjunction with an annual rate of increased sales.
The goal of our Magabook ministry is to provide quality witnessing materials at the best possible prices, provide students with opportunities and experiences that impact people‘s lives and strengthen their own relationship with Christ, while offering our youth and young adults with a Christ-centered employment opportunity that can be a blessing to funding their Adventist education.
One of our goals was realized during this quinquennial term (2016-2020) in expanding our publishing ministry and the work of our dedicated full-time literature evangelists by adding a full-time field district leader as an associate. We were thankful to realize this during the first few years of this term. However, after the associate chose to transfer to pastoral ministry, we had to make an administrative decision to avoid replacing this position. With the challenges of escalating health care costs and the COVID-19 crisis of this year, we are at peace with our decision for the time being.
Out of 59 conferences in North America, we are now one of only 4 conferences that have a strong team of literature evangelists. Let us pray for these soldiers of the cross who are God’s boots on the ground as they continue to knock on doors and follow up lead cards with our publications of Heaven’s truth.
“God calls for message-filled books, magazines, and tracts to be scattered everywhere like the leaves of autumn. As church members unite with literature evangelists in spreading the good news, the task will be accomplished.”
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: