The Elder's Engage weekend was attended by over 80 leaders and members from all over the Northern California Conference - we praise God for that! At the end of the last meeting, it was clear that more resources were desired and more online trainings were needed. Look for future meetings to be promoted soon!
For those who attended (or who watched the archived presentations online HERE), you can access the slides for the presentations below.
Greg Howell: Practical Pendulums of Adventism (the file is too large to post here, please fill out the form on the "Contact Us" page or email the Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Serns: Our Most Important "Job"
As of February 26, a YouTube page was created with its first uploaded video: Preaching with PURPOSE session 1. More videos and links to other trainings are now also posted under "Playlists". For Volunteer Lay Pastors you can view a playlist just for you HERE, or get videos on the TEAMS proficiency areas HERE. For Church planters, there is a playlist with lots of videos HERE, and for Pastor-Coaches I have put a playlist on the YouTube channel just for you here.
Feel free to check out the channel and let me know what you think. To utilize the YouTube channel for Volunteer Pastor or Volunteer Lay Pastor education/continuing education hours, please click on the "More" tab and select "Online Learning".
Click on the picture below to access the channel or go to: Ministry TEAMS Resources - YouTube
Ethan Conger grew up in the Alturas area and attended the Alturas Seventh-day Adventist Church. He states that though he attended church, “I never really understood what I was being told or what all of it meant. I drifted away,” and eventually stopped going altogether. Due to this “drift” Ethan sought meaning in various ways. In High School he played football and had a goal to become as strong, fast and mean as possible so he would defeat the other side. He developed a mentality of being willing to do “anything” for his team. This desire to do anything for a team was enhanced further when he enlisted in the military. However, due to some decisions that path did not work out either. Soon, he decided to become a bartender and handle problems with violence if need be. He states that, “Oftentimes after work, me and my ‘friends’ would each drink a large amount of liquor and go searching for trouble. At times, we would nearly kick a door in to find conflict”.
It was during this time of frustration and anger that something very interesting happened. He watched a Joe Rogan Podcast about a flood in North America which began a journey into the “Truths of the earth,” as he put it in his baptismal sermon. He began wondering about the validity of the worldwide flood and some questions as well as some conclusions came to his mind: “Did every culture just have their own little flood and by coincidence made a similar story? Unlikely. Why is this so Important? The idea of a worldwide flood flips everything we have been taught on its head. Everything in school, Media, Scientists-Gone. You must completely re-evaluate every conclusion you have made. You have to re-evaluate How life came to be, our place in the universe, the time that we have been around—You have to shift it all. This is CRUCIAL. The Flood answers Fossil record questions, Human records, all Flood myth records. I began thinking it might be time to check out some stuff on the Grand Canyon. . . I wasn’t exactly trying to prove the Bible, but that was certainly a bi-product of what came next.”
What came next was that Ethan decided to move to Redding, and do MMA-Cage fighting. He thought that if he was going to fight, he “may as well do it legally”. He advanced in the skill of fighting, and also continued his research. While he continued his research on the flood, he also had Adventist family members who encouraged him to watch the program “The Days of Noah” by Laymen Ministries. This gentle form of witnessing would later serve to help him re-engage with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Along with his study of the flood, he also began learning how the Bible was written, and concluded that it was not like other texts. This was a seed that God used to lead to a pivotal moment in his life.
One day, after finishing a Muay Thai class, he began doing pushups in his room. While he was exercising, he had an experience that he would later recall vividly: “Something clicked. A Switch was flipped. It felt as though it was SEARED into my mind ‘There is a God’, and ‘I am not alone.’ It’s still mind-blowing thinking about that moment. It was most certainly not me deciding there was a God. It was Him saying ‘I’m here. I found you. Come find me.’ In that moment I knew that was God himself making himself known, and acknowledging back that I was no longer alone. How did I know that? I didn’t have a clue but concluded that there is a God.”
He began searching the Bible and found that the Bible always explained itself, and never contradicted itself. As he searched the Scriptures, he began to recognize the reality of Jesus, and found the truth about the cross. He believes that, “At the very core, you have a God who came down to teach people to Love. . . A God crying out to the world to come to him. . . Hundreds of prophecies point directly to this Man. The absolute impossibility of his very existence is enough to convince many. Everything in the Bible has a scarlet thread that leads STRAIGHT to Jesus. The first coming, and the Second coming.”
Ethan’s journey continued and not only did he begin interacting more with his family about what he was learning, he requested that his grandma Joy Evans, the Head Elder at the Alturas church, get him in touch with the pastor he knew when he was a child – Bruce Blum. Pastor Bruce Blum studied with Ethan, and Ethan grew both in his understanding and application of the Bible to his life. As a result, he requested to be baptized and made decisions that allowed God to change his life in many ways. Ethan was baptized at the Alturas Seventh-day Adventist Church by Pastor Bruce Blum on November 14, 2020. The day of his baptism, the Church also prayed for Ethan’s future ministry. A ministry that began with his first sermon the day of his baptism and continues weekly as he takes Orientation to Ministry classes from Pastor Murray Miller. During Ethan’s baptism day sermon, Ethan concluded his remarks by saying, “I am fully dedicating my life to a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Wild, eh? I want more people to experience this. I want people on this train. This is the single greatest thing that I have ever experienced. We are in the last few moments of the World as we know it, and everybody needs to know our God, so that when he returns they too will say ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us’. . . It is time to get ready. Get in your Bibles. Do not look back, and remember that ‘God is Love’’.
Synthesized from Ethan Conger’s sermon manuscript and recollections.
Some time ago I read a very heart-wrenching parable about God's plan of using us to save the world. It made me pause for reflection for some time after reading it. I hope that as you read it you will reflect not only on the idea of reaching out to save others, but on how POWERFUL it will be when God's people work together as teams to reach those around them! How amazing it will be if we use ALL of our resources for His glory and all for just 1 soul if need be. For if one person lives for all eternity, then they will eventually outlive ALL the people who have EVER lived and died on planet Earth (yes Enoch and Elijah are already ahead on that score now)!! Please read this prayerfully:
Inasmuch. . . An allegory based on Matthew 25:31-46 and Education, pages 263-264.
by Judy Burton.
THE OLD MAN AWOKE and glanced at the clock.
Shock registered on his aging face as he realized that he had slept too long. The tide would be coming in and his three youngest children were still out collecting shells on the island. He leaped through the door and ran toward the beach, stumbling over the jagged, cutting rocks.
"My children, my children!" he shouted. "Someone
help my children!" He could see the little island and the rising water between it and the shore. He could faintly make out the outline of the three small bodies against the rugged rocks. "My children will drown. Oh, God, My babies will die. Someone help me!" The water was rising.
Only a matter of time. Higher and higher.
A short distance down the beach he saw a group of picnickers. They would help. His legs nearly buckled as he ran. Nearing the group, he saw his older sons.
"Sit down, Father, and join our potluck. Here's a
chair. We were just wishing that you could be here with us. We wanted to tell you how much we love you." "You'd better rest a minute, Father. You shouldn't run like that at your age. What's the trouble?"
"The island—the little ones are out there. They're going to die!" Great sobs tore through his body.
"Now, Father, calm down! I'm sure it isn't that bad.
Look, the rocks are above water." John clumsily patted the old gray head, then lifted his father's face to his.
"Take it easy. We're here with you, and we love you
"But you don't understand. The tide is rising. Oh, my babies! Please, oh, please, help me."
"There's no rush, Father. Don't let yourself get so
worked up. It's not good for your heart. We'd die if anything happened to you. Say, look. There are Joe and Dave and their new lifesaving boat. They're more able to help than we are."
The weary father turned away and shouted into the wind. Joe and Dave, other sons of his, heard and came in to shore.
"Save the children! The island will be covered soon!"
They seemed to understand and strong hands pulled the weeping man into the boat. Then the eager motor sprang to life and they headed out to sea. In the distance he could see three tiny figures clutching the highest rocks as the waves washed about their feet.
"Hurry, please hurry," he cried.
"Yes, Father, we understand. This is a lifesaving boat and it's really grand. We brought it over today just to show it to you. Look—padded seats, air-conditioned cabin, stereo music—the works. This'll be good PR, Father. When people see this, they'll know it's great to be a son of yours." Dave laid his well-muscled arm around the shaking shoulders.
Joe looked over from behind the controls and tried to ease his father's distress. "Cheer up, Father. Say, look at what this beauty can do." He grinned, gave the throttle a thrust, and spun the wheel. The boat turned in a graceful arc and headed into the waves.
"You're going the wrong way. The tide is coming.
Save my children!"
"Yes, Father, we understand. Didn't we tell you? This is a lifesaving boat. We'll go in a minute. But first look at this."
The boat bounded back and forth across the waves, its powerful motor thrusting forward with thrilling power and speed. Joe executed the turns with smoothness and precision.
"No, no! Please, oh, please!" The father's anguished
voice tore through the wind.
"Look at this, Father."
He could barely see the little ones now. In horror, he imagined their terror and pain. Only the tips of the rocks broke the water now. As he watched, unable to turn away, the dear, sweet heads, one by one, slipped into the waves and disappeared.
"They are gone!" Unbearable anguish ripped his body and he fell prostrate to the floor.
Then—concerned and tender hands gently cradled his frail body. "Father, we love you—please, Father
He gave no answer or indeed any sign that he had
"Father, we didn't know you cared so much. We
love you, Father, don't you understand? If it had been you ---
There was no response. Just wind and waves and—silence.
(REVIEW, JULY 7, 1977; pages 4-5. accessed online HERE).
May we see that it is high time to join the Father in His eternal mission to save as many as possible. May we see that TOGETHER we can better accomplish His purposes, utilize our resources and make an everlasting impact for HIS GLORY!
Murray Miller will be a contributor and the moderator, but many can help to shape the content.