Archives For October 2012

One of the most familiar stories in the Bible, deals with God’s calling to a young adult. Here are three principles we should remember, as we seek to connect with this generation.

1. God speaks to young people too. 1 Samuel 3:4 Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” This seems like a very simple statement, but, do we believe it? Sometimes the attitude of the older generation is one of absolute authority, treating the younger generation as students only, not partners. I believe God is still inspiring and calling young people today to make music, for example. The Holy Spirit didn’t run out of songs in the last century! He is speaking. Are you listening?

2. God insists, patiently, until Samuel got it. Three times the same thing happened. Three times he called, and twice Samuel got it confused. God didn’t give up, throw His hands up in the air and looked for someone else. To his credit, neither did Eli (he didn’t really get it at first either!). Patience is necessary. Take the time to mentor, teach, train, partner with, a young adult. Protect them from the critics. Allow them to make mistakes, and help them to see you don’t have it all together either.

3. God called Samuel in a church. I believe the place God called Samuel is significant. I believe God is everywhere, but the church IS his body. Just because we have at times not lived up to God’s purpose, does not detract from His original intention. You are the church. Do your best, be your best, where you are at.

Questions, comments? Leave them here.

Devotional for today: The Spirit of the Pharisee
Mathew 12

Pharisees have three characteristics:
1. They see, point out faults, but don’t stay to help.  12:2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

2. They ask questions, to get into arguments, but they have no interest in listening to the answer. 12:10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

3. They hear only what they want, but ascribe to Satan what really belongs to God. 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

Solution? Speak the truth, and stay to help. Ask questions and keep an open mind. Be careful not to demonize others, just because they don’t use your methods doesn’t mean they are not being used by God.

Have a blessed day!

Quien es Dios

Al comenzar esta semana, es lindo detenernos a pensar un momento en tres características de Dios, tomadas de un sermón del apóstol Pablo de Hechos 17.

1. Dios esta cerca  17:27 Esto lo hizo Dios para que todos lo busquen y, aunque sea a tientas, lo encuentren. En verdad, él no está lejos de ninguno de nosotros,

Dios te extraña.  Le da tristeza cuando lo sentimos lejos, por el espacio que NOSOTROS hemos creado. Ayer, cuando llegue a la casa, mi hijo estaba en mi cuarto, debajo de la cama. Estaba cerca, pero yo estaba tan preocupado por cambiarme de ropa y poner la maleta en su lugar que no percibí su presencia. Recuerda lo siguiente. Solamente porque a veces Dios esta en silencio, no quiere decir que no esta cerca. Dios es accesible.

2. Dios es diferente a mi. 17:29 »Por tanto, siendo descendientes de Dios, no debemos pensar que la divinidad sea como el oro, la plata o la piedra: escultura hecha como resultado del ingenio y de la destreza del *ser humano.

No es como yo aunque se haya hecho hombre
y le llame por su nombre, no es como yo.
No es como yo aunque en todo fue tentado,
Él es limpio y sin pecado, no es como yo.
La Pureza y Santidad son su color de Piel.
No es como yo Él es Santo y es Perfecto,
es Sublime y es Eterno, no hay comparación.
No es como yo, Él trasciende lo que existe
y de Majestad se viste, no hay comparación.
No es como yo aunque se haya hecho carne
y mi hermano Él se llame, no es como yo.
No es como yo en el cielo está su Trono,
su Poder lo llena todo, no es como yo.
La creación, toda rodilla lo dará a sus Pies.

Dios no es como tu, y eso es bueno. Si fuera exactamente como tu, ¡no pudiera haberte salvado!

3. Dios esta en control. 17:26 De un solo hombre hizo todas las naciones para que habitaran toda la tierra; y determinó los períodos de su historia y las fronteras de sus territorios.

Esta frase se dice mucho entre los cristianos. Pero, ¿que significa que “Dios esta en control?” Significa que Dios no necesita darte explicaciones de lo que esta haciendo, hizo, o hará. Dios no da explicaciones, el da soluciones. Si te explicara, no entenderías de todas maneras. Confía en Dios esta semana.

¿Pedidos de oración? ¿Comentarios? Déjalos aquí…

CHAPTER 4 TWO POWERFUL CONCEPTS:

I can’t think of two more powerful concepts than FAMILY and WORSHIP. At creation these were the two foundational principles that God built the human race upon. Adam and Eve representing family and the blessing of the Sabbath representing worship. Both of these ideas originated in the mind of God for the purpose of us knowing and experiencing the power of divine love. In the creation of the first family, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…[1]  What an awesome concept! We were made in the image of God! T he image of God is not just about His appearance, but more with His character, and His character can be summed up in one word—love. We were created in the image of divine love. The love of God is what gives our lives meaning and purpose. Life without love is meaningless and painful, but when the powerful love of God is experienced in our lives, it gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. Families were designed by God to experience His love, which makes the idea of family so powerful.

Worship is our response to the love of God. Worship does not bring God down on our finite level; rather it brings us up to His level. It calls us to reflect on the worth of God and keeps us focused on his love for us and His great plan for our lives[2]. When the first family sinned in the Garden of Eden one of the first things they did was hide from the presence of God and avoided worship[3]. Without the presence of God worship cannot take place. In this busy world of competing priorities and values many families are loosing sight of what matters most. Spouses are neglecting their marriages. Parents are neglecting their children. Families are neglecting each other. Above all families are neglecting God. Often in the attempt of families to keep up with the rat-race of life one of the first things goes out the proverbial window is the is the worship of God. So as in the first family, we see how sin and Satan enters into the home.  Adam and Eve sought to avoid God because of fear and sin and many families today are not spending time or meaningful time in the presence of God. The enemy wants to keep us away from God and it is his desire to forever separate FAMILY and WORSHIP because he knows when FAMILY and WORSHIP come together there is an explosion of God’s love that spreads far beyond the home into the world for generations to come.

In a world where family hurt and pain is at an all-time high, God is calling us back to Him as the solution to our family problems. If there was ever a time to come back to God in worship, the time is now. If there was ever a place where worship should happen, it should be in our homes. If Satan can keep families from worship he can keep them from God. If he can keep them from God, he can keep them from love. If he can keep them from love, he can keep them from each other. If he can keep them from each other, he can isolate them and make them vulnerable to his vicious attacks. However, God knows that if families take the time and make the time each day to worship Him through prayer, praise and the word, they will grow closer to Him and inevitably grow closer to each other and neutralize the power of Satan.



 

Stop. Worship. Rest.

imprrh@gmail.com —  October 17, 2012

As part of the evangelistic series, this message takes the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 and helps us understand three principles:
1. Chose the important over the urgent.
2. Chose the best over the good.
3. Chose the permanent over the temporary.

I introduce the Sabbath from that perspective and the visitors connected very well with it.

Here is the link to watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlEuDm6oy3s&list=UUhdIlbHfXRFKZVxiUO74DnA&index=1&feature=plcp

Here is the link for the power point:
http://www.slideshare.net/RogerHernandez6/mary-martha-sabbath-14767741

Here is the handout:

Unstoppable?

Stop. Worship. Rest

It’s been dubbed the “21st century equivalent of the Black Death.” In the U.K., it’s the most common reason employees take long-term sick leave. It costs American companies $300 billion a year. In Japan, it’s a fatal epidemic. What is it? _____________________________.

 

Luke 10:38“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Three important decisions…

A. Choose the _______________________ over the urgent.

Luke 10:39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.

Three realities about urgent living:

1. Urgent living is self-perpetuating. You will ______________ finish everything you have to do.  

2. Urgent living affects your priorities. 

3. Urgent living affects your _____________________________.

The name Martha comes from the same root as Mara, Miriam and Maria, namely the verb (marar), meaning to be bitter. This verb comes with no less than twelve derivatives, all pretty much meaning the same thing: bitterness, bitterly, etcetera. However, in the Hebrew experience, the concept of bitterness was closely akin to the idea of being strong. A bitter taste was consider a strong taste.

Stop. Worship. Rest. 

Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Exodus 16:29 They must realize that the Sabbathis the Lord’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.”

 

B. Choose the _______________________ over the good.

Luke 10:41-42 Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

1. We have been taught to make a difference between good and bad.  But, how about between good and _________________________________.

2. Don’t __________________ for good when better is available.

*Genesis- God rested, called it holy and blessed it.  (Genesis 2:1-3)

*Exodus- Sabbath is commandment #4.  The link. (Exodus 4:8-11)

*Jesus- “as was his custom” (Luke 4:16)

*Mary- rested on the Sabbath (Luke 23:46)

*The disciples- worshiped after the resurrection. (Acts 13:42)

*Paul- worshiped on the Sabbath. (Acts 17:2)

*New earth- the tradition continues… (Isaiah 66:22-23)

 

Stop. Worship. Rest. 

Isaiah 58:13“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. 14 Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

 

C. Choose the permanent blessing over the missed opportunity.

Luke 10:42 Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

This gift of rest:

1. It’s a grace oriented.

Deuteronomy 5:13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lordyour God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. 15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lordyour God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.

2. It’s permanent.

Psalm 119:160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

Unstoppable?

Stop. Worship. Rest.

New People Matter

imprrh@gmail.com —  October 16, 2012

New People Matter

My wife, daughter and sister in law were driving cross country, from Virginia to Oregon. On Sabbath, they had to stop in the state of _______________ and decided to attend church there. They pulled in with their U-Haul truck, also towing a car. Nothing says “I’m from somewhere that is NOT here” like a U-Haul! They were lukewarmly greeted at the door, skated down the aisle, endured worship by themselves in the pew, and left without being invited to lunch. This was a medium size church, next to an academy, a church that seemed healthy. I wonder, how many times that lack of intentionality is repeated in churches across the land every week.

No one believes they have an anti-visitor church. Very few people describe their congregation as cold. I can’t imagine that church members purposefully want to send an anti-social message to newcomers. Yet, it happens all the time.  Here are 3 things you can do, to become a visitor friendly church:

1. Connect with people at times OTHER THAN the regularly scheduled opportunities. There are three times people usually get greeted:

            *When they come in.

            *At the “welcome” portion of the service.

            *As they leave.

It’s the rest of the time that sends a message whether you are a friendly church or not. In the  three times I mentioned, you are REQUIRED to. When you make an effort to connect outside those, the chances of them returning increase. It’s a sin for a visitor to sit by themselves. That’s right, I said it. A sin.

 

2. Be sensitive in the “welcome” portion of the service. Who likes to stand up, and remain standing, while 200 eyeballs are on them? The answer is…NOBODY! In a survey with visitors, this practice is what they despised the most. To complicate matters even further, (at least in Hispanic churches) they call visitors the “flowers” of the congregation that day. That sends two wrong messages:

            a. The members are the thorns. Maybe accurate, but no need to rub it in.

            b. Pancho, the hard drinking macho man, does not like being called a delicate flower!

This practice is done more for us than for them. Stop it.

 

3. Assume people know stuff, or overload them with information. Both extremes are equally annoying. Visitors don’t speak adventese. They don’t know what Camp-meeting, ABC, AY,  elders, or Conference, mean. Please speak: short, English, with a smile.  I have made my case before, that next to Chinese water torture, announcements were probably created by Jesuits that have infiltrated our church. They must have. This is not 1812. People can read. Give them a bulletin and maybe, an announcement or two, BEFORE the service is over.

 

Hoping that these suggestions can improve our visitor retention. What are other ways you purposefully connect with newcomers?

Altar Call

imprrh@gmail.com —  October 15, 2012
Acts 2:38Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.” 40 He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”
 

So, I learned something again this weekend. Since most of my ministry was done at Spanish Churches, doing evangelism at English Churches is relatively new to me. I am doing an evangelistic reaping meeting, called “We all have Problems“, of 9 presentations, in an Anglo church. Check out the website here: (www.relevantseminars.org/rockwood)

After speaking on Sabbath this morning on the biblical teaching on finances, I made an invitation to join the church, take their relationship with God to the next level, (which was costly to Him, but free for us). Around 20 people of all ages came forward. One already is getting baptized on Wednesday, and the pastor is working with several more.

I found that response interesting because someone had told me that “Anglos” don’t like altar calls. This church must be the exception. I saw the Spirit of God move the same way he moves in Spanish churches. One came down. Then another. Then a teenager. Then a young couple. Then a mother. Then an adult man. Then a kid, and his brother. I was about to pray around 5 times, and one more came, then another.

At night, the sermon was on family. After laying out God’s ideal for the family, the sermon ended with a picture of Jesus’ family of origin, and the jailer and his family getting baptized (Acts 16). (you can see the power point here-(http://www.slideshare.net/RogerHernandez6/family-14721191) Around 12 people came forward for baptism (a more specific call than the morning). You can listen to the message here: http://rockwoodadventist.com/podcasts/1133/media_entries/13889

So, what did I learn?
1. God moves everywhere. People are people. While it’s good to contextualize, it would be a mistake to do so to the point that we stop calling, because it might make some saints uncomfortable.
2. God is already working before you get there. That morning as I debated what kind of call to make (the safe route would have been to make a call on God’s blessing on our finances) a lady came into the green room, and proceeded to tell me about a member of her small group, that has been attending every night. In reality, I took that story as a sign from God to make a more direct call. The gentlemen never came forward that morning. He did at night, the last one to do so.
3. God can take care of his reputation, and your’s doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about yours, just call. I must be honest. I struggled with the concept of making a call and having no one respond. If truth be told, for a moment (or longer) I let my own reputation dictate my decision. It took a direct intervention from God, to lead me elsewhere. I’m glad I listened.

I praise God. Lesson learned.

“Think less of what people would think of you if no one came up, and more about what a decision would mean for a sinnerthat sits in your church”

SERVOLUTION

imprrh@gmail.com —  October 13, 2012

Here is a quote we know very well:

“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.” (Ministry of Healing 143-144)



Here is quote that don’t often share. (hint- it follows the previous one!)

“There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit. (Ministry of Healing 143-144)



This quote seems to suggest, that evangelism and service should go hand in hand. Here are some principles to remember:
1. Steve Sjogren, author of A Conspiracy of Kindness, writes that service is: “Small things done with great love will change the world.” Jesus’ method of reaching the cities he ministered is found in Acts 10:38 (NIV) “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”

2. Think for a moment about the following text: Romans 2:4 (NASB) “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Here are the implications of thatpassage:



a. Fact- God’s kindness leads to repentance.
b. Fact- God’s kindness is expressed by the works of his people towards others!


c. Fact- God’s kindness, when expressed, causes others to praise God. (See 2Corinthians 9:13)


The take-away from these passages, is that ourearthly kindness can have an eternalimpact. When we serve we are not just meeting needs, we are helping people to meet Him.

3. A service lifestyle accomplishes various objectives. Here are three biblical ones:

a. A service lifestyle is part of a divine expectation.It would be helpful to understand that when standing before our maker, instead of asking us to recite the eschatological timeline, God asks “what did you do about my children that needed help?”. Mathew 25:34-36


b. A service lifestyle takes us out of our comfort zone. It’s more than outreach, its reaching out. Even to those who don’t look, believe, speak, or act like us. That includes our enemies! Mathew 5:46-48

c. A service lifestyle breaks down barriers.It’s all about love, and love can indeed “conquer all”. When we express love, we break down preconceived concepts about the church and God.

Remember, there are 37 recorded miracles of Jesus in the New Testament. There is one written sermon of Jesus (sermon on the mount). This goes along with the counsel given: “If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen”. (Ministry of Healing, 143)

Questions-
1. What are some creative ways your church is reaching the community?
2. If money was no object, what would you do? What project would you start?