Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Camp Meeting Report

Being new in the Potomac Conference I’m learning many new things. Recently on the table is camp meeting. This involved me making the trek from my home base to New Market and the campus of Shenandoah Adventist Academy. All the pastors of the conference made the same trek, and on Monday morning we gathered to get assignments to prepare the grounds for camp meeting gatherings.

My assignment to crew number two landed me the job of painting the door steps of all the hotel units, and also the opportunity to become better acquainted with my fellow pastors. During the course of introductions I proudly listed Williamsburg as my church.

This statement brought smiles and nods and agreement that this is a special church. It also invited story telling. And more than one pastor told me stories of their experience with our church. Stories of warm hugs, of friendly and joyful people that made them feel welcome. Stories of youth who are empowered to use their gifts, and led by committed mentors. Stories told with joy of God’s leading in our past.

These words are recorded in Matthew 28 verses 19 and 20. “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.”

As I listened to these stories I realized how the shape of the gospel preaching by the Williamsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church changed over the years, but the message remains the same. And where are we today in our preaching the gospel? How can we do it more effectively, more energetically, to His name’s glory? I invite you to a conversation with God, asking Him to show you how you can personally be involved in the evangelistic work of our church. To ask God to open your eyes to evangelistic methods you can personally invest your time and energy in.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Encouragement to the Fearful

Most accounts of Jonah focus on Jonah’s later evangelistic efforts but not his first. Usually we retell the story of Jonah preaching bravely to the people of Nineveh, or the story of being in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. But there is special encouragement to the fearful in his first testimony.

You remember the story: God called Jonah to take a message of correction and repentance to a fierce people. And Jonah’s prompt response was to board a vessel heading in the opposite direction. When a fierce storm arose and the sailors feared for their lives, they cast lots to see who was responsible. When the lot fell to Jonah he confessed.

His confession, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” When the sailors followed Jonah’s instructions the raging sea became calm. The men greatly feared the Lord.
How often does fear keep you at home when you want to step out and tell what God has done for you? How often have you put off repeating the story of how Jesus became your best friend because the fear of using the wrong words? Remember the story of Jonah, God was able to use Jonah’s trip in the wrong direction to reach an entire ship. What do you think He can do when you dedicate your humble efforts to the Lord and see what will happen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Genesis 18:14

These words are found in the heart of a most strange story. Abraham is sitting under the terebinth trees of Mamre, when three strangers walks by. Compelling the men to accept his hospitality turns into a conversation with the Lord himself. In the conversation is reassurance and a promise from the Him that the holes of pain will be filled with laughter. 

These are the words we need today when holes appear in our hearts as we face life’s challenges. When a loved one passes, when a job is lost, or a relationship is broken we turn to the Lord with our pain. It is at those moments that this story becomes real, that this question meets our needs. Just as He asked Sarah and Abraham all those years ago, He asks again “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And when our hearts well up with the resounding answer, “No! Nothing is too hard for the Lord!” It is that declaration that reminds us to walk one step at a time with a Lord who hears our pain and promises one day to fill our hearts with laughter for nothing is too hard for the Lord.