Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Move

Well, I am sitting in my apartment in Montgomery for one of the final nights. After being here for 5 months my time in Alabama has come to an end. I still wonder what exactly my purpose was in being here but I believe it will be clearer as time goes on. I know one thing for sure; and that is that God brought me here if for the mere reason of getting my feet wet in full time work for the church. In my five months here there have been numerous challenges; primarily the lack of interaction with others my age and just shear loneliness. The work has kept me busy and I have enjoyed the ministry of the ABC. I still consider the opportunities I had to preach in Tuscaloosa, AL and Bonifay, FL as one of the better experiences I had here. I like Montgomery as a city as it is a very liveable city with a nice southern feel to it. A better social network here would have been helpful though.
With all that being said, I am pretty happy about the move back to Tennessee. I am expectant of really good things to happen. I am anticipating my new job as an Assistant Treasurer and I am looking forward to the challenge. I am also happy that I will be close to all of my family. Tennessee is home to me and it is pretty much all I have known my whole life other than 4 months living in Lincoln, CA and 5 months living in Montgomery, AL. So the familiarity will be nice but I don't want it to be so familiar that I lose a sense of drive for purpose, challenge, and change for the better in my life. I pray that God will continue to walk by my side each and every day and that will be your prayer as a reader as well. Happy Holidays to you all.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Born Again

In this past week I read a book entitled, "Learning to walk with God" by Dwight Hall. I was struck by how many times in his book he talked about being faithful in the little things in life. The driving point that was the basis for this was the emphasis he placed on the importance of being born again. He mentioned how he read the chapter on Nicodemus in the Desire of Ages and how it was life changing for him. This all seemed to make sense to me but things really came together in a powerful way yesterday in my studies. The whole concept of being born again is not foreign to many of you who are reading this but it is crucial to make it applicable daily in our lives. I was listening to a presentation by Peter Gregory in talking about how our hearts must be prepared in our study of the word. Our key text was Ezra 7:10 which states, "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of he Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgments." So in order to be seeking, doing, and teaching the law of the Lord there is a very real process that must occur in our lives. Romans 6:6 and 8:6 talks about how our old man should be crucified and as a result we should die to sin. It also says how being carnally minded is death and spiritually minded is life because the carnal mind is enmity against God. Continuing in Romans 12:1,2 this is what makes it most practical in dying to the flesh and the carnal nature. I am paraphrasing it but the two main points are that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord and we must not be conformed to this world. Otherwise spiritual things are not spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14 This all sounds good and as said before many of you have heard this before but it makes it more powerful when we think of the text in John 3:3 which says, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When this is taking place all of the carnal flesh, the things of this world are taken away and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is all that is present. The illustration of the wind on how the Spirit works in our lives is powerfully illustrated "While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possesion of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the contenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God." Desire of Ages p. 173
I have also been reading a book called "Hindsight" by Dave Fiedler this is an SDA history book and as I was reading this yesterday some very interesting comments were made by Ellen White at the 1901 G.C. Session. The latter 1890's had been tough times at Battle Creek while Ellen White had been away at Australia. When she comes to these meetings she is clear that there is need for change among the leadership in our church. Here are a few excerpts in speaking to the leaders and delegates at the 1901 GC session. "The men who have woven their own human passions into life and character, who have nurtured self all the way along, are not to think that they are qualified to deal with human minds. God wants every person to begin at home, and there live the Christ-life. In the church and in every business transaction, a man will be just what he is in his home." GC Bulletin 1901 p. 23-27 Again being faithful in the little things in life. It gets more powerful when she says, "The time has come when this people are to be born again. Those that have never been born again, and those that have forgoten that they were purged from their old sins, and cannot see afar of, and have practiced their old habits of talking, prejudicing others, hindering the work, and being generally in the way of its advancement, would better be converted. God wants you to be converted, and may He help, that this work may go forward. He is a power for His people when they come into order. There must be a renovation, a reorganization; a power and strength must be brought into the committees that are necessary." Ibid.
Conversion and being born again is what we must be asking and obtaining each and every day. Putting the things of this world and being filled with the indwelling Spirit. John 3:16 became very powerful for me yesterday when it says, "and whomsoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." That is our hope of salvation, the free riches of grace once we have forsaken the world and repented and confessed our sins and experience the indwelling of the Spirit that leads us to the foot of the cross. It may well be summed up in scripture when it says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:26,27

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election

This has to be a record. I can't remember putting up two blogs within such a short period of time but for once I am not going to write about whats happening in my life but rather focus on some broader issues. I have to be honest I am pretty happy about the results from last night. It has been pretty discouraging in the last 6 years to see the dominance that has been displayed by the Republicans. I can remember that dissapointment starting when my cousin JD and I were very hopeful when Gore made a comeback and we were at his headquarters until 3 in the morning on election night. But who can forget the infamous recount of 2000 and it seems that not much has gone right for Democrats since then. That was all until last night. I am encouraged because finally the people have spoken against President Bush and notified him that the way he has "spent his political capital" has been unacceptable. I can still remember how upset I was when we went in to Iraq and it seemed as though I was in a minority then but now the whole country is screaming for change in Iraq. I have championed the Democratic party because I have felt that the right of Americans in regards to Religous Liberty and seperation of church and state are safer within this party. There are some scary forces within the Republican party particularly the religous right that would legislate any kind of morality and bring government and church into everything. I realize I have kind of gone off on a tangent but this is another point that underlines my happiness on the results of last night. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the up coming months. Maybe for once President Bush will not only have to start listening to people in Congress but more importantly the American people.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Changes

I am writing you from my very modest apartment in Montgomery, AL. I have been in this apartment for three full months which at times seems as though it has been alot longer than that. There have been definite challenges here in Montgomery since I have arrived. The biggest challenge has been the social experience. There are not many young people my age that attend the local church and as a result there has been a lot of alone time while not at work. The church has been pretty nice but it has been hard to connect with the members seeing that there are not many my age. I have definitely been very lonely here but I have tried to focus on positive things. My job has been pretty good and I have even had the opportunity to do a little bit of preaching since I have been down here. With all this being said I have just been trying to put my trust in the Lord and trust He has brought me here for a reason. This past week started as any other week has, off to a very normal start. I got a call Tuesday from the Assistant Treasurer of the Kentucky-Tennesssee Conference inquiring if I would be interested in a possible opening at my old school Highland Academy. I told him I was interested but was kind of unsure of the whole situation. I spent Wednesday fasting but never feeling completely confident of that situation. Thursday was when the bombshell hit. It started by me receiving a call from the Gulf States Conference President notifying me that I would be receiving a call from the KY-TN Conf. asking me to be an Associate Treasurer there in the Conference. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing and I was so excited I was ready to jump throught the ceiling. Sure enough that afternoon I received a call from the Treasurer of the Conference, I told him that I was interested in the position and no less than 30 minutes later I was officially offered the position. I am very excited about how the Lord has opened this opportunity for me. This is the work that I have been wanting to get in to; combining my degree from Southern along with ministry. Also, the thought of being near my family in TN is very exciting as well. I can only give thanks and praise to God in heaven for opening this door and I feel very humbled to be starting this position. One final note; Although I will be in Treasury and will be dealing lots with policies, rules, regulations, and Accounting it is important to remember that although these things are important I pray that I or you who are reading will never forget that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not just an organization or church but it is a movement. May we be preparing our hearts to be used to proclaim God's final warning to this earth in preparing a people to meet Jesus Christ.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

September Update

Just thought I would do a monthly update. Things are rolling along here in Montgomery. I have been here for two months now. I am keeping busy at the ABC still. Unfortunately our walk in traffic is quite sparse so the bulk of my work is filling orders over the phone or on the internet. We have done some food deliviries as well; two runs up to Birmingham and one route that took us down to Mobile, along the Gulf coast where we saw the damage from Katrina and then up to Bass Memorial Academy. On this note it is interesting because the Academy has undergone extensive repairs and is looking in great condition. Down in Waveland and Bay St. Louis it has been a year since the hurricane but it seems that the rebuilding process has just begun. We will be going over to Jackson, MS this week along with some other stops in MS. I am hoping that we will get the Bookmobile going soon because as good as some of those Worthington food products are I feel that our literature is more important to get out than our food. Speaking of books and literature, one advantage of working in the ABC is there is a large quanitity of books to choose from to read. I have started to read a book called "Effective Lay Preaching" by Floyd Bresee. I have just started it but it seems to be very helpful and practical for anyone that does not have experience in preaching. One quick plug in for the ABC you can check out many of the latest books and all of our products at www.adventistbookcenter.com Well, I didnt realize this blog was going to turn into a sales pitch but anyways I hope that all who are reading this have some good reading material and good books to read.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Montgomery

I am sitting here and thought I would give a brief update. I have been in Montgomery, AL now for 1 month. I am pretty happy at my job, it definitely has its rewarding aspects to it. I especially enjoy seeing good books that we have get out. For those who don't know I am doing a Business internship at the Adventist Book Center. I am keeping busy at it, working from 8 to 6. The first few weeks were very busy but thankfully this past week was kind of slow. I have adjusted to the area pretty well. Montgomery is a good size town but yet not to big. I am living in an apartment and I am furnishing it as best i can, it is still a work in progress though. I don't have a whole lot more to share but I hope all who are reading this are doing well.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back to the Blog

Well, I have to admit that I was not sure I would continue posting to this blog since it has almost been two months since my last post. Alot has happened between now and then. Currently, I am in a hotel room in Montgomery, AL. I am going to be starting my new job at the Adventist Book Center this week. Even though it is a little strange being in a new place I am excited about what is in store for the future. Since my last post I went on a trip that was one of the best experiences I have ever been a part of. I was able to go on a trip to the country of Nigeria and preach an evangelistic series for two weeks. It was an intense two weeks because we preached every night and on Sabbath we would preach twice. The opportunity to get up and preach was an awesome experience though. 21 people were baptized at the site I preached at. Seeing each and every one of those people give their lives to Jesus and make a commitment to be baptized was one of the best things I have ever seen. There are many things that I could say about this trip to Africa but it is easier to talk about it than to write about it. I hope that all who are reading this are doing well. May God continue to strenghten our faith. Take care.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wrapping up

Well, I want to wish all who are reading a Happy Sabbath on this Friday May 26. We are coming towards the end of our AFCOE session. A week from tonight will be our graduation at the Sacramento Central church. Tomorrow we have about 7 baptisms at the West Sac church and then there will be a few more baptisms the following week. It will be great to see people come into the church tomorrow after all of the decisions they have made the last few weeks. I believe that one of the main things I am taking away from AFCOE is seeing the process of starting a Bible study weeks in advance and then see how that can grow into a baptism into such a short period of time. The combination of the Holy Spirit and the truth in the Word that is presented is an unstoppable combination. There are many who we studied with that did not come through but they will have to be continued to be worked with and not given up on. I think back on the past four months and I am definitely grateful for the opportunity to have been here. I do feel more grounded in the fundamentals of our beliefs and I also feel more empowered to go out and give Bible studies which is exciting. All this being said the last couple of weeks have been intense because not only have I been focusing on AFCOE but on a big decision on going to Africa which will be a week from this coming Tuesday. Also in the past week I have been down to Loma Linda and out to Spartanburg, SC both for job interviews. So alot has been going on. I still do not know for sure where I will be after Africa and that has caused me to be somewhat apprehensive at times but I am thankful for the Lord's guiding hand and things are coming together after all of these interviews. I will try to let you all know once I know for sure where I will be going. Hopefully that will be within the next week. Do keep this in your prayers, I really appreciate it. God bless you all

Wednesday, May 03, 2006



I have never posted any photos to this blog so I thought I would do that for the first time. Here are some pictures of some of my adventures in Northern California. The second weekend we were here 3 friends and I went to the Redwood National Park and we were also able to make it to the beaches there which are beautiful because there is no one there. The last weekend of March our AFCOE class went to Yosemite and this is a picture with my a couple of my buddies. Things are going well here. We are about 10 nights into our evangelistic series. We just finished the Sabbath presentation which was a critical point in the meetings. It is exciting to see people continuing to come and making decisions for the truth in God's word. The contact I have been studying with has been coming and he was convinced on the Sabbath message but actually following through on its requirements could be a difficult step for him so I will be continuing to pray for him and working with him. We have about a month left here. Then I will be heading off to Nigeria for three weeks with part of the class to preach an evangelistic series. Right now I feel far from being prepared but I am very excited about the opportunity. I will continue to keep you all updated on the meetings here and hopefully soon I will know where I will be going after I return from Africa. I hope all who are reading this are doing well. Wishing you all the best.

Friday, April 21, 2006

First night of the meetings

Tonight I am writing after the first night of our evangelistic series conducted by Tyler Long in West Sacramento. Alot of work has been done leading up to this night and I am very happy that the meetings have begun. The past 8 weeks we have been going out twice a week trying to conduct Bible studies to lead in to these meetings. This past week we went out every day and knocked on doors inviting people to the meetings. I have to say that I am very happy tonight because one of my contacts who I have been studying with came tonight. I picked him up and took him home which gave us a good chance to talk as well. I am very happy because he has been the only consistent Bible study that I have had. We have had studies the past three weeks together. I am asking you all to pray for this man, his name is George Ransom. He says that he wants to come back tomorow night which I am very happy about but he said some of the other topics he's not sure he's really interested but I am praying he will continue to come. I can't think of any other thing more important to me right now than seeing someone come to Christ and accepting Him leading to baptism. That is my prayer right now. Things will be busy now with the meetings taking up most of our time. In other areas I am looking at future options after AFCOE. We were recently given a list of full time Bible work opportunities and I am also investigating employment opportunities in Accounting while being active in ministry. I am scheduled to have an interview in Riverside, CA at an Accounting firm coming up soon. My main focus is on AFCOE and the meetings right now though. I hope all is going well for those who are reading this. I'll continue to keep you updated.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Things are moving right along here at AFCOE as we are about to finish our 10th week. We are approaching our evangelistic meetings which will start on April 21. I am praying that some of the people I have met will be attending these meetings and the ultimate goal is giving their life to Christ and being baptized. I am praying earnestly for this. I just had a Bible study this past Sunday and it was the first one that I had in awhile because alot of the contacts are not consistent and do not keep their appointments. Please keep the meetings and the Bible study contacts in your prayers. Classes are going pretty good. My favorite teacher by far is Alan Parker. He is teaching a solid class on the book of Romans, a class on preperation for ministry, and then teaching our preaching class. My other teachers are good but sometimes questions have been coming up like in our Revelation class. Some of the information presented you have to go back and search for yourself in the Scriptures. I consider this good because we should not be spoon fed and we should come to conclusions ourselves from what the Bible says. Since we are half way through the program the time has come to start seriously considering what I will be doing when the program is finished. It is easy for me to want to try and figure this out on my own but I must yield everything to the Lord. I have some tentative options that all revolve around positions in Accounting but I want to make sure that these options have solid options available for ministry as well. I am still leaving the door open to full time ministry or full time Bible work for a period of time. I know the Lord has led me to this place and that He will continue to lead.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Southeast Youth Conference

For all those interested. The Southeast Youth Conference is happening this weekend at Southern Adventist University. I am very excited and anxious about this weekend. I have been part of the leadership team ever since the idea was started after the General Youth Conference in Ann Arbor, MI. This is our second conference and it should be very powerful. The three main sessions with Pastor Finley will be on 3ABN on Friday night, Sabbath morning, and Sabbath evening. I would ask you to keep it in your prayers as we continue to pray for the revival and reformation among the young people in this church. Things are going well at AFCOE. Learning lots of good things and I gave my second Bible study this past Sunday. Hope all is well with everyone and take care.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

6 weeks in

I have been wanting to write a more extensive post of what is going on here at AFCOE and I will try to fill you in on some of the information. To start with, I fully believe that the Lord has placed me here and I am tremendously blessed to be here. I will give you some details of the general schedule. A week at AFCOE is pretty much as follows; Sunday is our first day and we have a short class and preperation from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. then we go on outreach and knock on doors giving surveys hoping to generate Bible study interests. We are in the field until about 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday we are in class from 8:45 to 5 p.m. with an hour and half lunch break. On Thursday we are in class all morning and then we do outreach again in the afternoon. Friday we have off and Sabbath we attend the West Sacramento SDA church 3 weeks out of the month because that is where our evangelistic meetings will be held starting on April 21. The outreach portion has probably been the most challenging for me thus far. You knock on doors giving surveys and there is a lot of rejection. Although it is challenging it can be very rewarding. I have given one Bible study and I have a couple of more lined up. There needs to be alot of prayer involved and the Lord is willing to pour out his blessings while you are out there. It has been very exciting to see people who actually are interested in studying the Bible. I am anxious to see what is ahead for Bible studies because as of right now I have only given one. The classroom setting has been very good here at AFCOE. We are getting so many tools to equip us for building our relationship with the Lord and then being able to share this with others. The first couple of weeks was all about personal preperation and making sure your heart is right with the Lord and also for people you are giving Bible studies to get to their heart and find out their needs. This was done by Annie Morgan (used to be Kjaer) and it was powerful to see the needs that everyone has. She was our first guest speaker, we have also had James Rafferty come in discussing on how to study the Bible. We have had Shelly Quinn and talk about prayer and we have had Herbert Douglass come in who has given a presentation on Ellen White. Then we have our main classes taught by the main teachers. We have a studies in Revelation class with Jean Ross which has been very good. We are also taking Romans with Allen Parker and he is also teaching a class called Mission and Message and preperation for the ministry. We have a Bible doctrines class with Richard Calderon and then we have outreach classes with Ethelene Brady. We also have a preaching class and then emphasis tracks which include Lay Pastoral, Bible worker, Public Evangelism, and Youth Evangelism. I am in the Youth evangelism track which meets every Tuesday afternoon. I know this has been long but this is kind of the format of what is happpening here. It is truly a special place to be and I am thankful that the Lord has brought me here. For all those who are reading, I hope all is well with you and I hope I did not bore you with too much information. I promise that my later posts will be shorter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

AFCOE

I talked to my Mom last night and she told me that my cousin had said that I hadn't posted to this in awhile. I do not have internet access at my apartment but hopefully will be getting access soon. I am on a break right now but just wanted to let you know that things are going well. We are already in our fourth week at AFCOE. I would ask for your continued prayers as we are just beginning our outreach program and we will be starting our Bible studies pretty soon. I hope all is well with those who are reading this. I will post more when I have the internet at home.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Loma Linda

My posts are often infrequent but I have been enjoying reading other people's blogs. I find that I am reading them instead of letting people know what is going on in my blog as well. I guess it's a little to much taking and not enough giving. Anyways, since my last post a fair amount has happened. One of the major events was last Wednesday when I left Tennessee to head across the country. I drove from 11 A.M. on Wednesday to Dallas, TX and then another 12 hours on Thursday to Wilcox, AZ and then about 7 hours on Friday finally reaching Loma Linda about 3:30 Pacific Time. It was a very long trip but it was enjoyable for the most part. Thursday was probably the worst day as far as scenery goes because West Texas is long and there is not a lot to look at. I have been having a very good and productive time out in Loma Linda since arriving. It is very encouraging and inspiring to see how the Lord is working at Advent Hope here in Loma Linda, CA. Sabbath was a day that very important for me, helping me to get refocused spiritually. Peter Gregory presented a powerful message on Sabbath that addressed the doctrine of the Nicolaitenes . He addressed the dangers of New Theology and the importance of sanctification, obedience and victory in our lives. It was a thought provoking and challenging message. The people from Advent Hope also had a day of prayer and fasting which was very humbling spending all of that time in prayer. The last few days have been very relaxing. I was able to shadow Norman in the hospital and watched him give a neurological examination to a patient which was very interesting. Norm, Tim Arakawa and I have been together alot the last few days and we have had a good time. We went down the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (Which included a personal tour of Air Force One that Reagan rode)yesterday and then went into Pasadena and walked around awhile there. It is great to see what is going on in Loma Linda. Soon I will be arriving at Amazing Facts which starts on Thursday. Right now I am just very excited to be starting. I have been waiting for a long time and the time has about to come to get some important training. I hope all is well and that your week continues to go well.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The New Year

Well it is already 8 days into the New Year and things are going well. I continue to praise the Lord for the blessings that He poured out at the General Youth Conference this year. I was especially blessed by the outreach project. Seeing over 850 Bible study interests made all the stresses of 3 months of planning for this event well worth it. The Lord truly took the project under His wing and put the finishing touches on it. This past week has been good because my brother Norman and his girlfriend Joelle were at home with us. It has been very enjoyable to have them around. It is always interesting when Norm is around and one of his more memorable moments of the week was composing a song based on Romans 8:3,4. The text is powerful and so hearing the words throughout the week helped reinforce the text into my mind which was good. The problem is that the tune he came up with was absolutely awful and so it was a mixed blessing to say the least. That is just one of many laughs we had this past week. The time is coming soon for when I will be attending the Amazing Facts College of Evangelism which begins on January 26. I am excited and looking forward to the experience that will be gleaned there. I solicit those that are reading to keep this in your prayers because there is still a lot of growth that is needed in my walk with the Lord and I am anxious for this time with Him. Well, that is about the latest from Portland, TN. I wish all who are reading this all the best and the Lord's blessings.