Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year. New Decade. How Long?

How quickly the year 2009 ended. My journey in ministry since October felt like the bullet train moving through the days towards the just completed holiday season.

The North American Division Year-end meetings in early November were highlighted by the "Year of Evangelism" reports which showed a marked increase in soul-winning endeavors. (It will be telling to see the final numbers on baptisms given the surge in spending for meetings.)

Jennifer and I were blessed to be with our friend Elder Jan Kaatz for the 100th anniversary of the Burbank Church on November 21. Jan and I served together at the Simi Valley Church in
Southern California Conference and he has really taken the challenge of turning a declining congregation in a new direction of growth and mission. Nice presentations were make by local civic officials and the leadership of the Conference.

The El Monte Vietnamese Church was quite an eye-opening experience. As I preached for two services (traditional Vietnamese and a youth service in English) on December 5 the challenge and opportunity of Pastor Vinah Nguyen who has served this church for 13 years. This is truly a missionary church that is not only serving the transitioning population of Vietnamese people in Los Angeles but also the world field with a printing press ministry. I didn't need to understand the language to comprehend the wide-ranging impact of this congregation.

A highlight for these waning weeks of the year was the Ordination service which I conducted with Elder Ivan Williams on December 12. The five evangelists serving the Amazing Facts ministry that were set aside by the laying on of hands brought back happy memories of my own ordination in 1988. Preaching for the morning service at the Granite Bay church was an inspiring experience particularly because so many in the audience were folks interested in the Adventist Church or new members. At the close I gave a hand-raising appeal for committing our lives to Christ and His teachings.

The end of the decade. How long until we shall see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven? We don't know the day nor the hour but we can "work until Jesus comes." I'm thinking and praying about how 2010 can become a year of breakthroughs for Jesus in my life and yours.

God bless you in the Year to Come!