House Churches: Congregations of Earth’s Final Generation?

A guest post from Dr. Milton Adams, director of Simple Church Global Network.

MiltonAdamsPost

1911 – Ellen White – Prediction
  • “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word.”  (Great Controversy, p. 464, italics supplied.)
1965 – Billy Graham – Warning
  • “Multitudes of Christians within the church are moving toward the point where they may reject the institution that we call the church. They are beginning to turn to more simplified forms of worship. They are hungry for a personal and vital experience with Jesus Christ. They want a heartwarming personal faith. Unless the church quickly recovers its authoritative Biblical message, we may witness the spectacle of millions of Christians going outside the institutional church to find spiritual food.”  (http://www.ccel.us/worldaflame.ch8.html, p. 86. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.)
2005 – George Barna – 20 Million
  • “I want to show you what our research has uncovered regarding a growing sub-nation of people, already well over 20 million strong, who are what we call Revolutionaries.”  They are people who are walking away form the local church—to go find God.  (Revolution, p. 14, 39, 64-65, 103.)
2015 – Josh Packard – 104 Million
  • The dechurched represents 33 percent (104 million) of the American population who have walked away from conventional churches—to go find God.  Furthermore, these people, characterized as decurched, the “Nones and Dones,” are the fastest growing segment of the population (p. 20).
  • “As our society approaches a post-institutional area, it’s entirely possible that the near monopoly that the church has enjoyed over faithful expressions of religious connections may be coming to an end.  The activities of the dechurched may be ushering in a new understanding of what religious activity means.  If this trend continues, it will fundamentally reshape the way Americans experience organized religion.”  (Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith, p. 69.)

Summarizing

  • Let’s not assume that ​those who respond to new truth from the Bible will continue worshiping in traditional church buildings–just on a different day of the week. Statistics already show a growing group of people who are leaving their churches to gather informally, often in house churches, as they search for God.​
  • Simple Church Bible Study Guides (6 vols.) are included in every Logos SDA base package. Click here for information. The study guide set is also available here as a standalone purchase. Both options make immediate downloading possible.

MiltonAdams

Visit www.SimpleChurchAtHome.com for more information about a global network of house churches that provides online training, coaching, resources, and networking among house churches.  Director Milton Adams (DMin, Church Growth, Andrews University) won an award for his dissertation. He and his family live in Linden, Tennessee.

Died on this date: the man who gave us the first English Bible

Myles_CoverdaleMiles Coverdale (b.1488 – d. January 20, 1569)
Coverdale, a 16th century reformer, became an ordained priest in 1514, in the house of the Augustinian friars at Cambridge where, under the influence of the prior, Robert Barnes, he belonged to a circle that met privately to study the Bible and Luther’s works and became an enthusiast for ecclesiastical reform.

After preaching against confession and images, he was forced [click here to continue reading].

Shalom Is the Spirit of Christmas

BlogXmasAs we scramble in and out of stores for holiday shopping, Salvation Army volunteers stand beside their red donation kettles, patiently ringing their bells. They invite us to remember those who shiver outside the circle of sharing. Many pastors answer that invitation by partnering with the Salvation Army, conducting funerals for homeless men and women without church or family.

During my last pastorate, I conducted one such funeral for a man named Scottie. With his drinking buddies scattered throughout the sanctuary, I eulogized Scottie’s life as of infinite value to God and to us all—no matter what his struggles and setbacks. Suddenly like a shout from hell, drunken hollering interrupted my tribute.

Click here for the rest of the story on the Logos Talk blog

Download Logos SDA Gold & Platinum Now

Blog Header_630x200Get your custom discount today on Logos SDA Gold and Platinum base packages!

Logos “dynamic pricing” gives you credit for all resources that you already own when you get a base package. Here are a few of the highlight resources in both Logos 6 SDA Gold and Platinumnow available at reduced cost through your custom discount:

Additionally, in both SDA Gold and Platinum you’ll get:

Exclusive content in SDA Platinum expands your library with 400 additional resources, including The Journal of the Adventist Theological Society (24-year archives, 1990-2013) and Hope for the Heart Biblical Counseling Library (102 volumes by June Hunt).

What an opportunity to supercharge your sermon preparation and personal Bible study! SDA Gold gives you 1,364 digital resources, and with SDA Platinum you get 1,766 volumes–exquisitely searchable in the Logos interlinked “ecosystem.”

Click here to discover your custom discount on Logos 6 Gold and Platinum and revolutionize your Bible study!

Logos SDA Mobile Ed: Jon Paulien’s Eschatology Bundle

The first Logos SDA Mobile Ed bundle features Dr. Jon Paulien

MobileEdJonPaulienCourse

In these courses, Dr. Jon Paulien of Loma Linda University explains how Old Testament and New Testament authors thought about the end times, providing a comprehensive and compelling explanation of the Book of Revelation and what it means for your life.If you want fresh insight for your own prophetic outreach to educated people in your community, this may be for you too.

Click here for full information.

Mother rescues babies from drowning

motherduck-1On a lunch break walk beside a river near Faithlife headquarters, I wasn’t expecting life-and-death drama.

A mother duck floated downstream with her dozen babies when they approached rapids. The swollen yet calm river suddenly became so dangerous that even a human could drown in its raging current. Mother duck managed to herd her brood onto a rock. Chirping feathered puffballs—so tiny that all 12 could have fit inside a supermarket egg container—huddled around their mother. She desperately circled atop their drenched perch, looking for a path of escape.

There’s no way they’ll all survive this situation, I thought. Certainly some ducklings would be swept away to drown.

I dared not risk my own death attempting to save them, and there was no time to phone animal control. I could only watch as the courageous mother plunged into a foaming nook between logs and summoned her chicks to follow. One by one they jumped off the rock, and she guided them to another rock closer to shore. Step by step they migrated from one mossy rock to the next, defying the treacherous current.

I watched in fascinated admiration. Maybe they all will make it!

Suddenly a new crisis arose. A large black bird swooped low to menace the helpless brood. Mother duck rose to the challenge by quacking furiously at the predator, scaring it away.

One last rock remained before she finally shepherded her little ones to shore. Drenched but safe, all survived! I counted 12 little ducklings scrambling up the sloping riverbank beside their courageous savior.

I found myself clapping and cheering as mother duck marched victoriously forward with her brood. She had not abandoned them in their crisis to save herself. She could have stretched her strong wings and flown herself to safety, above the deadly current. But mother’s love is not like that.

Just like God’s love. “Fear not,” He says, “for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you” (Isaiah 43:1 – 2/NKJV).

Maternal love is a gift of God that we celebrate on Mother’s Day. Grateful humans of all ages say thank you to mothers who bring us into the world and nurture us sacrificially through life’s dangerous rapids.

The mother duck who became my hero had nobody and no resources to help her, but human mothers shouldn’t have to struggle alone. There is no duty more sacred for any church than to support the mothers among its members.

Here at Faithlife, we take seriously our responsibility to mothers. We are broadening our line of digital products and services to benefit women of all ages. Logos SDA offers several such resources, among them Women in the Shadows, featuring the inspiring testimony and enlightening research of Renee McKee, a pastor’s wife. Click here to learn more about this pre-publication special, which you can preorder now at discount.

Another resource, downloadable immediately, is Lifting Up Jesus (in Spanish, Exaltando a Jesús), a series of 30 study guides from Pastor Karen Lewis. Actually, it’s popular among men as well! Many spiritual seekers have requested baptism after journeying through it week by week, and veteran Adventists have rediscovered Jesus in our doctrines as Karen presents them.

Happy Mother’s Day from Faithlife SDA!

LiftingUpJesusWomenShadowsExaltingLiftingSpanish

Why is the Sabbath valuable? Watch this on Faithlife Today.

Josberger“I saw something in studying the Sabbath about the character of God that I had never seen before,” said Dr. Rebekah Josberger during a recent Internet telecast of Faithlife Today. Josberger speaks with such insight and passion for the Sabbath that at first I thought she must be a Seventh-day Adventist.

Josberger shared from her research as well as personal experience regarding the Sabbath.

Here are several of her observations:

  • Important as my work is to me, I need the Sabbath to remind me that the world doesn’t revolve around me.
  • Leaving all work responsibilities in God’s care on Sabbath is a refreshing act of trust.
  • Being a God of rest, He graciously welcomes us into rest every week.

Indeed I was thrilled to hear Dr. Josberger say all that—but then came a letdown when she applied all those Sabbath-keeping principles to Sunday. Not dogmatically but in the context of what the Sabbath means to her personally. Although SDAs obviously can’t agree with her timing of the Sabbath, perhaps we can all enjoy her invigorating talks about how the day can be kept.

You can click here to enjoy her insights on Faithlife’s new daily video series.

One pleasant surprise for me is that the Andrews University Press Sabbath Studies Collection is featured on the Faithlife Today page, inviting all Logos customers to purchase it. Scroll down on that Faithlife Today page and you’ll see it! Or just click here. If you don’t already own that three-volume set, you can download it today.

Another option to own the Sabbath Studies Collection from AUP is to get it at a steep discount as part of the SDA Silver base package. SabbathStudiesAUPpixClick here to learn about all the exciting Adventist resources in SDA Silver (including the entire Lifeworks of Ellen G. White).

“He Saved Others” (and He Saved Me!)

 

Millions of Christians around the world are worshiping their Lord with particular passion this weekend. The world with its Easter bunnies HeSavedOthers-2thinks we are strange. Stupid, in fact—how could the death of a poor carpenter 2,000 years ago give joy and purpose to our lives today while securing an eternity for us in heaven?

To the world, the nicest thing to be said about Christ on the cross is that He was a very good man having a very bad day. But we who believe in Jesus understand what was happening on Good Friday: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting our trespasses against us” (2 Cor. 5:19).

Like many of you, this weekend I’m reading again the Gospel account of our Lord’s death and resurrection. Each time something new seems to pop into focus, doesn’t it? I’m captured by the irony of a taunt from Christ’s enemies as He hung on the cross (Luke 23:35): “… The rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’”

“He saved others?” He sure did! He saved me!

Overwhelmed with a fresh grasp of Christ’s loving sacrifice, I found myself laughing and crying at the same time. This unanticipated emotion was a little too intense for my laconic cat resting on my lap. She jumped off and took refuge on top of the couch. From that safe vantage point she stared at me as if I’m out of my mind.

That’s OK, cat. Paul the apostle confessed that “we are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Cor. 4:10). But the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

Glory to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!  (If that’s not the purpose of your life, take heart—He can save you too!)

 

Free videos to learn Logos with the new Sabbath School lessons on Luke

You can learn to use Logos while studying the new Sabbath School lessons on Luke’s Gospel. ReimarVetne

Logos SDA is excited that Dr. Reimar Vetne, professor of New Testament at Montemorelos University, is producing a series of 13 free video tutorials showing how Logos Bible software enhances your study of Sabbath School lessons. Specific content is the second quarter’s lessons on Luke.

The first two videos are available now, via YouTube:

The first two videos are 40 and 20 minutes long, teaching foundational features that will equip you to benefit from Logos software. Dr. Vetne says that succeeding weekly videos will last seven – 10 minutes. I believe you will enjoy how he walks you through using your Logos SDA software in studying and preparing Sabbath School lesson material this quarter. If you subscribe on those YouTube channel links, you will get alerts whenever he posts a new weekly video.

Dr. Vetne is a passionate user and promoter of Logos SDA software. He says: “I teach at a university with a limited library, but in Logos I have almost all the theological resources I need. In my view Logos is the best electronic book platform for biblical studies.”

Two Great SDA Deals (for under $3) in Logos Easter Promotion

Get two great SDA books, each for less than $3 during Logos’ Easter Sale. Also surprise your friends! Just call 1-800-875-6467 with their names & emails to get them a gift they can read today with a free Logos app.

LaRondelleWhatChristDoes

Christ Our Salvation: What God Does for Us and in Us, 107 pages @ $2.97.

Dr. Hans LaRondelle reviews essentials of the Gospel that divide Christianity—and Seventh-day Adventism too. He brings grace-based vigor and intellectual rigor into harmonizing the work of Christ for us 2,000 years and His work in us by His Spirit, with explanations of election, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, glorification, and more. (Included in all SDA base packages.)

 

Persuasive Influence without Undue Pressure, 81 pages @ $2.96.  

ColonPersuasiveInfluence

SDA outreach specialist Jac Colón (friend of the late Dr. LaRondelle) shares a lifetime of soul-winning wisdom in this concise and practical guide to evangelism, both public and personal. He explains how to share your faith without manipulation or aggravation, striking a balance between passivity and pressure. He covers the fundamentals of communication, emotional appeals, and establishing rapport, and he cites examples from Scripture as applicable today. (Included in Bronze and Silver SDA base packages.)