Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Structural Changes at New Hope

Why is New Hope changing its church structure? For the same reason that growing children get new clothes. As a group grows it needs to change how it operates. What works for a group of 100 people does not work for a group of 700 people. For example, Loma Linda University Church has almost 300 people on it’s church board. So it changed its structure to vote an executive committee of the church board, a smaller group that can actually function.
At New Hope we are attempting to give more power to church members by empowering more boards to make decisions for the church. Instead of everything funneling through the church board most decisions will come through the Finance, Lay Pastors, Ministries, and Volunteer Boards. We will communicate all decisions that affect the church through our web site. If the new structure is voted look for a page listing board decisions.
Please read the responsibilities of the new boards carefully. Click on http://account.churchwebworks.com/acct/12535-3933/resources/Combined_boards_March_2007.pdf

You can make comments and ask questions right here on this blog. And then plan to attend either of two town hall meetings on March 24 and April 14 where you can clarify and give input to these projected changes. The first one on March 24 will be held at Glen Gibb's home, 3812 Dustin Rd., Burtonsville, MD 20866.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Evolution and Creation

There is an ongoining debate in our society over whether the world was created in seven days or whether it took millions of years to occur.

Why don't we hear more about the assumption of uniformity as a way to understand dating issues?

It seems obvious that the laws of this earth have changed since Eden . Laws today revolve around death and the cycle from decay to life. In Eden there was no decay, no death. There was no rain until the flood. The Bible indicates that the earth is suffering under three curses, which I interpret as three times God changed fundamental laws. If that is the case there is no way that we can extrapolate back to origins with any certainty. Given today's laws millions of years are probably accurage. But if we grant that the fundamental laws have changed this would throw in question the results from today's research.

So why do we argue and try and resolve the difficulties that science brings to the debate? Let's just agree with them given their assumptions but at the same time say, "We come with a different set of assumptions therefore we will come to a different set of conclusions." It is on the level of assumptions that we should begin the debate. What do you think?

Irresistible Influence

The vision statement of New Hope says that we will be an Irresistible Influence in our community. So what does that mean. It is a great slogan but what does it mean in practice? Please give me examples, specifics, examples. I want this to be more than a slogan but an actuality.

Remember that we exist on two levels: Indifividual and Corporate. As an individual you have an influence in the market place. As a community of believers we have an influence in the community where we worship.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Inclusivness of New Hope--How Far?

Jon Paulien, the new dean of religion at Loma Linda University, published two provocative articles in Ministry magazine last year on the relevance of Adventism in this post modern world. In his ninth point he says, “I have felt for more than a decade that the Seventh-day Adventist Church faces a crisis of identity. On the one hand, we desire a relatively small, focused, doctrinally pure church with consistent standards of lifestyle. On the other hand, we believe that God wants us to go into all the world and reach out to all kinds of people. But reaching out to all kinds of people will require a flexibility and an inclusiveness that will make the first goal rather difficult to attain.
“We face a tension between exclusiveness and inclusiveness, between a focus on pure teaching and the openness of grace. If we concentrate on purity, we will become smaller and more idiosyncratic. At its extreme, such an approach would result in a community more like the Amish than the mainstream culture. But if we concentrate on ‘becoming all things to all people’ (12 Cor. 9:22,23) we may become a ‘great multitude’ that exhibits a wide variety of worship styles and standards.
“It seems to me that we have, as a group, tried to run a route down the middle, thus losing the potential benefits of either approach. Perhaps it is God’s ideal to pursue both sides of this seeming dilemma (and the Hebrew mind often said Yes to such dilemmas). But with God’s hand truly involved in the emerging postmodern condition . . . we will need to become more inclusive and open in the way that we deal with others. We may need to give greater attention to the statement of Jesus, ‘He that is not against us is for us’ (Luke 9:50; cf. Mark 9:40)” April 2006 issue of Ministry.
I think that you can tell that I lean more toward the second option than the first but what about you? Of course you have not read the two articles and they are not yet available on line although I could get them scanned in if you are interested.
How far do you see New Hope go in being inclusive and yet still Adventist?
Let me hear from you.

Young Adult Mission Trip

I just came back from Andrews University and the Center for Youth Ministry gave me a bunch of flyers regarding a fellowship-mission cruise for young adults 18-35. You may obtain all the details at www.cruisewithamission.org . Here is a summary of what it is about.

Cruise with a Mission is a one of a kind experience. Imagine the combination of an exciting vacation, a fulfilling service project, and a meaningful spiritual retreat. Cruise with a Mission is all three rolled into one amazing journey for young adults ages 18 to 35. This is the perfect opportunity to get away from the noise and confusion of everyday life and step out into a encounter with God, service, and other people.

Every part of this project is aiming for excellence - from the hundreds of cabins reserved aboard the lovely Holland America cruise ship to the growing list of service projects awaiting in Belize City, Costa Maya, and Santo Tomas De Castilla. Behind the gloss of these tourist filled cities are deep and lingering needs. Our mission is to engage those needs in a wave of service involving dozens of organizations at locations throughout the cities.

The Cruise with a Mission team is putting together a dynamite group of speakers, musicians, worship leaders, event planners, and programming experts. This is going to be a time of awsome spiritual renewal and fellowship. Young adults from all over the world are excited and getting involved.

Cruise with a Mission is a project of the Center for Youth Evangelism in cooperation with the North American Division Youth Ministries Department of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Night Exploration

As well as being the senior pastor of New Hope I am also the pastor for young adults. On the second Friday of January I hosted a group of young adults (10 of them) at my house for a light supper and a time of questions, sharing, and biblical exploration. We met at 7 p.m. and discussed non- stop until 9:30 p.m. The issues at this session centered around salvation, its assurance, and how it relates to last day events.
This is a regular feature on the second Friday of each month. The purpose is to give young adults opportunity to ask any questions they like about the Bible, life, culture, Adventism, and so on.
Our next time together is Friday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. I will be out of town but Pastor Kumar has agreed to host the discussion at my house: 1717 Priscilla Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20904. Phyllis will again host a light supper.
If there are subjects you want to talk about it would be helpful to let me know in advance so I can do some advance study. You can list the subjects here as part of this blog or just email me at jdavidnewman@gmail.com.
Come and try this out for yourself

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Preaching topics

Glen has suggested the following topics worthy of discussion:
1. Handling difficult Bible passages
2. How to read and study your Bible
3. Modern Bible Translations and the KJV
4. What is the Born Again experience?
5. Exploring the SDA 28 Fundamentals (or one of them)
6. Theology 101: What is Arminian-Weslyan Theology and What is Reformed-Calvinism Theology
7. How does the General Conference work and how do we effect decisions and policies of the world church?

Some topics are best left for a small group study and others for a large group such as in the worship service.

Here is my first question: What subjects would you like me to preach on? They could be as narrow as one specific topic such as What happens when you die to broader topics such as Living free from Anxiety or How can I know the future? or How do I know when God is speaking to me? Remember it is hard to go into depth in a sermon because worship is basically for praising God and being inspired to go back to the work place all pumped up, hence the need for stories in the sermons. But I could run a week night series that focused more on teaching certain things such as some of the items of Glen's list.

Please let me know.