Jesus Changes Lives With 'Secrets of Hope'
“Come on this whirlwind tour of the Holy Land and the Bible! Learn from the past. Live with hope for the future.” We were excited to invite our community to the Secrets of Hope evangelistic seminar at Port Orchard (Wash.) Church in October 2018.
Three months earlier, I had toured the Holy Land with a group of pastors from the Washington Conference. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus was powerful experience for me personally. I took as many pictures and notes as I could. My goal was to create an evangelistic series based on the places, pictures and stories of Israel I had experienced that could teach the major beliefs of Scripture and the Adventist message.
God brought the series together in a beautiful way. People were fascinated by the pictures of archaeological sites in Israel, intrigued by the stories and transformed by the Bible truths connected to them.
Zach had first connected with our church when he had some dental work done at the AMEN (Adventist Medical Evangelism Network) Free Health Clinic we hosted for our community in August. An avid history lover, he was excited to attend the Secrets of Hope seminar when he received the advertising postcard in the mail. He loved what he was learning, and God was working in his life.
After the message one evening Zach asked to speak with me privately. He was convicted he wanted to give up smoking marijuana. He had started at age 18, and it had been a major part of his life for almost a decade. We prayed together and claimed Jesus’ promises. He got rid of his marijuana pipes. Jesus gave him the victory. At the end of the seminar, he was baptized into a new life in Christ and a new church family.
One night I presented about the blessing of the Sabbath and the attempts of others to cover it up. Afterward Cindiann shared with me about how she had grown up Seventh-day Adventist. At age 17, both of her parents were killed by a drunk driver in a car accident. That event totally shook her life and her faith. She left God and the church for many years. When she was finally ready to back to church with her young children, she began attending a nondenominational church in our area as well as our Seventh-day Adventist church from time to time.
“God has really been convicting me to follow His truth. I have known all along, but now I am ready to follow completely,” Cindiann explained to me. Cindiann decided to rededicate her life to Christ through rebaptism. It was beautiful to watch Cindiann’s young children stand up front next to the baptistry with huge grins as they watched Mommy take a stand for Jesus and His truth.
Rod and Anna had first attended part of a prophecy seminar at our church about five years (and two pastors) earlier. God brought them back to our church for a Creation Seminar with Stan Hudson last spring. We developed a friendship, and they began attending church sometimes. Because our church does two evangelistic seminars every year, Rod and Anna didn’t have to wait long before having another chance to further discover the beauty of God’s character as revealed through the Adventist message.
The pair came to virtually every night of the Secrets of Hope seminar and embraced the truths they were learning. Their lives were changed. They began sharing the exciting things they were learning with other friends and family. We had the joy of welcoming them into our church family by profession of faith.
Katelynn and her husband visited our church for the first time only a couple months before the seminar. It was Katelynn’s first time ever in an Adventist church. She quickly got connected with our young adult group and began making friends. When we asked for volunteers to help with the children’s program for the upcoming seminar, Katelynn signed up. Although she was busy helping with the kids during the presentations, I invited her to take the Bible School Study Guides home each night after the seminar and check them out.
She did. By the end of the seminar, Katelynn had embraced the Bible truths from the lessons and was ready to get baptized.
When Katelynn called her grandma and told her she was becoming a Seventh-day Adventist, her grandma said, “Wonderful! Seventh-day Adventists are some of the nicest people I have ever met!” Now Katelynn is actively involved in our young adult group and leading others to discover the truths in Jesus she has found.
Tom was the executive director of facilities and operations for the local school district. God had miraculously put us in contact with Tom when our church was planning an AMEN Free Health Clinic last August. God used Tom to work out getting the AMEN clinic into an elementary school when our previous venue plans fell apart. We had the privilege of serving more than 350 people in our community with free medical, dental and vision care, physical therapy, lifestyle coaching, and chaplaincy.
Tom and his wife, Barbara, had been drifting spiritually and were not connected with any church. Tom was touched by what he saw at the AMEN clinic. He and his wife began attending our church and came to the Secrets of Hope seminar. God was answering their questions and drawing them with His love.
“I always wondered how the dead could be in heaven when the Bible says, ‘The dead in Christ shall rise.’ This has helped me connect the Bible verses to see it all clearly,” Tom shared. Barbara was stunned to hear God will not torture sinners in hell forever, like she had always heard. She was relieved to hear God does everything He can to reach the lost. For those who still choose to reject Him, Jesus will allow them to cease to exist in the end.
Tom and Barbara’s lives were changed. We celebrated with all heaven as they were baptized and became part of our church family. Now God is using them to host a Bible study group in their home and invite some friends from the church and community.
Jesus is changing lives all around us: “The harvest is plentiful …” (Luke 10:2). We praise God for what He has done here in Port Orchard. It is thrilling to be a part of His mission. May He continue to use all of us to invite others to experience His Secrets of Hope.
Watch the Secrets of Hope seminar presentations at www.portorchardsda.org/secretsofhope.