A Partnership in Ministry

by Rob Appel Executive Director     “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10   When we think about the Great Commission, many of us feel overwhelmed. We might think to ourselves, “What can I do?” Do you ever feel like that — like giving up; like quitting before you even get started?   Maybe a better question than, “What can I do?” would be, “What can WE do?”   “We work together as partners who belong to God.” —1 Corinthians 3:9a God created each of us for a purpose. God gifted us with certain abilities, unique to us alone. And we can, and should, use these gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ. God is all sufficient and He doesn’t need us for His fulfillment— but God does want us to become His partner in ministry! God gives gifts to all Christ followers. God does not measure our success in life by our titles or positions or accomplishments, but by how well we use the gifts He has gifted us with. We need to give permission and encouragement to people so they use their God given gifts in ministry. Whatever your gift is, don’t bury it. Jesus told the parable of the talents to illustrate the importance of using what God has given you. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told about a Master giving three of his servants money to invest for him while he was gone on a trip. He gave one servant five talents, the second two talents, and the third one talent. The servant with five talents doubled the money, the servant with two talents doubled the money, but the third dug a hole in the ground and buried his talent. When the master returned he praised the five-talent and two-talent servants for being good and faithful. The one-talent servant who buried his talent was condemned as being lazy and gave his one talent to the servant who had doubled his five talents to ten. As Christ followers we each have a choice to make. We either choose to live a...

Things You Need To Know About the SDB Conference

by Rob Appel Executive Director   Retrospect – ret•ro•spect – noun – a survey or review of a past course of events or period of time. It is hard to believe, but I have had the honor of serving and representing Seventh Day Baptists for over thirteen years! Time flies when you are having a good time! This causes me to look back over the years to see what we have done together, and the first thing I came across was this: The Challenge. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Back in November 2004, I wrote in the Sabbath Recorder about a challenge that we all needed to embrace. That challenge was to have a new vision about our churches. I wrote, “The challenge was made to all Seventh Day Baptists to look to a new vision to work together to establish twenty new churches and increase in another twenty of our established churches over the next fifteen years; Vision 2020!” So, how have we done in less than 13 years? We have added exactly fourteen churches. 2005 — SDB Church of Ft. Lauderdale — Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2007 — SDB Church of Southeast Atlanta — McDonough, GA 2007 — SDB Christian Church – Silver Spring, MD 2007 — All Nations Church — Grand Rapids, MI 2007 — Central Washington SDB Church — Yakima, WA 2009 — Agape SDB Church of Christ — St. Albans, NY 2009 — Faith SDB Church – Bronx, NY 2013 — Maranatha Community — Colton, CA 2014 — Bradenton (now Union Station at Dunedin) — Dunedin, FL 2014 — German SDB Church – New Enterprise, PA 2015 — Agape SDB of the South — Orlando, FL 2015 — SDB Church of West Palm Beach — West Palm Beach, FL 2015 — Full Gospel SDB Church — Cumberland, MD 2015 — Remembrance SDB Church – Fort Worth, TX And we have three joining this year! Redemption Evangelical Fellowship Church — Riverside, CA Edgewater SDB Church – Oak Hill, FL Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — San Sebastian, Puerto Rico That makes a total of...

Things You Need To Know About Conference 2017

by Rob Appel, Executive Director Conference 2017 is but a few months away! Over the past few years, many people have said, “When are we going to have Conference in Southern California again?” Well here it is! However, there are some things that you need to know before you attend. It has not been easy in finding a suitable location for Conference in Southern California. I looked at a number of locations: one university was too high in cost; another college did not have the dates that we needed; and another location was having too many other events going on simultaneously with our event. At first Azusa Pacific University (APU) was not an option due to the dates. They were off my radar. But I emailed them a few months later and something had changed. I am not sure exactly what, but the dates we wanted were available. God works in great ways! Now having said this, you need to know that things are more expensive here in California. Our taxes are higher, our gas is higher, minimum wage is higher — therefore, everything costs a little bit more. So, Conference will be more this year because of that. Sorry — but it cannot be helped if we are going to hold our event here. Even with the costs being higher than most years, please understand that the people we (host committee and myself) worked with were very helpful in trying to keep costs down. I will not mention any names (Tim and Chad J), but our contacts tried their best to accommodate us and our needs. But back to the costs, you have options to keep them down. First of all let’s start with the cost of a bed. All adults who stay in a dorm room have to pay the full cost. But, each child under 11 years of age can sleep on the floor for free (with a paying adult in the same room). You have a choice of hotels in the area. A family of four can stay in a room and have breakfast included in the cost. Stardust Hotel 0.7 Mile away from APU — (626) 334-0251 Garden Inn...

Life Lessons I’ve Learned (Part 2)

by Rob Appel Executive Director Last month I wrote the top ten things I learned while in my current position. I’ve been in this job now for the past twelve and a half years. So, what have I learned? Please check out 11-22. 11. We are in this world, but not a part of it. Too many of our churches are starting to behave in ways that reflect this world, the society they are in, and the culture around them. This disturbs me. Rather than reflect a God that doesn’t change and is compassionate, we are acting like our politicians, talking trash to people we love, forgetting to forgive but rather planning on how we are going to retaliate, posting pictures on social media that show us in situations that we wouldn’t want our mothers to see. This has got to stop! We are to reflect Christ! 12. Don’t compare yourself or try to be someone else. I came into this job not knowing what it entailed, or even why God would put me here. After all, I am not a pastor, and except K.D. Hurley (a man I admired a lot) there had been a string of them in this position. There’s always someone out there who is smarter, who has better relationships, who has more influence. Comparing yourself or trying to be someone else is a game you’ll never win. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” 13. If you’re passionate, you’ll prioritize. I am watching our younger Directors taking on more and more ministry opportunities. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you want something done, ask a busy man.” This is absolutely true! These passionate Directors are making things happen! Maybe too fast for some of you, but things are getting done! 14. When is something really an issue? People like to talk. People like to vent. Sometimes people just need someone to really listen to them. They are not looking for a fix. They don’t want you to solve their problem. They just want you to listen and care — and then you need to let it go. If it is a real issue you should deal with,...

Life Lessons I’ve Learned (Part 1)

by Rob Appel   Thirteen years ago this month the Transition Team, selected by the General Council, asked me to interview for the position of the Executive Director of the SDB Conference of USA & Canada. I couldn’t believe that they would want to talk to me — why me? I was involved in the Golf Industry for the past 20 years! What could I bring to the table? And I know that there were others out there who thought just like I did. Now I have been in this job for the past twelve and a half years. So, what have I learned? Please allow me to share: 1. You don’t know what you don’t know. You cannot speak on something you don’t know about. I had to learn the real culture of Seventh Day Baptists. If I didn’t, how could I speak into it? 2. Don’t let little things get to you. Does it really matter who said to do something first? You might get the acclaim you were seeking and loose the teamwork you were building. Don’t sweat the small stuff because little things don’t matter. 3. Patience is a virtue! I don’t know where all of my patience came from when I started this job (Yes, I really do know where it came from but wasn’t expecting it). Even my wife commented on how patient I had become, especially when something happened that I had every right to go berserk about. (I believe this is the first time I ever used the word “berserk” in an article). Patience has paid off in so many circumstances. 4. Working hard doesn’t always mean working smart. Just because you might work 12-16 hours a day does not mean you’re being effective. You can be more effective by working and serving smarter. Then you have more time for other ministry areas. 5. Taking care of you first is a must! I know there might be those out there who would say you are not serving correctly if you take care of your- self first. But that is not the case! You cannot help others in their role if you are sick, tired, and worn...

Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Jan 23, 2017

By: Pastors Joel and Judith Houts Part 1 is in the January Sabbath Recorder The Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia has asked for membership in the Conference. This is a hope to let you get to know them better. As we tried reaching new people, our people were being harassed by others. One gentleman stopped coming as a result and joined another church. He met with me in private and told me he was afraid. Shortly after this happened, a family of five that had accepted the Lord and been baptized moved to the United States looking for a better life. That left our church with zero active members! Joel traveled back and forth from the USA as work allowed helping Ruth and me in the ministry. For one full year I preached to very few. Nevertheless, the Lord began bringing people to church and leaders began emerging. In the midst of all this, my mother’s health worsened and in 2014 she passed away. Through all this, we were certain of the mission and that God had called us. We had relocated from our old house to another house down the road. But when the original family left and moved to the United States, we had to relocate again. We found an apartment to rent, and moved there, but it seemed as if no one found us. The roof leaked and the landlord refused to fix it. After a year of preaching to no one (or so it was thought), one of the local drunks came into the church carrying a machete. He told us he came from what was supposed to be a duel (the other man did not show up). Ruth began serving him several cups of coffee. I prayed for him and he was healed from alcohol. He became our new member. He told us later on that the services could be heard outside the church and many people gathered on the balcony above to listen to the music and hear the Word — leaving as soon as the final prayer ended. We didn’t know that our next door neighbor, Maritza Figueroa, had been sitting near her bedroom window...