Pastors Convene in Slovenia
to “Make God Known” Across Europe
Twelve hundred attend gathering. (Posted September 19, 2012)
BY VICTOR HULBERT, tedNEWS, reporting from Rogaška Slatina, Slovenia
ive days, countless sermons, workshops, and conversations. Has it made a difference? Are European Seventh-day Adventist Church pastors now more prepared for “making God known”?
EVANGELIST’S COUNSEL: Veteran evangelist Mark Finley speaks at the TED event. [PHOTO: TEDNEWS]
They were certainly positive about the five days of meetings, praising both the organization and the varied content of the event. In the extreme heat of the week they were also grateful for the 13,000 liters of water consumed in just the open-air tent, the kind service of the staff in 10 hotels across the complex, and the commitment of the Trans-European Division (TED) staff who went out of their way to be both welcoming and professional. The greatest thanks went to God and was expressed through the rapturous singing of the hymn “To God Be the Glory,” with the voice of Wintley Phipps bringing 1,200 ministers and their spouses to their feet.
In a moving symbol of change, and to the music of “Falling in Love With Jesus,” 20 sad-faced ministers carried placards onto the platform with signs of loss, loneliness, and sadness. Frowns then switched to smiles as the placards were turned into ones of hope, joy, and faith.
“Let’s make God known” in credible ways, TED president Bertil Wiklander challenged at the start of his address. He fully recognized that this would not be easy. The apostle Paul, he reminded ministers, described making God known as a fight—though in Ephesians 6 the armor of God is provided for the battle.
Referring to the gospel commission in Matthew 28:19, 20, Wiklander noted this was also all about “making God known.” It is part of the identity of being a Seventh-day Adventist. Even in Revelation 14, what Adventists love to call the “three angels’ messages,” he noted that the “faith of Jesus” (see verse 12) includes trust, hope, faithfulness, obedience, and loyalty.
Wiklander then quickly surveyed the book of Revelation, emphasizing that faithfulness can be challenging, dangerous, even fatal. However, success comes by keeping focused upon the central figure of the book, Jesus Christ. “Christ as the Lamb that was slaughtered is key,” he emphasized.
MAKING GOD KNOWN: “Let’s make God known” in credible ways, TED president Bertil Wiklander challenged at the start of his address, fully recognizing that this would not be easy. [PHOTO: Tor Tjeransen/TEDNEWS]
“The three angels’ messages are not some strange, weird, futuristic things from North America,” Wiklander stated. Rather, “They are messages with Christ at the center.”
“Can we do that in Europe? In secular, godless Europe?” he asked. Wiklander noted that in the midst of all the sophistication in Europe, in what many feel is “the best of all worlds,” Europeans still fear death. “Never doubt that people want what we have because we know that God has defeated death in Jesus Christ.”
Paraphrasing Matthew 25, Wiklander concluded by stating that “I was hungry for God, and you fed me. . . . I was in prison, where my only exit was eternal death and eternal silence, but you came to visit me, bringing me a way out.” The conclusion and commitment from all present was a resounding “Let’s make God known.”
There may have been 10,000 readers of the tedNEWS
dispatches, 1,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, and several hundred following the live stream, but nothing beat the spirit of a full auditorium, spontaneously joining hands and, in glorious benediction, singing, “ ‘Meet me in heaven, we’ll join hands together. . . . Praise the Lord, we all will be there.’ ”