by Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
I still remember the time my parents purchased their first brand new car. Previously they had purchased used cars to save money.
One day, however, my father came driving home in a brand-new car. It had that new car smell and shiny new paint. The best part from my childhood view was the little loops by the back seats that you could hold onto while you were driving and going around corners. I loved those handholds.
One day, however, we were back to driving a different car. A used car again. At the time I didn’t know what had happened to the other car. It just disappeared.
Later I remember hearing my father talk about that car and why we only had it for less than 6 months. He told his friends that it was a lemon. Now I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I just knew that somehow being a lemon of a car was not a good thing.
Much later I learned that being a lemon meant that it looked good and seemed like it was a good thing but that too many things were going wrong with the car and it wasn’t worth keeping it. It was many years until my parents ventured into the new car market again.
I frankly like lemons. The fruit that is.
I love the flavor of a freshly squeezed lemon in a glass of water. I like the flavor of freshly squeezed lemon on salad or your favorite Asian dish. I love lemonade. And who can turn down a slice of lemon pie or lemon muffins?
There is so much that you can do with a lemon.
In fact, I am currently trying to grow my own indoor lemon tree. Rarely, however, do I just squeeze lemon juice into my mouth and swallow. We have all learned that if we are given lemons that we add something to it and make something good. We take lemons and make lemonade so to speak.
Sometimes life gives us experiences that frankly are bad, awful, hurtful and shake us. We face all sorts of things in this world. Sometimes the church faces tough times as well. The last few years have certainly been some of those times.
We can choose to be soured on the tough things or we can make lemonade.
In Duet. 1:6,7 it says: “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey. . . “
The Israelites had faced some really tough times as a people. Some of it they brought on themselves, and some came from external forces. Either way at the time when that verse was written they could truly say as a people that they had been through some tough times.
But God said it is time to move on.
It is time to stop camping here and move into the territory that I have called you to go. It is time to ADVANCE. Move out and go into the entire land that I have called you to go. In other words, make lemonade. Don’t just stay in that same place. Pick up and move to the places that I have called you to go.
Here in the Washington Conference, it is also time for us to ADVANCE.
We have many churches that are still working to rebuild attendance, fellowship and mission. We can’t keep hiding behind Covid as a reason for what is happening.
Instead, we still have a mission field that God has called us to go out into that mission field around our churches and share Jesus. We have a prayer goal that every church return to being a growing church and that every church sees their baptistry filled up at least once this year.
Did you know that with an average of just over 8 baptisms per church we could reach a goal of 1,000 baptisms in one year? This has never been done in this conference.
Will you join me in praying and working for every church to be a growing church this year? Will you join me in praying that every church see a baptism this year? Will you join me in praying for at least 1,000 people to join the Adventist church this year in this conference?