Elder Finley, you are a pastor, evangelist, church planter, author of numerous books and served as the Vice President of Evangelism for the General Conference. You have led thousands to Christ. What keeps you going?
I think it’s my own personal relationship with Jesus, that’s one thing. But the bible says “they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be worried, they will walk and not faint.” I think anytime we do service for Christ everything we do is based on who we are – being is more important for me than doing. So, one of the things that keeps me going is the fact that Jesus lives in my life, fills my heart, gives me strength. The second thing is that I love what I do. I am passionate about it.
The thing that keeps me going is the fact Jesus lives in my life, fills my heart, gives me strength.
I think if you love what you do, what you do is not drudgery but it’s rather renewing to your energy. And I think the third thing is, that I am commited to the Adventist message. I believe that God has raised up the Adventist church and that we do have something to say to the world. If you look at your work in ministry as an occupation, that you’re just employed to get money to do, then you lose energy for it quickly.
“Revival and Reformation”, those are words we hear a lot from the General Conference. Why is the GC putting such a big emphasis on this topic?
Because the bible does. The Bible talks about spiritual renewal. What is a revival? It’s the rekindling of your spiritual life of the soul. What about a reformation? A reformation is the reordering of your life and has to do with spiritual growth, with sanctification, with holiness. And Seventh-Day Adventists believe that just before the coming of Jesus there will be a mighty revival, a mighty reformation and that that will prepare the way for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Revival is the rekindling of your spiritual life. Reformation is the reordering of your life.
We don’t seek revival for revival’s sake. We believe the Spirit is here today, He has always been with the church, but before the coming of Jesus there will be a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit and that’s what we seek in revival for the finishing of God’s work on earth.
Can true revival really be “produced” by a program? What is true revival? How does one get it?
True revival can’t be produced by a program. But programs can help people to pave the way for revival. True revival is produced by the Holy Spirit. So revival comes really in three ways. One, as we seek God in prayer. Two, as we actively study God’s word. But even if you pray and study the bible you may not have true revival!
If revival doesn’t lead to witnessing, something is wrong.
The Pharisees prayed and studied the bible and they cruzified Jesus. The third is service and witness. So, all prayer and all bible-study opens our hearts to be filled with the Living Christ and His Holy Spirit, so that we can participate in witnessing and service. If revival doesn’t lead to witnessing, something is wrong. If reformation leads to an inward kind of holiness or an inward desire to be holy, and it leads me to be critical and separate from others, something is wrong. So, bible-study, prayer and service lead to true revival.
Is Revival something “new”?
Revival is the ongoing work of the church in every generation. Revival is not something new. It’s not a program, it’s a way of life. The bible says “His mercies are new every morning” in the book of lamentations. So we seek revival daily as each great biblical individual did through history.
You are constantly “on the run” for God. How do you stay focused? How can you uphold a personal relationship with Jesus?
I think you have to put priority on it. You have to take advantage of opportunities to read the Bible, to study, to pray. And I think I have the same battles, same struggles as others do to keep that focus. I think also health is an important thing. For me personally to try to get daily exercise and to try to eat a healthful diet and to try to get adequate sleep. And although I am on the road I try to be quite conscious of my health and I think if you are, your mind is clearer to receive guidance and directions of the Holy Spirit.
What is your vision for the Adventist youth?
My vision for the youth would be that they know Jesus Christ, that they share Jesus. That they know and share the Adventist message, that they really know scripture and are passionate about sharing it with others. The youth has tremendous potential. One thing that I noticed about youth is they don’t want a shallow, superficial Christianity.
My vision for the youth would be that they know Jesus Christ, that they share Jesus.
They want something that’s genuine, they want something that’s real. They don’t want something that’s make-believe. And I really pray to God that our youth will see in Adventism a genuine message that can reach people for this hour of world’s history and they’d be so passionate about Jesus that they will long to share Him with others.
You have been in the ministry since a few decades now, does God still surprise you sometimes?
Oh, God surprises me regularly. I just had an evangelistic meeting in Alabama. I met a business lady, actually from Germany in the parking lot of the church and she had just driven up to the church. She was looking for answers to questions – she was eventually baptized. I met another couple, that came across Hope Channel on TV. They were baptized. Met another person who found on the ground a little advertisement for a bible-study and they were baptized. That surprises me. When a person finds a bible-study advertisement on the ground, when I meet somebody in the parking lot, when somebody is flipping the dial of the TV, pushing the remote. So I would say, every day I live, God gives me some surprise.
Thank you for the interview!
This interview was originally published in ‘Salvation & Service’, Summer 2012 issue.
What needs to happen?
What needs to happen?
Seventh-day Adventists are in need of real revival, real reformation and real change.
If we want the mighty light of truth to shine throughout the world and as many people as possible to be saved and ready for Jesus to come, this is vital.
But, what needs to happen?
We are called to be a group of people who have heard and answered Jesus’ commission to go beyond mere church attendance. It should be the shared dream of all of us to see God’s remnant church united in mission across borders, cultures and age-differences.
What if all of us would sacrifice, give, work, invest, speak, listen, think, write, sing and love even more? Continually, with the sole purpose of furthering the divine commission?
Isn’t it time to leave this self-destructive planet and be with the one we claim to love – Jesus Christ?
So, … what needs to happen?
It is not my intention to speak negatively about God’s church.
We are all in this boat together. Nobody is better or ‘more saved’ than the other.
However, it is no secret that we are struggling. Struggling with experiencing personal and corporate revival, identity and success in evangelism.
Through prophecy God has given the church of today a stern but hopeful message. It is found in Revelation 3:14-22. (Study it!) I am convinced that the advice and reproof that Jesus gives here has vital implications for you and me today and contains the solution to our issues.
The Divine Physician’s diagnosis of us is alarming:
“wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (v.17).
Jesus is concerned for us, … because we aren’t!
Shouldn’t this be a wake up call for you and me?
Thankfully Jesus provides the medication as well.
He is calling us to obtain three things from Him (v.18):
- “Refined gold” – a pure, undefiled faith
- “White garments” – Jesus’ robe of righteousness
- “Eye salve” – the ability to see reality from God’s perspective
Jesus goes on and explains how we can obtain these things (v.19-22):
By zealous repentance, inviting Him into our existence and living out a victorious life.
All of it comes through and by faith in Him, radical trust, and a complete and full surrender.
Revival, the latter rain, world-evangelism, a healthy and active local church, it all starts with each and every one of us! You and I, we need to be intimately connected with Jesus, we need to understand our identity and calling and then arise and shine!
I am now in my twenties. After a few years of foreign missionary work, higher education and traveling I am now starting my professional adult life. The message of Revelation 3 has pointed out to me my wretchedness and my need for God’s ‘medication’. By His grace I have chosen to dedicate all of my time to God. Why? Because this is what Jesus is asking for!
I cannot see any higher purpose in life than to serve Him completely.
Friends, Jesus is waiting to clothe us with His righteousness, to refine our faith and to give us His divine perspective of reality!
We are called to connect, pray, study and learn together.
We are called to move forward as one man and bring the final days of earth’s history to a closure.
Imagine your youth group, your small-group, your family, on fire for God’s cause.
Imagine your local church being famous as a place of love, refuge and peace.
Imagine millions of Seventh-day Adventists truly uniting for the highest calling ever given to mankind through the power of the Holy Spirit!
Imagine yourself, leading multitudes of people to Christ. Starting today!
“The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being. It opens a field of effort to everyone whose heart Christ has touched.” – Ellen G. White, Education, 262.
It is possible! It has happened before (see the book of Acts). It will happen again.
Are you ready?
Will you be part of it?
What hinders you to go on your knees right now and recommit your life to God?
Why not give God’s plan for your life your complete attention?
Why not obtain healing for your spiritual blindness, wretchedness, nakedness and poverty?
Come! Let’s be devoted and committed to His will, cause and plan … though the heavens fall!
This is Jesus’ challenge for you and me!
This is what needs to happen.
It is my prayer for you and me, that we will hear and follow Jesus’ call today.
Now, if you are reading this and expecting a heartbreaking rundown on how much I love my fiancée (whom I most certainly do love), I have to disappoint you.
Even though I am getting married in literally one month from today, this post is not about my beautiful future wife Amanda.
This post is also not a love confession to my mother (even though she is wonderful too).
Today, I want to take a moment to honor and pay tribute to a woman that has and still is shaping my life in a very special way. She has influenced my spiritual walk with Christ in a powerful manner, she has opened my view to the bigger picture of reality, and she is constantly reminding me of my need for Christ and the total connection to Him.
The crazy thing is, that I have never met her or talked to her. In fact, she has been dead for quite a while!
The woman I am honoring today is Mrs. Ellen Gould White.
Today, July 16th 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of her death.
Ellen G. White was a messenger of God, a prophet. She was used by God in a powerful way to deliver important truths and messages to His people living in the last days. (That’s right now, by the way.)
“During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature. Her writings cover a broad range of subjects, including religion, education, social relationships, evangelism, prophecy, publishing, nutrition, and management.”*
The Smithsonian magazine even named Ellen G. White among 100 Most Significant Americans in an acknowledgement of her influence on religion.
In the past couple years I’ve had the privilege to read her most prominent books and have been tremendously blessed by them.
I firmly believe that she was an inspired and divinely appointed messenger for Jesus.
How do I know? Among many reasons for that statement, I want to bring out the two most important ones to me:
- The Bible prophesied that the Spirit of Prophecy will mark God’s last movement in Earth’s history (see Revelation 12:17; 19:10)
- Reading and applying her writings has brought me closer to Jesus and His word. It has helped me to fall more and more in love with my Savior and to commit fully to His will.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not, … I don’t know anybody who has not been deeply impressed by this lady (who, by the way, didn’t even have more than a 3rd grade education!).
I want to challenge and encourage you today to read. Read her writings! They are all available online and for free.
If you are looking for powerful insights into Bible religion, or you want to be challenged in your spiritual walk, or you long to understand Jesus and the Bible better, then read the writings of Ellen G. White. A great place to start is the small book ‘Steps to Christ‘.
Her words will help you get more excited about God’s word and applying it into your life and relationship with Jesus.
May you be as blessed as I have been.
Here are some helpful links for more resources on Ellen G. White:
- www.ellenwhite.org (Portal to everything you need)
- www.egwwritings.org (All her writings in multiple languages, online and free)
- www.believehisprophets.org (five-year program reading through the Bible and selected Ellen White writings)
- twitter.com/ellenwhite (Ellen White Twitter Quotes)
- http://ellenwhite.org/content/subscriptions (Subscription of daily quote and devotional thought)
- EGW App for Apple devices
- EGW App for Android
Why I love being a Seventh-day Adventist.
I will be very short and clear about this one.
I love being a Seventh-day Adventist, because I have not seen any other religion, denomination, belief-system or lifestyle that is so …
and simply amazing,
… as the fully lived out biblical Adventist faith.
It answers life’s hardest questions.
It shows the path to continual growth and development in all areas of life.
It is all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is now my Savior, Friend, Brother, Judge and Creator.
To those who don’t believe in anything, I say: Well, you are missing out. Why don’t you e-mail me and we can meet up for a green smoothie and let’s talk about life? I pay.
To those who believe in something supernatural (whatever it might be) I say: Try the Adventist faith. I promise you, you will not regret it. If you want a green smoothie, I’ll buy you one too ;-)
To those who share my faith: Let’s rise and shine and share our faith! We have a world to win!
I am fulfilled, happy and excited to be called a Seventh-day Adventist. What about you?