A Conspiracy in North America

What if our Adventist Churches across North America began a conspiracy? What if we decided in harmony with all the other churches across Bermuda, Canada, United States and the islands of Guam and Micronesia that we are going to love our cities like Jesus did? What do you think would happen if we ventured outside the walls of our churches, asked people about their needs, and did something transformational for individuals and communities?

What if our local churches conspired together to do the following?

  • Respond to disasters in the community (fires, earthquakes, storms, tornados).
  • Feed the hungry.
  • Clothe the naked.
  • Mentor children after school.
  • Minister to prisoners, and also minister to their families.
  • Visit and pray for the sick in the community regularly.
  • Offer FREE Marital Counseling (married couples) and FREE Pre-Marital Counseling (engaged couples).
  • Offer FREE Parenting Classes for parents.
  • Donate space, FREE of charge, for community weddings and funerals.
  • Advertise the Services of the local Adventist Pastor to conduct Weddings, Dedications of Babies, and Funerals, FREE of charge for the church’s community.
  • Provide manicures and pedicures for battled women
  • Celebrate communion with the homeless and bring them in when it is cold.
  • Lead Toy Drives during Christmas.
  • Stand against modern Slavery and the abuse of women, children and the elderly (not a silent church).
  • Teach FREE Financial Management Classes (How to budget? How to buy a house? How to become debt-free? Financial Freedom, Income Taxes)
  • Hold FREE Fitness classes.
  • Connect with governmental leaders and work with them to support good causes regardless of their party affiliation.
  • Hold a reception for community business owners and pray for their success.
  • Promote and facilitate the adoption of children.
  • Co-sponsor and organize concerts with well known musicians in some of our very beautiful, historic, landmark buildings, rather than having these buildings closed to the public most of the time.
  • Organize and sponsor celebrations during special days and recognized holidays such as: New Year’s, Superbowl, Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others.
  • Partner with the city and other organizations to serve as volunteers in events such as: marathons, fairs, festivals, and others.

What would happen with our churches if we would venture to open our doors more often, rather than just Saturdays, for a few hours, and Wednesdays for an hour? After all some other churches who don’t have the beautiful and powerful message we have, keep their doors open all the time. What if we dared to distribute flyers in our communities, not with beasts on the cover, but offering the few services mentioned above and many others? What if we did this, not just for a day, or for a season right before the evangelistic meetings, but on a regular basis as a lifestyle? What do you think would happen?

1. A Relevant Church is never empty. Jesus was surrounded by people constantly, He did not preach to empty pews, there is a reason why He always had a crowd.

2. A Relevant Church reaches and reclaims its community. Jesus did that on a regular basis. He went to the synagogue, sat and read, and then went out to reach and reclaim His community.

3. A Relevant Church retains its members. When a community of people are active and happy doing something good, which they enjoy, they don’t leave; the total opposite happens, more people come, youth, young adults, adults, and children, believe me it can be viral. Jesus went viral, and that’s why our church is here today because of what He did.

It’s time for a Conspiracy of Compassion in our Adventist Churches in North America!

Pastor Jose Cortes Jr., is an Associate Ministerial Director and Leads Evangelism for the Adventist Church in North America.

Memorial Day Message

Boy-memorialdayMemorial Day gives us the opportunity to remember those who have given their lives in service for our nation; the selfless men and women, whom through their ultimate sacrifice, have helped to secure our personal and spiritual freedom, as well as an unparalleled way of life. It is because of them that we are able to live without terror, worship without fear, give without restraint, and serve without limit.

Today, we honor our fallen heroes, among whom we count many Seventh-day Adventists, who proudly served our country. We pray for the comfort and hope of their surviving families and encourage our members to reach out with compassion to these fathers, mothers, boys, and girls, letting them know how much we appreciate their sacrifice and that of their loved ones.  On this Memorial Day, I encourage you and your church to make a call, sign a book, hug a family member, and say thank you to those who have served, still serve, or mourn the loss of one of our heroes.

We also look forward to the Second Coming of Jesus, the time, when deployments will end and war will be no more, when death will ultimately be defeated, and peace will reign forever. 

– Pastor Jose Cortes Jr.

Who Can the Church Love?

Joanne, Jose III, & Joel Cortes speak with a gentleman in the streets of Hamilton, Bermuda

The ministry of Jesus was a ministry of inclusion, not exclusion, and that makes perfect sense. After all, what would be the point of dying for people and then excluding them from experiencing God’s love and the opportunity of accepting His grace? Doing that would be inconsistent, not smart, and perhaps a waste of Jesus’ time on earth and of His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. It is simple and Jesus knew it, you cannot save people by excluding them. Jesus was crystal clear, if He was going to have a shot at saving humanity, they needed to see His love for them. That’s why He came and dwelt amongst us and became one of us.

I met an 18 year old, who shocked and saddened me when he unapologetically told me that he had found more evidence for Satan’s existence than for God’s existence in his church. When I inquired more about it, he told me a sad story, showed me two tattoos on each side of his neck and added, “no one in my church ever acknowledges me or says anything to me, they look at me funny and move on, as if I had a contagious disease, I definitely don’t belong there.” 

I saw, with my own eyes, how a young lady was asked to leave church on a Sabbath afternoon because she was wearing pants. When my wife and I stood up for her, she told us it had been a while since she had last been to church, but feeling unworthy and inadequate to come to the morning “Worship Service” she had decided to come in the afternoon. We were holding a special prayer session for an upcoming Evangelistic Series we were about to launch in that area. As soon as she walked in, she was told she could not enter the sanctuary wearing sweatpants. Turns out she was pregnant, out of wedlock, and trying to hide her belly.

Who Can the Church Love?

If the Church of Jesus cannot love guys with tattoos, ladies who wear pants to church, girls who are pregnant out of wedlock, and people who smell like smoke, among others, who can the Church of Jesus love? What is the purpose of the church then? Why do we even exist?

If the Church of Jesus cannot love all sinners, like Jesus did, then it is not a Church, and it is not of Jesus. Jesus loved all sinners and was always ready to minister to them, regardless of their sin. If you don’t love them, it will be very hard to reach, retain, or reclaim them.

Jesus did not baptize all the people He healed, fed, and counseled; yet He still healed them, took away their hunger, and blessed them because He loved them.

Is Your Church Filled with People of Different Walks of Life?

If your church is not filled with people of different backgrounds and walks of life, it is perhaps because they don’t feel that your church is a safe place for them. Jesus loved tax collectors, prostitutes, Jews, Gentiles, poor, rich, children, men, women, and Pharisees. This is why people of different walks of life approached Him and followed Him.

We, the Church of Jesus, must be willing to love people who sin differently than we do. Jesus died for them, as much as He died for me and you.

Where Do We Draw the Line?

Where do we draw the line? The answer is simple, we draw the line where Jesus did. When a woman, who had just been caught in the act of adultery, was brought to Him, and her accusers looked for approval from Jesus to stone her, He said: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone…” Then He told her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

We are much more like Jesus when we are inclusive with other sinners. We reflect His character best when the doors of our churches are opened to people of different walks of life and backgrounds. We are way more effective reaching, retaining, and reclaiming North America when we are filled with the Love of God and the Compassion of Jesus.

Let’s just try it! Jesus did!

Pastor Jose Cortes Jr.

 

“We Are All ONE”

Originally posted on January 17, 2011

There is a quote taken from the famous speech “I Have a Dream” given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Many things have changed since this quote was eloquently uttered by Martin Luther King. The United States of today is a much different place. Though many of the things that Martin Luther King peacefully fought for have been accomplished, yet there are areas of growth where improvements are needed. Prejudism of all types, (racial, against women, children, youth, ethnic groups which are not large enough to be recognized, and even reversed prejudism) still exists in our society and many times among Christians.

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“Stay in the City”

originally published 2/3/11

For years, many Christians have forgotten about the city; I hear people talk about cities as if cities are totally forsaken by God; places where sin and corruption abound and way beyond redemption. I have heard many, still today, who take some quotes out of context and preach that we must all leave the city. With millions of people who need Jesus in the cities, they want to leave the city?  My question is: Who is going to reach these people?  On the other hand, If we go to the mountains, who are we going to reach there? The deer population, the squirrels, the trees?

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Compassion, the Bridge to the Post-Christian

A recent study by the Barna Group revealed that eight of the top 10 post-Christian cities in the United States are in the Atlantic Union territory: Albany, New York (1), Burlington, Vermont (2), Portland, Maine (3), Providence, Rhode Island (4), Hartford, Connecticut (5), Boston, Massachusetts (7), Buffalo, New York (8), and New York, New York (9). According to this study, the area where we have been called to minister and proclaim the good news of Jesus is highly post-Christian.

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ING New York City Marathon

The ING New York City Marathon is taking place today. Since the very early hours of the morning hundreds of Adventist young adults and youth have been making their way to their fluid stations, Starting Line, Finish Line to serve as volunteers. I would like to ask that we keep them in our prayers today, as they are the heart, the eyes, the hands, and the feet of Jesus to 47,000 runners today. They will be wearing a beanie or a baseball cap (with the AYM and Compassion logos). Two Adventist young adults from the Atlantic Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventistswill also be running Cinthya San & Jeovanny Fernandez), I would like to wish them well, please keep them in your prayers. We will also pray for the safety and good health of all volunteers, runners, and for the City of New York. -with Joanne Cortes Milca Aym Andres J. Peralta Roger R. Wade

Visit to Greater New York Adventist Community Services Center in Preparation for Back2School Compassion Bash

Just around 2 AM this morning, my oldest son Jose III and I returned from a brief trip to New York City. During the Trip we stopped at the Greater New York Adventist Community Services Center, where the preparations for our upcoming Back2School Compassion Bash are been made. During our time there, we were able to check on the items which have already arrived and confirm the ones which will be arriving today (over 200 boxes of supplies arrive today). I also thanked Pastor Ruben Merino, the Director there, and his staff, Oscar, Iris, & Rasandi for their great support and hard work.

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