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How to Evangelize Using Agriculture- Part 1

David Obermiller


David Obermiller

Farm manager at Fresno Adventist Academy.



  • August 13, 2016
    2:30 PM
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Well let's start with a word of prayer and I'll introduce myself and our topic this afternoon. So can I can I ask you to deal. We've got enough room Father in heaven. I want to thank you. That we can be here together this afternoon. To have a spiritual dialogue conversation about things that you've written things that. That you bless this world with and the blessing that we have to reach out to other people and so we want to pray that you would send this afternoon in your holy spirit. To be in our presence to be our teacher Our instructor and to give us encourage meant. To give us perhaps a clearer vision of how you want us to move forward with our lives and to serve the communities that we live in. In Jesus' name we pray and so my name is David over Miller. And ready to stand on this side so I am the executive director founder whatever harvest fields organic farm in Fresno California. We are certified organic farm on the campus of Fresno advent of the cow to me. There are a couple other of my colleagues that are here they slide and I'll make sure to introduce you to them but it's myself and my wife. And then two other gentleman that help run the farm on the school campus there to tell you very briefly how the project got started and where we're trying to go. I was a denominational employee for about ten years. How many of you. I don't know some of you are familiar with souls West care about six years ago I was working for souls west a little bit more now that actually my wife was working there as well. I spent five years. At the school she was there for seven years because she was there two years before we got married. And I was reading the book education and was reading a White's other books on education. You know fundamentals of Christian education. Some of her pamphlets and periodicals and different things that she wrote on education. I was reading some of the educational work done by early pioneers. The only pioneers but like Edward Sutherland Percy McGann and you're familiar with Madison. And there were the founders of Madison college and I was reading all this material on education and something was happening on a regular basis. I was always reading about farming when you read about education you read about agriculture. Some of you have heard it won't have it on the screen here today. But what is the A.B.C. of education. It's actually agriculture. In the book education L.-Y. it highlights quite extensively the importance that occasion work and when she says A.B.C. of Education does that mean you A.B.C. of something. Fundamental it's elementary it's your starting point. It's her foundation if you want to want to call it that. So I was reading all this stuff in the spirit of prophecy about agriculture in the context of education was working at Seoul's West. And there was no agriculture program of the Old West. There was no agriculture program in my life and here I am on a school campus. And I said to myself This is a problem. I said to my wife I need to learn how to do this and I'm going to go through some of this this afternoon. But if it's that strongly worded in the Spirit of Prophecy how important agriculture is to education then I'm going to step out and I'm going to go learn to farm. I had a little bit of farming. When I was a kid my grandfather had a farm but it was mostly cows and hay. Quite different than vegetables it was not on a school campus. Was quite different. But I got I knew how to drive a tractor could do that much and a few other little things but I said I'm going to go out and try to do this. So my wife and I left Old West sixty years ago almost six and a half years ago actually. And we went spent four years on an organic farm in Arizona. And my goal was to come back into church work and put a farm on a school campus somewhere. So I was speaking it I share. You see three years ago now and a church member his daughter graduated from Seoul's West and Friday morning after I had spoke on Thursday night he came up to me at the hotel breakfast bar and sat on and start talking to me told him me who he was and we just started chatting he had no clue that I was on a farm because the night before. Spoken on something entirely unrelated to farming. And we just were having a chit chat and somewhere along the lines. It kind of just became obvious that I was on a farm. And he said you know our school would actually like to start a farm and my first would be honest with you. I've told the school this to my first reaction was Can any good thing come out of California. How many of you are from California. I'm from the Midwest. I grew up in the Midwest I went to Union college I worked at Oklahoma Academy for a couple years then was literature ministry director and about a Utah conference that was close as I got to California and there are just too many people here for me. And it's a very restrictive state as far as the government goes a lot of rules a lot of regulate. A lot of extra paperwork if you're running a business. And kind of liberal to it from a Christian point of view. California is sort of the leader in the world in America at least in liberalism as well as the East Coast and I thank the Lord. You know this is just. You sure. Well. I try to learn from Jonah and not tell God what I won't do. I did tell him it wasn't my preference. But I decided to entertain the school's offer to give a presentation of their school board and I did that. Now almost three years ago and when I was done giving my presentation I was very very impressed that this was a school board that was interested in turning back the clock and trying to go back in the direction of an educational system that God was originally wanting for us. And I said lord. All right. It's not my preference but I'll go where you're telling me to go and if it's Fresno California. I'm going to Fresno California and so obviously that's where I am. We ran the farm through the school for the first couple of years. I was part of the school's budget. I was on payroll. You know how to go through the school board and had a farm committee subcommittee of the school board but about the beginning of this year we started having serious conversations about separating the farm from the school. And so March fifteenth of this year we separated harvest fields organic farm from Fresno advents Academy. We have a lease agreement with the school so we rent their land we rent their buildings we farm their land and we founded the farm as a nonprofit organization and maybe at some point we can get into a little bit of that there are some reasons why I went nonprofit instead of for profit. The big. Being that for profit businesses cannot take volunteer labor and in order to get the students involved in the school and allow the church members in the community to be involved in the farm. We had to go nonprofit It was definitely the biggest reason. We are a farm it's about mission not just about the business of selling product for a profit. It's a much bigger picture for us than just just the finances of it although that's important. Obviously. So again harvest field organic farm is a nonprofit farm. And what I want to talk to you about today is what the mission of this farm is what the purpose of the farm is to help you understand why and how if I can say it the way the why of what we're doing and how we're trying to get it done and so this is a three part series you've seen in the Boltons three sessions today this first period. I want to spend by the way is there like a ten minute break between sessions that is so three twenty. We're done and ten minute break. OK so. This first period I want to really talk about why the big picture. Why this is important in the context of the vandalism in our churches mission. I want to move beyond that in the next two portions and talk about the how the what we're doing to how we're trying to get it done and so that's a fair summary of the question so far you are in a workshop on farming. How you feeling right now it's a little awkward. Good good good. You know I was looking at the booths and everybody's got their nice banners and we got pallets. If you've seen our booth over there you can check out our booth later. Is a little bit different feel of this. This morning this afternoon. I saw the title this year the main topic is agriculture and evangelism. This is part one. I subtitled this will be glad we did this by having a spin that and put it in a more negative way we're going to wish that we did this and each one of us this afternoon has to make a decision either will at one point say I'm really glad I did this or at some point will say I really wish I would have done that. And it's the same stuff two sides of the same coin. I want to emphasize will be glad we did this and talked about why here. I want to start with Jesus is a ministry. I believe that Jesus is a ministry is a model to us for how we operate our church ministries our literature ministries our Bible work ministries our health ministries. Our educational ministry is that Jesus as a man is the model man. Now I'm going to need your help a little bit. Wasn't quite sure what to expect from the projector situation here and just the way we're kind of arranged I don't want to try to use the Bible on my computer and I'll admit that I am absolutely crunched on my computer for all things Biblical and spirit of prophecy and so what I'm going to do you write Bibles. OK I'm going to have you do the reading of the text the scripture everything else will be on the screen and that way. I don't have to keep stuff in from the projector here. Jesus is ministry as a model I'd like to turn to Luke Chapter four. Luke Chapter four. I'm going to tell you verse sixteen because we all know it but I need a volunteer to read verses thirty one to thirty seven going to have that volunteer please. The YOUR. Answer. Johnny. Can you got thirty one of thirty seven and somebody thirty eight forty. Your names are Andy. Thank you sir. All right after four verse sixteen well known text Adventists. Jesus as his what custom was went into the Senate dog and participated in church activities that day and paraphrasing the text as his custom was Jesus kept the Sabbath. Somebody would read verses thirty one year you've got to go ahead. OK Before you read and want to come in here. This is early in Jesus' public ministry. Jesus works a miracle here the Sabbath. What is the result of Jesus is healing that demon possessed man in the text towards the end. They were amazed and then one more. OK the fame of him went where in the whole region around about their whole region. OK and go for it. So what you use your imagination with me just a little bit try to put yourself there Jesus goes to church Sabbath morning. Is the guy in the church the congregation that's possessed with a devil anybody how that happened recently. Somebody in the church Jesus cast the demon out of the man anybody seen that happen in church recently. What would your impression be if you were a church member that morning. Would you go home and tell your friends your family your neighbors that you saw a church that day. You pretty amazing. Exactly what happened. So Jesus left church. He went to Peter's house and what does it say happened right about the time the sun set. Anybody that was sick. Was that Peter's house. This is by the way we are talking about agriculture it will take me a moment to get there. Follow with me. The report the news there's no Twitter. There's no Facebook and no instant messaging no texting those cell phones is all foot traffic and word of mouth went so fast and so aggressively. That they not only figured out where Jesus was but managed to get everyone to Peter's house by the time the sun was setting. That's one Sabbath miracle and Jesus had won the heart of the entire community we go to the next story. Luke Chapter six verses six through eleven. And I think my next volunteer so many read Luke six six to eleven. Chris. Please. Who is who is that a fair sees a little bit earlier in the passage. What does this say that the fairest is this is before Jesus healed the man. What did it say the fair seas were doing here were watching. Why were they watching him what reason did they have to watch him. They wanted to what Kay. But what was motivating them what reason hatred but what made them jealous what made them hate K. haven't hit the answer yet. What day was it when he worked out what Jesus did in Luke Chapter four. Was considered inappropriate is considered inappropriate and by Luke Chapter six The fair is he's also had heard what happened and now they were watching him to see if he would do it again. Right here you're going to see a divide before I tell you about the device and giving out a tax. This is Mark Chapter six of March after three excuse me is verse six. This is the exact same story but it adds one little detail that's not in chapter six of loot. So the fair season went forth and straightway immediately took counsel with the Herodian as against him how they might destroy him Who are the rodents. The followers of Herod are they. Religious people. What are they their political. So very early on what you're seeing is a relationship develop between the religious class and the political class regarding the way Jesus kept the sound they read that in the great controversy. Sound familiar. Church and State. Luke Chapter four says excuse me and the events of Luke chapter for historians put at about a year and a half into Jesus' public ministry what this suggests to us is that two years remain on his ministry clock and the fares he's already wanted to kill him because of one thing because of what he did in Luke chapter four and that's been a dog and because the Luke Chapter six what he did there that you write here see there are two groups of people you have the general public and their relationship to Jesus. You have the religious leaders and. Their relationship to Jesus and describe each one of those relationships to you. Pretty briefly. The general public were generally receptive actually very receptive. They responded to his ministry of compassion. His practical works of healing and his instruction. They followed him in large numbers and increasingly large numbers with each passing week and month of Jesus's ministry on the other hand the religious leaders were generally resistant they were reacting against what they perceive to be Jesus as theological errors particularly one error that is that he did not keep the Sabbath the right way. As a result of that perception. They persecuted him constantly and intensely. Give you another passage of Scripture and to change my wording here and say that Jesus' ministry is a foreshadowing of what's to come the way he lives. And what happened to him is what we have been told we will live through and will happen to us. John Chapter five of the story of the man at the pool of Bethesda. I do not want anybody to read those fifteen verses for the sake of time but if you could turn with me to John Chapter five we will read briefly. The story of the man at the pool of it does that you're probably familiar with this is the Passover weekend. There are a lot of people in Jerusalem and Jesus on a Sabbath morning apparently before church for the best we can tell was that the pool of with the just outside the temple walls by the way because that means. Anybody know in the Hebrew House the House of Mercy House of mercy and there was a man there among many others. Who are physically embarrassing lame crippled blind pathetic from a from a physical point of view. Pathetic examples of humanity. There was one man there in particular who had been in a bad case for a long time namely like his whole life or nearly all of it. Jesus found that man. Remember the guy laying on his mat. It's a great story folks can go on a tangent for just a second if you and I have to come to the point where we perceive ourselves to be as wretched as that man was to get the face of Jesus to look down from heaven on me and you. It is fully worth it if you have to be entirely crippled physically mentally emotionally spiritually a wretched case of humanity in your own mind to get you to the point where God will look down on you and touch you in your life. I say fine. Let me be that guy because the other kid the way is the fairest they that are whole need not a physician. Right. And many of us struggle not wanting to accept wanting to deny the truth about ourselves we are wired to ourselves we pressure ourselves to think that we're really better than what we are. But it's the moment of need the brings the closest and until you feel need. Where are you. In fact this is tangent again here but Ellen White says this guy was so bad he was the worst in the group and Jesus picked him up on purpose because. He was the worse. When you become Christian you become Adventist you become religious always trying to tell yourself that you are OK. Always pushing a reality a little further down the street. When the person that God really wants to help the most sometimes the one he wants to single out and help is the one who's the worse not the best don't know you don't know your relationship with God acknowledging that you're bad. And need help is OK in the House of mercy that wretched man got the look on the face of Jesus and Jesus said Will you be made whole. And the answer for that man that day was yes today tomorrow as soon as you're ready can be your day. Praise the Lord. Jesus told the man rise stand up take your bed and walk. He picked up is bad like you said of the Jews found out about this. He's not supposed to carry about on the Sabbath. That's an appropriate. Verse sixteen and eighteen in John Chapter five says therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and sought to slay him why. Come on say it for me why they do it because they were jealous. They were losing popularity. They were losing credibility with the people. Only reason. They hated it and wanted to kill Jesus because of the way he kept the Sabbath day so that in fact this is a very interesting various So they sought to slay him because he done these things on the Sabbath. Jesus answered and said My father works there too and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the what's the next word the more. Now how many of you just ate lunch. If I asked you Do you want more. It implies that you've already had. So when Jesus claimed to be equal with his father was that the primary or the secondary motive for their hatred of him was secondary. They hated Jesus more because of the way he kept the Sabbath than because of his claim to be divine as much as they wanted to stone him for saying Jesus saying I am Before Abraham was I am. They hated him more because of the way he kept the sound it was the primary initial and repetitive conflict that Jesus had with affairs these during his life and ministry. They hated him because of the way he kept the Sabbath day. Let's go back to this year for a second ministry is a foreshadowing Jesus' ministry. March after three again the fair city is aligned themselves with the Herodian is a religious and political alliance and when you get to the end of the gospels just before Jesus is taken by the fair season Matthew chapter twenty two. You'll notice that the fairest sees the saddest season and the Herodian is all made an attempt to lay a trap for Jesus and catch him and you'll notice the partnership between the religious and the political in Israel that put Jesus on the cross it is everything that you and I have read and understand about administers prophecy about the great controversy the Book of Revelation last day events final events that there will be an intense hatred for those people who keep what. Including that one fourth one and that there would be a religious and political alliance that would ultimately attempt to put those people to death because of the way they kept the Sabbath day. I read you some verses here. I want to show you how bad they wanted to kill him. Matthew Chapter twelve fourteen they held a council how they might destroy him Matthew twenty one forty six they sought to lay hands on him. Matthew twenty six four they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him. Mark three how they might destroy him we just read that one. Marco eleven and sought how they might destroy him Mark fourteen how they might take him by craft and put him to death. Luke nineteen and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him the same hour sought to lay hands on him. Luke twenty two twenty two saw how they might killed him. John five therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus not to slay him we just read that one. John seven because the Jews sought to kill him. John seven thirty. Then they sought to take him John seven thirty two. This is by the way these are separate stories. This is not the same story same incident this is a different incident the fair season the chief recent officers to take him those are the guys that were spellbound Wow we never heard anybody talk like that before. And John Chapter ten. Therefore they saw it again to take him fourteen times in two years that the Scripture says they wanted to kill him and do away with him personally Big Question for it. So why didn't they really just as Scripture says that it was in his time. Why wasn't it is time and is God just a magician is that arbitrary. Nope sorry is not time you can't do it. He had a work to do they didn't want him to do that work. One thing you learn about God through farming. Is that God is a God of causes and effects. He does nothing by accident he does nothing by happenstance everything he does is intentional calculated planned determined. The reason of why they couldn't kill him is because he had done things that handicapped them is what I'm getting at here. The reach of this next statement. Desire Vedas page to await Ellen White says the fury of the rulers knew what they were picked hot under the collar had they not. What's it say feared the people the priests and the rabbis would have killed him on the spot but the popular sentiment was in his favor was strong many recognized in Jesus. The friend who had healed their diseases comforted their sorrows and they justified his healing. Of the sufferer at Bethesda. So for the time the leaders were obliged to restrain their hatred in other words what I am saying here is that Jesus is conduct towards the general public became the reason why the fares these could do nothing about it. Despite the fact they hated him despite the fact they disagreed with the way he kept the Sabbath. Despite all the other things that they could put down their list of I don't like Jesus they were absolutely handicapped by one thing people people. That's the reason why it wasn't time is because of those people because if it weren't for those people they would have what killed them right on the. But Jesus does not operate an accidental ministry. If we in our church are operating an accidental ministry what war results be our show you how much public favor Jesus said same sort of list type thing. Matthew twenty one but when they sought to lay hands on him. They feared the multitude because they thought he was a prophet. Mark twelve twelve and they sought to lay hold on him but they feared the people. Luke nineteen forty eight and they could not find what they might do. For all the people were very attentive to hear him. Luke twenty nineteen the chief priest and the scribe the same hour sought to lay hands on him but they said again feared the people for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. Twenty two two and the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him but again and again one more this is the last story here Passover we can the religious leaders are all gathered together trying to figure out how they're going to deal with Jesus. It was Passover weekend and someone said we can't do anything right now the Passover weekend because there would be a what. Uproar. Why would there be an uproar because Passover week and the whole bunch of people in Jerusalem. What did all those people think and feel about Jesus. They like the guy. Why they liked him he had a minister there needs. He had sympathized with them. He had won their hearts and so they couldn't have done anything in public with Jesus. One more little detail it's also in the great controversy. She says that in the last days. Some of. US will become our bitterest enemies. You may read that and you realize right after this verse by the way right after that verse a guy by the name of Judas Iscariot. Be trade Jesus in the hands of the fair city. Let me say this to you. Jesus this public ministry of good was so potent that for two solid years. The fairest seas hatred of Jesus was absolutely handcuffed. And even Passover weekend when the time had fully come they were completely unable and unwilling to do anything to him to catch them with it again. Even Passover weekend when the time had come his public favor was so strong that the fares he is couldn't have accomplished what the time was purposed to accomplish. And so it took an inside the trail a traitor to actually fulfill the prophecy. Jesus is ministry to people was so potent. So powerful so widespread. It was the best defense against his enemies want to close with the question. And if you want to ask you questions afterwards that's fine. We have a few minutes but what if our public ministries had public favor. Let me ask that in reverse. What if our ministries only stirred the pot of theological controversy and had no public favor. See if Jesus it only run around pretty. Ching repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand and had never helped a single person with it. Cared about it with a voice of public favor been there. To delay the fair season their persecution. What if our church only followed a evangelism model that emphasized indoctrination and the propagation of truth and the dissemination of ideas seeking converts to a certain belief system. But never touched people personally. What if we ran our ministries in such a way where the only people that we expose ourselves to. Were the ones who were already interested in theological truth. And we had no other friends. When that time of persecution comes in Revelation thirteen where a certain class of society says you know the world's problems are a result of those Sabbath breakers those ones who refuse to keep the Lord's Day holy you know if we just got rid of them to fix our problem. What if at that moment there was no voice a public figure that said Are you crazy. Don't you know what those people have done for us. Don't you know what they did for my family. Don't you know what they did for my children don't you know what they did for my health. Don't you know what they did for my soul. Don't you know what they did what they did what they did. Don't you know who they are and what they mean to us as a society. What if that voice wasn't there and our enemies simply said they worship the wrong day they're outsiders The causing conflicts. What if there was no voice there. In the context of Agriculture and we'll go into this in the next hour. There is a whole swath of society that we can reach out to. And benefit and blasts win their hearts their confidence and their respect and I would say to you that at that time they would be a voice of public favor. That would delay our enemies hatred. I want that voice to be their. Jesus His ministry was intentional strategic His ministry of love for people in their everyday life was what preserved his ministry for two solid years. We will be very glad that we follow his model of ministry. When that time comes. And I want to encourage you. His model will bring the truest form of success and we'll move into the next segment here so ten minute break. While we've got five minutes before three twenty one of you have any questions. If not we'll take our break five minutes early in and move into the next session so. The thoughts or comments or questions. Yeah. You will be available to whoever wants I'm OK with breath. Father and have you want to thank you for the life and ministry of Jesus and want to pray this afternoon that we would contemplate the book of Hebrews as holy brother and partakers of the heavenly calling consider the apostle and high priest of our profession Christ Jesus. So we consider you and your ministry and how much you cared for people we would desire and earn in our hearts to minister like you do and have the results. Do you think. And we pray that this media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first if you would like to listen to more servant leader Visit W W W dot org.


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