My 2021 Devotional Book Recommendation is….

I am writing tonight from beautiful hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

… the Bible!

Apple pies are great. I love them, especially with whipped cream or ice cream on top. They make a great dessert, and yes, even with everything else that goes into them, the apples provide real nutrition. Even so, for a daily breakfast routine I would recommend an actual apple over an apple pie. I just think an actual apple is more nutritious than an apple pie. That doesn’t mean I’m throwing grandma’s apple pie recipe away. It just means on a daily basis I eat actual apples. My stomach only holds so much food and if its filled with apple pies, then there won’t be any room for actual whole apples.

Its the same with devotional books and the Bible. Of course God created us to be social creatures. I actually learn from other people’s comments in Sabbath School class and on Sabbath School Net. I learn from books other writers have written. So I am not suggesting you throw away your new 2021 devotional book any more than I am suggesting throwing away grandma’s apple pie recipe. Just make sure you are eating plenty of whole apples, and make sure you are actually reading the Bible. While serving as a literature evangelist I learned that during the years Arthur Maxwell wrote The Bible Stories , he read only the Bible as he did not want anyone else influencing his depictions of The Bible stories.

Last year while I was teaching a 4th-grade Bible class in a local Adventist School in which I occasionally substitute, I asked the children why do we pray before reading the Bible? I received several good answers, but my favorite came from a boy who answered “Because Proverbs 3 says we are not to trust our own understanding but to depend on God for understanding.” What a great application of Proverbs 3:5 I thought! 2 Peter 1:21 tells us that those who wrote Scripture were moved by the Holy Spirit. In John 16:13 Jesus assures us the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. The same Holy Spirit that moved the writers to write those words thousands of years ago, is the same Holy Spirit that teaches us as we read those words. The Holy Spirit can teach you as easily as any theologian.

When I preach on Sabbath I like to make sure I use plenty of Scripture. That way if my own thoughts are worthless at least people got to hear actual Scripture, which is valuable. Most of my illustrations are my own, but of course I get ideas from others as well. When we read the Bible for ourselves we also have ideas the Holy Spirit gives us to share with others. If we do not read the Bible for ourselves then we are only getting ideas from others. This is not fair to them or to us. We are not contributing our fair share and others are doing all the thinking for us. A mother breastfeeds her infant with the hopes that one day the infant will grow up to feed him or herself. Likewise we should not always rely on other authors to feed us. God wants to teach us all how to find our own spiritual bread in the Bible.

This is one reason why I love Michael Fracker’s Sabbath School Lesson Teaching plans. With his teaching plans the Sabbath School class actually studies the Bible instead of just reading the quarterly.

Apple pies are great but we need to eat a lot more whole apples than apple pies. Likewise we need to read the actual Bible for ourselves a lot more often than we read devotionals or commentaries. We need to read the Bible every day. That is why I am recommending the Bible as the devotional book for 2021.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Why we Will be Studying the Cross for all Eternity

I am writing today from my beautiful hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As we have discovered several times in our Sabbath School lessons on Education, our education does not stop when we get to heaven. We will continue to study the cross and plan of salvation which are themes Peter says even angels desire to look into. One may ask why this theme will take all eternity to study and why it will even need be studied in heaven? Perhaps Colossians gives us a clue.

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20 NLT

Even after Lucifer was cast out, those who remained may have still had their doubts. Did God really love them, or did Lucifer have some points about God just being a tyrant? On earth Eve thought that God did not care for her and eating the forbidden fruit would make her really happy.

Have you ever been loyal to a boss, not because you thought he was fair, but because you did not see any way out? So out of fear you remained loyal to him, still wishing you weren’t in that situation? If so, what did it take for you to reconcile the situation so you could have peace at work and not just conformity?

Photograph by William Earnhardt

When the Son of God died on the cross He was not just atoning for Eve taking a piece of fruit she was told not to. Eve’s disobedience was a symptom of her doubts. The cross of Christ did not just take care of the symptoms of sin. The cross took care of sin itself! Christ’s death on the cross removed all doubt about God’s love. All questions in heaven and earth are answered at the cross! There can be conformity while rebellion is still in the heart. The cross goes way beyond bringing us into conformity and outward obedience. The cross replaces our thoughts of rebellion with peaceful thoughts towards God.

That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God.-Ellen White, Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889

Some have the idea that once we get to heaven, God will flip a little switch in the back of our heads that makes us stop sinning. After all, we will be in heaven and so we automatically won’t sin right? Wait. Where did sin begin? Heaven!

The reason why humans and angels will not sin, is the same reason why God reconciled both heaven and earth to Himself. The cross of Jesus. The cross cures the root cause of sin which is doubting God’s love. The reason there will be no sin in heaven is not due to a mechanical correction made by the flip of a switch. There will be no sin in heaven because the cross will cure humans and angels alike from ever doubting God’s love and thinking we need anything God has not given us. There will be no reason to rebel.

Rules without relationship cause rebellion. The love of Christ on the cross removes our fear of God, so we are not afraid to have an intimate relationship with Him. With our relationship cured, we will have no reason to rebel. We won’t be conformists. We will be free-thinking moral agents who are at peace with God because God is love.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

My Open December 2020 Newsletter to my Ministry Supporters-Thank you for Continuing your faithful Contributions!

This is William Earnhardt and 2020 has been filled with amazing challenges and amazing miracles! Like so many other pastors, lay pastors and Bible Workers we have been working hard encouraging people to continue growing in Christ even while many churches have moved to online church services and the “assembling or ourselves together” for edification and encouragement has taken on new challenges. Giving families the tools and coaching they need to be the priests of their home and making their home a church has been more crucial than ever this year. I never imagined that one day I would be performing baptisms while wearing masks. But these baptisms are beautiful all the same!

One of the amazing miracles is that while 2020 has seen many financial trials, thanks to God and faithful supporters my Bible Worker fund never let me miss a paycheck. I intentionally never sent out a fundraiser newsletter until now as during the year I realized there were so many worthy needs this year while God was faithfully supplying all of my needs. At the same time I now find it prudent to remind everyone of my need of continued monthly support so I can continue sharing the Gospel in the Florida area and around the world in 2021. I thank God for those who have continued to support this ministry since day one. Some are no longer able to contribute for various understandable reasons. This is why I ask you to prayerfully consider continuing or begin to financially support my ministry with monthly or one time financial contributions as well as your prayers. While my fund is located at the Plant City Florida SDA Church the Plant City Church does not contribute to my fund. They simply host my fund as I do Bible Work in the Plant City area as well as Florida and beyond.

You may send your tax deductible contributions to the Plant City SDA Church, P.O. Box 5379 Plant City, FL 33563. Please mark your check or envelope “Bible Worker Fund.”

You may also contribute online by going to the Plant City Adventist Online Giving page, and go to the third line item under “Local Church” which reads “Bible Worker.” 

Recently Shayla Parsons wrote a letter she wanted to share to encourage people to support what she feels is a worthy ministry. Shayla writes:

  Over the years Pastor Earnhardt has been a huge blessing to our family. We know we can always count on him for support, prayer, and encouragement. He is always happy to meet with us for Bible study and has given our children, as well as our nieces and nephews Bible study.  We are so grateful to him and to those who contribute to his ministry, so he can continue to work with our family and others. Pastor Earnhardt truly enjoys sharing the love of Christ, and The Bible. Our daughter Angelina insisted on writing a letter in support of Pastor Earnhardt as well to help support his ministry. Thank you, The Parsons Family

Shayla Parsons and her family

As Shayla wrote and told me, when her daughter Angelina heard she was writing a letter in support of my ministry Angelina insisted on writing a letter of support as well. That really touches my heart! Angelina writes:

Hello,  I’m Angelina Parsons. I am 10 years old and in the 5th grade. I’ve known Pastor Earnhardt for many years. He has given me, my siblings, and my friends Bible study every summer for the past few years.  When the Coronavirus hit I thought we wouldn’t be able to study together but Pastor Earnhardt said, “Let’s meet on zoom!”  Pastor Earnhardt also helped me get ready to be baptized, we have the best conversations after our lessons. He knows a lot of funny jokes! I know if we ever need anything he is always there for us that’s why we need him, and his ministry so he can continue helping others and teaching them about God. 

As I mentioned my Bible Worker ministry needs support from all over the world as my ministry reaches all over the world. As well as doing Bible studies on Zoom and FaceTime in many areas beyond Florida, This ministry has also traveled well beyond Florida personally as well as by way of writing. My ministry has its own blog which regularly gets visits from over 173 countries around the world. I also write for the Sabbath School Net which is also read around the world. Recently Inge Anderson, the webmaster of Sabbath School Net wrote me a letter of encouragement I would like to share. Inge Writes:

Dear William,
I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for your faithful service to the world-wide ministry of Sabbath School Net, both by your weekly blog posts since January 2012 and your moderation of comments on the blog.
We really value your gift of making deep spiritual subjects simple and applying biblical teachings to everyday life. I remember that that is how Jesus taught, and it is especially important to a ministry like ours that includes many thousands of people for whom English is a second language. But it’s also important for those of us in English-speaking areas of the world who may have the tendency to debate fine points of doctrine or church traditions while forgetting the “weightier matters of the law.”
I can understand how not being a salaried employee working for the church can be a lot more challenging than being on salary while essentially doing the same work. But I know that God records your faithful service. Perhaps that has also helped to keep you close to the Lord who has promised to supply all your needs. I pray that our loving Father will impress those who benefit from your ministry to contribute funds to continue it.
May the Lord continue to bless you with spiritual insight, good health and sufficient wealth to meet your needs.

Blessings, Inge Anderson

No photo description available.
Inge Anderson and her husband Pastor Andrew Anderson

Thanks again to all those who have faithfully prayed for and financially supported my ministry so I can keep taking the Gospel to Florida and around the world! Thank you for prayerfully considering supporting this ministry in 2021 and beyond! To God be the glory!

You may send your tax deductible contributions to the Plant City SDA Church, P.O. Box 5379 Plant City, FL 33563. Please mark your check or envelope “Bible Worker Fund.”

You may also contribute online by going to the Plant City Adventist Online Giving page, and go to the third line item under “Local Church” which reads “Bible Worker.”