"Today's passage tells us about a slave girl that was pimped twice over. She was being pimped by her master and she was being pimped by Satan," said Pastor Andrea King. King's sermon, The Art of Praise, was based on Acts chapter 16. "The girl earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. But after Paul cast out the demon, the Psychic Friends Network was canceled; the dial-a-demon network was disconnected. That's the danger with the power of messing around with Jesus. You may get saved. You can't come into the presence of God too many times without being changed. "The girl's owners wanted Paul and Silas arrested because they cast the demon out. They had no formal charge, so the authorities arrested them by pulling the race card. The only charge against them was being a Jew. I wonder if someone here can relate," asked Pastor King rhetorically. "Has someone here been pulled over for something, or maybe it would be better to say nothing." Pastor King went on to encourage the congregation to praise God no matter the circumstances.
Pastor Andrea King and her husband Kurt rotate who preaches, Le Tibs, a member of the worship team, said. "It is great having a husband and wife as the senior pastors; they complement each other."
The Kings returned last Wednesday from a trip to Nigeria. "We were in the mother country," commented Pastor Kurt King. "Nigeria is a country where you have nothing, so people have to live by faith. There are none of the materials we have to distract you. Churches in Nigeria are very progressive in how they worship." Kurt King explained that the congregants dance and move freely while they sing. "I was the stuffiest one in the church," he commented. While their worship is progressive, King said their theology is conservative. "Women aren't ordained in Nigeria, but they let Andrea preach," said Kurt King. "The leadership in Africa doesn't want to ordain women, but the people do." I asked Pastor Kurt King about Seventh Day Adventists' stance on women pastors. "In America, the General Conference still does not believe women should be ordained. When other churches are discussing homosexual pastors, we are discussing whether women should be pastors. We are part of the South Eastern Conference that allows women as pastors."
Maranatha is distinct from other churches because they believe Christians should meet on Saturdays. "The Bible tells us in the Ten Commandments, don't kill or commit adultery. In this same book of the law, God says to remember the Sabbath day," said Andrea King. King said the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, the day God rested after creating the universe. "We take this literally, because we believe in the Ten Commandments. People who meet on Sunday are not following all ten of the commandments."
King said another distinction is their church's emphasis on prophecy and the end times. "Maranatha means the Lord is coming. When Jesus returns, He won't be in an Internet chat room or on Larry King . The whole earth will know that he returned. He is going to come in the clouds and we are going to meet him in the sky. The dead will jump out of the grave; there will be no doubt about it," said Pastor Andrea King. "We are getting ready for God to come back. When I say get ready, it's more that we need to let the world know that they need to get their life ready. We need to help people be free from things that bind them on earth. We want to give people as much of heaven as possible, here on earth, so that they can taste a bit of heaven. This way people will be ready because they will want to get out of here."
Andrea King said people will be able to see signs prior to Jesus' return. "Jesus gives several signs in Matthew chapter 24. There are going to be wars, rumors of wars, pestilences, famines, strange things happening with the weather. Even now we are seeing a lot of earthquakes, weather catastrophes, and wars. These are the beginning of sorrows. People should perk up that the end times are happening. We can't keep living like we are living and dying like we are dying. We have to live like we know God is coming. People should look for a spiritual revival, that everyone will have a chance to hear the gospel.
"When Jesus returns we will reign with him for 1000 years in heaven, looking over the books. Everything we have done in this life will be written in the Book of Life. When we are in heaven, we're going to be confused why so-and-so isn't here, he was a good person. Or some people might be in heaven who we don't know how they got there," said Andrea King. "Jeffery Dahmer became a Christian before he died, if some people see him up there, they might have a problem with that. But after we are in heaven, we will deduce that God is right, good, true, and marvelous in our eyes."
I asked Andrea King what happens to a person who does not go to heaven. "A person who dies will eventually be destroyed," replied King. "Seventh Day Adventists do not believe people will spend eternity in hell."
6065 Skyline Drive, National City
Denomination: Seventh Day Adventist
Founded locally: September 14, 1985
Senior pastors: Kurt and Andrea King
Congregation size: 200
Staff size: 3
Sunday school enrollment: 25
Annual budget: $250,000
Weekly giving: $5000
Singles program: yes
Saturday worship: 10:50 a.m.
Length of reviewed service: 2+ hours