What It Means to Be Church
The Silent Listener
Sing a New Song
May 2019 ISSN 255003/09614
Of Growth and Glory BY BILL KNOTT
I u n i t e d s tat e s
About the Cover Casey Goldring (left) and Anna Ford have just finished harvesting Swiss chard and lettuce from Southern Adventist University’s Thatcher Farm in Tennessee, United States. Goldring is a junior studying elementary education at Southern, and Ford graduated from the university in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The university participates in the local chapter of Community Sustainable Agriculture. Cover Photo: Seth Shaffer
Focus 10 What It Means to Be Church The Word 20 What We Believe 26 Bible Questions Answered My Church 16 Opinion 17 Millennial Voices 18 Global View 22 Discovering the Spirit of Prophecy Living Faith 24 Faith in Action 27 Health and Wellness 28 May I Tell You a Story? 30 Growing Faith—Children’s Page
n a lifetime spent listening to sermons from Adventist pulpits and preaching from Adventist pulpits, I’ve yet to hear one sermon—even one of my own—about this parable of Jesus. That could be an accident of timing and missed opportunity, but there are likely better reasons the parable some call The Seed Growing Secretly (Mark 4:26-30) is routinely underemphasized among Seventh-day Adventists. None of us would ever say it isn’t important; it just doesn’t fit as nicely into our frame as, say, The Prodigal Son, The Lost Sheep, or The Wheat and the Tares. Perhaps our inattention to (some might say “discomfort with”) this parable of Jesus lies in the fact that Jesus underlines some surprising limits to the role of His disciples in the growth of the kingdom. We are used to stories and sermons that accentuate our responsibility. For 160 years the verbs of this end-time movement have propelled us to remarkable worldwide growth: go, disciple, baptize, teach—and each of these is right and righteous, a commission given by Jesus Himself. But lest we take undue credit for the kingdom of which He is both the ruler and the true builder, Jesus told this parable of waiting, of wondering, of watching to see what God will do when we have faithfully done the smaller part. We may scatter the seed on the ground, but we cannot make it germinate. We may cultivate the soil and give the fledgling plant its needed water, but we are as powerless to make it sprout, mature, and yield as we are by being anxious to “add a single hour” to the span of our life (Luke 12:25).* There is at the heart of God’s growing kingdom a mystery centered on the unseen work of the Holy Spirit in millions of hearts and minds. So we are, in Ellen White’s inspired phrase, “colaborers with God”—faithfully planting seed as commanded, and just as faithfully acknowledging that it is the gracious work of God that brings conviction, conversion, transformation, and maturation. When we are moved by grace to love the lost, we scatter seed—and pray. And when the miracle of new life in Christ springs up in someone for whom we have been praying, we give to Jesus the glory for His continuing act of grace—to them and us. With Paul we bow our heads and murmur, “Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). As you hear again the enduring call to join with Jesus in His mission to the lost, pray for a heart made glad by grace—grace received and grace given. * Bible texts credited is this article are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission.
We believe in the power of prayer, and we welcome prayer requests that can be shared at our weekly staff worship every Wednesday morning. Send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, and pray for us as we work together to advance God’s kingdom.
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
Students in the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Clinical Year program at Andrews University in the United States study specimens in a lab. The clinical year portion of the MLS program recently received 10 years of continuous accreditation from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, the maximum number of years that can be awarded. Photo: Darren Heslop, Andrews University News
AdventistWorld.org May 2019
News in Brief
Net Increase or Decrease of Christians Around the World Between 2010 and 2015 Source: Pew Research Center
“We are establishing clear objectives for helping to shape the federal agenda.”
Middle East-N. Africa
—Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health and member of the Adventist Health Policy Association (AHPA) board of directors. AHPA is an affiliation of five Seventh-day Adventist health-care systems, including Loma Linda University Health, which has opened a new office in Washington, D.C. There, AHPA president Carlyle Walton leads the association’s efforts to advance crucial policy and advocacy priorities that ensure member hospitals can provide high-quality, accessible health care.
64.5 Million 4
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
The percentage of Poland’s population that is Protestant. The country’s 5,796 Adventists are included in that 0.4 percent. Despite being such a small group in a country with 38.5 million residents, Seventhday Adventists are recognized for the positive impact they make on society. Adventist leaders were recently among those invited to meet with Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, at the presidential palace. As part of the meeting, Adventist representatives presented the president and his wife with a copy of Ellen White’s book The Desire of Ages.
“It was the most troubled day in my ministry. I couldn’t even think about what we needed to do next.” —Hyosu Jung, president of the West Asia Field regional office of the Adventist Church in Turkey. Jung made his comments in reference to a situation in which the Taksim Seventh-day Adventist Church property in Istanbul, Turkey, had been sold out from under Adventist control. The situation began several decades ago when the property had been registered under the name of a foreign denominational worker, since the church was not legally recognized in Turkey at the time. The worker died before he could transfer the title to his successor. The family of the deceased leader recently sold the property, which had been in operation as an Adventist church since 1927. In 2018 the General Conference Office of General Counsel was finally able to arrange a transaction to secure the property for the Adventist Church.
News in Brief
5,630 Photo: Euro-Asia Division
“Church communication is not an end in itself. We are here to serve, to use our voice to support the church’s outreach and mission initiatives.”
The distance in kilometers (approximately 3,500 miles) between Moscow and the new healthy lifestyle center opened in the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, Russia, on February 3, 2019. The center has been named “Shene Ehin,” which means “new beginning” in the local Buryat language. Services include adult and children’s therapeutic massage; fitness exercises; and counseling on family and healthy lifestyles. It also has opened a healthfood store on the premises. Organizers are planning to hold weekly workshops on health and healthful foods.
“Our conversation was friendly and informative, and it acknowledged both our shared heritage, as well as a number of clear theological differences between our two communions.” —Nikolaus Satelmajer, an organizer of the recent dialogue between the Seventhday Adventist Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. A small group of leaders and theologians from the two communities of faith—which share a similar heritage as well as a number of key beliefs—met December 5 and 6, 2018, at the world church headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The goal, according to participants, was simply to establish a cordial relationship and to foster a better understanding of each other’s beliefs, mission, and identity.
—Williams Costa, Jr., world church Communication Department director, speaking with Adventist World at the Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) conference held in Jordan. For the past three years GAiN, the Adventist Church’s global communication and technology summit, has partnered with various mission-driven departments and entities. The conferences have been used to facilitate discussion about how technology and communication can better aid mission. Photo: General Conference Religious Liberty and Public Affairs Department AdventistWorld.org May 2019
News in Depth
ADRA Launches “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” Campaign
The aid organization is looking for 1 million signatures for global education advocacy.
By Adventist Development and Relief Agency and Adventist World
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) announced a new global advocacy campaign called “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” The campaign is an urgent call to leaders around the world that all children, regardless of race, age, nationality, gender, religion, or origin, have a right to earn and complete an education, and that being in school is a recognition of the value and potential of each child. The announcement came at joint ADRA and Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) meetings in Sweimeh, Jordan, on February 25, 2019. The campaign aims to collect 1 million signatures by 2020 through grassroots efforts in collaboration with the Adventist Church, to petition world leaders to take action for children to receive an education and live free from exploitation and the shackles of intergenerational poverty. Already 131 ADRA offices around the world have pledged support for this global campaign. “Every child is a child of God— precious, unique, and filled with incredible potential. However, poverty, marriages at young ages, inequality,
disability, and many other factors are keeping an unacceptably high number of children out of school,” said ADRA president Jonathan Duffy. “It is the reason we are calling for greater investments in education globally and increased access to quality education for all children. It’s time that we make education a top priority so that every child can fulfill their God-given potential.” SOBERING STATISTICS
A 2018 UNESCO study reported little improvement in the reduction of the number of out-of-school children, adolescents, and youth since 2012, and that since 2016 more than 263 million children around the world are still out of school. This represents nearly one fifth of the global population of this age group. Additionally, high poverty levels were reportedly linked to out-of-school rates. Additional statistics are likewise sobering, as the study reported that 90 percent of children with disabilities in the developing world are not in school and that refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than nonrefugee children.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) president Jonathan Duffy presents the “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” campaign during ADRA and Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) joint meetings in Sweimeh, Jordan, on February 25, 2019.
Photo: Adventist Development and Relief Agency 6
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
It is also estimated that 25 million primary school-age children have never attended school, and probably never will if current trends continue. Experts in the field believe that a child who is out of school is more vulnerable to human traffickers and recruitment by militias, and at increased risk of early marriage, teen pregnancy, and child labor. “Without education disadvantage lingers, and children become trapped in intergenerational poverty,” they emphasized. CAMPAIGN IMPORTANCE
“The ‘Every Child. Everywhere. In School.’ campaign builds on the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s long tradition of responding to the needs of all human beings, namely to stand up in favor of human rights, the well-being of children, and the protection and integrity of families,” Duffy said. “It is a call to action for all supporters to stand up with this Adventist-led movement and put into practice those principles we hold true.” Through the years ADRA has been a strong advocate on social justice issues, including working with faith-based communities to champion support for refugees, migrants, and displaced persons during World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath; providing assistance to vulnerable families through emergency relief efforts; and giving greater access to children affected by displacement. ADRA has also pushed to end violence against women and girls, having supported the End It Now campaign spearheaded by Adventist Women’s Ministries of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
News in Depth
Korea’s Supreme Court Gives Historic Legal Victory to Adventist Student
The long-awaited ruling supports a legal right to Saturday (Sabbath) accommodation.
By Bettina Krause, Public Aﬀairs and Religious Liberty News
The almost-two-year legal ordeal of Han Ji Man, a Seventh-day Adventist medical student in South Korea, ended when the country’s supreme court upheld his right to take university exams outside of Saturday (Sabbath) hours. Adventists in Korea are celebrating the landmark ruling, issued January 31, 2019, which they hope will signal a new era of legal protection for Sabbathkeepers and other people of faith. “This verdict is historically important for Korean Adventists and provides a judicial precedent that can be used for future lawsuits on Sabbathkeeping issues,” said Sun Hwan Kim, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) director for the Adventist Church in the Northern Asia-Pacific region. “This miraculous ruling,” he added, “would not have occurred if a faithful Adventist youth, Brother Han, had not stood firmly in faith.” Adventists in Korea have long faced Sabbathkeeping difficulties, with university and professional accreditation exams often scheduled on Saturdays. Through the years many church members have sacrificed educational or career advancement in order to stay true to their convictions. Although the Korean constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of religion, the courts have not, until now, extended that protection to the issue of Sabbathkeeping. BATTLE FOR LEGAL PROTECTION
Han Ji Man’s legal battle began when he was a first-year medical student and discovered that a number of crucial exams were sched-
The Supreme Court building in South Korea, site of a decision issued on January 31, 2019, that provides legal protection for Sabbathkeepers and other people of faith
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
uled on Saturdays. He filed his lawsuit against the medical school after talks with his professors and school administrators—and an appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea—failed to resolve his predicament. After losing his case in the lower court, Han Ji Man appealed to Korea’s high court and won. The medical school appealed that result to the country’s highest court— the supreme court. The supreme court deferred to the high court’s decision, thus giving victory to Han Ji Man and upholding a more robust constitutional protection for religious freedom. “The victory in the supreme court wasn’t gained by chance,” Sun Hwan Kim said. He points, in particular, to the tireless prayers of Korean church members—and church members from around the world—who
supported Han Ji Man throughout his legal battle. He also noted the diligent work of Han Ji Man’s attorney, Shin Myung Cheol, along with the fund-raising efforts and support of the Korean Union PARL Department and the Society for Religious Freedom and Equal Opportunity, a group made up mainly of Adventist medical doctors. With this ruling, Adventists in Korea hope Sabbath accommodation will finally become less challenging for church members in many areas of Korean society. But just as important, according to Sun Hwan Kim, is the powerful example the case provides of faithfulness to God in the face of adversity. “I pray that Brother Han’s courageous act of faith will be the footstep that other Adventist youth can follow in their journey of faith,” he said. AdventistWorld.org May 2019
News Focus North American Division (NAD)
1,257,913 NAD membership as of December 31, 2018
1968 The year in which the Seventh-day Adventist Church began archaeological excavations in Jordan, a project that was soon called the Madaba Plains Project. The initial goal was to discover evidence of Heshbon, an ancient city linked to the biblical exodus. Recently the founding archaeologists and their colleagues, students, dig team volunteers, and supporters celebrated their work’s semicentennial during La Sierra University’s tenth Annual Archaeology Discovery Weekend. (^-)
“More than 150 years after Adventist health-care ministry began, we are proud to carry on this legacy as AdventHealth to provide healing, express love, and impart hope upon those we encounter on our sacred mission to deliver Christcentered, whole-person care.” Gary Thurber, president of the Mid-America Union Conference and board chair for AdventHealth, formerly known as Adventist Health System. The official name change took place on January 1, 2019, uniting nearly 50 hospitals, more than 1,200 care sites, and 39 brands under one common brand and logo.
Six Hundred The number of families who received assistance at the Orlando International Airport from Community United Outreach, a Seventh-day Adventist co-op based in Orlando, Florida, United States. The group sponsored a free food giveaway on January 31 to airport workers affected by the longest government shutdown in the United States, which lasted 35 days. The NAD reported on several Adventist individuals and groups throughout the country who came up with tangible ways to assist those who did not receive paychecks during the shutdown.
“Our task is to make the love of God real to those around us in spite of the inconveniences and difficulties that we face while doing it. We are God’s ministers, His servants, all of us.” —Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division, addressing attendees at the North American Division 2019 Health Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. More than 150 gathered to discuss a variety of health topics. An emphasis was placed on healing for those who administer health services as practitioners—whether as health professionals, pastors, or administrators—to serve the needs of others effectively.
Photo: Jason Watkins 8
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
By Chantal J. Klingbeil, associate director, Ellen G. White Estate
Photo: Sidney Pearce
Happy Mother’s Day! Really? Many places around the globe remember and honor mothers this month. Naturally, it’s big business vying for more sales as the media remind the public to show one’s appreciation to mothers. Mothers are honored in churches (including Adventist churches). Mothers are lauded by politicians and leaders. But Mother’s Day can also be a difficult time. There are women who have always wanted to be mothers and yet have never been able to have that deep yearning met. For some Mother’s Day is an unwanted reminder of a stillbirth or an adoption. As the media are saturated with pictures of happy mothers receiving flowers and gifts from grateful children, many mothers wonder what they did wrong and why their children never express love and gratitude. Many hardworking fathers wonder why so much is made of Mother’s Day, yet Father’s
Day seems often so underwhelming in society in general. No matter who we are, whether or not we are parents, Mother’s Day touches a nerve, calling us each back to our own beginning, our own questions about being loved and accepted. Yet love is wired into our genes. We began through love. For some of us our parents loved each other before we were born. Some of us may have been unplanned or even unwanted by our mothers. But despite how each of our individual stories began, someone carried us for nine months. For those nine months, as genetic codes were being read and cells were dividing, we were being “woven together” in response to God’s plan. God, who is both the source of life and love (1 John 4:8), was individually creating someone more to love (Isa. 44:2). And the best part of it all is that we had nothing to do with it. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t work for the gift of life. We just listened to the throb of it with our mother’s heartbeat, then we simply opened ourselves to life with our first deep breath.
Somewhere, somehow each of us has seen love modeled in this gift of life. Despite all the odds against us we were born. We are all as unique as our fingerprints, and are designed to share a special relationship with the God who knows even the number of hairs on our heads (Matt. 10:30). Some of us go on to replay and participate in God’s love story as we carry a new life within us. As mothers we get to share our bodies, our blood supply, our hormones, our food, and the very air we breathe with God’s new love project. We understand that in this fallen world, love is expressed not only in flowers, sweetly worded cards, and beautiful gifts, but in birth pains, sleepless nights, runny noses, tears, and dirty diapers. Regardless of whether we are mothers or just their grown-up children, Mother’s Day should be a great reminder that we are loved! “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isa. 49:15, NIV). AdventistWorld.org May 2019
What It Means to Be Church “I have called you friends,” Jesus told His disciples (John 15:15). That’s such a high compliment. And the same can be said of us when we join Christ’s body, the church. We’re no longer servants; we’re friends. Jesus’ ministry captured what it means to be friends with Jesus. He told Zacchaeus, “I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5). He asked the woman at Jacob’s well “Give Me a drink” (John 4:7). He told the thief on the cross, “You will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Now that we’re friends with Jesus, it’s our responsibility to invite others to join this fellowship. Friends care for each other; they look out for each other; they believe the best about each other. No other human institution can match the companionship found in the church. As we live for Christ, our friendship with Him will be reflected in our friendships with each other. In this section we remember that with great privilege comes great responsibility.—Editors.
Snowbirds Seeking warmth when it’s winter BY A. ALLAN MARTIN
ost of my childhood was spent in Florida, United States, which is known as the Sunshine State. As a kid I was always amazed that during the height of winter, when we locals would be layered and bundled, visitors would be in shorts and flip flops—some even enjoying the beach or swimming in a pool. In January! But it’s 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) outside! Brrrrr! These people often came from the northern United States, where it was bitterly cold; and many had come south to escape the frigid temperatures and harsh conditions. I heard some of those folk called “snowbirds,” because they “migrate” to places of warmth and sunshine. Leave the cold, go where it’s warm. Smart move, snowbirds! Smart move. WHAT’S THE CLIMATE IN YOUR CHURCH?
Those words, “escaping the cold,” brought to my mind life today in the church, and how sometimes our faith communities can be downright nose-numbing chilly. Recently I posted a comment on social media that received considerable reaction online: “What I love about that church is they are so cold and condescending,” said no one ever. The departure of young people, as well as people of all ages, from relationally cold churches has been well documented in research.1 It seems like common sense for warm-
blooded humans. “I don’t like the cold; I want to go where it’s warm.” Could a change of interpersonal temperature be a key to not only keeping but also attracting young people into local church life? Authors Kara Powell, Brad Griffin, and Jake Mulder, in their book Growing Young, researched more than 250 congregations that were drawing young people into their churches. In speaking to more than 1,300 young churchgoers ages 15 to 29, the authors discovered what next generations want: authenticity and connection.2 In a word: warmth. The Growing Young authors analyzed the terms that young adults used to describe the churches or faith communities that they chose, and noticed these words repeatedly: welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring. The authors began to call this finding the “warmth cluster.” My friend and mentor Roger Dudley put it best: “I concluded that while there are many factors in retention, I really think that the congregational climate is perhaps the most important thing of all. Young people, when they think about Seventh-day Adventists, don’t think about the denomination as a whole. To them, Adventism is that congregation. If that congregation is a warm, accepting place, then Seventh-day Adventism must be a good thing. If that congregation is a place that is struggling, then they wonder, ‘What’s the matter with Adventists?’ I guess adults do that too, but young people do it particularly.”3 REASONS TO BELONG
This rings true for me, too. When I think back to the reasons I have remained in love with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, my first impulse has rarely been to point to
a belief, doctrine, policy, or cultural practice. It’s just as rare that I point to a building, location, or region. When I identify what has adhered me to the faith, it is almost always a fond memory of a person that embodied the “warmth cluster,” someone who was Jesus to me. From my teen years through young adulthood I can point to people who showed belief in me, interest, and most certainly . . . warmth. I can name wonderful and warm Christ followers who made it hard for me to imagine being anywhere other than the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As an adult, and having lived at times where winters can be brutal, I definitely identify with the snowbirds who are drawn to places where the sun shines and the climate is warm. Like young people, I, too, tend to migrate to spiritual spaces where people are kind and the relationship temperature is inviting. May our churches be filled with warm, accepting, genuine relationships. Next time a snowbird flutters to your faith community, what will the temperature be? My prayer is that they will find in you a person who is welcoming, accepting, authentic, hospitable, and caring. Be warm. Report by Alex Bryant at 2019 eHuddle, www.facebook.com/ NADAdventist/videos/562687697544563/ 2 growingyoungadventists.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/warm-isthe-new-cool/ 3 www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2009/01/embracing-those-who-reject-religion 1
A. Allan Martin, Ph.D., is the teaching pastor for Younger Generation Church, the young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas, United States (ygchurch.com).
Warming Things Up Here are some suggestions to fuel a warm community in your local church:
New to You Introduce yourself to those you don’t know. Having some intentionality to your approach is important so that you don’t stumble in your attempt (saying “Hi, you’re new here,” only to find out they have been attending for some time). Saying something like “Hi, you’re new to me. My name is __________,” allows you to meet new people at church, work, or school.
Food It used to be customary to invite new people over for lunch after Sabbath services. But with time this practice has faded some. Meals are still a great way to get to know people, and for young people food is always attractive. You may find it rewarding to regularly make new friends over a meal.
Serve Side by Side Community service, humanitarian causes, and social justice afford all generations opportunities to work alongside each other to help those in need. Such opportunities also serve to forge friendships and meet people with whom you might not otherwise interact. Be intentional to serve regularly and look to build relationships with those around you. For more ideas about fueling warm relationships, go to GrowingYoungAdventists.com.
AdventistWorld.org May 2019
Plant Them, Grow Them, Keep Them The fine art of engaging and encouraging members new and old BY MARCOS TORRES
he local Adventist church has a beautiful message and a compelling mission focused on biblical truth and evangelism. Active churches run programs to connect with their local communities and host annual reaping series designed to encourage decisions. Reports are sent to the local conference. Smiles and celebrations ensue. But that’s not the full story. In some parts of the world “one in three people [leave] the church after being baptized, in less than three years. The precise ratio [is] 43 people lost for every 100 new converts.”*
Let that sink in. Nearly half of those who join the Seventh-day Adventist Church are gone within the first three years. The obvious question to follow such a sobering statistic is What can we do to reverse this trend? Prayer is key, for without it all our efforts will fall flat. But what can we combine with our prayer efforts, something practical that we can implement to slow the tide? Here are five simple steps to help retain new members. BE PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE
Chances are you won’t be able to reverse member exodus while it’s happening. It’s almost too late. But you can learn to adapt so that it doesn’t happen again. Sit down with your leadership team and map out a simple, sustainable method to increase member retention. This process usually revolves around three simple practices: (1) Build relationships with new members (at least three close church friends for every new member). (2) A “next step” for recently baptized members (most churches baptize them and forget them—no further training; no further study; no discipleship). (3) Consistent pastoral care. The pastor shouldn’t be the only
Jesus Called Them
The process of going from followers to disciples Photo: Courtesy of the Author
one doing this. Each elder should be charged to care for a particular number of members (be sure to observe proper boundaries for vulnerable or single members). LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND
The previous step is necessary to prevent backsliding. But once this ball is rolling, it’s nearly impossible to stop. But we can help stop the momentum. Don’t do anything without prayer. From there, meet with those who seem to be pulling back, and do nothing but listen. Do not preach. Do not scold. Do not give a Bible study about the importance of church attendance. And please do not approach them with “spiritual life threats” (such as “We are living in the end-times”; “You won’t make it if you . . .”; or “You are going to be lost if you . . .”). Instead, simply listen. When you do talk, do it to clarify, ask questions, and encourage, not to “put them in their place.” SERVE THEIR NEEDS
People drop out of church for a variety of reasons. Most of the time it’s a life crisis, a situation or issue they find embarrassing or overwhelming. Sometimes they drop off because someone in church hurt them, or because they
Tara VinCross is senior pastor of the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in southern California, United States. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Andrews University in biblical spirituality and discipleship. “I enjoy inspiring people to live out their calling and use their gifts to bring others into the more abundant life Jesus spoke about,” she says. In a recent interview VinCross spoke about guiding members— young and old—in the path of discipleship.—Editors.
But if all else fails, maintain a connection. Make sure the person knows that even if they never return to church, they are loved and cared for there. CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT
simply did not feel connected. Yes, sometimes they begin to doubt the church’s doctrines. Whatever the case, don’t defend the church or its teachings. Instead, seek to serve. Treat them as you would a wounded person by seeking to mend their wounds and nurture them back to health. MAINTAIN A CONNECTION
You may be thinking, All this sounds awfully passive! Isn’t there anything a little more forceful we can do to get them to snap out of it? After all, we’re dealing with eternal life, aren’t we? The answer to that question: it depends. You cannot undo years of
spiritual malpractice by suddenly getting tough with people. If your church has failed to nurture, strengthen, and disciple believers, what gives you the right to freak out when they fall away? Where was all that energy when they were among you, struggling, ignored, and unnoticed? But there are rare cases in which you might come down a bit tougher. If the person is a close friend, someone you have invested in, then you have more leverage. Tough words spoken in love go much further when they are said in a context of loving connection. This is why prayer, listening, and serving are so important.
What principles are essential to this discipleship process? I’m trying to cultivate knowing, being, and doing, those three elements. There would be increased knowledge of God; then people would actually live out their faith, to live their purpose. It includes a whole section on praying, devotional reading of Scripture, different ways of connecting in relationship with God according to different learning styles. Because not everyone reacts or responds in the same way.
When a plant fails to grow in a particular environment, don’t reintroduce the plant to the same environment. Instead, change the environment—temperature, sunlight, air, water, etc. Make sure that the environment is conducive to growth. Sadly, many churches lose members, then reintroduce new ones to the exact environment that caused the loss of the previous ones. If we are serious about retaining new believers we must change our environment into a healthier, more growth-inducing climate that will disciple new converts in their walk with God and others. * Adrian Zahid, “Beyond the One Project: The War Over the Local Church,” thecompassmagazine.com/blog/beyond-the-one-projectthe-war-over-the-local-church-5a.
Marcos Torres is pastor of the Victoria Park and Joondalup Seventh-day Adventist churches in Western Australia. For more insights into church mission and leadership follow his podcast at www.TheChurchStoryProject.com.
What’s the process? It’s a class format, but it’s very interactive. It’s a limited closed group, a set period of time. The first one I did was 12 weeks. We did an all-day retreat, one day at the beginning and one day at the end. [Participants] had to be able to commit to a one-day retreat, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., [then] 12 nights once a week, and one full day at the end. We called it a discipleship group.
Do most new members resonate with this? The relationships get so strong between the people who participate together. Every group has been between 12 and 16 people because they get close to each other.
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some ideas for an effective life as disciples of Jesus Christ.
evotional life. Try to spend an hour with Jesus each day. Divide it up: a half hour in the morning, five minutes here or there, and some time before bed. Read or listen to the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Sabbath School lesson. Journal your thoughts. Write down prayer requests and answers to prayer. Have a prayer partner, an accountability partner, or be in a small group.
I Rosie Fraser
What’s Your Purpose? Joining the church is just the beginning. BY JEFFREY O. BROWN
Jesus Called Them continued
he headline captured my attention: “Man sues parents for giving birth to him ‘without his consent.’”1 Why did you give birth to me, he effectively argued to his parents, when life has no purpose? What’s yours? Birth without a relationship is tragic; so is new birth without discipleship. Discipleship is simply the process of loving those whom Jesus loves. Let me share
dea implementation. Join an existing ministry or create a new one. The Metro Mission in Sandton (Johannesburg), South Africa, is passionate about seven-day discipleship, not seventh-day discipleship. Their life groups include FunDaMental (men), Clarity (Bible study), The Movement (youth), Empower Her (women), The Squad (football), professional business women’s prayer (women meeting for midday prayer), BeLifeSum (health), and Worth Fighting For (family life). These life groups provide an authentic place for members to establish relationships with unchurched persons.
ocial media. Rachel Aitken, founder of Digital Discipleship
Every person is put into a group of four that is like their family group throughout the discipleship process. They also have a spiritual companion, one other person they’re talking to throughout the entire time. They pray together, and there’s an accountability element to that relationship.
longtime members who needed and desired growth, and to have those individuals alongside newer members.
Is this something you expect new members to participate in? Or do you open it up to older, established members as well?
Sabbath School is [one] of our best avenues for discipleship. People are part of Sabbath School here. We have to look at the context and say, “OK, Sabbath School is the best way people are connecting in small groups; where they’re being taught, discipled; where they’re known and they know others. How can we be more intentional about using that time [for discipleship]?”
I’ve always kept it open to both, because I’ve found that you can be like the older brother inside the church who never left, but who never knew the Father’s love. It’s always been a blessing to both, to be able to have some who are
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What form does discipleship take now that you’re senior pastor of an institutional church of 2,300 members?
in Australia, told me, “Meet the needs of people within your community in the digital space. Encourage your church members to engage in conversations on their social media accounts. . . . Provide support for people on your social media accounts, in forums, or on your church website. Consider having a section about parenting, health, or prayer. Host an online Bible study or prayer meeting. Livestream a cooking class. Always seek to meet people’s needs, whatever they may be.”
ommunity outreach. Every second Sabbath of the month our church has an abbreviated service, then goes into the community. Musicians, singers, and other volunteers go to a nursing home. Visitation teams go visit those who are sick and housebound. Other members serve at interfaith food shelters. We assist in neighborhood revitalization and in giving individualized support to move families from poverty to economic self-sufficiency. It’s about service, not serve-us.
ntimacy integration. When you got baptized you not only joined Christ, you joined His family. It’s not always easy to become close to people you don’t know. So
make an intentional effort. Host a Welcome to the Family program involving your entire church, including new members, learning together about health, spiritual, family, and church dynamics, and improving relationships.2
roject Participation. Participate in a mission project, at home or overseas. I did a student missionary year in Ghana, West Afria, when I was in college. There is nothing like it.
egacy building. Take somebody with you, perhaps a young person. Let them catch the fire of discipleship. At the University of Arusha in Tanzania, a freshman theology student was assigned as my translator. Victor performed his task well. I realized that this was more than a ministry assignment—this was a mentoring window. He later wrote: “Know that there is a millennial in Tanzania who is following your footsteps.” Who are you bringing with you?
veryday deposits. Pray for those you want to reach, and for opportunities to perform daily acts of kindness. Deposits for Jesus: Every Member, Everyday Witnessing has more than 400 practical ways to make witnessing deposits, includ-
What is your counsel to those who want to take the next step in discipleship? First to leaders: Everything else will crowd out what’s most important. But being a disciple and making disciples is worth blocking out the time for. In every area of our ministry we can ask, “How are we growing disciples here?” We were designed to grow in relationship. So whether you’re going through the book of Romans or the book of John, reading another book by another author, read a chapter a week and gather together to read and pray. Something happens when we make intentional space to grow with other believers, nurturing those relationships.
ing social media deposits for young people.3 George Webber states, “Our job is to discover those who have been forgotten and do what we can to be a sign of love and hope. . . . [Our signs] will not be for the sake of getting new members or winning converts. Simply, we live in the style of our Lord . . . , offering our love without any ulterior motive.”4 A little boy was found crying because he had lost the note his mother had given him for his schoolteacher, explaining why he didn’t have a birth certificate. The boy cried, “I have lost my excuse for being born.” When we live out what it means to be disciples, we will find our purpose. What’s yours? www.wivb.com/news/man-sues-parents-for-giving-birth-to-himwithout-his-consent1/1766482167 2 www.adventsource.org/store/adult-ministries/family-ministries/ welcome-to-the-family-38153 3 Ashton O’Neil, Deposits for Jesus: Every Member, Everyday Witnessing (Port of Spain, Trinidad: Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2018). 4 George W. Webber, Today’s Church: A Community of Exiles and Pilgrims (Nashville: Abingdon, 1979), p. 96. 1
Jeffrey O. Brown is associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and associate editor of Ministry. He also serves as pastor for discipleship at Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventhday Adventist Church, Ashton, Maryland, United States.
I have seen transformation happen. A person in the first group came to me when we were going to read Scripture. He said, “They can do it, but I can’t. I know it works for other people, but I can’t. I can’t hear God.” I talked him through it, this whole idea that we come to God exactly as we are and that it is the acceptance and love of God that leads us to experience the Spirit, this growth, this transformation. As we had that conversation, I prayed with him, and he reengaged with Scripture and with God. His eyes lit up with joy at experiencing God. That’s what I want people to know: that God wants to meet with them.
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n a world in which many of us no longer work with soil, is it possible that we are missing out on lessons that God can teach us only by getting our hands dirty? Where once most people were farmers, today that experience is becoming a distant memory. This is the result of progress, but has it made life better? The Bible became more real to me when I started to grow food. So many of Jesus’ parables and lessons were built on His listeners having a solid grasp of agriculture and growing food. May it be somewhat futile to think we can understand what Jesus is saying without having a grasp of the symbols He uses? That was my experience. Here is an example. I assumed character development was something that should happen quickly. Why weren’t more people growing at the same rate I was? Well, once we start to grow multiple plants of 16
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differing varieties, we quickly see that plant A may grow a lot faster than plant B, and there is nothing one can do to hurry its growth. The wise man Solomon wrote, “The king himself profits from the fields” (Eccl. 5:9, NIV). Even kings are blessed by the fruit of the ground. Isaiah summarizes the learning experience for those who get their hands in the soil: “For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him” (Isa. 28:26, ESV).1 Why is Scripture riddled with so many lessons taught from the simple act of planting a seed and watching it grow? Could it be that God still wants to teach spiritual lessons that we can learn only from the lesson book of nature? Ellen White underlines this in her amazing book, Education: “Let the teacher call attention to what the Bible says about agriculture: that it was God’s plan for [humanity] to till the earth; that the first man, the ruler of the whole world, was given a garden to cultivate; and
that many of the world’s greatest [men and women], its real nobility, have been tillers of the soil. Show the opportunities in such a life.”2 As countercultural as it sounds, there are still valid reasons to find a way to keep growing something. Even if it’s not a full farm or garden, we all can find a pot, take some time to put seeds in the soil, water those seeds, and watch a miracle take place in front of us. I believe, from personal experience growing a variety of produce, that there are countless lessons to be learned through the simple act of growing plants. The soil still holds treasure for those who dig for it. Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 2 Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1903), p. 219. 1
Jared Thurmon is director of marketing and innovation for Adventist World and lives with his family and a number of alpacas near Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Image: Markus Spiske
The Silent Listener
In the silent spells God whispered to me that I must learn to be faithful even when I didn’t see immediate results.
ave you ever thought about changing your career?” The question startled me, because I had been thinking about changing my career. It began my journey to becoming a producer and presenter for Adventist Radio London, an evangelistic project seeking to reach the cosmopolitan population of this capital city. I enjoyed learning radio, but one of the most challenging parts of the transition was having a conversation with an empty studio! I was a teacher; I was used to having a physical audience who would immediately respond, and whose body language would prompt me to adapt whatever I was doing to become more effective. But I couldn’t see who was watching or listening to me now. As time passed, I found that sometimes people responded to my on-air questions and invitations for prayer requests. I liked interacting with them. But at other times my audience was silent. I often wondered if anyone was listening. Was my show really reaching or helping anyone? In the silent spells God whispered to me that I must learn to be faithful even when I didn’t see immediate results. If just one person was listening and hearing God’s voice through my program, that was enough. Yet thankfully there were moments of encouragement. We heard from listeners who weren’t Adventists who had found the station
by chance. Someone wanted to start a Bible study course I advertised. Others requested the books I was giving away. That summer my boyfriend and I visited some friends in the north of England. As we wandered the streets of an unfamiliar city, we suddenly noticed someone staring at us from the other side of the road. “What’s he looking at? Is something wrong?” we whispered. Surreptitiously my boyfriend checked over his shoulder, but nobody was behind us. We began to cross at the pedestrian lights, and the stranger approached us. “Are you from Adventist Radio London?” he asked. “I listen to your programs!” We laughed and chatted with him, amazed that someone miles away from London would recognize us. People are listening. People are watching. This is true not only for me, in my admittedly evangelistic role at the radio, but for you too, in both your professional and personal circles. You have a powerful voice and a powerful influence. To quote William J. Toms, “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” I have to ask myself, Am I representing God well? Am I the sort of person whose life will encourage someone to pick up a Bible and look into Christianity or Adventism with an open heart? Paul writes, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20, NIV). As much as that is a serious responsibility, I find the thought comforting as well. Sometimes we wonder if our efforts are having any results, but we can know that there is power in being a true ambassador of Jesus. Someone is watching. Someone is listening.
Lynette Allcock, a graduate of Southern Adventist University, lives in Watford, United Kingdom, where she produces and presents for Adventist Radio London.
AdventistWorld.org May 2019
Identity, TMI, and Christ’s Method Growing the church
ome years ago Seventh-day Adventists were thrust into the spotlight when a prominent newspaper, USA Today, proclaimed Adventism to be “the fastest-growing Christian denomination in North America,” in an article titled, “Adventists’ Back-toBasics Faith Is Fastest Growing U.S. Church.”1 Comparing the growth rate of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to other denominations in the United States, the article suggested that our growth rate was owing, at least in part, to our distinctive beliefs. The author wrote: “With Saturday worship services and vegetarian lifestyles, Seventh-day Adventism owns a distinctive niche outside the Christian mainstream. But being different is turning out to be more of an asset than a liability.”2 At the time of publication (2011), the Adventist Church had 17 million members. Today we praise God for more than 21 million brothers and sisters around the world. Far from being just a statistic, the numbers represent precious souls who have given their hearts to Christ. And while we rejoice with many joining the church, we recognize that others are leaving. 18
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What contributes to church growth? How can we retain members? I suggest three factors for consideration. 1. Identity. The search for identity is real. The online genealogy industry has exploded into a multibillion-dollar business as millions of people pay to learn more about where they have come from and what clues the history of their ancestors might reveal. Even in cultures not as engrossed in online research, ancestry is important in determining one’s identity. For Seventh-day Adventists, our identity matters. Who we are, where we have come from, and why we exist are undeniable factors in determining our mission. Markus Kutzschbach, executive director of Adventist Heritage Ministry, wrote: “An understanding of our past—no matter if it is our own past or that of our ancestors—gives us a sense of identity. Understanding our past helps us to know who we are. If we do not know where we come from, how will we know where we are going? Understanding one’s identity is crucial for knowing one’s destiny. A sense of our identity gives us a sense of our future.”3
The Seventh-day Adventist Church was born out of a deep conviction that the Bible is God’s Word and can be trusted. Those who believed prophecy and pointed to the soon return of Christ were willing to be ridiculed by society and disfellowshipped by their churches rather than ignore the Bible. Even when Christ did not return on October 22, 1844, these faithful Bible students returned with faith and prayer to God’s Word. They soon came to realize that “cleanse the sanctuary” in Daniel 8:14 depicted a new phase of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, of which the earthly sanctuary was a type. Encouraged, Adventists continued to study the Bible diligently and pray fervently that God would reveal His truth. Their prayers were answered, and by 1850 the foundational beliefs (or pillars) of what would become the Seventh-day Adventist Church were established. Ellen White describes these pillars as (1) Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary; (2) the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 (including the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy and the Second Coming); (3) the seventh-day Sabbath; (4) the non-immortality of the soul.4 Image: Remi Walle
These doctrinal pillars established at the beginning of this movement still hold true today. The Seventh-day Adventist Church was founded solely upon the Bible and continues to uphold the Bible as the Word of God that is still relevant, affirming a historicist hermeneutical approach.5 This identity as a Bible-founded, Bible-believing, Bible-following movement is what shapes our mission more than anything else; and it is what attracts millions of people to become part of our church family. 2. Total Member Involvement (TMI). The church is more than an organization with churches, institutions, pastors, teachers, and other workers. The church is us, all 21 million members; and God has called us to reach others for Him. That’s Total Member Involvement—everyone doing something for Jesus!6 Ellen White observed: “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.”7 What a privilege we each have working right where we are to bring others to Christ! I recently
received a prayer request written by a young woman: “Could you say a prayer for my friend? She is a young adult professional that came to my church as a volunteer for our free health clinic. Since then she and I have had Bible studies. . . . From America in prophecy to the mark of the beast, the fall of Lucifer to the millennium and the sanctuary message, we have studied it all! Leading out in this Bible study every week has been my greatest blessing. It’s true: when you lead out in Bible study, you are the one who grows the most!” When we understand our heritage and identity, when we are involved in bringing others to Jesus and His precious truths as revealed in His Word, our own souls are refreshed and drawn closer to God. We will want to stay with His end-time remnant movement until the very end, working through the Holy Spirit’s power to save as many souls as possible for His kingdom. 3. Christ’s Method Alone. Even if we have a clear understanding of who we are, and even if every member is involved in outreach, we will have true success only by using Christ’s method alone as described by Ellen White: “The Saviour mingled with [men and women] as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”8 While every need is important, we should always keep in mind people’s deeper spiritual needs. Just above the previous quotation are these words: “The gospel is too often presented in so indifferent a manner as to make but little impression upon the consciences or the lives of [men and women]. Everywhere there are hearts crying out for something which they have not. They long for a power that
“Who we are, where we have come from, and why we exist are undeniable factors in determining our mission.” will give them mastery over sin, a power that will deliver them from the bondage of evil, a power that will give health and life and peace. Many who once knew the power of God’s Word have dwelt where there is no recognition of God, and they long for the divine presence. “The world needs today . . . a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.”9 Every step of Christ’s method is important, including the final one. While we can help meet temporary needs, the only truly satisfying and eternally lasting solution is to lead people to Jesus Christ and invite them to follow Him. USAToday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-18-Adventists_17_ST_N.htm 2 Ibid. 3 Markus Kutzschbach, “The Past: A Foundation for the Future,” General Conference Executive Committee Newsletter, October 2018, executivecommittee.adventist.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ ECN-October-2018.pdf. 4 Ellen G. White, Counsels to Writers and Editors (Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1946), p. 30. 5 The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s voted “Methods of Bible Study” document explains our approach to Scripture more fully. See www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/ documents/article/go/-/methods-of-bible-study/. 6 To learn more, visit tmi.adventist.org/about. 7 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, p. 117. 8 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 143. 9 Ibid. 1
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @pastortedwilson, and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.
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What We Believe
esus is being accused of working together with the devil. The One who withstood the tempter in the desert following His baptism and repelled him with a decisive “Away from me, Satan!” (Matt. 4:10)1—the One who came “to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8)—is implicated as collaborating with the “prince of demons.” He, who sternly commanded impure spirits to “be quiet!” and “come out!” (Mark 1:25), is charged by the crowd as being “demon-possessed” Himself (cf. John 7:10; 10:20).
Unity in the Body of Christ
WHAT IS HE NOT TELLING US?
A Kingdom Divided . . . On the miracle of unity
After Jesus heals “a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute” (Matt. 12:22) the crowd watching all this draws different conclusions (cf. verses 22–30). One group calls Him the promised Messiah, the other a spiritualist: “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons’” (verse 24). This attempt to discredit Jesus is a frontal attack on His integrity: Are you really who you claim to be? Don’t you have a hidden agenda, or worse, a dark secret? Aren’t you operating covertly in the name of Satan? Associating Jesus with Beelzebul was a multiple insult: Beelzebub (from Hebrew Ba’al Zebûb) can be translated “Lord of the flies” or “Lord of the dunghill,” that is, the one who gathers followers like flies.2 Jesus sees an opportunity to share an important spiritual truth about the kingdom of God at this moment: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (verses 25-28).
Jesus makes a surprising claim: Both the Spirit of God and Satan and his followers are united in their missions—albeit diametrically opposed to each other. Satan seeks to divide and conquer—God seeks to set free and unite. And humans? They can choose which side to join. WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT
The Bible describes a mind-set that seeks to divide people into good and bad, right and wrong—where one turns up, by default, on the “right” side. It’s a game dear to human nature in which we all excel. Although the issues to be right about may vary over time, the spirit remains the same. In German we call a person with this attitude Rechthaber—or someone who thinks and claims to be always right. The Pharisees added a spiritual dimension to it: we are good, you are evil; we have God on our side, therefore you must be against God—of the devil or a demon yourself. Jesus warned His disciples to “watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees” (Mark 8:15). This toxic ideological “raising agent” eventually leads to hypocrisy. Why? Simply because it’s a mind-set that practices what it condemns, while at the same time pretending that it doesn’t. The word “Pharisee,” Hebrew perushim, comes from poresh, which means “to separate oneself from.” The Pharisee is, in essence, someone who distances and detaches himself from others in the name of religion. But however true any analysis of the Pharisaic mind may be, the most important spiritual takeaway is this: We all have an inner Pharisee going about his business, if we let him. A KINGDOM GATHERED
The perushim mind-set excludes—Jesus includes. The perushim mind-set separates in the name of religion— Jesus gathers, in the name of God: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). The good Shepherd gathers His sheep from all over with one goal in mind: to bring back together what belonged together in the first place: “I pray . . . that all of them [believers] may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. . . . I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. . . . Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am” (John 17:20-24). The opposite is true too: Whoever does not gather with Jesus scatters (Matt. 12:30).
human “shortcut.” It’s the result of a longer relational process the Bible depicts as the way of love, “which binds . . . all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:13). Unity is both a spirit and the result of a transforming process. It’s an attitude that seeks connection and understanding. The Spirit of ONE includes these elements: O—ourselves (inner healing and restoration of body, mind, and soul) N—neighbor (healing of relationships) E—enemy (eventually overcoming any trigger that jeopardizes true unity) All of this is based on the spirit-led miracle of forgiveness. Paul reminds Christians: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (verse 14). Forgiveness is just as great a miracle as is the creation of the world, the transformation of a person, or the resurrection from the dead. The prophet Ezekiel was shown in vision a valley filled with scattered bones. When asked by God: “Son of man, can these bones live?” he didn’t know the answer, nor did he dare to believe this could happen (Eze. 37:3). Would we have? Probably not. Can the “dry bones” of church doctrine and policies come to life? Church policies and teachings have their appropriate place, yet they can cover the bones only with “tendons and flesh” and even “skin”; they can’t breathe the breath of life into the body (cf. verse 8). “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life” (verse 5). Do we still believe that unity can be restored? We do have a choice: we can be peacemakers for the Prince of Peace, or we can allow our “inner Pharisee” to tear this world further apart. “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off” (Eze. 37:11). “Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live” (verse 9). Bible texts in this article are from the New International Version. According to others it most likely means “Baal the prince.” Ba’al Zebub is mentioned in the Old Testament as the Philistine God of Ekron. Cf. Manfred Lurker, The Routledge Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons (London: Routledge, 1987), p. 31. 1 2
Daniel Wildemann is book editor of the Adventist publishing house in Germany (Advent-Verlag Lüneburg). He is married to Paola Orsucci, and they live together with their daughter, Giulia, in the picturesque town of Lüneburg in northern Germany.
THE MIRACLE OF BEING ONE
To be clear, this “complete unity” Jesus was praying for is a spiritual miracle that can’t be reached through any
Read more about What We Believe at www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/
AdventistWorld.org May 2019
Discovering the Spirit of Prophecy
An Inestimable Gift God’s last-day people will not be left in the dark.
he book of Revelation predicts that the end-time remnant church would have the gift of prophecy. Its members are those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). What is “the testimony of Jesus”? The angel explained to John that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10), which manifests itself in the prophets (Rev. 22:6, 9).
AN AUTHENTIC GIFT
Satan always tries to counterfeit what the Lord does. The enemy, who knows the importance of the Spirit of prophecy, has raised up false prophets in order to create confusion and hinder the work of God. One of the signs of the time of the end is the presence of “many false prophets” (Matt. 24:11) who “will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (verse 24). It is highly important to know how to evaluate whether those who claim to be prophets have really been sent by God.
Image: Dino Reichmuth
Fortunately, the Bible establishes four proofs to clearly distinguish true prophets from false ones. The teachings of authentic prophets must be in accordance with the law of God and the testimony of the previous prophets (Isa. 8:20). Genuine prophets consistently exalt the Son of God, who became flesh and gave His life for us (1 John 4:1-3). The predictions of true prophets must be fulfilled, bearing in mind the principle of conditionality (Jer. 28:9). Finally, the life and work of authentic prophets should bear fruit for eternal life (Matt. 7:15, 16). We Seventh-day Adventists believe, on the basis of the biblical teaching about spiritual gifts, that God called Ellen G. White as His messenger. Her life and writings fully meet the biblical criteria of true prophets. A PRACTICAL GIFT
Just as ship captains need more detailed maps when their vessels approach port, so the church needs special direction from the Lord as the culmination of history draws near. That direction is provided well by the writings of Ellen White, inspired by God to guide the endtime remnant. Ellen White’s books do not replace the Bible. But like a magnifying glass, they amplify the messages of the Holy Scriptures so that we may understand them better and apply their teachings to our present complex times. Her writings narrate the history of the universe, from the origin of evil to the final restoration of all things and the ultimate eradication of sin. Furthermore, they cover essential aspects of the Christian life, such as the plan of salvation in Jesus Christ; the best way to care for our health; the development of happy families; the education of our children and young people;
loving Christian service to fellow humans; methods to reach out to our neighbors with the gospel; and our preparation for the final events and the second coming of Christ. Reading Ellen White’s writings strengthens our spiritual lives. They lead us to deepen our relationship with Jesus and increase our confidence in the Word of God. The more we read and apply their principles the more we become like Jesus, imitating His life and character. A RELEVANT GIFT
It is a widely recognized fact both inside and outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church that Ellen White’s writings have been and are one of the key factors for the development of the doctrinal, administrative, and missionary unity of the church. Ellen White’s writings contribute to our identity as members of the remnant church. In addition, some have observed that church members’ participation in the spiritual and missionary life of the congregation is directly related to the regular reading of Ellen White’s books. We could hardly imagine what direction the Seventh-day Adventist Church would have taken in such areas as education, health, and publishing had it not been for the timely guidance of the Lord through His messenger. We would certainly not be what we are today as a movement without the ministry of Ellen White. A PERSONAL GIFT
While I was studying theology, a friend suggested that we read Ellen White’s book Steps to Christ together every morning. We met under a tree on campus to read, share our reflections, and pray together. It was an unforgettable spiritual experience. Although
The church needs special direction from the Lord as the culmination of history draws near.
more than 40 years have passed, I still keep that worn little book with many underlined sentences and notes in its margins. I have read it again and again, always with the same result: spiritual renewal. When I read Ellen White’s writings, I sense God speaking directly to me. Sometimes in my devotional readings I clearly perceive God’s gentle, loving rebuke. I feel He knows everything about me, including my fears and shortcomings. I often rejoice as I gain a deeper glimpse into God’s unsurpassable love as He assures me of His complete forgiveness, His unconditional acceptance, and His power to transform my life into His image. I have found many divine promises in these writings that encourage me as I face everyday challenges. God’s promise is as valid as it was in the past: if we believe in Him, we will be established; if we believe His prophets, we will prosper (2 Chron. 20:20). Let’s appreciate, read, apply, and share the wonderful treasure given us through the writings of Ellen White, the Spirit of Prophecy.
Carlos A. Steger worked as a pastor, teacher, editor, and administrator. He is now retired and lives with his wife, Ethel, in Libertador San Martín, Argentina.
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Faith in Action
Sing a New Song
Sharing the truth through congregational singing
f you had been a Christian during the Middle Ages, you would not have been allowed to sing congregational songs in church unless you were a priest or a professional male choir member. You also would have been forbidden to play musical instruments. The use of musical instruments was shunned at Christian worship services for centuries. Why were these elements prohibited in Christian worship if the Word of God recurrently invites us to “shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy” (Ps. 100:1, 2),1 as well as to praise Him with horn, lyre, harp, tambourine, flute, loud cymbals, and clanging cymbals (see Ps. 150)? During the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 363-364), the Church Fathers forbade congregational singing, the use of musical instruments, and the borrowing of tunes from the secular repertoire. Worship practices were quickly and dangerously shifting from the biblical model to a model based on tradition and church authority. 24
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
CHRISTIAN MUSIC EXPRESSES CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
Part of the theology behind the prohibition of congregational singing during the Middle Ages was that church leaders believed it was their job to read and interpret the Bible for the members and to intercede for them before God. They sang for them as well. The voice of the congregation was not only inaudible while the choir was singing—the people also didn’t have a voice in public prayer, Scripture reading, or church decision-making. Then in the sixteenth century Martin Luther led a theological reformation that democratized congregational singing and brought soli Jesu and sola scriptura back to the center of Christian theology and music. Luther gave back to the congregation the right to sing in the spirit of biblical worship, in which we are all invited to sing with the spirit and the understanding (1 Cor. 14:15), to use instruments as part of worship (Pss. 149; 150), and to integrate into worship not only the mind and spirit but also the body (Pss. 103; 104; 150). Image: Thiago Barletta
SING A NEW SONG!
Singing within a Christian community is an expression of worship, and as such it is dedicated to God. As we worship with songs, we also connect to one another, thus edifying the body of Christ. The Bible repeatedly invites us to sing a new song. Many of the hymns in today’s Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal were not only new in their time but revolutionary as well. In his book Ellen White and Music Paul Hamel writes: “The importance of church music in the lives of nineteenth-century Seventh-day Adventists is clearly indicated by the fact that between 1849, when the first Adventist hymnal was published, and 1900, when Christ in Song came into use, they published 23 songbooks.”2 One hundred fifty years ago Adventist pioneers had an innovative vision for the church regarding music and worship. They were proactive in creating and compiling new hymns. They were publishing a new songbook almost every other year. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries most of these Lutheran chorales— also called Protestant hymns—were vibrant expressions of spiritual revival. Many of these powerful hymns are timeless and still relevant to our own generation. Some others, however, became obsolete. Never in Scripture do we find an invitation to “keep singing the old songs.” Just the opposite: “Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!” writes the psalmist (Ps. 96:1). How can we integrate new songs into our repertoire to help our worship service be more relevant to the congregation? Here are a few tips that may facilitate the process: Blend old and new repertoires: Paul’s formula in Colossians 3:16 is truly effective: “Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (see also Eph. 5:19). Diversity in musical styles is beneficial. Each congregation embraces different generations and cultural backgrounds; therefore, the selection of the songs should take that reality into account. Maintaining a varied repertoire that includes powerful hymns and relevant contemporary songs has been proven to be the best practice. Teach one song at a time: Congregations often may complain about being “lost” when the worship team continually sings new songs that most people don’t know. Introducing one or two new songs every month usually works in most churches. If a new song is taught, it is more effective to sing only the melody the first time—without harmonization or even instrumentation—so the congregation can learn it more easily. Listen: Congregational songs are expressions of worship intended to be sung by everyone. We gather and sing together as a response to God’s invitation. As we sing of our love for Him with our whole hearts and our whole selves, we are renewed individually, and
Christian songs are powerful ways to convey and teach the truth.
community bonds are cultivated. It’s important that the majority of the congregation engages in singing. If people are not singing, we need to understand the reason and find a solution. Don’t be afraid of listening to the opinions of people in your congregation. Genuine conversation needs to take place so that people feel a true sense of support and confidence. Distributing a survey at least once a year is a good way to be attentive to the congregation’s suggestions and comments. Keep Jesus at the center of the message: “Song is one of the most effective means of impressing spiritual truth upon the heart,”3 writes Ellen White. Christian songs are powerful ways to convey and teach the truth. Let’s ground God’s message in Jesus. Jesus was and will always be the center of Christian worship. While teaching doctrine through song, let’s not lose sight of the centrality of Jesus. CONTINUE TO EVOLVE
Lilianne Doukhan reminds us that “a new religious experience or a renewed understanding of religious beliefs generally results in the creation of new forms of expression.”4 Music is a language that keeps evolving. Worshipping God through music entails constant renewal. It also implies a creative, inquisitive attitude, and carries with it the responsibility of being agents that channel positive change. We await the day when every tribe, language, nation, and people will sing as one congregation before the throne of God. Until then, God will grant us His wisdom as we continue to look for genuine ways to worship Him together. Bible texts in this article are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 2 Paul Hamel, Ellen White and Music (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1976), p. 26. 3 Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1946), p. 500. 4 Lilianne Doukhan, In Tune With God (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2010), p. 150. 1
Adriana Perera is a professor of music theory and composition at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States. She also serves as chair of the Department of Music.
AdventistWorld.org May 2019
Bible Questions Answered
Unique in Every Way Q
Can God be seen, or is He by nature invisible?
My first reaction to this question was to ignore it, mainly because it could easily lead into speculations that do not nurture one’s spiritual life. Then I thought that perhaps dealing with the question could bring glory to God and to Christ. Here are some thoughts. 1. CREATED IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD.
Genesis 1:26 establishes that God created humans in God’s “image” and “likeness,” two nouns used interchangeably in other places in the Old Testament. The terminology itself includes that idea of a concrete expression. Humans, each as an indivisible unity, were created in or as the image of God; therefore the image is what they are. This daring thought raises in the mind of some the question of God’s material existence. Such a state is not denied in the Bible, but the emphasis of our passage is on the uniqueness of human beings, not on God’s outward appearance. In other words, we cannot explore human material existence in order to define divine existence. We can affirm divine presence without delving into the mystery of its inscrutability. One could perhaps say that God does not have a body but that He is a body, without speculating about the nature of His material existence.
However, the Greek word aoratos does not describe what by nature lacks visibility but that which cannot be immediately seen, e.g., for the Greeks the future or the face of the moon was invisible for a period of time. When we describe God as invisible, we are talking about something much deeper, namely, His divine transcendence, or the infinite distance between Creator and creature. The corporality of the creature cannot contain the fullness of God as He is in Himself. Here the role of Jesus as mediator is indispensable, because He makes visible the One whom no one can see (John 1:18; 14:8, 9), but whom they want to see (cf. Matt. 5:8). Both the Old and the New Testaments (e.g., Ex. 24:17; 1 Tim. 6:16) testify that God dwells in impenetrable light; the light of His glory that reveals and hides at the same time His visible self and makes creatures aware of His presence. Perhaps the most daring example of this phenomenon is found in Ezekiel, who sees on the divine throne-chariot “a figure like that of a man” covered by a brightness that “looked like glowing metal,” or “like fire,” surrounded by “brilliant light” (Eze. 1:26, 27, NIV). Ezekiel saw the indescribable light, the glory that covers the visible presence of God! There is no need to speculate about the nature of God’s corporality; this is not given to us to understand. The topic is about the unique nature of the Creator and the promise of one day standing before the impenetrable light of His glory, dazzled by His brightness, to worship Him. All made possible through Jesus who revealed to us God’s love and who will glorify our bodies to enable us to stand and see God’ glory.
Invisibility is sometimes assigned to God, suggesting that He lacks a visible form. Paul refers to God as “the invisible [Greek: aoratos] God” (Col. 1:15), the “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Tim. 1:17, NIV). John adds, “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18, NIV). 26
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
Angel Manuel Rodríguez is retired after serving the church as a pastor, professor, and theologian.
Health & Wellness
Issues of the Heart What causes inflammation and excess fluid to surround the heart? And what is the treatment?
er beautiful brown eyes were filled with fear and questioning. Her breathing was rapid and shallow. Her pulse was weak and fast. She had been sick for some time and needed urgent treatment. The sharp, wide-bore needle was carefully inserted just to the left of the breastbone, aiming toward the left shoulder. Fluid began to flow back into the syringe. A pigtail catheter was inserted through the needle—so named because it curls up like a pig’s tail once the more rigid guidewire is removed. Slowly, and in a measured way, fluid filling the sac around the heart was drawn off. Her heart began to fill and empty more fully; her blood pressure improved; the pulse strength returned, and a look of hope filled the woman’s face. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. The heart is an example of marvelous design and function. The heart is a muscular pump that sustains life by pumping nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to all the tissues of the body. The carbon dioxide thus collected is exhaled by the lungs, and other waste products are eliminated through such organs as the liver and kidneys. The pumping action occurs rhythmically throughout life from a few weeks after conception until the day of death. In order to pump blood the heart must be able to receive blood and be filled. Surrounding the heart is a saclike fibrous structure called the pericardium. Its function is mainly to protect the heart from overdistention Image: Robina Weermeijer
(stretching too much when being filled with blood), and to maintain efficient function despite surrounding organs and structures. One may live without a pericardial sac if the heart is otherwise normal. This occurs with the congenital absence of the pericardial sac, or when the sac has been surgically removed. Many inflammatory conditions of the body’s organs or tissues are designated with the suffix “-itis”; pericarditis indicates an inflammation of the pericardial sac around the heart (appendicitis— inflammation of the appendix). Pericardial effusion is the accumulation of fluid around the heart as a result of inflammation, infection (viral or bacterial), trauma (blood forms a puncture wound of the heart), muscle scarring from a heart attack, or even parasites. Sometimes the term myopericarditis is used, indicating involvement of both the pericardial sac and the heart muscle. The cause of the large pericardial effusion in our patient was active tuberculosis; she was also infected with HIV. Another form of pericardial disease may follow an inflammatory condition, trauma, or radiation, and is called constrictive pericarditis. The scarring around the heart impairs the heart function. What is the treatment? Relieve any acute distress by draining the fluid from the sac that surrounds the heart. A specific diagnosis is then made, and the underlying cause is treated. This disease illustrates a spiritual principle: The unfilled heart is unable to give and sustain. May our lives and hearts be filled by God’s sustaining Spirit every day!
Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference. Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, a board-certified internist, is an associate director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference.
AdventistWorld.org May 2019
Joel’s Dream El Shaday, Chile
J “May I Tell You a Story?” BY DICK DUERKSEN
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
oel Vasquez had a dream. He wasn’t much of a night dreamer, but this one woke him with such a start that he woke his wife, Trinidad, from a very sound sleep. “What’s wrong?” she asked after she found the light switch. “I had a dream,” Joel answered. “It was a loud dream—a voice shouted out to me.” “What did it say?” Trinidad really just wanted to go back to sleep, but now she was actually a little bit interested in Joel’s dream. “The man in my dream said that he’s going to build a church on the vacant lot across from our house. It’s going to be God’s true church!” “You’re crazy, Joel.” Trinidad said. “Go back to sleep.” *** And he did, almost forgetting the dream. Until six months later when he was attending a seminar in another city. During one of the meetings a man from Argentina stood up and asked if there was someone in the audience whose name was Joel Vasquez. Joel reluctantly stood and said, “That’s me, I think.” “I have a message for you,” the man said. “God has told me to tell you that He is going to build a church on the vacant lot across from your house. And it’s going to be God’s true church.”
Joel was so surprised that he could hardly wait to tell Trinidad. But when he told her that the man had said the same thing that he’d heard in the dream six months earlier, she was angry and called him “loco” (crazy). A whole year went by and Joel almost forgot the dream. Then the dream came again, but this time it was different. “Joel,” the voice said. “Save the vacant lot for Me. I need it so that I can build My true church there.” This time Joel didn’t awaken Trinidad to tell her the dream. In the morning he went to find out who owned the vacant lot across the street. When he found the owner, he told him the story of the two dreams and the man from Argentina. The landowner laughed, but finally allowed Joel to rent the land and build a fence around it to “save the vacant lot for God’s true church.” Joel put up a fence around the lot and waited to see what God would do. He waited almost a year, but no one would even talk to him about the vacant lot or the church. Then one evening a stranger knocked on his door. “Hello, my name is Nelson,” the visitor said. “I am the leader of a small group of Seventh-day Adventists in the community. We’ve outgrown the place where
we’ve been meeting. We would like to talk with you about purchasing the vacant lot across the street so we can build a church there. It will be God’s true church!” Joel almost fainted with excitement. Then he asked Nelson two questions. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Creator?” “Yes, definitely,” Nelson answered. “Would you be willing to study the Bible with my family so we can learn about your church?” “Yes, certainly. Could we start tonight?” Nelson answered. Joel called Trinidad to meet Nelson. After listening, she laughed out loud and said they were both crazy. The next day Joel helped Nelson purchase the vacant lot. Then he helped the church members clear all the rubbish out of the lot. When Nelson began giving Bible studies in Joel’s house, Trinidad refused to come. But she hid in the kitchen and listened through the door, sometimes even following along in her Bible. *** Neither Joel nor Nelson had enough money to build a church on the lot, but they kept preparing and planning and praying for God to make their church dreams come true. Then they heard the best news ever. Maranatha Volunteers International had agreed to build the new church! Before the volunteers could begin work, the lot would need to be covered by 14 truckloads of good fill dirt. Now the prayers had a date attached, along with a new challenge! “But, Lord, we have no truck, no dirt, and no money,” they prayed. “God, we need 14 truckloads of good dirt. This is for the El Shaday church, Lord. Remember us? We know you are the all-powerful God who can do anything—even provide us with 14 truckloads of dirt.” One Wednesday night, only two weeks before the volunteers were scheduled to arrive, Nelson was driving to prayer meeting when he heard God tell him to drive down a road he had never used. “I
Ask for dirt, and it shall be given to you.
Publisher The Adventist World, an international periodical of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The General Conference, Northern Asia-Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists®, is the publisher. Executive Editor/Director of Adventist Review Ministries Bill Knott International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk
can’t do that! I’ll be late!” he argued. God told him to turn anyway. “Right now!” Nelson turned down the lane and practically ran into a dump truck. They both stopped and Nelson got out to apologize. “I am so sorry to almost drive into you,” he told the driver. “And by the way, we don’t have any money, but we need 14 loads of the best dirt in Chillán. Would you be willing to bring that much dirt to the vacant corner lot where Maranatha is going to build us a new church?” The driver thought a moment, then said, “Sure. I have some extra dirt, and I’d love to do that for you. What if I start tomorrow?” Ask for dirt, and it shall be given to you. Two weeks later a group of Maranatha volunteers came to El Shaday and began building a church on lovely dirt on the vacant lot. Nelson helped the volunteers. Joel helped the volunteers. And Joel’s children and grandchildren helped the volunteers. So did Trinidad. She was there every day, humming spiritual songs as she helped clean bricks, bake beans, set out meals, and encourage everyone. Even before the roof was on the new church, Trinidad walked over to the baptistry by the platform. She stood beside it and said, “I have decided that this baptistry is like the front door to heaven. I want to be baptized in it with my husband, Joel, and with all 22 of our family members.” Then she cried hot, happy tears.
Adventist World Coordinating Committee Si Young Kim, chair; Yukata Inada; German Lust; Chun, Pyung Duk; Han, Suk Hee; Lyu, Dong Jin Associate Editors/Directors, Adventist Review Ministries Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil, Greg Scott Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Costin Jordache, Wilona Karimabadi Editors based in Seoul, Korea Chun, Pyung Duk; Park, Jae Man; Kim, Hyo-Jun Digital Platform Manager Gabriel Begle Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editorial Assessment Coordinator Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste Editors-at-Large/Advisors Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler, E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Management Board Si Young Kim, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Chun, Pyung Duk; Karnik Doukmetzian; Han, Suk Hee; Yutaka Inada; Gerald A. Klingbeil; Joel Tompkins; Ray Wahlen; Ex-officio: Juan Prestol-Puesán; G. T. Ng; Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Types & Symbols To Writers: We welcome unsolicited manuscripts. Address all editorial correspondence to 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600, U.S.A. Editorial office fax number: (301) 680-6638 E-mail: email@example.com Web site: www.adventistworld.org Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible references are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. Unless otherwise noted, all prominent photos are © Getty Images 2019. Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States. Vol. 15, No. 5
Dick Duerksen, a pastor and storyteller living in Portland, Oregon, United States, is known around the world as “an itinerant pollinator of grace.” AdventistWorld.org May 2019
Fun-filled page for younger ages
BY S H AW N A C A M P B E L L
How to Make Bible Time a Part of Your Day Daily Bible study is a great habit to start.
had Fell is famous for using a wad of bubble gum to blow the largest bubble in history. Without using his hand, he blew a bubble that was 20 inches (or 45 cm) in diameter! Isn’t that amazing? This record was written up in Guinness World Records and hasn’t been broken since 2004. The only way Chad was able to set this record was by practicing with bubble gum again and again. Imagine how many times he must have had bubble gum all over his face and hair.
May 2019 AdventistWorld.org
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Think about something that took you a really long time to learn, such as tying your shoes or throwing a football. At first it was difficult to figure out those shoelaces and what to do with them. But after you became comfortable with tying the loops, it became easier and easier. Now you don’t even have to look at your laces when you tie them, or concentrate on it at all. It has become extremely easy because you practiced the same thing again and again to form a pattern in your brain. This is called a habit. Habits are formed by repeating an activity again and again. NEW HABITS
It is always a great time to start a positive habit. Think about something you can begin doing that will make you a better person to your friends, your brothers and sisters, and the rest of your family.
God has asked us to make a habit of spending special one-onone time with Him. The best way to make your habit stick is to do it at a special time every day. To make your devotional time interesting, try something creative to get to know Jesus. This could include making a prayer wheel for those who are sick or homeless, your friends, teachers, family, and church pastors. Or you could draw part of a Bible story that means something special to you. Maybe you want to keep a journal of Scriptures that you like, or listen to the words of a Christian song that you enjoy. You can’t go wrong with starting a habit of spending time with Jesus every day. This would be a lot less messy than having bubble gum up your nose every day!
—This article first appeared in KidsView, January 2016.
Illustration: Xuan Le
Tyler, Lynette (Lyn) and family wish to express their thanks for the many flowers, cards, phone calls and emails following the passing of Colin, a loving husband, father, father-in-law and Pop. We deeply appreciate your expressions of sympathy.
Blackburne, Verna Elaine, born 3.1.1923; died 25.2.19 in Nunawading, Vic. Elaine was predeceased by her husband, Stan; son, Graham; grandson, Stuart and sister, Thelma. She is survived by her son, Keith; and her daughters-in-law Heather and Vera; her grandchildren, Kellie, Andrew and Anna. Elaine grew up in Benalla, but put down roots in Morisset with Stan, Keith and Graham. A few years after Stan passed away Elaine moved to Adventcare in Nunawading to be closer to Graham, where she lived for the past 13 years. Elaine loved the Lord, her family and friends. She was actively involved in building up the kingdom of God in whatever way possible, especially in working behind the scenes. She looked forward to the soon return of Jesus. Danny Milenkov
Anniversary ACKLAND. Bill and
Barbara Ackland recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Sydney with family and friends. Most of their married life was spent working for the Lord in Australia and New Zealand and they are now retired and living among colleagues and friends at Cooranbong, NSW. They celebrated this milestone with their siblings, friends and their sons, Darren and Nigel, and their families.
Robbie. Dave Robbie
and Sharyn Wilson were married in the Invercargill church by Pastor David Currie on 6.2.1969 and recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. They celebrated with their children, Allan and Pam, Marcus and Lillian, Tania, Kim, Luana and Lisa (dec)and six grandchildren. Love and best wishes from the family.
STRAWBRIDGE. Donald and Robin
were married on the 10.2.1959 at the Huntly church NZ by Pastor Stan Woods. They celebrated 60 years together with their families and friends on Sunday, 17.3.19 with a midday meal, along with their two children, Warren and Elaine, their three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Two of the original wedding party, a brother and a sister were present also to celebrate with them. Donald has been an attendee and member of the Palmerston North church for 75 years and Robin a member for 60 years. They live at Shannon where they have farmed for many years and now worship at the Levin church, NZ. Anton Van Wyk
Cameron, Eva (nee
Knowlsen), born 16.11.1955 in Oldham, England; died 23.11.18 at Wodonga, Vic. On 25.4.1983 she married Doug. She is survived by her husband; children, Patricia and Damien Shuttleworth (Brisbane, Qld), Daniel and Chantal Burrell (Brisbane), Colleen and Aaron Lawler (Griffith, NSW), Damian and partner Angela (Wodonga, Vic); seven grandchildren; and siblings Christopher and Andrew Knowlsen and Heather Carver. Eva’s life was focused on others, the poor, the marginalised and anyone who needed a mum. Kind and caring she accepted everyone and never promoted herself or judged or condemned. The family confirmed that she lived her faith. Laurie Landers, Andy McCrostie
CHANDLER, Valma Elaine (nee
James), born 1928 in Kellyville, NSW; died 10.8.18 in Alstonville, aged 89 years. She was married to Reginald who predeceased her. Val is survived by her children, Lynette, Coralie and Colin. Val was raised in Kellyville and spent her early married life there and Inverell, and was an active member of the Lismore and Alstonville churches for more than
40 years. Eagerly awaiting the arms of Jesus. Peter Howard
Chilton, Rebecca (Bec) Jane, born 18.4.1981 in Footscray, Vic; died 28.2.19 in Newcastle, NSW. Bec is survived by her husband Jonothan (Jono); mother Eileen, and brother Raphael (Raph). Bec always had a passion for helping others. She especially loved children and animals. She and her husband were involved for a number of years with the Hillview Primary Sabbath School and Adventurers Club. She was also involved in the Hillview church CHIP program. Bec endeared herself to the Hillview church family. She will be remembered by everyone for her lovely, beaming smile along with her kind and caring nature. These were her trademarks. Danny Milenkov, Benjamin Galindo, Kerry Hortop McCormack, Gladys Jennie,
(nee Nicholls), born 28.9.1924 in East Brisbane, Qld; died 21.3.19 in Murgon. In 1957 she married Stephen “Jimmy” who predeceased her in 1991. Gladys is survived by his son, Stephen McCormack and wife, Lyn (Murgon); grandsons, Dean and Scott and their wives; and great-granddaughter, Ivy. Gladys was a quiet and private lady who spent most of her time caring for her family. She loved her garden and growing flowers with the help of her husband. She was part of the very first group of ladies to deliver Meals on Wheels in Murgon in 1983. Leathan Fitzpatrick
SHEEHAN, John Joseph, born
26.11.1926; died 18.1.19 in Inverell, NSW. On 24.11.1951 he married Shirley. John is survived by his wife; children, Tom and Trudy Sheehan (Inverell), Kim and Kerry Simpson (Inverell); eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. John was a quiet man who loved his family, God and church family supremely. He loved the outdoors where he spent most of his time helping others. He had a real passion for poetry especially “The Flying Doctor,” which, along with a number of other poems, he knew
off by heart. He will be remembered for his loving kindness. John Lang, Ted White
Daisy Stella (nee Davison), born 27.6.1918; died 2.2.19 in Mackay, Qld. On 7.3.1936 she married Arthur Warren. She was predeceased by her husband. She was also predeceased by her children, Arthur Warren Jr and Delora Warren. She is survived by her daughter, Coral Karlsen and son, William Warren (Mackay); 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren; and seven great great grandchildren. Daisy is loved and sorely missed by immediate family and church family at Farleigh church. Daisy always encouraged her children and particularly her grandchildren to make sure they are ready for when Jesus comes. She loved to be together with her siblings, being the youngest of 10 children who grew up on dairy farms. Ragoso Tagloa
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Finally . . .
There is no one who is insignificant in the purpose of God. —Alastair Begg
NEXT ISSUE: ADVENTIST RECORD, MAY 18
Note : Neither the editor, Adventist Media, nor the Seventh-day Adventist Church is responsible for the quality of goods or services advertised. Publication does not indicate endorsement of a product or service. Classified advertisements in Adventist Record are available to Seventh-day Adventist members, churches and institutions only. All advertisements, appreciation, anniversary, wedding and obituary notices may be submitted via <email@example.com> or online at <record. adventistchurch.com>. Notices will not be reprinted unless there is an error of fact caused by Record staff. AdventistWorld.org May 2019
What it means to be church | The silent listener | Sing a new song