//February

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” March 1, 2019 Episode 308

Join us this week in All God’s People for an exciting discovery at Pacific Union College, a word from Royal Harrison about his experience attending Oakwood University, and details about a Sabbath day dedicated to prayer.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

New from the Living God’s Love blog! This week’s article by Darla Kendrick is titled “When Following Him Looks Different.” Read it here: https://adventistfaith.com/blog/2019/02/different/

2019-02-28T01:22:06-07:00February 28th, 2019|All Gods People|

When Following Him Looks Different

by Darla Lauterbach-Reeves

Over the years, I’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories of people who have been shunned for their marriage issues, the smell of smoke on their clothes, their food choices, Sabbath activities, and church attire. They have been excluded from churches, Bible study groups, family get-togethers, and schools, and they’ve felt unloved, judged, unacceptable, rejected—the polar opposite of how Jesus would have treated them. They have left, never to return again.

Here are a few questions that come to mind: How do you love your neighbor? What about those who believe differently from you? Do you believe Jesus died for them? Do you believe your rules will save you? Do you believe Jesus wants them in His kingdom? Do you think your actions or lack thereof will save you? Are you leaning into Jesus and His love for others?

In our church, when we hear the word obediencewe tend to immediately think of the Sabbath— those who are not honoring the seventh-day Sabbath are being disobedient to God. But what if they find Jesus elsewhere? And what about other kinds of disobedience? For instance, what about judging those people? Isn’t that disobedience? What if God is calling you to forgive and you just refuse? What if you covet someone’s marriage or singleness? Or if He’s calling you to love your enemies and you just can’t go there. Isn’t that being disobedient? We allfall short (Romans 3:23), and there’s no shortage of ways to do it.

In the same way that we may judge someone by the color of their skin or by their clothes, neighborhood, food choices, jewelry, or even hairstyle, we also judge people by the church they attend. I met the love of Jesus outside of my home church and have returned to share what I learned from those who do not go there. Praise His name—since I’ve returned, I’ve found more and more people hungry for this love.

We all need more Jesus.

I love the Sabbath; I came back for it. However, do we worship the Sabbath or do we worship Him? As humans, we tend to worship creations over the Creator. We want something tangible to hang onto, such as our children, marriages, friends, careers, accomplishments, even doctrine. Anything to feel like we’ve got what we need. I have been guilty of this for sure. What we need most is Jesus. The rest are gifts given to us byHim to raise, enjoy, love, and study, but not to be exalted higher than their Creator. As Jesus Himself said, “The Sabbath day was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath day. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Mark 2:27-28, NIRV).

I feel that if He were sitting in my living room, He would say, “Following Me doesn’t mean doing things the way they’ve always been done, just because.” There are so many Adventists who worship the day that sets us apart over the One who died to do so. I think this hurts His heart. I can also hear Him saying, “I don’t want you worshipping the day I made any more than the animals I made. Worship the One who made them.” When Jesus comes first, how we treat and love others (all others) is evident. How would Jesus treat that particular person?

Would you flat out refuse to set foot in church on a Sunday to worship our God in heaven with others? If so, what does that mean? Who are youworshipping? Do you think Jesus would be more likely to flip tables over in a church of people worshipping on the “wrong” day or people worshipping the day over Him? He knows our hearts and why we do what we do. Public worship is an honor and a privilege that many in this world aren’t allowed to do on any day.

As much as I hope my daughters are ingrained with a reverence for and knowledge of the Sabbath, my ultimate goal is that they find and cling to Jesus for themselves. No matter how, why, or where they find Him, my deepest desire is that they do. God works in mysterious ways. His thoughts and ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is bigger.

May they sense the joy, freedom, and strength in Christ over the shame, fear, and insecurity of any religion that lacks unconditional love. Because Godis love. In the last days, God will call His people out. Leave conviction to the One with whom they have a relationship. If that relationship is solid, they will hear His voice.

John 10:27-30 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand” (NLT).

I claim this! I pray for a personal relationship with Jesus in my girls’ lives. That is my deepest desire because when that’s in place, they willhear His voice and no one can snatch them from His hand. No one. Nothing.

 

Darla Lauterbach-Reeves was raised in the church, but it wasn’t until her marriage fell apart that she came to truly know her Greatest Love—Jesus—in whom she found the relationship she had always craved. She is the author of the forthcoming book He Loves Me THAT Much? 

2019-02-26T15:07:18-07:00February 25th, 2019|Living God's Love|

What I Like About…My Faith

by Connie Vandeman Jeffery

My father, the late George E. Vandeman, wrote a pivotal book in the 1980s titled What I Like About….In it, he described how seven different denominations/religions positively impacted the world and contributed to the faith community to which I belong—the Seventh-day Adventist church. He talked with the leaders of each church and discovered all there is to “like” about them. Later, Doug Wead, a speechwriter and senior advisor to President George H. W. Bush, said, “When we passed the book out at a White House prayer breakfast, everyone turned to two chapters—the one about their faith and then the one about the Adventists.”

I inherited my faith from my parents. Born into an Adventist family, I was the youngest child and only girl, with a preacher father, a homemaker mother, and three older brothers. Baptized at age 12 by my dad in a small church in Spencerville, Maryland, I had the innocent, passionate faith of a child. It would be years before I realized I had to make my faith my own. I couldn’t rely on my parents’ faith to see me through.

In my freshman year of college, I took a class that changed my life—Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, taught by Morris Venden, a pastor and teacher for whom I had the greatest respect. I started reading The Desire of Ages, which has turned out to be my favorite Ellen White book, along with my Bible. I fell in love with Jesus for the very first time as a young adult. As I developed my own personal relationship with Him, I looked forward to spending time each morning reading, studying, and praying before I started my day. This was the beginning of making my faith my own.

Then life happened, as life always does. The ups and downs of it. The mountaintops and the dark valleys. Illness and death of loved ones. Marriage and a child. Raising that child to have a faith of his own. The joy of watching him get married and have children of his own. The innocent joy and laughter of my adorable granddaughters. The pain of watching a spouse suffer illness. The devastation over a job loss. The gratitude for a new job. A journey through depression. The tears and the happiness of life as it is happening, right now. Living in the moment, viewing the highs and lows through the filter of faith.

What do I like about my faith? I re-read Dad’s book. In the last chapter, he says it so well:

There are good reasons why so many earnest Christians are looking towards the Adventists. They believe this group has gathered together gems of light, the truths championed through the years by all denominations—the neglected truths of the centuries. First of all, the faith in Christ of the Lutherans. And then the baptism by immersion of the Baptists. The interest in Christian growth and Spirit-filled living of the Methodists and Charismatics. The respect for morality of the Catholics. The Sabbath championed by our Jewish ancestors and cherished by Jesus and the apostles. All of these truths, you see, Adventists united into one body of belief (p. 103).

He goes on to describe how Adventists believe the human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We have a lifestyle that reflects our body-mind-spirit connection, and I believe it with my heart and soul. I like how we got our name—from our anchor beliefs in the Sabbath and the Second Coming. I like that we believe truth is progressive. If we have indeed gathered together all these “gems of light” and the truths championed by other denominations—the “neglected truths” of centuries past—and if we truly do believe we are led by the Holy Spirit into new truth, then that’s a wonderful thing to love about us! Here’s what I personally love about my faith and what I’ve been blessed to experience for myself:

I belong to a faith community that cares.When I was down, they comforted me. When I was sick, they visited me. So many men and women from my past (and present) have had such a profound impact on my life—their personal friendship or their writings and witness have encouraged and inspired me. They’ve demonstrated the caring faith that I’ve come to rely on.  From Pastor Morrie Venden to Marilyn Cotton, Dr. William Johnsson to Miriam Wood, Dr. Jan Paulsen to Dr. Joan Coggin, Pastor Bill Loveless to my own dear parents, and so many others, I’ve had so many godly people show me the way to a caring, vibrant faith.

I belong to a faith community that prays.I cannot count the times my pastor, friends, co-workers, and family have told me that they’ve been praying for me by name. It means everything to know that when I’m too overwhelmed to pray, the prayers of my community are lifting my name up in prayer.

I belong to a faith community thatloves.Whether they drop off a bag of food from Trader Joe’s after the death of my dad, or are the first to celebrate the birth of my grandchild with me, or ask how I’m doing on a regular basis, or leave a loaf of my favorite bread and an audio book on my front porch, or write a note or e-mail of encouragement for no apparent reason, or go with me to sing and take baby clothes and toys to the local women’s shelter—my faith community knows how to live God’s love in a meaningful way.

What do I like about my faith? All the same things Dad liked…and so much more!

Connie Vandeman Jeffery has had a long career in media and is the host of All God’s People, a weekly short video series highlighting the people and ministries of the Pacific Union Conference.

2019-02-15T10:41:33-07:00February 18th, 2019|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” February 15, 2019 Episode 306

Join us this week in All God’s People for a special highlight of Presidents’ Day, a conversation with Pastor Cherise Gardner about her vision of service to young people, and a glimpse at the profiles celebrating Black History Month in the February Recorder.

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“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16

Don’t want to miss an episode of All God’s People? Sign up for our weekly email at: https://adventistfaith.com/subscribe/

2019-02-13T16:31:57-07:00February 13th, 2019|All Gods People|

The Other Box

by Alexandria Tristen Martin

50% Puerto Rican

50% Filipino
100% Human [Unboxed]

I love being mixed.

The fact that I was born into two distinct and incredibly vibrant cultures is truly a great privilege. Not only have I been able to relate and connect to so many different people due to my ethnic combination, but I also feel I’ve gained a unique perspective on life.

Growing up, I’ve always had to check the “other” box when it came to defining my ethnicity. I used to find the fact that there was no realbox for me profoundly frustrating. No one wants to be defined as “other.”

As I’ve matured, I’ve realized that there’s something truly beautiful about not having a box. Without a box, I’m free to define myself as I choose. Since I don’t have one dominant culture, I’ve been able to truly create my own with the two different halves I am a part of. Being mixed has given me an ethnic fluidity that has allowed me the freedom to not only choose different parts of my culture to embrace but also to choose how I define myself as a whole.

Plenty of individuals have felt the need to tell me that I’m not really Filipino or Puerto Rican since I’m only half. I’ve also been called a “mutt” and been told that I’m “not enough” since I’m not full. I could have allowed these comments to define me (and consequently expressed here how I’ve been the victim of name-calling and segregation due to being mixed and not “pure”), but instead I chose a different perspective.

Recently, I feel like there’s been a lot of focus on labels. Everyone has to be politically correct, and it’s impossible to call anyone anything without offending someone. However, I’ve come to the realization that instead of focusing on what everyone around us is doing and saying, maybe we should stop listening to them and choose to define ourselves. Mixed, black, white, whatever—it doesn’t really matter because people are going to label regardless.

My ethnic diversity has helped me realize that, in the end, we are the only ones who have the power to define who we truly are—whether there is a box for us to check or not.

 

Alexandria Tristen Martin is a registered nurse at AdventHealth Orlando in Orlando, Florida.

2019-02-10T10:53:29-07:00February 11th, 2019|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” February 8, 2019 Episode 305

Happy Sabbath!

This week in All God’s People, learn how one group is spreading God’s love through music! Then, join us for a glimpse at the life and work of Dr. Ruth Janetta Temple, the first African-American woman graduate of Loma Linda University. Pastor Cherise Gardner comments on her legacy.

Watch more All God’s People episodes by subscribing to our weekly emails! Visit: https://adventistfaith.com/subscribe/

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“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” -James 1:12

2019-02-07T20:55:04-07:00February 7th, 2019|All Gods People|

A Bit of Blue Sky

by Becky De Oliveira

Into the Void is the story of British mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates on a fateful ascent of a peak in the Andes mountain range by a new route. They made it to the top without serious incident, but they ran into trouble on the way down when Joe first broke his leg and then fell through a cornice and was left dangling over a crevasse—still attached by rope to his partner, who held on for as long as he could. Eventually it became clear that he could not pull Joe up and that Joe’s weight would eventually pull them both down—and they’d both die, either from the fall or from hypothermia or dehydration.

Simon made the devastating and difficult decision to cut the rope, save himself, and let his partner fall into the crevasse. Joe was lucky enough to land on a ledge several meters below the opening of the crevasse and made several attempts to climb the slick walls and free himself. But with a broken leg, he couldn’t get out the usual way, and for a while he despaired, certain that he would die. Against intuition and good sense, Joe decided that he didn’t want to just sit on the ledge waiting for death. If he couldn’t climb up and out of the crevasse, he’d descend farther down into it. Anything to keep moving. So he went down instead of up—away from the light. And inexplicably, he found a crack that revealed a bit of blue sky. He dug his way out and climbed into the sunshine on the edge of the mountain.

So he was out of the crevasse, but still nowhere close to being safe. He had miles and thousands of vertical feet to descend over perilous conditions back to the campsite—a site he had no way of knowing would still be there even if by some miracle he reached it. He had no water. And a broken leg. But what else to do? He got moving. First he constructed a makeshift splint for his leg. Then he proceeded to set small goals for himself. He’d select a spot and decide that he only had to make it that far; he could give up when he reached that place. Upon arriving at the spot, he’d collapse, often delirious and hallucinating, often falling into a sort of unconsciousness.

And every time, a voice inside his head woke him up. “Get up!” it shrieked, forcing him to select yet another spot, to go just that one bit farther. Over and over again he struggled to his feet, each time convinced this would be the last. But the voice didn’t give up. It carried him all the way to the campsite where, miraculously, he found Simon—who had been very nearly ready to pack up and begin the two-day trek back to civilization, convinced his friend and partner was dead. A couple of things clearly helped Joe survive: doing just a little at a time—breaking a seemingly impossible task into small doable chunks—and trying things that were not particularly rational or intuitive. What did he have to lose?

What do you have to lose by taking a risk in the way you approach your life and your work? Especially if you’re attempting something that is at best very difficult and at worst theoretically impossible?

Maybe sometimes this is the upside to an impossible task: It forces you into a situation in which you have nothing to lose. With nothing to lose, maybe you can come up with a better plan. Whatever you may be facing in your life right now—and I can almost guarantee that you have at least one huge problem that keeps you awake at night—try coming at it from another angle. Trying giving it to God. His will be that voice that urges you on, that moves you in the direction of solutions and answers. Look around you for that tiny crack in your tomb of despair, that sliver of blue sky leading you home.

 

Becky De Oliveira is a teacher, writer, and graphic designer working on special projects for the Pacific Union Conference from her home in Colorado.

2019-02-04T18:54:14-07:00February 4th, 2019|Living God's Love|