Pacific Union All God’s People #043, March 30, 2018 Easter Edition

A Special Easter Message from the Pacific Union Conference—

How has the Easter story become meaningful to you? By what means did the story of the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ become personally significant?

In this edition of All God’s People, the focus is on the scenes that make the story so familiar and so important, including that great scene on Sunday morning when the women who followed Jesus were the first to arrive at the empty tomb.

On Sunday morning, the women who had been around the cross when Christ died came to the tomb, and seeing someone that thought to be an attendant, asked where the body of Jesus had been taken. The answer rings out across the centuries with meaning and power: “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” Matthew 28:5-7.

Later in the same chapter, the gospel records this timeless message in verses 19 and 20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

At Easter, the promise is as vivid as the day it was first spoken, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

2018-03-30T21:34:32-07:00March 30th, 2018|All Gods People|

Fishing Naked

By Ray Tetz

The third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was raised from the dead was when seven of them were fishing by the Sea of Tiberias. None of them recognized Him at first. And one in particular seems to have been caught off guard completely. The Bible tells us that Peter was naked (John: 21:7).

Even in the first century, the word naked in a sentence would have made people slow down to read it again. But in the Bible, naked means a state of undress—not necessarily completely unclothed—and it is associated with specific conditions, most of them completely non-sexual. Nakedness is an idea associated with the prophets, who were sometimes “naked” when they delivered their messages. It’s an idea associated with innocence and unawareness of self—the state of human beings before the fall in the Garden of Eden

It’s also an idea associated with shamefulness or humiliation—also seen in the Garden of Eden. Nakedness is associated with poverty, with great distress, or with infidelity. It’s an idea associated with submission—as when the cloaks were thrown down before Christ at His triumphal entry. It’s associated with abandoning the past—as Bartimaeus did when he threw aside his cloak to follow Christ

There is nothing random about John’s Gospel. More than any of the other Gospels, it demonstrates an artful and poetic symmetry—quite formal even—in the way it tells the story of Jesus. So we have to ask why, in this passage—when Peter is about to be redeemed from the shame of denying the Lord and confirmed as the disciple who has most fully “taken up the cross” to follow Christ—does John tell us that Peter was fishing naked? Why would John—the beloved disciple telling the story—include this detail?

Perhaps it is an acknowledgement of Peter’s shame and humiliation about denying the Lord before His death. Peter’s infidelity to Christ in that moment could very well have marked the rest of his life. His emotional distress was so real that he had literally abandoned everything related to the journey of faith on which he had embarked with Christ more than three years earlier. Perhaps he was trying to go home again, trying to reset things. He had returned not just to Galilee but also to the fishing boats from which Christ called him originally. And this just wasn’t working; he hadn’t caught a thing. Still, there he was, stripped of everything, back to basics.

But Christ called him not back to the past but forward into Grace. And before Grace, all of what motivates our distress, our angst, our nakedness—is fully and completely redressed. On the beach, Christ means to correct all of that once and for all.

After years of being with Jesus, Peter was just as unready, just as unclothed, as he ever was. But it didn’t matter—because Christ called to him from the beach, and had his future well in mind and in hand. Unknown to Peter, Jesus was also calling him to be a prophet: the quintessential Jew who breaks out from the traditions of his people and whose prophetic voice would take Christianity to the whole world—carried, to a large degree, by the very men who were with him on that fishing boat. Of this new role he was completely unaware, and where Bartimaeus had cast aside his cloak to follow Christ, Peter cast aside everything but his cloak. He wrapped it around his waist, left everything else behind, and swam for the beach.

John doesn’t report the greeting between Peter and Christ. What happened when Peter climbed out of the surf—what the two of them did, what was said—is known only to the Lord and to that naked, dripping wet disciple—shivering with anticipation, if not the cold.

When the other disciples finally landed the boat—and a net bursting with 153 big fish—no one spoke. Were they all naked as well? Of course they were, just like we are when we finally meet Christ on the beach, dripping wet, troubled by the past, shamed by our failures, guilty of infidelity, unaware of what the future holds.

Peter was just one step ahead of his fellows. Re-clothed in borrowed righteousness and empowered by the new heart of devotion and fidelity that Christ gave him on the beach, it was Peter who responded to Christ’s requests to “bring some of the fish.” This may have been a transcendent moment, but the church still had to eat.

If John the Beloved were to tell our stories, as he so carefully told Peter’s story, I think he would probably say that we’ve been fishing naked, and there would be just as many explanations as to what that means as there are believers on the beach. And there the story becomes our own story, our own journey with Jesus, our own beach breakfast with Christ.

Ray Tetz is director of communication and community engagement for the Pacific Union Conference.

2018-04-23T20:09:13-07:00March 30th, 2018|Blog|

One Day at a Time

By Judy Crabb

I have become my husband’s care partner.

We are the loves of each other’s lives—both of us had spouses who left not only us but their children as well. Sixteen years later we met. We have enjoyed happy family times with our four adult children and four adult grandchildren. But in 2015, at the age of 75, Milton was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and the next year with Alzheimer’s. It was devastating to us both. All I knew about Alzheimer’s disease came from observing a family friend years earlier who pulled her husband along by the hand as he shuffled with his head down. I didn’t want anyone to know.

Meanwhile, so many decisions had to be made. When should Milton begin stepping back from his commitments? What could he still do? Month by month, as Milton’s condition progressed, new things needed to be put in place or updated—trust, will, power of attorney, responsibility for all our financial decisions, all the driving, grocery shopping, errands. What about my various commitments? Which community activities and church projects could I hang on to, and what did I need to cut back? I was still working part time as a hospital chaplain— how much longer would I be able to continue?

The changes that Milton has experienced affect us both. His loss of all memory means we can’t share stories anymore. He is unable to remember people other than his family and those he sees often. He is no longer able to remember enough words to make sentences, so we communicate very little. In place of serving as an elder and teaching a Sabbath school class, he now helps to collect the offering and volunteers at Community Services where he feels valued.

It has been sad to watch the disease progress, and I used to argue with him out of frustration. But joy is a gift that is very important to me, and I didn’t want to lose it. So I learned to ask myself, “How are you going to handle this?” I found new ways to handle changes, to continue partnering with the love of my life, because I want him to remain just that—no matter what challenges this disease brings.

My change in attitude didn’t happen overnight. And I would never have learned how to handle all the changes and to graciously receive much needed support if I did not have faith in God and had not plugged into resources in my community. One day I cried out to God, “Do You really care about even the tiny details of my life? I know better than to ask that question. This is a good place to be—doubting, wondering, questioning—because then I believe You are the closest to me even though I don’t feel You near me. Just give me strength right now to choose to believe.” And then I read these words, written by Sarah Young in her book Jesus Always, drawn from the Psalms: “I don’t want you to focus overly much on what is ahead of you—wondering whether you’ll be able to cope with it….I delight in taking care of you—“tweaking” the situation you are in, to spare you from unnecessary hardship…. Your part in this adventurous journey is to trust Me, communicate with Me, and walk with Me in steps of joyful dependence” (p. 261).

Our relationship is different now and there are things I miss, but Milton misses things too. One time, early on, when we were out for dinner, Milton tried to tell me some words from his heart. With large gaps between words as he struggled to form sentences, he succeeded in saying, “I am really impressed with you”—new words I had never heard before. When I asked him why, he said, “Others wouldn’t like me like this, but you do.” Now that he can no longer speak sentences, I try to continue to see Milton as a whole person, the love of my life. Together we will take what this disease is doing to us one day at a time. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34, The Message).

Judy Crabb is an associate certified chaplain, still providing per diem chaplaincy support at Adventist Health St. Helena after 35 years. She and Milton are members of The Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Helena, CA.

2018-03-20T17:20:38-07:00March 23rd, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” Episode 042 – March 23, 2018

Young people from around the Bay Area gathered for a Young Professionals Summit last weekend at the LIFE Adventist Church in Berkeley, Calif. The day included presentations and discussion time and provided a space for young professionals to discover how to live out their faith in the workplace. During their fellowship, the group also talked about ways in which their faith can be practical and relevant.
“I see young people who love the Lord and each other and who every day are facing challenges to their faith, seeking to live with joy and purpose, thankful to have each other, and are engaging their community for God’s kingdom!” said Ron Pickell, Pastor of LIFE Adventist Church.
The Young Professionals Summit is a great idea for churches with even a small group of young adults. Join us in praying for the young adults who came together at Berkeley and for all of our young professionals throughout the Pacific Union who are seeking ways to live their faith and be witnesses for the Kingdom of God.

Look for more events like this one at the LIFE Church by following their Facebook page:

The Light Above group in Pasadena, Calif., celebrated becoming a “company” of the Southern California Conference last Sabbath. The group formed in 2006 with 21 believers and is now up to 107 members who are rallying to support this new company. Congregations change in status depending on the number of members they have, as well as the amount of tithe being brought in. Company status requires 75 adult members and $85,000 in tithe saved. This historic moment for the Light Above congregation is a wonderful demonstration of how God is at work in our midst.

For more information about what the Southern California Conference is doing, visit:

A special discussion about the Godhead will begin tonight, March 23, at the Dinuba Seventh-day Adventist church in central California. The program, titled “The God We Worship,” will continue on Sabbath and will include a discussion with leading theologians about “The God We Worship according to the Old Testament,” “The Trinity in the New Testament,” “The Amazing Work of the Holy Spirit,” and more.

Watch the symposium promo video at:

More details available on the Facebook event page at:

A recording of the program will be made available following the event at

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to them and dine with them, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20)

A wonderful promise for All God’s People.

2018-03-22T17:16:30-07:00March 22nd, 2018|All Gods People|

Pure in Heart

By Mark Witas— Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Being “pure in heart” has a few different levels to it. First and foremost, on a surface level, a person who is pure in heart is a person who practices telling the truth. To put it another way, a person who is pure in heart isn’t a liar.

When I was three years old, my family lived in Pasadena, California. One day I was out in the front yard playing while my dad worked on the car. As I was playing, I thought I heard the familiar sound of the ice cream truck coming down the street. I got so excited, I decided to hunt it down and get some ice cream. It wasn’t long before I was lost, finding myself in a little café.  There was a policeman sitting at the counter. I asked him if he had seen the ice cream truck. He flipped a nickel on the counter and the man behind the counter gave me an ice cream cone. I left and somehow found my way home.

As I came up the driveway, my dad slid out from under the car and asked, “Where did you get that ice cream?” Even at three years old, I knew that I’d get a spanking if I told my dad what had happened. So I lied and said that the neighbor lady had given it to me.

I immediately ran into the house, dropped my ice cream, and started crying. I flew into my mother’s arms and told her about the lie that I had told.

It seems that from the beginning we start out with hearts that need to go through some sort of purification process. We aren’t born with pure hearts. Our tendency from a pretty young age is to lie to get out of difficult situations.

The first character trait that God offers people who strive after a pure heart is basic honesty, no matter the consequence. The Bible elaborates on this all over the place.

If you have a pure heart, eventually people will view you as a person of your word. And because you are pure in heart, people will know that what you say is never intentionally misleading. But being pure in heart goes beyond just telling the truth. When the Bible talks about a person’s heart, it’s not talking about the organ that’s beating in a chest. It’s talking about our inner recesses, the place where we feel deeply, where secret decisions are made. Our heart is what we are, who we are when all of the pretenses and masks are stripped away. In essence, our heart is our soul uncovered.

People who are pure in heart are people of integrity. My word processor offers these synonyms for the word integrity: credibility, fidelity, honor, nobility, principle, character, decency, dignity, guiltlessness. People who are pure in heart are people who live their lives honestly, not only in word but also in action.  Pure in heart people have pure motives. They do what they do for the right reasons. There is no hidden agenda, no hook underneath the bait, no manipulation. Pure in heart people live their lives, even their secret lives, with integrity and out of a pure motive.

When I was 11 years old my mom wanted me to learn what it was like to do nice things just for the satisfaction of doing them. In my neighborhood lived a lady who was 87 years old.  She had a hard time getting around, and she wasn’t able to mow her grass anymore. So my mom asked me if I wanted to do it.

I said, “Sure, how much will I get paid?”

“Nothing. I want you to do it just to be nice.”

I’d never heard of anything so ludicrous in my life. “Thanks mom, but I’ll pass on the freebee.”

“OK,” said my mom, “how about if you mow her lawn for free and I increase your allowance by $10 per week?”


So I went down to Anna’s house and mowed her lawn once a week. The whole time she would follow me around and show me the places I missed. She would also make me stop the lawn mower, take a shovel and rid her lawn of the land mines the neighbor’s dogs had left.

One day, after I was done mowing her lawn, Anna came out to send me off and said, “You are such a nice boy. I don’t think I’ve ever met a young man who would sacrifice an afternoon just to mow an old lady’s lawn and not get paid for it.”

And without thinking, I responded, “I wouldn’t do this for free. My mom is paying me or I wouldn’t even think to do this.”

Her face dropped as she turned and walked back into the house. Her disappointment came from a sense that what I was doing didn’t have pure motives at all. In fact, my motives were tainted to the point that if my mother had stopped increasing my allowance, I wouldn’t have ventured near Anna’s yard.

It seems that we all suffer from tainted motives, at least from time to time.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The Bible teaches us that if we want a pure heart, it’s ours for the asking. It teaches that if we decide to walk with God, He will make us into a new creation, a creation with a pure heart, a heart after God.

Mark Witas is lead teaching pastor at Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, California.

2018-03-19T19:15:22-07:00March 16th, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” Episode 041 – March 16, 2018

Students are getting a hands-on experience learning STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) at San Gabriel Academy! The school’s innovative programs include robotics, aquaponics, and an active technology department. In their classes, kindergarten students are being introduced to basics of writing code, and high school students are learning to operate drones. Last year, the school’s robotics team made it to the RoboCup Tournament in New York City where they won first place.

Read about SGA at last year’s U.S. Robotics Tournament:
Follow SGA activities at:


Last weekend, inSpire hosted their annual gathering for artists in Berkeley, California! This annual event is designed to celebrate the gift of creativity, and encourage Adventist songwriters, artists, photographers, and poets to use their gifts to share God’s message of hope.
This year inSpire was held at the LIFE Adventist Church in Berkeley, California, and drew people from throughout the Pacific Union, as well as people from Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee. If you like the arts, make sure to put next year’s inSpire gathering on your calendar!

Sign up for news about inSpire at:
Get inSpired by following their Facebook page:
Learn more about Church Support Services at:


Students at Hawaiian Mission Academy are packing their suitcases and grabbing their passports as they prepare for a spring break mission trip to Taiwan! This trip is the capstone of a yearlong elective class in Missions which prepared students to share the Gospel in the rural villages of Taiwan. “It’s an opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone,” one student shared.
These sacred journeys are so important as our young people are able to learn firsthand the joys of service and discipleship. Join us in praying for these young Apostles on their mission journey!

Learn more about Hawaiian Mission Academy at:
Follow them on Facebook at:


“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” Isaiah 45:2

2018-03-15T20:34:35-07:00March 15th, 2018|All Gods People|

A Lot of Women Around Here

By Becky De Oliveira—

In late 2010, construction on Andrews University’s brand-new Buller Hall was well underway. The new building connected to Nethery Hall where many College of Arts and Sciences classrooms were located, and the mess and noise and danger made teaching in the building impossible. Classes that normally met in Nethery were redistributed all around campus.

I found myself teaching English Composition I in a classroom in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, an imposing campus structure that I otherwise rarely had reason to enter. The back wall of my classroom was made entirely of glass. Seminary students would stand outside and peer in at us while waiting for our class to end so they could settle in for a round of Doctrine of the Sabbath or Methods of Old Testament Exegesis. The first few days were especially awkward for reasons I couldn’t understand.

It felt as if everyone in the building was staring at us—at me, at my students. I have rarely felt so odd or conspicuous. As my students filed out the door one day, I heard a seminarian note, in a tone tinged with slight disapproval or maybe even disgust, “There certainly are a lot of women around here.”


To me, there were a normal amount of women. The amount of women I more or less expect to see as I go about my day. But that explained the unabashed staring; we had tipped the balance of normalcy in the Seminary world. We weren’t supposed to be there—not in the droves in which we appeared three times a week. It’s perhaps important to note that an English Composition class is capped at 24 students. If around half the students were female (and let’s go ahead and assume it was a little more than half) there were maybe 14 to 15 extra women in the building—including me—during each of those class periods. The Seminary enrolls more than a thousand students; 15 women shouldn’t be that big a deal.

But somehow our church has become this place where gender is a big deal. A deal-breaker even. Earlier that same year that I taught in the Seminary building, a prominent Adventist television preacher had outlined 28 premises that explain why women shouldn’t be ministers. My favorite is premise nine, which observes that, “The word seminary shares the same root as the word semen, so it’s interesting that so many women study in the seminary.”

Huh. That is interesting. Mostly because I don’t know what it is supposed to mean.

More interesting is the question of when, exactly, women became such odd and terrifying creatures in the context of Christianity. It certainly wasn’t during the time Christ was on earth. He kept frequent company with women, as everyone knows, and most of the early witnesses to His resurrection were women, such as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna. As the scholars Gerald O’Collins and Daniel Kendall point out in their article “Mary Magdalene as Major Witness to Jesus’ Resurrection,” the testimony of these women helped propel Christianity forward, turning it into the global force it is today. They point out that the Gospel writers mentioned Mary Magdalene in “five out of the six Gospel [resurrection] narratives” and that she “is always the first person named” (Theological Studies, 1987, p. 634). The one account where she is not named is also the one account that includes no women at all. Jesus appeared to seven male disciples while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1–23).

So where was Mary—or any of the other women—in this account? In the absence of the physical presence of Jesus, were the male disciples reverting back to their culture’s de facto attitude to women, that they were unimportant and should remain as invisible as possible? Maybe they’d been looking around the various rooms in which they found themselves in the months leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and thinking, “There certainly are a lot of women around here.” Or maybe the women were feeling the chill and decided to keep their distance.

It was not long after I taught that English class in the seminary that I was recorded making a statement in favor of women’s ordination for a video. I have no idea what happened to the video; I have never heard anything about it since. Of course I know what happened with women’s ordination and have noticed that in their attempts to discredit female pastors certain individuals have felt the need to tear down women in general: Our leadership skills. Our voices. Our ways of communicating. And I think about women younger than I am, like those girls I taught back at Andrews, and wonder what they remember about that time when we were the latest curiosity at the zoo. I hope that wherever they are today, they feel welcome, and that they know Jesus certainly would have wanted them in the building.

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

2018-03-20T16:57:56-07:00March 9th, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” Episode 040 – March 9, 2018

Communicating, exchanging ideas, and strategizing all took place at eHuddle, the North American Division Evangelism Visioning and Leadership Team meeting hosted at the NAD headquarters in Columbia, Maryland. Representing the Pacific Union were pastors from across our seven conferences who wanted to join a discussion on church revitalization, growing younger churches and ministering to large, unreached people groups, such as single families, people in transition, and new believers. The meetings were described by Gamal Alexander, pastor of Compton Community Church, as “an amazing, impactful experience.”

Watch #eHuddle18 Day 1, Part 1 at:


If you haven’t yet visited the free resources available on the Jesus 101 ministry website, now is a good time to look them up. This ministry, based right here in the Pacific Union (Riverside, California), recently launched a 24/7 internet radio station with Christian contemporary music and teaching programs.

Jesus 101 is directed by Elizabeth Talbot, and is the only North American Division media ministry lead by a female speaker-director. Talbot is passionate about one thing – lifting up Christ through a sanctified teaching ministry. Dr. Talbot travels the Division bringing with her a wealth of Biblical wisdom and Christ-center instruction in both in English and in Spanish.

Listen to Jesus 101 radio at:
Visit today to learn more about this ministry.


Matt Engle, math teacher at Monterey Bay Academy, is the winner of the 2017 Rosenthal Prize for Innovation and Inspiration in Math Teaching! His winning lesson is entitled “Bringing Similarity Into Light: Experiencing Similarity and Dilations Using Shadows.” In Matt’s lesson, students examine the shadows of shapes to explore concepts such as ratio, dilation, and proportionality in triangles. A $25,000 cash prize accompanied the award. Congratulations, Matt!

Read more about the prize at:
Learn more about academics at Monterey Bay Academy at:


Last week, our young scholars from Holbrook Indian School participated in the Navajo Nation Science Fair, held in Window Rock, Arizona. After completing projects for their own science fair, Holbrook students joined neighboring schools for the annual science fair held for schools across the Navajo Nation.
Two Holbrook students brought home awards from the event. Congratulations to Maribel, fifth place in the Senior Division, in the field of Biology, and Logan, 1st place in the High School Division, in the field of Chemistry. We are so proud of these young people—and for the dedicated teachers at Holbrook Indian School, a one of a kind mission among Native Americans, operated by the Pacific Union.

Learn more about what is happening at Holbrook at

Follow Holbrook Indian School on Facebook at

Photo credit for aerial shot: Navajo Times | Adron Gardner


The Voice of Prophecy will be hosting a Celebration of Life service in honor of Del Delker on Saturday, March 24, from 3-5 p.m. The service will take place at the Loma Linda University Church, followed by a reception at the Wong Kerlee International Conference Center near the church. The event will feature music and memories, and all are invited to attend. For those who cannot make it in person, a live stream (and archived video) will be available.

Read her life sketch and get details about the service and memorial fund at:


“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

2018-03-09T03:39:33-08:00March 9th, 2018|All Gods People|

Beach Breakfast

By Ray Tetz

The Gospel of John shares the story of Jesus appearing to seven of His disciples after the resurrection (John 21:4-14). Though the story appears in John’s Gospel, it is generally seen through the eyes of Simon Peter. It was his leadership that brought the disciples back to Galilee, where Jesus had told them He would meet them. It was Peter who suggested going back to the boats. When he realized it was Jesus on the shore, he impetuously wrapped his cloak around himself and swam to meet Him. Peter hauled the extraordinary catch of 153 fish ashore. Peter was confronted with his triad of betrayals, and he wholeheartedly embraced Jesus as Lord through an equally fervent triad of commitments. This is very often Peter’s story.

Sometimes we tell it from the perspective of John “The Beloved.” What kind of man gives himself the nickname “The Beloved?” Well, the one Jesus trusted with His own mother. The one who outlived all the others—and lived to write the most intimate and loving account of Christ’s life. The one who went from the beach of Galilee to a life of submission and service and who, after being exiled to a beach far from Galilee on the island of Patmos, sat down in the sand and wrote the book of Revelation—the story of how it all ends.

But perhaps we can look at the story through the eyes of Christ Himself and stand alongside Jesus on the beach—not in the boat, not out on the water, but on this narrow strip of sand where things can still change.

This is his third appearance to those closest to Him, to the ones He knew and loved as only a teacher can love a group of students. He calls them “the lads,” a perfect little group of seven “children.” I can’t help but see that number as meaningful, since seven is so often a representative number for something else, like wholeness or perfection. Perhaps these seven represented the whole church in terms of the way Christ relates to them.

And Christ does not seem surprised to find them hanging out together. He hails them from the beach, and while it is Peter who swims ashore to greet Jesus first, He has breakfast waiting for all of them. I imagine Jesus counts them up as they arrive on the beach. He knows each of them simply by how they walk and hold their heads. The seven are uncharacteristically quiet. Had Jesus missed the sound of their voices? I think He had.

He can see that they are each still confused by all that has happened. They are uncertain about their futures—collectively and individually. They are excited by what they have experienced since the Resurrection—anyone can see the amazement and wonder in their eyes. But there are questions, too. Uncertainty. They are truly…children.

Dripping wet, tired, and not strictly “washed up” for breakfast, it doesn’t matter—they are together again. Here is Peter (The Shamed), and John (The Beloved) and Thomas (The Doubter). No doubt each of the seven has a unique perspective on what is happening. Each will have their own pathway from this place, and eventually Christ will find a unique way to embrace and speak to each of them.

But first—breakfast! And loudly He declares, “Let’s eat! Come and have some breakfast with me!” The scene itself is not extraordinary. A simple meal on the beach. A cup of water to pass around. Bread to break and share; fish too hot to eat immediately. Selfies all around.

Jesus welcomes them with a charcoal fire that is reminiscent of the one where Peter had failed so miserably: no one can ignore it, yet no one mentions it and no one tweets it either. Met with silence and searching faces, to each of the seven Christ has the same initial invitation: Come have breakfast. Be here with me. Sit down and rest awhile. Listen to your own heart. Let’s talk about this. All failings are forgiven—and there is plenty to forgive, truth be told. Quiet conversations begin to grow louder. Tears are shed, hugs are exchanged, sheepish faces recover their confidence. “Come to breakfast” morphs into “Follow me” and finally “Feed my sheep.”

A piece of fish and a hunk of bread on the beach. A fire made from charcoal. Moments transformed from the ordinary to the extraordinary by the presence of Jesus. Life changes forever, for every disciple. And for us, too.

When John told this story it was as the capstone to his Gospel. John knows that we can probably find ourselves within the ranks of those seven disciples. What kind of disciple are you? What is it that you seek from the Christ? Why are you still following Him? What does your beach breakfast look and sound like?

Ray Tetz is the director of communication and community engagement for the Pacific Union Conference.

2018-03-19T21:52:22-07:00March 2nd, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” Episode 039 – March 2, 2018

Last weekend in San Diego, the Paradise Valley Church hosted their first ever “Friendships for Hope Gala” to support refugee ministries. The event was organized by Will James, Pastor of Paradise Valley Church and CEO of Friendships for Hope, Inc., and drew a crowd of 250. At the end of the evening, the free-will offering and silent art auction raised over $12,000 to fund the church ESL program and other services for refugees.

Chef Amilcar Marrima, who prepared the Gala dinner, volunteered over 90 hours of his time in preparation for the event. “I always look for opportunities to help,” Marrima said. “I am a former refugee myself, so it was natural to get involved.” Marrima came to San Diego as a war refugee from Mozambique and believes in the ministry of Friendships for Hope, Inc. Additional help preparing for the Gala came from the Pathfinder clubs from Paradise Valley Church and the El Cajon SDA Church.

More details about the Friendships for Hope refugee ministry can be found at:

Follow PV Church at:

A special issue of the Recorder will come out in April that highlights education in the Pacific Union. We’re excited to share the stories, pictures
and updates from all 120 of our schools.
With 11,399 students, we have the largest enrollment in our schools of any of the Unions in North America. We invite you to join us in praying for all of our students and our schools and to be faithful in letting our staff and faculty know how much we appreciate and love them, too.

Read the Recorder online at:

Charles Kinny, the first Black ordained SDA minister, was born as a slave in 1855. As a young man, he worked his way west until ending up in Reno, Nevada. One evening in 1878, Kinny was walking home when he passed by an evangelistic meeting held by J. N. Loughborough. He started attending the meetings and in September of that year, he joined the Seventh-day Adventist church. From that point on, Kinny began working in leadership roles for his church. In 1889, he was ordained as a minister. Pastor Charles Kinny was a great Adventist pioneer whose journey to prominence in ministry started here in the Pacific Union.

Learn more about Charles Kinny and his ministry at:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
If you do this, you will experience God’s peace,
Which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
-Philippians 4:6-7

2018-03-02T01:18:12-08:00March 2nd, 2018|All Gods People|