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Life on Mission: Things To Know About California

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017

By Patti Wethington The Conference Year is quickly coming to an end. All that was dreamed and prayed over is being finalized and the finishing touches in place. I’m thankful for your prayers and support that kept me on track and encouraged me — and oh, I’m so excited for this year’s gathering. You all know this is my home state and I was born in Long Beach, California. I’m looking forward to joining everyone at Azusa for our events, for sharing, for spending time together, and to see how God will bless us while we are there together. Several things to know about California: It’s about 2,092 miles from east coast to west coast. I know that we do not find ourselves in California for General Conference too often. When we do, I know that many of you enjoy the opportunity to explore a few of the sights, entertainment, and the variety of outdoor experiences. One of my favorite places to go is Huntington Pier in Huntington Beach, CA. There is enough beach for everyone and often there are surfing...

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Alliance In Ministry

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017

by Rob Appel Executive Director   Retrospect – ret•ro•spect – noun – a survey or review of a past course of events or period of time. It is hard to believe, but I have had the honor of serving and representing Seventh Day Baptists for over thirteen years! Time flies when you are having a good time! This causes me to look back over the years to see what we have done together, and the first thing I came across was this: The Challenge. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Back in November 2004, I wrote in the Sabbath Recorder about a challenge that we all needed to embrace. That challenge was to have a new vision about our churches. I wrote, “The challenge was made to all Seventh Day Baptists to look to a new vision to work together to establish twenty new churches and increase in another twenty of our established churches over the next fifteen years; Vision 2020!” So, how have we done in...

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Features

Jesus Said…

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017

I will show you the one to fear. Fear the one who has the power to kill you and also to throw you into hell. Yes, this is the one you should fear. — Luke 12:5 (NCV) But I tell you, if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged. If you say bad things to a brother or sister, you will be judged by the council. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell. — Matthew 5:22 (NCV) Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is wide and the road is wide that leads to hell, and many people enter through that gate. — Matthew 7:13 (NCV) Don’t be afraid of people, who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the one who can destroy the soul and the body in hell. — Matthew 10:28 (NCV) 40Just as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age....

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Departments

Love Sweet Love

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017

by Seth Osborn SDB Church of Boulder, CO Have you loved recently? I don’t mean the loves we usually think of: loving God, loving our family, loving a romantic interest… I mean the kind of love that’s hard. Not that those types are always easy, but this kind of love is even harder. This is the hardest love of all of them. It can only be done by deliberate choice: loving those who hate you. In Luke 10, starting in verse 30, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. I know, I know. We have all heard this one before. Just bear with me for a bit. A man is attacked by robbers and of the three men who saw him, only one helped. Neither the priest nor the Levite showed any mercy — though they were men of God, they walked by and left this poor man for dead. No, it was the Samaritan who helped him. The Samaritans and the Jews were hostile towards each other. You could easily (and rightfully) call them enemies. But Jesus says that...

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Recent Posts

Jesus Said…

Jesus Said…

Jun 23, 2017

I will show you the one to fear. Fear the one who has the power to kill you and also to throw you into hell. Yes, this is the one you should fear. — Luke 12:5 (NCV) But I tell you, if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged. If you say bad things to a brother or sister, you will be judged by the council. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell. — Matthew 5:22 (NCV) Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is wide and the road is wide that leads to hell, and many people enter through that gate. — Matthew 7:13 (NCV) Don’t be afraid of people, who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the one who can destroy the soul and the body in hell. — Matthew 10:28 (NCV) 40Just as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all who cause sin and all who do evil. 42The angels will throw them into the blazing furnace, where the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain. 43Then the good people will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. — Matthew 13:40-43 (NCV) 49It will be this way at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the good people. 50The angels will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.” — Matthew 13:49-50 (NCV) If your hand or your foot gets in the way of God, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owners of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty...

Well, … “HELL!”

Well, … “HELL!”

Jun 23, 2017

by Pastor Darwin W. Steele       Many years ago, I had a difficult discussion with a friend that involved the reality of “hell” as a place and as a condition. His point was that hell was here and now — after all, the atrocities of the Vietnam War could not have happened if hell did not exist right here and right now. He did not believe that there was a coming eternity — but then, he was not a Christian either. Nowadays, one can easily get caught in the “annihilationism” debates or fall into the “universalism” camp (even some Evangelicals slip here). Yet hell remains a real and possible future for people who have not yet joined the Kingdom of God. What do we know about hell? Is it just a cuss word? The Gospels certainly do not show this; Matthew 25:30 mentions eternal darkness, verse 41 is everlasting destruction (fire), 3:12 says it is an “unquenchable fire” and 23:33 says it is a “fiery furnace.” That’s just in Matthew. Jesus certainly thought hell was real, so why do we downplay it so much? Are we, too, slipping into the universalist camp because it pains us to talk about an eternal punishment? I hope not. I have heard hell described as the logical consequence of love as dispensed in Godly justice when the Love of God has been violated by denial of Godly sovereignty. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 mentions this, “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 NASB) This speaks to justice — the word for “retribution” is ”ekdikēsis” meaning a vindication, retribution, or justice served. If Scripture is so sure that hell is real, then we need to understand and deal with it, like any other part of the Word of God. Failure to do so leaves us vulnerable to those who preach a universal salvation for all.   Hell is the “second death” as Revelation 21: 8 shows: “But for...

When Christians Live In Hell

When Christians Live In Hell

Jun 23, 2017

by Daniel Lovelace     Hell. It’s a very real and significant place that the Word speaks about, our culture laughs about, preachers preach about, and many people don’t really think about. We, the Church, even have all kinds of ideas and opinions about hell. For the sake of focus, I’ll set my definition of hell as basically being a place which is separated from God, and cut off from His life and goodness. I want to make the case that to some degree, I believe that it’s common for Christians to live in another type of hell. Now what do I mean when I say that Christians might live in hell? I mean that to the degree that believers come to a place of not resting in the work of Christ is the degree that they pull themselves away from receiving and living from the goodness and graciousness of God towards them. I had grown up my whole life in the church, and had seen it done and heard it explained as early as I can remember. Yet even so, it was only a little over a year ago that I realized how little I really understood and valued the sacrament of our Lord’s Supper, Communion. I decided to take 31 days to have communion personally in my devotional time, and each time study a passage that dealt with an aspect of Communion. I quickly ran out of the traditional passages to read on the topic, but gradually I realized something. Everything in our life relates to what Christ has done for us to reconcile us to God. As such, Communion — a remembrance of what Jesus has done — ties into every aspect of our lives, and thus all areas of Scripture. Communion is a celebration of the Gospel, that without Christ, we are cut off from the life, righteousness, and blessing of God. Within Christ, we are fully brought into those things, once and for all! So coming back to hell. I believe that many Christians — looking to my own life experience first — commonly fall away from resting in the Truth of Communion. We fall away from looking to...

Love Sweet Love

Love Sweet Love

Jun 23, 2017

by Seth Osborn SDB Church of Boulder, CO Have you loved recently? I don’t mean the loves we usually think of: loving God, loving our family, loving a romantic interest… I mean the kind of love that’s hard. Not that those types are always easy, but this kind of love is even harder. This is the hardest love of all of them. It can only be done by deliberate choice: loving those who hate you. In Luke 10, starting in verse 30, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. I know, I know. We have all heard this one before. Just bear with me for a bit. A man is attacked by robbers and of the three men who saw him, only one helped. Neither the priest nor the Levite showed any mercy — though they were men of God, they walked by and left this poor man for dead. No, it was the Samaritan who helped him. The Samaritans and the Jews were hostile towards each other. You could easily (and rightfully) call them enemies. But Jesus says that this is the man who was a neighbor — this is the man who showed love and in doing so obeyed God’s will. I know this story has become hackneyed through many, many years of Christian teachings. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you rolled your eyes when you saw that this was the topic of my article. As someone who was raised in the church from birth, I understand all too well how many times you can hear this story in Sabbath School, VBS, Awana, and other child-focused ministries. I mean, that’s the easy stuff! We’ve had this drilled into our heads over and over again. Love everyone, even your enemies. Why do we need to focus on something we already know forwards and backwards? My answer to that is simply to examine yourself. Think about your recent thoughts and behavior. Are you behaving as Jesus instructed? It could even be something as small as a heated argument on Facebook. Have you been treating the people on the other side as your neighbors? Or have you slung hateful words at them?...

The Lord’s Prayer:  On Earth as in Heaven…

The Lord’s Prayer:  On Earth as in Heaven…

Jun 23, 2017

Sixth in a series by Assistant Pastor Phil Lawton at the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, NJ. Check out Phil’s blog at contemplatingkenosis.blogspot.com   The last two entries in this series have been about the Kingdom and Will of God. You read about what the Kingdom of God looks like and you read that to truly live in that Kingdom you need to submit to the Will of God. This month’s entry is one that many commentaries lump in with Will. But I think that is a mistake. There is a problem with the view of many Christians today…you are under the impression that the world we live in will be destroyed. You think that when judgment day happens Jesus is going to come and blow up the earth and some incorporeal part of you is going to live with Him in Heaven with halos and wings and golden gates. I could say that this comes from the writings of Plato, but that would mean little to most of you. I think a more relatable reality is that we have believed all those movies with Kirk Cameron. I hate to tell you, but that’s just not what I see in Scripture. But what about all those passages about fire and destruction? you ask. What about 2 Peter 3? Or Isaiah 24? Well first, the passage in Isaiah 24 talks about people being left — so it can’t be a complete destruction. As for the passage in 2 Peter…did we forget 1 Peter 1:7 where it tells us that fire refines gold? Or that 2 Peter 3 mentions the flood (in which the righteous were left ON THE EARTH)? Or that Peter talks about being holy so that we can survive? Klingon Ethics I love Star Trek. I love everything about it — but what I really love are Klingons. For those that don’t know, Kilingons are a race of warrior aliens. Their whole society is centered around honor. They are to die in glorious battle. To die an old man is to be shamed. When they go into battle they are known for saying, “Today is a good day to die.” This focus...

No One is Outside the Mission

No One is Outside the Mission

Jun 23, 2017

by Clinton R. Brown Executive Director Our SDB leaders in the Cameroon have been working tirelessly over the last few years to bring the Gospel to the needy in their rural communities with medicine, food stuffs, clothing, shoes, and the Word of God. Though the material help is greatly appreciated, it is taking time for the message of salvation to penetrate the hearts of even the most desperate in the villages. The seeming lack of change among the people has apparently led to a little bit of discouragement. One of the leaders lamented to me that he felt many of the people there are just so uncivilized. So much so that the Gospel just was not able to gain a foothold in their backward hearts and minds. I understood his perspective, but was mildly amused at his assumption. I had done some genealogy research on my own family tree and subsequently missions and historical research on the Viking ancestors that I had come across. I remarked to him that my own family tree had roots that marauded and pillaged for their livelihood. My northern lands forefathers had been renowned as blood-thirsty savages and unscrupulous killers with no respect for the ways of God’s Kingdom. These uncivilized people, however, were conquered by the love of Christ. They took back Christian slaves and wives with their other plunder who carried within them the Gospel message. Eventually, this message converted those northern nations for a time to some of the most Christ-centered cultures in Europe. The idea that our God came with the power of salvation for only one people or another is not reflected in the Scriptures and diminishes the vision of what our objective should be and who our God is. The prophet Isaiah gave some insight to the bigger plans of God when he wrote to the Jewish people about the coming Messiah: [the LORD] says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”...

Life on Mission

Life on Mission

Jun 23, 2017

by Katrina Goodrich How do you live a Life on Mission? This is the question I’ve been contemplating throughout the year along with many others in response to our 2017 General Conference theme. I suspect that there are as many correct answers to this as there are people on the planet. Everyone’s life on mission looks just a little bit different in application — but the core of this missional life is sharing the love of Christ with the world (the Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20). It’s easy to get stuck in the personal application of the Great Commission if your mind works the way mine does. When I’m thinking about what it means for me personally to live on mission I tend to think I have to find one big cause to dedicate my time to (like starving children in Africa). If you have that calling — that’s great! I don’t know where my “big” calling lies or if I even have one. Just thinking about it can be intimidating. That intimidation leads to avoidance, and so on. For the past year I’ve been focusing on simplifying the how portion of living life on mission to two things I can do every day regardless of where I am, who I’m interacting with, and what the big picture might be. 1. Smile “Attitude is like a cold — contagious. Make sure yours is worth catching.” This motivational poster or some variation of it has shown up in just about every elementary school I’ve ever stepped foot into — as well as countless other places — because attitude is important. Smiles, too, are contagious and an important foundation for attitude, yours and others’. Smiles can be used in a variety of ways to reassure, comfort, communicate worth, approve, and in general convey happiness. A simple smile can have a lot of power. I don’t think we need to walk around with a perpetual goofy grin on our faces but we can be intentional about gifting a smile to those whom we come in contact with. It may seem silly, but sometimes a simple smile is the only positive affirmation people may have that day. Next time...

Life on Mission: Things To Know About California

Life on Mission: Things To Know About California

Jun 23, 2017

By Patti Wethington The Conference Year is quickly coming to an end. All that was dreamed and prayed over is being finalized and the finishing touches in place. I’m thankful for your prayers and support that kept me on track and encouraged me — and oh, I’m so excited for this year’s gathering. You all know this is my home state and I was born in Long Beach, California. I’m looking forward to joining everyone at Azusa for our events, for sharing, for spending time together, and to see how God will bless us while we are there together. Several things to know about California: It’s about 2,092 miles from east coast to west coast. I know that we do not find ourselves in California for General Conference too often. When we do, I know that many of you enjoy the opportunity to explore a few of the sights, entertainment, and the variety of outdoor experiences. One of my favorite places to go is Huntington Pier in Huntington Beach, CA. There is enough beach for everyone and often there are surfing competitions, beach volleyball events, or some other activities including an ideal place to fly kites. If you ever shop at a Hollister clothing store, they always have a live cam of Huntington Pier on a big screen in their store. It makes me home sick!!!   A few fun facts about California: its nickname is the “Golden State” after the 1849 gold rush; there are a lot of people in California — around 39 million (ranked #1) and to be more specific 13 million in LA; it has the highest and lowest points in the contiguous USA with Mt. Whitney at 14,494 ft. and Death Valley at 282 ft. below sea level, the tallest trees on earth (the tallest at 379 ft.), the most national parks in one state, the hottest place on earth (in Death Valley — recorded at 134 degrees in 1913), and it is known as the fruit basket of America. California accounts for about half of fruit acreage in the USA. It is the largest producer of grapes, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwifruit, prunes, plums, dates, avocadoes, lemons, tangerines, garlic,...