President's Page

Life on Mission: Call… Come… Pray!

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017

by Patti Wethington SDB Church, White Cloud, MI   I’m praying your entry into 2017 has been enjoyable. For me, I spent my New Year’s celebration in Samobor, Croatia, with my daughter, Leanna, and her husband, Tomislav’. We stood on the balcony of her third floor apartment which overlooks the city and enjoyed a cascade of fireworks from multiple locations. Samobor has “pyrotechnic” shops and firework companies that provided enough combustible product to blow up the whole town — or so my ears thought it to be!!! I stood oohing and aweing until the last pop. It was a “must-do” trip for me because I have not been separated from my children for any length of time. Now I have come to realize that my Lele is established, married, and living in Croatia for what she declares, “the rest of her life.” WOW! Never in my wildest dreams did I think any of my children would move so far away and strike up dual citizenship as well. Anyway, the trip allowed me to rest my spirit and see for myself that...

Read More

Alliance In Ministry

Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017

By: Pastors Joel and Judith Houts Part 1 is in the January Sabbath Recorder The Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia has asked for membership in the Conference. This is a hope to let you get to know them better. As we tried reaching new people, our people were being harassed by others. One gentleman stopped coming as a result and joined another church. He met with me in private and told me he was afraid. Shortly after this happened, a family of five that had accepted the Lord and been baptized moved to the United States looking for a better life. That left our church with zero active members! Joel traveled back and forth from the USA as work allowed helping Ruth and me in the ministry. For one full year I preached to very few. Nevertheless, the Lord began bringing people to church and leaders began emerging. In the midst of all this, my mother’s health worsened and in 2014 she passed away. Through all this, we were certain of the mission and that God had called us....

Read More

Features

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017

By Donna VanHorn Hallmark didn’t invent Valentine’s Day. But the greeting card giant, along with thousands of other retailers, has figured out over the years how to profit big-time from the February holiday’s sentimental theme. It is estimated this nation’s consumers, in 2016, spent a record $19.7 billion in honoring their special someone. A breakdown shows $147 was spent by each of those actually making Valentine purchases (candy, cards, flowers, jewelry, dinner dates were the top five categories). I’ve benefitted from some of my husband’s most ingenious, and more often simple but thoughtful, Valentine gifts. Why wait for an annual holiday? I hope we all make it a daily priority to remind our spouse, children and close friends how much we love them. I do wonder, though, how often we tell God how much we love Him. Not only in our prayer time, but also in our relationships with those around us. I can’t think of a better way to show Him how much we love Him than by telling others in our daily walk what God has done for us...

Read More

Departments

Plan, Pray, Trust

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017

by Madge Chroniger Alfred Station SDB Church, NY Being a senior in high school, all of the paperwork, applications, and decisions can be overwhelming. Learning to make the right decisions and to trust God where He is leading you in your life is an extremely hard task to accomplish. I am a person who likes to know where I’m going in life — everything needs to be in its place and happen exactly when it’s planned. For example, in my freshman year of high school I knew I would be attending California Baptist University. I was certain I was going to be studying art education. Even before those thoughts, I was sure I was going to be a special effects makeup artist and be staying in New York for college. But now I plan on attending Lancaster Bible College for Live Production with the hopes of working at Sight & Sound Theatres as a stage manager and making a life in Lancaster.   Although these are my life plans, I have learned over the past four years of high school that...

Read More

Recent Posts

Plan, Pray, Trust

Plan, Pray, Trust

Jan 23, 2017

by Madge Chroniger Alfred Station SDB Church, NY Being a senior in high school, all of the paperwork, applications, and decisions can be overwhelming. Learning to make the right decisions and to trust God where He is leading you in your life is an extremely hard task to accomplish. I am a person who likes to know where I’m going in life — everything needs to be in its place and happen exactly when it’s planned. For example, in my freshman year of high school I knew I would be attending California Baptist University. I was certain I was going to be studying art education. Even before those thoughts, I was sure I was going to be a special effects makeup artist and be staying in New York for college. But now I plan on attending Lancaster Bible College for Live Production with the hopes of working at Sight & Sound Theatres as a stage manager and making a life in Lancaster.   Although these are my life plans, I have learned over the past four years of high school that you don’t always get to make the plans for your life. In fact you don’t get to plan your life. Slowly over the past few years I have reluctantly learned that this is God’s job, not ours. I know it is extremely hard to surrender your whole life — past, present, and future — to our amazing Creator. Letting God have complete control of your life and the life you are going to live is something we all have to learn to do. Recently the phrase “let go and let God” has been circling through my head on an endless loop. The letting go part really puts me to the test. I am a very controlling person. Being a stage manager and striving for that in a career, I am the person who puts everything together, who makes everything work out, makes sure everything is in its place. Making God that person in my life and not myself is a little nerve wracking. Trusting in God’s plan for my life instead of mine has proved to me that there is an even better...

Other Cheek or Blind Eye?

Other Cheek or Blind Eye?

Jan 23, 2017

by Katrina Goodrich In Matthew 5, Jesus teaches a crowd using the Ten Commandments and other portions of Old Testament scripture. Specifically, in verses 38-42, He speaks of a portion of scripture repeated several times that is familiar to us today: an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Jesus contradicts this saying, if someone “slaps you on the cheek you should also turn and offer him the other cheek to slap.” Turning the other cheek has become a popular phrase as well a way of life for many Christians through the ages. Turning the other cheek has become synonymous with integrity and “taking the high road.” Refusing to return evil for evil is a sign of a decent person — but merely neglecting to take revenge is not what Jesus is talking about (even though that is the commonly accepted definition). Christians are to step beyond ignoring or refusing to take negative action on the wrongs perpetrated against us. Responding with kindness and compassion makes it a stark hallmark of Christianity. This truly does have transformative power. When we neglect this extra step, in my opinion, we contribute to a counterproductive mentality of ignorance in the church today. When what we actively pursue is a way to ignore other people’s actions, our heads tend to stay in the clouds. We notice less of the world around us — except what immediately has to do with ourselves. We can turn our cheeks all the time, but if we never turn back, we can completely miss what’s going on around us. Repaying evil with kindness gives us an outward focus. If we miss that step our focus continually goes inward. The only thing that matters is our own reaction. It isn’t difficult to become wholly me-focused — culture is already all about individual wants and needs. From there things become a slippery slope. If we can ignore the wrongs done to us by other people, it is much easier to ignore wrongs that aren’t directly perpetrated against us. The suffering of others is easier to miss than our own without our willful ignorance. We’re so involved with our introspection that we don’t notice anyone...

Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Jan 23, 2017

By: Pastors Joel and Judith Houts Part 1 is in the January Sabbath Recorder The Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia has asked for membership in the Conference. This is a hope to let you get to know them better. As we tried reaching new people, our people were being harassed by others. One gentleman stopped coming as a result and joined another church. He met with me in private and told me he was afraid. Shortly after this happened, a family of five that had accepted the Lord and been baptized moved to the United States looking for a better life. That left our church with zero active members! Joel traveled back and forth from the USA as work allowed helping Ruth and me in the ministry. For one full year I preached to very few. Nevertheless, the Lord began bringing people to church and leaders began emerging. In the midst of all this, my mother’s health worsened and in 2014 she passed away. Through all this, we were certain of the mission and that God had called us. We had relocated from our old house to another house down the road. But when the original family left and moved to the United States, we had to relocate again. We found an apartment to rent, and moved there, but it seemed as if no one found us. The roof leaked and the landlord refused to fix it. After a year of preaching to no one (or so it was thought), one of the local drunks came into the church carrying a machete. He told us he came from what was supposed to be a duel (the other man did not show up). Ruth began serving him several cups of coffee. I prayed for him and he was healed from alcohol. He became our new member. He told us later on that the services could be heard outside the church and many people gathered on the balcony above to listen to the music and hear the Word — leaving as soon as the final prayer ended. We didn’t know that our next door neighbor, Maritza Figueroa, had been sitting near her bedroom window...

Learning to Seek God in the “Meh”

Learning to Seek God in the “Meh”

Jan 23, 2017

by Michaella Osborn Boulder SDB Church, CO This summer I had the opportunity to serve on an SCSC project in Jamaica. I’ve had a passion for cross-cultural ministry for as long as I can remember, but this was my first experience actually doing it. When I got home I remember feeling like now that I’ve had this experience my life would magically change. I thought that I might do a better job keeping up with a consistent Bible study, find a new ministry to get involved in, or have a greater passion for my church. Essentially, I thought that five weeks doing ministry in a different country would make up for my own inconsistencies and shortcomings. I feel like a lot of us do this — right? Something exciting happens and it’s easy to see God at work or to trust in Him. But when we get back to everyday life, it’s hard again. It gets a little harder when I’m just going to work or school hoping for the next adventure. For me, when my life is boring, God feels far away. But the thing that I’ve been learning this year is that God feels far away because of my own habits and lack of focus on Him, not because of the fact that I’m home. It’s easy for me to be passionate about God when I’m in a place that I feel called and fulfilled. However, there are times in everyday life, when I am not doing ministry, that I’m almost resentful of the fact that I’m not to a certain point in my life yet. I hear this from other people all the time. This feeling of having important things to do for the Kingdom, but not getting to do it yet, can stick with you. It’s a feeling of wanting to fast forward through all of the growth and exploration and just be where we are supposed to be. It’s hard to work on the “here” when you want to be “there.” When I get particularly discouraged with these kinds of feelings, I think about Ruth. In her situation, it would have been really easy to just ignore God and...

New Auburn Builds a New Church

New Auburn Builds a New Church

Jan 23, 2017

This month, we are happy to print the first article submitted in response to our request for local church history stories! See the January 2017 Sabbath Recorder for more information or contact Nick Kersten if  you have your own story you would like to submit for consideration!” By Donna Sanford Bond SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ “Ilou,” Daddy said, “We’ve been called to New Auburn, Wisconsin, to help them build a new church. God is leading me to accept. I can keep writing The Helping Hand lessons there and we will have a real house with a new bathroom!” I was six years old and we lived in an upstairs apartment over a converted cheese factory in Independence, NY. The year was 1955. So we loaded up our Studebaker, a two-wheeled trailer and a top carrier, and started our three-leg journey to a place where icicles would soon reach from the porch roof to the ground. First stop was Mommy’s childhood home outside Jackson Center, OH, for Thanksgiving dinner. When we got ready to leave in the morning, Grandma Miars surprised us by adding her little suitcase and a bag lunch to the heap and piling in beside my brothers, Doug and Dean, ages 3 and 2, and me in the back seat. After a weekend in Milton, WI, where my parents had met, we headed up Highway 53 and approached our new hometown. When we saw the 20-by-30-foot white structure across the “frozen tundra” adjacent to a pig farm, we speculated on which house held our “new bathroom.” We were warmly welcomed by a work force, including Genny Pederson and her preschool daughters, Connie and Christine. Mommy’s greeting was, “We have come to build your church.” Upon examining the church record books, Daddy learned that the church had been talking about a new building for 40 years! At the first business meeting in 1956, the subject was again brought up. Elmer Nelson challenged the assembly: “Why don’t you just give up the idea of building? You know you can’t do it!” Was he using reverse psychology? Perhaps, for the church Moderator was his wife Helen! The motion to build was seconded and carried...

Called Pastoral Ministry?

Called Pastoral Ministry?

Jan 23, 2017

Here are several questions you should ask yourself as you ponder a call to pastoral ministry: 1. Do I meet the qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1? This is the place to start. If your character is not mature, stable, and (in a non-perfectionist way) exemplary, then you are not ready to be a pastor. This does not necessarily mean you are on the wrong path if you don’t yet have victory over certain sins. It means you won’t be ready until you meet the Scriptural standards. 2. Do the Christians who know me best consistently affirm my gifts for ministry? The most important call is the objective call of your church encouraging you to pursue pastoral ministry. 3. Do I like to teach all kinds of people in all kinds of settings? Most people thinking of pastoral ministry are excited to preach. I want to know if they are excited to preach at the Rescue Mission and excited to teach five-year-olds. 4. Do I find myself stirred by good preaching? If a man is called to preach the gospel he should be thrilled to hear it preached. The content should move him, and he should find himself thinking, “Oh, that I could proclaim this good news.” 5. Do I find myself stirred by bad preaching? The last point was obvious. This one is less so, but just as important. I think there ought to be a fire in a man’s bones when he hears the word of God handled badly.     6. Do I enjoy being around people? Some pastors are extroverts; I am not. I look forward to being with people more than some pastors I know, but not nearly as much as many men I admire. Whatever your personality, you won’t be a good pastor if you don’t like people and recoil from them as much as possible. 7. Do I make friends easily? This is a subjective test (like many of these questions), but a lack of meaningful friendships is not a good sign. It could be an indication that you are too harsh, too much a loner, or frankly, too awkward to be effective...

Life on Mission: Call… Come… Pray!

Life on Mission: Call… Come… Pray!

Jan 23, 2017

by Patti Wethington SDB Church, White Cloud, MI   I’m praying your entry into 2017 has been enjoyable. For me, I spent my New Year’s celebration in Samobor, Croatia, with my daughter, Leanna, and her husband, Tomislav’. We stood on the balcony of her third floor apartment which overlooks the city and enjoyed a cascade of fireworks from multiple locations. Samobor has “pyrotechnic” shops and firework companies that provided enough combustible product to blow up the whole town — or so my ears thought it to be!!! I stood oohing and aweing until the last pop. It was a “must-do” trip for me because I have not been separated from my children for any length of time. Now I have come to realize that my Lele is established, married, and living in Croatia for what she declares, “the rest of her life.” WOW! Never in my wildest dreams did I think any of my children would move so far away and strike up dual citizenship as well. Anyway, the trip allowed me to rest my spirit and see for myself that she is well, loved, and making a home with her family there. Of my three children, Leanna is the last one I thought would venture out like this. However, when I asked her if she liked it there and if she felt comfortable living in this faraway place, she, without a pause, told me that this is right where she is meant to be and that life is great. I’m going to thank God for the confidence I have in knowing He has a plan for each of our lives and this is my Leanna’s journey. Also, I took this trip desperately needing some time to rest — to reflect on a very busy year; to prepare my spirit for the new year and Conference planning; and to be eagerly receptive to what God wants for my future. I hold dearly to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I claim this promise and believe that my current calling...

Love Month

By Donna VanHorn Hallmark didn’t invent Valentine’s Day. But the greeting card giant, along with thousands of other retailers, has figured out over the years how to profit big-time from the February holiday’s sentimental theme. It is estimated this nation’s consumers, in 2016, spent a record $19.7 billion in honoring their special someone. A breakdown shows $147 was spent by each of those actually making Valentine purchases (candy, cards, flowers, jewelry, dinner dates were the top five categories). I’ve benefitted from some of my husband’s most ingenious, and more often simple but thoughtful, Valentine gifts. Why wait for an annual holiday? I hope we all make it a daily priority to remind our spouse, children and close friends how much we love them. I do wonder, though, how often we tell God how much we love Him. Not only in our prayer time, but also in our relationships with those around us. I can’t think of a better way to show Him how much we love Him than by telling others in our daily walk what God has done for us — and by stepping up to serve those who have special needs only we can meet. The Old Testament’s King David is described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He authored a huge part of the Book of Psalms, and many of those psalms are love poems in tribute to a God he loved and obeyed. David wasn’t perfect; none of us are. But he knew to whom he owed his life — and his forgiveness — and he wrote love notes to thank God for that grace. Why should we do anything less? Psalm 18:1-2: “I love you, oh Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” For information about Donna’s devotional book, Tune God In: Your Heart’s His Receiver, visit her website at...