Seventh Day Baptist

Standing For God— The Hardship of Service

Standing For God— The Hardship of Service

Jan 24, 2013

Standing For God— The Hardship of Service by Executive Director Rob Appel   In his book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers responds to the passage found in 2 Corinthians 12:15, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.” Chambers’ response is called, “The Destitution of Service”— Natural human love expects something in return. But Paul is saying, “It doesn’t really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway; willing to be poverty-stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you to God.” “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor…” (2 Corinthians 8:9).        And Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s. He did not care how high the cost was to himself—he would gladly pay it. It was a joyful thing to Paul. The institutional church’s idea of a servant of God is not at all like Jesus Christ’s idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of others. Jesus Christ actually “out-socialized” the socialists. He said that in His kingdom the greatest one would be the servant of all.        The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the Gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet—that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God. It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost.   We must take seriously Paul’s statement, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me!” This must be our cry of faith as well! Whatever we cling to or feel called to do out of self-service, that has become our stumbling block. We must give up with joy anything that has taken our attention off Him, in order for us to become all that...

Worried? Stressed? Try this…

Worried? Stressed? Try this…

Jan 24, 2013

Worried? Stressed? Try this… by Seth Osborn   I’ve been reflecting on the fact that I’ve already finished up the first semester of my 11th grade year. This is pretty big: I’m more than halfway done with my high school career. After three more semesters, I’m going to be off to college. That sounds like a long time when I say it, but thinking back, it really wasn’t all that long ago that I started to learn how to navigate my maze of a school. If two and a half years have gone by so fast, then one and a half more surely can’t be that long, can it? Honestly, thinking about this can be a little stressful. I need to make sure that I keep my grades up so I can get into a good college. I also need to look for somewhere that doesn’t have too high of a tuition so my parents and I can afford it. And this whole situation is just one of the things to be stressed out about in my life. What could I possibly do to help relieve some of this stress? Where could I possibly go to find encouragement to not worry? If you guessed something along the lines of “read the Bible,” then you probably remembered that this is a Christian publication and jumped to the most logical conclusion. Good job! Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we should ask God for help with our problems, and not waste time feeling stress over them. If God is all-powerful, then He can help, can’t he? Another verse with a similar message is one I mentioned in my first article. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Sometimes we might feel like our problems aren’t important enough for God, but He made us and loves us. If He loved us enough to send His son to die...

Church Membership: The Precious Gift of Belonging

Church Membership: The Precious Gift of Belonging

Jan 24, 2013

Church Membership: The Precious Gift of Belonging by Jeanne Yurke, Boise, Idaho Member at Raritan Valley SDB Church In Bridgewater, New Jersey   The late Don Sanford used to say that there is no such thing as “a lone Sabbath-keeper,” because Seventh Day Baptists are a covenant people. Every SDB is part of a covenant fellowship, a local church. Moving many miles away from one’s church to a place where there is no SDB church might make a person feel isolated, but it need not cut off the person from the church. In previous centuries such a physical move would have signaled the start of a new SDB church. Seventh Day Baptists tended to keep their membership papers in their back pockets and planted churches when they moved beyond the boundaries of existing churches. The 21st century, however, has the technology and social media needed to keep long-distance memberships intact. A college student many states away from her home church can still worship with her family via live streaming. Facebook prayer pages bring together church members from all over the world, reminding them that no matter how far away they may live, work, or travel, they can be instantly connected. Even I remain an active part of my home church 2,400 miles away, thanks to high-tech communications.   The challenge we face is making sure that covenant relationships are nourished when members are no longer physically present and their circumstances do not allow them to make use of all the new-fangled gadgetry. What does a church do when a senior member moves to a nursing home out of state? How does a small church with no high-tech resources stay connected with its military members overseas? These are two common scenarios facing our churches, and covenant relationships require creative responses in order for them to be met in loving, helpful ways. In some churches the deacons and deaconesses are assigned specific members to watch over, but many of our churches function without this kind of diaconate care system. Old-fashioned letter-writing and telephone calls may make the difference between relegating some members to an “inactive” list and engaging ALL members in the life of the church....

Will You Pray With Me?

Will You Pray With Me?

Jan 24, 2013

Will You Pray With Me? By Andrew J. Camenga   For the last year, I’ve been praying that God would grant opportunities to speak His Good News into the lives of people who don’t yet know Him. The obvious result in my life is a growing conviction that this needs to be my prayer right now. God has brought passages of Scripture to my mind in new and very personal ways. This has rung true from the obvious call of the Great Commission to the poignant “How beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news.” Surprisingly, it has also rung true for the command to always be ready to defend with gentleness the hope I have to anyone who asks. I have been ready to give that defense. My parents and churches taught the Gospel message well and in a way that was deeply internalized. I learned the Romans Road by heart early in life, and have been ready to use John 3:16 in a conversation if it seemed merited. In preparation for dedicated service and my year in SCSC, I developed and honed a “three-minute testimony” that I still use. My heart and head resonate with the ringing words of 1 Corinthians 15 that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he was seen…” In addition to that preparation, you can layer on top the years of praying, listening, Bible Study, specific theological training, preaching and teaching, praying, singing, and more listening. From time to time I’ve devoured tracts (4 Spiritual Laws, Steps to Peace with God, One Verse Evangelism), books (How to Give Away Your Faith, Just Walk Across the Room, Tell The Truth, The Master Plan of Evangelism), sermons, and lecture series—all designed to enlighten, encourage, and equip people for evangelism. I have significant knowledge. Beyond that, I have experience. I have talked with people about their faith. I have presented the Gospel in situations where people don’t know Christ. Before I started the job I have now, I worked side-by-side with people who rejected Jesus and...