Unaccompanied Minor?

Unaccompanied Minor?

Nov 26, 2014

Unaccompanied Minor?  by Bill Probasco On my trips to visit our various SDB churches to share my theme of being “Steadfast,” I’ve been blessed to have a traveling companion from time to time. My wife, Valerie, has come with me to visit the Verona, NY and Riverside, CA churches, and my daughter, Holly, came with me to the Boulder, CO and Seattle, WA churches. (Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m playing favorites, my son Liam is coming with me on a future trip to Daytona Beach, FL!)   When I booked my trip to Seattle, for Holly’s ticket I used a frequent flyer ticket I had been saving. Now the interesting thing about that is I had to book my ticket and then separately book her ticket. This seemed to just be an extra step, no big deal. It wasn’t until we had everything purchased it became apparent that because she is 13 years old and her ticket was booked separately, she became an “unaccompanied minor.” This was good and bad, or at least had its perks and drawbacks. We had to go to the check-in counter and speak with an airline employee at the airport because Holly was “traveling by herself.” But because she was “traveling by herself,” she did get to board early! She breezed through security, but then had to wait for Dad to “go the long way” through (“please remove your belt and shoes and empty your pockets completely…”). Even after we’d found our seats on the plane, the flight attendants came around to check on her because, again, she was “traveling by herself.” Holly loved the special attention, yet never felt alone with me steadfastly sitting right next to her. She was an “accompanied, unaccompanied minor.”   This got me thinking about the Christmas story in a new way. God would make the decision to “give His only begotten Son” into the world as an atoning sacrifice. Jesus the babe was sent “unaccompanied” into the world to take our place. There was no armed bodyguard protecting him, no strict protective agenda laid out for his every move. Jesus was in a very real sense sent to experience the...

The Midnight Mission

The Midnight Mission

Nov 26, 2014

The Midnight Mission by Vilan van de Loo   Imagine this. You are a man, mid-thirties, with close to zero combat skills, and you and your friend have a great idea. This is it: to stand in the entrance door to a brothel in the heart of the red light district in Amsterdam. When a potential costumer approaches, you will ask him if he really thinks that God wants him to visit a prostitute. You do this because you feel prostitution has no place in a Christian world.   Dear reader, what do you think will happen?   The start Two 7th Day Baptists could have answered the question, as this is exactly what they did in 1888. One was Johannes van der Steur (1865-1945), taller than his friend Gerard Velthuysen (1865-1936) who was more a bit of a bookworm. As early 7th Day Baptists, they were used to mockery for their beliefs. They were both from Haarlem, close friends, “like David and Jonathan,” and they were the first two working men in what was to become the Midnight Mission — an organization that would become a major force in the Netherlands. There were others. Like Colonel L. Roosmale Nepveu (1825-1903), who had seen a Midnight Mission at work in Denmark. And there was the then-famous Rev. Hendrik Pierson (1834-1923) who added this work to his continuing fight against prostitution. He needed men with an iron backbone and similar Christian beliefs to work the streets. Pierson’s basic idea was simple: without the male customers, the evil of prostitution would cease to exist. Somehow he got in touch with Van der Steur, offered him and Velthuysen a monthly allowance (most likely paid by Velthuysen’s dad, also a 7th Day Baptist) and they both moved to Amsterdam to start their work. It could be foreseen that the brothels would give a violent response to this disturbing factor for the clientele. But there was also something else that made it difficult. Prostitution was regulated, and the local police made a profit out of the brothels. Plus, there was a general belief that a man “needed” sexual relationships. Only madmen would dare to protest.   Development At first,...

The Beacon

The Beacon

Nov 26, 2014

by Rebecca Olson Seventh Day Baptist Church Berlin, NY   We are living in a beautiful, wonderful, slightly horrifying time called “The Information Age.” Someday, children will look back in their history books and laugh at our pathetic technology, but for now, we have more access to information than we ever have before. With the internet as prevalent in our culture as it is, blogging has become an extremely popular form of expression. In the online Christian community alone, there are thousands of blogs with writers sharing stories of God’s work in their lives. There are also just as many blogs which claim to have the answers — the writers use logic to try to “prove” Christianity. “Proving” the existence of God has become an extremely popular topic in the online community. With a click of a button, a person can reach the masses — of course people are going to want to use this opportunity to evangelize. And so they should. The internet has brought the world closer together, and it is a great resource for reaching out to people who do not know Christ. If your church doesn’t have a blog or website, look into creating one. It’s a modern way to get the congregation thinking and talking in the days leading up to the Sabbath. As great as the internet can be for evangelism, it can also be somewhat detrimental to Christians. Let’s re-examine the idea of “proving” that what God says is right. It’s hugely popular right now. Earlier this year, creationist Ken Ham debated evolutionist Bill Nye. The debate was widely anticipated and watched by many. However, the debate didn’t really have a clear winner. There wasn’t much point to it when it came to changing people’s minds — creationists thought Ham was right, and evolutionists thought Nye was. The debate created unnecessary conflict, and took Christ’s message of love and made it unreachable for the millions of people who supported Nye’s argument. This is the problem with using logic and facts to try to “prove” anything about God — it takes away from the ultimate message. It’s also impossible. Ecclesiastes 8:17 ensures us that we are never going...

Taking Care of Your Pastor

Taking Care of Your Pastor  By Barb Green, Parish Nurse Milton, WI   Think a minute about how you view your pastor(s). In your mind do they rank pretty close to God? Are they a handy target of criticism for everything about the church? Or are they a friend — a mere mortal who has struggles, temptations and discouragements just like the rest of us and are in need of our prayers and support?   At Conference this summer, Jane Rubietta, a pastor’s wife, presented some of the following ideas in her workshop on caring for your pastor. She gave some very discouraging statistics: 60% of male pastors and 67% of female pastors suffer from depression; 47% leave the pastorate because of conflicts in the church; 1/3 leave the ministry permanently; 83% spend two or less evenings per week at home. Although the average stay for a pastor is 2.5 to five years, we are told that good ministry starts after 7 years. Pastor turnover causes many problems, including the church’s impact in the community, and correlates with the health of the congregation and the pastor. An increase in arthritis, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression and decreased longevity are some results.   It appears that for the physical, mental and spiritual health of both pastors and congregations and for the ongoing fulfillment of our mission we need to sit up and take notice of these facts. The Bible repeatedly reminds us that we should honor our leaders (Hebrews 13:1, 2, 17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Ezekiel 44:30). As Christ’s followers we are called to pray for our pastors and to be present in their lives.   One way to bless the pastor and his family is to pray scriptures for them (John 17; Ephesians 1:16-23; Ephesians 3:16-21; Ephesians 6:19-20; Philemon 1:9-11 and more). Let the pastor know what you are specifically praying for him; pray with him; have members sign up for a day per month to pray for the pastor so they are covered in prayer. Pray that they will be protected from the evil one. Write into the job description that the pastor takes care of his own soul: when is his Sabbath? Find...

Not so Perfect Holiday

Not so Perfect Holiday

Nov 26, 2014

Not so Perfect Holiday by Katrina Goodrich   Imagine a barn. Not an empty one used for photo ops, weddings, or a wild animal home, but one that is actually in use providing a haven for animals after a long day of work. Livestock under the best of circumstances release odors that are unpleasant. Crowded together in a warm barn after a long day, with little air circulation, I imagine the smell might be overwhelming. The air is extremely dusty and there isn’t anywhere that is truly clean to relax. Now imagine that you are nine months pregnant with your first child. People tell me, that among other things during pregnancy, your sense of smell is acutely increased.   There is a nice bed of hay to lay on that is mostly clean and dry. Probably uncomfortable but it’s better than the hard floor. Then your water breaks and the previously dry hay is becoming more uncomfortable by the minute. Labor begins and things get even messier. Giving birth is painful even with inventions like the epidural. There is no sanitary, modern hospital to make the experience easier. No doctors and nurses to make sure everything is proceeding correctly. All you have is your husband, your donkey, and a barn full of livestock belonging to strangers. You don’t even have family members or close friends who have been through this before to help you. Call me crazy, but I can’t imagine this being a very serene moment. Certainly it’s not perfect and holy. This was Mary’s experience with the birth of Jesus. Mary was in a strange town sleeping in the barn at an inn because there wasn’t a place anywhere else. I don’t believe this is what she had in mind for the time or place of the birth of her first child.   Christians recognize the birth of Jesus as one of the most important and holy moments in history (next to the resurrection). December 25 is the designated day as Christmas — but we actually end up devoting an entire season to celebrating Jesus’ birth. People tend to be kinder and think of others during this time. We give gifts and...