Jun 29, 2015


Alliance in Ministry

Executive Director

Rob Appel

I have tried to go on at least two Spiritual Retreats per year. These times of reflection and connecting have been very beneficial to me. I do it in a hope of serving God and Seventh Day Baptists with a renewed purpose. On May 17-19, 2015 I finished my first retreat of this calendar year.

Back in the April and May SR I wrote about “making the effort in unity” and to also “encourage in a positive way.” It was mentioned about us being a “family.” We are a diverse family — who have a common belief with diverse relevance across ethnicity, languages, and cultures. The purpose of these two articles was to encourage us all on “how we all can work together in maintaining our UNITY.”

These articles are brought up because there have been some discouragingcomments lately. Comments aimed at not trusting our leadership, or taking a “wait-and-see” attitude how things will turn out. Others stated that they fear that we are becoming too authoritative and that the decisions are being made by a few. I can tell you that this is not the case.

The General Council was put into a position that caused them to make some very quick, serious, and tough decisions. Those decisions came very fast, compared to traditional SDB decisions. That has caused some to feel that we are moving at “break- neck” speed. But I assure you, things will slow down to a more respectable pace going forward.

Chair on Dock at Alice Lake in Late Afternoon

These concerns and comments were on my mind going into my spiritual retreat. So unlike previous retreats (and no two are ever the same) I organized my retreat to answer some questions. I started by reading Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” So, I thought about the good things listed there, described what they meant to me, and then gave examples of each from my life.

True – Steadfast, honest………………………loyal, real deal

Noble – fine personal qualities or

high moral principles……………………….trustworthy

Right – what is good, proper, or just…….fair and honest

Pure – free from what weakens

or pollutes……………………………………….I work hard at this

Lovely – of a great moral

or spiritual beauty……………………………helpful, dependable

Admirable – excellent, first-rate…………..compassionate

Excellent – possessing

outstanding qualities……………………….aware of others

Praiseworthy – deserving of praise,

Commendable………………………………….thinking of others first

Then I read Ephesians 4:11-13: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

I then asked the Holy Spirit to show me how I can best serve in the body of Christ, and how I feel about my world and myself.

I can best serve the body of Christ by leading other leaders and doing so by example. By this I mean that there is nothing that I should ever ask anyone else to do, if I am not willing to do it myself. One of these joys is being able to lead our three younger Directors in their ministry efforts.

I can show God’s love and compassion by continuing practical acts of kindness. One of the attributes I received from my mother was always thinking of others first. My wife says that is one of the things that she loves about me. I look for ways that I can serve, and it crosses all social, economic, and racial barriers. Everyone deserves compassion.

With this in mind, I want to grow more as a Christian by my understanding of God’s mysteries; I want to be bolder in my Christian walk. I need to be bolder and speak up about God’s laws — but it must always be done in love.

As a real conundrum to what was stated above, I have struggled for years by being too judgmental. Although it has improved vastly, I still can be too harsh and quick in my judgment. The Holy Spirit has made it clear to me to always be aware of this

and in what situations I am most vulnerable for this to happen.

What I am feeling mostly about myself and my world is that I am content. The Brazil trip in April was outstanding! I wish I was with my wife and family more often, and things are not ideal. I am enjoying watching my granddaughter grow up. I feel that I am not with her enough. But I am content.

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