WHY SEND A KID?

WHY SEND A KID?

Nov 28, 2016

By Mike Parker I write stream of consciousness poetry. Some call it slam poetry. After I wrote this one about Christmas, it had a lot of heaven; not enough earth. So I added passages from my Viet Nam journals. I embedded their prose between the lines of rhyme trying to seize the essence of Christmas Day without getting in the way of God who made it! If you, the reader, can find the pauses within the writing it has a chance to be a successful effort.   HEAVEN: A HOLY CHORD? Why a day like Christmas? With three-hundred-sixty-four not like Christmas?! Why send Son? Let Holy Kid stay in bed in comfy heaven? Why confront percentages? Why impede way of things the way they are? Why confront what humans chase to find their bliss in certain twist toward dark abyss … What do you mean the Son’s been gone for several moments? Whose womb? Your Kid? ***** EARTH: Christmas/ Quang Tri,Viet Nam/1969. Christmas came and went in I Corp. Out the door, without spending minimum 24. I’m platoon poet making rhyme in place that doesn’t. ***** HEAVEN: AGITATED HOLY CHORD: Send an army? Go Old Testament! Create quandary! All they are is dirty laundry! Give ‘em December to remember. Consternation! Condemnation! What Holy combination! Why condescension bent toward apprehension? Why grace to place; better sold after the fall? Fear! What a tool! Slam them! Find compliance in absolute obedience! Their ears don’t hear. Eyes don’t see. They misuse all five senses? Highest creation has vacancy between the ears. In heart, as well … And soul??? Well, that’s yours! So, let’s start over with just that. The soul, alone without its tent! Disengagement’s best from nasty bits of bone and flesh. They’ll pass no test for worthiness! … What do you mean that’s the point? ***** EARTH: Quang Tri, Vietnam. Recon! Observe. Report. Don’t Engage! Except fear at night. Any thing moving becomes a battalion. Engage fear. Make it know its place. ***** HEAVEN: A THIRD HOLY CHORD: Your creation lets looting renters occupy his head. They come and go leaving unmade bed, instead of ordered place! They don’t treat it as their own. They...

The Manger and The Cross

The Manger and The Cross

Nov 28, 2016

by Donna VanHorn I’m a visual person. Right now, I’m imagining a picture of the Bethlehem manger, overlaid with the shadow of a Roman cross. Only God knows whether the infant Jesus in those early months of His earthly life understood that it would end at the cross. Scriptures tell us He was committed to His Father’s plan from adolescence forward. And He lived such a blameless life that His death sentence seems a cruel injustice – at least in terms of our human understanding. Throughout his adult life, He was focused on the cross at the end of His road, never wavering, knowing it would result in not only victory over sin but also our being with Him for eternity. Can we be as bold and determined to keep our eyes fixed on the cross until the moment of our physical death? There are many potential distractions in this life. Keeping the Crucifixion – and His resurrection – in clear view, while we continue to celebrate the manger, gives us daily strength to overcome them and keep reaching for the cross. 1st Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Have you enjoyed reading Donna VanHorn’s devotionals in the last few Sabbath Recorders? Her new book of devotional vignettes, Tune God In: Your Heart’s His Receiver, is now in print. Purchasers can make their checks payable to Donna VanHorn and mail to her at 1245 SE University Avenue #309, Waukee, IA 50263. Price per book is $17.78 (slight discount from publisher’s list price, and including shipping and handling). Purchasers need to be sure they include their shipping address. National retailers will begin offering the book early in...

The Cry of the Innocents: Then & Now

by Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History “…Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men…” — Matthew 2:16 (ESV) This time each year, many Christians commemorate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We rightly remind ourselves of the miraculous circumstances of His birth. We surround ourselves with symbols and music which remind us of the great faithfulness of God. We celebrate the fulfillment of thousands of years of prophecy. It is a joyous time for many of us — a time filled with wonder and gratitude at the lengths God has taken to make us his children and secure our eternal futures. But one of the prophecies which Matthew says is fulfilled frequently receives less attention in the grand scheme of our celebration narrative: the so-called “slaughter of the innocents,” from Matthew chapter two. Matthew reports that the wise men who came to visit Jesus after His birth visited the murderous Herod, innocently telling him who they were looking for. When they found Jesus, they were warned not to return to Herod but to go home a different way. Likewise, Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath. When Herod realized he had been tricked and the coming King may have slipped through his fingers, threatening his own power, Herod ordered all the male children in the area of Bethlehem and the surrounding region killed. After this grisly act was completed, Matthew reports that the cries that issued from that region fulfilled a prophetic word from the prophet Jeremiah (chapter 31:15) referencing the cries of Rachel (Jacob’s wife) for her children. It may be that we deemphasize this story because it puts a damper on our celebration. But it is important that we not forget the voices of those who grieve this season, and that we do not ignore the plight of innocent children who suffer from the wrath of misguided and...

Life on Mission: Awakening

Life on Mission: Awakening

Nov 28, 2016

by Patti Wethington SDB Church, White Cloud, MI   This journey “On Mission” is amazing — evolving and never ending. One of my desires for this year and throughout the conference experience is that there would be a renewing of relationship with God. Maybe I should call it an awakening — the kind of experience where you see something with fresh eyes that produces an eager spirit or quickening and an awareness of what God’s purpose is for each of us daily. As I described the phases of conference dynamics in my Conference presentation I used the words “encounter, equip and empower.” At Conference 2017, I pray there will be a time in which we are challenged to see God in all His splendor and connect in a vital experience. The other phases of our conference focus will involve learning and embracing concepts and tools to move out for Jesus. And finally, my prayer for each one taking this journey is to feel the freedom that comes with the Holy Spirit — to be fully charged with confidence to extend our reach because it’s the right thing to do… it’s what God commands. In Psalms 96:3 “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” Once again, as our small Women’s Circle has done for the past 18+ years, we met to have a retreat. Everyone comes to my home (previously we gathered at my father’s home). God blessed me with a wonderful place to retreat to daily and I love sharing it with others. Our theme this year centered around “Life on Mission” and we singled out the concept of “encounter”: to focus on a few concepts that enrich our relationship with God. I was drawn to the thought of revisiting the fundamental pathway to salvation. We shared and discussed the scriptures that point our hearts and minds to Jesus by understanding that we are all sinners, that God has a wonderful plan for our lives, and He provided a way to bridge the gap between man and God: “in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” It’s knowing and accepting Jesus personally. Once again we paused to...

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..” isn’t it?

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..” isn’t it?

Nov 28, 2016

by Katrina Goodrich Another year has passed and it’s time for the Christmas season once again. Every year it seems like the advertising for Christmas begins earlier and earlier — many stores had out full displays of lights and trees in the beginning of October. Honestly, by the time Christmas rolls around, some years I’m Christmas-ed out. This year I’ve been dreading the Holiday season. I was already exhausted by Christmas in the beginning of August when all of retail began preparing for the onslaught of the Holidays. Every time I had to talk about Christmas with anyone it was accompanied by a grimace and a little shudder. I am not one of those people who dislike Christmas in any way. I typically love this time of year — I don’t even mind the bad weather and I am generally okay with people playing Christmas music at any time of the year — sometimes you just need that little burst of cheer. But right now, the idea of Christmas is exhausting. There are many different reasons for this, some more valid than others. While I’ve not exactly turned into the grinch — sparkling, shiny Christmas isn’t really appealing. Yes, I know what the reason for the season is. That is probably why I’m not in full grinch mode making diabolical plans to snatch the Christmas cheer of all the Whovillians. I do, in fact, plan on getting into Christmas at some point during the season because it is Christmas. The promise and hope of the season is infectious. Over the past few years I’ve not had much of an opportunity to celebrate Christmas or the reason for it. I’ve been bogged down too much in the commercialism of sparkly, white, perfect Christmas — maybe that’s the problem. As a culture, we are sold on trying for the “perfect” holidays. The reality is that the perfect anything on this earth is a myth we’re too busy chasing so we don’t have to notice the imperfection around us. Reality is that not even the very first Christmas was perfect — at least not in the way we imagine. I mean, have you ever heard cattle lowing...