A Foster Home?

A Foster Home?

Nov 22, 2017

  by Katrina Goodrich Once upon a time, not too long ago, I became the member of a foster home for an adorable puppy. Fostering a puppy was not on any list I had or something I had been wanting. It was very much an unexpected event. Not necessarily an unwelcome one — even at 3 am when the poor little guy, who hadn’t slept a wink to this point, was barking and in distress for a reason I couldn’t fathom in my sleep-deprived state. My experience is not on par with those who choose to foster human children. However it has been interesting and has me thinking about foster homes, families, and kids. Technically speaking, Mary and Joseph were a foster family for Jesus. I realize the situation was a little bit different from every other fostering situation because Mary actually gave birth to Jesus. But if you take a moment to think about it, Jesus wasn’t biologically hers. Jesus was given to Mary and Joseph by God through the Holy Spirit, for a short period of time — to care for and nurture him until the time came that he could care for himself and begin his kingdom work. I’ve heard this idea of Jesus being a foster child before, but it had not really struck me what that meant until now. I believe that Mary and Joseph loved and cared for Jesus as though he were their natural-born son. I think Jesus knew that he did not ultimately belong to them. He must’ve had an idea of it by age 12 when he referred to the Temple as “his father’s house.” (Luke 2) Even if Jesus hadn’t been aware of who his father actually was up to this point, that still leaves 12 years, when as a child, he probably had heard about his less than ideal appearance on the earthly scene. I doubt that the people around Mary and Joseph understood much about immaculate conception — in that culture, conception out of wedlock was very looked down upon. Was Jesus ever alienated by his peers for his birth circumstance? There is no real way to know, but perhaps it makes...

A Walk with Jesus in Cana

A Walk with Jesus in Cana

Nov 22, 2017

by Clinton R. Brown Executive Director   I have heard and experienced that it is challenging to hold unforgiveness, hatred, or generally bad feelings towards someone if you are praying for him. I had an experience in Lebanon that I believe gave me some insight into caring for others like Jesus does. In October 2017, I was traveling with Gabriel Bejjani, pastor of the Riverside SDB Church in California, along with his kind wife, Hayatt. We visited with Seventh Day Baptists in Poland, then made our way to encourage and assess the Kingdom work going on in Lebanon. We stayed and visited with relatives of Hayatt and Gabe. We saw some of the northern region, and met with SDBs and other Christians in Beirut. At one point we went to see a ministry partner in the far south, near the border of Israel. From that former Muslim’s home, we could see Israel and the city of Qana, Lebanon, on our side of the current political boundary. Tradition of many Lebanese Christians holds that this is the original location of the first miracles of Jesus performed in the John 2:1-11 account of the Cana wedding. Here He participated in a celebration feast and on the third day turned water into high quality wine. Our friend led us to the site tourists are shown which includes a gift shop, a small cave, and some carvings in the stone of the hillside that are reminiscent of crusader era iconic artwork. Quietly, he also took us to a site on the other side of the village at the back of an orchard where there were some broken ancient stone water pots, the possible remains of a well, and what appeared to be the outlines of some ruined walls and ancient collapsed masonry. This was all very interesting and this secret site seemed to have more credence than the location designated for Christian pilgrimages. However, this was not the most memorable part of the Qana visit for me. As we went through the main narrow winding road of the modern village of Qana, my imagination went with vivid clarity to Cana of two thousand years ago. I could “see”...

A Week in the Life of the Church Bus

A Week in the Life of the Church Bus

Nov 22, 2017

by Steven Moncrief SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ It was the week of October 9th and I knew that something was up. I had been sitting in my normal spot where I wait for long periods of time for someone to take me for a drive. Over the past several years I have been a part of the Shiloh SDB Church family. I have been used for several youth outings; have been to one Conference; made several trips to Lancaster, PA; and even taken youth to Snow Camp in New York. That was a cold trip! But this summer has been even more active for me. I have taken groups of adults to Lancaster on day trips and to Allentown, PA, for a ride on a mule-drawn barge. I even took the youth to Johnson City, TN, on a missions trip this summer. I am proud to be a part of this church. They take good care of me and I try my best to take good care of them. Back to the week of the 9th. Someone started cleaning me up inside and out — cleaning my windows, washing and waxing me, and checking me all over. I knew something was up. Sure enough the following Monday, October 16, I came to life again at 7:00 in the morning. Away we went to the church and there to meet me was a group of 15 adults. This time when they came aboard they brought lots of luggage. Wow! I thought we must be in for quite a trip. And yes, I was in for a busy week. We left Shiloh and traveled to Pigeon Forge, TN, arriving on Tuesday. There we visited the Bush Baked Bean Factory Museum and Restaurant. That evening we went to the Dixie Stampede Dinner Show. On Wednesday we went to Dollywood. In the park were several gospel groups singing throughout the day and we saw many different crafters. Thursday, we went to the Old Mill for breakfast: this is a beautiful old building with great food. Then we traveled over the mountains to Granite Falls, NC, to see Florence Dickinson. She is a 90-year-old member of the Shiloh...

Are You and Your Church In? – Part One

by Rob Appel Executive Director   For over 300 years in North America, Seventh Day Baptists have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to use their gifts and resources to share His gospel. Today, we continue to advance His mission in a unique way. There are benefits of having a Conference of churches! We can reach further and do more when we have a larger pot of spiritual gifts, experiences, perspectives, and resources for Kingdom work and when we are part of a family larger than just our local congregation. Through this there are shared aspects of SDB life that all of our churches experience. Pooling our experience yields a broader array of choices and options when we’re looking to do something new or do something better. Our churches can connect, identify, and participate with the international community in the global mission through our shared channels of communication. There is a strong identity component — we are “part of something bigger” when we work together. Our Churches can learn more if we have the “iron” of the larger body to speak into our lives and sharpen our beliefs through contact with believers that hold the same fundamental tenants, but may have approached others from a different background or perspective. There’s a family/relational component in our churches —our churches, at least at their best, work and relate as a family. Those relationships can be deep and lasting, above and beyond “the work” we cooperate to do together. Several years ago we had a monthly mailer that went out called the “Leadline.” The name was changed to “Vision 2020” in 2005 and was dropped about ten years ago. In the Leadline/Vision 2020 there was a listing of the SDB churches and their contributions, year-to-date, to the work of the entire Conference of Churches. This was very enlightening to see where the support came from for the work of the whole. I state this history to inform you that as of this date we have 32 member churches that have not supported the work of the Conference in 2017. This does not mean that the Conference does not provide services to these churches who have not contributed. But...

Health News: Anxiety

Barb Green, Parish Nurse Milton, WI   Anxiety, a natural response to stress and danger, becomes pathological when excessive and uncontrollable. Anxiety disorders share common features of excessive fear and irrational anxiety that lead to changes in behavior and certain physical disturbances including panic attacks. The long-term effects of undiagnosed and under-treated anxiety result in psychosocial and occupational dysfunctions, drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, and increased risk of suicide. They are one of the major contributors to disability, costing over $42 billion annually. The body’s stress response is designed to be acute and limited to a short period of time. When stress becomes chronic, it disturbs physical and mental health. Stress elevates blood pressure and heart rate, increases blood sugar levels, and diminishes inflammatory and immune responses. Other symptoms include pounding heartbeat, sweating palms, dizziness, headaches, stomach upsets, tunnel vision, and shaking. Psychologically, people report feeling a state of apprehension or uneasiness along with complaints of depression and crying spells. People with unhealthy lifestyles, poor coping skills, and environmental stressors including emotional, physical or sexual abuse, are more prone to anxiety disorders. Anxiety may be a learned behavior or have a genetic risk factor. In the past 30-50 years, we have experienced a great deal of environmental and social disorder. It is difficult to adjust to the increased pace of modern society and rapid technological change. Faced with a barrage of differing worldviews and moral standards, Biblical standards such as the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule seem outdated. Researchers have found that religion and faith play a significant role in health and response to illness. It is likely changing societal factors and lack of spirituality play a role in anxiety today. There is no single treatment that can relieve anxiety. Approach to treatment should always start with supportive listening and education about anxiety and fear. Patients need to know that anxiety is treatable, manageable, and in some cases, curable. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been shown to be as effective as medication and is a commonly used therapy in treating anxiety. It involves multiple sessions with mental health professionals trained in CBT techniques. Faith-based CBT replaces negative ideas through the use of Biblical...

Home Field Mission Opportunity in Florida

Home Field Mission Opportunity in Florida

Nov 22, 2017

by John Camenga Edgewater/Oak Hill SDB In 1999, members of the Daytona Beach Seventh Day Baptist Church started a weekly Bible study in the home of Norman and Linda McCall some thirty miles from the historic meeting place in Daytona. In 2008, this Bible study blossomed into a church that has now been recognized as a full member of the General Conference. This small congregation sees an expanding ministry. It is preparing a location for that ministry in a highly visible location on US Highway 1 in the center of the small town of Oak Hill. They are constructing the “meeting house” as funds allow, avoiding debt that might hamper their future ministry. Led by Pastor Keith McCall, the worship is informal, the fellowship rich, and the future limited only by our ability to hear and respond to God’s calling. This congregation has a weekly attendance of 20 to 30. Most of the members come to Seventh Day Baptists from other church backgrounds. The members demonstrate the enthusiasm of people with “something new and important to share.” This church expects growth to come primarily from the community – new believers and believers just now discovering the blessings of Sabbath observance. However, this infant congregation would welcome a transfusion of Seventh Day Baptists from other areas. • We need people who can come and participate. • We need people with experience as Sabbath School teachers, church officers, musicians, and prayer warriors. • We need those with “portable” skills to come for employment. • We need vibrant retirees to enjoy “snow bird” or year-round residence. We offer a location away from the problems of urban overdevelopment, yet near enough to visit theme parks, and the natural wonders Florida offers. We offer a place to remain comfortable in a Seventh Day Baptist congregation while enjoying the warm, relaxed and low-tax benefits that Florida offers. New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater are just north of our building location. Titusville and Kennedy Space Center are just to the south. You can contact us through:...