President's Page

President’s Page

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018

by Rev. David Stall, Conference President       A Visit to Boulder, Colorado Jennifer and I always enjoy a chance to visit the SDB Church where we were married in May of 2000. Hard to believe it was so long ago! We were warmly welcomed by a small gathering of committed Christians there on the Sabbath just before Christmas. I was excited to hear their discussions about how to be an effective church, and whether that means relocating to a nearby community. In their church history, we see how that church has adapted and moved in the past to stay in step with God. Let’s all pray for them as they consider the next steps and take action! —Pastor David Stall When 2018 Conference President David Stall presented his conference session theme, “Less Talk, More Action” to the North Loup, NE, SDB congregation, he may not have expected their immediate response. On the evening after the Sabbath, December 30, 2017, the congregation moved from their church pews, put on roller skates and threw a pizza and skating party. With the...

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Alliance In Ministry

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018

by Tim Challies I have asked Tim Challies about sharing his blog from February 2017. I have found it very profound and needed in today’s “touchy/feely” “say-whatever-you-want” society. His article is too long for one of our SR articles so I have done my best to condense it. For the full blog go to https://www.challies.com/articles/test-every-doctrine-test-every-teacher/ — Rob Appel T.D. Jakes says that God eternally exists in three manifestations, not three persons. Greg Boyd says God knows some aspects of the future, but that other future events are outside of His knowledge. Creflo Dollar says because we are created in the image of God, we are little gods. Mormonism says God revealed new scripture to Joseph Smith that supersedes the Bible. This world is a murky madness of true and false. For every doctrine we know to be true, there seems to be a hundred pretenders. No wonder, then, that John tells us to “test the spirits” and Paul says, “test everything” (1 John 4:1). It is our sacred responsibility to examine every doctrine to determine if it is true or false....

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Features

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018

10th in a series by Assistant Pastor Philip Lawton Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, NJ Check out Phil’s blog at contemplatingkenosis.blogspot.com       The last few months have been alarming. Hurricane Maria has left Puerto Rico without power to this day. California has had several fires and now a mudslide that left at least 17 dead. In New Jersey, we had a “bomb cyclone” that left the east cost covered in snow. North Korea gets ever closer to nuking the world. Just last month suicide bombers took out a church in Pakistan during a children’s Christmas program. Evil is part of the sinful world that we live in. There are times that the world seems so dark we cannot imagine how God can be in control. We wonder if there is anything that can save us from the evil in this world. Every day we hear of another case of sexual assault and abuse of power. Some of us have experienced very real evil in our own homes. When we pray for deliverance from evil we often think of...

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Departments

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018

by Tim Challies I have asked Tim Challies about sharing his blog from February 2017. I have found it very profound and needed in today’s “touchy/feely” “say-whatever-you-want” society. His article is too long for one of our SR articles so I have done my best to condense it. For the full blog go to https://www.challies.com/articles/test-every-doctrine-test-every-teacher/ — Rob Appel T.D. Jakes says that God eternally exists in three manifestations, not three persons. Greg Boyd says God knows some aspects of the future, but that other future events are outside of His knowledge. Creflo Dollar says because we are created in the image of God, we are little gods. Mormonism says God revealed new scripture to Joseph Smith that supersedes the Bible. This world is a murky madness of true and false. For every doctrine we know to be true, there seems to be a hundred pretenders. No wonder, then, that John tells us to “test the spirits” and Paul says, “test everything” (1 John 4:1). It is our sacred responsibility to examine every doctrine to determine if it is true or false....

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Recent Posts

Discipleship Requires Prayer: The Pulse of a Healthy Church, Part 5

by Rev. Carl Greene Hebron SDB Church, PA     A friend of mine once told me an intriguing story from his childhood. One night while his family was returning from a trip, they got caught in a terrible storm. The visibility became so poor amidst the darkness and torrential rain that his father started guiding their vehicle based on the movements of the car in front of them. Since they seemed to be going in the right direction, they simply followed the taillights in front of them. They closely followed the movements of the leading car—until ‘it’ happened. The car in front of them slowed down and came to a complete stop. This would be a complete stop in the middle of the road. The family wondered if there was some obstruction in the road or if the car ahead of them was having engine trouble. Then, the car ahead of them turned off the lights—as they sat in the middle of the road. And wondered what would happen next. There was a knock at the driver’s window, causing all sorts of alarm in the car. Why would someone come to their window in the pouring rain? What sinister motives might be at work here? My friend’s father cracked the window and asked what the trouble seemed to be. The stranger at the window said that he was going to ask the same thing. At this point, the father became rather irritated, concerned about being stuck in the middle of a road with terrible visibility. The father questioned this stranger quite directly—who in their right mind would stop in the middle of the road, let alone shut off their lights as well? Using churchy words, he expressed this concern “with much warmth,” so to speak. The stranger paused, crouched closer to the window, and said “Mister, you’re not in the middle of the road, you’re sitting in my driveway.” This story has been told to me a number of times, with varying details, but there is a common moral. It is important to choose the right leader and the right road. No matter your life journey, no matter how bad the storm, it...

A Month Filled With Love

By Sarina Villalpando     February is the month of love and appreciation for the people you have to cherish. I thought why not make this month special by filling every day with our love for God and his love for us (even though that should be an everyday occurrence). Take a verse every day in the morning and make your days focus on fully understanding the love inside it, because face it, the love that God has for us is the most love any of us will ever see. • “We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4:19 • “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her” – Genesis 29:20 • “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:14 • “There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.” – Proverbs 30:18-19 • “My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies.” – Song of Solomon 2:16 • “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a • “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 • “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.” – 1 John 3:18 • “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:5 • “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves...

A Different Way of Thinking About Love

A Different Way of Thinking About Love

Jan 23, 2018

by Rev. Dr. Kenneth Chroniger     “Hey, have you heard this is the month for candy and flowers?’ It’s also the month for those cards, from elementary school classrooms to the man and woman married for 70 years—they seem to all echo the same words, “Would you be my Valentine?” We are told from an American Express Survey that nearly 6 million proposals are made on Valentine’s Day. Love is truly in the air. For a few minutes would you consider with me, not a better, but a different way of thinking concerning love? According to the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke, “greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for a friend” (John15:13). Come with me to Arlington National Cemetery and view the row upon row of white grave markers in perfect alignment. Experience with me the grave site service with the military precision of the snap and folding of the United States of America flag that had draped the coffin, the sound of the exacting firing of the rifles in salute, and the finality of the trumpeter playing taps. Come with me on a short trip from northern Virginia to “The Wall” and see your image reflected among the names of those killed or MIA in Vietnam. Walk the 70 panels that make up the wall and “weep with those who weep.” Come with me to western New York and walk the Alfred Rural Cemetery, pausing by the headstone of one who served his country in the Armed Forces. “Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for a friend” —John 15:13   Let me introduce you to Jason Dunham, who grew up less than a half hour from the Alfred Station Seventh Day Baptist Church. Dunham joined the Marine Corps in 2000. After graduating from recruit training on 27 October 2000 from Gulf Company Platoon 2092, he served as a Security Force sentry at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia until 2003. In early 2004, he was serving as a squad leader with 4th Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force....

How’s Your “Love Life”?

by Pastor Steven James   The love the Bible calls for is a love of substance — a love that you walk into and never walk out of. Forty years of marriage. That’s what the Lord had so graciously allowed Debbie & me to celebrate this past December. How can a marriage work for that long when started by two teenagers from broken homes with lots of odds stacked against them? As I once heard John Maxwell say, “For a marriage to work, it takes work!” As two followers of Jesus who were “madly in love” with each other—we learned early in our marriage that love is more than emotions and attraction. Yes—God has wired us to experience and enjoy deep emotions of “love” as a couple. But love is more than emotion. It is motion. Yes, God has wired us to experience strong attractions of “love.” But love is more than attraction. It is action. In fact, action is what gives love traction. It’s because true love is built on motion and action that God can command us to love Him and love one another. (Matthew 22:36-40) “Surface-level” love, that which is nothing more than intense emotion and attraction, can indeed be something that you “fall into” and “fall out of.” It’s like the kindling used to make a fire: it only starts it—it isn’t made to sustain it. You can’t get much done with just kindling. A sustainable fire needs substantial pieces of wood. In the same way, the love the Bible calls for is a love of substance—a love that you walk into and never walk out of. God’s love is this way. He loved us and proved it by action: that of giving up His only Son for our good. (John 3:16) When we were the most unattractive, and not the least bit deserving, He gave His all for us out of love. (Romans 5:6-8) Our love for others is based on God’s love for us: giving up ourselves for the good of others. (1 John 3:16) True love is provable: love leaves evidence. God left a trail in Christ. We are to leave a trail as Christians. Jesus said...

It’s All About Loving God and Loving Others!

by Pastor Tim Smothers In July of 1984, Tina Turner released a hit song “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” By September of that year it had reached the coveted #1 spot on the charts and then went on to garner a Grammy Award the following year. In the eyes of the music world, it was wildly successful, yet the overall message of the song was nothing new. The world has always equated love with a feeling, a longing for something that can be present one moment and gone the next… It is a very sad commentary on our culture. God takes a much different view on love than what our culture does… Talk is cheap. Less talk, more action… John writes in 1 John 3:16-18: By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. What’s love have to do with it? Everything! The love of Christ goes way beyond feelings and goes much deeper than words. We were not saved by God’s feelings. We were rescued by the blood of Christ—God’s love in action! Christ did much more than just talk about what love looks like; He demonstrated that love on the cross. I am thankful for that active love that Christ has shown me, yet in my thankfulness I all too often stop there and rest on His sacrifice without considering what I am supposed to do with that. How do I “lay down my life for my brothers”? 1 John 3:17 puts it very simply—it is done by helping those in need. We certainly do not need to go very far to see great need, whether it is in our homes, our churches, or our communities. Scripture tells us to help, to show compassion and kindness to a brother or sister in need. What does that look like for you? I am thankful...

Christian Education Update

Strategic Evaluation for School of Ministry As we as a Conference continue to evaluate how we accomplish our work and how we can accomplish it more effectively, we have begun to consider our education and training ministries as a Conference. We have clearly understood that the local churches desire to have leaders trained in using their various giftings, but the training and educational responsibilities have been distributed among a variety of our different councils and agencies. To be very specific, the training of lay people has been the responsibility of our Christian Education ministries as a Conference, while the training of our pastors has been the responsibility, since the early 1960s, of the Council on Ministry. In the last three years, we have moved increasingly towards grouping our training initiatives, especially as expressed in the SDBU initiative. As our educational initiatives are increasingly part of a single program, it seems reasonable to ask if the oversight of this program should be undertaken by only one of our Councils. Accordingly, Director of Church Development and Pastoral Services, John Pethtel, and Director of Education and History, Nick Kersten, have approached both Councils to consider the possibility of moving all responsibility for training and education to the Christian Education Council. The groups are working together cooperatively to evaluate this possibility. More information on this will be forthcoming if all of the current leadership in both Councils agrees this is worth pursuing. Child Protection Resolution Update At this year’s General Conference meetings, a recommendation was adopted which required that all local member churches of the General Conference either (1) indemnify the General Conference against potential litigation and/or (2) pass their own child protection policy. This recommendation follows continued progress in the area of child protection over the past few years, under the guidance of the Christian Education Council and the General Council. It is likely that some combination of both parts of the recommendation will ultimately become part of the Conference standard going forward, though churches will have the time necessary to meet this standard. The motivation for this standard is ultimately an affirmation of the autonomy of local churches which comprise the Conference. Up to now, there has...

Be A Leader

Be A Leader

Dec 21, 2017

by Katrina Goodrich A few years ago the SCSC committee sold a t-shirt/onesie that said “future SCSCer.” It was cute and seemed to come in handy for a few parents toward the end of Conference week when their kids ran out of clean shirts. SCSC is a leadership training program for young adults — but leadership doesn’t magically begin when a person turns 18, nor should it. Anyone can be a leader, even those as young as four (as evidenced by the myriad videos documenting the successes of intergenerational learning centers). It’s never too early to start teaching children to be leaders and getting them involved in their communities. Here are a few ideas that can help kids of any age start to explore and become more involved in their community. Kids: 1. Try new things. Taste that new food. Talk to people who are different from you and learn something about them. Volunteer to try different activities. Look for ways to help the people around you. You do not have to like or enjoy all of the new things you try nor continue to do them unless you’ve made a commitment. Try new things even if they’re scary because if it doesn’t work out you’ll have gained a new experience and that is a very good thing. 2. Learn to listen. When you use your ears more than your mouth you will discover many things you might have otherwise missed. When you listen, people notice and they are a lot more likely to listen to you in return. Adults: 1. Encourage kids to get out of their comfort zone — that is where they’re going to learn. Introduce them to people of different backgrounds, colors, and ages. Teach them how to interact. Take them to the nursing home to actually visit with the people who live there and do activities with them. Encourage them to try something different; get involved with a group, club, or activity that they haven’t tried before. Don’t criticize if they don’t enjoy it. At this point in their lives kids need to learn to try something and evaluate if it’s something they’re interested in. 2. Give kids a...

Five Years of Grace

Five Years of Grace

Dec 21, 2017

By Louie Brown Worship Leader Grace Seventh Day Baptist Church Grace Seventh Day Baptist Church, in Bloomington, MN, has been our spiritual home for over five years. Our first Sabbath service we gathered in Greg and Carol Olson’s living room. We had no way to envision what God would do from this humble beginning. Pastor Dale Rood (Dodge Center SDB) greeted us, introduced us to the Olsons and three other people. He picked up his guitar and away we went! Worship in this small setting was a different experience for us. Immediately we sensed a good Spirit about the group. We had searched a long time for serious Bible-based believers who lived what the Bible teaches, including keeping the God-appointed Sabbath Day worship. Our second Sabbath, Pastor Rood could not attend so we brought our keyboard and a couple hymnals. The worship, prayer, praise and fellowship lunch were better than the first! We talked for hours about our experiences and how God brought us to this point in time. It was decided right then we felt led to start a church. It was agreed we all were serious to commit our time and resources to the opportunity God had provided. Again, God was way ahead of us. The gifting of the people in that room was perfect. Even though we had only six people, we had all the elements necessary for a church. Pastor Advisor Dale Rood and the Dodge Center SDB Church were willing to nurture us as a “branch” church. Greg Olson’s deep desire to learn and teach God’s Word along with Marlene and Louie Brown’s music background plus Carol Olson’s business experience filled all the needs. It was good to have our people involved in the services but that left us with a congregation of two or three people! We agreed, we would always have a Sabbath service even if only one could come. Our recent fifth anniversary was a milestone. Space does not permit me to tell you all the amazing ways we have been blessed. Our congregation averages 18 each week with a range of 14 to 25. Pastor Greg along with Elder Jeff and occasionally Pastor Dale provide...