Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School Lesson

Crucified and Risen

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Nature Testifies of God

Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity

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Christ says, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, . . . and have the keys of hell and of death."     Revelation 1:18.

Looking upon His disciples with divine love and with the tenderest sympathy, Christ said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him." Judas had left the upper chamber, and Christ was alone with the eleven.

Justification by Faith

Vatican Official Exhorts the Sunday

Sunday should be a day for worship, rest and time with family and friends, said Monsignor Miquel Delgado Galindo, under secretary for the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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Signs of the Times

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Jesus said "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars....For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."

 

 

Christian History

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In the great final conflict, Satan will employ the same policy, manifest the same spirit, and work for the same end as in all preceding ages. That which has been, will be. Satan's deceptions will be more subtle. If possible, even the very elect would be deceived.

A Faithful Record

Nature God's Second Book

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Nature is an open book which reveals God. All who are attracted to nature may behold in it the God that created them.

Book of Nature

 

Church and UN Need to be More Concerned About Religious Liberty

 
Adventist leader calls for greater focus on those jailed for their faith

photo courtesy of Ganuone Diop

The plight of those imprisoned for their faith should be higher on the agenda of international watchdog agencies and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, says world church United Nations liaison, Ganoune Diop, PhD.

Diop made his comments on return from Geneva, Switzerland, where he represented the church at the United Nations Human Rights Council, which began a three-week session June 15 at the Palais des Nations. While there, Diop attended key meetings and discussion panels, and met with Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

Diop, who regularly attends United Nations’ meetings in Geneva and New York, says that, in general, the issue of religious freedom tends to be treated as a less-important “younger sibling” in the pantheon of human rights.

“Yet, religious freedom is foundational and it’s interconnected with all other human rights,” says Diop. “A state that respects an individual’s right to hold, practice, or change their religious beliefs, is a state that most likely protects human dignity in other ways, as well. Human rights can’t be artificially separated out; they’re intertwined.”

Prisoners of conscience were the focus of one meeting Diop attended in Geneva. Apart from occasional high-profile cases, says Diop, the tragedy of men and women who are imprisoned for religious reasons is one that receives relatively little publicity.

“This needs to change,” Diop adds. “In many countries today—in the Middle East or central Asia, for instance—religious minorities face legal sanctions simply for practicing their faith, or sharing it with others. We must never forget our brothers and sisters who pay a terrible price for staying true to their conscience.”

Diop says the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the Adventist world church is looking for ways to establish a better tracking system for church members who suffer unjust imprisonment, and to coordinate an appropriate response. He points to the recent two-year ordeal of Antonio Monteiro, an Adventist pastor in Togo, as just one example of how religious biases can complicate legal proceedings. Monteiro was jailed under a spurious “conspiracy to murder” charge, but was ultimately acquitted.

The UN Human Rights Council continues its work until July 3. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the session with an overview of current pressing issues. He named the plight of migrants attempting to escape poverty, war, or repression for a better life in Europe, South-East Asia, and Australia. He also spoke about the crisis in Syria, the rise of violent extremism around the globe, and the challenge of protecting and promoting the rights of women. According to High Commissioner, the basic message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that, “States owe their people justice, equality and dignity, under the rule of law.”

 

Health Expo in North Colombia

Adventists promote health and spread hope in North Colombia

 
Adventists promote health and spread hope in North Colombia

Seventh-day Adventists on the streets of Cúcuta      Photo: Shirley Rueda/IAD

Governor of North Santander state commends Church for its health impact

June 08, 2015 | Cúcuta, Colombia | Shirley Rueda/IAD

Governor of Colombia’s North Santander state Edgar Jesús Díaz, commended the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its health impact across the city of Cúcuta during a two-day impact earlier last month. During the event, more than 20,000 books on health and hope were distributed, a health expo on the eight natural remedies was held, dozens of disabled individuals raced on their wheelchairs and dozens of fruits and grain sacs were distributed on May 9-10, 2015.

“I want to thank you immensely,” said Governor Díaz. “What we seek is to take a solution to the most needy communities and today we have seen the hand of the Adventist Church taking hope and better health to the citizens of North Santander through exercise habits and healthy foods,” he added.

Governor Díaz said it was the second time the government joined the church’s initiatives to benefit communities across the state. “There are many people in jail who need psycho-social support, and health and physical activities, and we have been able to, with the Adventist church, aid the most needy in communities like single mothers and children.

The governor also invited other churches to join in these types of activities.

“We are calling all the churches, from whichever religious background, to support and be witnesses of the results of these actions expressed in the visible joy and gratitude of those benefitted,” said Governor Díaz.

Church members led creative activities like mime performances, a health train activity led by children, a drama performance of members carrying a coffin representing the short life of someone who does not take care of his/her health, held up positive health messages at traffic lights and more.

More than 200 people engaged in the health expo which featured eight main stations on the eight natural remedies “I Want to Be Healthy” initiative led by the church throughout the Inter-American Division territory.

The church joined the efforts with Jesus Romero, who is a Colombian Paralympic champion and former national gymnastic champion in the 1990s and early 2000s. Romero became wheelchair-bound after suffering an accident in 2002 and led dozens of people to race in their wheelchairs at Cucuta’s Patinodromo track.

Winners of the race received a medal, a cash bonus and a bag of goodies from the Adventist Church.
The health and hope impact in Cúcuta was an evangelistic one which falls under the world church’s evangelism during this year, said Pastor Joel Jaimes, president of the church in Northeast Conference, and organizer of the event.

“I am so glad because the church is understanding that we need to get out of our four walls and head to the streets to share the message of hope we have,” said Jaimes.

Church members went early to church and left their pews at 10 in the morning to distribute some 20,000 books featured this year across the Adventist world church called “Health and Wellness: Secrets that will change your life,” edited by Mark Finley and Peter Landless.

“Our fellow citizens are so happy because they have a program that helps them and fills their moral, physical and spiritual needs,” added Jaimes.

Manuel Hernan Cuevas, one who benefited from the health expo activities, said that more health activities need to take place in his city of Cucuta “so that we can be conscious of what health really means in our lives.”

Alexander Mendoza and Beatriz Silva also enjoyed a massage during the activity and said they would love to see more organized initiatives in the city. “Having more alternatives for a healthy lifestyle is exceptional, said Silva.

Church leaders said the activity was not only for the public but a valuable experience to church members as well.

“My heart is filled by helping people and teaching them about health,” said Sandra Ropero who joined the church a year ago and participated in the health impact activity for the first time.

Iris Maya, a church member, was also excited to take part in the activity. “The Lord really used us as instruments so that others could learn of the eight natural remedies and make the right changes and choices for a healthy lifestyle,” said Maya.

The activity in the city of Cúcuta, which borders Venezuela, becomes the fourth city-wide health impact to be organized by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Colombia during the past three years. The church has done impact in the cities of Bucaramanga and most recently in Medellin this year where thousands took to the streets to offer hope and a healthier lifestyle through a number of activities.

 

Selection of GC Delegates

 

GC Session 101: Discovering the Delegates

2010 General Conference Session Opening Meeting in the Georgia Dome [photo: Josef Kissinger]

Understanding how representatives are selected for the denomination's largest business meeting

The world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is abuzz with preparations for the upcoming General Conference Session. The 60th meeting of its kind in the 152-year history of the denomination will take place in San Antonio, Texas and will see as many as 60,000 people from more than 170 countries gather in the Alamodome

Although sometimes thought of as a kind of global camp-meeting for those who come to hear music and preaching from around the world while connecting with old friends and meeting new ones, the heart of this event is a business meeting in which world church leadership is elected, critical issues are discussed and decisions are made governing how the church will move forward in fulfilling its mission. 

The Business of Session

The very first official World Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was a one-day meeting held on May 20, 1863 in Battle Creek, Michigan with 20 delegates present. At the time the organizational structure of the Church was small and membership was only a few thousand, mostly from the United States of America. However, as the Seventh-day Adventist Church has developed in countries around the world, its membership has grown. 

The delegates, who are sent as official representatives of the church as it is constituted in their locale, conduct the business of General Conference Session. But just who are these delegates? How are they chosen? What are their responsibilities at a General Conference Session as they function in their role? 

The rules governing the selection of delegates are spelled out in the Constitution and Bylaws of the General Conference that define the purposes and operations of the global church and those that govern a General Conference Session.

In an attempt to divest the definition of a delegate and the description of their duties from the technical language found in what could be a rather complex narrative, this article will attempt to describe in broad strokes and approachable language what forms this functional body. 

In broad terms the structure of the Church can be understood by knowing that members belong to congregations. Congregations within a specific geographic territory are organized into a local conference/mission or in some cases, a union of churches. Defined groups of local conferences or local missions comprise a union conference or union mission. Unions are the building blocks of the General Conference. 

Terminologies like ‘mission’ when attached to conferences and unions usually indicate that they are in a stage of development that has not reached full financial viability and self-sustenance.

Unions and divisions of the General Conference select delegates in harmony with regular delegate quotas and selection processes outlined in the Bylaws.  Members of the General Conference Executive Committee are also delegates at a General Conference Session.

The total number of delegates from each division must include at least 50% of the group being lay members, pastors or other front line workers. A majority of that 50% must be laypersons.

There are two kinds of delegates: regular delegates and delegates-at-large. Regular delegates represent the General Conference member units as outlined in the bylaws. 

Delegates-at-large represent the General Conference and its institutions as well as divisions and their institutions.

The entire delegation for a General Conference Session is comprised of:

  1. Delegate quotas based on units of organizational structure
  2. Delegate quotas based on division membership as a percentage of total world membership, and
  3. Delegates representing the General Conference, its institutions plus divisions and their institutions. 

Who are these delegates?

Here are some interesting facts about the delegates at this GC Session:

Regular Delegates                 1559

Delegates-at-large               1007

Total delegates                       2566 

Age data                                

  • Under 30                   6%
  • 30-39                         10%
  • 40-49                         26%
  • 50-59                         35%
  • 60-69                         19%
  • Over 70                      3% 

Gender Data

  • Female                        17%
  • Male                            83%

How Delegates are selected

A question that is certain to be asked when reading statistics on gender representation is why is the percentage of female delegates so small when it is perceived that women are in the majority as pertains to Church membership?  The answer is simple. While efforts are continually made to ensure that the entire delegation shall be comprised of both genders, currently the positions from which these delegates are named and that generate the majority of delegates for the Session are held by males.  This will change over time as more women are elected to leadership positions and Conference or Union executive committee membership.

It is important to note that regular delegates to the General Conference Session are not selected by the General Conference itself, but are selected by Unions and Divisions around the world field.  The individuals selected are the representatives of their various organizations to the General Conference Session.

The executive committees of the unit that they represent select regular delegates. If the delegate represents a mission, the committee of the larger unit to which it is attached selects the delegate. They are a mix of lay people, pastors and teachers and church administrators. 

Their job is to report to the Session and be present during the business meetings to debate, discuss and vote on items that appear on the agenda. They must be members in regular standing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and they are often chosen because of their demonstrated interest and involvement in the church. 

In recent years the church has made special efforts to include young adults, women and frontline workers in the delegate mix.

Each delegate has voice - meaning that they can come to the microphone and speak to the business that is under discussion. They also have vote - meaning they are able to vote on the item that is under discussion.

One-third of the total number of delegates must be present for the Session to be able to declare a quorum and to conduct business. 

Shortly after the Session has officially begun, delegates will meet in groups or a “caucus,” one group for each division and attached union and one group for the General Conference and those delegates-at-large that it specifically names according to Bylaws and Executive Committee provisions. The purpose of these groups is to choose members from each group who will serve on the Nominating Committee. The number of Nominating Committee members from each group is specifically defined in the Bylaws.

Delegates, both regular and at-large, approve the agenda of the Session and they elect church leadership after receiving reports from the Nominating Committee.

In upcoming installments of the GC Session 101 Series we will discuss the policies that outline the formation of the nominating committee as well as their responsibilities. Future articles will also look inside the experience of being nominated by talking to a former nominee.

There are 2566 people as delegates designated to conduct the business of determining the leadership for the General Conference and its divisions, the fundamental beliefs of the Church, amendments to the Church Manual, and other matters that may be referred to the Session by the General Conference Executive Committee.  However, their most important business, and that of the church in general, will be focus on the plans and presentations sharing about the mission of the church in lifting up Christ, His righteousness, His three angels’ messages, His evangelistic mission to the world and His soon second coming.  The spiritual focus of the General Conference Session is the most important aspect of its work – unifying God’s people to accomplish the final mission entrusted into their hands.  

General Conference leadership has invited members around the world to participate in the 100 Days of Prayer campaign leading up to GC Session.  We are to pray for the falling of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit on the 2015 General Conference Session.  This is the greatest work of the Session – to humble ourselves before God and receive His unifying power to accomplish God’s mission for His church.

Please pray for the delegates as they gather to conduct this most important work. It is our hope that church business conducted faithfully, hearts that are open to the Holy Spirit earnestly, prayers that are ascending on behalf of God’s people ceaselessly, minds that search God’s word diligently and hands that act in God’s love endlessly will allow us to soon see His face. 

The 2015 General Conference Session theme says, “Arise!  Shine!  Jesus Is Coming!”  May this be the theme of Seventh-day Adventists meeting in San Antonio and around the world.

 

 

Warren Judd Dies

 

Warren Judd, visionary Adventist media leader, dies

[photo courtesy of North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists]

The former CEO of the Adventist Media Center succumbs to cancer.

Warren Judd, former CEO of the Adventist Media Center in California, died after a struggle with cancer on May 26.

Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division, offered condolences on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“Warren was an accomplished media authority and talented musician. But most importantly, he was a devoted husband, father and a committed Christian,” Jackson said. “Warren helped significantly advance the use of audiovisual technology in the Adventist Church. He will be missed.”

Warren’s daughter-in-law, Andrea, expressed her gratitude to all those who have shown love and support for their family. She praised God for allowing her father to pass away peacefully, even though it was on her mother’s 70th birthday.

“Mum has been a rock through all of this. Certainly not without tears and great heartache, but with a greater faith!” Andrea said. “On top of it all, today is her 70th birthday. And she said, ‘I know many might feel differently and not understand, but I’m actually glad he died on my birthday. It makes it a very special and sacred day.’”

In addition to running the denominationally owned media center, Judd was responsible for the audiovisual operations of the last five General Conference Sessions, including San Antonio 2015, for which planning has been several years in the making, the North American Division said in a statement.

Judd was a native of Australia.

John Bradshaw, speaker and director of It Is Written, which was located for many years at the Adventist Media Center, praised Judd as a creative thinker who “was always kind in his dealings with others—even if they were not kind in their dealings with him.”

“We’re reminded yet again that life is precious, that life is fragile, that nothing in this world is guaranteed, that every day is a gift and that family and friends and faith in God are the truly important things in this world,” Bradshaw said on his blog.

 

'We Thanked God for His Mercy'

The North American Division shared the following post written by Warren Judd’s daughter-in-law, Andrea:

Dad went so peacefully at about 9:45 a.m. this morning, at home, family by his side. He must have been waiting for a clean shave, which precious Yonni was in the midst of doing when she noticed a sudden color change and a change in breathing.

Mum and Marc were each holding a hand of his as he breathed his last breath. We cried and we thanked God for His mercy in allowing Dad to breathe his last so peacefully. We praised God that Dad's breath is with Him. Only Dad's earthly body has died, and with that, the cancer is defeated and forever destroyed! Praise God!!

Mum has been a rock through all of this. Certainly not without tears and great heartache, but with a greater faith! On top of it all, today is her 70th birthday. And she said, ‘I know many might feel differently and not understand, but I'm actually glad he died on my birthday. It makes it a very special and sacred day.’ God is good.

Marc read God's Word to us all — the beautiful promises we cling to. I'll simply close by sharing just a few of those. Our love and thanks to all of you for such wonderful love and support!! We truly do not even have the words to express what it has meant and continues to mean to us.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will awarded to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more then conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

Amen!

 

Food For Life

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.       2 Corinthians 3:18

Tell of His Grace

Testimonies of the power of grace to change lives......

 

I was born into a non Adventist home, well that is an understatement really. My father was and still is a heavily practicing Satanist and as such, myself being a female, made me a target for ridicule and I was most certainly placed way below my brothers in the family......Tamara's Testimony

Country Living

Mar10 Demo Image Too late to move?

Moving to the country is becoming very hard in some locations. Selling a home and financing a new one is difficult. Some government agencies want to move everyone into the cities. God's people need to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of those who are opposed to the truth. Pray that God will open a way.

Religious Liberty

European Sunday Law?

The world will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. . . . The powers that be are ordained of God." But what has been the course of God's servants in ages past? When the disciples preached Christ and Him crucified, after His resurrection, the authorities commanded them not to speak any more nor to teach in the name of Jesus. "But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Today, our liberty is being threatened.

European Sunday Law

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