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Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School Lesson
Heaven’s Best Gift (Zechariah)
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Oklahoma Tornado Upgraded to EF5
Disasters continue to increase. An estimated 60 square miles was ripped by the Oklahoma tornado. Death toll reduced to 24.
"No More Anniversaries"
Pastor Wilson at Spring Meeting calls for revival and reformation so that we shall have no more church anniversaries.
New Churches in Dominican Republic and Panama
Maranatha Volunteers to continue building schools and churches.
Dr. Ben Carson Speaks to the Church
Having gained the attention of the national media in a way that no other Seventh-day Adventist in our day has, Dr. Carson takes a moment to answer questions from Adventist News Network.
Scroll down to read the interview.
Seventh-day Adventist Hymns
Elder John Thurber shares how hymns written by Seventh-day Adventists reveal "present truth". The authors understood Scripture and brought to us important end time messages in song.
Pakistani Muslim Violence Against Christians
More violence in Pakistan against Christians.
Video of Violence
Atchin Island in Vanuatu Gets Safe Water System
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Vanuatu, designed and built a water system for the people of Atchin..
Jerusalem, ancient city of God
Review of Church News--March 22, 2013
New Leader Appointed for Andrews Seminary
Jiří Moskala was chosen to serve as dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.
North Pacific Union Pastors Resist Rebellion
A group of pastors from the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-say Adventists have issued a statement today responding to the NPUC decision to move forward no matter what the World Church does.
Nature Testifies of God
Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity
Pacific Union Extends Rebellion approving another seven women for ordination.
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."
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 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
The Seventh-day Adventist Church began its New York thirteen initiative, including an international vegetarian cooking class. Also, a report on the Seventh-day Adventist health study 2 that the NIH funded through Loma Linda University.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has offered assistance to hundreds of refugee families fleeing the ongoing conflict in Syria with a targeted focus on un-registered refugees, an agency official said.
Over the past year, ADRA has offered cash assistance to more than 100 families to help cover rent in neighboring Jordan, said Thierry Van Bignoot, ADRA’s director of emergency management.
The agency also partnered with the government of Germany to distribute winter clothing to some 3,500 families living in the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate in Jordan.
For two years, refugees have fled Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. More than 1.5 million people have fled, many to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Van Bignoot said ADRA estimates the number of refugees is higher because many have not registered.
“Some people are afraid to give their names for fear of retribution,” Van Bignoot said.
The agency last year partnered with ADRA Middle East North Africa and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization to offer 100 Jordanian dinars (approximately US$140) each month for three months to unregistered families for lodging. Many are staying with designated host families, while some have found basement rooms or small apartments.
The assistance helped people such as Amara, who told local ADRA officials that she came to Jordan with her five children while her ex-husband remained in Syria with his new wife. With the extra cash, she was able to pay rent for an unfurnished and unheated apartment. She said she was also able to buy some necessary medication for her heart problems.
Another recipient was a man named Musa, who came to Jordan with his wife and six children. Their finances have been depleted after they sold the last of their gold jewelry they brought from home.
ADRA has identified other needs in the region and is now implementing a project to provide gynecological and obstetrical care to Syrian refugee women in West Bekaa, Lebanon. In Beirut, the agency is planning a school that would provide half-day classes to refugee children, who are without education. Another project proposes a mobile clinic in the Jordan Valley, an area where few nongovernmental organizations are involved.
“The needs are huge,” Van Bignoot said.
He estimated that more than 70 percent of refugees are women and children. Many men have stayed behind in Syria, he said.
The U.S. Department of State this week released its annual report on international religious freedom, including an assessment of what governments around the world are doing to protect the rights of their citizens to freely worship.
The vast majority of Americans could tell you that religious freedom is a basic right here in the U.S., but they would likely be hard-pressed to say whether this same right does – or at least is supposed to – exist around the world. And yet, as noted in yesterday’s report, “all states are committed to freedom of thought, conscience and belief in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been the touchstone and the global standard for the protection of human rights around the world since 1948.”
Frankly, that’s what makes yesterday’s report all the more troubling.
This week, the Seventh-day Adventist church officially commemorated its 150th anniversary. As a church that often found itself in the religious minority, Adventists recognized early on that it was vital to advocate for protection of the fundamental right of the world’s citizens to worship – or not – according to their conscience. Not just for the church itself and its own members, but also for people with whom the church had little else in common. That’s because once religious minorities are silenced, it becomes much easier to strip away other rights.
That, unfortunately, is exactly what we’re seeing in many parts of the world. In releasing the 2012 report earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The report chronicles discrimination and violence in countries ranging from established democracies to entrenched dictatorships. It documents that governments around the globe continue to detain, imprison, torture, and even kill people for their religious beliefs. In too many places, governments are also failing to protect minorities from social discrimination and violence. The report identifies global problems of discrimination and violence against religious groups, including Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs.”
This annual report is a product of the International Religious Freedom Act passed 15 years ago by the U.S. Congress. Many in my line of work eagerly anticipate the findings each year as a means of assessing where progress is being made but, even more importantly, where rights are being trampled.
As in previous years, the 2012 report does an excellent job of identifying many of the “hot spots” around the world and diagnosing the most pressing short- and longer-term problems, noting that, “The immediate challenge is to protect members of religious minorities. The ongoing challenge is to address the root causes that lead to limits on religious freedom.”
This report also bears witness to the fact that most of the trends we see continue to be negative – there are many more places around the world where religious freedoms are being taken away and where religious minorities actively are being oppressed, than there are places where freedoms are being restored.
These trends include:
• Government Restrictions and Abuses (described by the report as “laws and policies that impede the freedom of individuals to choose a faith, practice a faith, change their religion, tell others about their religious beliefs and practices, or reject religion altogether remain pervasive.”
• Blasphemy, Apostasy and Conversion (again, as noted in the report, “such laws often violate freedoms of religion and expression and often are applied in a discriminatory manner.”)
• A Continued Rise in Anti-Semitism
• Societal Violence and Intolerance
• The Problem of Impunity (the ability of government officials in many countries to commit abuses with no fear of being held accountable)
There are a tremendous number of valuable details in this week’s report and I would encourage anyone with interest in this topic to at least read the executive summary.
Shining a spotlight, as this report and others like it do, is an important step. But reports are only one step in the broader struggle to fight ongoing encroachment by governments and other entities around the world on the fundamental human right of the world’s people to worship according to their conscience.
—Dwayne Leslie is an attorney as serves as director of Legislative Affairs at the Seventh-day Adventist Church world headquarters.
The La Sierra University Constituency met on May 23 and voted to modify the school's bylaws. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) had requested some changes that would give the school more autonomy. GC president, Ted Wilson, has expressed his concern that the Constituency maintain the authority that the church has in guiding the school in its operation as a Seventh-day Adventist institution. The battle is on as to who is to set the standards for La Sierra, the church or the WASC. The church will not allow the school to teach evolution as fact. The WASC wants more separation between the school and the church.
Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, the director of the General Conference Education Department said "The board needs to clearly express the goals, means, and primary constituents served, and as a Seventh-day Adventist institution, explain what makes La Sierra University distinctive from … secular and private universities. The board needs to determine and monitor programs and ensure they are consistent with the mission and purposes of a Seventh-day Adventist university. The board holds administration accountable for carrying out the mission on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, the faculty are essential partners in accomplishing mission, not only because of the power they hold based on academic freedom, but because learning, and the integration of faith and knowledge in the various disciplines takes place under the direction of the faculty. They need to be fully converted, God-fearing mentors and guides who live out the mission every day,”
We have yet to see the revised changes that were adopted. What we have seen does not appear to be damaging to the church. The board retains its makeup except that in the past one of its members could be a non-church member, that has been removed with the newly voted bylaws. All trustees must be Seventh-day Adventists. The president of the Pacific Union Conference chairs the board. As Conference president, he also chairs the Pacific Union College board. This has been changed with the new bylaws at La Sierra. He may not chair the board of trustees of both schools.
Both the Adventist Accreditation Association and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges will now have to consider what to do next. It appears that not much has materially changed if evolution is still being taught at La Sierra University.
The La Sierra University Constituency held a meeting today to vote on proposed changes to their by-laws that would further separate the school from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The request for changes came from the accrediting body, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The issue has a much greater influence than just La Sierra University. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has many other schools that could be effected by the WASC demand for separation. It extends to other denominations with schools of higher education and possibly could even effect primary and secondary educational institutions.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s West-Central Africa Division this year will create four new union administrative units, an action that underscores membership growth in the region and a need for more strategic planning in local fields.
The move, which will go into effect December 31, includes new unions in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, and will split the Sahel Union Mission into two territories, which church leaders said would save on the high cost of travel in the region.
“The present structure in all four unions placed an unmanageable demand on union staff, which limited their presence and effectiveness in the areas that they served,” said Rosa Banks, an Adventist world church associate secretary and liaison to church administrations in Africa. “Dividing these territories will provide a strategic advantage for the fulfillment of the mission of the church,” she said.
David Trim, director of the world church’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research said it has been demonstrated that adding more local structure helps membership and tithe grow, as well as increasing the rate of growth. “With more administrative units they can more effectively strategize and use resources,” he said.
The Ghana Union Conference reports a membership of nearly 397,000, which is more than the combined total of both of the denomination’s European divisions.
“Creating a second union in Ghana is long overdue, based on their tithes, membership or any other metric,” Trim said.
The current Ghana Union is a “union conference,” which means it is self-sustaining, both in finances and leadership. Other unions are classified as “union missions,” which rely on appropriations. Ghana currently has the only union conference in the division.
As part of the division’s reorganization, Adventist Church structure in Ghana will be divided into the South Ghana Union Conference, based in Accra, and the North Ghana Union Mission, based in Kumasi.
In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, the Adventist Church’s two union missions will become three unions, one of them a union conference.
The current North-Western Nigeria Union Mission, based in Ikeja in Lagos State, will divide and become a union mission in the north and a union conference in the south. In this region’s northern territory, the church will create the Northern Nigeria Union Mission, based in Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory. In the Southwest part of the country, the church will create the Western Nigeria Union Mission, with headquarters in Maryland, Lagos.
“This particular step is to facilitate mission in the northern part of the country where the church has yet to penetrate effectively,” Trim said.
The Central Africa Union Mission, now based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, will relocate its headquarters to Bangui, Central African Republic, allowing the newly created Cameroon Union Mission to operate out of Yaoundé.
And the church’s Sahel Union Mission, now based in Lomé, Togo, will become two union missions – the Eastern Sahel Union Mission, based in Lomé, and the Western Sahel Union Mission, headquartered in Dakar, Senegal.
“Dividing this field into two unions will afford better administrative oversight in these challenging fields and will save money on the high cost of travel in that part of the world,” said G. T. Ng, executive secretary of the Adventist world church.
Ng emphasized that reorganizing structure is a step in the right direction but not an automatic cure-all for slow or stagnant membership growth. Rather, he said, it is with both reorganization and a strengthening of individual congregations that best contributes to growth.
“It has been shown that local church-based evangelism is the most effective model of evangelism,” Ng said. “Members are the most important assets of the church. Pastors have to double up as trainers beyond playing their traditional role as baptizers and have a discipleship program in place for new members.”
The West-Central Africa Division, with headquarters in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, is home to a reported membership of approximately 866,000. It currently has six unions; the reorganization later this year will give the division 10 unions.
Danish Union Statement:
According to the Seventh Day Adventist Church´s belief in creation, as witnessed in the Bible, God has created mankind – man and woman – in His image and therefore equal.
Because of sin, God instituted a special priesthood reserved for men. This special priesthood with its sacrifices and functions found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. There is no longer any special priesthood. Jesus Christ is our only true priest, the exalted high priest in the true temple in heaven. Now all have free access to God (Hebrews 4-5).
All of Christ's followers – both men and women – were lifted up to be a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, to declare His praises" (1 Peter 2:9).
This royal priesthood has a common purpose, namely to proclaim the gospel.
This ministry is based on the spiritual gifts which the Holy Spirit gives equally to men and women (1 Chor 12). Paul mentions some specific grace based ministries in the Church, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (i.e. pastors), and teachers (Eph 4:7-16).
With background in this biblical understanding, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Denmark will not distinguish between genders when appointing pastors, and wishes to see equality between genders in all areas of responsibility. As a result, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Denmark will suspend the ordaining of any new pastors until the General Conference session in 2015.
Voted at the Danish Union session, May 12, 2013
Seventh-day Adventists were some of the first responders to a commercial factory building collapse in Savar, Bangladesh, that has captured international media attention and sparked debate over building standards.
Ten Adventist youth trained in earthquake preparedness and potential building collapse situations were some of the first onsite after the Wednesday, April 24 collapse and helped bring out 30 victims, four of whom were still alive.
Another group of 125 Adventist young people went to the disaster site on Saturday, April 27 to assist rescue teams. The group helped recover three women as well as several bodies. They also provided food and water to survivors.
The eight-story commercial building is known as Rana Plaza and is located approximately 45 kilometers from the capital city of Dhaka.
The building housed five garment factories, production lines, banks and hundreds of shops. An estimated 3,500 people were in the building at the time of the collapse, the majority of whom were female factory workers under the age of 25. To date, approximately 400 bodies have been recovered and 2,444 injured people have been rescued, but hundreds are still unaccounted for.
ADRA Bangladesh also responded promptly by providing oxygen tanks, masks, flashlights, hammers, shovels and other tools as preliminary assistance. According to director Serpa Santana Landerson, ADRA Bangladesh is planning to donate cash to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund after committee approval is received.
During an April 26 Adventist Youth evening meeting, young people spontaneously collected Taka 12,100 (approximately USD$160) for the victims.
Reports have confirmed that at least one Adventist, a boy named Bitu Baroi, who was working in one of the garment factories, is still missing. His mother works at Pollywog, an Adventist-sponsored handicraft industry located on the Adventist Church’s Bangladesh Adventist Union Mission campus.
The disaster area is about 20 kilometers from the union office.
The garment industry is a major foreign currency earner in Bangladesh and the biggest industry in the country. Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporter country in the world after China. There are more than 5,000 such factories in Bangladesh, mainly in Dhaka and Chittagong regions. And that number only counts factories registered with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporting Association. There are hundreds more not under this umbrella.
There are about six million factory workers, mostly women, employed directly in this industry.
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
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.
Hotbeds of Crime
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