When I was an elementary student, my brother and I had to travel to school every day by school bus. During the ride I loved to socialize, so I spent most of that time talking and laughing with my friends. One day the noise levels bothered the bus driver, and he told us that there would be no more talking on the bus. The penalty for disobeying the law was being sent off the bus.
My parents supported the bus driver and added that if we got sent off the bus at any time, we would have to walk to school. My brother didn’t mind because he was quiet and said very little. However, I didn’t know how I could last an hour and a half without talking. One day, my brother accidentally talked and was sent off the bus. So, true to my parents’ word, my brother had to get up early in the morning before daylight and walk all the way to school while I rode the bus.
The most amazing part to this story is that my brother didn’t walk alone. My dad drove his car beside my brother. It was a long, dark road to school, and our dad wanted to make sure my brother arrived safely, even if that meant being late for work. My dad’s actions toward my brother remind me of God’s great love for us. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Ps. 103:13, NIV).
—Debbie Maniscalco, Via e-mail
JUST THE FACTS
London, England, is alive with Adventist churches and church plants. Greater London has a population of just a little more than 7.1 million (2001 census). There are 75 Adventist churches or groups with a total Adventist membership of 12,600 in the London area.
—Victor Hulbert, Stanborough Park, Watford, England
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“The kiss of forgiveness is greater than the faltering confession of repentance. The footsteps of confession and repentance are slow and faltering, but the footsteps of forgiveness and mercy are swift and certain.”
—Pastor Rex Frost, Dalton (Georgia, USA) Seventh-day Adventist Church, quoting Charles H. Spurgeon (adapted from The Treasury of the New Testament) in a sermon on March 3, 2007. Frost is commenting on the interaction of father and returning son in the story of the prodigal son.
Please pray for my family, which is in a state of collapse spiritually and materially. I am undergoing difficult moments within the family, including financial problems.
I am 35 years old and a school administrator in General Santos City, Philippines. Please pray for my interview at the United States embassy—that the Lord will touch the heart of the consul and I will receive approval of my nonimmigrant visa so that I can attend an education convention in Michigan.
I have several requests for prayer. First, pray for my family and me for financial blessings. Right now I am unemployed and have had a hard time finding a job since I graduated with my master’s degree. I am looking for a job within my major; and I would also like to pursue a Ph.D. In addition, please pray that God will bless me with a godly husband for life who is within the church. Last, pray for the people around the world, especially those who don’t know Jesus.
—Andrea, United States
Would you please help pray for the church in Malawi? Keep up the good job as we await the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was not an Adventist, having been brought up in a Pentecostal church. I came across the Adventist World magazine, and from the time I started reading it my life has changed. I need your prayers so that my faith will grow strong and I will gain knowledge and wisdom—and so that God will guide my family and me. I have joined the Adventist Church despite opposition from my parents. I know I will overpower their opposition through your prayers.
I am married with two children. I really need a job for sustaining my family in regard to their daily needs and financial assistance for school that comes from me. Please pray for me.
I am writing about some job interviews I will be attending. They are highly competitive, but with God nothing is impossible. Please join me in prayer.
The Return Visit I have always enjoyed reading our Adventist World magazine since its first arrival in our church, and I’m always excited for the coming issues. I am writing in response to Carina Goncalves article “The Return Visit” (June 2007). Being assigned mostly in the field I always encounter poor homeless people and beggars asking for a penny or food. And I share the same reaction as Goncalves in her first encounter with a beggar in her story. Most of, if not all, the time I ignore them and turn my back away from them as if I did not notice them, thinking they are being trafficked or are members of an organized network of a begging syndicate. Normally the question that lingers in my mind is: “Do they really deserve to receive something from me?”
As I finished reading her article, I’ve gotten a new understanding of how to treat these individuals. Our thinking in regard to them must not be limited only by what they are going to do with what we give, but by how they will be blessed if we give. God knows smokers will still smoke, drunkards will still drink, and sinners will still sin, yet He still blesses their lives unsparingly, knowing they may only waste them. He even knows that only a handful will accept His Son, yet He gave Him anyway. We don’t deserve salvation and eternal life, yet God gave it to us abundantly.
We received special favor from God that we don’t deserve, but the poor and the needy deserve simple things that we can give. However, not all people begging are beggars and not all people asking something from us are poor. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:10). On the contrary, beggars may come to us once in a while—should we miss sharing? Some even say that the way we’re treating those unfortunate and needy ones is the practical measure of true Christianity. When we give, it’s not only the recipient that is blessed. We are also blessed with a special joy that comes to us when we give unconditionally.
The point is that love is still the basis of all our thoughts and actions!
The purpose of the Old Testament sanctuary system was to reveal God’s plan of saving the human race. The psalmist David declares, “Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God?” (Ps. 77:13). God’s way of redeeming us from sin is found in the symbols and sacrifices of the tabernacle services recorded in Exodus and Leviticus. As we study the significance of the priests of Israel in the plan of salvation, we will enter into a deeper appreciation for Jesus’ amazing love as our compassionate High Priest.
1. What two elements were absolutely necessary for God to make atonement for our sins? Read the passages below and write your answer on the lines provided.
a. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11).
Without the______________________________________there is no atonement.
b. “For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord” (Lev. 16:30).
Without the______________________________________there is no atonement.
The English word atonement (at-one-ment) means being reconciled with God. Sin separates us from God. In the plan of salvation, God restores that which was lost by sin. To accomplish the atonement we need a dying sacrifice and a living priest.
2. How does the Book of Hebrews describe the shed blood of Christ in the new covenant? Circle that word in the text below.
To Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:24).
When the sacrifice was slain in the sanctuary courtyard by the sinner, the priest took the blood and sprinkled it before the veil of the holy place of the sanctuary. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4, KJV). The blood sprinkled in the sanctuary symbolizes Jesus’ blood shed to atone for our disobedience of God’s law.
3. What were the qualifications for a priest? Write your answer in the spaces below.
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb. 5:1). “And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was” (Heb. 5:4).
a. The High Priest must be taken_________________________________________________.
b. The High Priest must have___________________nd_________________________to offer.
c. The High Priest must be________________________________________________by God.
4. Why were these qualifications necessary? Write your answer in the spaces below.
“He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness” (Heb. 5:2).
Jesus can have_______________________on us because____________________________.
5. What does the word “compassion” mean? Write your answer on the line below.
Jesus qualifies as our High Priest on all accounts. He became human and faced Satan’s temptations, as all human beings must. He understands our weaknesses. He knows what it is like to be tempted. He defeated Satan on every count and offered His life as a sacrifice for our sins.
6. How closely does Jesus identify with us? Write the answer on the lines below.
“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17).
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Jesus was made__________________________us in order to be_________________as we are tempted.Our merciful and compassionate High Priest understands us. He has made full provision for our salvation.
7. What gracious invitation does Jesus give us? Write the answer in your own words on the line below.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
Jesus invites us to____________________________________________to His throne of grace.
8. What assurance does Jesus offer when we come to Him? Circle the phrases in the text that tell you what God will do for you.
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
Jesus offers each of us the assurance of salvation. He is our High Priest. We can come to God through faith in complete assurance that Jesus our Mediator pardons our sins and gives us the grace to live a new life.
Next month’s Bible study, “Shadows of Christ’s Sacrifice,” will explain what is meant by the “cleansing of the sanctuary.”
QUESTION: Please explain the phrases “early rain” and “latter rain,” and their relation to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Answering your question requires an understanding of the climate of theland of Israel and the significance of rain in the Bible. Rain played a major role in Israelite agrarian society. Cisterns found by archaeologists inIsrael indicate the value of water and the need to preserve it for the dry season, which spanned close to half of the year.
1. Rainy Season:In Israel most of the rain usually fell from December to February. The first rain of the rainy season—the “early rain”—usually came mid-October through early November. This rain softened the ground and facilitated the germination of seeds and the growth of crops. The latter rain came before the harvest, from early March to April. This rain contributed to maturation of the crop. Therefore, rain was enormously important to Israelite life and was considered a gift from God (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Matt. 5:45). The lack of rain was often seen as an expression of divine disfavor, a result of the sins and rebelliousness of the people (e.g., Jer. 3:3).
2. Ideas Associated With Rain:Rain was associated with the power of God over nature (1 Kings 17:1; Isa. 5:6), and with His blessings (Ps. 84:6; 147:8) and favors toward humanity (Hosea 6:3). Its connection with subsistence made it a concrete expression of God’s concern for the life of the people and for the fertility of the land (Deut. 11:10, 11; Lev. 26:4). That same connection between life and rain allowed for its use as a symbol of wisdom (Prov. 18:4) and godly teachings (Deut. 3:2). Since rain benefited all, it is metaphorically associated with the just king who is a blessing to all, and nurtures life instead of threatening it (2 Sam. 23:4). A negative side to rain, specifically torrential rain, is that it damages fields and houses, and it became a symbol of chaos and destruction (e.g., Gen. 7:11; Isa. 4:6).
3. Outpouring of the Spirit and Rain: In the Bible rain became a symbol for the divine outpouring of the Holy Spirit; both rain and the Holy Spirit were sent by God as a demonstration of His concern for life.
We find, first, an eschatological usage of the image of rain. God described the future restoration of His people using the language of rain to illustrate the work of the Spirit: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (Isa. 44:3, NIV; cf. Eze. 39:29; Isa. 32:15; 44:3). In Joel, after announcing the coming of the early and latter rains, God added, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28, 29, NIV).
Second, the image of the early and latter rains could be applied to at least two different powerful works of the Spirit within the church: one related to the experience of Pentecost, and the other to events shortly before the return of Christ. The eschatological work of the Spirit announced by Joel was partially fulfilled during the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:18). This could be called the “early rain.” But that same prophecy referred to “the great and glorious day of the Lord,” suggesting that a fuller manifestation of the Spirit was to be expected (cf. Acts 2:19, 20).
This future work of the Spirit would accompany and empower the proclamation of the last message of judgment and salvation to the human race. It is to this event that Revelation 18:1 points. An angel, representing God (Eze. 43:2), descended from heaven with great authority, illuminating the earth with his glory, and adding power to the worldwide proclamation of the message of the three angels of Revelation 14:6-12. Such a manifestation of the Spirit could be called the “latter rain.” Before the return of Christ, evil powers will perform great wonders and miracles (Rev. 13:13, 14; 1 Tim. 4:1), but God will also express His superior power through the work of the Spirit among His people.
So the phrases “early rain” and “latter rain” are agricultural images figuratively applied to the work of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Christian church and shortly before God’s end-time harvest (Rev. 14:14-20).
I had an ultrasound, and my not-yet-born baby is a boy. My husband and I are discussing circumcision. What do you advise? Circumcision of a boy is not the same operation as female circumcision or as what is often referred to as “female genital mutilation.” This is where unqualified persons (using unsterilized knives, glass, and the like) may actually remove the labia minora and clitoris in a horrendous procedure. Nevertheless, male circumcision is not without its own risks. These include bleeding and infection, and several studies have shown changes in pain tolerance among those circumcised, compared to those uncircumcised. Phimosis, which is a narrowed or tight foreskin, may cause problems in older boys, but is relatively rare and not sufficient reason to circumcise all males.
The American Pediatric Society does not recommend circumcision; but recently, studies in Kenya and Uganda have shown that, as in South Africa, there is about a 60 percent reduction in the transmission of HIV in those circumcised. Clearly, because it is a difficult matter to get people to alter “at-risk” behavior patterns, and in a place such as Africa where risk is so high, it might make sense to recommend circumcision.
As for you and your new baby, you will have to make your own decision as you carefully weigh the pros and cons.
My daughter lives in Brazil, and she tells me it is fashionable to have cesarean section rather than natural childbirth. What do you say? We are men, so we could get into deep trouble on this one. Those “funny” letters behind our names are Canadian and South African qualifications, and the ones behind Handysides (FRCSC and FACOG) mean Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Nevertheless, we hereby give notice that we will not enter into a lengthy correspondence on this issue.
Childbirth is painful. How do we know? Well, my wife [Mrs. Handysides] has the pain tolerance of a horse, but she says it hurts and I believe her. So it’s natural that if a procedure could be done under anesthesia with lesser pain (albeit drawn out over a longer period), some may choose it.
There! Did we ever rile up some of our readers!
But to be more serious, some of the risks associated with cesarean section (C-section) are declining with the improvements in anesthesia and, consequently, older arguments against C-section are often less valid (though many are still true). Most complications are maternal and, consequently, better tolerated andless likely to lead to litigation than is damage to a baby. This means difficult forceps, breech deliveries, or any other threat to the baby whatsoever in labor is taken very seriously, and a C-section is often selected.
Though normal delivery is beautiful and a “fantastic” experience for most (many mothers have told me [Allan] this—I’ve delivered literally thousands of babies), it can have complications. The stretching and tears that on occasion occur may lead to problems.
An example was shown in a recent Oregon study of 8,700 women. Only 40 percent, unfortunately, completed the survey, but 27 percent of those responding reported fecal incontinence in the 3 to 6 months post-delivery. After adjusting for the number of children a woman had given birth to, the study found obesity, duration of pushing, lacerations, and smoking habits were all related to the particular problem. Many women do not talk about such difficulties, so the extent of the problem is probably underestimated. Fecal incontinence is not likely a long-standing problem for the majority, but such factors may influence choices about cesarean section.
When I (Allan) was in Brazil, I discussed with some of the doctors there the high C-section rates in that country, which are at least double those in the United States. They felt the outcomes justified the rates.
What more do we say? We have said enough to get us into deep trouble already from folk on both sides of this debate.
Traveling from the modern overcrowded streets of Lagos on the Atlantic coast to the hot, humid jungle villages of eastern Nigeria may seem like traveling through time. Lagos is Nigeria’s commercial center, the second largest city in Africa. Its towering high-rises are a sharp contrast to the eastern villages, where traditional beliefs and ways of life are still being practiced.
Located along Africa’s west-central coast, Nigeria is Africa’s most populated nation. It is home to more than 250 people groups, hundreds of languages, a variety of histories, and large groups from several major world religions. Nigeria is widely considered to have the largest Islamic population in Africa.
Nigeria officially gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960; and it is still a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Established as a federalist republic, much like the United States, Nigeria has struggled to maintain a democracy. In 1999, after 16 years of military rule, Nigeria once again regained civilian rule, and a new constitution was adopted. At the end of May, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua became the first civilian to succeed a democratically elected president, marking the longest period of civilian rule in the nation’s history.
Even though Nigeria has the world’s tenth-largest petroleum reserves, political instability and weak infrastructure have kept the nation from capitalizing on this natural resource. This is unfortunate because this industry plays a major role in Nigeria’s ongoing financial stability, as petroleum alone accounts for more than 20 percent of Nigeria’s economy and nearly 95 percent of its foreign export income.
Years of political instability, ethnic and religious tensions, and accusations of corruption and mismanagement within the government plague this nation. The regionalization of Nigeria’s Muslim and Christian population underscores its diversity. The north and southwest are predominantly Sunni Muslim, the south and southeast are mostly Christian, and the eastern villages are mostly animist.
Animist roots run deep in Nigeria. Although only 10 percent of today’s population is animist, the 14 million adherents represent a region that is considered the home of voodoo. The ancestors of the 30 million member Yoruba ethnolinguistic group brought voodoo to the Caribbean when they were taken to the new world as slaves.
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igobo, and Fulani
Muslim 50%; Christian 40%; indigenous beliefs 10%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
The Adventist Church is well established in Nigeria, with a number of educational and medical institutions. Babcock University, one of the oldest Adventist higher-educational institutions in Africa, makes a powerful impact on its community. More than half of its 3,500-member student body is not Adventist. But there are still great challenges to mission, especially in the east where there are currently no Adventist schools.
This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build three evangelistic centers in Nigeria, a worship center for students at Babcock University, and a secondary school in eastern Nigeria.
To learn more about Adventist mission work in Nigeria watch “The Road Well Traveled” on this quarter’s Adventist Mission DVD, or visit:www.AdventistMission.org to download your copy of the mission quarterlies.
Compiled by Hans Olsen, Office of Adventist Mission
Adventists Use YouTube Internet Videos to Share Messages
Music, Sermons—Even Russell Crowe at Avondale—Show Up Online
By Alexis A. Goring, Adventist World
Standing on the edge of popular technology, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is using YouTube, the same online video-sharing Web site musicians and politicians use to promote their platforms, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
YouTube, which describes itself in news releases as “deliver[ing] more than 100 million video views every day, with 65,000 new videos uploaded daily” and as “the leading destination on the Internet for video entertainment,” was started in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees and has taken the world by storm. Eighteen months after its founding, Internet giant Google acquired the service for US$1.65 billion in stock, one of the largest deals of its kind. SOMETHING TO ‘CROWE’ ABOUT: In this image captured from a computer display, a very young Russell Crowe—in what is believed to be his first paid role—is seen portraying a potential theology student at Adventist-owned Avondale College in Australia. The decades-old film, rarely seen outside the SouthPacific, is now available on the YouTube Internet service. Internet users can visit www.youtube.com to upload, view, and share videos made by both directors and amateurs. People of all ages and life experiences shoot homemade videos and, once registered with YouTube online, can post their work for all the world to see.
As of June 2007, when someone types the word “Adventist” into the YouTube’s search engine, results of 3,190 videos are listed. Among those videos, one would find: congratulations from U.S. President George W. Bush, and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., for the Adventist Church’s stance on religious liberty; music videos from Christian artists and amateurs—ranging from Brazilian church musicians in concert to Mark Schultz performing in America; a CNN feature about the longevity of Adventists in Loma Linda, California; even a decades-old promotional film for Avondale College’s theology program, starring a then-unknown actor named Russell Crowe. (It was, in fact, believed to be Crowe’s first paid film role.)
When asked what he thinks about YouTube, Adventist pastor and North American Division Church Resources Center associate director Dave Gemmell replied, “It’s basically the democratization of video.” According to Gemmell, video has been so expensive over the years that only very powerful organizations can produce and distribute video.
“YouTube cuts through all that so people with their own video cameras can upload videos on the Internet and make their videos accessible to the world,” he said. “It changes the entire culture of video.”
According to media research firm Nielsen-NetRankings, YouTube racked up 2.76 million page views in May 2007 in the United States alone, with users spending 2.1 million minutes, or 35,000 hours, that month viewing videos online there. Clearly, this is a new “medium” that is attracting a substantial audience: Ellacoya Networks, Inc., a company that helps telecommunications carriers optimize broadband Internet services, said in May 2007 that “YouTube alone comprises ... nearly 10 [percent] of all [North American] traffic on the Internet.”
Those unfamiliar with this new cultural phenomenon might wonder from where it emerged, who started it, and what users can gain from YouTube. The service began in 2005 as an “underground” venture, created after its founders experienced conflict and frustration while trying to share videos online. Fast forward two years later: YouTube is so well known that even the 2008 United States presidential candidates are using it to promote their platforms.
Politicians aren’t the only ones who see worth in this video-sharing Web site, as the Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters also recognize its value.
Williams Costa, Jr., associate director of the world church’s communication department, who is seen on many of the Brazilian Adventist YouTube music videos, accredits a specific human trait to YouTube’s success. “People have [a] curiosity to search and find,” he said. “For this reason, it’s becoming very popular, especially with the young people.”
VIDEO EXPERT: Adventist pastor Williams Costa, Jr., associate world church communication director, has posted many Adventist music videos on YouTube and supports the use of this technology.Costa notes that while there’s a lot of good information on YouTube, there are also a number of less-suitable items; though the service is itself morally neutral, good and bad can come from it. He believes, however, that YouTube is an overall positive experience and that Adventists need to place good materials on it. “We need to be proactive in producing good material in all medias,” Costa said. “Radio, Internet, YouTube, and Google—those are the tools that reach the people and we are about reaching the people.”
Thomas Dooley knows how to reach people. He works as a production coordinator for SRB productions in Silver Spring, Maryland, and believes YouTube should be used to its fullest potential as a witnessing tool.
“The church needs to experiment with the different technologies out there to expand their ministries,” Dooley said. “[It would be ideal] if somebody who’s homebound or searching for a religious experience can go on YouTube and see church service.”
Currently, YouTube is used to further ministries, give public exposure of a family’s “Kodak moments” with home videos, promote political platforms, and give a global stage to professional and amateur musicians.
“There’s so many other ways to get church messages out than a pastor going up [to a podium] and hoping someone’s going to walk through that door for that day’s sermon,” said Dooley, who shared information about his home church, Community Praise Center (CPC), an Adventist congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, and their venture into making their sermons into podcasts available via Apple, Inc.’s, iTunes music service.
Gemmell shares Dooley’s outlook: “The future is now,” he said. “Technology is going to continue to permeate society, and for those of us in the field of media, we need to understand new media and utilize it to the fullest.”
Costa would also like to see the church using YouTube and other communication media to reach out to people outside its own walls.
“We need [to reach] big cities,” he said. “We need to do everything possible to reach people with this message, especially in hard-to-reach places such as the 10/40 window [and] in China.”
According to Costa, the Lord is giving the church tools to do that now with advances in technology. He believes we need to be more than simply active in broadcasting the good news.
“We need to go ahead by faith and trust that the Lord will open the gates,” Costa said, “so that we can go fulfill the mission.”
By Nathan Brown, editor of the South Pacific edition of Signs of the Times and the South Pacific Division Record
By the end of 2007 there will be 3.25 billion active mobile phones in the world—enough to connect fully half of the world’s population. According to a survey by the UK-based The Mobile World, an average of 1,000 new customers around the world are signing up every minute.
We’ve never been so connected, and there are many benefits to be gained. But researchers in Australia—where an estimated 94 percent of people own a mobile phone—caution that “mobile phone addiction could be the new psychological disorder of the 21st century.”*
Clinical psychologist and family therapist Andrew Fuller suggests that for some young people being without their mobile phones “would almost be an amputation.” And he sees various physical symptoms for regular phone users: altered sleep patterns, changing dream habits, and increased risk of depression. Ironically, he also observes changing social relationships, with reduced face-to-face contact resulting in less meaningful relationships.
Shari Walsh from the Queensland University of Technology explains that time spent on the phone was not necessarily an indicator of risk. Instead, the disorder can be noticed when phone users become distressed when they are unable to use their phones. “The difficulty is that if people are addicted to the phone or to being connected and they can’t turn it off, they’re not able to give themselves the quiet time we all need,” she says.
Perhaps it’s a very contemporary reason why Sabbath is such a good thing. While more and more of us own mobile phones, we need to be reminded that they—or any of the other gadgets we might collect—don’t own us and should not control our lives.
There may be reasons we need to communicate during Sabbath hours, but Sabbath seems like a great reason to turn off our phones.
*Sam Wallis, “Mobiles Have Aussies Hooked,” Australian Broadcasting Corp. News, http://tinyurl.com/3y325c, July 14, 2007; accessed online July 19, 2007.
TAIWAN: Adventist Youth Leaders Hope International Conference Grows Church
Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders plan a major youth conference for December in Taiwan, hoping the event will pave the way for future church growth there.
About 2,000 Adventist high school-aged youth will meet for a week of service projects before gathering in the capital, Taipei, said Baraka Muganda, Youth Ministries director for the Adventist world church.
“Our church is not well known in Taiwan, and we have a small membership there,” Muganda said of why organizers chose the location. There are about 5,200 Adventists in Taiwan worshipping in 50 churches. The Adventist Church in Taiwan became self-supporting in 2005.
“We’re excited and our church members are quite astonished that the world church is focusing on our little corner of the world,” said John W. Ash III, president of the Adventist Church in Taiwan.
The country’s Adventist Youth director, Noah Lai, said the church there is small, but members will be strengthened with the coming support.
“I think this is a great chance for [people] in Taiwan to know we are a happy family, and people around us will get to know our beliefs,” Lai said.
“We’re not just going to preach to them; we want the youth to come and do something in Taiwan,” Muganda said. The deadline to register for the World Conference on Youth and Community Services is November 2. The conference runs from December 24, 2007, to January 5, 2008. Information about the event can be found online at www.wcycs.org/main/main.asp.—Adventist News Network