Cuban. American. Adventist. Dec18

Cuban. American. Adventist.

by Amy Sheppard I am a Seventh-day Adventist today because, in part, young Seventh-day Adventist colporteurs demonstrated unimpeachable character to my great-grandfather in the eastern part of Cuba. He was so impressed by these young men that he decided to send my grandmother and her brother to the young men’s school—Antillian College, when it was still in Cuba. I was born in the United States because, in part, my mother and her family fled communist rule on the island to make a new life in America. And I am an Adventist, in part, because the same diaspora brought another Cuban young woman to New York City and into my mom’s life when she was a teenager, reconnecting our family with the Adventist church. My Cubaness, Americaness, and Adventistness, you see, are inextricably linked. This manifested itself in unspeakable emotion today as the news broke that President Barak Obama is normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, and that Pope Francis had a role in bringing my two countries back together. As a Cuban, I was overwhelmed with joy that my country of birth would no longer blacklist my country of ancestry, that possibilities long denied to those who remained may now be realized. As an American, I am proud that my country, or at least the President, recognizes that something that has never worked will never work, and it is time for a new approach. I am thrilled that this will limit the blame the Cuban government can place on the United States and their misrepresentations of who we are and what we stand for. And as an Adventist, it is not lost on me that one of the most radical changes in U.S. foreign policy in the last half century seems to have been very heavily influenced by Pope Francis. In his address to the nation, President Obama openly acknowledged “His Holiness” and his part in the process that led to today’s announcement.  How could anyone with an Adventist worldview and understanding of Scripture not think of our prophetic interpretation of Revelation 13 when hearing this news? The Pope told the U.S. and Cuba to play nice—and they listened! The convergence of my three strongest identities at this moment is overwhelming and surreal. Nonetheless, I am ecstatic. Being bicultural (tricultural?) has helped me better understand that this world is not my home, though it is where we prepare to be citizens of Heaven. See Hebrews 11:13-15 and Philippians 3:20-21. I am the child of a Cuban, living in America, who taught me about my heritage so that when I went to Cuba, I understood the culture, the food, the language—I knew how to be a Cuban. In the same way, I am a child of Heaven, still living on this earth. One day, that home will be open to me, and my learning how to live as a citizen of Heaven now requires me to depend on Jesus to learn how to have a sterling character, the same type of character that first attracted my family to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Even more than I’m longing to go back to Cuba for another visit after hearing today’s news, I’m longing to go to Heaven. Taking into consideration how things have developed, I cannot help but think that the wait will not be much longer. My sincerest hope is that this shift in U.S. policy will eventually bring broad changes to Cuba, and that this would include increasing the influence of the gospel in that land. I hope that Adventist Americans will travel there, as missionaries, on business, and eventually for vacation, and that by coming in direct contact with the Cuban people, they will influence them toward new life. Finally, seeing these developments before my very eyes, things I was not sure would ever happen in my lifetime, makes me so excited. Forget the Castro brothers. The kingdom of this world is...

Knowing Is Everything

by Andy Im   Knowing is everything. Everyone wants to know stuff. It’s why we read the news. It’s why we subscribe to magazines & publications. It’s one of the reasons we surf the internet. Facebook is popular because we get to discover— to know—what our families, and friends are doing. We “Yelp” and probe its reviews to unearth the best and tastiest restaurants in town. We even tweet. Simply put, knowing satiates our inner drive to discover, to find things out. And, we, as human beings are curious creatures. And, knowing. . . “stuff” is important. For example, it was crucial that the health officials (CDC) understood how the two nurses from Texas and the physician traveling from Ghana contracted ebola—to prevent the further spreading of this toxic disease. It’s important to citizens in this country that the intelligence community understand where religious extremists who mean Americans harm are located, and when their next move may occur. And I can guarantee if you needed intricate brain or heart surgery, you wouldn’t want some rookie intern operating on you! You’d want an experienced specialist who’s done it a hundred times! We’re individuals that desire to know; and knowing is essential. BUT, knowing everything & anything isn’t what’s crucial. Knowing may be everything; but, knowing everything, ISN’T everything. For you and I, it’s about knowing One thing—and that’s God. And our eternal life depends on it! John 17:3 states, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Knowing who God is, experientially, intimately, is crucial to our experience as Christians. In the words of Ellen G. White: “The whole spiritual life is molded by our conception of Him, and if we cherish erroneous views of His character, our souls will sustain injury” (Review & Herald, Jan 14, 1890). In other words, your Christian experience: how you live it, perceive it, feel about it, do it, and ultimately, your soul—is affected by what you & I know of God. This is because what you know of God determines—first of all, for the individual prior to conversion—how they’ll react to the notion of God; and secondarily—as Christians—how you’ll experience God on a day-to-day basis. Speaking to the first point, it’s no wonder there are so many atheists in our society. I’m not excusing any decision made by an individual who rejects God, but, Christians (in the broadest sense) are at fault for misrepresenting God, for example, in its theology—think, eternal burning hellfire—and in our atrocious acts of violence— think, the Dark Ages—when those who bore the name “Christian” executed countless peoples, both Christian, and otherwise. And this has been Satan’s purpose all along! Ellen G. White states: “[Satan] has sought to misrepresent the character of God, to lead men to cherish a false conception of Him. The Creator has been presented to their minds as clothed with the attributes of the prince of evil himself,—as arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving,—that He might be feared, shunned, and even hated by men. Satan [has] hoped to so confuse the minds of those whom he [has] deceived that they would put God out of their knowledge. [He] would obliterate the divine image in man and impress his own likeness upon the soul; he would imbue men with his own spirit and make them captives according to his will” (Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, p. 334). Certainly, we see this phenomenon taking place today. But, I want to turn our attention to the second point. What you know of God determines the outcome of your spiritual experience, and in this way. Think of a dog that’s been physically and “psychologically” abused by a previous owner. Once that dog’s rescued, and no matter how nurturing the new owners may be the conception of that innocent animal, of humans, will be skewed. A hand gesture of love, no matter how pure and tender the intentions may...

The Right to Disagree Oct31

The Right to Disagree

By Daniel McGrath   For hundreds if not thousands of years the Christian church has been almost unanimously giving the same message towards current social justice issues, particularly same-sex marriage. But even from as early as a generation ago there has been a decided shift in public sentiment in favor of equal rights for homosexual unions. It seems that the church has been forced to bow to the tide of public opinion and to the demands of this new non-discriminate generation.   Those who have been at the forefront of such change have been heralded as true Christians for demonstrating genuine love and acceptance of everyone no matter their sexual orientation.  Those on the opposite side who hold a more “biblical” or traditional view have been denounced as bigots and haters because they rigorously stand for what they believe is clear and decided from the Bible.   Interestingly enough, when one looks at Scripture almost all the textual evidence presented on the subject of homosexuality suggests in no small way that homosexual practices amount to sin. Many suggest this surface reading is not what is really meant by the text. Traditionalists choose to take it as it reads, sensing that if one were to try to understand what Jesus really meant when He stated one thing while actually implying the opposite, one could come up with an excuse for any behavior needing justification.   The simple fact is this. Christianity’s message towards same-sex practices amounting to sin is not popular and never will be. Some would try to change its message by suggesting that Jesus was more open to a gay lifestyle than He let on, but this line of reasoning might only prove to discredit the rest of Scripture too.  So the problem remains, Christians who don’t conform to these new cultural interpretations are considered to be some of the most hateful people on the planet—and society’s belief is that it would be better off without such individuals.   But why should Christians or scholars be forced to jump through hoops or twist the texts through a routine of mental gymnastics to arrive at a more popular or politically correct understanding? Why does the message of the Bible have to change just because the majority show more support against its message? Christians should not be expected to change their stance of Scripture on morality. But, they should be expected to enter the dialogue with tact and kindness just as the Bible teaches (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; James 1:19).   It is important for Christians to embrace the entire message of Scripture, not just the parts that seems to fit a particular worldview. Those who stand on college campuses, street corners or engage in any other “hate-speech” that preaches hell fire to unrepentant sinners should stop. While they may be correct in their understanding of sin they err by not understanding the love of God.   While the Bible is clear on its definition of sin, it is also clear that God loves all of humanity. Jesus didn’t condemn in harsh tones those who lived in open sin, but He didn’t water down his message of sin either. The woman caught in adultery is a prime example of this. While Jesus didn’t condemn her he told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11).   Equally important for Christians to realize is that God has given each person the right to choose how he/she will live. His love necessitates this fact. We could not consider God to be love if He were to force people to love, worship, or follow Him. Coercion is not love. This leaves it open for some to choose not to follow God but that doesn’t negate His love towards them (Romans 8:35-39).   So if God loves sinners who don’t obey Him then Christians should also do the same. This doesn’t mean the...

Vegan In Vegas May21

Vegan In Vegas

There are many things that come to mind when I think of Las Vegas.  Rarely do I think of good vegetarian food.  It wasn’t until I read an article about highly successful vegans that I discovered that Steve Wynn — owner of the famous Wynn Resort in Las Vegas– was vegan and served vegan food in his hotels. My travels rarely take me to Vegas.  There is so much there that is bothersome and degrading to the mind and spirit, that I find very few reasons for wanting to visit.  Sometimes, as I child, our family stayed over for a day or two when heading to the Grand Canyon or when my brother and I accompanied my dad on work-related trips.  On occasional road trips from California to Michigan, I drove through, but never stopped.  However, recently, on a trip out west: Judy, the boys, and I met my side of the family in Vegas for a Mother’s Day get-together.  We took some extra time to visit some top veggie-friendly restaurants and compare the creative approaches of the nation’s best chefs with Adventist Cuisine. With little time and money to spend in Vegas, I was trying to figure out the best approach of maximizing both.  Thankfully, I came across a blog by Las Vegas vegan expert Paul Graham.  I emailed Paul to get advice on places to go, places not to go, and anything else that would be helpful in making decisions on where to eat.  He replied with two emails, allowed me to drop his name at key places, and led me to some of the best places to eat.  I’m planning on purchasing his book. Although this adventure had fun components, I was very serious about trying to learn more about the role...

Modern Bible Translations (& Ellen G. White) Apr17

Modern Bible Translations (& Ellen G. White)

by Tanner Martin   In the course of researching Bible translations, I’ve frequently been confronted by the claim that two men, Brook Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, produced a critical Greek New Testament that was designed to discredit the Textus Receptus and the King James Version (KJV), as well as to corrupt all subsequent translations. My research into this subject thus far has led to nothing definitive to confirm this claim; on the contrary, the evidence compels me to write a few words in response. Though there’s legitimate reason to be cautious of many newer translations, the sweeping charges sometimes brought against Westcott and Hort seem (often) to be borrowed from Protestant groups without properly accounting for the Spirit of Prophecy example. Hence, I believe there’s need for Adventists to reflect carefully upon the example of Mrs. White before condemning wholesale any Bible simply because it is associated with Westcott and Hort. W. C. White testified that his mother, Ellen G. White, owned and read widely from the translations available up until her death in 1915.[i] Indeed, she made extensive use of new translations in her writings; for example, following the publication of the complete English Revised Version (RV) in 1885, the RV was widely quoted in her writings.[ii] What many Adventists are overlooking is the fact that the RV was the first of the modern critical translations published following the publication of Westcott’s and Hort’s The New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881. The RV was translated by a committee of scholars who, rather than relying upon the Textus Receptus used by the KJV, chose to consult widely from the then-available Greek manuscripts and critical New Testament texts.[iii] They didn’t rely upon any single text, but rather discussed discrepancies in the manuscripts as they came up and voted corporately upon which text to follow in each case.[iv] Both Westcott and Hort were members of the NT translation committee that produced the RV.[v] Their participation in the project, along with their experience in textual criticism, was heralded in a republished article in the Adventist publication Review and Herald.[vi] Early manuscripts of their critical NT were circulated among the RV committee members for consultation during the translation process.[vii] The RV committee certainly didn’t base their translation of the NT upon the text of Westcott and Hort alone; the decisions were corporately made after general discussion,[viii] and not a few of the other committee members, though respectful of the NT produced by Westcott and Hort, disagreed with it on numerous points.[ix] However, the text and recommendations of Westcott and Hort,[x]  along with critical text of Samuel Prideaux Tregelles,[xi] are generally considered to be central to the translation of the RV. Mrs. White received her first copy of the Revised Version as a gift from her son W. C. White, and she began to use the new Bible in her writings.[xii] The RV is quoted throughout the Testimonies, the Conflict of the Ages series, Steps to Christ, and countless other classic Spirit of Prophecy works. W. C. White wrote, “I do not know of anything in the E. G. White writings, nor can I remember of anything in Sister White’s conversations, that would intimate that she felt that there was any evil in the use of the Revised Version. . .”[xiii] The American Revised Version (ARV) was similarly accepted. Published in 1901, the ARV differed only subtly from the RV; in general it follows the textual form of the RV, albeit with occasional alterations. Westcott and Hort did not serve on the ARV committee, but the ARV was based upon the same critical texts as the RV with only minor variations.[xiv]  Mrs. White quoted the ARV in preference to the old KJV no fewer than 55 times in the book Ministry of Healing alone. Again W. C. White affirmed that he could not recall his mother ever speaking ill of the ARV.[xv] In the book Education, Mrs. White used a quotation from the 1902 Rotherham’s Emphasized...

2014 Team Revolution REPORT...

The season is officially started and we are excited to see how far we can push ourselves in our fitness journey.  This year at Kickoff, our turnout was smaller than usual due to scheduling conflicts, but it was a fun time nonetheless.  Athletes signed up for the different membership options :  First Team, Second Team, First Team Couple, Second Team Couple, Third Team, Family Team, and Revolution Kids. (For the full description of the membership options go HERE.) First team athletes are committing to a more aggressive training regime while Third Team athletes commit to training a minimum of  two times a week.  But all athletes share a common fitness goal of training for at least one race and crossing that finish line strong. As a mandate, all of our athletes are dedicated to racing for missions and most donate a minimum of $200 per year to our team owner, Bonders, which is a progressive Adventist young professionals ministry based in Michigan. Bonders plans mission trips and other mission projects with these funds – its current one being a team trip to the Amazon in Brazil this November.  Our team consists of athletes who are just kick-starting their lifestyle of fitness and others who are veterans in endurance sports and their goals push the apparent limit of the human potential.  It’s awesome. At the Kickoff, we distributed welcome packets, gave team updates, announced our season events, wrote out our season goals, took uniform sizes, took legit pictures at the TR Photo Booth (- thanks, David!), and of course, did some major carb-loading to prepare for a season of training. For our athletes who weren’t able to come, your welcome packets with all the info and some goodies will be mailed to you this week! ...

GLOWING on Facebook Mar27

GLOWING on Facebook

More like “Exploding on Facebook.” There’s a good chance you’ve seen the “Why I Go to Church on Saturday” GLOW link on Facebook. In fact, tens of thousands have, and this isn’t hyperbole. This is impact. God can use Facebook, a social medium designed for social interaction as an evangelistic apparatus. And you know what? More creative, evangelistic-minded Adventists need to get on board. You don’t have to resist your urges for Facebook. Use it! For good. And the amazing thing is. . . it’s free. A number of weeks ago, the GLOW Sabbath issue was shared on Facebook. On day 1, exactly 66 individuals visited the site. Here’s what followed on the days after. The numbers don’t lie. Day 1: 66 visitors Day 2: 239 visitors Day 3: 3154 visitors Day 4: 6353 visitors Day 5: 15,481 visitors (notice the spike here) Day 6: 18,487 visitors Day 7: 14,680 visitors Total:  58,460 visitors (1 week)   This is quite amazing. Roughly 60,000 unique visitors read or heard about the seventh-day Sabbath. And it cost nothing. Weeks later, a group of students and ministry leaders (CAMPUS) ‘bought in’ at one of their retreats after a moving appeal by Kamil Metz. They began sharing the now popular link “Why I Go to Church on Saturday.” This was on a Saturday.  By the end of the next day (Sunday), the site had close to 8,621 visitors spanning the two days. Add to the mix, 20 individuals signed up for Bible studies. All this with just a “click” of the mouse. Here’s what followed on the days after. Saturday: 3,234 visitors Sunday: 5387 visitors Monday: 1158 visitors Tuesday: 2550 visitors Wednesday: 3509 visitors Thursday: 1356 visitors Friday: 1065 visitors Total: 18,259 visitors (1 week)   This is the kind of phenomena that’s only shared at...

Informed Adventists: News & Perspectives Mar24

Informed Adventists: News & Perspectives...

President Obama is slated to meet with Pope Francis this Thursday. Interesting to note, young Barack Obama’s drive for pro-social initiatives found its roots with Roman Catholicism (nothing conspiratorial). President Obama is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis later this week in Europe. The political left and right within the US are finding common ground with the current pope. The Supreme Court will hear the cases of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties on Tuesday (3/25). The two companies believe it’s within their right to refuse compliance with the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.  Two editorials–one, more informative; and the other, a blog decidedly against the position of the two companies–bring up some interesting points. The United States has implemented economic sanctions (or penalties) on a number of Russia’s financial elite, government officials, and others widely considered to be a part of President Putin’s inner circle. The intent of the sanctions is to get Putin and the Russian government to backtrack from their annexation of Crimea. President Obama is also seeking to persuade Europe to follow his lead with additional punitive sanctions. Economic sanctions typically have to do with powerful nations imposing financial penalties on weaker nations. They’re often implemented to curb the undesired behavior or actions of certain states (Iran, Russia, etc.). This type of strategy–the execution of economic disincentives–has implications for Seventh-day Adventists (think Rev 13). It’s not far-fetched to think a day will arrive when a similar strategy could be imposed on persons or the general citizenry, as opposed to nation-states. No, this isn’t some grand conspiracy (I’m decidedly against conspiracy theories). Nor do the actions of the US and Russia relate directly to Adventists. Just something to think...

Reinventing Adventist Cuisine: The Hot Dog Mar06

Reinventing Adventist Cuisine: The Hot Dog

Adventists have tried for years to impact the world. First of all, with our message, arguably the MOST important contribution of Adventism (Read Revelation 14). But, we also want to impact society with our FOOD. In this endeavor, we lag FAR behind. The New Agers, Buddhists, Hippies–in my opinion, they’re one or two notches above our game. We believe this needs to change. Now. And we can have fun doing it too because Adventists should be happy people, enjoying life while making God our Center. Before you watch the video below, be sure to read Amy Sheppard’s blog. Or, you can read it after. It’s the inspiration behind our wonderful evening. Enjoy! (p.s. click & watch in...

Women’s Ordination: The Underlying Issue Feb28

Women’s Ordination: The Underlying Issue...

  By Sikhu. A leader in ministry and speaker at GYC shares her thoughts on Women’s Ordination, and the underlying issue at stake. “So, what are your thoughts on the whole Women’s Ordination (W.O.) debate as a graduate of a top women’s college who is currently enrolled at the top Adventist Seminary?”   In spite of everything, I actually thought I could navigate my way past the whole W.O. debate and avoid the conversation altogether. But just a few short weeks into my studies, I was forced to confront it when one of my classes required me to write a paper analyzing the arguments posited at the July, 2013 meeting of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC). Thankful it was not a position paper, and quite honestly, intimidated by the enormity of the task, I painstakingly took up the task with a keen awareness of its personal significance. My conclusion after that project, much reflection and countless conversations with students, professors, men and women in ministry of various persuasions, is that we are not even having the right conversation. How is it possible, that different individuals approaching the same text, come out with diametrically opposite conclusions? Read the papers for yourself and see what I mean! Now, when I have brought this up, some have been very quick to affirm that “both sides” of the debate have a high respect for Scripture. By the way, as the conversation stands, there are more sides than just two on this. But it is a useful simplification to say there is the camp in support of W.O. and those opposed to it although each camp has a spectrum of positions. With all the theological conversation about hermeneutics, beginning in particular with the Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics...

Arizona Anti-Gay Bill: Yay or Nay? Feb26

Arizona Anti-Gay Bill: Yay or Nay?...

A recent Arizona bill, vetoed on Wednesday (2/26/14), would have allowed businesses to refuse service to homosexuals and others on religious grounds. The measure also gained national attention. Even Apple (the makers of your iPhone) got involved. There were Superbowl ramifications.  How were Christians to position themselves on this one? On the one hand, to support the bill would be discriminatory towards homosexuals. I can understand refusing to, say, be a photographer at a gay wedding, but what about selling them a bar of soap? On the other, to not support the bill could imply a tacit support of homosexuality. Failure of the measure might also render Christians unable to act upon their consciences. Several things to consider: SDA’s have traditionally NOT supported laws that would deny certain individuals/groups purchasing power on “religious grounds.” (Revelation 13) If you owned a floral shop, would you refuse business to homosexuals who are planning their wedding? Should you get prosecuted for it? We must stand firm against legislation that deny individuals their  freedom of conscience, even if that means protecting the freedoms of non-Christians. Generally speaking. Bear in mind there aren’t always easy answers to these complex issues. By God’s grace, let’s avoid getting caught up in the rhetoric of the extreme right or left. God’s ways are ultimately not man’s ways. Or government’s ways. In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to see how measures like this will pan out in other states considering similar laws.   ...

6 Reasons For Supper Clubs...

By Amy Lee Sheppard. There is a common experience among many Seventh-day Adventist young adults–perhaps young professionals and graduate students particularly. As they embark on the new phase of life that is more adult than not, they often move to a new town or city and join a new local church. And it doesn’t take long to realize that something is different. Maybe they are the only young adult at their new church. Or maybe they just left an Adventist mecca where everything was about reaching the young Adventists, and now suddenly that isn’t the focus of their new congregation. Or maybe they were part of a tight knit community of Adventists at a secular university, but find that type of community lacking in their new church “home.” Resonate with this? Let me share with you a solution to the discouragement that often results from the above scenarios (and many others) that a couple of friends and I stumbled upon a couple of years ago. I had recently moved following my graduation from law school and fell prey to the feeling of isolation in my new town. The solution? Supper club. It worked for us; here is why I think it will work for you too.   1. People need to eat It’s a simple reality of life. In order to keep running, our bodies need fuel, in the form of calories, consumed through real food. As young adults, though, we often are too busy/tired/lazy to cook ourselves a good meal–or even go grocery shopping. But we still need to eat, and most people, introverted or extroverted, prefer not to eat alone. It was discussing this conundrum–the need to eat and socialize versus the business/laziness continuum that my friend Laura and I first thought...

Biblical Inspiration: Culture or Revelation? Feb14

Biblical Inspiration: Culture or Revelation?...

by Jay Gallimore Adventists have always believed that more and more truth will burst from the Bible. In our search for truth, loving-kindness toward each other must always prevail. So in a spirit of charity toward all I address this sensitive issue.  The World Church, in its General Conference (GC), has voted twice not to allow the ordination of women to the office of elder/minister. This was not because the GC saw women and men as created unequal, but because of divine order assigning different roles to the genders. Once again the issue is being urged. So the GC has invited all of its divisions to give input on the matter. Just for the record: the Michigan Conference policy on ordination supports the voted policy of the GC. So this article is not about ordination or its pros and cons!1 Yet this topic has recently brought a larger matter to the forefront that will affect a lot of issues as you will see. That matter is “the methods of Bible study” often called hermeneutics. Since the methods of Bible study affect everything we believe, it would be perilous to ignore them! For instance, have you ever shared the Sabbath with someone only to have them say, “Well, that is your interpretation?” Using the Bible’s own methods to study the Bible is what gave birth to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They are as critical to the search for truth now as they were then! At the North American Division’s (NAD) 2013 Year-End meeting, the NAD Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) gave its report. Most of the members of the committee favored the ordination of women. They based their support on a “principle–based-historical-cultural” hermeneutic. Some other divisions’ TOSC’s have reached the opposite conclusion based on the historical understanding...

Witnessing to the WWW’s (Part 1) Jan23

Witnessing to the WWW’s (Part 1)

Witnessing to the Wealthy, Worldly, & Well Educated. By David Kim. David D. Kim is an Adventist business executive. After earning his MBA from Stanford University, he built a career in business strategy as a management consultant with Bain & Company. He is now a senior executive at the Vanguard Group, a global investment company. David has a passion for reaching the highly educated and accomplished in the corporate world. David lives with his wife, Grace, and his children, Solomon and Claire, in the Philadelphia area. David Kim presented a series of seminars at this year’s GYC (2013) on the need for witnessing to the wealthy, worldly, and well educated (WWW), and provided practical steps for witnessing to this particular demographic. Below is part 1 of his much anticipated Powerpoint slides. If you missed his intriguing presentations, you can access his seminars and plenary session at the links provided below and follow along with the slides: Seminars (5 total) Plenary (1 total)   Download (PDF, Unknown)...

Witnessing to the WWW’s (Part 2) Jan23

Witnessing to the WWW’s (Part 2)...

Witnessing to the Wealthy, Worldly, & Well Educated. By David Kim. David D. Kim is an Adventist business executive. After earning his MBA from Stanford University, he built a career in business strategy as a management consultant with Bain & Company. He is now a senior executive at the Vanguard Group, a global investment company. David has a passion for reaching the highly educated and accomplished in the corporate world. David lives with his wife, Grace, and his children, Solomon and Claire, in the Philadelphia area. David Kim presented a series of seminars at this year’s GYC (2013) on the need for witnessing to the wealthy, worldly, and well educated (WWW), and provided practical steps for witnessing to this particular demographic. Below is part 2 of his much anticipated Powerpoint slides. If you missed his intriguing presentations, you can access his seminars and plenary session at the links provided below and follow along with the slides: Seminars (5 total) Plenary (1 total)   Download (PDF,...

Top Religious Liberty Stories from 2013 Jan10

Top Religious Liberty Stories from 2013...

by Steve Allred Survey the news, and I think you’ll agree that, were he with us today, the Apostle Paul would probably conclude that we are living in the “last days”, if the passage below is any indication of what he thought. Here’s what he wrote: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4, KJV). And in fact, the year 2013 was a particularly “perilous” one for people of faith in our world – most of the danger and persecution caused by people fitting the description in Paul’s epistle. Religious freedom and liberty of conscience suffered. Christians were persecuted and killed. Religious Liberty on the International Scene In an interview late last year, John Allen noted that to “the ordinary American, when you talk about religious persecution, they think it’s about whether you can pray before a football game. The global situation is something most folks never thought about before…” Is there a war on Christians in America? Allen replies, “To the extent that there is a war on religion in America, it’s a metaphorical war — in court, pop culture, on front pages. There is a lot of stuff religious believers find worrying and threatening, but no one is getting shot for their faith. What frustrates me is, there are really people being shot for their faith. In the States, a threat to your religious freedom means you might...

Amazing Thanksgiving Recipes...

VEGAN TURKEY   Are you a vegetarian that’s tired of using Tofurkey and don’t have the skills to make a fake turkey of your own?  The GARDIN, in my opinion, is the best option out there for veggie turkey.  Overall, this is the best way to do turkey because it’s pretty fast, it tastes good, and it’s an all-inclusive veggie product. For our meal we glazed it with honey (1/4 cup), soy sauce (2 teaspoons), lemon juice of a lemon, and orange zest of an orange.  Cook it until it reduces by half. We plated it over a thinly sliced potato and steamed carrots and green beans. For the gravy, we used the packet sauce and cooked it in the pot where we made the glaze.  We added and handful of wild mushrooms (add your favorite), and heated until mushrooms were cooked.      HOLIDAY TRIO Inspired by an article on Thanksgiving, we wanted to ensure that this year’s holiday meal had more fresh foods, healthier portions, and non-traditional components that included our Mexican and Korean backgrounds.  We made three dishes: Mock Chicken Wings in a Saffron-Pomegranate Glaze with a Mole Sauce and Jicama Kimchi on a homemade tortilla chip Mock Chicken Wings in a spicy Korean Barbecue Glaze with fresh Mexican Chayote Squash and radish Mock Turkey in a Honey-Lemon Glaze with traditional Wild Mushroom Gravy on a fried potato and steamed carrots and green beans Mole Growing up, Mole was one of my favorite mexican dishes.  It’s dark color, and earthy taste somehow reminds me of the Harvest Season.  I thought that pomegranate was a good fruit to use in a glaze for several reasons.  First, it reminded me of my childhood days when we used to eat them from my Aunt’s backyard tree.  Secondly, it...

Ellen White’s: Thanksgiving TOP 10...

Ellen G. White said a few things about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the holidays in general. Inspired by the writings of Ellen White, below is Bonder’s Top 10 list in regards to Thanksgiving and the holiday season. In the meantime, GO Tofurky!!! Top 10 10. Thanksgiving shouldn’t be patterned after the world in the indulgence of secular amusements, pleasures, and revelry (examples mentioned: horse races, gambling, smoking, and drunkenness). 9. The focus of gift-giving shouldn’t be centered upon giving to those from whom we expect to receive. Hmmm… 8. Holidays should be observed, especially if you have children. Make holidays, she says, as “interesting as possible;” and also “happy” and “pleasurable.” Failure to do so may bring dissatisfaction to children. 7. Don’t be lazy! Make the holiday season worthwhile. Do something positive! (Avoid food coma?) 6. EGW’s personal practice was to accept gifts on condition she was at liberty to use or give it to God’s cause (i.e., missions, etc.). 5. Reflect upon the past year of your life.  Are you making the most of it?  In God’s eyes? 4. Don’t make Thanksgiving (holidays) about YOU.  Make it about God, and be thankful for His abundant mercies. 3. Eat a plain dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Ouch! 2. Use the holidays as an opportunity to help and assist the poor and needy.  She says, “If a feast is to be made, let it be for those who are in need;” and “make [the poor] feel they are doing us a favor by receiving our gifts and sympathy.” How cool is that?   1. EAT TOFURKY!! (Or would you prefer Dinner Roast?) TOP 10 List taken from: Adventist Home, pp. 472-476.  You’ll find the above tips and pointers, and so much more.   Happy...

2013 SEASON CLOSER

This year, Team Revolution has a lot to be thankful for.  Our 47 athletes, mainly from Michigan but also across the country, participated in well over 100 races representing our team.  This amazing group of mission athletes consists of runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes, and this year, we brought in over $10,000 in donations that will primarily go towards supporting our mission trip and our mission partner:  Amazon Lifesavers. In April, we had our Season Kick-off at the Adventist Community Service Center in Lansing, Michigan.  There was an optional group run, food, and a preview of what our year would look like.  We also encouraged our athletes to write out their fitness goals for the season.  We were excited to announce our title sponsor, Genstler Eye Center, and our other team sponsors, CAMPUS, Sterling State Bank, and ARISE/Lightbearers.  A huge thank you to these organizations for their support! Before the season began, Tennille Shin and Judy Ramos took a trip to Brazil to meet with the directors of Amazon Lifesavers, an Adventist ministry that reaches out to the river-dwellers living along the Amazon basin.  At the Kick-off, Tennille shared a mission report and the exciting details of our mission partnership.  Our team is planning to go on a mission trip to the Amazon next year during the week of Thanksgiving.  The goal of this trip is to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to those in need.  Here is a video tutorial they made from their trip. During our TR season, athletes proudly wore their uniforms at the races of their choice.  They also had the option of creating their own donation pages via our team website if they wanted to find race sponsors.  Throughout the season, we had team events ranging from training workshops to...

ARE THESE THINGS SO? Nov22

ARE THESE THINGS SO?

Sermons and presentations by Randy Skeete. The resurrection of Jesus Christ: on this, Christianity rests. If He didn’t rise again, nothing else matters — our faith is futile. The Bible is made up of historical events that actually took place. Unlike Greek mythology that derives lessons for living based on fiction, the Bible states that Jesus actually rose again from the dead. And if He rose from the dead, then He had to have died. And if He died, He must have lived. In the first of five sermons that Randy Skeete preaches at the University Seventh-day Adventist Church, he preaches not just on the historicity of the resurrection of Christ – the easiest miracle to prove in reference to the life of Christ – but on the power of that resurrection. Christ raised Himself from the dead. It is this Man, who is also God, that says, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” Unless your problem is bigger than death itself, Christ can bear it; He can solve it. You can also access sermons 2-5 below: Sermon 2 (Our Man in Heaven) Sermon 3 (The Power of Our Prince) Sermon 4 (Do You See What I See?) Sermon 5 (The Numbers Don’t Add Up) Sabbath (Hand in Hand)...

America’s “War on Christians”? Nov21

America’s “War on Christians”?...

By Steve Allred Should Adventists join forces with (and partake in the rhetoric of) politicized Christian groups in support of making the United States more Christian and moral? Should this be our point of emphasis as we approach the soon return of Jesus? Steve Allred explores these questions and more.   Many of my Adventist friends are concerned with what they perceive to be the increasing secularization of popular culture in the United States today. Like many other sincere Christians, they express concern that Christianity will one day become a hated and persecuted sect in America and that this will be the result of our government coming under the control of secular and atheistic politicians. Awhile back, I even had a friend hint to me that he used to believe in the end of time scenario described in Revelation 13 and The Great Controversy, but that the way things were looking now it was the secularists who were going to be the enemies of God’s end-time people, not the religious folks.  I suspect my friend had been spending more time listening to talk radio than to the word of God. Will Popular Christianity Ever Become Extinct in America? While I too am concerned that irreligion and sin are becoming more rampant and increasingly acceptable in our world, and realize that some of this is a sign of the last days (see 2 Tim. 3:1-4), I still believe that a form of false Christianity will take over American politics before the second coming of Jesus. Instead of atheistic secularists persecuting religious people at the end of time, the Bible paints a starkly different picture of the end-time protagonists. It predicts that there will be an increase in popular religiosity at the end of time – people “having a form...

“An Education” Nov16

“An Education”...

By Shauna Chung. “Ask me any question about America, and I’ll give you an answer,” I told my third grade students (9th grade US) one day.  In order to encourage more conversation practice in English, I opted for a fun class dedicated to cultural discussion rather than a standard, lecture-based lesson. “Teacher, what are pajama parties?”  “Do all Americans carry guns?”  “Tell us about American humor!” “Have you been to Las Vegas?”  “What’s the most delicious food?”  “What music is popular?”  “American dramas and TV!  Are they fun?”  “Do you drive a car?” After dispelling the notion that all Americans are gun-waving, obese, cheese burger-eating, gypsy-like hooligans, I proceeded to answer their questions in as much detail as possible, throwing the same questions back for them to answer about Korea.  My students sat spellbound as I explained the concept of teenage girls getting together just to paint their nails, eat junk food, dress in light pink flannel, and watch romantic comedies.  They roared with laughter as I demonstrated the different accents represented across the States, parodied the ridiculous slow-motion scenes of Korean dramas, and described the culture shock I felt when I first came to their country.  We continued in light conversation, discussing everything from sarcasm to bus etiquette, until we broached the subject of school. “What time school finish?” they asked in broken English repeatedly as if this question weighed the heaviest in their minds. “Typically, school finishes at 3pm,” I explained with hesitation in my voice.  I couldn’t understand why this matter was so urgent. “Then, students go to Academy?” they inquired, a look of confusion plastered on each face. “What’s Academy?” I asked. “After school, we study.  We learn English, math, science from tutors,” they said matter-of-factly.  “American students do what?” I...

Transcending Triviality Nov15

Transcending Triviality...

By Sebastien Braxton Peter Berger describes secular society as a “world without windows;” a world of repressive triviality unable to embrace the transcendent.  However, this isn’t to say that secularity necessarily impedes momentous social action. Secularists challenge all manner of social ills from oppression of human life to government corruption, from corporate exploitation to social inequality.  But their challenges fail to question the most fundamental assumption of secularity–that there is nothing but the here and now. The “world without windows” bars not only  hope of a new and better world to come, but also the possibility of assistance from a greater and more powerful Source in the world we live. The secularists’ may throw a spotlight on the most down trodden. They may even instigate the passing of legislation to restrict malevolent men and women. However, secularists’ efforts never go beyond addressing the symptoms of evil, into addressing why evil exists; they never venture beyond transient external parameters to God’s ability to transform human hearts. When Christians operate within the broader society – whether it’s on university campuses, in secular businesses, or in our interactions with government – we bring with us a worldview based on changing lives that transcend the parameters of this world, and we bring with us a source of inspiration, hope, and unimaginable power to make that change. William Wilberforce, the man credited with ending the slave trade within the British Empire was not only inspired in his quest by his God, but appealed to God’s power to achieve his goal. Similarly, Reverend Martin Luther King not only employed religious language, but the power behind it. Bono inspires the world to greater social engagement – inspired by his faith and appealing to the Author of that faith. Similarly, all over the world today, millions of Christians are engaging their societies with...

What Is Bonders?

Too many Adventists live in a bubble, disconnected, even oblivious to what’s taking place in the world. Consequently, society knows very little about SDAs, other than the fact we’re healthy, live long, and have unique views on prophecy. This is great, but they must know more. We need to engage the world. It’s time for society to become acquainted with our perspectives, our worldview, our philosophy on life, and the cosmos. But, in order to interact with society at this level we must also be engaged and informed. We need to know what’s taking place, what people are thinking. Society’s pulse. Furthermore, we need more daring, thought provoking Adventists to share our biblical worldview in regards to life and society, its woes and concerns. We need Daniel’s and Joseph’s in a secular society. We must live in the world, yet remain distinct from it. BONDERS, was created to unite Bible believing, Adventist communities for the single purpose of taking our message to the world–not by shoving truth down their throats, but by interaction with it. In addition, BONDERS serves as a venue that allies various ministries in order to build unity, cooperation, and synergy. In the near future BONDERS will continue to facilitate ministry in a number of ways. Conferences and retreats will be organized and global missions will take place nationally and internationally. Furthermore, our website (bonders.org) will continue to expand, and Team Revolution will increase it’s local impact nationally. The Second Advent of Jesus is near. It’s time to reveal to the world what it means to reflect Jesus in our lives. We are to be the salt of the world....

Atrocious Hermeneutics in the Pulpit Nov08

Atrocious Hermeneutics in the Pulpit

YES, it’s been pretty bad of late. Recently, there’s been growing concern by many over the inaccurate interpretation of Scripture by various Adventist ministries and popular speakers.  This isn’t to say these blunders are done with the intent to mislead or that they will lead listeners towards damnation. Nevertheless, something needs to be said because many sincere Adventists are modeling their interpretive techniques after such speakers, and this isn’t a good thing.  Let’s keep in mind that incorrect interpretation, in part, led the Jews to reject Jesus, and at the end of time many sincere Christians may be led astray because of their failure to interpret prophecy accurately. Moreover, these hermeneutical blunders aren’t just taking place with “liberals,” but I would argue it’s just as rampant with conservatives. As you’ll see, objectionable interpretations are often made by the best of us. I’ll point out a few of them now.   Hermeneutical Blunders   1. “Feeling it” doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  Just because you’re in the “zone” when studying Scripture doesn’t necessarily mean what’s being revealed is absolute truth.  I had one of my best, most intense Bible studies when I inadvertently drank a caffeinated beverage.  The Bible study lasted until 3am, which was around the time I became suspicious of the “inspiration” I was feeling.  I recognized that the source of my vibrancy wasn’t from God!  Likewise, just because you’re having strong (dare I say, holy) feelings associated with your Bible study doesn’t necessarily mean your interpretation is originating from God.  It could be the figment of your imagination.  Ellen White makes the point in this way.  “Impressions alone are not a safe guide. . . The enemy often persuades men to believe that it is God who is guiding them, when in reality they are following only human impulse” (AA 287).   2. Common mistakes using Strong’s Concordance.  Many Bible students look up various words (i.e., sanctification, love, etc.) using their concordance and subconsciously place an equal sign between every instance that word is used in the Bible.  Then they assume some obscure usage of the color “red” in the book of Genesis is somehow connected to the color “red” in the book of Revelation.  This is a fatal error.  Furthermore, just because it’s the same English word in the Strong’s Concordance doesn’t mean it’s the same Greek or Hebrew word used in the original.  So, to make an interpretive connection when it’s not even the same original word is a mistake!  Finally, the KJV is not more original, or more accurate than the original manuscripts.  It’s a translation.  So don’t arbitrarily connect words in the KJV that aren’t the same words in the original languages.   3. Just because it’s truth, doesn’t mean it’s true.  The health message, or one’s more “Adventist” view on the nature of Christ, the nature of sin, etc. is not, I repeat, NOT found in every verse of Scripture.  I’ve seen people weave the health message into verses that have nothing to do with the health message.  Let the Scriptures speak for themselves (exegesis).  Don’t impose a meaning on Scripture that isn’t there (eisegesis).  Let the passages that deal explicitly with the health message speak to the issue of health.  Let’s not get mystical and allegorical in how we interpret Scripture.  Don’t go looking for truths you’ve discovered in the Spirit of Prophecy and make out that every verse of the Bible is stating that truth!  That’s just irresponsible.   4. How you feel about a biblical event or symbol isn’t how the ancients would’ve felt it, necessarily.  Don’t read into Scripture how you as an American living in the 21st century would understand any given situation or symbol of the Bible.  The very first step in interpreting Scripture accurately is to establish what a given book would have meant to its original audience.  Keep in mind that Scripture is first and foremost composed of historical books that took...

Reading Historical Context into Scripture Nov08

Reading Historical Context into Scripture...

By Tanner Martin. INTRODUCTION In an age dominated by Historical Criticism, one of the most challenging tasks facing modern expositors of Scripture is that of properly using historical data in Biblical Hermeneutics. Excessive emphasis upon historical context is being used by some scholars to undercut the inspiration of Scripture, leading to the position that the Scriptures were created simply as a product of Israel’s experience and surroundings. This critical view is known as Historicism, and it represents a sizable threat to Christianity today. It is therefore crucial that expositors of Scripture avoid this pitfall by finding a balanced use of historical information in hermeneutics. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the value of historical context and evaluate the role that it should play in Scriptural interpretation, with a special emphasis upon refuting the position of Historicism. For the bulk of the history of the Christian church, comparatively little attention was paid to the subject of historical context in hermeneutics. In the early centuries of the church, a number of Alexandrian scholars, including Origen and Clement, popularized a method of interpreting Scripture in a fanciful, allegorical manner with, at most, minimal regard to the literal historical context of Scripture.1 This methodology evolved into a four-part interpretive system that became the primary hermeneutical vehicle of the Roman Catholic Church for a millennium.² While allegorizing may have sufficed for Catholic theologians, such methodology was entirely repugnant to the Protestant reformers. They developed the concept of the Collegia Biblica, or a compendium of proof-texts that supported the various Protestant doctrines.3 This systematization of theology, in which Scriptures were ripped from their historical context and listed categorically to prove doctrine, became the mainstay of Protestant Christian theology until the dawn of the Enlightenment. With the rise of Rationalism...

Keeping Church at Arm’s Length From State Nov07

Keeping Church at Arm’s Length From State...

By Ted N.C. Wilson. A U.S. federal appeals court right now is considering whether for-profit businesses can be exempted from a contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act — a mandate that is tantamount to a “war on Christianity” by the Obama administration, according to at least one elected official. A Christian in Pakistan was sentenced to life imprisonment in July 2013 for the crime of blasphemy. With no actual evidence presented at his trial. Earlier this year there was a proposal in North Carolina to allow the state to declare an official religion. What do these three situations have in common? They’re all current examples of things that go wrong when either the government wrongly asserts itself into religious issues or the church tries to break down barriers (or makes powerful accusations against the government) in an attempt to exert improper influence on the business of the state. While the above just scratch the surface, it’s no exaggeration to say that if you’ve paid much attention to the news during the last few decades, you can be forgiven for assuming that some religious organizations believe a primary purpose of government is to legislate more religion into public life. From prayer in public schools to religious imagery in courtrooms to national elections, some religious groups in America have repeatedly sought to influence various sectors of government to enshrine particular principles. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist church and for each and every one of those years Adventists have been a minority voice strongly advocating for greater separation between church and state – exactly the opposite of what many have come to expect from organized religions in this country. During the Civil War, that meant taking a stand for conscientious objection...

AWE & WORSHIP

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:1-3) The Story Jesus has just finished preaching the greatest sermon ever.  His philosophy is so radical and counter-influencial to the norms of the time and to the scribes’ powerless religiosity that the crowd responds with awe and amazement.  Christ’s message has made such an impact on the listeners that they become instant followers.  When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. As the scene changes from the mountain to the valley, a new figure emerges.  The text does not indicate whether or not this man had heard the words of Christ on the mountain — it only describes him as a leper seeking healing. The Question The story begs the question: Could it be that there are those who follow Christ, are in His very presence, partake of the privilege that His presence provides: astonishment, and yet miss the greatest blessing that His presences ought to bring? The Differences It is important to note the difference between the leper and the crowd.  Both of them are in the presence of Christ, but the crowd is following Him.  In other words, the crowd has been with Him.  The leper, on the other hand, is only now coming to Jesus.  The crowd is following Christ because they are astonished.  The leper is coming to Christ because he wants to worship Him. The Lessons It is possible to “follow” Christ, be in His presence, and yet not worship Him.  Although worship and awe are often closely associated, it is dreadful to mistake them for being the same thing.  To be in awe of God is not worship.  It can be part of worship.  It can lead to worship.  It can result from worship, but seeking the presence of God and following purely out of astonishment misses the bigger picture.  It is true, God craves our presence more than anything else in this world.  He proved this very point by cashing out heaven’s bank account for this very possibility.  However, more important than being in the presence of Christ is worshipping Him — taking advantage of the opportunity that being in His presence brings.  God desires our presence because His presence is supposed to transform us from sick people, to those who walk in newness of life. The ultimate difference between the leper who worships and the crowd who seeks Christ’s presence is that the leper’s outcome is transformation while the crowd is simply more astonished.  To be content with astonishment — even the astonishment of Christ — is to miss out in the greater blessing that God seeks to bestow. The Appeal  Seventh-day Adventists need to evaluate whether our worship is producing personal transformation.  Otherwise, no matter how much we talk about Jesus, how much we claim that we are in His presence, how strongly we believe ourselves to be His followers; we are slowly dying of thirst while in the very presence of the Spring of Living...

A CLOSE LOOK AT THE ADVENTIST MIND Oct27

A CLOSE LOOK AT THE ADVENTIST MIND

It is always important to consider the roots of our thinking. Fernando Canale Early in the 21st century, Adventism faces deep and entrenched doctrinal divisions. Gradually, scholars, theologians, religious leaders, and believers have come to experience Adventism as a cultural/religious rather than a theological phenomenon. Imperceptibly, church leaders accommodate Adventist life and mission to the evolving theologies, liturgies, and ministerial paradigms of American evangelical culture. Consequently, evangelical theologies and practices are increasingly shaping Adventist thinking. Is the apparent “Protestantization” of Adventism real? If so, how did it come to exist? Should Adventists be concerned about it? Do church leaders recognize its existence? Should we affirm and promote this long-held Adventist tradition, or should we deconstruct and overcome it? What is the role of theologians, pastors, and professors preparing new generations of leaders in Adventist seminaries and universities around the world? Adventist leadership is experiencing a conflict of self-understanding. Officially, Adventist leaders continue to affirm biblical doctrines with their brains, while evangelical theologies and practices progressively shape their hearts and actions. This growing ambiguity represents a stark turnabout from the experience of early Adventist pioneers who, dissatisfied with traditional Protestant theologies, decided to follow their own understanding of scriptural truth and abandoned their evangelical denominations to become the remnant church. A Working Definition of Protestantism In this article, the word Protestantism is used to describe the theological system and ministerial paradigm of the segment of Christianity that in the 16th century broke away for the Roman Catholic Church on the doctrine of justification by faith based on the sola scriptura, sola gratia, and sola fide principles. Protestantism centers on the doctrine of justification by faith, the article on which the church stands or falls. The way in which Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jacobus Arminius understood these principles and theological center produced a worldview that differs slightly from that of Roman Catholicism. Yet, as Catholic leadership predicted, the Protestant system of theology spun a multiplicity of incompatible theological projects (Denominationalism). Within this general context, I use the word Evangelicalism to refer to the coalition of American denominations that in spite of their doctrinal differences agree on the principles and center of the Magisterial Reformation, and with the Roman Catholic interpretation of the ontological and metaphysical conditions of the principle of theological hermeneutics. Protestantization of Adventism and Theological Method The Protestantization of Adventism is a phenomenon that springs from the theological methodology used by Adventist leaders. Theology seeks the “understanding of God.” Theological method is the process through which one seeks to understand God. Method requires a material to work with, a pattern to process the material, and an end to provide it with direction and purpose. In theological parlance, the material condition of method corresponds with the issue of revelation-inspiration. The formal condition of method corresponds with hermeneutics. And the final condition of method corresponds with the subject matter of theology. The material condition refers to the revealed sources of theology. The material principle of Protestant and American evangelical theological methodology (classical, modernist, and postmodern) is not the sola, tota, and prima scripturaprinciple, but the principle of multiple revealed sources that they received uncritically from the Roman Catholic theological system. Emerging from the profound dissatisfaction of American believers with the conflicting doctrines of traditional Protestant denominations, Seventh-day Adventist pioneers adopted the sola, tota, and prima scriptura principle as the material principle of their theological methodology. Consequently, they were critical of tradition (deconstruction) and thought doctrine from scriptural foundations. We should notice that they inherited this belief (Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief 1) not from the Magisterial Reformers but from the English Connection. In theological methodology, the formal condition stands next to and depends upon the material condition. The formal condition consists of the macro-hermeneutical principles necessary to interpret Scripture and to construct the system of Christian theology (ontology, cosmology, and metaphysics). Evangelicals have never used Scripture to define their macro-hermeneutical principles. Instead, they have implicitly assumed the philosophical principles of Plato and Aristotle as retrieved by Augustine...

SERMON: TEST ME IN THIS...

Ronald Wayne drives a Chevy sedan and lives just outside of Las Vegas, NV.  He lives in a prefabricated home out in the desert.  He collects his social security check every month.  If you lived near him and visited the casinos regularly, you would most likely see him there also trying to strike it rich. He is one of the greatest “what if” stories ever. If you were to look through the history of Apple Inc., the great computer company founded by guru Steve Jobs, you would find a sheet of paper containing three names.  One of those names is Ronald Wayne.  Wayne gave up his share of the company for a total of $2,300.00.  Now, his share is worth well over $35 billion. In his sermon at the University Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor David Shin has a simple, yet very profound message for us today:  hold on to your share.  Invest in heaven.  Do not sell.  Watch it here:...

Youth Leadership: A Call for A Third Model

By Justin Kim. Youth ministry has become a laboratory to experiment with different approaches and options.  Today’s models range from variations of social outreach to blatant entertainment.  Though well-meaning, the adoption of these models by some youth leaders has plunged the church into a crisis, leaving many youth disillusioned and desperately looking for spiritual leadership and direction.  This article is my personal testimony.  It explains why I have chosen to dedicate my life to a different kind of youth ministry.   The Models Social Outreach Model.  This model of youth ministry stems from the remnants of liberation theologies and sociological theories.  The basic tenet here is that either God is dead or inert.  Because the divine no longer intervenes on the social level, the church is left on its own to defend humanity from its evils, ameliorate the sufferings of humankind, and employ every individual, especially the youth, to propagate, defend, and amplify these ideas to a revolution. Examples from this model for youth ministry include the German Nazi Youth societies, communist youth camps, the American peace and civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, green associations interested in environmental reform, and myriads of other causes for social justice and outreach.  Many stem from the post-millennial theories of the second advent of Christ.  The social outreach model of youth ministry manifests itself in the local church through a variety of forms, but the underlying purpose is to keep youth busy doing something—never mind what they are busy doing. The Entertainment Model.  This latter model of youth ministry stems from the remnants of postmodern theologies and ecumenical developments.  Unlike the previous model that sees God as disconnected, the basic tent in the entertainment model is that God is über-connected – everywhere.  Sometimes mirroring unashamed pantheistic sentiments, the church is forced to engage all other ecclesial bodies and to conclude that divinity can be found anywhere in any form at any time for any individual.  As a result, every medium under the sun is acceptable, baptized with some spiritual seasoning, and produced as religion’s answer to capitalism. Examples from this model of youth ministry include the Contemporary Christian Music movement and its peripheral “ministries,” doctrinal justification or exegesis of methods from Hollywood, modern American evangelicalism, ecumenical dialogues of world churches, the New Age movement, the occult, the Charismatic Pentecostalism, the Emergent movement, and any other form of entertainment that has been baptized or prayed over.  The entertainment model of youth ministry manifests itself in a local church through a variety of forms, but the underlying purpose is to keep youth in the church by any means necessary.   The Crisis As a result of the adoption of these models of youth ministry—social outreach and entertainment models—the church is in crisis.  Rather than understanding its unique historical and missiological heritage and anticipating the church’s progress into the future, the church has come to a stand-still.  Visions and models for ministry have been borrowed by institutions of different heritages and ambitions.  Theologies have been blurred or befuddled.  Heritages have been forgotten.  Progress has lost momentum.  Ultimately, the value of and burden for souls has been lost. To compensate for the loss of its identity and mission, the church uses sparkles and fireworks to create the illusion of the dynamicity of the ideal body of Christ.  In the meantime, one of the church’s most valuable investments is waning within the church.  It is not the number or quantity of young people that this article is concerned about, but rather the quality of individual young people that is waning and the future of the church leadership at stake.   The Testimony Similar to the story of Timothy, my mother and grandmother were committed Seventh-day Adventists, while my father was not until baptized when I was younger.  I was a nominal Adventist throughout my elementary years in public education.  My spiritual bent challenged me to...

Should Christians Be Patriotic? Oct09

Should Christians Be Patriotic?...

By Andy Im. In the United States there’s an intensifying movement towards nationalism, defined by one dictionary as “patriotic feelings, principles, or efforts marked by feelings of superiority over other countries.”  Nationalism, in its extreme form, led Nazi Germany to consider themselves greater than other nations, a doctrine that contributed, in part, to the Second World War.   Nationalism, the notion that we’re better than others because of the country or race we belong to must be rejected because it’s frankly, unbiblical.  In addition, nationalism finds it impetus in the intrinsic desire of human beings to regard themselves as superior to others.  This, the Bible unequivocally condemns as wrong.   As Christians we must be ever careful not to get caught up in the blind patriotism of the day.  We must be mindful that our citizenship–in the truest sense–does not belong to the United States or any country for that matter.  Even the race we’re born into shouldn’t constitute our primary identity—or the basis of our ego and pride.  I cringe when I hear fellow countrymen speak of “Korean pride.”   Christians are urged by the apostle Paul not to put “confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3) and to esteem others “more significant than [ourselves]” (Phil 2:3).  The apostle had reason to boast of his upbringing, his cultural heritage, national identity, and racial makeup (3:4-6), but he made an intentional decision to forsake those things and “suffer loss,” because for him those things were “dudu” (vs. 8).   And let’s not forget why Lucifer became the devil.  He succumbed to pride because he had reasons to be proud; his wisdom became corrupted because he had splendor worth boasting about (Ezek 28:17).  He allowed his talents, abilities, and status—to get to his head, much like...

Two In One: Denominational & Self-supporting Ministry Oct02

Two In One: Denominational & Self-supporting Ministry...

In the history of Adventism, there are several instances where self-supporting work led the way in opening up opportunities for the church to do its work.   In 1848 at the five Sabbath Conferences, early Seventh-day Adventists began to understand the truths that formed some of Adventism’s core foundation.  Those who gathered felt a deep burden and responsibility to spread the message to others.  But they faced several major challenges.  First, their numbers were few.  How could a small group of people make a large impact; how could they make a significant impression on the hearts of those they were trying to reach?  The task was large.  The responsibility they felt was to preach the “Present Truth” – the fact that Christ was coming again for the second time, that the seventh-day Sabbath was still binding, the fullness of understanding the message of the third angel in Revelation 14, Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, and the non-immortality of the soul.  Their endeavor to teach others such necessary biblical truths was, indeed, a very large task.  Not only were their numbers few and their task large; but the small group of believers had another significant challenge to deal with: they were poor and widely separated.  They had very little means to sustain themselves and working together was challenging because they did not have the benefit of being close together.  All of the above combined to add, perhaps the biggest challenge of all: communication.   But the small band did not give up.  They accomplished their tasks as best as they could.  They did this in two key ways.  First, they did it through spoken word as they personally went out conducting visitations.  Secondly, when it was possible for them to do so, they preached....

Why Should I do Secular Campus Ministry? Sep20

Why Should I do Secular Campus Ministry?...

By: Sebastien Braxton Despite the large number of Seventh-day Adventist youth that attend secular colleges, an urgency fit for such times fails to grasp many conferences, pastors and churches. This urgency falls upon deaf ears not due to unwilling hearts (at least this writer hopes not) but often unawareness. In addition, some have even asked, “Why should I do secular campus ministry?”!  Mind you, this question is not raised by souls ignorant of Jesus’ commission in the book of Matthew or His last words to His disciples in Acts 1. The question emerges from the wearied hearts of youth bombarded with a cacophony of causes to invest their precious lives into. Public Campus Ministry (PCM), in the minds of some youth, competes with sex-trafficking, green movement, present-day crises across the world and even domestic inequities near the university they attend. With so many worthy choices before students, what compelling reasons could one give to these anxious youth? I call them the 8 P’s — here are the first three: The Past The first compelling reason to do PCM comes from history. A quick survey of the protestant reformation will lead one to perceive the power of ministry within an institution of learning diametrically opposed the principles of Christ. Almost every major reformer served as a professor at such an institution. John Wycliffe at Oxford, Martin Luther at the University of Wittenberg, Jan Huss at the University of Prague just to name a few. We often look to these bold and biblical leaders, who often met a martyrs death, as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Indeed, we are right to list them as such, however, their students were the mechanism. These students, nameless to us, foot soldiered these gospel professors’ messages within their motherlands and...

The Impact of Media Sep20

The Impact of Media

By Andy Im We’ve grown accustomed to knowing just about everything that takes place in the world because of the media (tv, internet, Facebook, etc.).  Daily, we learn of various events and tragedies, and very often minutes after they occur (think 9/11).  We’ve become gods, in a sense, omnipresent to the occurrences of the world.  And because we know, we’re also involved, butting our noses (though friendly) into the lives of others, their issues, and concerns whether it’s our business or not.  This is what technology has enabled us to do—to become. Consequently, many Americans feel somewhat responsible to act and respond to the atrocities that occur in Africa, the Middle East (Syria), and the remote parts of the earth.  We feel this responsibility because we know, and we know because of the media. But, is it in our best interest to know all these things? This phenomenon (of knowing) is a created reality, and one perhaps even Adam didn’t experience.  How do we handle such superfluous amounts of information?  Are we morally responsible and held accountable to that knowledge? Should we be good Samaritans every time we see a wounded “Jew” on CNN or FoxNews and take political and monetary action in an attempt to better our world? Must we get off our “donkey” to assist every person that has fallen by the “wayside”? What are we to do when our televisions and Facebook posts bombard us with yet another people group suffering from abject misery, poverty, and death? The media is a powerful medium.  Information is fed to us “supernaturally” through a created, human-made technology.  The media didn’t have to exist.  It just happens to.  Each day, we behold that dying “Jew” and do nothing, absolutely nothing about it (the corollary is...

Kimchi Fried Rice

It’s a great way to use leftover rice, frozen veggies and kimchi that’s “on the verge” — too old or too strong to be used as a fresh ingredient.  It wasn’t until Kimmy Shin, CAMPUS Chaplain at Michigan Tech University, reintroduced me to this great dish that I began to really like it and want to make it. One of my favorite parts about this dish, also called: bokumbap, is that it reminds me of a childhood favorite dish from back in the day.  Sometimes, my mom worked overtime and didn’t come home until late at night.  I’d grab some leftover mexican rice from the weekend, throw it in the microwave, fry an egg, and mix it all together in a dish with avocado.  It was rich and savory and I enjoyed eating it so much! We don’t eat eggs at home much.  However, whenever we get some for whatever reason, I like to save at least one to make this dish.  This time, instead of using mexican rice, I fry up some kimchi — a type of pickled korean cabbage, throw in some frozen veggies, add old rice, and cook everything over high heat to add a little crunch to the rice and caramelization to the veggies and kimchi.  It’s not the healthiest dish in the world, but I think it’s one of the best tasting!  For vegans, if you take away the egg, you still have a good fried rice...

Rejoice In the Lord Always?

Once, during a study we discussed the text found in Philippians 4:4:  Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Towards the end of our discussion, the question was asked: How can we tell someone to rejoice when they are going through a hopeless situation — divorce, rape, abuse, etc.? In our study circle, no one mentioned personally experiencing any of those tragedies so it seemed a fair question: is it reasonable for me to share this text with someone going through a seemingly hopeless challenge?   1.  Look Who’s Talking? The question is often asked, “How can YOU tell people to always rejoice in Christ even when they are going through such horrid circumstances?” Actually, the call to always rejoice doesn’t come from me.  Or from you.  It comes from the Apostle Paul.  From a human perspective, is he qualified to make this statement? Notice what he says: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”  (Philippians 4:12) “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeys often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”  (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). Paul’s experience qualifies him to make such a statement.  If there is anyone who has reason to complain to God about the difficulty of his life, it would be Paul.  For the sake of Christ, he lost a high-paying job and prestigious position.  To add to his loss, he eventually suffered a martyrs death for the cause of Christ.  But this was not before he was robbed, beaten, hungry, thirsty, naked, and cold.  What is worse than suffering because of God when you’re working for Him?  What challenges faith more than entrusting yourself into the hands of someone who doesn’t prevent suffering from causing you pain and difficulty? In a prison cell, after a life full of suffering and pain, Paul says this to the Philippian Church: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Most can only imagine what kind of life of struggle and hardship would be necessary to consider death to be a gain over life.  For Paul, it was reality.  So, to everyone who experiences a reality that is so painful so as to prefer death over life, Paul says: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”   2.  A Means, Not Just An End It is important to note that Paul is speaking from a position of experience.  He is emphasizing that rejoicing is the best means of dealing with suffering.  We rejoice not for God’s sake or the sake of others; we rejoice because it ultimately helps the sufferer more than it helps anyone else.  It seems as though Paul anticipates the reluctance, either due to his own past experience or because he understands our human nature so well.  Thus, he says: I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.  (Philippians 4:11).  It is not natural for us to be content in calamity or to rejoice in suffering.  Yet it is an expression of faith in God to believe that this present suffering no matter how challenging it is, in the light of eternity has a different perspective.  It is an expression of faith to conclude as Paul...

Quinoa & Ratatouille...

I am training for an upcoming 100 mile bike tour organized by my friend David called Tour de Witt.  Our rides in preparation for the event range from 1.5 to 3+ hours of cycling per ride.  As you can imagine, we have a lot of good quality time to discuss the issues of life, like: the health benefits of Quinoa.  Second only to potatoes, this complete protein was among the most important parts of the diet for the Incas of South America who held the crop to be sacred.  Vegans love this food because, among other things, it’s high in calcium.  The fact that it is also gluten-free makes it one of the most flexible foods to cook with. Especially in Peru, quinoa is used frequently and in a variety of ways.  Some use it to make flan, a famous spanish dessert custard usually drenched in caramel. More common uses include salads, stews, and even soups.  An easy way to incorporate quinoa into a meal is by substituting it for rice. Ratatouille is one of my favorite French dishes.  I had it when I went on a trip to Switzerland with my son Manu.  Usually, these roasted veggies are served as a side dish, but we had it as a meal served inside a perfectly made crepe.  Traditionally, the mix of ingredients include tomatoes as number one, along with garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, oregano, basil, and perhaps other herbs.  In Suisse, the chef also included mushrooms which brought the dish to a whole new level.  Every chef has his/her own opinion on how to correctly make this dish: vegetables should cooked separately so that their individual tastes don’t lose their integrity; they should be cooked together; some should be cooked together to...

Social Change Wishlists, partnering with GYC Studies Jan29

Social Change Wishlists, partnering with GYC Studies...

During the weekend of February 1-3, 2013 a conference on social justice will be held at Camp Au Sable, Graying, Michigan. It is a co-sponsored initiative by GYC and CAMPUS called GYC Studies. Among the presenters are three of our athletes: Sikhu Hlatshwayo, Israel Ramos, and Tennille Shin. In collaboration with GYC Studies, Team Revolution will be holding a collection drive onsite Saturday evening for various causes. February 20th is also The UN’s World Day of Social Justice. In light of this, please review the below causes with their wishlists and consider how you can help. Look around your house. Ask your friends. The items may be gently used unless otherwise specified. Even if you will not be attending the conference, you still have an opportunity to donate. Simply email revolution@bonders.org. Thank you in advance for giving to these amazing causes. You are making a difference for Jesus’ sake. RIVER HOUSE, INC This nonprofit agency in Grayling, MI, located just miles from the conference, exists to provide safety and services to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and the homeless population while promoting empowerment through education and advocacy.  We are partnering with the Grayling Seventh-day Adventist Church on this project.  You can be a part of supporting this cause.  They are in need of the following items: Wishlist:  – purses/handbags – blankets & bed linens – regular-sized shampoo/soap (new) – underwear & socks (new) – bandaids & first aid supplies (new)   VILLAGE OF HOPE This is a home for AIDS orphans recently opened by REACH International.  Last year, the GYC Intermission team worked at this site that sits on the shores of Lake Victoria in Bunere, Tanzania.  REACH International plans to open a school for the orphans; they continue to need help and support in meeting the needs of these precious...

G-Eye Revolution

By: Dr. Arla Genstler Dr. Genstler and her team at Genstler Eye Center in Topeka, Kansas are the title sponsor of Team Revolution.  On October 21, she and many in her team organized and ran a race near the practice in an effort to support the Pletcher Family who lost wife and mom in a tragic car accident.  Here is their story: ——— It was a perfect fall day in Kansas.  I was actually supposed to be in Detroit running a half marathon with some of my Team Revolution compatriots, but due to a persistent ankle problem, my plans had been changed.  Earlier in the year, my business, Genstler Eye Center, had become the lead sponsor of Team Revolution.  So of course this meant that I needed to start running!!  Which I did and I loved it! I did great for some months and then for some unknown reason, my left ankle started giving me trouble.  I tried to ignore it.  In talking with my dear 90 yr old retired (at age 86) physician father, I mistakenly shared with him my ankle woes.  He said, “My dear, that is an easy problem to fix. Stop running!”  He reminded me that knees can be replaced, hips can be replaced but ankles can’t be replaced.  So with this new perspective, I backed off my running. But always wanting to stick to my word, I determined that I was going to do SOMETHING on Oct 21st, the race day.  I had not shared with my staff yet that we were sponsoring Team Revolution so I decided to challenge them to join me in a run on that day.  I offered to contribute $100 to our mission fund for each person that would run/walk/crawl/skip a 5K with me.  ...

England Before and After Wesley Oct16

England Before and After Wesley...

By David Shin Sometime ago I perused the book “England Before and After Wesley” – an analysis of 18th century Christianity. England was depraved, morose, and entrenched in depravity. Slave trade was rampant. Kidnapping. Prostitution. Government corruption. The rich were exploiting the poor and the prisons were exploding. Berkely in his discourse to the magistrates and men in authority wrote that “Britain had collapsed to a degree that has never been known in any Christian country.” One man – John Wesley – stood in the breach. Through his life and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the numb conscience of a nation was awakened and a nation found it’s soul. England was revived. Prisons reformed. Slavery abolished. Educational systems rehabilitated. Christian ethics were reinserted into society and industrial England was emancipated. It seems that there wasn’t a segment of society that was not touched by the influence of Wesley. Somehow, this book resonated with something deep within me – a clarion call to a life of radical commitment. Wesley wore plain clothes. Preached 40,000 sermons during his lifetime. Traveled 250,000 miles on horseback preaching. (It’s no wonder he married at 48.) Worked with 15 different languages. At the age of 83, he was angry because his doctor wouldn’t let him preach more than 14 times a week. At the age of 86 written in his journal are these words, “laziness is slowly creeping in; there is an increasing tendency to stay in bed after 5:30 in the morning….” The entire country of England was reformed through the influence of one. “There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.” Never underestimate...

Sopes

Sopes are traditional Mexican patties made with masa — the same ground maize that tamales and corn tortillas are made of.  The patties are typically fried and thereafter have their sides pinched to allow the sopes to be filled with a variety of toppings that include: beans (or beef/chicken), lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, and other ingredients.  Although fried, sopes are different from tostadas.  Tostadas are crispy and fragile; sopes are thicker and crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.  They are also designed to withstand more substantial fillings or even liquids. There are many variations to this dish, depending on what region of Mexico you visit.  Some sopes are small and thick, others are wide and thinner.  The toppings are as diverse as the thickness and even the shapes.  Some variations called Huaraches are shaped like the Mexican sandal they are named after.  Others include ingredients as wild as grasshoppers!  Some people fill them with pinto beans and others use black beans.  Some skip out on the beans or meat and will fill them with veggies.  The many variations in this dish make it fun to play with. Sopes con Chapulines (Grasshoppers) More traditional Sopes con Carne (beef) The extremely large sopes of Oaxaca (Wa-Ha’-Ka) Sopes are an easy dish to make and an easy dish to modify and modernize. One way of mixing things up can include adding one or two ingredients into the masa to give it a new twist: like corn or poblano peppers.  You can also drown the sopes in a sauce after cooking them to make Sopes Ahogados or Drunken Sopes.  For healthier versions of this dish, you can bake the masa instead of frying it. For our CAMPUS Black Tie Event 2012, Justin and...

Breaking the Yoke

By: Tennille Shin This past weekend I watched the two-part documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide on PBS.com. The documentary grew out of the overwhelming response to the book of the same name by authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky is an account of inspiring and courageous individuals who confront global oppression head-on. It focuses on gender-based violence, specifically against women, that is seen on a worldwide front. The documentary is both heart-breaking as you see the depth and expanse of gender-based violence, and inspiring as you meet women who have not only overcome but dedicated their lives to making a difference for other young girls and women. Watching this documentary was a call to action. We must do more as Christians in our communities and worldwide to “break the yoke” of injustice and oppression (Isaiah 58:6). Yet, there was one overwhelming aspect of this documentary that left me wanting.  Yes, there must be a clarion call to rescue girls from sex slavery, female genital mutilation, lower education standards, abuse, and violence, among many other social ills. But it cannot stop with the breaking of the physical yoke only. There must also be the breaking of the spiritual bondage that seeks to encircle us all. There must be an everlasting hope, not just a temporal hope, shown to these women and girls. This is true “welfare ministry,” as Ellen White calls it. This reminds me of what Team Revolution is about. As our handbook says, “The purpose of The Team is to assist Bonders in (1) promoting the teachings of scripture regarding human health and the practical application of loving our neighbor, (2) providing opportunities for members to apply and advance the Christian message of scripture in the...

True Development

By: Israel Ramos I’ll never forget my first mission trip.  Early in the morning, I loaded a large van filled with a bunch of high school students headed from Amity, AR to Belize, Central America.  I was a Junior at Ouachita Hills Academy and had no experience at all in anything.  Growing up in Southern California, we rarely did outside work — that was left for the professionals to do.  I had absolutely no experience in construction and we were heading to Belize to build a mechanic shop for a group of people at a small educational institute in Progresso. We weren’t the only students going.  Actually, a group of high schools had partnered together to send their young people at the same time to assist in this project.  When we arrived, things were beyond what I was prepared for.  The first impression I had dealt with the food — it was so good!  Ripe avocados from trees on the property were available to eat at every meal.  Peanut butter and honey sandwiches were among the breakfast highlights — I made one for myself just yesterday, in memory of my Belize experience.  Most people who visit different countries on mission trips lose weight.  I certainly did when I participated in mission trips to other locations, but not in Belize.  One of my life’s significant benchmarks took place while I was there — My weight reached 140lbs for the first time ever. Belize, however, was more than just a memory of good food.  On this mission trip, I learned my life’s most valuable lesson: unselfishness underlies all true development. One would think that in order to get better at something, we must practice.  Determination is the key to development.  Discipline is needed to advance.  Although...

The Lansing Legislator Triathlon Video...

David Shin and Israel Ramos do the Lansing Legislator in Sleepy...

Inspiring Quotes for the Mission-Minded

Tennille Shin Living in a Pinterest-Twitter-Facebook world we come across many inspirational (and not-so-inspirational) quotes on a daily basis on a variety of subjects. Whether they are self-help adages, goofy one-liners, Biblical passages, or exercise motivators, there seems to be no short supply of these drive-by maxims. Well today, for the Mission Tuesdays post, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite quotes to get you inspired for missions, locally and globally. Perhaps one of these will become your personal mission statement as you seek ‘fitness for witness.’ The widow, the orphan, the sick, and the dying will always need help. Here is an opportunity to proclaim the gospel–to hold up Jesus, the hope and consolation of all men. -Ellen White, Medical Missionary, January, 1891 People say “What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. -Dorothy Day Sometimes I want to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I’m afraid He might just ask me the same question. -Unknown We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. -Mother Teresa Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ -Isaiah 58:6-9 We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right. -Nelson Mandela Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go. -Mother Teresa Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. -Proverbs 31:9 While the world needs sympathy, while it needs the prayers and assistance of God’s people, while it needs to see Christ in the lives of His followers, the people of God are equally in need of opportunities that draw out their sympathies, give efficiency to their prayers, and develop in them a character like that of the divine pattern. It is to provide these opportunities that God has placed among us the poor, the unfortunate, the sick, and the suffering. They are Christ’s legacy to His church, and they are to be cared for as He would care for them. In this way God takes away the dross and purifies the gold, giving us that culture of heart and character we need.  -Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 6, p.261 Here at Team Revolution Missions, our goal is to provide opportunities for us to live out our faith and have our sympathies drawn out in acts of kindness. Will you join...

Video: Tri To Finish Olympic Triathlon

On August 12, 2012, John, Tennille, and Judy ran their first olympic distance triathlon: 1500m swim/25mi bike/10k run.  Amazingly, each of them had terrific finishes, qualifying them for age group nationals!  The course was challenging with cold water temperatures, a highly technical bike course, and difficult hills on the run. The song: What If I Give All? is performed by Christian artist Naomi Jackson from Vida International.  When we first heard her sing it at LEADS in East Lansing, we thought it was a great match for Revolution: giving all to help...

Looking Unto…

The word in Greek is: aphorontes.  It means to look away from all else and to focus our eyes on a specific something.  It means to turn our mind to… This is what Paul means when he says, “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1,2 ESV). It was 90 degrees plus and David and I were peddling up Schavey Road’s gradual and steady incline for the last 2 miles of our bike ride before transitioning over to a run in our brick workout in DeWitt — the place where we live.  A brick workout is when an athlete trains for two different sports consecutively — typically a bike followed by a run.  The 11-mile course that circles from my house to David’s provides a nice variety of small hills.  Riding east to west on Clark Rd., there is a stretch in between Airport and Francis that not only throws, arguably, the hardest hill in town at you, but also provides an open clearing for headwinds to make you feel as though you are riding with a parachute attached to the back of your bike.  Keeping more than an 18 mph pace for an hour and a half on the loop boosted our spirits, especially because we knew that we took it easy in key places where we could have pushed the pace significantly. Feeling quite good, David — a much better runner — decided to power up the last hill to purposely burn his legs before the run.  Fresh legs for Dave on the run would...

The Running God

The Running God: Lessons That Running Teaches Me About Myself and God By Israel Ramos It was a casual conversation: David Shin (Pastor in East Lansing) and I were talking about doing a triathlon relay together.  I don’t even remember how we got into the topic of triathlons, but we both reminisced about the days when he used to tour on his bike like Lance Armstrong and I used to swim a mile with relative ease like Michael Phelps. It was nearly a decade and a half since my swimming days and I found myself shocked by my Fit4Him health evaluation report (basically a physical exam for my job) that was so bad, it advised me to seek medical advice immediately. I needed to make some changes.  By this point, my only form of exercise was the rare pick-up basketball games at the school gym when the Adventist students at Michigan Tech were around.  When I visited downstate, my father-in-law coached me in golf or took me to play pickleball.  However, I had nothing routine. By the end of the phone conversation with David, I was signed up to complete a triathlon – on my own.  My wife had been nagging (although she may replace “nagging” with “strongly encouraging”) me for a while to get into shape, using all sorts of incentives and reinforcement methods from her teaching background arsenal.  Embarking on this journey meant success for her as well. But there had to be more than just a completion medal at the end of a race to keep me interested in this endurance sport.  Further conversations with our spouses and other friends brought to mind the stories of many individuals in our lives and ministries that had impacted us in ways they did...

Bibimbap

 In 2011, it was #40 on CNN’s World’s 50 most delicious foods readers’ poll.  If you enjoy this dish –which literally means bibim (mixed) bap (rice) — you have Korea to thank.  When I visited a Korean church in New York several years back, someone told me that the dish originated as a poor man’s dish — people mixing everything that they had and eating it with rice before it spoiled.  Other’s have different — and perhaps more legit — histories.  I really don’t care — the dish is one of my favorites. I think that traditional dishes typically have a wide variety of veggies, including cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, and lettuce, as well as beef.  Some serve it with steamed rice while others get it served in a hot stone bowl (called: dolsot bibimbap).  Sometimes the dish is topped with a fried or raw egg.  All typically mix everything with red chili sauce.  One of my favorite things about this dish is that there are so many variations, meaning that it’s hard to go wrong when trying to make it. Many restaurants — even somewhat higher end ones — are introducing this dish to their menus creatively.  I’ve heard of some who make this dish using non-korean ingredients and sauces.  I think that this is a brilliant idea. At home, we’ve made it with jasmine rice and with mexican (long grain) rice.  We’ve also used beans and avocado as ingredients or cream sauces instead of the chili sauce.  Rice is an ingredient that is like a blank canvass waiting for us to experiment.  I say that we should take it up on its offer!  In this post I’m including two ways of doing this dish: the first is using what I think are...

Revolution TOUGHKids

Manu & Micah are the first two members of Revolution Kids.  Here’s a video of their race.  Sign up your children today!  And thanks Edwin for being a media...

Posole 2.0

Posole (or Pozole) is a traditional Mexican stew or soup.  It’s a typical dish in various states, including Jalisco, the place where my father was born.  The key ingredients that make this dish are hominy — a type of maize kernel that is also known as grits (when it is mushed), chili peppers, and meat — usually pork or chicken. Some traditions say that, long ago, the Aztecs would only eat this dish on special occasions and would use the meat of sacrificed human beings until cannibalism was banned.  Although the traditions may be wacky, the dish has been a favorite since I was a young boy. When I became vegetarian, this was among one of the easiest dishes to transfer over — word has it that there are several vegetarian and vegan substitutes.  And there should be, it’s an easy dish to make. Typically, here’s how the dish looks: It’s normally topped with cabbage or lettuce, radishes, and a hint of lime.  When we ate it at home, we also included tostadas for an added crunch. My version of Posole is designed to be more of an appetizer.  Using agar-agar, I gelatinized the broth to make it look like a spaghetti noodle.  The “noodle” tastes exactly like the broth.  After cooking the Posole in the traditional way, I made a homemade chip, placed a spoonful of hominy and FriChik cooked in the Posole broth, cut a small and thin slice of lime, and plated it.  If the lime rind is thin enough, it adds necessary punch to the one-bite appetizer. I’m proud of my presentation and originality on this one.  And I’m happy that after many attempts to cook with this technique, I can finally say that I have created an original...

Weiber Fever

By: Judy Ramos The same week we met Scott Jurek, Tennille and I also got to meet another famous athlete.  Jordyn Weiber is not only a 17 year old girl who lives in our own small city of DeWitt, MI.  She is the 2011 World All Around Champion in Gymnastics and she is the gold hopeful for the London Olympic Games.  Our city held a fundraiser picnic on Sunday, June 24th, 2012 and Weiber took a brief break from training to sign autographs.  We waited in line for over an hour so we could have her sign our Revolution Tech Tee.  Now we have two famous autographs.  Tennille found out after the fact that Mitt Romney had been in DeWitt that week as well (even though we don’t necessarily support one party above another).  But we quickly agreed that having him sign the Revolution Tech Tee would be a stretch.  😉 The countdown to the London Olympics are well underway!  5 more days to go! Here are USA’s endurance Olympians & Paralympians to look for: Team USA Triathletes: http://www.usatriathlon.org/news/articles/2012/7/071012-olympic-roster.aspx http://www.usatriathlon.org/news/articles/2012/7/071912-paratriathlon-hp-camp.aspx Team USA Swimmers: http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=4537&mid=8712 http://www2.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2012/June/17/US-Paralympic-Swimming-Team-named.aspx Team USA Cyclists: http://www.usacycling.org/usa-cycling-announces-2012-olympic-team.htm http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2012/July/03/Full-roster-nominated-for-2012-US-Paralympic-Cycling-Team.aspx Team USA Runners: http://peakperformance.runnersworld.com/2012/01/london-olympics-how-will-the-six-u-s-marathoners-fare/...

Meeting Scott Jurek

On Wednesday, June 20th, 2012, a group of us went to meet the most decorated ultra-marathon champion in history, Scott Jurek.  He is the star of the bestseller Born to Run, an amateur vegan chef, and can now add to his list of accolades that he is a published author of his new book, Eat and Run.  Incredibly, one of his stops on his book signing tour was right in town at our local Playmakers.  A few of us seized the opportunity to run a 5k with Jurek before his presentation and book signing.  In his talk, he shared the story of how he grew to love running and how that journey also led him from a meat and potatoes diet to becoming a completely plant-based vegan.  It was an inspirational evening and a real treat to get to meet this world-class endurance athlete.  He is the first person to sign our soon-to-be high-ticket Autographed Revolution Tech Tee. By: Judy...

The Hawk Island Triathlon 2012...

The Hawk Island Triathlon — Press Release It’s Monday, the first day of the workweek and a suit covers up the battle scars and temporary tattoo markings on the arms and legs of Edwin and me.  Edwin is a young Information Technology Intern at MERS of Michigan – a retirement system for municipal employees in the state.  The betraying numbers on our calves and arms inform others of our age and where we land amidst the rest of the 800 plus registrants that signed up for Michigan’s largest Sprint Triathlon this year – a 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 5k run. But although we may be the only ones wearing suits today, there are others who also participated in the race and openly display their numbers: my wife Judy—a teacher by profession that is now a stay at home mom and Dr. Christopher Schwartz, a 29-year-old researcher in New York who also co-owns Northwoods Endurance, a coaching service that trains athletes at any level.  We are part of Team Revolution by Bonders. Bonders is a brand new organization that seeks to minister to young professionals and their families by promoting personal spirituality in the home, leadership in the church and community, and fresh ideas for adapting the Christian message in every-day life – including the message of healthful living.  As a result, Team Revolution was born.  An endurance sports group of men and women of all ages, Team Revolution runs races for personal fitness as well as to earn funds and raise awareness for humanitarian missions around the world.  Some projects include Revolution Against Cancer, Marathoning for Meru, and Tread on Trafficking with Love 146 – an organization against child sex slavery. Since Revolution started, three years ago, it has been...

Marathoning for Meru

Check out Tennille and David’s  story behind Marathoning for Meru & Revolution Against HIV/AIDS by reading Tennille’s...

Revolution at the Koop...

This video is about Team Revolution’s representation at the Koop in the Yoop back in August 2011!  It features a first place finish by the girls and the first Half-Ironman distance of Israel and...