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What is Your Reasonable Service? | Editorial | Letters to the Editor | Church News Begins | Establishing the Children | Book Review: (Ephraim) | A Sabbath Thought | Answered Prayer | BSA Scholarship | Library Service | Battle of the Bulge
How much is too much? Where do you draw the line? When do you throw in the towel? At what point do you throw your hands in the air and say, “enough is enough.” There is probably not one person reading this article, who has not contemplated giving up on something at one time, or another in their lives. The pace at which our lives move is accelerating at an incredible rate and it is easy to become completely overwhelmed by our day-to-day responsibilities and commitments. However, as God’s people, there must not be any “quit” in any of us. God wants, desires, and requires a “can do” people, now and in the future, when His kingdom is reestablished on this earth.
Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
God chooses whom He will and places them in the body as it pleases Him. Each person God selects has talents, skills, and abilities that God requires. God expects us to use the gifts He has given us in serving Him. Using and developing these gifts are an important part of each individual’s growth. I would like you to ask yourself the following
question: “What is your reasonable service?”
If God wants you to do something, you are going to do it.
When God selects an individual to do His bidding, it is going to be done. It does not matter where you run or where you try to hide. God will find you and He will bend you to His will. Let us look at an example back in Exodus.
Exodus 4:10, “Then Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Verse 11:“So the LORD said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?”
Verse 12: “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
Verse 13: “But he said, O my LORD, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
Verse 14: “So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.”
Verse 15: “Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.”
Verse 16: “So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.”
Verse 17: “And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”
Now, it does not say this here, but you certainly get the impression that God is saying, “Now look Moses, this is your last chance. This is what you are going to do. Refusing to do this is not an option.” There are other examples we can look at as well.
God told Jeremiah that before he was born He had sanctified him and ordained him a prophet to the nations. What did Jeremiah say? “I cannot speak for I am a youth.” And God told him “Do not say that I am a youth, for you shall go to all to whom I send you. And, whatever I command you that shall you speak.” Jonah also tried to get out of the assignment that God had given him, to warn the city of Nineveh of impending destruction.
Jonah did not want to accept the responsibility that God had given him. Instead, he purchased passage on a ship and attempted to hide from God. But God was not going to allow Jonah to ignore the task He had given him. God caused a great storm to arise, so powerful that it was about to break the ship apart. Jonah knew the storm was his fault for running from God. He told the sailors to throw him overboard and a great fish immediately swallowed him. Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish praying to God, before God caused the fish to deposit him on dry land. After his experience, Jonah was ready to do God’s bidding.
We must be ready to serve God at all times and in any capacity because we never know what may be required of us. It is very important that we pass the tests that God puts us through now, because we will have great responsibility in the future. God has to know that He can rely on us completely without any doubt of our commitment and loyalty. When I was first called, I never would have believed that I would eventually serve as a song leader, ask opening and closing prayers, prepare and deliver sermonettes, and research and write articles such as this very one you are reading. Delivering that first sermonette was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But, if God was going to provide an opportunity for me to grow, and entrust me with such a great responsibility, I was goingto do my part and give it my best possible effort. If God provides the opportunity, we must do our best to complete the task at hand.
Use it, or lose it
All of these responsibilities we take on, and opportunities we take advantage of, help us to grow. And that is what we are all here for, isn’t it? “Can do” people are the ones that are going to be in the first resurrection. God needs to know He can count on you to do anything He sets before you without excuse or complaint. Matthew 25 illustrates this point (emphasis mine):
Matthew 25:24, “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew You to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.” (Here referring to growing and fruits.)
Verse 25: “And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.” (He was afraid to take what he had been given and do something with it.)
Verse 26: “But his lord answered and said to him, You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.”
Verse 27: ‘Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.” (He didn’t even make an attempt to improve what he had been given.)
Verse 28: “Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.” (Give it to the person who knows what to do with it, who can make it grow.)
Verse 29: “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”(The more you grow, the more opportunities you will be given to grow.)
In review, there are two very important points to take note of:
1. If God decides He wants you to do something, you are going to do it.
2. We must use what we are given, and grow, or even what we already have will be taken away.
Now, what is the answer to the question: “What is your reasonable service?” Our reasonable service is whatever God purposes for us to do. We have committed our lives to Him and nothing He can ask of us is too much. Jesus Christ came to earth as flesh. In an incredible act of love and disregard for self, He willingly allowed Himself to be arrested, tortured and put to death that we all might live. That is what God purposed for Him to do and Jesus fulfilled His assignment flawlessly. He will also return in great glory and save this world from utter destruction, because that is what God purposes for Him to do. We all long for, and look forward with great anticipation, to that day of Christ’s triumphant return. But, until then we all have something important to accomplish. I encourage you, each and every one, to be seeking out and performing, your reasonable service. — by Jeff L. Mills
Some people I’ve known over the years are professional students. A few have been overbearing with their knowledge but most have been truly intelligent beings and nice to be around and listen to. My observation is that most people in the church fit this description and, so too, the one I see in the mirror. Well, all this brings to mind a scripture. (II Timothy 3:7) “Ever learning, andnever able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” They are forever studying; but somehow failing to produce anything more than to raise more questions, doubts, and then – more study. The missing quotient in this scripture is not just “knowledge” of the truth, but epignosis: full discernment. It implies a full participation in the truth.
How do we learn? In two ways: book learnin’ and hard knocks, as they’d say in the back woods. We’d call it education and experience. Now that which we learn from books is just theory: how all our learnin’ should work. Hard knocks or experience is a higher level. It’s applied knowledge: full participation. And that’s epienosis; when we test what we know, or think we know, in the real world. Some would say “the proof is in the pudding.”
(Romans 2:13) “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” As we apply our studies, we find that what we know doesn’t work at all times or under certain circumstances. Welcome to the real world. I believe experience shows that often times we can only know what is right and true by that which stands the test of time.
(James 1:22) “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Now think about that. Churches are full of knowledge because so much of it comes in – but none of it ever leaves. God gives simple, straightforward instructions: (II Chronicles 7:14) “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray,and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” What is land? It’s territory, where your feet are, your base of operation. That could be your nation, your home, family, or church. It seems to me that those ‘lands’ are all sick or at least not in a high state of wellness.
Here’s the point. The student sees or hears of the four things mentioned in Chronicles humility, prayer, seeking God, and repentance. This typically leads to a study followed by a sermon or study paper. And that’s all well and good so far, but then he will progress to analysis paralysis. Compare this to those who come to the “full participation” of the truth by doing! Recall what James said about the man, seeing his face in the mirror; forgets to do the maintenance when the image is removed.
I’ve been hearin’ and thinkin’ for thirty years. Maybe it’s time to try doin’. Anyone have any ideas on how to apply all we’ve learned?
— by Steven J. Kieler
Please state in your Letter to the Editor whether your full name may be used, or just your initials.
Wonderful! It is refreshing indeed to read positive and uplifting news about events and happenings within the various Churches of God. Surfing through the many “splinter group” sites on the Internet, one can find some pretty mean-spirited stuff being said about and to one another. I just don’t think that that kind of writing is edifying for anyone and I’m equally sure that the authors of that type of material don’t endear themselves to God either. Instead, we ought to be sharing our blessings and encouraging each other with positive news items as your news letter has set out to do. What a great idea! With much appreciation,
— Irvin Hiller, Winnipeg
Thanks a lot for the good work of the gospel of our Lord. I’ve been reading with much interest all the articles and they are soencouraging. I am also glad that I’ve received a copy of COG News and it is so edifying. However, there is a column, which you didn’t address, i.e. the youth’s affairs. As you know most of the population are young people. We are living in times when the army of Satan is at work and the target is the young people. So I’d urge you with great concern that you come up with a youth’s column. In the book of I John, the word says, “I write to you young men for you’ve conquered the evil one.”
Rest assured, may our heavenly Father shower blessings in all that you are doing.
In His Infinite love.
— B. M., Nairobi, Kenya
Harmony Church of God (Seventh Day) would be so happy to join with you in this new publication. Sounds wonderful. Our prayers are with you in this venture. I will pass the word on to all the other churches here in Oregon. Thank you for including us in this.
— Kurt and Ellen Kayner, Junction City, OR
Gems… The Philosopher
Diogenes was washing lentils to make soup. He was noticed by the philosopher, Aristippus, who had acquired a comfortable living by paying court to the king. Aristippus sneered, “If you would only learn to flatter the king, you would not have to live on such poor food as lentils.”
“If you had learned to live on such food as lentils,” retorted Diogenes, just as disdainfully, “you would not have to flatter the king.”
— by James A. Thom
A quick note to share this wonderful experience in Monterrey, Mexico.
The Mexican Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) has begun a Missionary Training Program to teach us Americans how to win souls to Christ. It works! The city of Monterrey, Mexico (a city of six million population) has forty two viable churches of our denomination. They put all of us to shame with their prayers and dedication to mission work.
This is an intensive hands-on learning experience. For one week you get to live with a Mexican family, and experience all the methods to minister to others.
We put on dramas, sang songs in Spanish and English, fed the poor, played games with orphans, and prayed over people in need. We went to an old folks home, an orphanage, a hospital for the poorest of the poor, a park, and to many churches. We had opportunity to learn to cut hair, to help with a free clinic, to pray with hurting people, and to present Christ.
We made sandwiches, filled little bags with candy for the children, held babies, and went door to door witnessing for Christ. Our lives were so enriched at every event.
This is an annual event, that anyone from young adult (14 with a parent) to 60+ are welcome to attend. The price is nominal. The rewards and training are fantastic.
If you desire a closer walk with the Lord, a real experience in mission work, PLEASE take advantage of this offer. Contact Kurt Lang, Church of God (Seventh Day) at Denver, firstname.lastname@example.org (on-line). It will change your life. You will have a greater understanding of God’s love and grow spiritually. — by Ellen Kayner, Harmony Church of God (7th Day), Junction City, OR
Special Tulsa Sabbath
The Tulsa Church of God was host to 116 Church of God brethren and two guest speakers on December 28: Ray Kurr from the Church of God Tulsa Fellowship and Dave Havir from Big Sandy Texas.
Ray Kurr led songs as well as delivered the first sermon. His sermon was entitled “Ignite the Fire Within You” which was about allowing God to work through us and to allow the Word of God to be the ignition of the fire that drives us to do His will.
Between the sermons, David Andrews preformed “He Who Trusts in the Lord” and the Tulsa choir, directed by Mr. Kurr, preformed “King of Love, my Shepherd is.” Both special music selections were very inspiring.
The second sermon was done by Mr. Havir entitled “Philippians 4:8.” It was based on the idea of thinking positive with three main points: 1. Remember the positive foundation. 2. Recognize the negative. 3. Dwell on the positive.
Overall, it was a very encouraging Sabbath service with good sermons and great fellowship afterward. — by Doyle J. Carter
Cities Regional Family Weekend
The UCG congregations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN will again be hosting their annual Family Weekend on May 16-18th. There will be a combined Sabbath Service, events for Young Adults, a Teen Prom, Family Activities, etc. Roy Holladay will be the guest speaker and Arnold Mendez from Texas will be bringing a special presentation on Noah’s Ark. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the activities. More details will follow in the upcoming months.
— by Herb Teitgen
Tulsa Biblical Fellowship Group
The Biblical Fellowship Group, Tulsa, OK extends greetings to the Churches of God. We hope and pray that your group, whether home fellowships or churches, have had a very good year with few trials.
With the assistances of various churches and individuals, we have forty-five people on our mailing list. These people receive the correspondence course printed by Mr. Tom Justus of the Church of God, Sabbath Day, Springdale, AR, and various other materials offered by churches, and obtained from the Internet. Our mailings are sent out once a month.
We place ads in various newspapers, in order to reach new contacts in our community. In addition, we are assisting two small groups in the United States and one overseas. We send them various items such as the correspondence courses, booklets, and other materials.
Our goal is to assist others in learning the True Way of God. In doing this, we feel that we are filling the great commission that is given by Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:20.
We are willing to share our experience with individuals, as well as groups, who may want to do the work of God and bring the gospel to others. We believe that all Christians are called to spread the gospel to others, whether by assisting their church, or working one on one.
Again, we praise God for the ability to help others in learning His word. Without His help, and the cooperation of other groups and individuals, this would not be possible. Contact them at PO Box 690592, Tulsa, OK 74169-0592 for more information.
— by Doyle J. Carter
You Can Make A Difference
When a small group of us left an organized Church of God in 1995, we discussed how we could serve God with our tithes and offerings. We ran ads in local newspapers offering booklets and literature, but we also wanted to do some kind of outreach in our community. Matthew 25:34 says, if we feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, and clothe the naked, it is the same as doing it unto Christ. We set out to find people in need using the prayer lines, and have given financial assistance to people who have lost their homes due to fire, and those with high medical bills.
We also support the local abused women’s shelter with food, used clothing, back to school supplies and cash. This past year they needed to raise several thousand dollars to repair a roof on one of their buildings and replace old windows with new energy efficient ones. We were able to contribute to that project also. A lady from the shelter came and spoke to us one Sabbath after services. She explained to us the services they offer for the abused women in our community, which includes a 24-hour crisis hotline, programs for education, meals and safe shelter for women and their children who fear for their safety following a severe beating or violent episode. We learned that domestic violence affects the wealthy as well as the poor. Domestic violence does not stop with bruises or broken homes. Mothers and children are frequently left homeless when they flee abusive situations, often with only the clothes on their backs. One can say these children are truly considered fatherless.
We were invited to tour their facilities. So, later four of us ladies toured the Family Violence Center. We saw very small, bleak, one room apartments, a facility needing donations of curtains, sheets, blankets, food, clothing, personal hygiene items, baby and children’s clothing, cleaning supplies and trash bags, just to mention a few of their needs. At the end of the tour, the same lady who came to speak to our group told us how much they appreciate our support. She said, “For such a small group, you guys move mountains.” We are a small group of 15 or so, sometimes 20 on potluck days.
We encourage everyone to help in their community. No matter how small a group, you can make a difference. You too can move mountains!
— by Gloria Anderson
of God of the Ozarks meets every Sabbath at 1:00 PM, 2434 East Battlefield,
Back: Mike Anderson, John Taylor, Bill Cordell,
P.R. Mathews, Elsie Larson, Linda Choate
Front: Jewell Williams, Gloria Anderson, Loy Baker
Mildred Kaping, Martha Hughes, Glenda Taylor
Armor of God Program Seeks
to Reach Larger Audience
The Church of God, International is seeking to reach a larger audience with the Armor of God television program by bringing fresh perspectives on Biblical truths through different program formats, technological enhancements, and an aggressive five year plan to expand the reach of the program; according to a letter written by Bill Watson, to Church of God News.
The Armor of God program can be seen weekly on 40 television outlets on two continents, and currently features Charles Groce, Bronson James, Vance Stinson, and Bill Watson as commentators. The program mainly features one speaker, with an occasional two-man format. Bill Watson indicated that the one-man format generates more response from the audience.
He also wrote that programs oriented to doctrinal and social issues prompt the most viewer response. A review of programs that can be watched from the Church of God, International website at www.cgi.org (through the use of Windows Media Player) demonstrates both the variety of topics covered, and the preference for the one speaker format. One man formats include “Christ in the Old Testament,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” with Vance Stinson; “The Catching Away,” with Bronson James; “Identity of the U.S. and British Commonwealth in Prophecy,” “Where is the True Church?” and Born Again,” with Bill Watson. The two-speaker format includes “Halloween,” and “First Principles of Christ,” featuring Vance Stinson and Charles Groce.
In his letter to Church of God News, Bill Watson wrote that the program is also making
technological improvements through the use of more film footage, special effects, multiple camera angles and graphics. In addition, the program has a modern “news set” appearance that features over the shoulder picture blocks and “viewer friendly” colors.
The improvements made to the Armor program have produced encouraging results. Over the last year, there have been more than 7,300 first time callers requesting literature offered on the program. This number represents a 45 percent first time caller response. In addition, Bill Watson wrote that there is an increased interest among younger viewers as well as a “stable following” which is attracted to the fresh perspective of Bible truth the program offers. He also indicated that the Armor program is making a “positive Christian impact” on the lives of its viewers.
The management team of the Armor of God program is hopeful its five-year plan to develop and expand the program, which includes seeking to obtain a national cable network, if such is financially realistic will provide a greater exposure of God’s truth and result in the conversion of many more viewers.
— by David Miller
Briefs from the Living Church of God
“On the Sabbath of December 21, 239 members of the Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Palm Springs congregations gathered in Orange County for a special Sabbath service marking the 10th anniversary of the renewal of God’s Work, and the 50th anniversary of Dr. Roderick C. Meredith’s ordination as an Evangelist in God’s Church. Following the service, Evangelist Richard Ames made a special presentation to Dr. Meredith, a mantel clock inscribed with Romans 10:15, and with the words ‘In grateful recognition of Roderick C. Meredith’s 50 years of servant leadership as an Evangelist in God’s Church, restoring Apostolic Christianity around the world.’ Brethren enjoyed afterward a reception organized by the Garden Grove congregation, with the help of the La Crescenta, San Diego, and Palm Springs congregations” reported Dibar Apartian. He also reported that over 200 brethren attended.
Fifty-six singles from all over North America traveled to Lake Tahoe for the Singles Weekend, December 21-24, 2002. This basically doubled attendance in the Sparks, Nevada congregation during that period. Recently occurring storms brought outstanding skiing conditions with up to 7 feet of new snow in the High Sierras. The four-day outing was highlighted by a sermon by Mr. Carl McNair on the Sabbath, a potluck and dance Saturday evening, and a Singles Bible Study by Mr. Jeff Fall Sunday night.
LCG’s Tomorrow’s World radio broadcast added five new stations in Argentina. Mario Hernandez is the presenter for the Tomorrow’s World broadcasts in the Spanish language. The Spanish version of Tomorrow’s World is currently on 11 radio stations in four countries. LCG has had major success increasing its Church attendance, and total baptisms in Mexico, partially due to its radio broadcast from Mexico City.
LCG’s New Zealand elder sent in this report, “Our Deacon in Vanuatu, Mr. Jerry Sam, reports another attempt by the [local] Protestant church to expel our members from the village of Orap where several of them live. In mid-November a resolution was considered by the leaders of the [local] Protestant church seeking such an expulsion. As of today, communication difficulties mean we don’t know the outcome of the meeting. A couple of years ago our members were ordered to leave. At that time, a letter from Evangelist Dibar Apartian won a reversal of the order. Mr. Apartian was able to point out that our people do not proselytize and are good, peaceable citizens who obey the laws of God and man. At that time the village elders were very impressed that our Headquarters office in America cared enough about our scattered members to intervene on their behalf. Our congregation in Orap is stable, and under Mr. Sam’s care is slowly growing. Our members would appreciate prayers for success in accordance with God’s will.”
LCG announced that festival sites in Europe for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2003 will be located in Llandudno, North Wales, and in Evian, France, just east of Geneva, Switzerland. These are the first sites officially announced for 2003. LCG had 46 Feast of Tabernacles sites in 22 countries, including Vanuatu, in 2002, and will probably have more sites worldwide in 2003.
Most LCG employees who are moving from San Diego to Charlotte, NC have sold their California homes. Charles Bryce, who is moving from Kansas, will be assuming the job of Director of Church Administration March 1st or as soon thereafter as the move is completed.
— by Robert J. Thiel
Message from Yoash
King of Judah
An inscribed stone tablet from the time of Yehoash, King of Judah, has apparently been discovered on the Temple Mount. The black stone tablet, containing ten lines of Phoenician script, describes activities carried out by King Yehoash in the First Temple some 2,700 years ago.
The inscription corresponds to the Biblical account as recorded in II Kings 12, including King Yehoash’s call to the Cohanim (priests) to collect money from the public for the purpose of renovating the Temple. The inscription details the purchase of wood and “quarried stones,” and included part of a Biblical passage recounting the event.
Nadav Shragai of Ha’aretz revealed the news of the discovery, and the fact that Israel’s Geological Institute has found that the stone is not a forgery. The archaeological community is still awaiting further proof that the find is genuine. Archaeologist Dr. Gabi Barkai said, however, that if it is authentic, it is “perhaps the most important artifact ever uncovered in the annals of archeology in the Land of Israel and Jerusalem.” He said that it would be the earliest known tablet precisely recounting a Biblical event, constituting rare evidence of the existence of the First Temple, which stood on the Temple Mount for over 400 years from the time of King Solomon until its destruction by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
The stone tablet was analyzed for one year by Israel’s Geological Institute which found that geologically at least, the tablet could date back to the time of the First Temple. Sources at the Institute say that it would be impossible for the Institute’s experts not to recognize a forgery based on the extensive tests that were performed on the stone. The tablet was uncovered during the illegal construction work by the Moslem Waqf on the Temple Mount. Ironically, the purpose of the Waqf’s excavations is to erase all Jewish remains on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, currently the site of a Moslem mosque.
After its discovery, the tablet was apparently sold to an Arab antiquities collector in Israel, represented by attorney Yitzchak Herzog. Herzog served as Cabinet Secretary under Prime Minister Ehud Barak and is currently a candidate for the Knesset on the Labor party list. The Arab collector offered to sell it to the Israel Museum, but museum officials, doubting its authenticity, refused to purchase it.
— James McBride, England
— Arutz Sheva News Service
Genesis 3:1-13, Satire of the Sabbath
Verse 1:Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made, and he said to the church, “Has God indeed said, you shall not work on every day of the week?” Verse 2:And the church said to the serpent, “We may work on the days of the week.” Verse 3:“But as far as working on the seventh day, which God has set apart, God has said, ‘You shall not work on it or treat it as your own, nor shall you profane it, lest you sin’.” Verse 4: And the serpent said to the church, “It is not a sin to work on the seventh day.” Verse 5: “For God knows that there is nothing special about the seventh day and that you are able to decide for yourself what to do on it.” Verse 6: So when the church saw that the seventh day was good for pleasure, profit, and work, that it was not a holy day which God had created, the church took the day and did profane it, and gave license to profane it to all church members. Verse 7: Then the eyes of the church and its members were opened, and they knew they did not have mainstream beliefs; and they adopted false doctrines and made themselves new teachings. Verse 8: And they read the word of the Lord in the Holy Bible and its members hid themselves from the Lord God among the churches of the world. Verse 9: Then God called to the church members and said to them “Where are you?” Verse 10: So they said, “We read your words in the Bible, and we were afraid because we were not mainstream Christians; and we became as them.” Verse 11: And He said, “Who told you that you were not mainstream Christians? Have you profaned the day which I commanded you that you should not profane?” Verse 12: Then the church members said, “The church, under which you called us, it told us we could profane the Sabbath, and we did.” Verse 13: And the Lord said to the church, “What is this you have done?” And the church said, “The serpent deceived us and we profaned the Sabbath.”
— Craig White
Samuele Bacchiocchi’s Activities
Samuel Bacchiocchi’s controversial book, Women in the Church, has been translated into Chinese. Both the translation and publication of the book, were sponsored by the China Lutheran Seminary located in Taiwan, the main seminary, that prepares Lutheran ministers to serve the continent of China. You may obtain a copy of this book, plus most other Bacchiocchi books, for a suggested donation of $15 ($20 is the retail), from The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718. Dr. B. reports that numerous seminaries, especially Baptist, have been using the book for their classes, and the book has played a significant role in influencing the Southern Baptist Church to reverse their decision on women’s ordination a few years ago.
Now 65 years old, Bacchiocchi is retired from fulltime teaching at Andrews University. However, he continues to vigorously conduct Sabbath seminars around the world. He has recently spoken in California, Korea, and Japan. He is slated to speak at the SDA Church in Lexington, Kentucky on March 14-15, 2003. 968 Lane Allen Road, Lexington, KY 40504. For information call Elder David Parker at (502) 223-8020.
They were so excited
It was coming to be
Two people so in love
Now soon there would be three
For many years they’d planned it
Now it would soon be true
She was picking out the pink clothes
He was looking at the blue
The call came unexpected
The doctor had bad news
Some tests came back and things weren’t right
He said, “You’re gonna have to choose
I’ll wait a week for your decision”
Then the words cut like a knife
“I’m sure everyone will understand
If you want to end its life”
Though they were badly shaken
They just had no choice
‘Cause they knew God creates no accidents
And they were sure they heard His voice, saying,
Sometimes miracles hide
And God will wrap some blessings in disguise
You may have to wait this lifetime
To see the reasons with your eyes
‘Cause sometimes miracles hide
It seemed before they knew it
The appointed day arrived
With eager apprehension
They could barely hold inside
The first time they laid eyes on her
Confirmed the doctor’s fears
But they held on to God’s promises
‘Cause they were sure they both could hear
That sometimes miracles hide
And God will wrap some blessings in disguise
You may have to wait this lifetime
To see the reasons with your eyes
‘Cause sometimes miracles hide
Though she was not like the other girls
They thought she was the best
And through all the years of struggle
Neither whispered one regret
On the day that she started school
And took her first bus ride
They remembered the words that God had spoken
And they both broke down and cried
You see to them it did not matter
Why some things in life take place
‘Cause they just knew the joy they felt
When they look into her face
They learned sometimes miracles hide
They said, “God has wrapped our blessing in disguise
We may have to wait this lifetime to see the reasons with our eyes
But we know sometimes miracles hide
We’ve learned sometimes miracles hide”
— by Bruce Carroll
Nothing ages people like not thinking.
In this issue, we would like to help you start a Sabbath School in your church group if you don’t already have one. First of all, plant a seed in your congregation. Talk to everyone about starting a Sabbath School, especially those who have children attending. Speak with the elder or host and ask for their support. It doesn’t matter if there is only one child or a dozen. Plant the seed and grow a Sabbath School.
Growing A Sabbath School!
What does it take to start a Sabbath School class? Not much; one or more children, one or more willing volunteers, a few resources and supplies, and a place in the corner. Here are some basic questions to start with before you begin.
How many children do you have, what are their ages, and how often do they attend? Are there enough for 2 or 3 age groups, or do you need to combine all age groups into a small class?
Who is willing to teach Sabbath School? (You don’t have to be a teacher to teach.) Are there parents, young people, singles, or older adults in your group? Men, as well as women, make good teachers. There may be enough volunteers so that you can rotate teaching and it will not be a burden on just one person.
What about the location for a Sabbath School class? Find a corner where you can set up a table and some chairs, and start the class about 30-45 minutes before services, and end just before the service starts. (Hint: End your class with enough time for the children to use the bathroom and get a drink of water so that services won’t be interrupted.) If you have additional rooms that you can use for classes, you can decide among your group what time would be the most convenient for classes.
Resources and Materials:
There are a great many resources available at local religious stores and bookstores. You can purchase Bible story coloring books, puzzles, games, and other activities at discount stores for very little cost. (You may want to ask your local group if they would reimburse you for class costs.) A partial list of resources is included in this newsletter and more will follow in future issues.
Crayons, washable markers, pens, pencils, scissors, glue, construction and poster paper, tape, stickers, hole puncher, stapler, paper clips, bulletin board, dry eraser board, plus markers and eraser.
A very basic class can be started just using the Bible and a few materials. For example: Start the first class with the creation story. Tell the story about Adam naming all the animals. Show the younger children pictures of different animals and let them tell the animals’ names. Allow them to color a picture of their favorite animal. Display their pictures so that the congregation can appreciate the children’s efforts. The older children can learn about the creation days, what was created on each day, and how the Sabbath was created. You can make up crossword puzzles or word games to go along with the lesson. (Example: How many words can be made out of the word “creation”?)
Things to remember:
The important thing to remember when you are just beginning is “Keep it Simple.” Be sure and discuss your ideas about Sabbath School with others. Also, be sure and allow time for discussions by the children, allow them to give you feedback about the class, ask questions about the topic, etc. Pray for guidance and ask God to bless your efforts and your children in learning the wonderful ways of God.
(If you have any questions or would like to share some of your Sabbath School ideas, lessons, and experiences, please contact me at Shelby Faith
PO Box 183
High Ridge, MO 63049 or E-mail me at email@example.com.)
— by Shelby Faith
Resources for Home & Sabbath School Use
The following is a list of resources where you may order sample lessons and/or catalogs. Some are free of charge; others have a nominal cost. If you know of any good resources that can be used in Sabbath School or for home use, please share them with us at the above address. We will try to include more resources each month.
Children’s Bible Activity Sheets Published by Community Resources, Inc., 4150 Belden Village St. (4th Floor) Canton, OH 44718. Phone 1-800-992-2144
Review: Several lessons are sent out each quarter for a nominal charge. There is a Bible lesson and two activity sheets (includes an activity sheet for the younger child and another more complicated activity sheet for the older ones). These sheets can be reproduced for all the children in your class. You may call the above number and ask for a sample activity lesson, free of charge. If you have access to the web, you can go on their web site at www.bibleactivities.com. There are over 600 Biblically sound and reproducible Bible story sheets available for download and your immediate use, once you sign up for them.
Sabbath Keeping Youth (SKY)
You may order a catalog of resources and lessons available from Church of God, International, PO Box 2525, Tyler TX 75710, Ph. 1-903-825-2525. Web site www.cgi.org
Review: There are lessons, activities and booklets regarding Christian principles for parents and other parenting helps available from CGI on their web site at www.cgi.org (Hit the SKY button at this site). This is a very good web site, informative, and there are lots of stories and activities that can be downloaded and used by parents and teachers without any cost. Kids of different age groups will enjoy this web site. There are contests, quizzes, coloring pages, games, and puzzles. Kids can send in drawings, poems, and essays to be displayed on line. This site is kept up-to-date, has timely articles, lessons and activities, and is well worth checking out.
— by Shelby Faith
Behold the Baby
Behold the creepy crawler
As he climbs upon the stairs
He’s chasing after Tigger
And a bunch of honey bears
He made it to the landing
But his face is in a frown
“How the heck,” he wonders
“Do I get myself back down?”
Behold the little jaybird
As he’s sitting in his bath
He wears a sudsy afro
That is making grandpa laugh
He’s splashing water everywhere
And making quite a mess
The jaybird’s momma hollers out
“Quit that. I need a rest!”
Behold the little driver
As he’s riding in the car
He’s driving momma crazy
And they haven’t left the yard
He’s screaming for his binker
And his diaper’s soaking wet
The momma holds her temper
But still thinks an epithet.
Behold the little angel
As he’s sleeping in his bed
The momma pats his bottom
And her lips caress his head
The baby follows Pooh Bear
To a land so far away
And momma gets things ready
To begin another day.
Fort Dodge, IA
Don’t Have Time to Pray
I knelt to pray but not for long, I had too much to do. I had to hurry and get to work for bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer, and jumped up off my knees. My Christian duty was now done my soul could rest at ease.
All day long I had no time to spread a word of cheer. No time to speak of Christ to friends, they’d laugh at me I’d fear.
No time, no time, too much to do, that was my constant cry, no time to give to souls in need; but at last the time, the time to die.
I went before the Lord, I came, I stood with downcast eyes. For in his hands God held a book; it was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said, “Your name I cannot find. I once was going to write it down...but never found the time”
— Author unknown
Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.
— The Talmud
EPHRAIM: New Look at Israelite Identity
In Ephraim: The Gentile Children of Israel, Orthodox Jewish scholar, Yair Davidi, locates the lost Israelite tribes in Britain and Western Europe. Mr. Davidi constructs his thesis based on an impressive array of Biblical, historical, and archeological evidence.
Some of the evidence Davidi marshals in the 300-page book is from “Arab sources of Jewish inspiration,” who located the lost tribes in the “Happy Isles of the West.” Davidi also relies on prophecies in Isaiah and Jeremiah, placing the lost tribes of Jacob north and west of Israel, in the isles of the sea, and at the “ends of the earth,” or the geographical extremities of the continents, when the land of Israel is taken as the center of the earth. For instance, Davidi identifies the “land of Sinim” in Isaiah 49:12 with the continent of Australia, relying in part upon the Latin Vulgate which translates “Sinim” as “Australis” or “land of the South.”
Mr. Davidi also traces Israelite migrations through the path of “dolmens” or stone-monuments, which extend from Israel to Western Europe. He finds Biblical support for this proposition from Jeremiah 31, where the prophet “exhorted Israel to establish stone monuments to indicate their path of movement away from the Holy Land and the way they are destined to return.”
Other information is produced from Jewish Rabbinical commentators, who in their commentary on the Book of Obadiah, identify the exiled children of Israel in France, England, and Western Europe. These commentators include Rashi (1040-1105 A.D.), Abraham iben Ezra (1092-1167 A.D.), and Abarbanel (1437-1508 A.D.).
Yair Davidi, relying upon numerous prophecies in the Old Testament, believes that the lost ten tribes, who are legally considered to be Gentiles, will eventually reunite with Judah in the last days.
This book can be purchased for $30 from Yair Davidi, “Brit-Am,” PO Box 595, Jerusalem, Israel 91004. Information in this book review was compiled from Ephraim, and from information found on his website: www.geocities.com/hiberi.
— by David Miller
I really and truly find the Sabbath a blessing. If I didn’t believe in this LAW and it’s binding affect on me, I’d probably work seven days a week many weeks...to the detriment of my family and me.
I frankly don’t understand why people fight this issue. I mean, I can understand those who have never realized this; but those who have, and then have turned their backs upon it — I don’t get that! Isn’t it clear that we are not judged by the law because we don’t break it? I mean, read your Bible and get a full and balanced view! Christ’s coming never did away with any of the law! He magnified it! Only the ritualistic sacrifices have been done away with through His sacrifice! Christ kept the law perfectly. He didn’t break it! And that’s all we, who know the law, try to do. Of course, we fall short, and fall short often and sometimes in major ways, but we keep going and fighting the good fight and keep trying to overcome just like He told us to!
This is Christianity in its simplest form: obey God and keep His commandments and you will indeed be blessed! I honestly believe that, and I honestly believe that I have been and am being blessed still by not giving up for the sake of weariness, but standing fast for what I believe and see to be true and right.
It’s simple. Look at clean and unclean meats for example. I have never felt the need to re-examine this issue. So, I simply abstain from eating them because the Bible teaches it! If those meats were “unclean” anciently, what has happened that would have all of the sudden made them clean now? This isn’t magic we’re talking about! They’re still unclean! Am I somehow “sinning” by abstaining? Of course not, but is it possible that I am sinning against myself by partaking? I think so and that’s why I abstain.
Now, when we get to the point in time that
the church age is no more and the
scepter promise is fulfilled, and I find out that I could have been eating them all along, (which will not be the case!) what have I gained or lost? Absolutely nothing! On the other hand, when that time comes and Christ sees that my intent was to just “go with the flow” and partake, then I believe I’ve got a problem and rightly so! So, I continue on with the intent to keep what I know.
This same principle can be applied to the Sabbath(s), including the Holy Days, and many other issues. But, let’s be honest here! Does that even remotely imply that anyone had, or has, all the answers, or taught all the truth, or are to be set up as some sort of idol for us to follow?
No, of course not. We are to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling!”
— by Charles J. Sifter
On a Wednesday afternoon, I was almost stabbed to death, and yet, here I am sitting just four days later. I was trimming the bushes outside our gate, which is usually locked, with my three grandchildren, Marcus 6, Demi 4, and Tanya 2. The next moment I felt a steely-grip on my left wrist and looked into the enraged eyes of a black man of about 20. In his right hand, raised threateningly above his head, was a knife.
I had no hesitation in immediately calling upon the name of Yahshua. He has commanded us: “And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” Psalm 50:15.
Often, we are responsible for letting the enemy in to attack us. Sometimes we open the door by playing with sin, and sometimes by innocently doing something unwise. In this case I had forgotten to remove my cell-phone, which was still attached to my belt. This was what motivated the attack. In Ephesians 4:27 we are warned not to give the devil any place. We are to be constantly aware of areas in our lives, which will give him the slightest gap to come in and harm us. That’s why Peter warns us “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour” I Peter 5:8.
For a moment we stood motionless looking at each other. I was very aware of the tremendous anger burning is his eyes. More than ever, I realize that Satan absolutely hates the children of Yahweh. There is not the slightest bit of fair-play in his make-up and he would kill us all if he could. I believe that, to his utter frustration, he has not been allowed by the Father to take my life, and this is about the fourth time this year that he has made the attempt.
Then the demoniac let go of my wrist and reached for my cell-phone. I foolishly grabbed his wrist. But he jerked away and stabbed me in the neck. There was no pain, so at first I did not know I was wounded. Then I felt numbness in my shoulder and saw a spurt of blood. Now he was circling me and the children were screaming. I managed to get in the gate and push it shut; but he followed me. I kicked him between the legs. As he staggered back, I pushed him out and closed the gate. As he still demanded the cell-phone, my wife, Talana, came out and started screaming, seeing that I was covered in blood. Interspersed between her screams I heard her shout the name of Yahshua. The criminal gave me one last angry look, closed his knife, and walked away.
My son, Marius, who was on his way to pick up the children, arrived and took me to the hospital where they closed my wound with just two stitches. The ointment of Yahshua’s name being said over me had sealed the artery. The following evening, I returned to the hospital to be checked. The wound has already started to knit together. A few minutes ago, while I was sitting typing this testimony, Talana came and removed the bandage. She squealed with joy and said that she doesn’t think there will even be a mark after a couple of weeks. I saw the wound for the first time and could hardly believe it.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who prayed for us; but above all, I give glory and honor to my wonderful Father and Savior, for without Him, I wouldn’t be here to tell my story.
— by Johann
Periodically we will do a feature story about a service being provided to the people of God.
Fourth Annual BSA Scholarship Contest
The Bible Sabbath Association announces the 2003 BSA Essay Scholarship Contest. The contest is open to all students in their junior year of high school (or home schooled students that are one year away from being college-bound (approximately ages 16-17), and to all college-age students up to the age of 25.
Application deadline is May 1, 2003. Each applicant will receive a free subscription to The Sabbath Sentinel for one year along with his or her application entry. The four winners of the essay contest will be awarded prizes as follows: first place $750, second place $500, and third, and fourth place with an award of $250 each.
Scholarship money will be paid directly to the trade school/college or university the student has been accepted at for the fall 2003 school year. The contest is open to U.S. and international students. It is open to any Sabbath-keeping Christian regardless of church or organizational affiliation.
Former BSA essay scholarship winners may NOT enter the contest this year. This will allow others an opportunity.
The Three Essay Questions for this year’s contest are as follows:
1. How can the Sabbath be kept/observed in families so that children will grow up loving to keep it? 2. Do you believe how the Sabbath is observed in childhood can inspire children to continue to keep it into adulthood? 3. How is the Sabbath a shadow of things past and a shadow of things to come? You may use Biblical references, but explain your answers in your own words.
Refute one of the following statements: “Sunday is the Christian day of Worship”; “The Sabbath was nailed to the cross”; or “Keeping Sabbath is legalism.”
Applications must be filled out completely. Essay questions must be hand written by the applicant with a typed copy attached for easy reading by the judges. For Scholarship Applications, contact The Bible Sabbath Association by calling toll free 1-888-687-5191 or writing to: Scholarship Contest, c/o The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, Wyoming 82718.
Applications can also be obtained from the Scholarship Committee Chairperson, June Narber, via E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing her at: BSA Scholarship c/o June Narber, 6325-9 Falls of Neuse Road #193, Raleigh, NC 27615.
Forms are also available on the BSA Website, www.biblesabbath.org.
Donations for next year’s Scholarship will be gladly accepted. We need donations to insure that we can continue the scholarship program.
— by June Narber
The “Sharing Library” is a service ministry founded by “Giving & Sharing.” It provides the Sabbath community (along with many other interested persons) access to a diverse collection of helpful resource materials to aid in their Christian walk. Locating good Christian living, educational, inspirational biographies, uplifting music, Christian fiction, family recreational viewing, children’s materials, and Jewish/Hebrew roots materials is difficult as well as time consuming.
The Sharing Library seeks to meet this diversity of need in a timely manner by lending a variety of resources through the mail. Request a catalog, select what you are interested in, send the request form, and receive on loan, for a month, the items you want! What can be easier!
This ministry SELLS NOTHING! It is a library and operates completely within that context. Items listed are available for LOAN ONLY. The only expense you have is to pay return postage for any items you borrow. That generally is only a couple of dollars.
The Sharing Library will try to help you find a source for any items you would like to purchase for personal use, but none of the library’s materials are for sale. Prompt return of items is requested since replacement is financially difficult if not impossible.
The current catalog lists over 700 items in a wide range of formats from books to CDs, videos to pamphlets, and cassette tapes to phonograph records. To obtain a comprehensive catalog, contact:
PO Box 581
Granville, OH 43023
We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you as much as possible in your spiritual growth.
— by John Crissinger
This I know — if all men should take their troubles to market, to barter with their neighbors, not one, when he had seen the troubles of other men, would be glad to carry his own home again.
Fifth century B.C.
While soldering with Willie and Joe,
They were always on the go,
No matter how deep the snow.
Today I arrived back on the front.
What a terrifying stunt.
Having been wounded already twice,
It seemed to be quite a price.
Shell shocked in the previous campaign,
No usable nerves remain.
That first night back we were hit by the blitz, ten thousand fell at my right;
But God remained there with us on that black night.
As I prayed with all my might,
The S.S. Paratroopers came dressed in white
Dropped in behind us on that stormy night.
Cannons fired point-blank words will never describe that awful fight;
But our flag remained all through the night.
My canned beans had frozen; my feet were wet.
Thanks to God they had not frozen yet.
Somehow some survived this terrible long winter
With nothing more than K-rations — our dinner.
We shared a pill box on the Siegfried line.
Oh if we were across the muddy Rhine.
Patton assured us we would be there in no time.
When we were in Strassburg I thought things were bad.
Later I discovered I should have been glad.
I had a tent to sleep in and that wasn’t bad.
We still have to fight across the Voss Gees mountains yet.
I wished for a time just to sit.
A bath would be nice.
I’ve had one in my helmet once or twice.
April 28 we entered Dachau’s gate.
Found all 10,000 had met their fate.
Come May 8th we thought we were finally done.
We had overcome the awful Hun,
Only to find the job was not done.
There were some S.S. who would not sign.
We were rushed to Austria and the Yougo line.
There — they were compelled to sign.
— by Sgt. Loy L. Baker
Loy Baker is a member of the Springfield, MO, Church of God. He was a decorated hero of World War II. His story appeared in the first issue of “Church of God News.”