Tag Archives: Seventh-day Adventist

The Narrow Minded Gospel

The Narrow Minded Gospel
Unfortunately swearing, violence, the over-sexualisation of society and the taking of God’s name in vain are not anything new, nor are they going to disappear anytime soon. Whilst, as Christians, we need to be careful with what we do, in fact 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, ‘so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (NIV) and Philippians 4:8 says, ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.’ (NIV), we also need to ensure that we are not removing ourselves so far from society that we cannot connect with common man.

Jesus himself would associate with prostitutes, thieves, tax-collectors, the unclean – essentially the scum of society. He would meet people where they are at instead of waiting for them to meet Him where He was at. He showed us, in his perfection, how to best minster to people.

With this in mind we need to be careful with what it is we expose ourselves to. Not just exposure in a physical sense but also a spiritual sense. These texts quoted above are true, but at the same time we know that as bad as things are now, they have been worse in the past – the story of Noah is testament to this.

One risk Adventists have traditionally made is that we say that “Our way is the only way!” and that “Our method is the only method!” When people go against the perceived ‘norm’ of Adventism we counter this by saying that what they are doing is clearly not the ‘will of God.’ But what is the will of God? Is the will of God the same for every individual on the planet…all 7Billion of us? I think not! In fact the teaching of Paul shows us that this is not the case – 1 Corinthians 9:20 ‘To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.’ (NIV)

Far too often we speak an obscure language (Adventist or Christian jargon if you will) that people of this world do not understand. We need to ensure we speak a language that people actually understand, just as Jesus did.

We can’t expect people to know how to run when we, as Christians, have neglected to first teach them how to walk.

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Experience at Rockaway

After handing out $15,000 worth of relief cards, we were surprised to meet one of the receivers of the ADRA relief cards who was thankful for the financial help that she needed to buy groceries for her family.

On Sunday the 10th of February the One Year in Mission (OYiM) team along with Pr. Ruben Merino of Adventist Community Services (ACS), Greater New York Conference partnered with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to assist in the distribution of gift cards to people still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The team set out to one of the many devastated communities in order to distribute these cards to those deemed as being most in need. It was a deliberate decision taken by ACS not to advertise our attendance so that we might ensure that people didn’t try and exploit the generosity of ADRA. As it turned out this plan wasn’t very successful very well as the distribution centre chosen was closed when the group arrived.

After a brief prayer the group began driving around Rockaway looking for another distribution centre. The drive was proving fruitless so the team began to head home. It was at this stage that Alveena Pillay (South Africa) spotted a distribution centre being run out of a side alley. Pr. Merino, after parking his car, went to talk to the coordinator to get some basic information as to how needy these people really were.

As it turned out this centre was being run by a lady from the community in order to help this same community. The stories shared by the community members were astounding. There was one man, who, at the age of 72 decided to quite his job to volunteer his time serving the community and helping the community get back on its feet. Then there was the story of a young girl, aged only 14 who had set up an online support group on Facebook asking for donations in order to match items to people in her community.

The need in this community was obvious to the eye. Located just 200 meters from the sea the properties were now rubble having been lifted from their foundations from the force of the deluge of water that came through during Hurricane Sandy. Many thousands of homes had this same thing happen to them, resulting in many tens of thousands of people losing their homes and their possessions.

The joy and gratitude shown on the faces of those who received a gift card was genuine and evident. The notion that people care and acknowledge that there is still a large amount of work to be done in the community of Rockaway brought smiles to the faces of the community members. Some people were able to buy groceries for the week, others able to pay medical bills or book in medical or dental treatment that was long overdue.

On the return trip while stopping at a local supermarket one of the recipients of the gift card was exiting with a shopping cart full of food, full for the first time in many months, her family we going to be fed well for the first time since Hurricane Sandy had gone through.

The blessings we received were numerous, and all through trying to bless others. Even through tragedy God can work miracles.

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