Adventism is a faith movement centered on the Life-giver, Jesus Christ. How do we take that message of more abundant life into all the world? Three Adventists from different areas of our big world share their thoughts. Their words may bring new inspiration as we share our stories of Christ’s redeeming grace.—Editors.
I’m a Seventh-day Adventist.
My religion has been tested on life’s sea, but through its trials I have tasted flavors and caught aromas of grace from God, who still commands the calm at the height of the storm.
I was in the womb when my parents chose Jesus, Adventism, and baptism. Childhood Sabbath School classes taught me to memorize, share, and learn. Being an active youth leader taught me to stand up front and speak into a microphone, to plan great programs, and motivate people to action. Pathfinders taught me to be strong, innovative, sing in my heart, and cheer someone along. Adventist education chiseled and formed me from elementary through graduate school—wearing a uniform, learning about math and Adventist pioneers, writing, and winning spelling bees. Most important, I learned faith—faith that with God I could make it through anything.
As a student missionary, He took me from the tiny Caribbean island of Tobago (population less than 61,000) to India (and its nearly 1.4 billion) for six months of wonderful food and people who lived out the gospel at every turn. He took me there and brought me home.
The Lord took me into adulthood, where neither church employment nor marriage lasted. Divorce stained me. Fellow church members did not know what to do with me or for me; what to say or not say. I struggled to breathe, to believe, to find support.
Where were my friends? Where was my church? Where was my God after I’d given Him everything? Something kept me going to church on Sabbath mornings, some hope that I would hear a helping word.
I did. Under the pressure of life’s scorching heat, my tiny mustard seed of faith popped open. Miraculously, I tasted aromas of grace and mercy, and caught whiffs of heavenly care that drew my battered, fainting heart back to God. Now more than ever I’m an Adventist because of how my church has grown my faith to face life’s battering storms.
Carissa-Loy Andrews, a young adult from Scarborough, Tobago, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, served the Seventh-day Adventist Church as an educator for more than 10 years.
We live in a world that values work (career) and education. We spend most of our youth gaining an education for that dream job that we think will ultimately bring about happiness, because that’s how we measure our self-worth. If we’re successful, we feel good about life; if we fail, we question life. Thus, according to the world, when we “do,” then we “become.” But according to God, we do because we’ve become (see Eph. 2:10).
I had a friend who played professional rugby. Because he made a living out of the sport, he saw himself as nothing but a rugby player—until a car accident ended his career. He became depressed and suicidal because the identity he had depended on, a sports career, was now over.
Longing for sympathetic understanding is not selfish. In Gethsemane Christ felt this longing for sympathy “to the very depths of His being.”*
The first time the word “love” appears in the New Testament is during Christ’s baptism. Even before Jesus begins His formal ministry, the Father utters this profound statement: “This is my Son, whom I love.” That is identity. Then He says, “With Him I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17), the most powerful affirmation.
We work to achieve our identity, hoping for affirmation through it. But with God we stand still and receive our identity, thus finding our affirmation. God’s church is a gathering of those affirmed, those who have received their identity from Christ at baptism. Our identity as children of the Most High gives us purpose and meaning. When this is established in our hearts, we no longer measure our worth based on what we do—whether in the church or the community. Rather, our worth is counted and affirmed by who we are in life, who we are in the eyes of God.
* Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898, 1940), p. 687.
Rome Ulia, formerly of the North New South Wales Conference in Australia, recently accepted a call to the Washington Conference in the United States.
Potluck—eating together after the worship service—is a great Adventist tradition. Rice, salads, delicious desserts, hearty soups, homemade breads, pasta, and cakes—the spread is always mouthwatering. The more international the congregation, the more colorful and interesting the buffet. A real taste experience tells stories of foreign countries and cultures with exotic spices—cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, saffron, and turmeric—and delight the eye and the palate.
In Stuttgart, Germany, visitors often join in, some of whom struggle with life and its many challenges. A friendly smile, a warm meal, and a tasty dessert mean a great blessing for them. In winter we send them off with large bags of the good food they desperately need.
Food connects. Eating together is an excellent way to preserve and celebrate life. Jesus knew that. The Bible says that He often ate with His friends (disciples), His critics and enemies (Pharisees and lawyers), and society’s despised (tax collectors). He is His church’s example: potlucks and fellowship luncheons are great opportunities to share healthful and nutritious meals with members and visitors. For we share more than just food; caring fellowship is one way to share Jesus.
Jesus invites us to a future meal together: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). I’m looking forward to the great feast with you in the New Jerusalem. Jesus our Saviour will be seated at the head of the table, leading the celebration with the redeemed of all the ages. Everything will taste heavenly!
Claudia Mohr serves in the Public Relations Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany. She lives with her husband, Jens-Oliver, and their daughter, Melody, in Ostfildern.