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May 23, 2013

Major Changes for

Adventist Media Center

Above All Else

Good for Nothing









An ancient prophecy

and the heart of mission

“Behold, I come quickly . . .”

Our mission is to uplift Jesus Christ by presenting stories of His

matchless love, news of His present workings, help for knowing

Him better, and hope in His soon return.

18 14 11 6


18 Ziggurats, Mountains,

and the Stone

Gerald A. Klingbeil

A prophetic snapshot

that reveals a lot


14 Above All Else

Rachel Lemons

A glimpse of what it

means to be devoted

22 A Call to Service

Ellen G. White

We have responsibilities,

but we also have gifts.


4 Letters

7 Page 7

8 World News &


13 Give & Take

17 Transformation Tips


6 Mark A. Kellner

Battle Creek’s

Long Shadow

7 Gina Wahlen

Beyond the Basics


The image of Daniel 2 still

captivates and still offers

a message of hope.

Illustration by Steve Creitz

24 A Day to Remember

Helga Pedzy

Some things are just

impossible to forget.

26 Good for Nothing

Josette P. Stevens-Lassen

It’s amazing what some

people consider valuable.

28 Ask the Doctors

29 Dateline Moscow

30 Etc.

31 Reflections

Next Week in

Adventist world

Unity in Diversity

What happens when young

adults from around the

world live in New York City

to serve God for one year?

Publisher General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® , Executive Publisher Bill Knott, Associate Publisher Claude Richli, Publishing Board: Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Benjamin D. Schoun,

vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Daniel R. Jackson; Robert Lemon; Geoffrey Mbwana; G. T. Ng; Daisy Orion; Juan Prestol; Michael Ryan; Ella Simmons; Mark Thomas; Karnik

Doukmetzian, legal adviser. Editor Bill Knott, Associate Editors Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil, Coordinating Editor Stephen Chavez, Online Editor Carlos Medley, Features Editor Sandra

Blackmer, Young Adult Editor Kimberly Luste Maran, KidsView Editor Wilona Karimabadi, News Editor Mark A. Kellner, Operations Manager Merle Poirier, Financial Manager Rachel

Child, Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste, Assistant to the Editor Gina Wahlen, Quality Assurance/Social Media Coordinator Jean Boonstra, Marketing Director Claude Richli,

Editor-at-Large Mark A. Finley, Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke, Art Director Bryan Gray, Design Daniel Añez, Desktop Technician Fred Wuerstlin, Ad Sales Glen Gohlke, Subscriber Services

Steve Hanson. To Writers: Writer’s guidelines are available at the Adventist Review Web site: and click “About the Review.” For a printed copy, send a self-addressed envelope

to: Writer’s Guidelines, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600. E-mail: Web site: Postmaster:

Send address changes to Adventist Review, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740-7301. Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are © Thinkstock 2013. The Adventist Review (ISSN 0161-

1119), published since 1849, is the general paper of the Seventh-day Adventist ® Church. It is published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® and is printed

36 times a year on the second, third, and fourth Thursdays of each month by the Review and Herald ® Publishing Association, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD

21740. Periodical postage paid at Hagerstown, MD 21740. Copyright © 2013, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® . PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 190, No. 15

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payment to Adventist Review subscription desk, Box 1119, Hagerstown, MD 21741-1119. Orders can also be placed at Adventist Book Centers. Prices subject to change. Address changes: OR call 1-800-456-3991, or 301-393-3257. Subscription queries: OR call 1-800-456-3991, or 301-393-3257. | May 23, 2013 | (451) 3


Letters From Our Readers

April 25, 2013

Vol. 190, No. 12

Adventist Youth March

Against Violence

Human Su fering

and Creation

More Than You Asked For

Helen’s Kitchen


I thoroughly enjoyed

Wilona Karimabadi’s cover

article about Helen Moore

(“In the Kitchen With Helen,”

Apr. 25, 2013), and will look

for her products next time

I’m shopping at Sprouts.

Since Moore is no longer

producing and selling her

tofu steaks, it would be very

much appreciated if she

would share the recipe. They

sound wonderful.

Arteen Wood

Escondido, California


What a nice surprise to see

Helen Moore’s picture on the

cover of the Review!

Remembering her and

Tony from days of yore (sans

children) in So. Lancaster,

Massachusetts, and to see

their faithfulness through

the years—and their contributions

to the faith—is


May many find their way

to good health through her

witness via food!

Marlene Smith

Naples, Florida

It Makes No Sense


If evil is nonsensical, as

Clifford Goldstein suggests

in “It Makes No Sense” (Apr.

18, 2013), then it follows that

April 25, 2013




In the





Food goeS


the originator of evil, Satan,

and his cohort of demons are

irrational beings. Nonsensical

behavior is a hallmark of

demented individuals, and

insanity is a legally valid

defense in human justice.

Satan’s rebellion began

with his challenge of God’s

fairness, when he was not

accorded identical privileges

to Jesus. While his behavior,

casting aspersion on the

Lord and bringing suffering

and death to countless

humans, is unspeakably evil,

it is completely consistent

with his character. It’s a

rational means to undermine

God’s kingdom. The

great controversy between

Christ and Satan is a battle of

ideas as demonstrated by the

dialogue between the antagonists

during Christ’s temptation

in the wilderness.

The suffering and death of

innocent children is one of

the many indicators of how

far we find ourselves from

the Edenic ideal our Creator

intended for us.

George Javor

New Leipzig, North Dakota

Dealing With



The message I received

from Delbert Baker’s “Dealing

With Disappointment”

(Mar. 28, 2013) is this: pull

yourself up by your own


By some miracle God led me

to the Adventist Church at the

age of 21. If God had not taken

me in, I would have been

destroyed many years ago.

But somewhere, somehow,

the kind and loving God

became a fire-breathing

monster to me, and I practiced

my religion on autopilot

for a very long time.

Baker’s use of Paul’s victorious

life as taken from Holy

Scripture is commendable,

but however correct and

appropriate those verses are,

they don’t have any “skin” on

them. The skin I refer to is

12-step programs. I began

attending regularly in 1994.

At that time the only thing

left of that 21-year-old young

woman was a shell, a very

thick one.

At first the members

would say to me: “We’re

going to love you until you

can love yourself.” Quite

frankly, I didn’t believe a

word of it. They kept saying

it to me knowing that if I

kept “coming back,” I would

learn how to love myself.

These 12-step meetings

are usually held in church

basements (non-Adventist).

[The Adventist Church has

organized a 12-step program

called Regeneration. I have

attended a few of these meetings

in Takoma Park, Maryland.]

In the “outside”

12-step fellowship I’ve come

to know God through Jesus.

He is kind, compassionate,

and lovable. This Jesus is the

very same Jesus who cared

enough for me to spare my

life by bringing me into the

Adventist Church.

We have a saying in our

fellowship: Religion is for

people who are afraid they

are going to hell. Spirituality

is for people who have

already been there.

Roberta Hudson


South Bend, Indiana

Wrong Message



We love receiving the

Review and have subscribed

to it for many years, but I

have some concern about the

message conveyed by the

cover of the March 21, 2013,

edition. The caption under

the picture says, “People

leave the Adventist church”

“because they’ve changed

their beliefs.” I thought

about the many hands just

my particular issue goes

through until it reaches my

mailbox, to say nothing of

the thousands of other mailboxes

that received this same

issue. I thought of the many

pieces of “literature” we all

have distributed door to

door, telling the world about

a loving Savior and the true

biblical message for these

last days as it is found in the

Adventist Church. In one

sweeping moment a message

is sent to the employees of

the USPS as they deliver our

mail that “more and more”

of us no longer believe what

we have been preaching. Perhaps

we all need to be more

conscious of how easy it is

for words to convey the

wrong message, even on a

magazine cover.

June Loor

Hendersonville, North


Beyond Belief


I was particularly interested

in the article by Andy

Nash entitled “Beyond

Belief” (Mar. 21). From my

observations, I believe that if

we can find the way to keep

people happy in the Ad-

4 (452) | | May 23, 2013

March 21, 2013

Vol. 190, No. 8

March 21, 2013

A Faith of Don’ts?

Church to Receive $45

Mi lion in Reparations

The Perfect 10

PeoPle leave the adventist ChurCh only beCause they’ve had a bad

exPerienCe, right? NoT ANyMoRe. A New sTuDy iNDiCATes ThAT MoRe AND

MoRe ChuRCh MeMbeRs ARe leAviNg beCAuse They’ve ChANgeD TheiR belieFs.




“Jesus emphasized His teaching. An understanding of

Bible truth will always lead us to Him.

—hubert f. sturges, Grand Junction, Colorado”

ventist Church, we will also

find the way to win more

souls into the church.

When I was about 35, an

older church member told

me that the local church was

unfriendly. (He never actually

left the church.) My wife

and I conducted a little

experiment: that next Sabbath

we each just stood in

the foyer of the church and

did not approach anyone. We

counted 14 persons or couples

who came to us with

friendly greetings and conversation.

As we grew older,

this did not happen as often,

but we also recognized that

it was our duty to approach

those we didn’t know and

welcome them.

Earlier this decade I posted

regularly on an “Adventist”

Internet forum, which might

better be characterized as an

“ex-Adventist forum.”

Almost to the letter, these ex-

Adventists presented doctrinal

differences for the

reasons they left the church.

Yet as I got better acquainted

with them I found that most

had bad personal experiences,

or couldn’t accept

what seemed to be faulty

administration of the church.

Doctrine is very important.

But we must understand

doctrine in the light of

the cross. I have always used

the Bible as a reference book.

Three years ago I started taking

about an hour a day

reading four to six chapters

every day. It opened my eyes

to things I hadn’t really

known before.

Jesus emphasized His

teaching. An understanding

of Bible truth will always

lead us to Him. We need to

look at what is preached

from the pulpit. We need to

support Sabbath school

teachers who will lead Biblebased

discussion. And most

of all, we need to get back

into the habit of just reading

the Bible through every year.

Hubert F. Sturges

Grand Junction, Colorado

100 Years OF

February 28, 2013

February 28, 2013

Vol. 190, No. 6

Driving Distracted

Adventists Provide

emergency Care in honduras

Alternative Adventist


Care and Healing

the ministry of

white memorial

medical center

White Memorial

Medical Center


I was happy to read CMBell

Company’s cover article

“One Hundred Years of Care

and Healing,” on White

Memorial Medical Center

(WMMC) in the February 28,

2013, Review. I’m 89 years old,

and the picture of the First

Street Dispensary brought

back memories. I remember

that old building, which was

across the street from the


My father, Elwin Knecht,

went to Loma Linda in 1922

to take the dietitian course

when it was first offered. In




1927 WMMC asked my

father to come and be their

chef. He worked there for 10

years. Then he and our family

went back to Michigan.

What modern facilities

they now have! Praise the

Lord, WMMC is listed as one

of the best hospitals in the


Evelyn (Knecht)


Dayton, Tennessee

Every Article



Every article in the February

21, 2013, Review was


The call from God and the

passionate power given to

Carlton Byrd (see Celeste

Ryan Blyden’s cover story

“Carlton Byrd Takes New

York by Storm”) took my

breath away! I pray that God

will keep Byrd humble and

dependent on Him.

“At the Well,” with Galina

Stele, was inspiring. My

heart was stirred with compassion

and understanding

over Lilian Han Im’s “The

Eternal Chapter.” Han Im’s

own renewed hope gave this

reader confidence.

The article that prompted

this letter, however, was Vincent

MacIsaac’s “iDols.”

MacIsaac gave the best advice

himself: “Let’s use current

technology to transform the

world, and at the same time,

let’s not be transformed by it.”

Thomas Edison was concerned

that inventions made

to cause good could be

turned around to cause evil.

Satan would want to use

every invention meant to

convert the world to cause

sin instead. Let us pray that

we will be good examples;

also pray for those who can

influence our children and

youth to gain victories over

addictions—pray too for our

pastors, teachers, and anyone

who will be guided by

God to be winning, tactful,

and firm in their counseling

of others.

Velma Beavon

Dayton, Montana

We welcome your letters, noting,

as always, that inclusion of a letter

in this section does not imply that

the ideas expressed are endorsed by

either the editors of the Adventist

Review or the General Conference.

Short, specific, timely letters have

the best chance at being published

(please include your complete

address and phone number—even

with e-mail messages). Letters will

be edited for space and clarity only.

Send correspondence to Letters to

the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501

Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD

20904-6600; Internet: letters@ | May 23, 2013 | (453) 5


Mark A.


Battle Creek’s Long Shadow

BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, where the General Conference of

Seventh-day Adventists was organized 150 years ago, may loom larger in Adventist memory than

it does in real life. Signs in the downtown business district point tourists toward the “Historic

Adventist Village,” but apart from a certain, well-known breakfast cereal maker’s headquarters,

there’s little to suggest an Adventist “flavor” to the place.

Yes, the Seventh-day Adventist Tabernacle sits on a downtown corner, and several hundred

come each Sabbath for Bible study and worship. But if you look for “The San,” as the Battle

Creek Sanitarium was familiarly called, you’ll find a massive federal office complex—and a historical

site marker. John Harvey Kellogg, longtime Adventist and later apostate, has truly “left

the building.”

I came to such somber reflections when in this city for the General Conference’s Spring Meeting.

The fellowship was grand; the historical presentations were both excellent and informative. I

learned a lot, and so did many others who’d had far more years in this movement than I can claim.

Driving around Battle Creek (my hotel was not the main venue, hence I had a daily commute),

I saw, as noted, little evidence of a Seventh-day Adventist impact on the town. In a way, that’s

understandable: after the fire that claimed the Review and Herald Publishing Association building

and after Ellen White’s vision that our headquarters should be close to Washington, D.C.,

the Adventists moved on, and Battle Creek went its own way.

The aforementioned Dr. Kellogg—whose brother, Will, founded the eponymous breakfast

food empire—built the San into a major institution, only to see it destroyed by fire in 1902.

Ellen White counseled that the facility should not be rebuilt, but Kellogg ignored her advice.

Forty years later the U.S. government bought the property for use as a hospital for returning

World War II soldiers, and John Harvey Kellogg died a year later.

What are the lessons Seventh-day Adventists can take from the Battle Creek experience? I

can’t claim a complete list, but here are a few thoughts that came to mind after five days in Battle

Creek, Michigan.

First, God knows our destiny better than we do. It might well have seemed—to some of our

pioneers and their successors—that staying in Battle Creek and expanding our “empire” there

would have been a good thing. But the Lord had a different plan, and that difference may well

have shaped our destiny. Being in and around Washington, D.C., has created great opportunities

for our movement’s leadership and our people, ones that might not have been available


At the same time, we have a responsibility to remember the past. The Historic Adventist Village

in Battle Creek is a fine reminder of our heritage, but much more can—and shall, God willing—be

done to show that heritage off. Not to boast, but to remind our people and to inform

others that what began in a small Michigan city has since circled the globe. I believe the Village

and its sponsors, the Adventist Heritage Ministry, deserve your support, including financial, to

accomplish this task.

I believe we also should brighten the corner where we are, to borrow from the old chorus.

While there’s no doubt that much was done for Battle Creek when it was an Adventist stronghold,

perhaps more could have been done to ingrain our message in the community. What

might Battle Creek be like if our health message had continued promulgation after leaders

decamped for the shores of the Potomac?

I wonder what we’re doing today in each of our towns and cities in which we have a major

presence. Can we do more for others? Can we be of greater service to those in physical and spiritual

need? Can we touch more lives in the manner that Jesus did?

For me, one of the greatest lessons of the Battle Creek experience is that not only should we

learn from the past, but we must apply those lessons! Wherever we find ourselves, we should

be good and fruitful ambassadors for Christ and for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, sharing

the blessed hope we have with others, and helping them find that which we have discovered. n

6 (454) | | May 23, 2013

Beyond the Basics

not long ago, a college-age friend made a big turnaround in

his life. Wanting to learn more from God’s Word, he dug deeply into Daniel and Revelation,

amazed at the accuracy of prophecy. But recently he was startled to hear a presenter on his

Adventist campus state, “When I no longer have anything to say about Jesus, then I’ll talk about


“Jesus is what matters,” a theology major echoed. “And the fruits of the spirit. Love. Joy. Peace.”

Basics are fundamental, but it’s important to grow beyond “one-plus-one.”

No doubt about it—Jesus is my “all in all.” He is the foundation of my faith. But He is much

more. Jesus reveals Himself through prophecy. “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He

reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7, NKJV, see also 1 Peter 1:10-11).* We

cannot separate Jesus from prophecy.

Many churches, including ours, preach the amazing truth that Jesus died on the cross to save sinners—and

we are all sinners. Many, including Adventists, serve the underprivileged and seek justice.

But Jesus calls us to move beyond Basic Christianity 101. He calls us to be His remnant people,

those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12, NKJV),

and He urges us to preach the “everlasting gospel”: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour

of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth”(verse 7, NKJV).

This is no exclusive club—He wants all “who dwell on the earth” (verse 6, NKJV) to be part of

His remnant church. The more I learn about Jesus, the more amazed I am that He actually

entrusts the proclamation of His powerful, life-changing, lifesaving prophetic messages to us. n




Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980,

1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Watching the Signs

Do you know the signs of

His coming? Are you watching?


2 Peter 3:3, 4


Matt. 24:6, 7


Matt. 24:7


Mark 13:8


Luke 21:11


here and


Dan. 12:4


Luke 21:25, 26

loverS of


2 Tim. 3:1-5

aS in

the dayS

of noah

Matt. 24:37-39


to all the


Matt. 24:14

“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

World News & Perspectives


Media Center Board Votes

Sweeping Operational Changes

Simi Valley property to be sold,

media ministries to relocate

By MARK A. KELLNER, news editor

After 41 years as a church entity and 18

years in its current location, the Adventist

Media Center (AMC) in Simi Valley,

California, is facing the end of its

existence. On April 29, 2013, the center’s

board voted several actions that will

change the nature of Seventh-day Adventist

media outreach in North


“The media ministries’ mission and

messages of hope and wholeness have

helped to spread the gospel of Jesus

Christ throughout North America and

beyond. We appreciate the tireless

efforts of the many media center

employees and ministry staff members,”

said Dan Jackson, president of the

North American Division (NAD) and

chair of the media center’s board. “We

expect the media ministries to continue

to maintain and provide the level of

programs and services which will meet

the future needs of the division,” he


As voted, the move envisions the

church’s various North American radio

and television ministries, which include

Breath of Life Ministries, Faith for

Today, It Is Written, Jesus 101 Biblical

Institute, La Voz de la Esperanza, and

the Voice of Prophecy, to relocate away

from the Simi Valley facility, which

is to be sold. A time frame of 12 to 18

months will be allocated for this process.

According to an NAD statement,

“efforts will be made to minimize the

impact on employees who will be

affected by and during the transition

and relocation period.”

The decision, the NAD statement said,

“comes after two years of research, concentrated

studies, continual meetings

(which included two major summit

meetings), as well as private interviews

with stakeholders. From these meetings,

NAD leadership has developed

documents that summarize the aspects

of the summits, meetings, and interviews.

Participants of the summits

included media ministry speakers,

innovative Adventist pastors who are

already using innovative media effectively,

as well as church administrators

and communication personnel.”

The NAD announcement stressed two

other points concerning Seventh-day

Adventist media work in the division,

which claims more than 1 million


First, the division will maintain

an “ongoing commitment to providing

funding for the media ministries,”

the statement said. “As a part

of this process, and in clear understanding

that the media ministries

are part of the NAD ministry effort,

funding levels from the division

would be identified for each of the

media ministries in order to allow

NAD photo

HOUR OF DECISION: Members of the Adventist Media Center board met on a sound stage at the organization’s Simi Valley, California,

facility on April 29, 2013. The group voted to allow the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s North American Division media ministries to

relocate and for the media center property to be sold.

8 (456)

| | May 23, 2013

them to fulfill their mission.”

And, according to the statement, the

NAD will make a “commitment to

explore new possibilities for media

development. The division anticipates a

significant role for the media ministries

in the future of media in North America;

beyond the role they currently play.”

According to the NAD announcement,

“the North American Division Committee

will receive the recommended proposal

from the AMC board.” A final vote

approving the move is expected at the

year-end divisional meeting in November

2013. n


Adventist Youth Among First Responders

at Bangladesh Factory Collapse

Four rescued alive, 26 others recovered by teens trained in disaster relief.

By BENJAMIN RAKSHAM, Bangladesh Union Mission, reporting from Savar, Bangladesh

Seventh-day Adventists were some of the first

responders to a commercial factory building collapse in

Savar, Bangladesh, that has captured international media

attention and sparked debate over building standards.

Ten Adventist youth trained in earthquake preparedness

and potential building collapse situations

were some of the first on-site

after the April 24, 2013, collapse and

helped bring out 30 victims, four of

whom were still alive.

Another group of 125 Adventist young

people went to the disaster site on Saturday,

April 27, to assist rescue teams. That

group helped recover three women as

photos by Flabian Shaikat Aikder

DOING GOOD: Rescuers work on Saturday,

April 27, 2013, to recover survivors of the

factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh. Adventist

workers wore orange uniforms.

MEDIA NOTICE: Adventist Church member

Thais Landerson is interviewed at the factory

collapse site. She is the daughter of

Serpa Santana Landerson, who serves as

Bangladesh country director for the Adventist

Development and Relief Agency.

well as several bodies. They also provided

food and water to survivors.

The eight-story commercial building

is known as Rana Plaza and is located

approximately 28 miles (45 kilometers)

from the capital city of Dhaka.

The building housed five garment

factories, production lines, banks, and

hundreds of shops. An estimated 3,500

people were in the building at the time

of the collapse, the majority of whom

were female factory workers under the

age of 25. At press deadline approximately

400 bodies had been recovered

and 2,444 injured people had been rescued,

but hundreds were still unaccounted


ADRA Bangladesh also responded

promptly by providing oxygen tanks,

masks, flashlights, hammers, shovels,

and other tools as preliminary assistance.

According to director Serpa Santana Landerson,

ADRA Bangladesh plans to donate cash to the Prime Minister’s

Relief Fund after committee approval is received.

During an April 26 Adventist Youth evening meeting,

young people spontaneously collected 12,100 taka (approximately

US$160) for the victims.

Reports have confirmed that at least

one Seventh-day Adventist, a boy

named Bitu Baroi, who was working in

one of the garment factories, was still

missing. His mother works at Pollywog,

an Adventist-sponsored handicraft

industry located on the Adventist

Church’s Bangladesh Adventist Union

Mission campus.

The disaster area is about 12.5 miles

(20 kilometers) from the union office.

The garment industry is a major foreign

currency earner in Bangladesh

and the biggest industry in the country.

Bangladesh is the second-largest

garment exporter country in the world

after China. There are more than 5,000

such factories in Bangladesh, mainly in

Dhaka and Chittagong regions. And

that number counts only factories registered

with the Bangladesh Garment

Manufacturers and Exporting Association.

There are hundreds more not

under this umbrella.

There are about 6 million factory

workers, mostly women, employed

directly in this industry. n

—with additional reporting by Adventist

News Network | May 23, 2013 | (457) 9

World News & Perspectives


Adventist Church Promotes

Next Step for Comprehensive

Health Ministry

At Spring Meeting, delegates hear

about outreach approach


Network, reporting from Battle Creek, Michigan

Adventist evangelist Mark Finley

quoted a line April 14, 2013, from his

mentor, television ministry legend

George Vandeman, to encourage Seventh-day

Adventists to take a more proactive

approach to personal and

corporate health.

The line comes from a story Vandeman

was fond of telling: The only way to

reach an ancient monastery perched

atop a towering mountain was a single

rope. A monk peering over a sheer cliff

pulled tourists up in a wicker basket.

“How often do you replace the rope?”

one asked nervously.

“Every time it breaks,” the monk said.

The punch line hit home for many

delegates to the first business session of

Spring Meeting in Battle Creek. They

laughed, but they also paused to reflect

on their own lifestyles, not unlike early

church leaders who, 150 years ago, first

heard church cofounder and prophet

Ellen G. White’s account of her vision on

seemingly radical health principles.

Don’t smoke. Exercise. Leave that pork

chop off the menu.

That vision, given in a time period

when bloodletting and doping were

common medical practices, would

become the backbone of what is today a

wholistic global health ministry. The

Seventh-day Adventist Church operates

a network of approximately 600 hospitals,

clinics, and dispensaries worldwide,

and counts many innovative

health leaders among its members.

But at the movement’s Spring Meeting

top church officials called for a

renewed emphasis on the comprehensive

side of health ministry—the

blending of

physical and spiritual components.

The discussion was

a continuation of what

world church health and ministerial

leaders first addressed at a summit last


“We’ve been doing this for 150 years.

It’s in our DNA,” Finley said. “But we’re

taking a new look at it.”

Delegates reviewed and accepted 10

recommendations that came out of that

summit. They include refocusing on

Christ’s method of meeting physical

needs before spiritual ones, and finding

ways to integrate these methods into

curriculums and practices at the

church’s education institutions. The

document also pledges to support the

work of “centers of influence,” where

such ministry is already taking place.

“ ‘If less time were given to sermonizing,

and more time were spent in personal

ministry, greater results would be

seen,’ ” said Dr. Allan Handysides, codirector

for the Adventist world church’s

Health Ministries Department, quoting a

passage from White’s landmark book

The Ministry of Healing (p. 143).

Adventist world church president Ted

N. C. Wilson also referred to White’s

writings. “The best thing you can do in

New York is medical missionary work,”

he said, referring to a line from a letter

she wrote. “Health,” he continued, “is

the right arm of evangelism. Health is

what opens the door.”

Going forward, health ministry will

be deeply rooted in church initiatives

photo: Brandan Roberts

HEALTH EVANGELISM : Mark Finley, special assistant

to the Adventist world church president for evangelism,

urges Spring Meeting delegates to reprioritize the

church’s early health message.

such as Mission to the Cities, church

leaders said.

Some delegates, however, questioned

whether the world church’s current

budget for health ministries could fund

a quality, appealing program that will

impact the community. A delegate from

the church’s South Pacific Division

strongly urged the Executive Committee

to review existing successful community

programs and incorporate them

into mainstream ministry. He cited

depression- and addiction-recovery

programs as possible examples.

Mike Ryan, an Adventist world church

vice president, agreed. “We have so

many programs, but bridging them to

create something big, we’re weak on

that”—which was the impetus behind

the urgent call for “comprehensive”

health ministry.

Jonathan Duffy, president of the Adventist

Development and Relief Agency,

applauded the new approach to health

ministry. He said there are steps to conversion,

beginning with raising awareness

and ending with lifelong


“What excites me is that this is a genuine

attempt at blending ministries,”

Duffy said. “All of us have to consider this

and ask, ‘How am I contributing to this

ministry?’ How does ADRA fit into this?

We are part of the preparatory work.”

Handysides said not only should the

10 (458) | | May 23, 2013

message be comprehensive—appealing

to physical, mental, emotional, social,

and spiritual needs—but the delivery

should be, too.

“Every church, every hospital, every

institution, every supporting ministry

must be comprehensive in its message,”

Handysides said. “Even these meetings

are going to have to change,” he added,

referring to the long hours spent sitting

in conference rooms during church

business sessions. n


At Adventist Health Conference, Faces in the Crowd

From all over Europe, they all come with a story.

By STEPHEN CHAVEZ, coordinating editor, reporting from Prague, Czech Republic

The European Health Conference

(EHC) held in late April and early May in

Prague is the perfect place to experience

the Adventist Church in all its diversity.

Participants at the conference all believe

healthful living is an essential part of

what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist.

But there are almost as many

ways to demonstrate the message as

there are participants.

Bohumil Kern is health ministries

director of the Czecho-Slovakian Union.

He’s honored that Prague was chosen as

the site of this first all-European health

conference, and he attributes this honor

to the role Prague has traditionally

played as a gateway between Eastern

and Western Europe.

Kern describes a ministry model that

has for many years now served to break

down barriers and make friends in communities

in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

They’re called “health clubs,” and

they are neutral venues where people

can come to stop smoking, learn to cook

more healthfully, reduce the health risks

associated with obesity, discover how to

come to terms with their addictions, and

receive counseling for depression.

The concept has been so successful

that it’s been exported to many countries

in Eastern Europe. In the Czecho-

Slovakian Union alone more than 260

teachers in nearly 90 health clubs “teach

secular people about the Adventist lifestyle.”

The clubs meet in community

centers, schools, civic buildings, and

church social halls.

In a partnership with Loma Linda

University, teachers in these health clubs

twice a year receive intensive training in

specialties such as nutrition, physical

therapy, addictions, and counseling.

These health clubs are augmented by

“reconditioning camp meetings,” where

small groups of people spend up to seven

days in a natural setting. The daily schedule

includes outdoor activities appropriate

to both summer and winter, and

features lectures about health and wellness.

The evening program includes lectures

with a spiritual component. Kern,

who pastors three churches in addition

to his role at the Czecho-Slovakian Union,

says that many of those who join the

church have had contact with one of

these health clubs at one time or another.

Flynn Bosch, 14, attends the conference

with his mother, Edith, from

Coimbra, Portugal. What does a

14-year-old want out of a conference

that features such topics as “Biblical

Views on Disease and Healing” and

photos: Stephen Chavez/Adventist Review

CLUB MAN: Bohumil Kern, health ministries

director for the Czecho-Slovakian

Union, helped develop “health clubs”

throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“They’re not just exercise clubs,” he

says. “They’re about disease prevention.”

EARLY TRAINING: Fourteen-year-old Flynn

Bosch from Coimbra, Portugal, visits neighbors

and helps with health expos as part of

his healing ministry to his community.

PRAYER PARTNER: Carol Squier, attending

the conference from Berrien Springs,

Michigan, is a walking testimony of the

power of prayer to heal both physically

and spiritually. | May 23, 2013 | (459) 11

World News & Perspectives

“Hope, Healing, and Diversity”?

“I’m interested in all kinds of health

and disease,” he says. Not surprisingly

he’s considering a career as a medical

doctor. His mother says that one of his

favorite books is about anatomy and


In his local community Bosch is active

in his church’s health ministry outreach.

At health expos he and others

take blood pressure, help measure body

mass, and take blood samples to be

screened for diabetes and cholesterol.

What does he consider the most important

thing to share with others regarding

the Adventist health message? The

eight natural remedies: nutrition, exercise,

water, sunshine, temperance, air,

rest, and trust in divine power.

If you’ve ever been part of a prayer

chain, perhaps you know the name

Carol Squier. For years her prayer

requests have been shared around our

table at Adventist Review staff meetings.

After hearing her introducing herself to

someone at the conference, I was finally

able to put a face to the name.

Squier, who lives in Berrien Springs,

Michigan, is a sincere and devout

believer in the power of prayer. Her

experience with prayer over the past

year reflects perfectly the purpose of

the EHC to explore “perceptions, expectations,

and facts; an exploration

through science, faith, and culture.” She

lost both her husband and son to cancer

last year, but not before they both

accepted Jesus as their Savior. They may

have lost their battle to cancer, but they

received something far more precious.

Squier, herself a cancer survivor,

makes sure people who experience the

trauma of that diagnosis don’t go

through the struggle alone—not if she

knows about them. n


Shawn Boonstra to Lead Voice of

Prophecy Ministry, Board Says

Former speaker/director of It Is Written takes the helm.

By MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, with reporting

from the North American Division

Shawn Boonstra, a veteran of Seventh-day Adventist

media outreach, will be the new speaker/director of one of

radio’s longest-running religious programs, The Voice of Prophecy,

the flagship Adventist media outreach started in 1929.

“Shawn has clearly demonstrated that he has a heart for

evangelism and for reaching those who need to hear the

messages of Christ’s love and redemptive power,” said Dan

Jackson, president of the Voice of Prophecy board and of the

North American Division, in a statement.

Boonstra, a pastor who currently is an associate ministerial

director at the North American Division concentrating on

evangelism, was from 2004 to 2011 speaker/director of It Is

Written, the church’s pioneering television outreach. He had

earlier spent six years at the Canadian It Is Written program,

including five as speaker/director there. Earlier he pastored a

number of Adventist congregations in British Columbia.

Boonstra’s selection to head the Voice of Prophecy (VOP)

ministry was voted April 30, 2013, by the organization’s

board of directors, meeting in Simi Valley, California.

Boonstra has also authored more than 15 outreachoriented

books. He and his wife, Jean, social media coordinator

for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines,

have two daughters.

Boonstra replaces Fred Kinsey, who served the Voice of

Prophecy for five years. Pastor Kinsey was named VOP

interim speaker/

director after Lonnie



director, accepted

a call to the Kettering

Health Network

in Ohio in

Shawn Boonstra

July 2008. Kinsey

was named VOP

speaker/director in 2009, while still serving as the assistant

to the president for communication for the North American

Division. In August 2010 Kinsey was asked to serve VOP


Under Kinsey’s leadership, VOP expanded the voices heard

on the 15-minute daily and 30-minute weekly radio programs

by Mike Tucker, Elizabeth Talbot, and Willa Sandmeyer. He

also led the ministry to become involved with social media,

including the introduction of a VOP iPhone app.

“We are grateful for Fred’s ability to bring a diversity of

programming to the Voice of Prophecy, which allowed this

ministry to continue to win souls for Christ,” said Jackson.

“We also applaud his commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist

Church and the role he played in communication

ministry at the division for many years,” he said. n

12 (460) | | May 23, 2013

let’s pray

Have a prayer need? Have a few free minutes? Each

Wednesday morning at 8:15 EDT the Adventist Review staff

meets to pray for people—children, parents, friends, coworkers.

Send your prayer requests and, if possible, pray with us

on Wednesday mornings. Send requests to: Let’s Pray,

Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring,

MD 20904-6600; fax: 301-680-6638; e-mail: prayer@


I Thirst

That dark day of death He said, “I thirst.”

Now He thirsts for grape juice.

Nothing else tastes the same up there.

He’s been waiting 20 centuries

to savor the flavor of crushed grapes.

He can hardly wait to drink it again

. . . with us.

Juicy fruit marked our fall from grace.

This fruit juice connects us to the gift of grace.

A drinking party is planned like never before

. . . the joy of fresh grape juice together

at the beginning of perfect eternity!


Today I thirst. He tells me,

“If anyone thirsts,

let him come to Me and drink.”

And “Blessed are those who . . . thirst for righteousness,

for they shall be filled”

(John 19:28; John 7:36-38; Isa. 55:1; Matt. 5:6).*

—Doris Burdick, Lincoln, Nebraska


Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version. Copyright ©

1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights


adventist life

One recent Monday morning, on the way to school, our 4-yearold

was singing passionately from her car seat. She belted out her

two lines again and again. She had inadvertently mixed up two

widely known songs, however, creating a cute and still meaningful

mash-up: “Jesus loves the little children; over the hills and


—Kimberly Luste Maran, Laurel, Maryland

I was at my friend’s house right around lunchtime. Her 7-year-old

son invited me to stay for lunch. I told him I’d have lunch with them

another time, sharing that I was going home to have a sweet

potato that was already in the process of baking. Not wanting me

to leave, he replied, “We have potatoes! And we can make them


I just grinned from ear to ear.

—Jenni Lane, Summerville, Georgia

© terry crews

Heart and Soul:


above all

The 14-Day nutella Challenge



once had a friend who was an atheist.

He was also as smart as a whip.

Having completed a master’s

degree at a prestigious university,

he could easily go toe to toe with

just about anyone in cleverly giving

proof of God’s nonexistence. From an

intellectual point of view, I knew I was

no match for him. In fact, we never

engaged on this level.

Seeing Relationships

One time, however, he brought up the

subject of God. He asked how I could

believe in something so nonsensical as a God

I couldn’t hear or see. So I posed the following

question to him: “Can you explain

your relationship with your mom to me?”

He shot me a look of bewilderment.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Your relationship with your mom.

How would you describe it to me?”

Silence. I continued. “I can’t explain my

relationship with my mom to you; however,

it exists. We talk; we laugh; we love.

The relationship exists, but how can I

describe something so intangible? I can

only experience it. That’s why I believe

in God, because I experience Him. I see

Him moving in my life. I talk to Him,

and He answers. It’s less of something

that I can explain and more of something

that I experience.”

So now the question is posed to you:

How can you possibly believe in God?

What proof do you have to support your

belief in God?

The proof is in your relationship with


Are you experiencing God in such a

way that you are assured of His existence?

Are you experiencing a God who

answers when you call? A God who gets

involved in your story? Whatever your

answer may be, I would like to invite you

to go a little deeper with God. Experience

a God who is active and eager to answer

when you call. Experience a God who

loves to get involved in the human story.

The Journey: Sharpening

Our God Gauge

Christianity is a journey. There are no

couch-potato Christians. Take any football

player at the end of the game with a

clean jersey and pristine cleats, and you

can conclude that he’s been sitting on

the bench for the entire game. The same

is true in our Christian walk. Christianity

is a contact sport. It requires that we

get involved and get dirty. It involves a

God who is actively involved in our lives.

We do not serve a god of wood or stone

who doesn’t answer when we call. The

most exciting thing about Christianity

is that we serve a God who loves to get

involved in the human story!

Far too often our spiritual growth is

stalled because we are unable, unwilling,

or unaware of how to hear God’s

voice. Our ability to perceive God moving

in our lives has become dull. And

sometimes, at some point along the

way, we begin to doubt that God actually

14 (462)

| | May 23, 2013


gets involved in the human story. And

more than anything else, this is what we

want. We want God to show up and be

real and apparent. When hardship and

destruction come, we want clarity and a

solution. We want to see a manifestation

of God. We want to know that our

God is as real as our pain.

Our God gauge is off, and sharpening this

ability—learning to tune in—will take us to

the next level in our relationship with God.

Speak, Lord; I’m Listening

Not so long ago I shared a story with

a friend about a plane ride I had taken.

As I sat in the middle seat of my row, I

felt impressed that the woman sitting

next to me was a Seventh-day Adventist.

Over the course of the trip, during my

conversation with her, the impression

was confirmed. While I recounted this

story, my friend interjected, “How did

you hear God’s voice?” I paused and

thought of how to answer that question.

And again today I ponder that question.

How can we hear God’s voice? How can

we rest assured that God gets involved

in the human story? For many of us, if

we could receive confirmation of this,

we would experience an immediate

growth spurt in our spiritual lives.

In order to hear God’s voice and experience

Him moving in our lives, we

must first believe that God exists and

recognize that He is the God of the universe.

Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith

it is impossible to please God, because

anyone who comes to him must believe

that he exists, and that he rewards those

who earnestly seek him.” It is important

that we first acknowledge that God

exists and recognize who He is.

Next, we must clearly understand that

God actively gets involved in the human

story. Even when it seems that He’s

somewhere offstage, He’s still a character

in the story. Psalm 66 gives us assurance

of this. In fact, Psalm 66:5, 16 invite

us by saying: “Come and see what God

has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!”

“Come and hear, all you who fear

God; let me tell you what he has done for

me.” The psalmist speaks with assurance

throughout this chapter about the

awesome works of God’s hands.

In this concept we see two levels of

responsibility. If you have not yet experienced

God’s movement in your life and

you want to go deeper with God, it is

your responsibility to read the Bible to

see and understand how God has moved

in the past. Spend time with Christians,

those with strong spiritual experiences,

who can share with you how their relationship

with God has impacted their

lives. If, on the other hand, you are a

mature Christian, it is your responsibility

to be open and expressive about how God

has moved in your life, because in doing

so, your experience will give evidence to

those around you. The proof of God’s existence

is in your relationship with Him.

Finally, we must trust that God will

answer us when we call. If there is one

assurance we have in God’s Word, it is

that He will respond to our prayers. The

Bible is replete with assurances that God

will listen and answer: “Call to me and I

will answer you” (Jer. 33:3). “He will call

on me, and I will answer him; I will be

with him in trouble, I will deliver him

and honor him” (Ps. 91:15). “Before they

call I will answer; and while they are still

speaking I will hear” (Isa. 65:24).

God already knows the desires

of your heart, but He wants to

hear from you.

How to Experience God

Moving in Our Lives

Sometimes even seasoned prayer

warriors find themselves at a standstill

when it comes to understanding God’s

moving and leading in their lives. Trying

to discern God’s action (and inaction)

sometimes sends longtime

Christians into a tailspin in their relationship

with God. And often enough,

it’s most difficult to understand God’s

movement in our lives because of our

emotional involvement in the situation.

Understanding God’s movement in

our lives may require a drastic change

in perspective. Reading a book with the

page pressed against your nose permits

you to see only one or two words on the

page. However, when you adjust the

book to arm’s length, you can see much

more and read so much better.

Our walk with God is the same. | May 23, 2013 | (463) 15

Obsession with one moment of one day

of one week in one month of life’s experience

is like demanding full beauty

from a single thread in the vast tapestry

of our lives. By contrast, Psalm 37:4

invites us to “delight in the Lord, and he

will give you the desires of your heart.”

This formula involves two jobs: delighting

ourselves in the Lord (the easier of

the two) and experiencing our heart’s

desires (the harder one). But the harder

one is God’s business.

So tell God what you desire. Reveal

your plans, dreams, and goals to Him.

Be spiritually vulnerable before Him.

And focus on doing your job, which is

delighting yourself in Him.

The Nutella Challenge

“How do I do that?” you ask me.

Think of a few of your favorite things—

football, chocolate, your cat, your children.

Whatever it is that brings a smile

to your face, think of it right now. Put a

picture of it in front of you. Revel in the

joy and happiness it brings you. Delight

in the way it gently tugs at the corners

of your mouth until you break into a

smile. Now think of Jesus. Imagine your

relationship with Him. Does it bring

you the same joy? Changing our perspective

is about learning how to

delight in the Lord. It’s about taking our

eyes off our desires and fixing our eyes

upon the Lord, just as Peter had to do as

he was walking on water toward Jesus

(Matt. 14:22-33). God already knows the

desires of your heart, but He wants to

hear from you. Tell them to God, and

then focus on enjoying your relationship

with Him as much as you enjoy

your favorite things. This is your 14-day

Nutella challenge.

I call it that because I first posed this

challenge to a friend, whose number one

delight in life is Nutella. For the next 14

days, let God be your magnificent obses-

sion. Focus on delighting yourself in

God. Don’t selfishly ask Him for anything

during this time; just spend the

time with Him, getting to know Him and

enjoying His presence. Read the Gospels.

Put yourself in the story and imagine

how you would react. Delve into Psalms

and spend time praising God for who He

is. I guarantee you will begin to see and

perceive God’s movement in your life.

You will experience a God who is

actively involved in your story.

Implications for the

Church at Large

Our 14-day Nutella challenge may

seem to be an individual matter. But it

could have a serious positive impact on

corporate spiritual growth. It all comes

down to Philippians 2:3, 4, which says:

“Value others above yourselves, not

looking to your own interests but each

of you to the interests of others.”

Delighting yourself in your relationship

with God frees up your mind from selfish

preoccupations. You learn to “not be

anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6). The

energy used to pray for yourself and

your own needs can now turn toward

the needs of others. This allows us to

channel the same fervency to stand in

the gap for those around us—to

approach God in prayer on their behalf.

When we are assured that God is concerned

about us, will act on our behalf,

speak to our hearts, and move in our

lives, we can confidently speak to Him

on behalf of others. This is one of Christianity’s

most exciting, spiritually revolutionizing



If you find yourself questioning that

God will actually get involved in your

story, just check out the fire of His passion

for you in Psalm 18:6-14. Read it

now! Experience a God who sees you as

“the apple of his eye” (Deut. 32:10) and

who longs for you to prove His existence

through your relationship with Him. He

longs for you to hear Him when He

whispers your name. He longs for you

to recognize His movement in your life

as evidence of His love.

Your God is deeply involved in the

human story. Contrary to all our low

expectations of Him, He’s committed to

doing exceeding abundantly more than

what we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20, 21).

Truly delight yourself in your relationship

with Him, and you will hear and experience

God as you never have before. n

Rachel Lemons, a graduate of

Oakwood University and the

University of Virginia, is the

author of Fish Food, the 2013

Young Adult devotional

published by Review and Herald.



| | May 23, 2013

Transformation Tips

Almanac Advice and

Anniversary Anxiety

Most Adventist believers are aware that 2013 is the 150th

anniversary of the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first General Conference session

occurred, and the formation of the Adventist Church started, on May 21, 1863.

It’s a bit of a misnomer to use the word “started,” because the golden thread of Seventh-day Adventist

beliefs are Bible-based and can be traced from Genesis to Revelation (see Isa. 61:4; Rev. 14:

6-12). To the thoughtful believer this period is a time to reflect on why we are still here, and ask

what we can do to help finish the work that will lead to Christ’s return.

Almanac Advice

We can profit from counsel Ellen White gave to Arthur Grosvenor Daniells (1858-1935),

president of the General Conference at the end of the first 50 years of the Seventh-day Adventist

movement. In a personal letter she wrote: “Again and again I have been shown that

the past experiences of God’s people are not to be counted as dead facts. We are not to treat

the record of these experiences as we would treat a last year’s almanac. The record is to be kept

in mind, for history will repeat itself.”*

Last year’s calendar and facts have become dated, thereby having little value; so we discard it.

Ellen White’s advice to Daniells was perceptive. Don’t treat the history of the early days of the

Adventist movement as old, irrelevant, and discardable information. Instead, review, study, and

learn from them. We should be enlightened by the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of our movement’s

early days.

150th Anniversary

Recently the leadership of the Adventist Church was enriched as it followed Ellen White’s “almanac

advice” and reviewed the history of the first 50 years of the Seventh-day Adventist movement.

Church leaders met in Battle Creek, Michigan, where the church started, at a commemorative

sesquicentennial event. For two days leaders prayed and studied, listened, and discussed engaging

historic presentations on a wide range of topics that highlighted many lessons learned.

After the commemorative sessions, and after doing the business of the GC Spring Meeting, leaders

headed home inspired and refocused to forward the movement where they have responsibilities. Ironically,

as they traveled around the globe they were confronted with the glaring realities of a suffering world.

Delbert W.


Anniversary Anxiety

As the 150th commemorative events ended, national and international reports repeatedly broadcast news

of the Boston Marathon bombing (April 15, 2013), citing those killed and wounded in the explosions. This

event and multiple other news stories provided an unsettling reminder of the impact of sin and our inhumanity

toward each other. The month of April also reminds us of other historic events that speak to the

great controversy and demonstrate the weight of sin and strife in the world.

In United States history a number of devastating wars and heinous acts of violence have begun in April:

the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Mexican-American War, and the Spanish-American War. The

Branch Davidian fiasco occurred in Waco, Texas, and the Oklahoma City bombing shocked the nation in

April. It’s the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, the Virginia Tech shootings, the race riots

in Los Angeles, and the ecologically disastrous British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

As Adventists were commemorating, these and many other anniversaries cause us to realize that our work

and witness are badly needed in a hurting world. While we learn from our history, we also long for the Second

Advent, when Jesus will establish His eternal kingdom and end the reign of sin, suffering, and strife. n


Ellen G. White letter 238, 1903, in The Publishing Ministry (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1983), p. 175.

Delbert W. Baker is a general vice president of the General Conference. | May 23, 2013 | (465) 17








A surprising twist to

a well-known text


just don’t get it,” one of my students had told me. “This book is too difficult for me to

understand.” He was referring to the book of Daniel, one of the all-time favorites of

Seventh-day Adventists all around the world. “And,” he had added, “what are all

these weird animals and strange prophecies supposed to mean, anyway?” Juan 1

came from a solid Adventist home and had just recently committed himself to following

Jesus. “I know I should pay more attention, but every time I start reading Daniel or

Revelation I feel like ‘turning off’—it is just too weird and too complicated.”

Juan’s reaction is, undoubtedly, duplicated many times in Adventist academies, colleges,

and churches all around the world. While many love spending time with these fascinating

prophetic books, others tend to be turned off by their language, imagery, and

complex symbolism. They may struggle to look at the big picture that these apocalyptic

books present—all pointing to the Lamb and His final victory in the great controversy

between good and evil. 2

Illustration by Steve Creitz


A Book for a Special Time

The book of Daniel was written sometime

during the sixth century B.C., a

perplexing time for God’s people. Jerusalem

had fallen repeatedly to the Babylonian

King Nebuchadnezzar and,

finally, had been destroyed in 586 B.C.

Ruins now marked the place where the

Solomonic Temple had once stood.

While thousands had perished, others

had been taken as prisoners to Babylon,

where they had settled. Instead of using

their native Hebrew, these captives had

been forced to use Aramaic and Babylonian

instead. A new language, a new

political system, a new country, new

gods—where was the God of Israel in

all of this? Could He still speak, or had

He been silenced forever by the seemingly

more powerful Babylonian gods

who were worshipped by their masters?

Questions like these must have

crossed the mind of more than one of

the Jewish exiles. These questions were

legitimate in a world in which the

power of deities was measured by the

success of their earthly worshippers.

The book of Daniel was written in this

particular historical context and with

these questions in mind. Its first part

(chapters 1-6) tells the stories of four

young men from Judah and their interaction

with heathen kings and an oftenantagonistic

society. Would they stay

faithful to their God? Would they withstand

the temptations of assimilation

and blending in? Would they be able to

become a blessing, hinted at so often in

Scripture (cf. Gen. 12:1-3), and reach

their captors who had become neighbors

and perhaps even friends?

Guided by divine revelation, Daniel

included not only faith-building stories

but also mind-boggling prophetic panoramic

scenes that highlighted one

important concept: the God of Israel, Yahweh,

was in full control of history—and

interested in communicating this prophetic

timetable to those who loved and

worshipped Him—regardless of their

racial and ethnic backgrounds. Daniel

was not only a book for its time: it speaks

to all ages, and particularly to those living

at the time of the end (Dan. 12:1-4).

Setting the Stage

Daniel 2 is a great chapter for seeing the

link between God’s story and human history.

The condensed version goes like this:

a king’s dream becomes the nightmare of

his scholars, who fail to tell him his ostensibly

forgotten message from on high.

Never one to do things halfheartedly, King

Nebuchadnezzar threatens his court

scholars with execution if they are not able

to recount the dream. Daniel and his three

Hebrew friends are informed of this drastic

decree that will affect them as well, and

after requesting more time, they pray for

their lives. During the night God reveals to

Who would be stronger than the

gods that meet on the mountain?

Daniel the dream and its meaning. Daniel

then approaches the court official in

charge of the execution and is brought

before the king.

Truly this is a real-life suspense story,

full of nail-biting moments—yet it is also

full of God moments. The first occurs | May 23, 2013 | (467)


ight after Daniel received the vision. I

would imagine that everybody (including

me) would immediately rush out of the

prayer meeting and knock on the door of

the king’s palace. There is no time to be

lost. No precious minutes can be squandered.

However, that’s not what Daniel

does. He settles down and praises God in

one of the most significant prayers of

praise in all of Scripture (Dan. 2:20-23).

Here is another God moment. As Daniel

is brought before the irate king he is

confronted with the key question: “Are

you able to tell me my dream?” What a

temptation just to say “Yes” and get on

with it—it would have looked great on

Daniel’s résumé. Yet Daniel does not fall

into this trap, either. His answer is illustrative

of the type of person he is and the

kind of relationship he has with his Lord.

“No, I cannot do that; matter of fact, not

one of your scholars can do it, but there

is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries”

(cf. verse 27). Daniel understands the

real balance of power—even at the epicenter

of an ancient superpower.

The Dream and the Stone

The large statue made of different

materials has been a solid staple of Adventist

preaching and evangelism for

more than 150 years. We have heard

about the golden head, the silver chest

and arms, the bronze belly and thighs,

the iron legs, and the partly iron and

partly clay feet. We also recall its end—

smashed by a stone cut from a mountain—the

remains of the impressive

statue became insignificant like chaff on

a threshing floor. We may even remember

the meaning of the dream pointing

to a sequence of four major kingdoms

that are finally upended by the establishment

of God’s kingdom (verses

37-45). Been there—done that. We

know—and yet we often overlook—significant

details that may have spoken

more profoundly to one of the participants

of this incredible drama.

I first saw this when I translated the

second chapter of Daniel with my Biblical

Aramaic class students—one of the

few chapters in the Old Testament that

is written in Aramaic. 3 Here is my personal

translation of Daniel 2:34, 35, followed

by the interpretation of the dream

in verses 44, 45: “You watched until a

stone [indeterminate] was cut—not by

human hands—and smote the image at

its feet of iron and pottery and crushed

them. Then the iron, the pottery, the

Daniel turns

the way people

think about

religion and

history upside

down and

inside out by


outcomes and



bronze, the silver, and the gold were

crushed altogether, and they were like

chaff from the summer threshing floors;

and the wind lifted them up, and no

place could be found for them. However,

the stone that smote the image became a

huge mountain [indeterminate] and

filled all the earth” (verses 34, 35).

“And in the days of these kings the God

of heaven will establish an eternal kingdom,

which will not be destroyed; and the

kingdom will not be left to another people;

it will smite and put an end to all

these kingdoms and will be established

forever; just as you saw that the stone

[determinate] was cut off from the mountain

[determinate]—not from human

hands—and crushed the iron, the bronze,

the pottery, the silver, and the gold; the

great God has made known to the king

what will be after this and (be assured),

the dream is certain and its interpretation

is trustworthy” (verses 44, 45).

Did you catch it? The descriptive section

mentions a stone coming from

nowhere (verse 34) while the interpretive

section has the stone coming from the

mountain (verse 45). The translators of the

Septuagint, the Greek translation of the

Old Testament, noticed this discrepancy

and thus inserted “from the mountain”

in verse 34. The biblical text continues

with a surprising description of the dramatic

transformation of the stone, which

becomes “a huge mountain” (verse 35),

filling the whole earth. Clearly this stone

is beyond this world: its identity and origin

has been of particular interest to biblical

interpreters. 4 A quick search in

standard commentaries on Daniel brings

to light a number of interpretations of

the stone/mountain symbolism in Daniel

2. What is Daniel telling us by saying it

the way he did? What would a Babylonian

king, living in the sixth century B.C. in

Mesopotamia, understand by a text

involving stones and mountains?

Of Stones and Mountains

There are few references in Mesopotamian

literature to stones used in circumstances

similar to the ones found in

Daniel 2. In the Gilgamesh Epic, the Mesopotamian

Flood story, the main character

has a dream about the coming of

Enkidu (a wild created being meant to

teach Gilgamesh humility) as a meteor

that lands at Gilgamesh’s feet. 5 We see

from Mesopotamian lists that deities

and sacred space were often related to

stones. Mountains, on the other hand,

played a big role in most religions of the

ancient Near East, as we can see in the

architecture of many temples and

tombs. The design of the Mesopotamian

ziggurat (or temple) represents an artificial

mountain, similar to the shape and

design of Egyptian pyramids. 6 Mesopotamian

ziggurats were considered to be

the actual home of the deity. 7 The names

20 (468) | | May 23, 2013

of these temples illustrate the relationship

between humans and deity. For

example, the ziggurat of Larsa, another

city-state in Mesopotamia, is called

“house of the link between heaven and

earth,” while the ziggurat of Kish is

known as “exalted dwelling place of

Zababa and Inanna, whose head is as

high as the heavens.” The name of the

ziggurat of Nippur is “house of the

mountain.” 8 Similar, in texts from

Ugarit, a site in northern Syria, the home

of the gods is linked to Mount Saphon. 9

Between Theology

and Mission

The exasperated response of the terrified

intellectual elite of Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar’s

command at the beginning

of Daniel 2 is indeed significant: “No one

can reveal it [the dream] to the king

except the gods, and they do not live

among humans” (verse 11). The reference

to the gods, not living where mortal

beings live, introduces us to one of the

main themes of Daniel 2. While the God

of Daniel is interested in communicating

the future and guides those who trust in

Him through difficult times, the gods of

King Nebuchadnezzar are not able (or

willing) to do the same, since they live far

removed from humanity in the high

places of mountains or ziggurats.

The God of heaven is different (verses

18, 19, 37, 44). He is able and willing to

reveal the future to the king, and the

God of heaven does it in a way that the

king of Babylon will understand. God

wants to guide Nebuchadnezzar from

something known to something new. At

the same time God is subtly but consistently,

undermining familiar religious

concepts. The gods do not respond and

do not give the necessary wisdom to

know the dream of the king or supply

its interpretation. The statue, which was

so important to the dream and, as we

can see later in Daniel 3, also very

important to King Nebuchadnezzar, is

smashed by a stone that has been cut off

from a mountain. In the king’s mind the

high elevations and mountains were

divine meeting places; who would be

able to cut off a sizable stone that could

hit the statue and not only topple it

over, but crush it into powder? Who

would be stronger than the gods that

meet on the mountain? It is this great

God of heaven, Daniel’s God; and once

Nebuchadnezzar has understood the

meaning of the dream he falls on his

face and worships (verse 46). He does

not as yet understand everything about

this God of heaven, but he realizes that

this God truly is the “God of gods and

Lord of kings” (verse 47).

I Am Talking to You

Daniel 2 tells a story of how the God

of heaven communicates with individuals

living outside the chosen community

of faith. As Daniel tells the story, he

uses concepts that were known to anyone

living in the ancient Near East at the

time. Yet these concepts and terminology

are not just being used uncritically.

Rather, Daniel turns the way people

think about religion and history upside

down and inside out by unexpected

outcomes and surprising effects. Missiologists

call this process “contextualization”—the

process of “translating” a

particular (foreign) concept into a different

culture, using concepts and elements

that are familiar to this culture.

The stone and mountain references in

Daniel 2 are not the only biblical passages

that contextualize cultural thoughts and

values to meet people where they were. 10

God repeatedly sends messages through

His prophets that do not leave unbelievers

with their false ideas but take them

further—much further by introducing

them to the living God. At the end of the

day Nebuchadnezzar falls to the ground

and recognizes the power and strength of

Daniel’s God, the God of heaven, so different

from his own gods. But the story does

not end with this one interaction

between Yahweh and Nebuchadnezzar.

The book of Daniel describes a long journey

that would ultimately result in the

king’s recognition of Yahweh not only as

the God of heaven, but as “the Most

High” (Dan. 4:32), the one above everything,

the one who is actively involved in

human history, who appoints and

removes kings. He is the God who comes

close to Nebuchadnezzar and speaks so

he can understand. After all—and above

all—the great God of heaven is Immanuel—God

with us. n


Not his real name.


This article is based on research presented in Gerald A.

Klingbeil, “ ‘Rocking the Mountain’: Text, Theology, and Mission

in Daniel 2,” in “For You Have Strengthened Me”: Biblical and

Theological Studies in Honor of Gerhard Pfandl in Celebration of His

Sixty-fifth Birthday, ed. Martin Pröbstle, Gerald A. Klingbeil, and

Martin G. Klingbeil (St. Peter am Hart, Austria: Seminar

Schloss Bogenhofen, 2007), pp. 117-139.


The Aramaic sections of the Old Testament include

mainly Daniel 2:4-7:28 and Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:11-26. Two

shorter verses in Genesis 31:47 (two words) and Jeremiah

10:11 are also written in Aramaic.


C. L. Seow, “The Rule of God in the Book of Daniel,” in

David and Zion: Biblical Studies in Honor of J.J.M. Roberts, ed. Bernard

F. Batto and Kathryn L. Roberts (Winona Lake, Ind.:

Eisenbrauns, 2004), pp. 224-226, for example, suggests that

the rock/mountain symbols point to Abraham’s descendants

who will mediate divine sovereignty on earth. Furthermore,

Seow argues that the mountain is a reference to the coming of

the nations to Mount Zion (Isa. 2:1-4; Micah 4:1; Ps. 22:28, 29).

Cf. Gerhard Pfandl, “Interpretations of the Kingdom of God in

Daniel 2:44,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 34 (1996): 249–

268, for a concise history of interpretation.


John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas,

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (Downers

Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2000), p. 733.


Hartmut Waetzoldt, “Tempelterrassen und Ziggurrate

nach der sumerischen Überlieferung,” in “An Experienced Scribe

Who Neglects Nothing”: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of

Jacob Klein, ed. Yitschak Sefati et al. (Bethesda, Md.: CDL, 2005),

pp. 322-342.


Waetzoldt, p. 332.


Othmar Keel, Die Welt der altorientalischen Bildsymbolik und

das Alte Testament, 5th ed. (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck

and Ruprecht, 1996), p. 100.


Cf. Richard J. Clifford, The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and

the Old Testament, Harvard Semitic Monographs 4 (Cambridge:

Harvard University Press, 1972).


Other biblical references that use a known theological

concept in order to communicate a completely different truth

include Ps. 121:6 and, surprisingly, also Gen. 1 and 2, among


Gerald A. Klingbeil, D.Litt., is

an associate editor of Adventist

Review who enjoys discovering

amazing gems of divine truth in

surprising places. | May 23, 2013 | (469) 21

Spirit of Prophecy

are assembled here will cherish their

human traits of character. There is danger

of their failing to see the need of

individually humbling themselves

before God each day, and several times

A Call


God has given His people a

great work to do in the

world, and every soul who

professes to be a son or

daughter of God should

give evidence that his heart is being

impressed by the Holy Spirit. This will

mean everything to the success of his

labors. The Lord has placed various gifts

in the church that we may appreciate

these gifts, and act our part in the grand

finishing-up work of this earth’s history.

Let us understand our need of

communion with God. We are to experience

the sanctifying power of His grace

on the human heart. We are to be submissive

to the will of God, and willing to

engage in the work that He has

appointed His servants to do.

We can not afford to lose any more

each day, and of asking Him for the spiritual

help they must have if they are to

serve faithfully and acceptably in any

office. They may be engaged in the publishing

work, or in some line of medical

work, or in the school work; but whatever

our work for human beings may be

we must perfect a Christian character, or

we shall miss the mark. If we neglect to

humble our hearts before God, we shall

fail of gaining all that we might gain. . . .

My brethren, in your field of labor, you

may be surrounded by unfavorable circumstances;

but the Lord knows all

about this, and He will supply your lack

by His own Holy Spirit. We need to have

much more faith in God. Very soon the

strife and oppression of foreign nations

will break forth with an intensity that

you do not now anticipate. You need to

realize the importance of becoming

acquainted with God in prayer. When

you have the assurance that He hears

you, you will be cheerful in tribulation;

you will rise above despondency, because

you experience the quickening influence

of the power of God in your hearts.

What we need is the truth. Nothing

can take the place of this—the sacred,

solemn truth that is to enable us to

stand the test of trial, even as Christ

endured. Early in His ministry the disciples

wanted the Savior to go up to Jerusalem

and show Himself there. “If thou

be the Christ,” they said, “show thyself

to the world.” Christ was doing this

very thing, but He was doing it in a way

they did not perceive. Speaking to the

people on the streets, and healing the

sick, Christ was working to make

impressions that would arouse the sentime

than we have already lost. We can

not afford to be careless. We need the

wisdom that cometh from God, and not

that wisdom which is natural to the

human heart. We need to study the

Word of the living God, and to be sanctified

through the truth. When the truth

sanctifies the receiver, he will carry the

light of truth to others. And when the

worker is placed in a position where he

is required to bear a straight testimony,

God will inspire that testimony. Those

who have no disposition to learn of

Jesus, and who think they know all that

is worth knowing, will be indifferent to

the communication that God sends; but

it will impress the hearts of those who

are humble enough to learn of Christ.

Last night there was represented to

me the danger there is that those who

© Lars Justinen/

22 (470)

| | May 23, 2013

sibilities of the people. Even to the last

He exercised His miracle-working

power. These were the very deeds He

came to the world to do.

We each need to experience a thorough

conversion. Many of us take so much of

self along with us that we fail entirely of

representing Christ. We can not afford to

have such an experience as this; for the

eyes of the world are upon us. My brethren,

when you speak to others, and they

reply in a way that is not pleasant, do not

allow yourselves to be aroused. Remember

that Jesus was met in the same way.

His precious words of truth were met

with scorn. But did He cease His work

because of this? No; He would continue

His work until He had gathered about

Him a multitude of hearers. The Savior

would have us study our words and

to Service

actions, and follow His example. Let us

not, when we meet with insults and

taunts, take up these things, and try to

answer them. Let us rather go right on as

though they had not been spoken.

Often as you seek to teach the present

truth, opposition will be aroused; and if

you seek to meet the opposition with

argument, you will only multiply it, and

that you can not afford to do. Hold to

the affirmative. Angels of God are

watching you, and they understand how

to impress those whose opposition you

refuse to meet with argument. If Christ

had not held to the affirmative in the

wilderness of temptation, He would

have lost all that He desired to gain.

Christ’s way is the best way to meet our

opponents. We strengthen their arguments

when we repeat what they say.

Keep always to the affirmative. It may be

that the very man who is opposing you

will carry your words home, and be converted

to the sensible truth that has

reached his understanding. n

This article was first published

in the General Conference

Bulletin, May 18, 1909. Ellen G.

White, its author, was one of

the founders of the Seventh-day

Adventist Church. Her life and work testified to

the special guidance of the Holy Spirit. | May 23, 2013 | (471) 23

Adventist Life

A Day to

We commemorate many

days—so why not the day

of our baptism?

© Lars Justinen/


When I first met Edward, the

man who later would

become my husband, I was

filled with contradictions. I

attended church on Sundays, so it was difficult

for me to date someone who went

to church—and even closed his business—on

Saturdays, because he believed

it was the day God asks us to keep holy.

Edward never discussed the issue with me

in detail; he just politely asked me one

time to come to church with him. My

answer was an emphatic “No.” Being a

devout member of a different denomination,

I determined that one day he would

join my church. The situation changed

when I began having doubts about some

of my church’s practices and beliefs. I

wondered whether they were biblically

based and appropriate for Christians. I

had a close relationship with God, but I

didn’t want to stop attending church,

because I realized how difficult it is to

preserve a connection with God without

the support that church membership

provides. I decided, however, not to discuss

these concerns with Edward.

The following summer in Berlin, Germany,

I served as a camp tent leader for

12-year-old girls from East Berlin. I had a

wonderful time with them, but I was

unable to attend church services for two

weeks. Afterward, I was happy to be back

in my home church, but I encountered

another situation involving church practices

that was even more serious, and love

for my church began to diminish. Sunday

morning worship services became mere

routine, and my prior earnestness to

“win” my boyfriend to my church

denomination was extinguished.

Not Seeing Eye to Eye

One day I went to visit Edward at his

24 (472)

| | May 23, 2013


place of business, but only his father, Anton,

was there. Anton shook my hand and then

pulled out from under the counter a worn,

taped-up Bible. He then opened it to the

book of Revelation and started to explain to

me the meaning of the number 666.

In the midst of his statements I interrupted

with a question: “What would

you say if I were to try to get you to

accept a different religion, and how

much time would you give me?” I turned

to leave, but then Edward walked in. He

looked surprised, but he took my hand

and we walked out together. I didn’t talk

to him at that time about his father’s

words; I just looked at him, wondering

why God had put this man into my life.

Becoming Part of the Family

A few weeks later I entered an Adventist

church for the first time. The

building seemed empty, with no statues,

pictures, or candles. I felt out of place.

Edward and I continued dating, but I

never returned to his church. I did spend

many welcoming moments with his family,

however. Anton was a warmhearted,

caring, and loving person, and he never

mentioned his beliefs or his Bible again.

Two years later Anton was diagnosed

with cancer. Edward was very upset.

After a year filled with prayers and many

somber moments, Anton asked to see us

both. With a fading voice he asked us to

kneel in front of his bed. His weakening

eyes looked at me, and with a smile he

asked, “Will you marry min Jung [my

boy]?” Looking at Edward, I answered,

“Yes.” Anton’s face brightened with a

smile. He spoke a prayer filled with love

and blessings for Edward and me and for

our future life together. I felt the presence

of God. A few days later Anton died.

The following year Edward and I were

married. Soon after, however, he

informed me that the minister who had

married us would be visiting me each

week to discuss the Bible and Adventist

beliefs. We’re happily married; why can’t

they leave me alone? I wondered. I decided

to put a stop to this right from the

beginning, so I borrowed a lot of jewelry

from friends and was wearing it

when the pastor knocked on my door.

The pastor appeared startled by my

appearance, but he came in, and I had

my first Bible study. We studied

together for two years. Eventually our

studies turned into discussions about

various events in the Bible, marriage,

children, family behaviors, diseases,

friendships, and the importance of

making Jesus the priority in our lives.

Finally, on March 26, 1960, I was baptized.

As I stepped out of the water,

three trumpeters played “Holy, Holy,

Holy,” my favorite hymn. I had never

felt so close to God. Bowing my head, I

thanked Jesus for accepting me and

becoming my best friend.

A Special Day

We celebrate many special days in our

lives—national holidays, birthdays,

anniversaries, and various other days

we deem important to us. Sadly, however,

we often forget the most important

day of all: that of our baptism.

I have now been a member of the Seventh-day

Adventist Church for more than

50 years and have held numerous church

positions of responsibility, but each year

on the anniversary of my baptism I

recommit myself to God and thank Him

for His many blessings. I remind myself

that the most important things in life are

not positions, but people, and that each of

us must serve God with a humble heart.

People can easily become discouraged,

and some end up leaving the church. But

on the anniversary of my baptism I’m

reminded that strong efforts must be

made to win them back into the family

of God. Jesus wants us to be a blessing to

others and to make a positive difference

in their lives. Our Lord and Savior is in

charge, but we must allow Him to use us

as tools in His hands.

The anniversary of our baptism is a day

of commemoration, one on which we

should reflect on past experiences, especially

on answered prayers and the mercies

of God. We also should ask the Lord on

that day to motivate us to contact newly

baptized members and others who are

seeking the security of God’s love as well as

ours. Caring for and loving one another is

evidence that God is working in our lives.

Just Pick a Day

The best day of my life was that of my

baptism, which is why I commemorate it

every year. Some people may not remember

the date of their baptism. To those I say:

“Just pick a day.” I wish we had a national or

worldwide “baptism day,” to be celebrated

as we do our birthdays, for on that day we

accepted Jesus as our brother, friend, healer,

and Redeemer—and we were reborn.

So let’s remember to celebrate that

special day by remembering Jesus’ blessings

in our past and looking forward to

His triumphant soon return, when I can

envision Him saying once again, as He

did on the cross, “It is finished.” n

Helga Pedzy is a medical technician

who enjoys woodworking, sewing,

and writing. She and her husband,

Edward, emigrated from Germany

to the United States in 1960. The

couple has two grown children and a grandchild. | May 23, 2013 | (473) 25



for Nothing


Doing good

for its

own sake

One May evening my husband

and I walked home

from prayer meeting. As he

went to lock our pickup

truck parked in front of

our apartment building, he found a

man lying on the seat. He was clean,

nicely dressed, and held a wine bottle.

The stranger explained that he had no

place to spend the night. We told him he

could stay with us if he got rid of the

wine. We invited him in and gave him

some food, and he spent a restful night

in our apartment.

The next day Bill* said his stomach

bothered him, so I gave him some

herbal tea. As we talked, I asked why he

wasn’t working. He said that he’d

recently had cataract surgery and that

he couldn’t see very well.

So that afternoon I took him to an

optician and paid the $50 for an office

visit. The optician, a friend of ours, gave

our new friend a free pair of prescription

glasses—a $200 value.

We put Bill on a bus that evening. He

went to a nearby city that had a homeless

shelter. We saw him later, and he

told us how he was grateful that we had

taken him in. He added that he had

“Let’s face it,”

she had told

her nephew,

“no one’s

honest enough

to return a

bracelet of

that value.”

prayed for God to help him. I gave him a

copy of Steps to Christ, which he could

read with his new glasses.

We felt happy that we had had the

privilege of helping him, so you can

imagine how we felt when a church

member told us how foolish we’d been,

adding that we should have called the

police instead of enabling him.

Well, if helping someone is foolish . . .

A Piece of Junk

One morning as my husband rode his

bicycle to the school where he taught, he

spotted a bracelet on the sidewalk. He

picked it up, put it in his briefcase, and

thought nothing more about it. The

next morning he dropped it on our

breakfast table. “Here,” he said, “want a

piece of junk?”

I picked up the bracelet and examined

it. It was large and heavy, with an

unusual design. I thought it rather

cheap-looking, but it had initials set in

stones, and a name and a blood type

engraved on the backside.

As I drove my husband to school that

morning, I mentioned that the bracelet

must be of some sentimental value to

someone. After all, the person had gone to

much trouble to have the engraving done

26 (474) | | May 23, 2013

and the initials set in stones. We decided

to try to find the owner of the bracelet.

I looked in the telephone directory. I

called the number of someone with a

similar name but received no answer. I

walked to the apartment building next

door and asked the manager if he had a

tenant by the name engraved on the

bracelet. He said he didn’t.

“Too bad,” I said, “because my husband

found a bracelet with that name on it.”

“Some folks were here yesterday looking

for it,” he said. “They left a sign.” He

pointed in the direction of a nearby telephone

pole. The sign read: “REWARD!”

and listed a telephone number.

Back at our apartment I called the

telephone number; a woman answered.

“Are you Mrs. Hall?” I asked. “My husband

found your bracelet.”

After a short pause the woman said,

“You’re kidding!”

“No,” I assured her. I gave her our

address, and soon an attractive woman

and her teenage son appeared at our

apartment beaming with joy.

As I handed the bracelet to the woman,

I showed her where the latch had broken.

“The bracelet belongs to my uncle,”

she said. “I’ll have the latch fixed.” She

went on to say how they had spent the

entire day before looking for the missing

bracelet. They were frantic; the bracelet

was made of gold and diamonds, 69

of them. “Let’s face it,” she had told her

nephew, “no one’s honest enough to

return a bracelet of that value.”

Her uncle had cried when he realized

that his bracelet was lost, because the

diamonds on it came from his late wife’s

wedding jewelry, and it had a lot of sentimental

value. The woman thanked me

profusely and handed me an envelope.

I drove to the school where my husband

was teaching. “Look,” I said excitedly

as I came into his classroom. I held

in my hand a $100 bill.

“Praise God,” he exclaimed. We used

it to buy flowers for that Sabbath’s worship

service, which happened to be our

wedding anniversary. The floral

arrangement was displayed in our

church sanctuary on Sabbath; then we

gave it to our pastor.

A year later the woman to whom I

returned the bracelet was still telling

around town how wonderful Seventhday

Adventists are because of this experience.

How marvelous is our heavenly

Father to allow us to have a part in it.

Praise His name! n


* All names in this article have been changed.

Josette P. Stevens-Lassen

lives in Hamilton, Montana, and

loves to reflect the joy of

living for Christ.

What Do You Think?

1. When have you found something of

value that belonged to someone

else? Describe it briefly.

2. What did it take to return the item to

its rightful owner? What was the

owner’s reaction?

3. Do you know how it feels to recover

something that you thought was lost

forever? Can you describe it in one


4. What does this story say about the

concept of value? What spiritual and

practical applications do you see?



Ask the Doctors

Evidenced-based Opinions

By allan r. handysides and peter n. landless

have enjoyed reading the Ask the

I Doctors column throughout the

years, but I wonder whether you are as

rigorous as you claim to be about evidence-based

opinions. Take coffee, for

example: the latest huge study in the

New England Journal of Medicine suggests

that it’s good for us. Will you now

accept the evidence for coffee?

We smile at this question, because

we are like the veggie meat in the

sandwich: open to criticism from both

the more liberal and conservative of our


The Bible and the writings of Ellen G.

White have provided insights into most

of the ways we should live. We do realize,

however, that in modern life many

new factors exist that may make claims

not referenced in the inspired Word and

prophetic writings.

Our encouraging of exercise, for

example—particularly of walking—

would have seemed unnecessary to

Jesus, because He and His disciples

walked everywhere. It also appears

obvious that Jesus was not a vegetarian.

Yet still, we recommend a vegetarian


We might easily reference Ellen White

on the elimination of flesh foods from

our diet, and rationalize the difference

between Christ’s diet and ours as existing

because we’re the “end-time people.”

We must, however, be careful not

to make too much of a “spiritual virtue”

of our vegetarianism.

On the whole, we call for evidence—

not about the Lord’s plain and clear

instructions, but on the less clear and

convoluted construction many might

impose upon them. Additionally, as we

see the burgeoning plethora of new

ideas about disease prevention or con-

trol, we call for rational thinking. The

call for evidence then becomes a filter to

keep out the “nonsense.”

On the matter of tea and coffee, however,

we have strong advice to avoid it.

Ellen White describes the pharmacologic

properties of caffeine with the scientific

precision of an expert. She then

goes on to recommend that we not use

tea or coffee. As an “end-time people,”

we need empowering by more than a

shot of caffeine.

The study we believe you are referencing

appeared in the New England

Journal of Medicine 366 (May 17, 2012):

1891-1904. The researchers followed

229,119 men and 173,141 women, ages

50 to 71, for some 13 years. After adjusting

for smoking (and coffee drinkers

were more likely to smoke), they

showed a reduction in the number of

deaths among coffee drinkers that was

not huge, but statistically significant.

The reduction was dosage-related (the

number of cups of coffee per day), and

because the endpoint was for death, it

had a very clear cutoff. The reduction in

deaths held true for most causes, but

not for cancer.

This study involved a large number of

people, which is impressive, but

whether the coffee caused longer life or

whether longevity was associated in

some way with other causal factors

could not be determined. Nor did the

researchers explore why more coffee

drinkers smoke. If coffee drinking is

causally related to smoking, then it’s not

valid to remove the smokers from the

equation. When left in, coffee drinkers

who are smokers did not do well.

Whether a group of vegetarians

would benefit from drinking coffee is

not clear. Perhaps the phytochemicals in

coffee are already present in the vegetarian

diet, and, as with vitamins, once

you have enough, more does not help.

What would the results have shown

for decaffeinated coffee drinkers? We

don’t know. Will we now recommend

coffee? No, because caffeine is still

addictive. But we will put this study in

our memory file and compare it to

future studies. Others must replicate

the results.

Our call for evidence is really a call for

balance. Just as we are cautious about

this study, we are cautious about some

of the data used to promote one or

another position in lifestyle among Adventists.

Our caution does not mean we

reject the proposed position (though

sometimes we do), but that evidence

has to be more than a published opinion

with which we resonate. n

Send your questions to Ask the Doctors,

Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia

Pike, Silver Spring, Maryland 20904. Or

e-mail them to

While this column is provided as a service to

our readers, Drs. Landless and Handysides

unfortunately cannot enter into personal and

private communication with our readers. We

recommend you consult with your personal

physician on all matters of your health.

allan r. handysides, a

board-certified gynecologist,

is THE director of the Health

Ministries department of the

General Conference.

peter n. landless, a

board-certified nuclear

cardiologist, is an associate

director of the Health

Ministries department of the

General Conference.

28 (476) | | May 23, 2013

Lucky 12

Dateline Moscow

Oleg, my personal trainer, thinks 12 is a lucky number.

We’ve been talking about the number 12 since his thirty-eighth birthday on March 12. Oleg pointed out

that we think in 12-hour cycles, and that there are 12 months in a year. We also do our gym exercises in

twelves: five sets of 12 crunches, four sets of 12 weight lifts, three sets of 12 minutes on the


Oleg asked me what else involves a 12. I told him about eggs and buns sold by the dozen in the

United States. He found that surprising, because things come in 10s in Russian stores.

Oleg and I have been working out together for more than a year, three to four days a week. Oleg is

a great role model: muscular and toned, he does not use steroids or smoke, unlike many other

personal trainers and bodybuilders at the gym. He has taught me a lot about good health:

Purposely control the size of food portions. Avoid food after 6:00 p.m. Never relax after a

meal; instead, get up and wash the dishes.

Oleg knows that I choose not to train from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. But he

has never asked why.

As we’ve worked out, I’ve wondered whether he has any interest in God. After all, we are sowers

of the Word, and we are the most effective when we find good ground to plant in. As Jesus said in

the parable of the sower: “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word

and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times

what was sown” (Matt. 13:23).

A few weeks ago I sought to gauge Oleg’s spiritual interest by asking him what he believed to be

the meaning of life. I wondered whether he would mention God or heaven.

Oleg winced at the question and thought for a few minutes. “The point of life,” he said finally, “is

to get married, have children, and through them leave a legacy.”

Those were brave words, considering that Oleg and his wife separated early last year, that she

hasn’t spoken to him since then, and that they don’t have any children.

No opportunity to discuss God arose in our conversation.

Then the other evening as we paused in the middle of four sets of 12 push-ups, I announced to

Oleg that I had thought about him while reading the Bible that morning.

Oleg looked at me curiously.

I told him that I had read a story about a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and how Jesus had

healed her, just as He was traveling to meet an ill 12-year-old girl.

Oleg’s eyes lit up. “The Bible also has 12s!” he exclaimed. “Remember the 12 saints?”

I didn’t remember the 12 saints. I asked whether he meant 12 disciples.

“No, no,” Oleg said. “The 12 saints. You know, they were at the Last Supper: Moses, Elijah, and Judas, the

one who betrayed Him.”

I struggled to keep a straight face. Oleg spoke with such eagerness and sincerity.

But I’m glad we engaged in the conversation. Now I know that Oleg is open to discussing Jesus and the

Bible. He is good ground.

We have many more 12s to discuss: the 12 patriarchs, the 12 tribes of Israel, the fact that Jesus was 12

when He first understood His mission on earth, and the 12 gates made of pearl in the New Jerusalem, which

I look forward to seeing Oleg walk through. n



Andrew McChesney is a journalist in Russia. | May 23, 2013 | (477) 29


Manifest: Our Call to

Faithful Creativity

Nathan Brown and Joanna Darby, eds.,

Signs Publishing, Warburton, Victoria, Australia,

2013, 181 pages, A$24.95, softcover.

Reviewed by Stephen Chavez, coordinating

editor, Adventist Review.

Most people see “creativity” and

think “art.” Creativity is involved

in the process of creating art, but they

are not the same. Creativity is that process

that takes the mundane and makes

it memorable. It’s what happened when

Jesus said, “A man was going from Jerusalem

to Jericho . . .” Or when God said

to Moses, “What’s in your hand?”

In Manifest: Our Call to Faithful Creativity,

Nathan Brown and Joanna Darby

have assembled 30 individuals who have

demonstrated their talent at being creative

in a number of media: academics,

filmmakers, artists, photographers,

musicians, ministers, and writers. The

book is about creativity, but it’s also

about how the creative process informs

our experience as Christians, as well as

our expression as Christians in an

increasingly secular society.

In his chapter Neale Schofield writes

about the many television channels

available in the United States. “Sadly,”

he writes, “we had difficulty determining

which were more dull—the Christian

channels or the shopping

channels.” Proof that even though a

church may have television, Internet,

publishing, and artistic outlets, that

doesn’t mean anyone is watching, listening,

reading, or engaging.

The book is divided into five sections:

Believing, Being, Serving, Sharing, and

Living. And, depending on where you

live, the authors of the essays are well

known: Trudy J. Morgan-Cole, Bruce

Manners, Andy Nash, Glenn Townend,

Alex Bryan, Kay D. Rizzo, Gary Krause,

Chris Blake, etc.

The basic premise of the book is simple:

To reach a variety of people, you

need a variety of expressions. And each

of the chapters reveals how the different

writers experience creativity in their

own chosen form of expression. The

strength of the chapters is that the

authors speak from real-life experiences.

They share their successes as well

as their struggles. “Like the prophets,”

writes Darby, “artists are often called to

challenge the norms of society, to question

politics and trends, and to point

out the ugliest realities of our world. . . .

The risk of reuniting calling with

responsibility is that we are likely to be

overwhelmed by the magnitude of the


Some of the chapters contain case

studies, short vignettes in which the

authors describe creativity as either

observed or practiced.

Manifest is an outgrowth of the Manifest

Creative Arts Festival, which for the

last couple years has showcased talent in

music, art, film, writing, and acting. The

faces seen on the Web site (artsmanifest.

info) are all young, a tacit admission that

creativity is an essential ingredient in

reaching other young people.

Manifest only scratches the surface of

this important subject. The writers are

from Australia, the United States, the

United Kingdom, and Germany, not yet

including the creative expression of

Adventist writers, musicians, and filmmakers

from other parts of the world.

But it’s an important first step.

The lesson of the first decade of the

twenty-first century—especially in the

industrialized countries of the world—

is that the future belongs to the innovators.

Faith, devotion, beauty, and

literature won’t go away. But they will

require creative new forms to communicate


This book is an excellent way to begin

the conversation. n

30 (478) | | May 23, 2013


Spiritual Lessons

From a Needle and Thread

I enjoy counted cross-stitching. The various colors, types of

stitches, and overall layout of an emerging picture bring a sense of accomplishment from the project that

is different from anything else in my everyday life.

While sewing a long, repetitious section of a gift I was preparing for my new great-granddaughter, I was

impressed by the similarities between what I was doing and the growth process of my spiritual life.

One of the very first elements I noticed is patience. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are counted

cross-stitch patterns. Counted cross-stitching involves hours of sewing, concentration, and careful adherence

to written instructions. Any attempt to rush through it causes mistakes that require either time-consuming

restitching or abandoning the project altogether. The pattern will emerge only when done slowly,

one stitch at a time.

In my spiritual life, patience must also be exercised. Hours must be spent in prayer and concentration on

the life of Christ with a clear commitment to learning and following God’s plan for my life.

The designer who created the picture I was working on prepared a particular plan with specific instructions

to follow in order to reproduce it. Counted cross-stitch involves counting the number of stitches you

sew with a certain color or type of stitch, such as straight stitch, back stitch, cross-stitch, or a French knot.

It may also call for the use of single, double, or triple threads. If I tried to do it my way, before long the project

would be a tangled mess.

And so I am reminded of the thoughts and promises that God has for my life recorded in Jeremiah 29:11:

“ ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” When I study and seek to understand the Lord’s plan for my life, I am

confident He will guide me to where I can be of the most service for Him.

When I follow the instructions spelled out by the cross-stitch designer, the pattern will be perfectly

reproduced. When I follow the counsel given to me in the Bible, the Holy Spirit produces the perfection in

me that God desires. Now though I try to follow directions carefully, I make mistakes. But when I encounter

a mistake, I can always go back to the plan laid out by the cross-stitch designer and redo the section.

Likewise in life, when I become aware of a mistake (or sin) that has affected my relationship with another

person or with God, I know I must acknowledge it, take responsibility, and try to correct it.

As I examined my completed project, I discovered a contrast between the upper and bottom side of the

canvas. The bottom is a mess of tangled threads with no noticeable plan or pattern. Certainly it is nothing

to be proud of. But the upper side reveals a remarkable and beautiful scene, which is an exact duplicate of

the picture displayed on the kit I chose.

In my life as well, what seems like a jumble of disconnected events that did not produce a valuable or

lasting influence in this world isn’t really that at all. The upper side of the completed

project reminds me that God looks on the upper side of my life. He

orders what seems like the jumbled mess of my life and connects

the miscellaneous threads in such a way that the pattern

that emerges is the fulfillment of the plan He has

designed for me. And I am amazed. n

Leo Poirier is a retired hospital

chaplain who writes from




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