Earn

“There are many ways in which children can earn money themselves and can act their part in bringing thank offerings to Jesus, who gave His own life for them.” – Adventist Home, p. 387.

This is the second installment of a three-part series encouraging people–particularly young people–to financially support the cause of God. Last time we mentioned a few practical ways to save money in your daily life. Today we’ll do the same for earning.

Sell Your Stuff
Mark 6 records the miraculous feeding of the 5,000. When the disciples wanted to send the multitude away to buy food for themselves, Christ challenged them saying, “You give them something to eat.” Incredulous, the disciples asked, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” In response, Jesus simply asked, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” What Jesus was able to do through the small store of goods on hand should be a lesson for us today.

Liquidate your assets by selling stuff you already have. Garage sales, consignment shops, and online vendors like Ebay can turn otherwise unused clutter into the very means needed to further God’s work. Emilie and I have saved and made literally thousands of dollars on Craigslist alone.

“The means in our possession may not seem to be sufficient for the work; but if we will move forward in faith, believing in the all-sufficient power of God, abundant resources will open before us. If the work be of God, He Himself will provide the means for its accomplishment. He will reward honest, simple reliance upon Him. The little that is wisely and economically used in the service of the Lord of heaven will increase in the very act of imparting.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 371.

Get Crafty
“Many a child who lives out of the city can have a little plot of land where he can learn to garden. He can be taught to make this a means of securing money to give to the cause of God.” – Adventist Home, p. 387 For some, gardening and selling produce at a roadside stand is still possible, while for others, being part of an army of youth gardeners just isn’t really a viable option. Nevertheless, take that same gardening spirit and do something equally enterprising. Make decorative mason jar crafts to sell door-to-door or at flea markets, like soup mixes, homemade laundry detergent, or glow-in-the dark gak. (yes, those last two are actual things- look them up!). While they were mere teenagers, Ellen Harmon and her two sisters exemplified this godly entrepreneurial spirit, determining to raise money for the cause of God through personal industry.

“Our father was a hatter, and it was my allotted task to make the crowns of the hats, that being the easiest part of the work. I also knit stockings at twenty-five cents a pair. My heart was so weak that I was obliged to sit propped up in bed to do this work; but day after day I sat there, happy that my trembling fingers could do something to bring in a little pittance for the cause I loved so dearly. Twenty-five cents a day was all I could earn. How carefully would I lay aside the precious bits of silver taken in return, which were to be expended for reading matter to enlighten and arouse those who were in darkness!” – Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 47

If a sickly teenage girl in the 19th century could make 25¢ a day knitting socks, what on earth can you do today? Set up the proverbial–or even maybe even literal–lemonade stand and see how the Lord blesses!

Sweat Equity
If not wealthy in material goods, shift your focus to services. What things can you do that other people can’t or would rather not do for themselves? You don’t need expensive equipment to do many of the routine tasks people avoid. Armed with just a little wagon of supplies, go door-to-door in area

subdivisions. Offer, for a nominal fee (or better yet, a donation to a particular mission project) to clean houses, weed gardens and flowerbeds, or wash/detail cars. If you raised even $10 in an hour, that’s still the equivalent of a $10/hr job that required no interview process, uniform, long-term commitment, or really any overhead or start-up costs!

Even in a dormitory situation, this type of service industry could be fruitful. Watch a bunch of YouTube instructional videos, buy a set of clippers and shears from Walmart, and turn your dorm room into a low- cost, high-profit barbershop. Or how about this: iron and starch shirts for 25¢ apiece or 5 for $1. Literally anything people can do but don’t enjoy doing is an opportunity to forward the cause of God.

A non-commercial yet equally equitable use of your time and talents could be to have several of your friends put together a mission and music program that you put on for local church vespers. Have some special music numbers interspersed with testimonies of the creative ways you’ve saved and earned for the cause of Christ and at the end collect a love offering that will be added to those funds.

Reading Revenue
“In many instances if promising youth were wisely encouraged and properly directed, they could be led to earn their own schooling by taking up the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons or The Ministry of Healing. In selling these books they would be acting as missionaries, for they would be bringing light to the notice of the people of the world. At the same time they would be earning money to enable them to attend school where they could continue their preparation for wider usefulness in the Lord’s cause.” – Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 526

I’m encouraged by the thousands of Adventist young people who continue to heed this call for youth colporteurs by participating in summer literature evangelism programs. Ask almost anyone who has taken up this challenging work and they’ll tell you it not only raises money for the cause of Christ but helps develop a Christ-like character as well. If you’ve never done literature work, its never too late to start.

Ingathering
There was a time when Ingathering was a highlight of local church life. I vividly recall tagging along with our little singing bands roving through nearby neighborhoods in the freezing cold to knock on doors and solicit donations for mission work, after which everyone would head to the gym to thaw out and drink hot cider. For a great many, Ingathering, like an Adventist lithograph from Courier and Ives, still evokes fond holiday memories of days gone by.

If your church no longer has an active Ingathering program, get a few friends together and volunteer to breathe new life into the ministry Mrs. White declared in Christian Service p. 167 to have “proved a success, bringing blessing to many, and increasing the flow of means into the mission treasury.” (For a handy compilation of Mrs. White’s counsel in this area, click here.)

Clearly the Lord doesn’t need our nickels, dimes, and quarters. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He declares in Psalm 50:12 how “the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” But His purpose in using us as His agents is as much for our salvation as it is those we’re trying to help. Just as the Lord taught the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:18, I believe He is still teaching us today that His blessing in material wealth is to be a continual reminder of His covenant of peace: “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

5 Ways to Respond to the GC Vote

Last Wednesday, fifty-eight percent of General Conference delegates from around the world voted against the motion that would have allowed individual divisions to decide whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry.

The outcome of the much-awaited vote has been welcome news for many.  For others, it has brought sadness, dismay, anger, and frustration.  The explosion of emotion on Twitter alone in the aftermath of the business meeting has attested to how invested those of us on all “sides” have been in this debate.

And while last week’s vote has officially settled matters, it is clear that the question remains for many: where do we go from here?  How will we, or I, or they, respond to the vote?  Here are a few suggestions.

1.  Study it out:

How has this vote evoked both disappointment and affirmation?  Why does the Adventist Church care enough to devote an entire day to this topic?  Why is my Facebook feed blowing up?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, now is the time to study the topic yourself.  It’s time to own our church and form informed, Bible-based views on the issues of ordination and women in ministry (and many others).

2.  Hold the applause: 

Elder Mike Ryan’s steely handling of the Wednesday business meeting has forever endeared him to many of us.  In the wake of Wednesday, it would be wise to continue to heed his appeals to hold the applause: to eschew competitive or “my side won/lost” attitudes.

Rather, we’ve sought the Lord’s will together and we must trust that this outcome is an answer to our sincere prayers for guidance—not the score for an Adventist Superbowl.  Trust that He never withholds His guidance from those who sincerely seek.  “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

For all those who’ve ever received a “no” to a genuine and heartfelt prayer request, perhaps you can relate to the disappointment that some feel now.  Rejoice simply because the Lord has led His people; this, publicize.  But there is no Biblical support for indulging competitive attitudes, biting comments, or bitterness.

3.  Be a missionary:

As discussion and debate continues about Wednesday’s vote, we may find ourselves failing to demonstrate concretely why this issue matters at all.  Any principles regarding the order of the church facilitate its ultimate goal: mission.

That’s hopefully why we all care so much.  It’s time to get off Facebook and Twitter and make real sacrifices to share Jesus with those who are dying for lack of an Everlasting Hope.

Need ideas for how to reach out?  Check out some of the opportunities we’ve listed on our website:

GYC 1 Million GLOW Challenge

INTERmission

Mission Service & Training Opportunities

4.  Believe in your church: 

Many have remarked that it is God’s calling or ordination that matters, not “manmade” policies.

But consider this: the church is God’s beautiful bride.  Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, tells us that the union between man and woman is analogous to the union between God and His church (Ephesians 5).  And Jesus is the “head of body, the church” (Colossians 1:18).

Believe and trust that God works on this earth through His church as embodied in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the remnant church of Bible prophecy.  The organization and order of our body reflect the leading of God.  As Ellen G. White noted in the context of the early organizational efforts of the church,

“[This church structure] has been built up by His direction, through much sacrifice and conflict.  Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down, for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of.  In the name of the Lord I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled” (CET 197).

The General Conference assembly is a part of this divinely-built church structure.  Note the authority which is invested in its decisions:

“Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans should be followed.  But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered.  Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body” (9T 260).

It is time to thoughtfully reconsider how personal opinion and the wisdom of the “general body” relate.

Take hope: God loves His church and leads His church.  Ellen White’s remarks on the disappointment of 1844 give us courage that Jesus knows the pains and disappointments of the church, “Not one cloud has fallen upon the church that God has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counter work the work of God that He has not foreseen” (CTr 340).  He is leading.

5.  Trust in Jesus:

Surrender your “truth” to Jesus, Who is the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  We need to worry less about seeing this debate to our desired end and entrust it to the Savior.  Jesus’ death has guaranteed that truth will prevail in this universe.

If you believe that Jesus is on the side of truth, and if you believe that the Lord is leading this church, you’ll join me in supporting the decision of the world church last Wednesday in word and deed.  Pray for unity, that the world may know Jesus and His love (John 17:23).

We’re up for more suggestions on how to respond.  Tell us in the comments below.

How You Can Be Involved at the 60th GC Session

Because we love the Seventh-day Adventist Church we are members of, GYC has an active presence at the quinquennial meetings being held in San Antonio. GYC’s President, Natasha Nebblett is a delegate this year and is sitting on the Nominating Committee. As one of five members under 30 on the committee she is representing the youth of the church. Please keep her and the committee in your prayers as they continue their work this week.

Other members of GYC’s leadership and Board are also present at the meetings, and even participating in the evening programs. If you’re at the convention, stop by booth C1051 to say hi and pick up some books and a t-shirt.

As young people who love the Seventh-day Adventist Church, you can be involved too, even if you didn’t make a trek to San Antonio. As I write this I am flying home to Michigan from the GC Session but plan to continue to stay involved.

How? I’m glad you asked.

There are a number of ways, I’m sure, but here is what I suggest. Hop on over to Twitter, search for the hashtag #GCSA15, and keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the Alamodome. Remember, this is your church. You have every reason to stay informed.

The hashtag is not curated, you’ll read tweets from people on every side of every issue as they live tweet the proceedings. As with anything we read, this calls for careful consideration of each piece of data. Just because someone is tweeting live doesn’t mean they are free of bias in their reporting. That’s true of all writers. But even evaluating the biases provides a window into what’s happening in our church.

I would encourage you, though, not to just read. Engage in the discussions. Challenge yourself and others to think about things differently, deeply, while maintain a respectful and humble tone and attitude.

This is our church. Let’s pray for our church daily, especially during these meetings. Let’s be aware of what’s going on. And let’s use our voices to support the church that we love and show respect for her leaders. It’s an integral part of the Spirit of GYC.

Unvictorious Believers in Victory

Idea: A simple thing prevents victory; a simple solution brings it.

What do you think about persons who claim to believe in victory over sin but who obviously and routinely fall under temptation?

Or does that describe you? And if so, how do you cope? Isn’t the thought that you are lost hopelessly discouraging? Don’t you feel a panic at the idea that the Spirit isn’t living inside of you? Aren’t you terrified by the truth?

Hebrews 10:26,27—”For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

The gospel promises of victory and cleansing, of holiness and purity, seem to mock many. They have at times mocked me. And no mockery is so cruel as that of God’s promises to the one who fails to reap their rewards.

Culion

Culion, Palawan, Philippines

This is why, when I was on the little Island of Culion (in the western Philippines, north of Palawan) only two months ago, I was thrilled to come across a simple statement that helped me see why I have victory at times and have little of the same at others.

Here is the statement:

“The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching we are in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path. The adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat, that we may not by earnest supplication and faith obtain grace and power to resist temptation” (Steps to Christ 94).

Do you see it simply? Believers in victory experience defeat nonetheless. And why? For the very reason that they do not make sufficient use of prayer to connect with God! It sounds like what Jesus said:

Matthew 26:41—”Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Now men who love to preach against bad theology often have issues with temper and evil speaking (I say this from experience dealing with their teenage children). Why is this?

We need not look for gospel answers in the high-flung reasoning of persons who collect graduate degrees. The gospel was made for common men and the best answers can be understood by them.  Perhaps it is as simple as a neglect of “unceasing prayer” that leads to such moral carelessness.

Believing in victory doesn’t bring it automatically. Faith is the hand that reaches for the vault of heaven’s treasure, but even faith needs a key. And prayer, unceasing prayer, is that key. Prayer—don’t forget it—is the key.

What was I doing on Culion? I was with the Young Disciple Mission Experience team. And though there were two evangelistic series going on (four if you count the children’s meetings separately), I wasn’t preaching to the Filipinos.

Rather, my part was to give worships for the Young Disciple workers about Steps to Christ, giving two or three worship talks per chapter. We covered the book in a month.

Let me testify about that: I had read Steps to Christ previously. In fact, I had done so repeatedly. I had given scores of worships directly from the book. So how did the experience of preaching through the book go for me? Was it like examining the back of my hand anew?

Nay.

It was a new experience. The Spirit used recent experiences and things I have been learning to magnify the value and meaning of so many sentences. I was revived.

My wife, Heidi, was with me on the trip. When she was a teenager she had a negative view of Ellen White. She had heard things, you know. And though she had never read anything by her, she was braced to not appreciate whatever that lady might have to say.

Idea: A simple thing prevents victory; a simple solution brings it.

But someone friend, a good friend, gave Heidi a Steps to Christ that apparently did not have the author’s name prominently located on the book. As a teen being raised in a “Whiteless” environment, she didn’t recognize the title.  So she read the book.

And it changed her life.

It wasn’t that it has some great complicated formula for spiritual living. No, it was just that it has a simple, straightforward presentation of how much God’s love has done to save us, and of just what we must do to experience all the blessings He has for us.

What I am hoping is that someone reading this will be inspired to give that book another slow reading, have an ‘aha!’ moment, and begin again a lost habit of unceasing prayer.

I am hoping that those who believe in victory over sin will experience it. And I am hoping that will add power and gospel content to their sermons.

That is what simple truth can do.

Sacrificial Saving

As part of the closing charge at GYC 2014, I challenged attendees to give funds for mission work, from $1 and upward per week. I am absolutely convinced that the amount of money raised by young people through sacrificial saving, creative earning, or personal influence would be staggering if everyone were to do faithfully what they can.

In this post we’ll focus on the first of those three ways of funding God’s work: sacrificial saving.

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The prophet asks rhetorically in Isaiah 55:2, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?”

In our focus on its broader intent, we should not overlook the tremendous practical concern this question raises. How do we, as Seventh-day Adventists tasked with giving the Third Angel’s Message to the world, use our money? Are we making special efforts to economize and give liberally to the work of God or do we merely give sporadically of whatever is left after both our needs and wants have been satiated?

“There is altogether too much self-indulgence among us. Money is spent for that which is not bread. Let those who would please the Master listen to his words, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ Let us willingly practice these words, and we shall be blessed. If all that has been invested in self-gratification were counted up, the amount would astonish every church in the land.” (Review and Herald, November 14, 1899)

“We are all members of the Lord’s family, and the Lord would have His children, young and old, determine to deny appetite, and to save the means needed for the building of meetinghouses and the support of missionaries…Many would be surprised to see how much could be saved for the cause of God by acts of self-denial. The small sums saved by deeds of sacrifice will do more for the upbuilding of the cause of God than larger gifts will accomplish that have not called for denial of self.”  (Review and Herald, February 24, 1910)

To help ease you in to a life of sacrificial living, for one month try a few of the following and add up the money saved for Jesus.

1. Next time you go out to eat, do with just a tiny bit less. If you go to Taco Bell, get one less burrito; if you order a pizza, get one less topping. Combine those with an exchange of water for soda and you’ve got several dollars saved right there.

2. Also, drop coffee altogether. Not only is it physically and morally destructive, but in today’s caffeinated culture it isn’t even cheap! For example, eliminating just one drink from Starbucks a week would save you over $15 a month. (For a handy calculator for how much you spend on coffee, click here. Wouldn’t you rather give your money to the Lord instead of to big caffeine?)

3. While we’re on the subject of young people and saving money, let’s not forget entertainment.  If you simply must stream something to watch, swap out Netflix and Hulu for PBS. While public television definitely has shows to avoid, there are far more informative and edifying things there and without that pesky price tag. Of course, HOPE Channel, 3ABN, and many other Adventist media ministries stream and archive content free of charge, all of it positively helpful to your Christian walk.

4. And finally, since movie theaters are just as good for your character as coffee is for your heart, brain, stomach, and nerves, stop wasting your precious time and money there altogether, too.

1013619_10152726889697809_8905546408287417077_nAs you take steps toward a life of greater sacrifice, keep in mind the following promise: “The one who is a faithful steward is constantly giving, and God is constantly supplying that the channel shall not become dried up. But it is not the rich alone that are to sustain the cause of God in our world; those who have been blessed with the light of truth can learn to practice self-denial, and have something to give. All the little rivulets made to flow into the channel of doing good, blessing humanity, will keep the treasury supplied with means.” (Review and Herald, March 8, 1887)

In the comment section below or on the social media of your preference (using #sacrificialsaving and @gycweb), share some of the small ways you’ve found to deny yourself for the cause of Christ.  You can also donate your savings through GYC’s portal HERE; proceeds will go to mission projects in Southeast Asia.

Retreat Report, Day 3

Read about Days 1 & 2 of our retreat here.


 

After a long run of meetings, we opened the Sabbath with a devotional by one of our ECOM members on the promises God made to Abraham.  We were all sobered by Abraham’s patience for his long-awaited son, buoyed with his belief in the promises of God.  We were inspired to trust God’s Word to us always (even when it means waiting 25 years!).

In themorning, we worshipped together at the Louisville First Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Thank you, Louisville First, for welcoming us so warmly and preparing a potluck for us!  After enjoying a meal together, half of the ECOM attended a Pathfinder Bible Bowl in Bowling Green while the other half of us went door-to-door in Louisville sharing GLOW.  It was a blessing to meet Pathfinder youth as well as community members and to share literature that points them to Jesus.  (If you haven’t joined us already, check out our 1 Million GLOW Challenge!)

One of the best things about GYC ECOM meetings in my opinion is seeing our fellow committee members in person.  We don’t know about you, but it’s just a little harder to make our creative juices flow in teleconferences!  After outreach, we sat around the table at our house eating cereal and leftovers for dinner and brainstorming ideas for our Louisville conference.  Some of our best and wildest ideas have been born in these informal conversations not between ECOM members, but simply friends.

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After sunset and evening vespers, we resumed our meetings with further discussion about Louisville and our departmental reports.  We were reminded once again that we want to simply honor God and not please man in all of our planning—may He find us faithful.

We’ll be up a bit later than usual this evening in order to wrap things up by tomorrow morning, we’ll be flying and driving out to our respective homes.  Would you please continue to keep our meetings, decisions, and travel in prayer?  We are grateful for God’s leading thus far and expect great things from Him.

Retreat Report, Days 1 & 2

Despite an intense snowstorm that blanketed the city last night, the GYC Executive Committee has arrived safely in Louisville for our annual retreat.

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We began our meetings yesterday by discussing what has influenced our personal spiritual lives—books, mentors, sermons, and mission experiences.  We then opened up the floor to one of our usual brainstorming sessions, affectionately known as “Green Lighting.”  Among our crazier [informal] brainstorming ideas today: bow ties with the GYC logo…?!   That idea may not get very far in a “Red Light and Implementation” session, which is likely coming later this weekend.

A member of our Board of Directors also joined us for most of the day to conduct evaluations of each ECOM team member.  The feedback we received about our strengths and weaknesses will help us to more faithfully and effectively complete our responsibilities in 2015.

With some of us still reeling from the challenges of delayed flights, lost bags, and long drives, we retired for a restful night of sleep.  This morning, we spent a season in prayer asking for the Lord’s help and thanking Him for His love for us.  As we were reminded in our group worship, it is not that we need to love God more, but that we need to recognize more His love for us.  “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

We then continued yesterday’s discussions about a concrete vision for our Louisville conference—happening live as I write this.  In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville.  We’re requesting your prayers for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wish you all a happy Sabbath!


Read about the last day of our retreat here.

13 Quotables from GYC 2014

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We collected some of the most quotable/tweetable/bloggable lines from the main meetings at this year’s GYC in Phoenix, Arizona.  It was hard to choose only thirteen—there are so many more we could have included!  

13.  “Jesus was not loaned, He was given.” (Pr. Kameron Devasher)

12.  “Today’s mantra is freedom, but it is Jesus Who offers ultimate freedom.” (Dr. Michael Hasel)

11.  “When Protestant leaders are going back to Catholicism, God is calling for a generation of young people to go back to the Bible.” (Pr. David Shin)

10.  “In this culture it is very popular to search and search and search.  But it is very unpopular to find the answer.” (Dr. Michael Hasel)

9.  “Lean hard.” (Natasha Nebblett)

8.  “It’s about time to put your faith into action.” (Esther Caukill)

7.  “It is only through connecting to the Bible that we can be fruitful and faithful in this age of faithlessness.” (Elder Ted Wilson)

6.  “Obedience has nothing to do with legalism and everything to do with loyalty.” (Pr. Kameron Devasher)

5.  “The DNA of our Adventist message is prophetic, not pathetic.” (Dr. Ingo Sorke)

4.  “…nevertheless.” (Pr. Adam Ramdin)

3.  “But God did the opposite of Adam.  He was willing to give up His most prized possession.” (Pr. Stephen Bohr)

2.  “The sanctuary is more than a doctrine.  It is to be a roadmap for doing theology.” (Pr. David Shin)

And perhaps the pithiest of them all:

1.  “It is OK to be SDA.” (Dr. Ingo Sorke)

Didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s conference?  Check out our YouTube channel to hear the messages you missed.  Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more exciting updates about GYC throughout the year.

He Was the Desire of Ages

Who is Jesus?

This is the Man regarding whom James Allan Francis comments, “When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life.”

By the simple, short record of three and a half years, He changed the world more profoundly than any other.

The Desire of Ages is that record—not through the eye of a historian, a philosopher, or a theologian, though these perspectives, too, are clearly present, but through the eye of a soul that shares in the tensions of the human heart.

Here are captured and answered the tensions between hope and despair, shame and acceptance, meaningless and meaningful living, doubt and faith, guilt and forgiveness, the past and the future, false and true religion, and desire and fulfillment.

Who is Jesus? The contrast between the timeless tensions He resolved and the brevity of His life suggests that Jesus must have been more than a Galilean carpenter or a radical rabbi.  He was more than a momentary spark in the chronicles of human history or one of many prophets.  He was the Desire of Ages.

This short blurb appears on the back cover of GYC’s reprinting of The Desire of Ages, which is available for the first time at the 2014 conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Are you interested in buying your copy of the The Desire of Ages?  Visit the GYC booth at the conference in the Exhibit Hall!  For bulk sales, contact resources@gycweb.org.

Witnessing to the Wealthy, Worldly, and Well-Educated

There is a group of, by some estimates, over 60 million people who need the Gospel, yet are evangelistically neglected. They are among the most difficult to reach, and “traditional” methods tend not to work well with this group. Ellen White describes the situation:

We talk and write much of the neglected poor; should not some attention be given also to the neglected rich? Many look upon this class as hopeless…Thousands of wealthy men have gone to their graves unwarned because they have been judged by appearance and passed by as hopeless subjects. But, indifferent as they may appear, I have been shown that most of this class are soul-burdened. There are thousands of rich men who are starving for spiritual food. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive no benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the soul. Shall we make no personal effort in their behalf? (6T 78.3)

 At GYC 2013, I presented a seminar entitled “Witnessing to the Wealthy, Worldly, and Well-Educated (W3s),” based on my experiences sharing Christ with MBAs, PhDs, JDs, and other highly successful professionals by engaging in spiritual conversations on a daily basis, some of which turned into personal Bible studies.

I was surprised and gratified by the groundswell of interest that people had in witnessing to this neglected group. It seemed that many of us have W3s in our lives, yet find it very difficult and even intimidating to talk with them about spiritual things.

In response to this need, a small group of us started the Nicodemus Society. We are a fellowship of committed Seventh-day Adventists who have a heart for reaching the W3s in our lives. We take our inspiration from Christ’s example of conversing with and ministering to Nicodemus, “a ruler of the Jews” and member of the Sanhedrin, who first came to Him by night.

Like W3s in our modern society, Nicodemus felt a need for what Jesus had, but was initially ashamed to approach him openly. Yet, Jesus ministered to him personally, and Nicodemus ultimately boldly came forward to bear the expenses of His burial and became a pillar of the early church, exerting his considerable means and influence to help spread the Gospel.

We are just getting started. Our intent is to build a community of SDAs who share this passion, and develop resources, programs, and opportunities to fellowship, learn, and become equipped to be powerful soul winners in the W3 community.

If you also have a heart for winning the Wealthy, Worldly, and Well-Educated, sign up for email updates at our website, visit our booth at GYC this year, and pray for God’s blessing and leading as we develop this ministry.

Nicodemus started out coming to Jesus in secret, but was transformed into a leader of the early church. It is our prayer that we would see this transformation in our own lives, and in the lives of the W3s around us.