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In St. Thomas, Services Resume in Damaged Church Building

Eight months after Hurricane Irma, worshipers are meeting in lower level.

Church Leaders Comfort Lightning Strike Mourners in Rwanda

Do not forget you are part of a global family, say church leaders in East Central Africa.

Adventist Flash Mob Draws Family to Bible Truth in Brazil

New converts got acquainted with Adventists after being surprised at a traffic stop.

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God’s Character and the Last Generation: An Interview with Jiří Moskala

God’s Character and the Last Generation: An Interview with Jiří Moskala

Last Generation Theology

About four years ago Jiří Moskala, Ph.D., dean of the Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and I had a conversation about last generation theology and concluded that there had never been a definitive work on this topic. He began assembling a group of scholars in various areas of theological disciplines. As I read the manuscript it was clear that this book covers many of the most important aspects of living a Christ-like life in the “last generation.” Recently, Jiří, co-editor of God’s Character and the Last Generation, talked about this important new book in an interview. — Dale Galusha, president of Pacific Press Publishing Association

Dr. Moskala, you are one of the editors and contributors to the book, God’s Character and the Last Generation. Why did you and the other authors feel it necessary to write this book?

Many distorted ideas regarding end-time issues and what is needed to be ready for the Second Coming of Christ circulate among our church members today. The purpose of this book is to clarify the meaning and the effects of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for us. This decisive victory over Satan and his power not only has results for our life today, but has cosmic dimensions for the security of God’s government. We cannot add anything to Christ's victory, but we can experience it, as well as live it, by the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

Adventists strongly believe that Jesus is coming soon, therefore, our lives should be Christ-centered and not fear-centered. Our lives must be hope, love, and faith-centered—not achievement-centered. Living in the last days must always be God-centered and not human-centered. We should be led by the firm Word of God supported by the writings of Ellen White, not by speculation and calculation. The Bible gives us the full assurance and joy of salvation, which brings balance to our Christian beliefs and service to the world. We humans have no power to be the last proof in God’s arsenal to defeat Satan because Satan was already defeated on the cross. We can only participate and walk in this decisive and non-repeatable triumph of Christ over the powers of evil. An Adventism that is not cross-centered is not true Adventism at all.

Share a little about the broad range of authors and what they bring to the book.

Twelve Andrews University professors, mainly from the theological seminary, each contribute a chapter with a specific theme related to crucial issues dealing with God’s character of love, salvation, and the end time. Topics such as sin, justification, sanctification, perfection, last generation lifestyle, Christ as our Savior and/or example, and why the delay of the Second Coming are discussed in depth from a fresh biblical perspective.

Who is this book aimed at?

This book deals with the theological understanding, lifestyle, and choices pertinent to those who believe that they live at the time of the end. Pastors — and indeed, every church member today — face conditions that demand a sound interpretive approach to life in the end-time. We all need to carefully examine different views in light of biblical teachings. This publication will serve well an entire spectrum of readers across the Adventist Church.

How will this book help individual members, pastors, and leaders in our church?

The book navigates the reader through the labyrinth of different opinions existing in the church today —especially ideas related to last generation theology — and presents a very balanced biblical interpretation of these hotly debated topics. It will help readers gain a sound understanding of relevant issues in a coherent way so that readers can be powerful, joyful witnesses for God in all their different activities in life. This book explores, in a comprehensive way, this crucial theme of how to live in the end-time.

Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the topics that book covers. What does it mean, for example, to recognize that Christ's atonement on the cross is complete, but needs to be completed?

The cross of Jesus is a unique, non-repeatable, unparalleled, and all-powerful event that lies at the heart of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Nothing can replace the centrality and ultimate importance of Christ death. None of our actions can improve or add anything to this once-for-all work of God on our behalf. The cross secured our salvation. Atonement is, thus, “complete” on the cross, but not yet “completed” because it needs to be applied to our lives, bring victory over sin, transform our characters, and totally eradicate evil. All these benefits flow out from Christ’s unselfish sacrifice for us on Calvary. But the full harmony of the universe will be restored only when God establishes the New Earth where death will no more exist.

What is the meaning of Christ’s intercessory ministry and the pre-advent judgment?

The intercessory ministry of Christ brings the benefits of the cross into our lives. Because Christ died for us and now lives and intercedes for us, He applies to us the results of His death — He is able to save us completely. He helps us in our everyday struggles and brings us victory over sin. This experience of salvation is the outcome of His work for us in the heavenly sanctuary. When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, then God is for us and never against us. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). We are His, and no one can ever separate us from the love of God. The pre-advent judgment brings the final solution to the problem of sin. As our High Priest, Christ affirms in front of the universe our allegiance to Him and thus secures our place in heaven for all eternity. He reveals and demonstrates to angels and the heavenly beings that His amazing grace has made us fit into heaven to become an integral part of the heavenly family. Soli Deo Gloria!

God’s Character and the Last Generation is available at your Adventist Book Center (1-800-765-6955); online at https://www.adventistbookcenter.com/god-s-character-and-the-last-generation.html; and eBook: http://adventistebooks.com/?search=god%27s+character (Kindle, Nook, iBook).

kmaran Thu, 05/24/2018 - 06:59

ACS Disaster Response Director Urges Conference Leaders to Ensure Readiness for Mass Shootings

ACS Disaster Response Director Urges Conference Leaders to Ensure Readiness for Mass Shootings mom comforts teen daughter

Editor’s note: The following report was written by W. Derrick Lea, NAD Adventist Community Service Disaster Response (ACS DR) director, upon hearing the news of the Santa Fe High School mass shooting on May 18 in Santa Fe, Texas (Houston metropolitan area). A 17-year-old student opened fire in the high school, killing 10 people and injuring 13.

As I sat and reflected on the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, I wondered how much worse things can get in this world. The reality is, according to the Bible, things will continue to get worse before Christ returns.

While many of us have prepared for a variety of crises, there are some things local conference ACS DR leaders can do now to ensure readiness if a mass shooting should take place in your area:

  1. Offer an emotional spiritual care course in your local area with certified counselors. ACS gives ICISF (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) certified training to communities willing to host sessions, which generally require 15 people.
  2. Reach out to your emergency management office to describe the resources ACS DR can offer to an affected community.
  3. Reach out to your local CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) team to discuss the requirements for joining efforts during an active incident.
  4. Team up with other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) when offering emotional spiritual care to affected community members.
  5. Contact your local or state VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to make them aware of the resources available through ACS DR.

I’d like to thank the Oregon, Florida, Greater New York, Hawaii, and Arkansas-Louisiana conferences for agreeing to host five emotional spiritual provider courses in the near future. Contact our office if your conference is also interested in hosting emotional spiritual provider courses. We are looking forward to working with you.

kmaran Wed, 05/23/2018 - 20:22

La Sierra University Wind Ensemble Debuts at Carnegie Hall

La Sierra University Wind Ensemble Debuts at Carnegie Hall
WE.LSU.CARNEGIE.prayer – The La Sierra University Wind Ensemble, led by associate music department chair and professor Elvin Rodriguez prays back stage before the ensemble’s performance at Carnegie Hall.

The La Sierra University Wind Ensemble, led by associate music department chair and professor Elvin Rodriguez, prays back stage before the ensemble’s performance at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Natan Vigna

On the evening of March 15, 2018, La Sierra University’s Wind Ensemble, led by conductor Giovanni Santos, walked onto one of the world’s most eminent stages where many of music’s greatest talents have dazzled audiences with their skill. The ensemble of more than 40 La Sierra musicians made their debut at New York City’s Carnegie Hall performing published pieces as well as new works written by Santos, adjunct music professor and Emmy-winner Gary Kuo, and tenor Anthony Léon, an award-winning music major at La Sierra. The Wind Ensemble’s repertoire included Santos’ “Voyages,” which he premiered in January with the U.S. Naval Academy Band Brass Ensemble at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

To be considered for the Carnegie Hall performance opportunity, Santos submitted audio recordings of the ensemble to international performance organizers Manhattan Concert Productions. The ensemble was accepted for the March 15 appearance in famed Isaac Stern Auditorium as well as McMurry University Chanters and Wind Ensemble from Abilene, Texas, and the Scarsdale High School Wind Ensemble from New York.

Carnegie Hall, a National Historic Landmark, opened in the spring of 1891 through the backing of wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Famed composer and conductor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky appeared for the hall’s opening night performances, setting the stage for a litany of eminent musicians from across various musical genre who have since performed to scores of fans gathered in the six-story, Italian Renaissance-style structure. These have included world-renowned composers Antonín Dvorák and Gustav Holtz, famed pianists such as Vladimir Horowitz, eminent violinists such as Isaac Stern for which the main stage is named, vocal sensations Placido Domingo and Marian Anderson and numerous others. Over the years, the hall broadened its offerings to include jazz, folk and pop stars. United States presidents and other world leaders have delivered talks on its stages.

"The greatest thrill for me was not the fact that I was on stage, but that I had the opportunity to share a very special moment with my students,” Santos said. “Seeing them succeed made me quite happy. Our students were fantastic and represented our university with distinction and pride.” The experience made a significant impact on La Sierra’s student musicians.

WE.LSU.CARNEGIE.GioOnstage – The La Sierra University Wind Ensemble Director Giovanni Santos pauses for a photo on the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.

The La Sierra University Wind Ensemble Director Giovanni Santos pauses for a photo on the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Natan Vigna

“It was overwhelming,” said Sam Salazar, a tuba performance certificate student from the University of Montemorelos, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Mexico. “You get there and you don’t believe it’s such a beautiful hall. There’s so much history embedded [there]. It was a lot of practice and a lot of hard work” to be able to perform at Carnegie, he said.

Isabel Serrano, a freshman music major and flutist who arrived at La Sierra from Loma Linda Academy described the experience of walking onto the Carnegie Hall stage as “surreal and inspiring. It made me want to come back as a [professional] musician,” she said. “It was such a blessing to be there.”

“Carnegie Hall was an absolutely amazing experience,” said saxophonist and senior healthcare management, pre-med major Jonathan Thomas who also arrived at La Sierra from Loma Linda Academy. “As a non-music major I never thought I would be able to play on the stage of Carnegie Hall. I am so thankful for the opportunity that the La Sierra University music department gave me and the ensemble to play in such a prestigious venue.” A contingent of La Sierra University faculty, staff and alums also attended the Wind Ensemble’s Carnegie performance including university President Randal Wisbey and his wife, Deanna Wisbey. “It was a wonderful success for the La Sierra Wind Ensemble and for our university’s learning community,” said Randal Wisbey. “When Professor Santos raised his baton and the first notes rang out on that historic stage that has been witness to some of the world’s finest musicians, it was truly a beautiful moment.”

David Kendall, music department chair and director of music history and research at La Sierra played trombone with the ensemble. He described the experience as “breathtaking." He said, “Walking the halls behind the stage and observing the portraits of the incredible musicians who conducted and performed there was very humbling for us. Walking in the footsteps of these giants of classical and popular music was a great learning opportunity for the students and professors alike.”

kmaran Thu, 05/17/2018 - 20:46

Andrews University Student Awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Andrews University Student Awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarship
Mykhaylo M. Malakhov is an Andrews University student who awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Mykhaylo M. Malakhov is an Andrews University student who was awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Photo by Jessica Condon

On Friday, March 30, 2018, Mykhaylo M. Malakhov, a sophomore mathematics major and J.N. Andrews Honors Scholar at Andrews University, was awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious national award for undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

Established by Congress in 1986 in honor of Senator Barry Goldwater, this scholarship is awarded yearly to the top STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors who display intellectual curiosity, a strong commitment to research and potential to make significant future contributions to their respective fields. Consequently, Goldwater Scholars are known for having very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. To be considered, candidates must be nominated by their university and fill out an extensive application complete with a research paper. Each university can nominate up to four students per year. Scholarship recipients are awarded $7,500 per year until they graduate to apply toward tuition, fees, books and room and board. This year, 211 scholarships were given to undergraduates across the United States from a pool of 1,280 nominated students.

Since the scholarship’s inception, Andrews University has submitted a total of 49 applications and has had seven award recipients and four honorable mentions. Malakhov is the seventh recipient, with the previous scholarship going to Libby Megna (biology/math) almost a decade ago during the 2008–2009 school year.

Ryan Hayes, professor of chemistry, is the Andrews campus representative for the Goldwater scholarship. He says, “This was quite an honor to Mr. Malakhov, the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Biology and Andrews University.”

Malakhov’s primary research is with the Seabird Ecology Team, an interdisciplinary research group on campus consisting of mathematicians and biologists. His project focuses on investigating the effects of climate change on glaucous-winged gull populations in the Pacific Northwest which are sensitive to rising temperatures and hence considered to be sentinels of climate change. Malakhov’s work includes analyzing a mathematical model (a set of equations describing a real-world system) to discover how behavioral changes in the gulls affect the long-term survival and dynamics of the population in light of increasing sea surface temperatures. He began working on this project in the summer following his freshman year when he joined the National Science Foundation-funded summer REU (research experience for undergraduates) directed by Shandelle Henson, professor of mathematics and ecology at Andrews University.

Since then, Malakhov has presented his research results at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, the largest and most prestigious annual mathematics conference worldwide; the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters; and at several gatherings on the Andrews University campus. His goal is to continue working with the results, and he is currently writing a paper that he and Henson plan to publish in a peer-reviewed journal. This project will also become his Honors Thesis.

Henson says, “Mykhaylo Malakhov is an outstanding young mathematician who also has a heart for people and for Jesus. He is a true intellectual, with strong interests in the arts, literature, philosophy and music. I enjoy discussing Dostoyevsky, bread baking, plate tectonics, piano and hiking with him. He is the kind of person who will become extremely successful and will then invest heavily in the careers of others.”

In addition to his work with the Seabird Team, Malakhov is actively involved in additional research projects, leadership positions and experiencing his greatest joy by, as he says, “sharing the beauty of mathematics and the wonder of God’s creation with others.” Some of his accomplishments include assisting with the start of a computer science education program at Ruth Murdoch Elementary School, organizing the first-ever Putnam Competition team and preparation course at Andrews University, and leading out in a solar energy installation project in Madagascar with Engineers Without Borders. He currently serves as the vice president of the Andrews chapter of Engineers Without Borders as well as the mathematics president of eigen*, the Andrews math/physics club.

Malakhov plans to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and become a professor. As he wrote in his Goldwater scholarship application, his dream is to “conduct research that bridges the gap between pure and applied mathematics and engage underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences at the university level.”

— Hannah Gallant is an Andrews University student writer.

kmaran Thu, 05/17/2018 - 20:02