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Fighting Dissent from the Inside Out

“…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:20-23 [NIV]

As president of the Minnesota Conference, I often find myself reflecting on what it means to be a leader. I find this question, for which I could supply a list of prosaic responses, is not so easy to answer within the context of ministry.

It follows, logically, that if one is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church, one would believe in the doctrines and the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If one is a member, one is a follower of Christ. And if one is a follower of Christ, one must believe that it is our duty – no, our mandate – to make disciples of Christ. Unfortunately, we are living in a sinful world, and it is our sinful natures that encourage discord and distrust of one another and our leaders.

It is true that leaders in every field are continually bombarded with ideas, requests, reprimands, praises, contempt, disgust, and more. Yet, consider how much more difficult this is in the context of spirituality. Not only are these bombardments against the role of the person, they are also attacks against the innermost beliefs that we individually hold dear. These challenges create fissures that can spread if not treated appropriately.

In light of the changes and difficulties our country is facing – mass shootings, terrorist attacks, bombings, political and socioeconomic unrest – it is ever more important that we, as a church family, draw together and lift each other up. As Jesus prayed in John 17:22-23, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (NIV)

Satan wants to create enmity between us and the people we sit next to in the pew each Sabbath. He wishes to stir up strife between congregations, conferences and world divisions of the Church. He wants to create distractions to keep us from our mission. The enemy wants us to forget who Jesus is and why we became members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the first place.

Our solitary defense is to rely upon Christ and trust in God’s word. It is only through this effort that we may be in Him, and He in us. This is the key for unity within the church. If we are truly dependent on Jesus, and allow Him, by His Holy Spirit, to become master of our lives, there is no way for Satan to crack the Church. He cannot break us down, or break us apart. This brings us back to my question.

What does it mean to be a leader? Any leader may focus on raising profits, rallying a team, or climbing the corporate ladder. Being a Christian leader means influencing others towards Christ and helping create unity. We must draw closer to Jesus, and to each other, if we are to follow Christ’s mandate: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28:19-20 (NIV)].

Let us focus on Christ, and be unified in Him. Then, let’s make disciples. When we are making disciples, we won’t have the time to argue: we will be winning souls for eternity. As we keep our EYES on Eternity, we cannot fail. Praise God!

Justin Lyons

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Maranatha School Open House

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

Thursday evening, October 13, the parents, students, teachers, and constituents of the Dodge Center SDA Church were truly praising God for the generous blessing of a new school plant for Maranatha Adventist Christian School.

3-maranatha-school-open-house-wish-treeUpon entering the school, guests were greeted by eighth grader, Adeline Martin, who pointed out creative student artwork on the north wall and the wishing tree adorned with many items still needed to assist in optimum learning at Maranatha.  Guests could pick an item on the tree to purchase or donate funds.

As guests continued their tour of the building, other upper-grade students stationed throughout the plant extolled the functions and benefits of each room.  3-maranatha-school-open-house-gymSchool guests admired the expansive gymnasium, which is very much appreciated by students.  Since Maranatha’s student census continues to increase, a bigger gym has not only been more comfortable for play, but provides a safer environment.   Fewer body crashes have resulted from having ample floor space.

Students also showed off the spacious and beautiful kitchen, where guests discovered six brand-new microwaves! The microwaves have been the perfect asset in alleviating long heat-up lines during lunch periods.

3-maranatha-school-open-house-libraryNot to be forgotten during the tour were the wonderful, five-stall bathrooms featuring automatic lighting and automatic faucets! Two classrooms, a library, music room, storage room, a small bathroom by the lower-grade classroom, and workroom completed the list of must-see spaces.

After the tour, all twenty-two students treated guests to a short choir concert, directed and accompanied by Mrs. Martin, that included “The Coloring Song”, “Emmanuel”, and “The Windows of Heaven Are Open.”

3-maranatha-school-open-house-treatsNext, guests indulged in an abundant buffet table of luscious foods in the kitchen.  The open house was so well attended that even the large kitchen was jam-packed.

The crowning events were a readers’ theater based on the book of Job, performed excellently by the first through fourth graders, and the heart-felt dedication of the school building presented by Pastor Jim Martin.

Truly God’s blessings are being experienced at Maranatha School.

Trudy Smith, Maranatha Adventist Christian School Teacher

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Photography Class Shoots International Reality Show Audition Demo

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When a church member approached Stone Ridge SDA Christian School lead teacher, Rudy Carlson, about shooting an audition demo for the reality show “Alt for Norge” The Great Norway Adventure, filmed in Norway, Mr. Carlson suggested she speak with the school’s communications officer. The communications officer thought this would be a great opportunity for the school’s photography/cinematography students to have some real-world experience. As such, she met with the three top photographers in the school’s photography/cinematography class and invited them to help shoot the two to four-minute audition.

The photography/cinematography class is taken by all first grade through eighth grade students at Stone Ridge. On the day of the big shoot, first grader, Grace Cheeseman, third grader, Triniti Cheeseman, and eighth grader, Teigan Bauer, all clamored into the van, along with cameras, lenses and ancillary camera equipment.

The group visited four different shooting locations: Enger Park, Lief Erikson Park, The Union Gospel Mission and the church member’s place of business. They were working on a tight schedule, and the weatherman was calling for rain, and those of you who’ve shoot video or take pictures know how hard it can be to get what you want when you’re pressed for time. There’s always the possibility it will take multiple shots before you get it right!

That day was absolutely a gift. Everything fell into place and each of the kids got their segments right the first time! The communications officer edited the footage and the entire project was completed by that evening.

Technology is important in our society, and giving the kids get a chance to do a “real world” shoot was exciting. The fact that the school could help a church member was such a bonus. The school hopes to lay a practical foundation for expressing love for those around us, and a media competency for sharing the Gospel in this post-modern culture.

Collene Klick, Stone Ridge SDA School Volunteer

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.