An Appeal to the 2015 Delegates

Posted in Bible Topics on January 23rd, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — 2 Comments

What is True Love?

Posted in Bible Topics on January 21st, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

We hear so much about love these days.   We hear that we should just love people–that people just need love and not “doctrine”.   But what does the Bible say?  Jay Krueger, of Stenshult Health Center, in   Sweden, shows not only what true love is, but how it works out in the life of the individual.

Separatist? A New Look at Church History, 2

Posted in Bible Topics on January 16th, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

Jay Krueger and family, from Stenshult Health Retreat,  Stenshult, Sweden,  recently visited our Bible study group in Bismarck, ND.   Jay was kind enough to share some very interesting thoughts regarding church history.  This is part two in a two part series covering two very different basic schools of thought for society. It is interesting to see how this unfolds for us today!

Scripture Songs with Beathe Krueger

Posted in Bible Topics on January 12th, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

The Word of God is the power source for the life of a Christian.  And one of the most effective ways to remember Bible passages is to put them to song.  The Lord has blessed Beathe to be able to compose lovely songs to Bible passages.  We were blessed and want to share the blessing with you!  Beathe and her husband, Jay, work at Stenshult Health Center in Sweden.

Separatist? A New Look at Church History.

Posted in Bible Topics on January 9th, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

Our friends, Jay and Beathe Krueger, are visiting from Sweden and we asked Jay to share some presentations with a Bible Study group we attend.  Jay is co-founder of Stenshult Health Center in Sweden.  (Stenshult.org).  We were all very blessed by his presentations, and there is a part 2 coming up in a future post.  We believe this will be a blessing to each of you!

From Skinny Jeans to Skirts!

Posted in Bible Topics on January 7th, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — 4 Comments

Last year we presented a series on God’s plan for our attire entitled “Let Me Think”.  Recently we asked a friend from a nearby state to share her testimony regarding dressing as a King’s daughter.  We believe it will be a blessing to you as it was to us!

—–

Mary Wiest

Mary Wiest

My husband, Aaron, and I attended a Revelation seminar back in January 2008, and became members of the Seventh-day Adventist movement in February of that same year. God spoke to our hearts and we praise Him every day for showing us His truth, that we both accepted it, and that He did not let us die in our ignorance and sins.

As our walk proceeded, we were convicted of many things – our video games and movies, Sunday-keeping literature, jewelry, make-up, coloring my hair and the list goes on.

We became more aware of the health message about two years after becoming Seventh-day Adventists, so Aaron quit deer hunting shortly thereafter. Needless to say, it has been a good change. Both of us have lost about 30 pounds each and for the first time in my life I was able to wear the hip hugger and skinny jeans like everyone else! I felt brand new!

Then about two and one half years ago we listened to a sermon where the issue of women wearing pants was brought up. My teeth were set instantly on edge and my first thought about this minister was: “Who do you think you are?” A book by the name, Thy Nakedness: Lord,What Shall I Wear? was a recommended read, so I called the library and did an inter-library loan on it. After reading it, I passed it around to my close sisters in the church, but the issue was never really addressed between us. My conscience was convicted even back then, but like King Agrippa (Acts 24:25), I put it in the back of my mind thinking that it could be dealt with later.

Since that time the convictions began to become ever stronger. Never being much of a dress wearer, my thoughts and prayers were: “Lord, if You want me to do this, You will have to drop it in my lap because I have no idea what to do or where to begin.”

One day I received an e-mail requesting that material on a certain website be considered. Much to my dismay, it was all about the dress reform! I was so angry! This was getting way too close! To make matters worse, one of my dear friends and sister in Christ accepted the dress reform. She then sent out an e-mail to all of her family and friends stating that we would notice a big change in her appearance the next time we saw her. I even said out loud to myself, “Well you little goodie two shoes!” This is sad, but I hated her for what she was doing! And it was hard to be around her because it was so convicting! Plus she would talk about how she was witnessing to others about it. What could I say? I was without excuse!

My question to God was, “Why me, Lord? You have many others who have been members longer in this faith that are not dressing this way so why can’t I wait until they adopt this lifestyle?” His answer to me? “What is that to thee? follow thou Me.” (John 21:22).

Every day it felt like there was a 25 pound weight chained to my heart. My husband even asked me if I hated him! My conscience was on overload. I was extremely sensitized because every sermon and everything I read cut to my heart because I knew that disobedience is as witchcraft! (1 Samuel 15:23). And this was straight rebellion. And it got worse every day. Getting out of bed was a dread every morning, and it was a relief to get back into bed in the evening so that I could “rest.” But it was the first thing on my mind whenever waking. Was I going to be lost because of a pair of jeans? (Hosea 4:17).

My convictions were turning into anguish and I knew that God was not hearing my prayers. (Proverbs 28:9). If I were to die, my probation would be over, and all I had to look forward to was the second death. What if I grieved the Holy Spirit and committed the unpardonable sin? (Matthew 12:31) And then, my last great fear: What if I STOP feeling this way??? Granted, I don’t believe in salvation by dress, but whatever God asks us to do or not to do IS a salvational issue!

Praise the Lord that my surrender finally came, and the Lord did put it all in my lap. The sister that had accepted the dress reform has been obeying the Lord and going to the thrift stores and buying beautiful clothes for those she has been praying for to be separate from the world and accept this Godly lifestyle. I must admit that when a woman is following the guiding and leading of the Holy Spirit, she truly shines with the glory of the Lord! Praise God that He still has His faithful followers and that He is ever faithful to us!!

Our grandchildren are very dear to us, and we tell them all to be different and not to get that tattoo, or piercing or whatever. Since adopting this change, our 11 year old granddaughter said to me: “I wish that I could dress like you, Grandma.”

My husband recently read this statement on the computer: “Everyone laughs at me because I am different….I laugh at everyone else because they are all the same.” We know that laughing at people is not Godly, as we should remember where we came from. We should pray for them instead.

So friend if you are reading this testimony with a deep conviction in your heart, I leave you with this quote: “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet.” Ministry of Healing 481

Mary Wiest

Great Controversy to the Rescue!!

Posted in Bible Topics on January 4th, 2015 by Danna Gesellchen — 2 Comments

Early in December, we asked our friend, David Brummel, to share his testimony with our Bible study group.  It blessed us all, and we wanted to share it with you!

Elder Herbert Douglass

Posted in Bible Topics on December 18th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

rsz_herbert_douglass_2008

 

A GIANT AMONG MEN

December 17, 2014 Lemuel Sapian
When I first encountered the name of Herbert Douglass, I was in derision of the concepts he taught and advanced in his books and talks. I was fresh out of a long run of giving evangelistic seminars home and abroad and in the prime of my life in my mid-twenties. For me, Adventism was about filling the pews and getting people to know the Lord and the means always justified the ends. But this talk about reflecting Jesus and living a life of victory over sin was just plain silly. Sanctification was an optional work, and seeking salvation by any method, regardless of the implications therein, was the only important philosophy in life. I was chest deep in cultural evangelical Christianity so much so that at times I felt embarrassed to hold to certain Adventist distinctives. I defended the Adventist faith anyway. But to do so I felt like I had to deemphasize its peculiarity. So I largely ignored the heaps of theological books with the author “Douglass” stamped on them and moved on.

I had to defend Ellen White to defend Adventism, so I focused on every section in her written works that I felt reflected the proper view of the Gospel, anything that seemed to give a hint that while our doctrines are indeed unique and helpful, ultimately in the grand scheme of things they were all optional. I hated that commandment keeping was preached from our pulpits and I felt uneasy whenever a speaker quoted from the Spirit of Prophecy during the Divine Worship hour. Weren’t we supposed to talk Christ alone and commandment keeping mongering was the wretched disease of the Galatians? Certainly Ellen White only contributed to the confusion!

Still, I felt there was enough in Adventism to hang on to it, and at one point I even envisioned being part of a reformation to turn the Adventist Church around from its ridiculous legalistic trends into the evangelical juggernaut it could be. This was around the time I had begun observing GYC evolve from its relatively humble beginnings into the movement it is now. Such an army of youth that could be most effective if trained in the right way! The “right way” for me, however, was to deemphasize, but not totally eliminate, our core doctrinal beliefs on anything but salvation. So I tried to gear all my sermons and talks in this direction.

This is when I ran headlong into the concept of what is now commonly known as “Last Generation Theology,” a theological construct built upon the premise that God’s last generation of men and women on earth before the Second Coming would live sinless lives. I read about M. L. Andreassen’s role in helping to shape this distinctive idea and digested hook, line and sinker the critics’ line about this theology being destructive to Adventism and people in general. There was no question as to what my “calling” was at that time and I worked tirelessly in my free time to flood internet discussion forums with my extreme displeasure that this was an actual concept embraced by some in the Church!

God had different plans for me, however. Call it a “Road to Damascus” experience, but the more I sought to kick against what I perceived to be thorns, the more soft my heart became on the issue. I felt the Spirit’s leading to give the teaching some consideration, a least. So I did. I read Andreassen himself, instead of reading what others wrote about him. I attended a fantastic seminar by one Elder Dennis Priebe, which was eye-opening to say the least. And I finally found myself immersed in the writings of Herbert Douglass, who, to my surprise brought about a dynamic dimension to this “Last Generation Theology.” Like John Wesley’s being warmed by the reading of Luther’s “Preface to the Commentary to the Romans,” I was warmed by Douglass’ literary explanation of Christ being the center of this grand plan and the enabling power of the Cross to not only save to, but also change to the utmost.

Instead of this idea being destructive to Adventism I began to see that it was Adventism embodied. Douglass’ explanation of the problems we face when trying to combine certain systems of theology made too much sense. Some theological concepts are mutually exclusive. You had to pick one or the other and this was more than evident in the “Theological Earthquake” that fractured Adventism in the mid-1950’s known as the “Questions on Doctrine” debacle. Center to this ongoing conversation is the nature of sin (hamartiology), the nature of Christ (Christology) and victory over sin. As a Church we have never been able to completely reconcile on these core issues at stake. After much prayer, personal struggle and Bible study, I embraced Last Generation Theology.

Douglass made it awfully clear that as Adventists we can choose to model our theological systems after the pattern of other denominations but that it would come at a horrible price. The question now was, were we willing to pay that price? To me, this made Dr. Douglass rise head and shoulders above many other scholars in our Church today. He was willing to go where many were either too weak or afraid to. He recognized that many of our theological issues stemmed from a lack of understanding of theological systems, compromise, and the general failure to consider the ramifications before running off with an idea.

While in theology he was uncompromising, he was never a cynic. He always saw the good in others, even in those who were his theological opponents. In his curriculum vitae he listed not only those who referenced his works favorably but also those who were critical. He believed in the objective reality of truth, but also acknowledged the inevitability that others could and would disagree. The theme throughout his written works was focused around that Blessed Hope and the desire to see it in his lifetime.

I first met Herb at the 2010 GYC Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. I had just finished listening to his lecture and it was the last one of the evening. I remember his jolly smile and he took my hand not like a teacher shaking the hand of a student, but like a man grasping the hand of friend. His character was unassuming and he talked to me like we had known each other for years. I helped bring his equipment to his hotel room and I remember our conversation. He lamented about his beloved Church and shook his head in sadness, remarking, “Many just do not understand”. It wasn’t a statement made in hubris, but one of concession, almost as if he felt he was responsible for not doing enough to create positive dialogue around the important issues and allowing many to come to an understanding of them.

I had the privilege of meeting him again in Battle Creek, two years later at a conference for the study of Last Generation Theology. He was delighted that we had formed the group and were engaged in deep and thorough study of last day issues. As usual, his presence lightened the room. Among our group were the esteemed Dr. Colin Standish and the late Elder Ron Spear. I was amazed at how much these modern Adventist icons approached present truth all in their own different way! It wasn’t in the way portrayed by some as a closed minded exercise in rehashing already pre-conceived and settled ideas but an actual exchanging of ideas, sometimes conflicting with one another. In the end, Christ-like characters prevailed as the focus of a perfected final generation is Christ indeed.

Elder Herb always uplifted Christ, and in his many works he laid out his biblical understanding that Christ is the model and example for humanity. Though often accused by some (I was once part of that crowd) of teaching an “anthropocentric” or human focused gospel, his understanding of the gospel was more Christ focused than any I have ever come to know. What could be more Christ focused than seeking to reflect Jesus in all that you do! Most “Christ-centered” versions of the gospel like to parade themselves as such by focusing solely on the sacrifice aspect of Christ’s ministry. While the cross is indeed central to the plan of salvation, it is still only a piece of the puzzle, albeit the biggest piece. Herb understood this well just as our pioneers did, and sought to make sense of the “Big Picture,” which is the Great Controversy.

I left the meetings in Battle Creek hoping to meet Elder Herb again. I believe I shall, although no longer on this side of heaven. He passed to his rest on December 15th, 2014. I will miss our talks and correspondence. He never missed an opportunity to reply to me through email, constantly offering words of encouragement and support with each letter. From what I hear, even in his final hours he remained his cheerful self, continuing to be a blessing to all he came in contact with. I believe he was one of those described by Ellen White when she wrote thus:

Be ambitious, for the Master’s glory, to cultivate every grace of character. In every phase of your character building you are to please God. This you may do; for Enoch pleased Him though living in a degenerate age. And there are Enochs in this our day. Christ Object Lessons, pg. 332

We should not be afraid to reflect Christ as Enoch did, and as I believe Herb did. He was a giant among men not only for his theological acumen but for his desire to reflect what he taught. Despite his passing, we can honor his work by picking up where he left off and carry the banner of Christ that he bore until the work is finished. As Ellen White wrote about the death of another great man in Israel, her husband James White:

Like a tired warrior, he has lain down to sleep. I will look with pleasure upon his resting place. The best way in which I and my children can honor the memory of him who has fallen, is to take the work where he left it, and in the strength of Jesus carry it forward to completion. We will be thankful for the years of usefulness that were granted to him; and for his sake, and for Christ’s sake, we will learn from his death a lesson which we shall never forget. We will let this bereavement make us more kind and gentle, more forbearing, patient, and thoughtful toward the living. Life Sketches, pg. 253

It won’t be long now. Let’s finish the work so we can go home.

This article was originally published at ADvindicate.com. It is reposted with permission.

ADvindicate Inc. Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Few Give Thought…

Posted in Bible Topics on December 13th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

 

Think about this...

Think about this…

Sin.  Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines it as follows:  “To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God for man; to violate the divine law in any particular, by actual transgression or by the neglect or non-observance of its injunctions; to violate any known rule of duty.”

That definition became very interesting to me as I considered the topic of sin.  I appreciate the fact that Mr. Webster included the word “neglect” in his definition–you will see why later.  Of course, most of us, when asked to define sin, would turn to 1 John 3:4, “…sin is the transgression of the law.”  And this is good, but I wonder, do we really grasp all that this means?

In Luke 10:27, Jesus narrowed the law down into two principles: love God with all the heart, mind and soul, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourself.  Why did He use those words? Heart, mind, soul, and strength?

Here’s what I believe after study and reflection:

Loving God with my mind means that my thoughts are centered, not in this world and the things of this world, but on heavenly things.

Loving God with my heart means that, as Colossians 3:2 says, my affections–the things I love and look forward to–are those that pertain to serving God.

Loving God with my strength means that, as Sister White says:  “Had the disciples rightly appreciated the exalted character of their Master, they would have considered no sacrifice too costly to offer to the Son of God.”  Signs of the Times, October 9, 1879 par. 13.  In other words, all of my talents and abilities are consecrated to His service–nothing is held too dear to give to my Lord.

Loving God with my soul means:  Since my body and the breath of God make me a living soul, this is all that I am–and all that I am is focused on loving and serving God.  I believe this sums up all the other terms.  It is an entire consecration to God and to His will for my life–nothing held back!

What about loving my neighbor as myself?  Jesus goes on in the passage in Luke to illustrate just what this means in the parable of the good Samaritan.  Jesus described a man who had been beaten and robbed and left to die. A priest and a Levite passed by without helping, but the Samaritan stopped to invest himself–at great personal risk and cost–in this man from a foreign land.  And I believe in doing so, he kept the WHOLE law, for he certainly loved his neighbor as himself, AND he glorified and lifted up the character of God is his treatment of this man.

So what does this have to do with sin?  I looked up the phrase “it is sin” in the EG White index.  The following is a sample of what I found.  “It is sin”:  to indulge appetite, to indulge passion, to read all the books and papers of the day, that separates us from God, that prevents us from loving and glorifying God, that scourged the Lord of Glory, to remain calm and unimpassioned when considering the sufferings of Christ….

Did you catch that last phrase?

Here is is in black and white from 2 Testimonies 212:  “Many who profess to be Christians become excited over worldly enterprises, and their interest is awakened for new and exciting amusements, while they are coldhearted, and appear as if frozen, in the cause of God. Here is a theme, poor formalist, which is of sufficient importance to excite you.  Eternal interests are here involved.  Upon this theme it is sin to be calm and unimpassioned.  (WOW!)  The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotion.  Upon this subject you will be excusable if you manifest enthusiasm.  That Christ, so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such a painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully comprehend.  The length, the breadth, the height, the depth, of such amazing love we cannot fathom.  The contemplation of the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character…”

Now, who among us would really consider it sin – a transgression of the law of God — to be calm and unimpassioned in the consideration of the cost of our salvation to Jesus?  Really?  And, as Mr. Webster pointed out, even neglect of what we ought to do is sin.  But, aren’t we told that we should “spend a thoughtful hour” considering the life of Christ?  Desire of Ages 83.

Consider this passage from Education 263:  “Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world.  Few think of its relation to God.  Few give thought (neglect) to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator.  All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity.  The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.  Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him.”

I believe, if we really think it through, that Jesus is the wounded man in the story of the Samaritan.  Which am I?  Which are you?  The priest?  The Levite?…or the one who really loved God and his neighbor?  Do we just pause to casually observe the sufferings of Christ, then go about our day?  Or do we let it grip our hearts enough to move us to action?  Isn’t Jesus crucified afresh by our sin?  Hebrews 6:6.  What are we doing to alleviate the pain of sin to our Lord?  Are we loving Him with all our mind, strength, soul, heart?  or as we love ourselves?

Do you see what I see?

Mount of Blessings 9,10  “And as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfulness of humanity.  He sees that it is sin ( even a mere neglect to appreciate and strive to alleviate the sufferings of Christ) which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory.  He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion.  He has forsaken his best Friend and abused heaven’s most precious gift.  He has crucified to himself the Son of God afresh and pierced anew that bleeding and stricken heart.  He is separated from God by a gulf of sin that is broad and black and deep, and he mourns in brokenness of heart.”

It is sin, friends, to allow Jesus to continue to suffer on in the Most Holy Place without loving Him with heart, mind, strength, and soul and seeking to alleviate His pain.

Oh, that we would fully realize the promise in Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.”

Truly, “The mourning here brought to view is true heart sorrow for sin”,  and, “they shall be comforted…” Mount of Blessings 9; Matthew 5:4. Let us give thought…

The Ultimate Health Law

Posted in Bible Topics on November 23rd, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — 1 Comment so far

We hear a lot these days about health and healing alternatives and I believe that’s a good thing. But it can be confusing. Navigating through so many voices and choices and miracle cures. But, boil it all down, what is the single most ingredient to the well-being of our entire being? Listen to find out: