A Love Letter.

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Oh, my God.

I love you. I love you so much.
The reality of your infinite existence leaves me in awe.
You are the definition of beautiful.
Everything you do is perfectly balanced, perfectly thought through, perfectly established.
Everything you say is truth, clear and powerful.
You are overwhelming and awesome and yet so close and peaceful.

God, I desire to see you, to touch you, to smell you, to hear you, … to be with you.
I want to breathe in the holiness of your presence.
I want to see you move, talk and smile.
I want to see you create, walk and fly.

My God. My God. Who are you and who am I?

God, only in your presence is healing and eternal joy.
This earth is not my home.

Oh, my God. The day when I hear you sing will be the day that will make me forget every memory of darkness and brokenness.

I will rejoice in you.
You will rejoice in me.
I can not wait.

God, I love you.

What Needs To Happen?

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What needs to happen?

Another conference?
Another program?
Another speaker?

What needs to happen?

Seventh-day Adventists are in need of real revival, real reformation and real change.
If we want the mighty light of truth to shine throughout the world and as many people as possible to be saved and ready for Jesus to come, this is vital.

But, what needs to happen?

We are called to be a group of people who have heard and answered Jesus’ commission to go beyond mere church attendance. It should be the shared dream of all of us to see God’s remnant church united in mission across borders, cultures and age-differences.
What if all of us would sacrifice, give, work, invest, speak, listen, think, write, sing and love even more? Continually, with the sole purpose of furthering the divine commission?
Isn’t it time to leave this self-destructive planet and be with the one we claim to love – Jesus Christ?

So, … what needs to happen?

It is not my intention to speak negatively about God’s church.
We are all in this boat together. Nobody is better or ‘more saved’ than the other.
However, it is no secret that we are struggling. Struggling with experiencing personal and corporate revival, identity and success in evangelism.

Through prophecy God has given the church of today a stern but hopeful message. It is found in Revelation 3:14-22. (Study it!) I am convinced that the advice and reproof that Jesus gives here has vital implications for you and me today and contains the solution to our issues.

The Divine Physician’s diagnosis of us is alarming:
“wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (v.17).

Jesus is concerned for us, … because we aren’t!
Shouldn’t this be a wake up call for you and me?

Thankfully Jesus provides the medication as well.
He is calling us to obtain three things from Him (v.18):

  1. “Refined gold” – a pure, undefiled faith
  2. “White garments” – Jesus’ robe of righteousness
  3. “Eye salve” – the ability to see reality from God’s perspective

Jesus goes on and explains how we can obtain these things (v.19-22):
By zealous repentance, inviting Him into our existence and living out a victorious life.

All of it comes through and by faith in Him, radical trust, and a complete and full surrender.

Revival, the latter rain, world-evangelism, a healthy and active local church, it all starts with each and every one of us! You and I, we need to be intimately connected with Jesus, we need to understand our identity and calling and then arise and shine!

I am now in my twenties. After a few years of foreign missionary work, higher education and traveling I am now starting my professional adult life. The message of Revelation 3 has pointed out to me my wretchedness and my need for God’s ‘medication’. By His grace I have chosen to dedicate all of my time to God. Why? Because this is what Jesus is asking for!
I cannot see any higher purpose in life than to serve Him completely. 

Friends, Jesus is waiting to clothe us with His righteousness, to refine our faith and to give us His divine perspective of reality!
We are called to connect, pray, study and learn together.
We are called to move forward as one man and bring the final days of earth’s history to a closure.

Imagine your youth group, your small-group, your family, on fire for God’s cause.
Imagine your local church being famous as a place of love, refuge and peace.
Imagine millions of Seventh-day Adventists truly uniting for the highest calling ever given to mankind through the power of the Holy Spirit!
Imagine yourself, leading multitudes of people to Christ. Starting today!

“The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being. It opens a field of effort to everyone whose heart Christ has touched.” – Ellen G. White, Education, 262.

It is possible! It has happened before (see the book of Acts). It will happen again.
Are you ready?
Will you be part of it?

What hinders you to go on your knees right now and recommit your life to God?
Why not give God’s plan for your life your complete attention?
Why not obtain healing for your spiritual blindness, wretchedness, nakedness and poverty?

Come! Let’s be devoted and committed to His will, cause and plan … though the heavens fall!

This is Jesus’ challenge for you and me!
This is what needs to happen.
It is my prayer for you and me, that we will hear and follow Jesus’ call today.

Fan and Follower.

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I hate soccer.
Hate is a strong word. I dislike soccer.
Hm, I think I should say, I dislike playing soccer.
Actually, I don’t even enjoy watching it very much.

Nevertheless, a couple years ago I decided to go watch the final game of the European Championship between Spain and Germany in Vienna.
I must have been very bored.

I didn’t want to waste my money on tickets, so I went to the free public viewing area and joined about 40,000 Spanish fans in cheering for their team.
Yes, I am Austrian. And no, I didn’t cheer for Germany. Sorry.

Now if you know anything about soccer, then you know that most soccer fans are real fans. And let me just say this: Soccer is very, very important to the Spanish and German people. They take a lot of pride in their teams and when a game happens, nothing can be more important than watching and cheering. They will put flags on their houses and cars, they will wear their team jerseys, paint their faces, and they will let everyone know on whose side they stand. This will be expressed through screaming, shouting, roaring, honking, drinking, trumpeting, and in extreme cases, actual fights with fans of the opposite team.

This made me think about my Christian walk.
Am I a die-hard fan of Jesus Christ?
Am I letting the world know on whose side I stand on in the great controversy between Christ and Satan?
Which flag is raised over my life?
Whose colors am I wearing?
Does the world see my “Christian jersey”?

I think we need to be real fans of Jesus. He is simply the best and we should take pride in Him, right?!

Here is my problem though: Is it enough to be just a fan of Jesus? Isn’t He calling for so much more?

And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23

Jesus actually wants more than fans. He is asking you and me to be followers of Him. Being a Jesus-fan is nice, but not enough.
A soccer fan dresses up and goes crazy for the 90 minutes of the game, and then goes back to normal life.
A follower on the other side devotes his entire life to a cause. No breaks.

It’s not enough to celebrate Jesus for just two hours on the Sabbath when throughout the week, life is being lived wearing the “jerseys of the world,” praising its temporary idols, chanting meaningless songs, and proclaiming foolishness.

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Complete devotion to Jesus, alignment of our lives to His righteous principles through the work of the Holy Spirit combined with the willpower of man, doing the will of God in every small and every big thing in life, … that is what Jesus is asking from His followers.

Yes, I absolutely want to be a fan of Jesus. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I want to celebrate Him! He is awesome, He is the Winner, and everybody needs to know!
But more than that, it is my desire to be a true and faithful follower of Him. Denying self and picking up my cross daily.

What about you? Do you want to join the Jesus-fan-follower-club?

I hope you do.
His jersey, His songs, His eternal club-membership is truly worth it.

My Small Tribute To An Amazing Woman.

Now, if you are reading this and expecting a heartbreaking rundown on how much I love my fiancée (whom I most certainly do love), I have to disappoint you.
Even though I am getting married in literally one month from today, this post is not about my beautiful future wife Amanda.

This post is also not a love confession to my mother (even though she is wonderful too).

Today, I want to take a moment to honor and pay tribute to a woman that has and still is shaping my life in a very special way. She has influenced my spiritual walk with Christ in a powerful manner, she has opened my view to the bigger picture of reality, and she is constantly reminding me of my need for Christ and the total connection to Him.

The crazy thing is, that I have never met her or talked to her. In fact, she has been dead for quite a while!

The woman I am honoring today is Mrs. Ellen Gould White.
Today, July 16th 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of her death.

Ellen G. White was a messenger of God, a prophet. She was used by God in a powerful way to deliver important truths and messages to His people living in the last days. (That’s right now, by the way.)

“During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature. Her writings cover a broad range of subjects, including religion, education, social relationships, evangelism, prophecy, publishing, nutrition, and management.”*

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The Smithsonian magazine even named Ellen G. White among 100 Most Significant Americans in an acknowledgement of her influence on religion.

In the past couple years I’ve had the privilege to read her most prominent books and have been tremendously blessed by them.

I firmly believe that she was an inspired and divinely appointed messenger for Jesus.
How do I know? Among many reasons for that statement, I want to bring out the two most important ones to me:

  1. The Bible prophesied that the Spirit of Prophecy will mark God’s last movement in Earth’s history (see Revelation 12:17; 19:10)
  2. Reading and applying her writings has brought me closer to Jesus and His word. It has helped me to fall more and more in love with my Savior and to commit fully to His will.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not, … I don’t know anybody who has not been deeply impressed by this lady (who, by the way, didn’t even have more than a 3rd grade education!).

I want to challenge and encourage you today to read. Read her writings! They are all available online and for free.

If you are looking for powerful insights into Bible religion, or you want to be challenged in your spiritual walk, or you long to understand Jesus and the Bible better, then read the writings of Ellen G. White. A great place to start is the small book ‘Steps to Christ‘.

Her words will help you get more excited about God’s word and applying it into your life and relationship with Jesus.

May you be as blessed as I have been.

Here are some helpful links for more resources on Ellen G. White:

* http://ellenwhite.org/content/article/learn-about-ellen-g-white

Why I love being a Seventh-day Adventist.

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Why I love being a Seventh-day Adventist.

I will be very short and clear about this one.

I love being a Seventh-day Adventist, because I have not seen any other religion, denomination, belief-system or lifestyle that is so …

real,
logical,
comprehensive,
purpose-giving,
healthy,
fulfilling,
reasonable,
holistic,
honest,
prophetic,
joyful,
fulfilling,
and simply amazing,

… as the fully lived out biblical Adventist faith.

It answers life’s hardest questions.
It shows the path to continual growth and development in all areas of life.
It is all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is now my Savior, Friend, Brother, Judge and Creator.

To those who don’t believe in anything, I say: Well, you are missing out. Why don’t you e-mail me and we can meet up for a green smoothie and let’s talk about life? I pay.

To those who believe in something supernatural (whatever it might be) I say: Try the Adventist faith. I promise you, you will not regret it. If you want a green smoothie, I’ll buy you one too ;-)

To those who share my faith: Let’s rise and shine and share our faith! We have a world to win!

I am fulfilled, happy and excited to be called a Seventh-day Adventist. What about you?

You are.

jacobThe great controversy between Christ and Satan defines history.
As I reflect on the theme of the upcoming GYC conference“Before Men and Angels” – my mind is flooded with a few of those most gripping scenes recorded for our remembrance:

I can see a Joshua, the high priest, being stripped of his filthy garments and being robed in the presence of Satan with the righteousness of Christ.

I can hear the joyful songs of the angels when a Jacob wrestles with God, refusing to let Him go without receiving the assurance of His mercy and blessing.

I can see a Job who never had the privilege to behold the veil of the unseen world being lifted before his eyes and receive answers to his questions, but a Job, who yet holds on to his Redeemer, though the heavens fall.

I can see the boldness of an apostle Paul, standing before Nero, preaching the gospel at all costs.

I can see the shining faces of faithful martyrs being burned at the stake for the truth they will not and cannot give up.

I can see a Martin Luther, shortly before standing before the principalities of this earth, agonizing with the Lord, expecting certain death and praying, “The cause is thine”, because God was his mighty fortress.

I can see a struggling Ellen G. White, attacked by Satan during her heaven-ordained endeavor to bring the theme of the great controversy to paper, a task so severe that she was only able to write one page per day.

Friend, the great controversy between Jesus Christ and Satan defines the pages of history. It continues today.

It is a sad fact, however, that in today’s Christianity, the idea of a Christian being familiar with trials, tribulations, and spiritual battles and its victories is rarely practiced or preached. These challenges of a Christian, who is living within the great controversy, must be encountered through personal struggles with our sinful nature, in the clash of theological views within our church, or in the battle between angels and demons over souls. These become so vivid before our eyes once we become active in sharing Christ with others.

You may not face the same situation as a Job, Jacob, Joshua, Paul, Luther, or an Ellen G. White did, but as much as they were, you are called…

…to stand apart,
…to preach the word,
…to glorify Christ,

and to showcase to the universe, “before men and angels” (1 Corinthians 4:9), that
God is love.

Wherever we look, it is evident that the powers of darkness are putting all their efforts into hindering every person who has the potential to glorify Christ, to do so.

You are that potential woman!
You are that potential man!

Is There Hope in The Pope?

HopeA few months ago I was traveling from Budapest, Hungary back to Austria by train. I had the privilege to preach at the Youth-for-Jesus-Conference (FJK) and although the days there with the young people were blessed, I was also very tired afterwards.

As you might know from an earlier blog post of mine, I always pray on my trips for divine appointments; for opportunities to share Jesus Christ with another person who God specifically leads to me. And I’ll have to warn you now, … if you ever pray for mission-opportunities like these, you will get them! God is always waiting for us to say “Lord, please use me.” So be prepared!

Anyways, I prayed for a divine appointment this time too. And you guessed it, it didn’t take more than maybe a few minutes and God had put the right person in front of me.

This time it was a Hungarian lady, maybe in her forties. We got into talking (she knew German) and I explained to her what I was doing in life, and she told me about her current situation. Very soon into the conversation we started talking about religion and faith in God. It turns out she comes from a very religious background, however she didn’t seem to be too much into it and for the most part of the upcoming three hours we talked about classical music. Whenever the conversation would move back into spiritual topics I could feel that she tried to find her way out of it very fast again.

Then, we had about 25 minutes left before we would arrive in Vienna where I knew she would leave the train, I was getting a little bit worried because I still didn’t feel like I had delivered the message to her which she needed to hear on that day. So I decided to pray and try it one more time. We got into talking about the current unstable condition of this world and how immorality and evil is taking control of this planet more and more.
I could feel that this really depressed her and I decided to share one of my favorite things with her.

My hope.

Hope. What exactly is it?

Now before your google it, here is what Wikipedia will tell you:

“Hope is the state which promotes the belief in a good outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.”

You might not consciously know this, but every human being living on this planet needs hope. We live with it. We use it. Every day.

We constantly yearn for making our current life situation better. We want better things, better jobs, better lives … the list is endless. We are rarely really satisfied in every aspect of our life. And our efforts shown in order to gain these “better things”, they reveal that we live with the hope, that “better things” are obtainable. At least that is the kind of hope that is being proclaimed by every advertisement.

But hope does not only have to do with things. Hope plays an essential part when it comes to relationships. We hope that our friends will stay our friends, also if we disagree sometimes. We hope that our partner stays faithful to his/her vows. We hope that mum and dad will continue to send us money in order to survive life in college ;-).

Hope has a lot to do with trust, love and faith.
Trust in another person.
Love for life itself.
Faith in honesty.

Deep inside of us, we all need hope in order to survive. The opposite of hope is desperation. Depression. A state of being when life seems meaningless and hopeless.

Just a few weeks ago the unimaginable happened and Pope Benedict XVI said “I quit” and a new pope was elected. Francis I. Millions of Catholic believers all around the world put their hope now into this new Pope. Will he bring peace into this world? Will he change things for the better?

The same is true for political leaders. Whenever a new president or leader is elected, it seems like everyone’s hopes are rekindled, because of all the encouraging words and promises of these leaders during their election campaign.

But one thing, all of them have in common. They are all human beings. And it is a dangerous thing to put ones hopes into such an unstable creature.

Now, I’m not saying we should not trust our leaders and the people around us, but I believe in this world there is only one thing that we can fully trust in and build our hopes on, without having to be afraid of rejection or disappointment. And that is our God.

His promises have never failed and He is the trustworthiest being in the universe.

It’s interesting that all the mentioned factors: hope, love, faith, trust … they all have this spiritual meaning and seem to be divine characteristics. They have nothing to do with anything evolutionary or scientific. We cannot pay for them or physically touch them. And still they are there and every human being longs for them and the security they bring.

How amazing to know, that our wonderful Savior and God Jesus Christ offers us true hope and true love and He is worthy to be trusted.

One of my favorite hymns goes like this:

My hope is built in nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Christ is the only hope humanity has.
Christ is the only hope you and I have.

So what did I share with the Hungarian lady only a few minutes before we arrived in Vienna? What is my hope for a dying world like the one we live in?

I opened my bible to one of the most beautiful passages. Revelation chapter 21 and I read to her verses 1 through 7. (I didn’t put it here. Go read it!)

In that very moment I could see how the Holy Spirit touched this woman’s heart. Suddenly she became silent. Her eyes got wet, and after I was done reading the word of God to her, all she could say was:

“This is a wonderful hope”.

I assured her, that I believe that what the apostle John describes in those verses will happen. That the world as we know it is coming to an end in the near future and that God will make all things new and beautiful. A world where purity, peace and love reign and where there will be no more tears nor sorrows and where God himself will live amongst His people.

What a hope we have!

Before she left the train I was able to give her the book “The Great Hope” by E.G. White, which she gladly received. May it lead her to the true hope.

My friend, … if you long for hope. If you are hopeless, desperate and you feel like life has no meaning, let me tell you – There is hope! There is hope in the Solid Rock!

Come and see the glory of a hopeful and fulfilled life in Christ!

“Put your hope in God!” – Psalm 42:5