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

How petting an animal can help you to get to know God better.

The other day in class we were talking about the book of Jonah and how the book has this weird ending, where God is asking Jonah why He shouldn’t have pity on the 120 000 inhabitants of Niniveh.
I guess you know the story. But why is that a weird ending?

Well, if you read the last verse, God is not only saying that He has mercy on the population of Niniveh, no, actually the very last thing he mentions in the entire book are … animals. The cattle on which God also has mercy on. Funny, hm?

We continued the discussion and (seriously) talked about the typical question a child would ask when his or her pet dies. The questions if animals will go to heaven.
To be honest, at first I was like ‘Really? Are we seriously discussing this right now?’.

I’m not gonna tell you what our conclusion was (this you can study for yourselve :p) but another thought developed because of this discussion, namely the position and purpose of animal in relation to human beings.

If we read Genesis 1:26 and skip the part we all know where God says ‘Let us make man in Our image’ it also says in the same verse:

‘let them [meaning humans] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’

So what’s happening here?
God in the beginning, at creation set man as the ruler over the animals of this planet.
Now it’s important that we remember one thing! Back then sin had not yet corrupted the earth. Everything was still at peace and in full beauty. Just the way God had created it.
There was no sign or appearance of that devastating change that sin would bring to every level of life. No fear. No death. Nothing bad. Only very good things existed. Perfection.

This means, that the rulership that God had intended for man to have over animals was also a very good one. Definitely not one of hunting or killing. One that had nothing to do with tyranny, brutality, pain, struggle or any other outcome of sinful, unfair and selfish rulership as it exists everywhere in hierarchies today.

Try to imagine how Adam and Eve must have felt. God told them ‘Look guys, these other creatures which you can see here, they are yours. You go and take care of them just the way I take care of you!’

God did not put all knowledge of all time into Adam and Eve’s pure, still young and fresh minds. No. Also without sin God had the plan, that life (also if being eternal in ‘length’) should be a life of constant learning, working and gaining knowledge.

So our very first parents had none but one school to attend in order to gain a knowledge on how to treat beings that are depended on a higher being – and that was in the school of Jesus pre-incarnate. In their daily communion with Him, their Ultimate Teacher.

In the way God treated Adam and Eve they could find patterns and principles which they could apply to the beings which God had put under their control. The animals.

Why did He do that? What was God’s intention with giving human beings the dominion over the animals?
The answer to this lies in the answer to another, wider question:

Why does God do the things He does?
What is the whole point of His acts?

The answer is (again) found in John 17:3:

„Now this is eternal life–that they know you, the only true God

Adam and Eve were created for eternal life. Eternal life back then and today still is about nothing else than getting to know God better and better!

So how does this apply to the whole animal-thing we’ve been talking about earlier?

Well, when God gave man the rulership over the animals He did it, because through the beautiful connection that would have been developed between human beings and animals (if sin wouldn’t have kicked in), humans would have, through the taking care of these precious and beautiful beings, gained a better knowledge about the character of God.

See, for animals, we humans are like God to them.

How is God? God is a God of complete selflessness. A God of pure love – complete living for others. Taking care of others. Sustaining others.

Ok Jonathan, but I don’t live in paradise. What does this mean for me today, who lives in a degenerated world of sin? Must I go to the next lion and offer myself as food because of selflessness?

No. Of course not.
Things changed when sin came into this world. Animals learned to avoid, fear and attack man because of bad experiences with them.

The same way humans fear, avoid and attack God. The difference is that animals are mostly right in their assumption that humans are dangerous and evil. God on the other hand is not evil.

I believe even though we humans would never be able to recreate the circumstances of Eden (meaning a world without sin), we should still take care of animals. They still are in a way dependent on us and they still are created with a purpose.

I don’t think I need to explain that our society is a ‘Nazi-regime’ to the animals of this world.

So the next time you see a dog, a hippo or a snail, remember that there are still glimpses of God’s character to be found in the very connection that can exist between you and that animal. There is still something you can learn about who and how God is!

Isn’t this beautiful?

And who knows, maybe through an encounter with you, the reaction (positive or negative) of that animal on you, is a picture or a mirror of your own current relationship with God. A reflection on how you treat and meet God.

4:3 versus 16:9 – God’s “golden ratio” for your life.

If you are around 25 years of age +/- one or two years, you might be able to relate to my following statement: I feel old.

Or, let’s phrase it this way: Sometimes I feel old. Specially when I meet teenagers who I know since they were very little or from whom I can actually remember the time of their birth! And now they are already tall, intelligent and capable to have a more or less intellectual conversation with me. Yes, these are the situations when I feel kind of ‘old’.

This happened to me just recently. Most of those boys and girls who are in their teens now, can’t even remember consciously experiencing situations, which for me feel like they happened just yesterday. The change into the new millennium for example. Or September 11th 2001. They grew up in a different world then I did. It’s the next generation I guess.

These are the kids that can’t remember a time before high-speed Internet, super-cheap air-tickets from RyanAir or a TV/computer screen where the standard dimensions were 4:3 instead of the 16:9 which you can find everywhere nowadays.

Not to go into much detail about technology, and maybe you won’t agree but honestly … there is something about this widescreen 16:9 format that makes pictures and film look more stylish. Don’t you think? I guess it has to do with the so called golden ratio or just with the fact that you actually see more on a screen like that.

As we grow up and go through life we make plans. We try to find the best possible solution and path to reach a certain goal. May it be a good education, a well-paid job or finding the right partner; we always make plans.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part of growing up and turning ‘old’.

God created us with the mental capability and creativity to make extraordinary plans. He wants us to aim high. To reach for bigger things. To accomplish things and learn.
But there’s one problem. And maybe you already guessed it:
It’s our heart; what we think and feel. It’s not thoughts and feelings per se, but the bible tells us they have been corrupted by sin.
Jeremiah is pretty clear about it when he says:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

Unless we live in constant connection with our loving Creator and Savior (who knows our heart), trusting in the heart can be a dangerous thing! We can not always see the bigger picture and therefore might follow a bad plan or path.
To use the TV/computer screen-illustration: We live with a 4:3 view. We see a bit, but not as much as we could with a “widescreen”. With 16:9.

So, what to do? Where can I get this “16:9 – widescreen – view” for my life? Where can I widen my old 4:3 view on life into a 16:9 view?

I like what Solomon says, (amusingly) in Proverbs 16:9:

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

God cares.
He cares about our plans.
He cares about where we go and what we do.

As I grow older I want God to widen my view. I want Him to show me more and more of His ways. I have tasted a bit from the beauty of God’s plan for my life, and since then I can’t resist to follow it deeper and fuller. He is perfect, therefore His plans are perfect.

My appeal to you is the following:
Stop living in 4:3 mode and enter into the widescreen view of God on your life!
The great thing is, that it won’t stop with just 16:9. God is infinite! His golden ratio will constantly expand if you let Him guide you. The more time you spend with God the more you will see and the more you will understand of His amazing plan for you life here on earth and eternity. It’s a process that will never end.

Be blessed as you constantly open your life for God’s golden ratio.

“I feel sick when I hear ‘Let’s pray'” – What we can learn from ‘Harley Davidson’-Bikers

I woke up a Sabbath morning last week around 8 a.m. feeling very tired, because I didn’t really have a good night sleep. So I decided to just stay in bed a ‘bit’ more. Fortunately my parents, where I stayed at during that time, live right above the church, so staying in bed a bit longer wasn’t that dangerous. Sabbath school starts at 9 a.m. To be honest, I felt very worn out and not fit or ready for going to a church service, where I barely knew anyone. Nevertheless, I got up and was on time for the service to begin.

In the background, in a distance, you could hear the constant sound of Harley Davidson-motorcycle engines. During that week (including the weekend) the annual ‘Harley Davidson European Biker Week‘ was taking place just around the corner from where my family lives. 70.000 bikers from all around Europe took the time to come to Austria to show their bikes, have fellowship with other bikers or just to party and make a lot of inevitable noise.
Sometimes it was so loud that you could not have a normal conversation outside, because of the interrupting sound of the ‘built-to-be-loud’-engines of driving by Harelys.

So there I was. Sabbathschool started and I decided to join a group where I didn’t really know anybody, which wasn’t that hard in that church (That is not the church’s fault. I am usually atttending a different church a couple hundred kilometers away).
It was the lesson about church-leadership and what 1Thessalonians 5:12-15 has to say about it.
As the discussion started I soon realized that there was a woman in our group who really, really had some issues going on against church-leadership and the church itself. All I heard out of her mouth was very negative. We continued talking about what we as church-members could do to make our church a better place. I couldn’t resist to mention my personal experience with prayer and how much power lies within it. Specially speaking about united prayer. I mentioned the very recent story of a church in North-Italy that developed from a basically dead or sleeping church to a mission-driven church which now has almost no more space for all their newly baptized members. This revival and immense church-growth happened only over the period of a few years. And it all started with two families coming together simply to pray.

This was what I wanted to emphasize with my comment. That prayer is so essential for a positive change.

What I heard next I did not expect.

“I feel sick when I hear ‘Let’s pray'”. It came from the woman that had nothing positive to say all day.
I was shocked. I just did not think a believer would ever say that. It left me almost speechless for a while.

I felt so sorry for her. I was thinking to myself ‘What kind of experiences must she have had in her past, that she would come to the point that a call for prayer would leave her with a sick stomach? What picture of God must she have? How sad must she sometimes be? … How can one help her? What happened?”

The conversation went on for a while and it became evident to me again, that we as an endtime movement are far away from being ready for what we are called to be. Namely an endtime movement!

A movement is a group of people with the same goal. With a plan. A definite direction.
Yes, officially we do have all of that. But to be honest, lately I haven’t seen this on the church-level so much. I love the glimpses of hope here and there when I look at the earnest and truth-seeking young people in our church today. It tells me that change can happen.

All throughout that Sabbath I was reminded of the Harley Davidsons all around thanks to the noise they made. And it made me think.
Here you have a group of devoted people. People who love their Harleys. Some maybe even ‘worship’ it. They spent lots of money, time and effort into their ‘Harelyism’ and they are willing to travel hundreds and thousands of kilometers to meet other people with the same passion. All driven by the same goal: To be a movement, united by what they love.

And then I look at the church. And I ask myself:
Are we a devoted people?
Do we love and worship God?
Do we use our money, time and effort for His cause?
Are we willing to ‘sacrifice’ for Him?
Are we driven by a goal?
Are we a movement?

Maybe I haven’t seen the bigger picture fully yet; maybe I am too idealistic. But I wish and pray, that the fire of revival will not only stay withing youth-movements, but also reach the local church very soon.

It just hurts to hear something like “I feel sick when I hear ‘Let’s pray'” in an Adventist church. It stands for all the sad, maybe desperate people who have lost hope or maybe never really had a real encounter with God. It stands for those brothers and sisters who know Daniel and Revelation by heart but have not met Jesus yet.
It is a call for all of us who profess that we love Jesus and those of us who have experienced that wonderful power of prayer.

Does this make us any ‘better’? No. But it gives us more responsability! We need to pray, love and work for this movement to happen/get started/continue. Whatever the situation in your local church may be. We need to gather as many people as we can for this last trip on our spiritual ‘Harleys’ to the promised land!

May the Spirit of Wisdom guide us and make us humble to be a tool to reach out to all those sad, lost and dissapointed brothers and sisters in our church rows.