Heavenly Music – A High Standard

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And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17

 Have you ever wondered what music will sound like in heaven? The angelic choirs, amazing instruments, music in frequencies we can not hear with our weak human ears, and last but not least God himself singing! (See Zeph 3:17)

It will be wonderful and most glorious!

In Testimonies Volume 1, p.123 Ellen White said: “I saw the beauty of heaven. I heard the angels sing their rapturous songs, ascribing praise, honor, and glory to Jesus. I could then realize something of the wondrous love of the Son of God.”

Heavenly music is God-centered. It glorifies Him. That means it points to Him, His character and reveals only true statements about who He is and what He does.

Heavenly music has the power to reveal to us “something of the wondrous love of the Son of God”.

This is the high standard for Christian musicians. Nothing that we do in our work as musicians should be about ourselves. Every chord we play, every note we sing, every harmony we produce – it should all draw ourselves and our listeners to realize “something of the wondrous love of the Son of God”.

How can we live up to such a standard?

There is only one way.

If you want your music to be heavenly music, you first need heaven in your heart.

If you want your music to draw others to realize something of the wondrous love of the Son of God, you first need to realize this love yourself.

Don’t let the temptation to glorify self rob somebody else of an opportunity to meet Jesus through your music.

Meet Jesus.
Daily.
Get to know His love, His character.
Make Heaven’s standard, your standard.

It is my prayer, that as you behold Jesus and His wondrous love, you will through your music, become a channel of His love to others.

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The Love of God // GYC ECOM

Since 2015 I have the privilege of serving as the Vice President for Programming with GYCAs a leadership team we performed this piece at the 2015 annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

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?