Tuesday, July 31, 2012

U.S. Still Religious, But Trust In Institutions Wanes

Something is happening when it comes to religion in America.

Though more Americans go to church or believe in God than their counterparts in virtually every other Western country, fewer Americans now trust religious institutions. A recent Gallup poll showed that just 44 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in "the church or organized religion."

Monday, July 30, 2012

The U.S. Shooting Epidemic

Friday's horrific shooting in Aurora, Colo.—one of the deadliest in U.S. history—has reignited the debate over gun control in America. Just how bad is the problem? Through media reports, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit lobbying group, has compiled a list of 431 shootings with more than one victim since 2005. On average, according to the organization, a multiple-victim shooting happens every 5.9 days in the United States.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Women's Ordination Approved in Columbia Union Conference

After hours of discussion including speeches from General Conference president Ted Wilson, GC vice-president Lowell Cooper, and North American Division president Daniel Jackson, the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted 209 to 51 to authorize ordination to Gospel ministry without regard to gender. With their vote, the CUC joins the Nothern German Union in enacting ordination equality. The Pacific Union Conference will vote on a similar provision on August 19.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Apostolic Example (1 Thess. 2:1-12) / Lesson 5, July 28 - August 3

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 2:1-12, Acts 16:1-40, Deut. 10:16, Ps. 51:1-10, 2 Cor. 8:1-5, Luke 11:11-13.

Memory Text: “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV).

Key Thought: By revealing what the true motive in ministry must be, Paul can help us all examine our hearts and lives in light of the gospel.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Greenland Ice Melt, Measured By NASA Satellites, Reaches Unprecedented Level

Unprecedented melting of Greenland's ice sheet this month has stunned NASA scientists and has highlighted broader concerns that the region is losing a remarkable amount of ice overall.

According to a NASA press release, about half of Greenland's surface ice sheet naturally melts during an average summer. But the data from three independent satellites this July, analyzed by NASA and university scientists, showed that in less than a week, the amount of thawed ice sheet surface skyrocketed from 40 percent to 97 percent.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Use and Abuse of Religious Freedom. By Peter Singer

What are the proper limits of religious freedom? Marianne Thieme, leader of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands, offers this answer: “Religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.”

The Party for the Animals, the only animal-rights party to be represented in a national parliament, has proposed a law requiring that all animals be stunned before slaughter. The proposal has united Islamic and Jewish leaders in defense of what they see as a threat to their religious freedom, because their religious doctrines prohibit eating meat from animals that are not conscious when killed. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sports Drinks: Empty Calories?

As sports drink commercials start promoting their latest concoctions for optimal performance just in time for the Olympics, new evidence from the host country shoots down many of their claims.

The prestigious medical journal BMJ published seven articles on the topic in its current issue, investigating everything from scientists' links to sports drinks companies to the dubious benefits of hydrating with high-caloric liquids.

"There is a striking lack of evidence to support the vast majority of sports-related products that make claims related to enhanced performance or recovery, including drinks, supplements or footwear," say the researchers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Joyous and Thankful (1 Thess. 1:1-10) / Lesson 4, July 21-27

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 1:1-10, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Tim. 1:15, Gal. 5:19-23, Dan. 12:2 

Memory Text: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3, ESV).

Key Thought: Paul has many good things to say to the Thessalonians, at least when he begins writing to them in the first letter. What he praises them for is worthy of our attention.

Doug Batchelor. Central Study Hour / Amazing Facts

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why Don’t Mass Shootings Lead to Gun Control? By Adam Winkler

After the horrific Dark Knight massacre in Colorado, there are already calls for greater gun control. But if history is any guide, Adam Winkler says it’s unlikely that anything but sympathy will result.

With twelve people dead and around fifty wounded, the mass shooting at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado showing the latest Batman movie, has already led to calls for new gun control laws. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s leading gun control group, declared that victims of gun crime “don’t want sympathy. We want action.” Yet it’s unlikely that anything but sympathy will come from this horrific act. Over the past twenty years, it’s become increasingly clear that mass shootings, no matter how tragic, don’t lead to reforms of gun law.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inside Job / documentary film

Inside Job is a 2010 documentary film about the late-2000s financial crisis directed by Charles H. Ferguson. The film is described by Ferguson as being about "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption." In five parts, the film explores how changes in the policy environment and banking practices helped create the financial crisis. Inside Job was well received by film critics who praised its pacing, research, and exposition of complex material.

The film was screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in May and won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Global Perfect Storm. By Nouriel Roubini

Dark, lowering financial and economic clouds are, it seems, rolling in from every direction: the eurozone, the United States, China, and elsewhere. Indeed, the global economy in 2013 could be a very difficult environment in which to find shelter.

For starters, the eurozone crisis is worsening, as the euro remains too strong, front-loaded fiscal austerity deepens recession in many member countries, and a credit crunch in the periphery and high oil prices undermine prospects of recovery. The eurozone banking system is becoming balkanized, as cross-border and interbank credit lines are cut off, and capital flight could turn into a full run on periphery banks if, as is likely, Greece stages a disorderly euro exit in the next few months.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oakwood’s Aeolians win awards in world choir competition

Student singers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Oakwood University, located in Huntsville, Alabama, took home three awards from the world’s largest choir completion last week.
At the 7th World Choir Games, the Oakwood Aeolians won the Championship Trophy in the “Spiritual” category, besting 15 other choirs for the honor.

The 42-member Aeolians also won one of several gold medals in two other categories: “Music of Religions” and “Musica Contemporanea.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On ordination questions, Adventist leadership appeals for orderly process. By Mark Kellner

The world leadership of the Seventh-day Adventists has issued a highly unusual “appeal for unity” to regional administrative units of the church that have either taken or are considering independent action regarding the ordination of women to gospel ministry. The request comes in a statement issued today in response to actions by several union conferences, including two in North America.

The union conferences, the key constituent elements of the church’s worldwide General Conference, have indicated either a willingness to ordain women, or to take independent actions that would permit such ordinations in their territories. At present, the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not ordain women to ministry, following votes at General Conference sessions in 1990 and 1995 on the question where the issue was a major focus of the international delegation.

An Appeal For Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices

World Church Leadership Calls for Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practice

Since the beginning of 2012 several union conferences1 have recorded actions expressing support for, or commitment to, the ministerial ordination of women. The world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church is currently engaged in a study of the theology of ordination and its implications. This study is scheduled for completion by the 2014 Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee. At that time the Executive Committee will determine the report which will be given to the 2015 General Conference Session along with whether or not any new recommendation should be considered by delegates to the Session. (Read more "On ordination questions, Adventist leadership appeals for orderly process")

In the light of this current study and the actions of several unions, General Conference officers2, including presidents of the 13 world divisions, have unanimously communicated an appeal for unity in respect to ministerial ordination practices. The appeal calls: 1) for unity in respecting a global church action (i.e. the 1990 and 1995 General Conference Session decisions on ministerial ordination); 2) for each union executive committee to carefully review the far-reaching effects of pursuing a course of action that is contrary to the decisions of the General Conference in session; and 3) for each union to participate in the current study about the theology of ordination and its implication.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thessalonica in Paul’s Day / Lesson 3, July 14-20

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: John 11:48-50, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Cor. 9:19-27, John 3:3-8, 1 Cor. 16:19.

Memory Text: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19, NIV).

Key Thought: A short study of the context of ancient Thessalonica demonstrates that Paul’s approach to the citizens of Thessalonica was unique and carefully crafted.

 Doug Batchelor. Central Study Hour / Amazing Facts

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How the Mormons Make Money

Late last March the Mormon Church completed an ambitious project: a megamall. Built for roughly $2 billion, the City Creek Center stands directly across the street from the church’s iconic neo-Gothic temple in Salt Lake City. The mall includes a retractable glass roof, 5,000 underground parking spots, and nearly 100 stores and restaurants, ranging from Tiffany’s to Forever 21. Walkways link the open-air emporium with the church’s perfectly manicured headquarters on Temple Square. Macy’s is a stone’s throw from the offices of the church’s president, Thomas S. Monson, whom Mormons believe to be a living prophet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

U.S. Episcopal Church approves blessing of same-sex unions

The U.S. Episcopal Church has approved a liturgy for clergy to use in blessing same-sex unions, including gay marriages in states where they are legal, becoming the largest U.S. religious denomination to approve such a ritual.

Delegates to its triennial convention voted 171-50 on Tuesday to approve the liturgy, titled “the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant.” Episcopal bishops had voted overwhelmingly on Monday in favor of the text.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Conflict in the Church. By Ted N. C. Wilson

Working Toward Consensus

Whenever a group of people get together, the potential for conflict is invariably there—even among Christians. From the beginning of the Christian church, even earlier, there has been conflict among believers.

How should we faithful Seventh-day Adventists deal with conflict, particularly when it surfaces in the church?

The book of Acts provides striking examples and a sound biblical foundation for dealing with at least three types of conflict within the church. Through its stories we discover believers in conflict over physical needs, theological beliefs, and with each other. The creative and godly ways in which these conflicts were handled provide worthy models for us to follow in the church today.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Study: People tweet more about church than beer. By Dan Merica

In an effort to look at cultural differences across the United States, a data analysis company selected two words that it felt exemplified an American cultural divide and analyzed their usage on Twitter.
The words: “beer” and “church.”

And according to the study by Floatingsheep.org, Americans tweet more about church than beer, and there is a distinct regional divide between the tweets.

Church tweets were most common in the Southeast United States, while tweets about beer were most prevalent in the Northeast.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Has the ‘God particle’ been found? by Jim Mason

Scientists claim to have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson—but fail to credit God who created it

According to a recent news item flashed around the world,1 scientists at CERN, using the Large Hadron Collider, say they have confirmed the existence of a previously hypothesized particle officially called the Higgs boson but colloquially referred to as the ‘God particle’. If confirmed subsequently by repeated experimentation, this would be a major accomplishment for science. Some might claim that confirmation of the existence of the ‘God particle’ is also confirmation of the non-existence of God, but a careful examination of the situation reveals that just the opposite is true.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Preserving Relationships / Lesson 2, July 7-13

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 17:5-9, 10-15, 16-34; 1 Cor. 1:18-2:2; 1 Thess. 2:17-3:10.

Memory Text: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20, NKJV).
Key Thought: True evangelism leads to relationships that can stand the test of time and last for eternity. 

Doug Batchelor. Central Study Hour / Amazing Facts

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Revived by His Word

  Join us in the new daily Bible reading plan!

What is Revived by His Word? 

Historically, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has founded its existence in the Bible. Adventists are a Bible-based, Bible-believing, Bible-reading people. A new Seventh-day Adventist world church initiative titled “Revived by His Word”, coordinated by the Revival and Reformation Committee, is aimed at strengthening the spiritual experience of each church member.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Gospel Comes to Thessalonica / Lesson 1, June 30-July 6

Sabbath Afternoon
Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 16:9-40; 17:1-4, 12; Jer. 23:1-6; Isa. 9:1-7; Isaiah 53:1-12; Rom. 1:16.

Memory Text: “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13, NIV).

Key Thought: Our assurance of God’s promises must be based on our confidence in His Holy Scriptures.

Monday, July 2, 2012

When the Lord Descends from Heaven. By Jon Paulien

• Introduction: Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide│3rd Quarter 2012

Irish author Samuel Beckett wrote a drama, Waiting for Godot, about two homeless men waiting on the side of the road for someone named Godot who was supposed to come and save them from the meaninglessness of life.

Until he comes, life seems so miserable that they decide to hang themselves. But having no rope, one of the men takes off the cord that holds up his pants, which collapse around his ankles.  Testing the cord’s strength, they pull; it breaks, and both men almost fall. They decide to find a better rope and try again later.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jesus Coming!

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come".