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What to expect from your Seventh-day Adventist neighbour!
It's approaching 9:00 Saturday morning and your neighbours have just come out of their front door dressed as though they're going to a wedding ceremony or symphony concert. But they are carrying Bibles! Chances are your neighbours are Seventh-day Adventists on their way to Sabbath morning worship services at their church.
You will find your Adventist friends kind, open, honest and committed to some very specific beliefs about God and about God's relationships with people. They will be genuinely concerned about the needs of others and interested in bettering your community. If you observe them at their workplace, within their families, and at their church, they will be busily involved in many activities.Watch your neighbours closely, and you'll probably notice (at least) the following:
- Their love for God supersedes everything else in their lives
- They worship primarily on Saturday instead of Friday or Sunday
- No beer cans or wine bottles dot their trash
- They value their health
- They appear upbeat and friendly
- They work hard to make the community look great
- They want to hear what makes you and your family happy
You will soon discover that your neighbours genuinely like you and accept you as you are. They share their friendship across the back fence, in the marketplace, and at the bus stop. You'll see smiles that come from a depth of peace--in the midst of chaos. That's right, "chaos." Your Adventist neighbours are just like you. They experience the same stresses and disasters that strike everyone else in the neighbourhood. Yet you'll notice a difference in how they respond to the challenges. They are looking far beyond today's troubles to the certainties of the future. Because they already know the outcome, they are comfortable with final victory!
Many Dominicans saw peace in the lives of the Adventist Development & Relief Agency volunteers who rescued them from the ravages of hurricane David. Residents of Florida, the Philippines, Somalia, Dominica, Grenada and thousands of other places have seen that peace. It showed up in the lives of Adventist aid workers who helped them "dig out and start over" after earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods and other disasters.
Your neighborhood will see this peace in the lives of your Adventist friends, even when the telephone line is disconnected, a tree falls on the house or the cooking gas runs out. No, this peace is not a, "Oh, whatever!" attitude. It is the intense peace that comes from knowing God and that whatever happens here in this world is as "nothing" when compared to the joys of living forever in heaven with God.
Sadness? Yes, that's an Adventist emotion, but they believe God's love comforts the sorrowing.
Pain? Yes, Adventists experience pain. Their healthy lifestyle does allow them to live longer than others--as studies done on Adventists in the United States have shown. But Adventists still break limbs, contract cancer, fall off their bikes and lose loved ones.
Anger? Yes. Even anger shows up in the lives of Adventists. Remember, they're normal people trying to live with God on a chaotic earth! But God is good enough to bring the calming power of His love into each angry situation.
Praise, an intense eagerness to thank God for all He is doing in our lives, is another visible trait of Seventh-day Adventists. If you stop by your neighbours' home on Friday evenings, you'll most likely find them praying, singing and reading a thought for the day from a book or the Bible. Many Wednesday nights your neighbours will participate in group praise and worship at church. Saturday morning the whole family will join other church members for Sabbath School and a corporate worship service. Saturday afternoon they will participate in Bible study classes, public lectures on religion, or special activities for youth and children at their church. Don't be surprised if your neighbours invite you to join them at one or more of these activities.
Sabbath school is like Sunday school. It is a one-hour time praising God through music, prayers, mission stories, and small group Bible study. During the time there are separate classes for children grouped according to their ages and for adults with varied interests and understanding of the Bible. You will find Sabbath school to be a "good time" with each other and with God.
The corporate worship service, or "church," is a more formal time of worship and praise. During this hour you will hear a practical, Bible-based sermon designed to help you see God more clearly and to provide you with strength to live as a Christian during the week. Church also includes worship music, public and personal prayers, and an opportunity to give tithe (10 percent of one's income) and thank offerings to God. During the prayer time, worship leaders will give you an opportunity to share your personal needs or requests so these can be included in the congregational prayer.
Seventh-day Adventist worship styles differ greatly. Some congregations conduct public worship very formally, often singing hymns and anthems accompanied by a pipe organ and piano. Worship in some other congregations is much more laid-back and features praise music led by guitars or even a small band. Still others reflect the cultural heritage of the congregation and may feature exuberant expressions of praise. Ask your neighbours to describe how their congregation worships so you'll know what to expect when you accept their invitation to join them. Whatever the worship style, all Adventist congregations are worshiping the same eternal God who gives us cause for praise!
Our purpose is to represent God so clearly that you will find His love irresistible! You'll see it on the many evenings your neighbours go to church rather than stay home and watch TV. You'll see it in their visible commitment to healthful living, to protecting life, to caring for the earth, and to building friendships with their neighbours. Adventists are a purposeful group of people, busy following a lifelong mission. That mission comes from the words of Jesus Christ Himself. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19, 20 NIV).
Adventists believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon to take all His followers home to an eternal heaven. Because Jesus has asked His followers to "go and teach," Adventists purposefully share the good news of Christ with everyone they can find--especially their neighbours!
Peace, praise, and purpose. All of these result in a unique power for living, an internal energy that comes from having yielded to Christ. You will see this as a power that flows from God through your Adventist neighbour to you. That is our greatest hope as Adventists. Savior. Won't you join us in this lifetime adventure called Christianity?
A brief scan of what we are all about.
Adventists base their faith in God as revealed through Jesus Christ and as shown through the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Faith means placing complete trust in God, and accepting his offer of salvation. Such trusting faith is fundamental to Adventist beliefs. A living relationship with God is essential to faith.
Written down over many years, the Bible presents the essential truth about God. The Holy Spirit inspired human writers to reveal the character of God and how he wishes to save all those who come to him. The Bible explains the nature of God and the way God's followers will behave as a result of their relationship with him.
The heart of the Adventist message is the gospel, God's good news of salvation. Through Jesus' death on the cross human beings may be won back to love and trust God, and accept God's free gift of eternal life for all those who follow him.
Creator of the Universe, Christ formed our world in seven days, and created the first man and woman. At the close of his creative work, God gave the Sabbath as a day of celebration and worship.
The seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) is given as a reminder of the God who both creates and saves, and is the day God invites all to come and worship him. Jesus observed the seventh-day Sabbath while on earth, and Adventists follow his example in keeping the fourth of the Ten Commandments.
The Second Advent
Adventists look forward to the soon return of Jesus Christ as prophesied and as he himself promised, but do not set any date for this glorious event when he comes to take home all who accept him as their Lord.
Life After Death and the Future
Adventists follow Jesus in identifying those who die as sleeping. Those who have trusted God are raised to life when Jesus returns, and look forward to a wonderful future--eternal life in God's presence.
Baptism and Commitment
Those who choose to accept God's way for their lives and his offer of eternal life demonstrate their belief through baptism (being immersed in water), following the example of Jesus. Adventists follow lives of commitment to God and his plan for us, which include following his commands as being for our best good.
The Adventist Church operates one of the largest educational systems in the world, and features Universities such as Loma Linda whose Medical Center is at the forefront of treatments such as the innovative Proton Accelerator for cancer treatment. Through a world-wide network of schools, Adventists seek to better humanity through providing education and vocational training.
Through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and other programs, the Adventist Church provides practical assistance to those less fortunate, caring for the poor and disadvantaged in many countries of the world, without regard for race, religion or nationality. The Church also operates youth camps, community service projects, family life counseling and other programs to assist those wishing to overcome drug addiction and alcohol or tobacco dependence.
The Communication of Hope
Seventh-day Adventists will communicate hope by focusing on the quality of life that is complete in Christ. Communication is a vital aspect of faith, sharing the good news of God and keeping the family of believers in touch through a global system that includes satellite broadcasting, TV, radio, print and the Internet.
Have you had the joy of experiencing the Bible Sabbath? Then join us on Saturday from 9:00am. It will be a blessing of a lifetime.
We want to hear from you. Visit us at 10th Street, Canefield, DOMINICA. We also meet on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.
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