Columns

What Good Is Diversity?

August 27, 2016 / Max Torkelsen

When the Apostle Paul described God’s church as a body with differing parts, but of equal value, I believe he was onto something we too often forget. Diversity doesn’t have to pull us apart. Instead, it can add color and new insights to both our corporate and individual perspectives.

Our North Pacific Union Conference office has experienced this firsthand. We’ve decided that one of our roles is to be an integral part of the communities we are in. One recent gathering brought state legislators from southwest Washington to our office for a community town hall meeting. 

Eight 'Secrets' to Health

July 09, 2016 / Martin Weber

During my first West Coast pastorate, my son came down with a stubborn rash. Perplexed, our family physician referred us to Sang Lee as as “the best allergist in Orange County.”

Lee’s tests identified the irritant: a eucalyptus bush in our yard. He suggested a particular diet for optimal health. I surveyed his list of recommended foods and smiled. “We already eat this way,” I told him. “Seventh-day Adventists have been doing so for more than a century.”

That's Grace

June 25, 2016 / Martin Weber

Out of breath and dripping with rain, I leaned on a back-alley dumpster as the man I just met in a bar aimed a heroin needle at his bulging vein. Just then a police SUV rolled around the corner and splashed to a stop before us. Wincing as the window rolled down, I braced for the interrogation. As a pastor and law enforcement chaplain, I had some radical explaining to do.

You might also be wondering how in the world I had landed in this situation. Some background might help.

Terror

June 24, 2016 / Steve Vistaunet

"The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Helen Keller

The dim shape hunched threateningly near the closet door. Across the darkened bedroom, I waited under tightly pulled covers, terrified to move, lest the shadowy creature sense my presence. The light of day would reveal it as an amorphous pile of clothes draped over a chair. But my 4-year-old eyes couldn’t imagine that. Not in the dead of night.

What Do You Expect?

June 24, 2016 / Seth Pierce

In February of this year, I spoke at the Florida Conference Women’s Retreat. Yes, I know that seems weird — and it may seem even weirder that this was the second time I have done so. Believe me, when they asked the 450 attendees to raise their hands if this was the first time attending, and I wasn’t able to raise my hand, I felt a little weird.

Stepping Over the Barbed Wire

May 21, 2016 / Mackenzie Thompson

We came upon an empty house, broken and chipping, sitting behind a barbed-wire fence. The sign on the fence read "Posted: No Trespassing," resting at the top of a hill in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Strong, bending, reaching pines stood surrounding the house as the property sloped down to the valley.

There's something curious about an abandoned old house where the window frames have shards of glass stuck in them and the broken wooden panes lie on the ground and the door is still locked. The wilderness is once again claiming the earth the house sits on.

Joy in the Journey

May 20, 2016 / Kimberley Schroeder

I have the pleasure of working with church members who have discovered the joy of giving, and it never ceases to amaze me how joyful these folks are. While attending a recent seminar, I learned why that is. Do you know that God designed us to be cheerful givers? With the advances in science, we can now verify that we are physically affected when we think about giving. And it’s no surprise to me.

Borrowing Trouble

May 20, 2016 / Seth Pierce

One of the most important roles in any group project, whether it be for work, school, church or even family, is electing someone to worry. While people inevitably volunteer to make phone calls, write up data, edit data or order lunch (usually my job), hiring someone to freak out really pulls everything together.

He Saved Others ... And He Saved Me!

May 20, 2016 / Martin Weber

Millions of Christians celebrate our crucified and risen Lord on one particular weekend each year. The world with its Easter bunnies considers this strange. Foolish, actually. How could the death of a peasant itinerant 2,000 years ago provide purpose for life today — with assurance of heaven for eternity?

For many unbelievers, the best thing to say about Jesus on the cross is that He was a very good man having a very bad day. But we Christians understand that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting our trespasses against us” (2 Cor. 5:19).

Pathways

May 20, 2016 / Steve Vistaunet

Long, long ago, and not so far away, I learned a memorable lesson from the joys and sorrows of Northwest berries.

My uncle and aunt lived on an Oregon farm surrounded by tangled blackberry bushes. Around the perimeter of their property, the berries were easy picking. After a few days, however, the immediate gratification of that bounty became harder to find. Deeper into the thorny thicket, I could spy larger, more luscious beauties. But, how to reach them was the question.