Six Days Shalt Thou Labor…

4 12 2009

Ok, let’s just put it out there: I’m Seventh-Day Adventist. It’s an oft misunderstood denomination which is pretty ironic since the name very plainly tells you what makes us ‘different’. We go to church on Saturday (the 7th day), and we anxiously await the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. It’s just that simple lol.

So why do we go to church on Saturday? Well, first if you are Christian and do not go to church on Saturday have you ever asked yourself why? Have you ever even thought about it?

Well in a few quick bullet points I’m going to break it down for you. I’m not out to convince you of who’s right or wrong, that’s not my job. Having said that, I will nevertheless try to keep this as objective and factual and biblically sound as possible. You will have to decide for yourself if you want to look into this thing further beyond that.

So let’s start at the beginning: Genesis chapter 2:1-3 is my first point of reference. There are 2 eternal institutions that were given to mankind in the Garden of Eden. The first was the 7th Day Sabbath, and the other was Marriage! After God created the world and all of it’s contents in 6 days he ‘rested’ on the 7th day. He didn’t rest because he was tired, (can God get tired at all?) but instead He wanted to show that what He made was perfectly complete. (The number 7 symbolically represents completion.) This 7th day of rest was not something that was ‘Jewish’ because we can see here that it came way before the ‘Jews’ were around. If the Sabbath is strictly ‘Jewish’ then so is Marriage because they were given at the same time lol! Also this 7th day of rest was not a one-time thing because we later see it observed as the Sabbath throughout all the rest of the Old Testament, and ALL of the New Testament, but we’ll deal with that shortly.

After this first Sabbath observance in Genesis there are literally dozens of scriptures mentioning it by name but our next point of reference is the most obvious of them all. It’s part of the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20.

The 4th commandment starts with the word ‘Remember’… which means it was not a new concept it had already been given before. Something else of note is that none of the other 9 commandments has ever been considered as ‘open to interpretation’, but somehow this particular commandment – which is also the most DETAILED and descriptive of ALL the 10 is the ONE that is not observed the way God originally instructed.

So how did most Christians end up in church on Sunday instead of Saturday? Here is where things get interesting. First let me say that there is absolutely no record of a ‘change’ of the day of rest/worship in the Old or New Testament, therefore it is not biblical, it’s just not found anywhere in the bible. God never said to do it, Jesus never said to do it, and the 12 Disciples/Apostles never said do it.

This change was made by common men who had no authority to do so. Imagine this with me: I just moved your birthday to the following day and I’m now telling all of your friends and family, co-workers, and classmates to do the same… and they up and DO IT!! That’s basically what happened.

Most Sunday keepers will tell you that Sunday became the day of rest to commemorate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. Ah, yes the resurrection let’s start there. Well, let’s back up a bit to the Last Supper first.

Before He was crucified Jesus gave just ONE and only ONE way to remember his sacrifice on the cross. Communion is the ONE and only gesture that Jesus himself told the disciples to maintain when he said ” Do this in remembrance of Me.” If He had intended to change the day of worship, He would have said so at this time. Or He would have taken the time to make a NEW commandment the same way He did in Matthew 22:36-40 when He gave the ‘greatest commandment’ to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… and Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In fact it was Jesus, who gave the perfect example even in death when he died on Good Friday, rested in the tomb on Sabbath, and rose on Easter Sunday. He RESTED from the GREATEST ‘work’ ever done (dying to save us from Sin) after saying “It is finished”. Not once did He ever alter or change Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday.

All through the Gospels Jesus was attacked by the Pharisees regarding how to ‘keep’ the Sabbath. But in Mark 2:27-28 He asserts, first, that the Sabbath was made for all mankind, not merely the Jews (verse 27), and second, that He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (verse 28). Thus, any change to the Sabbath commandment must come from Him!

I think we can safely consider this case closed here but just to be sure let’s take a final look at the rest of the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection and ascension.

In the book of Acts ALONE you can still see the Sabbath in effect in the following verses: Acts 13:14-15, Acts 13:42-44, Acts 15:1-2, Acts 15:14-21, Acts 16:12-15, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:1-11.

I just provided 7 examples of the Sabbath still being observed in the book of Acts ALONE by the Apostles and the early church after Easter Sunday has passed. But in the ENTIRE New Testament there are only 8 mentions of ‘The first day of the week’ and the words “Easter” and “Sunday” never even appear in the bible AT ALL. Of those 8, none give any instruction to observe a new day of worship, treat the first day (Sunday) in any special way , nor do they give ANY type of reverence to the day at all. They are: Matt 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, John 20:1, John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1st Corinthians 16:2

I know this post has been a LONG one, but I hope it has at least peaked your interest so that you can research it further on your own. This all comes down to whether you choose to observe a tradition created by man, or a commandment given by God Himself.

Oh and that reminds me… I just changed my mind and I think your birthday should be TOMORROW! So I guess that means “Happy Birthday’s” are in order?

Live Invincibly,

@W

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ThanksVision: One Year Later (Guest Post)

26 11 2009

Below is a guest post from a close friend of mine. This time last year he was involved in a pretty serious car accident, but walked away with just an injured hand. I thought his testimony was perfect for the Thanksgiving season so I asked him if he would mind if I shared it with all of you. It’s completely unedited with the exception of the post title which I provided.

Be blessed on this Thanksgiving holiday, and be thankful for the testimony you’ve been given. – @W

I just want to take a second to praise God for all of the blessings we all enjoy in the midst of whatever we’re complaining about.

rear view
Image by rappensuncle via Flickr

Today is the one year anniversary of the car accident that should have caused me alot more “discomfort” (I use that word lightly) than it did. A year later, I still feel residuals (physically and emotionally), but for the most part, I’m just as healthy as I was Nov 11th of last year. My wife and I lost our car that day, now we have a replacement. Thousands of $ worth of medical bills have been covered by insurance/legal recovery.

I don’t know all of the reasons God spared my life that day, but I’m guessing that at least one reason is so that I can share my testimony and give hope to others. (FYI, this week at church, we were informed that another guy went through a similar accident, but his car flipped 3 times. Still like me, he walked away with a broken hand).

I encourage any and all of you to also share your testimonies. We owe God that much at the very least for bringing us through them. Sharing our testimonies is one of the best ways to share God’s goodness with others. Not what He could or should do, but what He has already done.

God is still in the saving business.

Dre





You Will Fail @ *Blank* If You Don’t…

24 11 2009

Let’s play a little game! For each word below, repeat the phrase in the title of this post, then read the word, and then think about how that complete phrase applies to something in YOUR life.

For example: “You will fail at _____ if you don’t Communicate.” *A.  Marriage

*A. Is rhetorical, there is no right/wrong answer, only examples that may apply to the associated word.

Try not to move on to the next word until you’ve mentally answered the current word. Also, when reading a new word, try repeating the entire phrase “You will fail at ______ if you don’t…”

Got it? Good, now let’s get started…

You will fail at _____ if you don’t:

Believe

Work

Move

Communicate

Hustle

Act

Care

Motivate

Play

Exercise

Risk

Calculate

Heal

Budget

Compete

Run

Survive

Rise

Ask

Study

Assert

Prioritize

Sweat

Own

Shine

Dream

Change

Rest

Pray

Persevere

Give

Read

Obey

Learn

Perform

Mature

Let’s face it, we could continue this game forever right? The basic point of this post was to basically offer you a mind check. If you feel you’re lagging in a certain area, or procrastinating on moving forward with something you want or need to do, I hope this was of help to you.

If you came up with some other words that resonated with you more than the ones I listed, please let me know in the comments section, I’d love to know what they are!

Thanks for playing along and…

Live Invincibly,

@W





Broke But Not Broken

16 11 2009

broke

Gosh, we’ve been through a whole-heckuv-alot since we’ve started our journey to get out of debt. Of the $100,000+ in non-mortgage debt we started with, $65,000 has been paid off in the last 2 years and 1 month. I don’t have time to tell it all, and there are things I may NEVER get to tell about our experience cause my wife won’t let me. There have been many momentum swings up and down and many motivation shifts from good to bad, better, best and worst again. And most of what I’m talking about has absolutely nothing to do with the dollars and cents side, but the emotional side instead. But through it all, I’ve never had a week like the one I just came out of.

I just really feel the need to share a moment of transparency, honesty, and vulnerability with you in this post. Is that alright?

This week I learned there is a HUGE difference between doing something out of habit vs. doing something out of conviction.

This week I was consumed by a level of depression that left me with virtually nothing to work with. No energy, no desire – not even for things I genuinely love to do. I felt deserted by my purpose, truly afraid for maybe the first real time since we started knocking out crazy amounts of debt way back in October 2007.

THAT was a fear like I’d never known. In October of that year I was a brand new husband 3 months into a fantastic marriage (still is…) faced with a financial situation we simply couldn’t find a way out of. There I was the new head of a household, and already felt like an utter failure because I couldn’t just ‘pay the problem away’. How can you call yourself a provider for you family when you can’t even provide the simplest form of security for your wife? THAT is the kind of fear I faced before we were introduced to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace University.

Fast forward to today and as a family we are so many things we never knew we’d become. And today in numerous ways I was given reminders of that fact:

At our FPU class today, we decided to do one-on-one checkups with each family individually just to see where they are and where we can help them be better. During those checkups we were told by each family how much our time and effort and passion have meant to them. They praised us for being quality leaders and people willing to lead against the tidal wave our society is being swept into. I never knew how powerful that all was to others until I heard it today in the depths of what I was feeling.

Then, at the Wal-Mart while I was in the car waiting my wife had a full conversation with the checkout lady about the envelopes she pulled out to pay for her items. When the lady said “I could never do something like that, I can barely pay my current bills!” My wife took it as an opportunity to encourage the lady to take a fresh look at turning her finances around. My wife basically said this: “I used to say we could never do it either, but now we’re DOING never!”

Then when we got home, our neighbor upstairs – who also recently joined the Financial Peace class with his wife –  knocked on our door with the Disney movie “UP” for us to check out… Big deal you might say, but I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how far our relationship as neighbors has come in the 5 months they’ve lived above us! While he was there, we gave him their FPU kit that had been donated by a church member. They’ve come a LONG way in just the few weeks they’ve been involved. I wish I could tell the story, but one day that will be their story to tell! PRAISE GOD!

I walked into this week’s class in full possession of the habit required to teach them how to get out of debt, build wealth and give… but I had lost the conviction. I had come to a place where my wins were coming only on a vicarious basis. I was motivated seeing them win, but no longer seeing those same types of wins in our personal journey.

So much has changed in the last 2 years… and it’s changed even more in light of the fact that I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of August.

But again, I just praise God that even though we’ve been Broke ($) we’ve never been Broken! Not even with the things we faced this week. We’ve still got another $45,000 left of debt to erase, and countless hearts to teach this stuff to.

I’m recharged and ready to try once again to…

Live Invincibly,

@W





The Case for an Invincible Life

9 09 2009

Invincible life

“I’ve seen God do so much with so little for so long I now believe he can do anything with nothing… including me.”

– E.E. Cleveland

Edward Earl Cleveland was an ordinary man, but he submitted so fully to the cause of Christ that he was and is the greatest example of an Invincible Life many will ever witness.

If it’s stats that you want, he’d be considered All-World: 16 books published, nearly 60 years of ministry, over 13,000 baptized by his hand, Thousands of men and women taught and trained by that same hand, tens of thousands more left with the indelible mark of his conviction and love for the Lord.

But the true measure of his service is that nearly anyone who has known his name, also knows of a particular shared moment with this giant among men.

The following is my most cherished of the many I had with this man:

In the Spring of 2007 Elders E.E. Cleveland and T.M. Kelly came to our church for a weekend of restoration. After the Sabbath service for which he preached and Elder Kelly sang, dinner was provided back at the church for them.

As the meal had ended, they were both preparing to leave the room as I walked up. I always knew the ‘code word’ we exchanged each time we met, and was always so happy to say it to him. “Strannie Bell Wright” I said to him, and instantly his eyes would light up. Strannie was my late grandmother, and also a long-time bible worker for him. As the eyes lit up, he grabbed my arm and said “Good to see ya my boy”.

I knew he was on his way out, and I didn’t want to hold him but there was something else I had to do. With that, I lifted the hand of the woman was beside me. “Elder Cleveland”, I said, ” I want you to meet my fiance!”

He took her hand, and said “Oh, your finance?” I stammered back, “N-no sir, my fi-an-ce…” a little slower and louder.  He looked at me slowly, “No son, you heard me right, your finance!” And then I understood…

Leaving me to absorb the moment I was just catching up to, He turned to Kenay and she introduced herself. As she finished he turned back to me, extended his famous two-fingered point back at her and said “She’ll do.”

Getting a “She’ll do.” from E.E. was not a passive statement, but a declarative one instead. See, he wasn’t saying that she was ‘just ok’ or that I could do better. He was saying in no uncertain terms that I was marrying a worker for Christ. She will DO!

This whole exchange took all of 45 seconds but obviously has meant a great deal to me to this day.

Again, the stats are one thing, but the moments that we shared with this man such as the one I just shared are where he was most effective.

Edward Earl Cleveland was the greatest man I’ve ever known. I’m also pretty sure he was the greatest man my father ever knew since both he and I got our middle names from him. He without a doubt lived out a life with a thirst to one day…

Live Invincibly,

@W: Adrian EARL Wright





A Call To Arms Pt 3: What it means to YOU

6 09 2009

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*This is the third in a series of 3 messages. They are meant to be read as one, so if you have not already done so please start here FIRST!

9/6/09 7:27am See, God is thrilled when we are willing to use something new in order to chase after Him! He sees it as such a FRESH offering, so unique and intimate that He HAS to honor it! When we become willing to go where we fear the most in search of Him, He’s willing to reward us the most!

This vision was given to me so that I might remind you of Gifts you might not be using for Him. This is your War Cry as well. This is a CALL TO ARMS!

You are still where you ARE because you are not using what He gave you to use!

What is your weapon? And why do you think it’s so small that God can’t use it? Goliath was felled by pebbles… (read that again, now)

Did not God Himself give you the Gift you are hiding? Would you expect Him not to want to have that Gift used at some point?!

This is a War Cry, this is a wake up call. Don’t think of it as strange that I claim to have had a vision! This is what the prophet Joel spoke of, and on Pentecost Peter explained:

“28 And afterward [In the last days], I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

This is in fact the 2nd vision I’ve ever had in my life. The first was just as vivid, just as life changing, and just as timely. Maybe I’ll share that testimony with you next time.

Please keep me in prayer regarding everything I’ve shared here. Primarily that I can keep Self out of the picture and let God do in me what He wants done!

Before I go, I want to share with you the lyrics to the song in my vision: God is Here

Performed by Martha Munizzi from her album The Best Is Yet To Come

There is a sweet anointing in this sanctuary
There is a stillness in the atmosphere
Come and lay down the burdens you have carried
For in this sanctuary God is here.

He is here, He is here
To break the yoke and lift the heavy burden
He is here, He is here
To heal the hopeless heart and bless the broken
Come and lay down the burdens you have carried
For in this sanctuary God is here

We sing this song after the Prayer during our worship services at church. The meanings of the words are lost on many even as they sing the song week after week. Most have come to think the word ‘sanctuary’ used in this song refers to the building. But over time I’ve personalized it to mean ME! There is an anointing in me because God is in me!

And He’s in you too.

Live invincibly,

Adrian Wright

Photo courtesy of Amariah Art




A Call To Arms Pt 2: What it means to me

6 09 2009

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*This is the second part of a 3 part message. If you have not already, please read this FIRST!

9/6/09 6:52am It was easy recounting the facts, the hard part is unpacking all of the meaning without this post turning into a novel.

In short, this vision was about our fear of using our God-given Spiritual Gifts. ALL OF THEM not just the ones we favor!

The day before this vision I was at a table much like the setting described in the vision. And once again I was trying to hide one of my most beloved spiritual gifts; my ability to minister in song.

A friend at the table had just finished asking my wife if she knew how to sing. She was looking for 2 people to help her with the praise team at our church. I knew exactly where this conversation was going from there. My wife says, “I can carry a tune, but my husband – he can sing to your Soul!”

All week, no, all month I’ve been waiting on a word from God. Since I’ve lost my job I’ve felt directionless in where to put my efforts and how to keep moving emotionally while feeling at a standstill professionally. I’ve never prayed so many agonizing prayers. Should I fight? Should I run? Would it be ‘faithful’ of me to expect God to drop the next job in my lap the way he did the last one?

All of the questioning and emotional drain had me snared. Although I was still believing in God to do something amazing with my situation, I was losing my will to fight.

Let me quickly interpret the symbols of the vision and explain what they mean.

The Table: A stage, a platform God has always wanted me to use for His glory, but I was always too afraid to truly go after it in this particular way. He has given me use of platforms in many different ways and has promised me larger stages are coming, through my testimony, through this blog, and reluctantly for me through my singing.

The Friends around the table: These are people close to me who have always been within reach, but whom I’ve chosen to suppress my Gift from. I’m being held accountable for the people from whom I’ve robbed the opportunity to be Witnesses of God’s power.

Covering of the Ears: The Holy Spirit was trying to block out every distraction that I had set up for myself including my ability to hear my own performance. Simply put, the removal of Self is the ONLY way to prosper in your Gift.

The explosion: This was no ordinary explosion. First, It was colorless, or more specifically in black and white; I still don’t know what this means. Second, It took place in a space, but not outer space. It was almost suspended as though in a vacuum. The message of this is simple, the Gift inside of me is BURSTING to get out, and it will not be contained!

WARFARE: The voice of GOD. Unmistakable, unforgettable, indescribable. This one word given is enough for me to write another 1000 words on! My singing voice is to be my most powerful weapon. A WAR CRY! It’s what I must use to fight more than any other tool if I am to make it through this most trying period in my life. And I must use it as a declaration, as a vehicle, as a language. I am to use it in a decisive way to combat my fears, encourage myself, ward off and wound the enemy and continue to praise. I have to sing my way out of this period the same way Naaman had to dip 7 times in the Jordan to get rid of his leprosy. For all I know, this may be the very reason I lost my job…

*To be continued

Because there is SO much to sift through, I wanted to break this into smaller sections for you to read without feeling forced to read it all at once. Please know that I did write this all out in one sitting immediately after the events took place.

Please read part 3 here.

Photo courtesy of Alifaan