The following is a message for Seventh-day Adventist members provided by Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in advance of Annual Council. ~ Adventist Review Editors
Greetings to each of you as members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church around the world—almost 21 million of us. Yes, I am speaking directly to each of you, our dear and faithful members of God’s Advent movement. Soon the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee will meet in Battle Creek, Michigan, with the theme of “Reach the World—Believe His Prophets” and our LEAD Conference theme of “The Past with A Future —Looking Back to Move Forward.” We will review how God has led His pioneers in the past and have great confidence in how He will lead us in the future. As always, we are completely trusting in Him. Psalm 23:1-3 tells us, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” We must lean on Jesus as our Shepherd and let Him guide us in all we do as an Executive Committee.
At our Annual Council we will be looking at a very sensitive recommendation coming from the Unity Oversight Committee reflecting input from the world church regarding compliance to the actions taken by God’s church and as requested at last year’s Annual Council by representatives of the world church.The purpose of this recommendation is to provide a framework for organizations nearest to an issue of non-compliance to solve that issue in a Christlike, redemptive way. In the responsibility I have as president of the General Conference, I am calling for a special season of prayer beginning immediately and lasting through Sabbath, October 20, to ask that there be a gracious, respectful, and loving spirit shown by all in attendance as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead in the deliberations as to what the world church wishes to see accomplished. I am asking you to forward or share this message with everyone in order to reach the world field requesting special prayer.
We are to come to God in prayer at all times but especially when we are facing challenging situations since we need His guidance, direction, and wisdom. We are facing such a time and need to humble ourselves and ask for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit to fall upon God’s people to carry on His great mission of proclaiming the three angels’ messages to the world in preparation for Christ’s soon coming. Yes, He is coming soon!
II Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Brothers and sisters, I humble myself before God, praying to Him, seeking His face, and turning from my own inclinations and I ask you to do the same. We need revival and reformation in our own lives and in the life of the church. We need to increase our complete dependence on Christ, His grace, and His justifying and sanctifying righteousness in our lives. The devil knows that when we humble ourselves before God and are completely submitted to Him that the latter rain of the Holy Spirit will fall. Satan will do all he can to prevent our humble submission to God since the devil can then bring in dissention and doubt about God’s church and its collective authority at Annual Councils or at a General Conference Session. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, page 261, states, “God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority.”
Regardless of what you may hear or read, please know that the General Conference has carefully endeavored through focuseddialogue, accurate information, and earnest prayer to bring understanding and clarity to the church regarding the privilege and sacred responsibility of every elected leader to respect the voted actions of the General Conference Sessions and the General Conference Executive Committee even if we may not agree with every action. Think of the organizational chaos and disunity that would result if the church was not guided by carefully discussed and mutually agreed upon policies. This requires faith in God and learning to trust the Holy Spirit to guide His church.
I ask God that we all, as church members globally, will support and pray for our world church and for the General Conference. Pray for all members around the world that we will be united in God’s spirit to accomplish His mission through Total Member Involvement and every other type of personal and public outreach. What marvelous encouragement in Psalm 133:1—“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
I humble myself before the Lord and ask that He keep me focused on Christ’s prayer of unity in John 17 with that wonderful wish of our Lord in verse 21, “…that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” I humbly pledge myself to stay focused on Christ and His wish for unity and ask that you pray for God’s worldwide church to do the same. By God’s grace, may each of us, and I include myself, completely submit to Christ’s perfect order and harmony thus avoiding the difficulties explained in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, page 650: “Satan well knows that success can only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. It is his studied effort to lead professed Christians just as far from heaven’s arrangement as he can; therefore he deceives even the professed people of God and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality, that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course, and to remain especially distinct from bodies of Christians who are united and are laboring to establish discipline and harmony of action. All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery. These deceived souls consider it a virtue to boast of their freedom to think and act independently. They will not take any man’s say-so. They are amenable to no man. I was shown that it is Satan’s special work to lead men to feel that it is in God’s order for them to strike out for themselves and choose their own course, independent of their brethren.”
How wonderful to stay focused on Jesus and His heaven-born mission entrusted to us to prepare people, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for Christ’s soon return. This is my passion. It is the burden of my soul and the joy of my life. It is where I want to spend my time. Let us focus on God’s mission. Let reaching the lost for Jesus be our top priority.The Lord has told us to press together, press together, press together!
Again, I appeal to you to enter into a season of prayer around the world from now through Sabbath, October 20, praying earnestly for revival and reformation asking that the Holy Spirit’s unifying power come upon all at the Annual Council. Please let everyone know of this special prayer appeal. May the prayers of dedicated members around the world result in God’s people being unified in a cooperative and mission spirit to accomplish the heavenly mandate given to His remnant people, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Let’s pray together….