30 Mar


By Douglas Inglish

When you look at the title line, there are several possibilities your mind could fill in where the blank space is. Many words in that blank would be true and have implications worth pondering.

Some would put it in the present tense and say Jesus lives for me. Other present tense forms that would also work, but might not be your first thought, would be intercedes, or cares. You could probably think of a few others.

The most common response is likely one that forms the sentence in the past tense: Jesus died for me. We hear the phrase often enough. It’s repeated in sermon and song, printed in books and articles, shared in Sabbath School classes. It is a thought that elicits many emotional responses from us such as gratitude, unworthiness, determination, rejoicing, and wonder, among others. It is commonly thought of as the foundational event of Christianity.

But is it? Is His death on the cross, clearly done on behalf of me, you, and everyone else, really the foundational event of Christianity?

I say no. For that, I fill in the blank another way. Jesus rose for me.

If Jesus had lived a life worthy of my imitation, left behind a treasure of teachings that enrich my life, and carried out the principles of His life to the point that He willingly died as an example of how much He loves me and how far He would go to teach me how to live a better life, and that’s all there is to the story, then Christianity would be nothing but a manner of living. If it survived into this century, it would only be found in a few volumes in the self-help section of your local bookstore.

The church was founded on the truth that Jesus rose for me, because it is the resurrection that gives meaning to the crucifixion. It would not matter so much if He had died unless “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20, NIV).

None of this is to say that His substitutionary death is anything less than all that Scripture says it is. It is my pardon, my salvation, and my debt paid. But it is not my hope. Go back and read the verses preceding the text above and see Paul’s argument that our hope of living eternally is entirely based on Jesus having risen after His death.

This is Passover weekend in the Jewish calendar and is observed by many Christians as Easter. The symbolism of Jesus being sacrificed that weekend so that death might pass over us is significant. But unlike the lambs that were a type of what was to come, Christ the Antitype conquered death. That is our hope, that is our future, and that is the foundation of all Christianity.

Yes, Jesus died for me, and yes, He lives for me. But in between those realities lies the event that gives meaning to both. Jesus rose for me.

—Douglas Inglish is RMC vice president for administration. Photo from Rajmund Dabrowski.

30 Mar


Jamey Houghton – Franktown, Colorado … Recently, I was invited to a meeting that I’m not qualified to attend. The meeting was for the newly-organized JOY Club at the Franktown Church. The JOY club, or Just Older Youth, is especially for the members in our church who are 55 years old or better. You see, I’m only 43, so I can’t really be a member of this club even though I’m the pastor. But they made an exception since I was doing the worship thought for this specific meeting.

This group was formed for several reasons. First, the social aspect of getting together is good for the soul. It’s easy to get in a routine of staying home, and this is a great excuse to enjoy the company of church family during the week. The leaders of the group, Earlene Hunt and Selma Wolfswinkle, help organize trips for everyone with plans to visit the Botanical Gardens, Estes Park, Garden of the Gods, dinners out at Acapulco and Olive Garden, game nights, and ice cream socials.

This isn’t just a social club, though. The second element of the JOY Club shows the heart of the leaders and participants who want to be a blessing to others. They are planning ways to help the homeless as well as to minister to people coming to the Franktown Church food bank each month. Plans are in the making to invite them to a meal in the fellowship hall. In addition, the group has a prayer ministry called “Circle of Prayer” and they pray for each other as well as for members who might be struggling.

I had a wonderful time with this group. They have been a blessing to the 26 people who have already signed up and participated in the activities. I’m excited to see what the Franktown JOY Club does in the future.

—Jamey Houghton is the senior pastor at Franktown Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photo supplied.

30 Mar


Anton Kapusi – Pueblo, Colorado … A year ago, the Outreach and Education Center (OEC) at Pueblo was emerging. The education part, led by Sherry Hornbucker, was conceived from an idea of an afterschool, one-on-one tutoring program for grades 1-12. After agreeing to use Math Recovery© and Barton Reading and Spelling System©, volunteers lined up for training as they looked to become personal tutors to the children.

The student group grew as the semester progressed. We started with three students, then the fourth joined. As the second semester started, the group grew to nine of which only two were from an Adventist family. The dedication and commitment of the tutoring staff and their leader Sherry is exemplary. Their influence goes beyond the children and the subjects they are covering.

Some parents, seeing the stirring influence tutoring has on their children, want to join the tutoring staff. In addition, a teenage student joined the church’s youth club and is willing to learn more about Jesus, while others made friends and can’t wait to meet at OEC, their home away from home.

A short while ago, while training the tutors, Sherry said, “Pastor, we are running out of tutors. We must do something.” This urgency reminded me of what Jesus said: “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2).

We are praying and claiming the promise of the Lord of the harvest “send more tutors” into the fields. There are a variety of fields with ripe crops waiting for harvest. Will you also pray for Pueblo OEC and its need for tutors?

You will be blessed by doing so!

—Anton Kapusi is the Lead Pastor at Pueblo First Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photos supplied.

30 Mar


Agape Hammond – Parker, Colorado … Walk into Newday’s NXTGEN Connect, and you will find highly engaged student leaders that won’t be disassociating from the church anytime soon. Taking ownership of their relationship with Christ, students between the ages of 11-18 find purpose in the Newday NXTGEN community.

A 2019 study from American Perspectives Survey found that “Americans raised in homes with more robust religious experiences are less likely to disaffiliate from religion entirely.” Alternately, the Pew Research Center states that most Americans leave their childhood religion before they even turn 18. More survey data can be found here: https://www.americansurveycenter.org/research/generation-z-future-of-faith

At Newday, dedicated spaces for each age group remind students that they are not an afterthought; instead, youth are encouraged to participate in every aspect of church life. By providing a variety of worship experiences that help young people connect with God and one another, NXTGEN is a vibrant part of the Newday community.

Roam the halls and you will find students leading out in younger classes. At the drinks station, a couple of volunteers will offer up a hot drink on your way into church. Step into worship and you will see students helping with the audio/visual team. And don’t miss out on the Front Row Club—a dedicated and growing group of NXTGENs who choose to fill the front row for their personal worship experience.

It soon becomes apparent that at Newday, there is a true intergenerational collaboration. For instance, there’s the NXTGEN student pastor: Gwen Loney, a junior at Mile High Academy, who has been in the role for over a year. Gwen coordinates all NXTGEN’s events and helps the facilitator team build curriculum for NXTGEN weekly lessons.

Taking her leadership role seriously means she’s not relaxing even while she sits with her peers during the group lesson. However, she’s the first to tell you this is where she belongs: “I really enjoy it when I’m able to look around and see all of our youth having fun and playing around with one another. I also like it when I can take a moment and participate in events with my friends.”

From monthly Friday NVITE events to NXTGEN connect on Saturday mornings, there are plenty of ways for young people to develop their individual prayer and spiritual life. The hope is that this will be a generation that doesn’t become a statistic, but instead finds their own personal relationship with the church. It’s the one-on-one connections, with adults and students themselves reaching out to each other, that are building true belonging in God’s family.

—Agape Hammond is communication director at Newday Adventist Church in Parker, Colorado. Photos by Kelly Loney.

30 Mar


Ana Segawa – Boulder Colorado … Campion’s select choir, Koinonia, participated in the worship service at Boulder Seventh-day Adventist Church on March 25.

Led by music director Cecilia Simmons, the group performed four pieces: “Modimo Reboka Wena”, “Run, Mary, Run”, “O Love” and “Like a River in My Soul”.

Ariel Patterson, a member of Koinonia, whose home church is Boulder Seventh-day Adventist Church, shared, “It was great having Koinonia show up at Boulder and everyone there really liked it. Also, it was awesome being able to be a blessing to churches other than Campion and share our music with them.”

In addition to the choir pieces, some of those students also led other parts of the service including the praise and worship time and the children’s story.

Phoebe Mamanua and Dwayne Rey, also members of Koinonia, got to share one of their childhood memories during the children’s story which had taught them how God could guide them whenever they needed directions. Rey commented, “I thought it was fun doing a children’s story because the kids there were engaged and responsive to what Phoebe and I were sharing, and our message was able to get through clearly.”

After the service, Boulder Church had thoughtfully prepared a potluck for the group to enjoy before heading back to Campion Academy.

Sharing about the experience, Simmons said, “Bad joke time. You’d think with a name like Boulder, the church would be all stony and standoffish. No sir! They were such a welcoming venue. And the acoustics were top notch! We must go back just to experience the warmth, community, and crazy good acoustics.”

—Ana Segawa, Students News Team. Photo by Debbi Lake.

27 Mar


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Thirza Monette Powell, 59, passed away peacefully Friday, March 24, in Cushing, Texas, surrounded by her four children. She worked for the Rocky Mountain Conference for 10 years, ending her tenure as the RMC accountant. Thirza is preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her three siblings, four children, and six grandchildren.

Thirza spent most of her life in Colorado exploring the mountain trails and enjoying the great outdoors which she loved. She enjoyed hiking, photography, and hunting for treasures to resell online, as well as experimenting with vegan recipes.

She will be remembered as a loving, calm, independent, and caring mother and grandmother who always tried to do the best at everything she did. A woman filled with wisdom, compassion, understanding, and steadfast love, she made such an impression on everyone she met and will be deeply missed.

She left many friends in RMC churches and in the Conference Office. Darin Gottfried, RMC vice-president for finance, shared, “Thirza passed away while with her family in Texas. Please keep her family in your prayers. We are looking forward to the second coming when we all can be reunited with those that we have lost.”

Funeral services will be today, Monday, March 27, at 2 p.m. at the Dickie Allen Funeral Home in Cushing, Texas. Interment will follow at McKnight Cemetery.

Click here to visit Thirza’s tribute page and to find more information on her services. To send flowers to the family, or plant a tree in memory, of Thirza Monette Powell, please click here for the Tribute Store.

RMCNews. Photo of Thirza provided and by digitalscully on Flickr.

23 Mar


Jodie Aakko – Brighton, Colorado … “Science class is fun!” declared Sebastian Garner, grade one.

At Brighton Adventist Academy, kindergarten and first grade students were gearing-up for the school’s Spring Program, which would include science projects from the entire PreK-10 student body.

This year, our young scientists have explored a variety of units, such as the plant kingdom, animal kingdom, human anatomy and physiology, healthy choices, and several STEM units.

The enthusiasm was voiced daily in kindergarten class.

“I liked making gooey and colorful slime,” broadcasted Gabriel Radu.

“I liked to set up the balloon races and help the teacher. At first it didn’t work but we fixed it!” reported Jose Santos, a first grader.

“I thought our Chia seeds would have grown better if we kept wet paper on the seeds so they could soak,” suggested Benjamin Villalobos.

“I like doing stuff with everyone in class, even the science boards,” added Levi DiCamillo.

“I like my science experiment. I also liked making the ping pong ball catapult!” announced Eloise Hablutzel.

“The exercise video was the best, when we studied healthy choices!” affirmed Jackson Rego.

Currently, the young scientists are completing their scientific method presentation boards, which includes an array of experiments involving M&Ms, Skittles, pennies, balloons, water droplets, eggs, flour and salt, aluminum foil, pencils, and gummy bears. These thrilling projects have enabled the budding scientists to learn about surface tension, static electricity, water displacement, calcification, surface area, acids, surface tension, refraction, polymers, and much more.

Brighton Adventist Academy is inviting the community to attend the Spring Program showcasing the students’ scientific presentation boards at 6:30 p.m. on May 11, in the new Brighton Seventh-day Adventist Church annex. This event will also include musical presentations from the fine arts department: K-4 choir, 5-10 beginning band, 5-10 advanced band, and 5-10 hand chimes. Grades 5-8 art masterpieces will be on display.

—Jodie Aakko is principal of Brighton Adventist Academy. Photos supplied.

23 Mar


Lydie Birai – Denver, Colorado … What is that delicious smell of food? That’s what many wondered as they approached the LifeSource Adventist Fellowship (LAF) annex on Saturday, March 11, at 6:30 in the evening. If their feet had wanted to keep going, their noses would have stopped them. Why? Because LAF’s 2nd Annual Bake-Off had begun and was at full speed. As soon as they walked in, their noses were hit with the aroma of savory and sweet deliciousness!

The flurry of activity inside included contestants of all ages putting finishing touches on their creations, while others chit-chatted with kids running around inspecting food items. The judges were making their way around long tables full of all kinds of baked goods. The only “rule” for the contestants was that the food item was put through an oven.

After purchasing tasting tickets, guests were invited to sign their name under various categories on the sign-in sheet, such as preferring pizza over tacos, text vs. call, Hulu vs. Netflix, staycation vs. vacation, and the lists went on. It soon became a lively gathering with many laughs and the anticipation of a full stomach. Lonnie Hetterle, former RMC education director and now lay pastor assistant, welcomed everyone with a devotional and prayer to close the Sabbath.

While judges Heidi Carpenter, Josue Vivanco, and Nathan Cordova made their way around the tables tasting, Club Ministries director Daisy Dalegowski began the first game by dividing everyone into three groups. The goal was to match an item label to a picture of the item. The first two teams were very close in their kitchen knowledge, but the third team won, proudly claiming bragging rights.

Soon, the tasting was open to the crowd. For a small price, more than 70 participants were able to gorge themselves on tantalizing flavors and tastes. Those who wanted another option could purchase a slice of pizza as part of the fundraising.

The final game was our famous cake decorating contest relay. Divided into four groups of four—each with one child, one youth, one young adult, and one adult—they raced each other to accomplish an individual task within the group. At the end of the relay, the crowd chose the best-decorated cake by their applause.

Contestants were judged on the presentation, taste, and the creativity of their goods. Age groups for the competition included ages 0-15, 16-35, and 36 plus. Pathfinder Ari Watts won first place with her dish, along with two-time winner Sienna Radu in their age group. Sienna Radu’s dish also won the People’s Choice award. Not to be outdone, her father, Florin Radu, took first in his age group. Young Adult winner and first-time participant, Heidi Breckner, took first with her Nutella Cheesecake. The runners-up put forth valiant efforts and we hope to see them next year when they can dethrone this year’s winners.

All funds raised will benefit Adventurers and Pathfinders attending the International Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming, next year thanks to BrightStar Care, who sponsored our bake-off gifts. Winners took home some of the goodies. Our goal was to beat last year’s attendance of 70 and the fundraising amount of $1,000. Preliminary results indicate we may indeed have met both goals.

LifeSource Fellowship continues to live out our objective: Step into Family. And we continue to hold interesting events and activities for all ages, ethnicities, and perspectives in order that all may fellowship together, which includes people from all over Colorado.

After two years of holding a bake-off contest, we offer you two main reasons to consider a bake-off at your church. First, who doesn’t like showcasing their baking skills? Our bake-off allowed both young and older chefs to showcase their culinary skills in style. And second, it was good to see multi-generational participants compete with and against each other for a good cause. If you’re considering doing a bake-off and would like some tips or advice, don’t be afraid to reach out to us. We’d love to help. We’d also love to see all our Rocky Mountain clubs in Gillette next year! Let’s do this.

—Lydie Birai is secretary/treasurer of Club Ministries at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship in Denver. Photos provided.

23 Mar


Samantha Nelson – Powell, Wyoming … Members of the Powell Seventh-day Adventist Church have discussed, at recent board meetings, various ways to reach their community and make a positive difference in people’s lives. One way kept coming to everyone’s mind—community people in need of food. 

Volunteer Bud Boyles commented, “Powell has a poverty rate of around 14%. I believe we can help those who need it most and, at the same time, instill ways for them to become better equipped and more able to be self-sustainable through tools and literature. This is truly the Lord’s work that we will be doing for His people.” 

Even though there are other food pantries in town, the need seems greater than what is being provided. After much prayer and thoughtful planning, it was decided to open a food pantry at the church under the Feeding America program through the Food Bank of Wyoming, following the commission and conditional promise in Isaiah 58:6-8, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.”

The Powell church application was approved in early March, and training for the director and volunteers was completed early last week. With Powell’s Food Pantry hours from 4-7 p.m. on the third and fourth Thursdays of each month starting April 20, its new Community Services and Food Pantry Director, Sharon Haun states, “We are excited to reach out to the community and help those in need in these trying times.”

Elton Tophoj, head elder and volunteer for the food pantry shared, “I am excited to be involved in the Powell Food Pantry for the good I expect it to do in Powell. Not only is there a need to assist families, but it also gives us an opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ.”

Please pray for the Powell Food Pantry and those it will be serving that they might see Jesus in and through the volunteers and be drawn to a closer relationship with Him as the church provides for their temporal needs.

—Samantha Nelson is from Cody Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wyoming. Photo by Samantha Nelson.

23 Mar


Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Seven Campion Academy students chose to spend Spring Break serving in the Navajo Nation of Arizona. Led by Pastor Leandro Bizama, Associate Pastor of Worship and Evangelism at Campion Adventist Church, the group included about 30 church members who worked on the construction of a small home, hosted a Vacation Bible School for children, and provided health talks for the communities of Window Rock and Kinlichee.

“The mission trip was fun; I really enjoyed it,” commented senior student, Jarrod Lang; “I did construction, and we raised a house from the ground up. The day I left there, I felt so proud that I was able to participate in something that will bring God’s word to the people of that land.”

The construction crew was tasked with building a tiny home for Bible workers, student missionaries, or pastoral families in the near future. The three Campion students working on this project learned many skills from experienced builders using wood and power tools. The building’s framing and exterior, including the roof, was able to be completed within the week.

The other students focused on the Children’s Ministry by preparing and hosting a Vacation Bible School (VBS) which was attended by about 20 local children each day. The students assisted in every aspect of the program from leading music to acting in the various skits.

Marcela Zuniga shared, “For VBS, I was a doctor that played two roles, explaining guidelines on temperance and trust. I enjoyed getting to know all the kids and learning lessons that helped my relationship with God grow. I learned that I enjoy helping and seeing others smile and learn about God. The theme was to protect your castle (body/heart/mind), and it taught me that I want Jesus to sit on the throne in my castle.”

Mary and Steve Phillips, who are good friends with the local pastor’s family, were instrumental in bringing the group together. They led a health ministry for local adults, which included a Health Fair and nightly meetings. The meetings had eight consistent attendees and Mary shared, “We had very deep conversations which was wonderful!”

Bizama concluded, “I was blessed and proud to see both HMS Richards and Campion students, young adults, and church family members collaborating by spending their Spring break working and serving the Navajo Nation. It was challenging and tiring, especially because we were doing three simultaneous projects while staying in two different areas, but the result of the service was beautiful to see.”

“May we always choose a lifestyle of service and mission, no matter the cost; just like our theme verse for the trip says: ‘For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve,’ ” he added.

—Jill Harlow, Campion Academy communication director. Photos supplied.

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