The giant timbers of the old cargo ship wrenched with practice as the power of the mighty river mysteriously rolled and twisted the load. The 4 cylinder diesel engine determinedly decorated the air with little puffs of black smoke, faithfully challenging the rush of the surging current. Through a crack in the roof I could see bursts of steam sputter off the hot exhaust as tiny rain drops tapped out their erotic rhythm. An old man squatted motionlessly on the cargo deck absorbing the vast equatorial jungle through the wrinkled eyes of experience. We were deep in the heart of Animism.

The thumps of the engine slowed as we turned right, toward the muddy bank. A small village loomed in the distance eerily fogged by a blanket of dense mist. With the notice of the ship, the river bank was alive with urgent activity directed by shouting voices and pattering feet. The boat would only hold the shore for about a minute and everyone knew it. At the instant of landfall fever-pitch-chaos loaded and unloaded cargo in a manner never seen in the western world. On the upper deck, the captain shouted out the seconds remaining until departure. Through a volley of burden bearing bodies I negotiated the narrow 12 foot plank to the shore managing to carry a small personal bag and a large brown box.

There they were. Eight smiling faces greeted me as I staggered up the muddy bank. Quickly, helping hands lifted my cargo and pulled me the last remaining steps to level ground. Quick greetings finished, we wound our way through brown thatch houses soon finding refuge from the rain on the large veranda of the Global Mission Pioneer’s house.

The eight stood silently. Their faces were a picture of wonder as though they stood on the frontier of some great discovery. And then I saw him. He was an old man. Stooped by the years he wore a dark green sarong that just touched the tops of his crooked toes. His black framed glasses were thick and a paper clip served to attach the ear rest to the frame. Dark tattoos spread across his upper body competing for space with marks of former scars and piercing. His eyes were dark, alive, and large, staring at the large brown box.

As the first little black Bible with red facing came out of the box the old man stepped forward and grasp it instantly. His old crooked fingers held it before him. I watched him carefully. Slowly, he rubbed the cover of the Bible over his old tattoos. And then, holding the Bible before him, with bright eyes, he took a deep breath, clinched his jaw, slowly exhaled and then with the look of complete joy said, “Jesus words are my power.”

Stewardship of life

Stewardship of life begins and ends with the power of God’s word. In every second of every day thousands of decisions are made. These decisions are made by people from diverse cultures, languages and religions. What will be done with time, influence, money, education, love, and loyalty?

For a Christian, these gifts have but one focus. God’s mission for man is to be a living testimony of Christ’s great sacrifice for all people. One of the greatest stewardship choices of life is to choose to be acquainted with God’s Word„Ÿthe power to make right choices unto eternal life.

The facts

A world survey conducted by Andrews University revealed that only 51% of Seventh-day Adventists have a daily Bible study program. This regrettable percentage might be explainable for the illiterate 22% living in the 10/40 Window. But, what possible excuse would there be for the rest of us? The church needs to renew its efforts to prioritize the diligent study of God’s word.

The power of his Word

After the ascension, tradition tells us, the disciples moved from hunkered petrified men to being courageous, bold witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. Fearlessly, they divided the world, spreading out from Europe to Asia and Africa. Without compromise they stood before kings and emperors proclaiming hope in Christ. Eleven of the twelve counted it but gain to suffer a martyr’s death„Ÿthe power of His Word.

The great men of faith, the reformers, grasped the power of God’s word, defying earthly and religious powers, they showered the darkness with the light of God’s Word and started the great reformation. Thousands were martyred, burned at the stake, sawn asunder, stoned and starved, thereby enlightening the great hope found in the Lord Jesus Christ„Ÿthe power of God’s Word.

Through the diligent study of God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Advent movement embraced truth and proclaimed hope. Amid disappointment, criticism, sacrifice, and dissension, the pioneers without compromise circled the world with the 3 Angles Messages. Today, the Adventist church is a family of more than 25 million people found in 218 countries, operates 7,000 schools, 500 hospitals and clinics, more than 40 publishing houses, health food factories„Ÿthe power of His Word.

Follow the Bible

“Follow the Bible” is a new initiative to encourage Bible study. Mark Finley states, “Follow the Bible is part of a coordinated initiative by church leadership to lift the vision of Seventh-day Adventists worldwide in renewing their commitment to read, study, and share the Word of God.” Elder Finley further states that, “church leadership envisions an international Bible route with a copy of a Bible traveling the world between April 2008 and June 2010. It is envisioned that the entire Adventist community will be invited to follow the Bible as it journeys the world. The journey will take it though the cities, towns and villages, inviting large numbers of Adventists to gather and recommit their lives to following the Bible through reading and study.”

The initial phase of Follow the Bible will culminate at the 2010 General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The touring-revival„Ÿcalling Bible will be presented to the General Conference president who will use the moment to call God’s people to follow the Bible.

The stewardship of choice

We are living in momentous times. The scenes of Matthew 24, Revelation 6, and Daniel 7, present a sobering comparison for life in the 21st century. God’s word can serve as an unfailing guide to those who desire to be part of that great number, the saved, who will stand in white robes around the throne of God. It is a choice. I can personally choose to let God’s Word change my life or I can choose to caste my future around my own ideas. I appeal to each person to be part of the great end-time revival predicted in the Bible. It will take place, but only in the power of His Word.