Chesapeake Conference

 volunteers Callie Buruchara, Chandler Riley, and Brody Wiedemann. Credit Tony Williams

By Andrew McChesney

A man walked up to the church booth at the Howard County Fair and, without an introduction or even a smile, asked a pointed question.

“Do you have to go to church on Saturday to be saved?” he said.

Booth volunteer Tony Williams had heard other unexpected questions at the fair, including about Hollywood movies and whether Jesus has a tattoo, and he was not surprised.

“The church needs to be willing to go wherever people are. And where are people? They’re in the cities,” declared Frank Bondurant, vice president for ministry development of the Columbia Union Conference, at the grand opening ceremony for the new Urban Life Center in Baltimore on August 13.

Bondurant, who also serves as the church planting coordinator for the region that includes seven Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia, was joined by administrators from the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the North American Division, and the Chesapeake Conference, which is home to the new Baltimore initiative.

Image from iStock

“In that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:26–27, NIV).

I like verses that surprise me. This verse certainly did that, given that I grew up primarily with a courtroom-based image of the Father, standing in judgment over me, with Jesus interceding as my Advocate.

This verse reminds me that the members of the Godhead are united in their love for me and their desire to save me. Jesus has no need to advocate before the Father on my behalf, because the Father is not my accuser. Satan, the adversary, and sin itself, are my only enemies. In the Godhead, I have nothing but friends.