Chesapeake Conference

“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.

Image from iStock

“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Ps. 86:11, NKJV).

This verse has made a great impact on my life. Just below the chapter title, my Bible also includes these words: “A prayer of David.” Other than his incredible victory over Goliath, David is also remembered as a man after God’s own heart. Verse 11 gives us further proof of this. When you read through the Psalms, one thing is evident: David yearned for the Lord. He often praised God and declared His excellence. He meditated on the words of God throughout the day and night. He would ask God to examine his heart and prove him. These verses left a deep impression on me.

Image from iStock

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10, NKJV).

It seems I was born to suffer. The physical and emotional abuse at the hands of my father began when I was 4-years-old. I was always sick, to the point that the doctors diagnosed that I could be either mute or deaf for the rest of my life. I was bullied during my school years and always struggled to “fit in.” I got into a toxic relationship that destroyed my heart, my identity and self-esteem. I felt sick, lonely, rejected and purposeless.

Tired of fighting hard for belonging, love and health, it crossed my mind to take my own life. I was missing something; rather Someone.