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Lessons from Woodworking

When I was in eighth grade, I had the privilege of taking woodworking. At the time, I had neither a wise nor a willing heart. I wanted to take home economics—not woodworking. But since the school didn’t have a budget for both classes, the principal opted for woodworking. He assured me that I would enjoy the class, and that I’d learn valuable skills. In the end, I decided I might as well go into it with an open mind.

Crazy About Clouds

Matter of perspective. Over most of the lower 48 states, it’s cloudy 50–70% of the time. Over these same states, it’s also sunny 50–70% of the time. How can this be? It’s simply a matter of perspective. You can call mixed skies partly cloudy, if you please—but they will also be partly sunny! Of course, some places are cloudier than others. The cloudiest places in the U.S. are the Great Lakes region and the Oregon and Washington coast; the sunniest area is the Southwest.1

Sowing in the clouds. It takes more than water vapor to make a rain cloud. The vapor needs something to cluster around and make a droplet—something called a nucleus, such as salt or dust. Sometimes clouds that have enough water to rain never do simply because there are no particles to form raindrops. Because of this phenomenon, scientists have developed a technique called cloud seeding to encourage rain in dry areas. Airplanes fly through clouds, dropping tiny pieces of compounds such as calcium chloride or silver iodide to make “seeds” for the raindrops. Sometimes these particles are shot up from the ground, using rockets, balloons, or anti-aircraft guns.

Don’t steal my cloud! Because of arid climate conditions in certain areas, China is one of the top users of cloud-seeding technology. In fact, it’s so common that the government uses it to “guarantee” good weather for national celebrations. Cloud seeding does cause disputes between neighboring communities. Cities race each other to harvest rain—and the losers accuse the winners of stealing precipitation!2

Cloudy protection. Did you know that clouds have altered world events? A number of battles have been confused or called off due to fog or rain—and God’s providence. One battle in the Revolutionary War was even named “Battle of the Clouds” because a torrential downpour stopped the fighting.

Holy cloud. God used a cloud to protect and guide Israel on their journey from Egypt to Canaan—and to veil His glory in the most holy place. But this cloud was more than a mix of water vapor and dust particles. This cloud was holy—because it was God’s presence! It showed God’s heart longing: to dwell with His people.

1. National Climatic Data Center.
2. The Guardian, July 14, 2004.

Not Enough

Imagine us gathered together with a group of architects and builders. We've been summoned from all over the country because, as the man up front explains, we’re the best. There is no one more skilled or that can do better work. At first the compliment makes me feel good, but as the man continues to explain our task, I start to worry. Apparently God Almighty wants to come and dwell among men, and He wants us to build Him a house.

It isn't just any house, either. The perfection required in our work is mind-boggling. And on top of that, God Himself gave the plans, which must be followed exactly. As our leader's words sink in, I wonder how in the world anyone ever thought I could help with this project. I can’t remember ever doing absolutely perfect work and, even worse, I’m a sinner. I’m not good enough, not holy enough, not surrendered enough. If I dare to touch God’s house, I’ll mess it all up.

What Might Have Been

by Ellen White

I found myself at Battle Creek. We had gathered in the Tabernacle Church1 for a meeting of the General Conference.2 Prayer was offered, a hymn was sung, and prayer was again offered, with most earnest supplication being made to God. All could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Everyone present seemed sober and serious, and some were weeping out loud.

A Taste of GC

From YD Camp to GYC, ASI, and yearly camp meetings, I love occasions that give an opportunity to recharge spiritually, fellowship with friends and loved ones, get new ideas, and connect with those in ministry.

Now imagine a gathering with 60,000 believers—that lasts for ten days! I’m talking about the General Conference Session, of course. If you’ve never had the privilege to attend, let me paint you a tiny picture.

The mere size and scope of the GC is hard to take in. Picture standing on an upper level of a huge arena—and spotting almost no empty seats. Think of entering a huge exhibit hall, realizing that you may never explore it completely, because you’ll keep stopping to chat with long-lost friends and acquaintances. Imagine sitting among a massive crowd on Sabbath morning as Elder Ted Wilson speaks words that inspire, encourage, and challenge you and make you so glad you’re a Seventh-day Adventist.

All during the week, there’s an almost electric atmosphere in the air, as you hear reports of the latest topic under discussion in the GC Session or the name of someone nominated for a great responsibility. You know that history is in the making—and it’s thrilling to be there.

Now think for a moment of how tragic all this would be without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, this does not need to be the case. Please join me in praying each day for a rich outpouring of the Holy Spirit on every officer, delegate, and attendee at the General Conference happening right now in San Antonio, Texas.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this were the last GC to ever be held on Earth?

P.S. This year’s exhibit hall, more than 100,000 square feet in size, features 600 booths for SDA ministries and vendors. If you’re here, come see us! We’re booth #C1733. Here's a snapshot of the booth and our lovely young assistants!

Those Juniors, Part 41: Master Crooked Ears

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: Story-telling is one of the best ways to impress a lesson or point on others. There are many wholesome, true stories out there for all ages. When telling a story, there are certain things you must do: know your story, see it, adapt it, tell it, live it, feel it, and have a climax.

In closing this series, I want to give an illustration of the way stories are found in life, and built into things that charm and stimulate to better living. One day I was visiting the little Sabbath school at the village of Tha Kwe Kla, about twelve miles north of our Karen mission station. The bamboo schoolhouse was crowded with jungle folk, for the boys and girls had brought their mothers and fathers, their aunties and uncles, their grandpas and grandmas, till there was hardly room for another one. While we were singing the second hymn, I saw Thara John move over on the floor a little and say to a man who was coming up the bamboo ladder, “Come on, Uncle Crooked Ears, sit here near me.”

Immediately I smelled a story.