Ontario Conference News


But for the Grace of God

Bad news seems to monopolise our lives. It fills almost every news report. Unless we are cut off from all forms of communication devices, we will be aware of bad news.

Some people choose to avoid the news altogether, saying they are tired of hearing bad news. They don’t want to start or end their day with negativity—unless it’s salacious. On February 17, when former Toronto mayor, John Tory, resigned after news of his extramarital affair with a staffer came out, it remained in the news for days. It was a hot topic of discussion. Bad news travels very quickly. Salacious news even faster and some people gleefully help it along.

I wonder how we can become seemingly immune to hearing of the suffering of others while keen to hear of someone’s moral downfall. Both are filled with pain not just for the immediate individuals concerned for their families, communities and even further afield. The actions of one or two people cause pain and grief to the lives of many.

I’d like to think that the response of those who follow Jesus as His disciples, those of us who make up His church, is very different. Sadly, too often we reflect similar attitudes. The care we should have for everyone, the love we’re commanded to show to all God’s creation, we restrict it to our close group of friends at church. And when someone’s sin is exposed, we sometimes find ourselves wanting to know the details.

When Romans 3:23 says, “we have all sinned” it didn’t exclude us. The reason my sins and your sins have not been exposed is that God covers them when we repent of them. He is so gracious that even when we haven’t repented, He doesn’t allow us to be exposed because he’s waiting, longing for us to turn from them and turn to Him. However, it is as we persist in our sins, ignoring God’s voice, even as we attend church services, they reveal themselves. Doesn’t the Bible say, “surely your sins will find you out”(numbers 32:23)? When our sins are not been exposed, it’s only for the grace of God.

The phrase, “there but for the grace of God, go I”, is far more than something that sounds nice. It is said to be derived from when reformer John Bradford (16th Century) saw prisoners being led to their death and felt great sorrow for them. He wasn’t rejoicing in their death, thinking himself as faithful, but as one whose sins could easily have included him among them.

The person who is suffering, the one in distress, the homeless, the widow, the sex worker, the one whose sin has been exposed in the church could have been me, or even you but for the grace of God. That in itself should move us to love them as Jesus did and to look for ways to care for them and to support them in their journey to Christ or on their way back to Him.

Halsey Peat

Adventist News Network (ANN)

Adventist Church Celebrates as Heroes: The Bible Trivia Game Reaches Half a Million Downloads

Engaging Adventist gaming app celebrates digital milestones with collaborations, new features, and impressive stats.

United States | Hellen Piris and Angelica Sanchez, ANN
23 March 2023

The Adventist Church celebrated a significant digital milestone on March 22, 2023, as its popular gaming app, Heroes: The Bible Trivia Game, reached its 500,000th download. This achievement highlights the app’s growing popularity among global users, who have spent over 18 million minutes playing the game and have answered over 45 million trivia questions.

In just two years since its release, Heroes has become a favorite among gamers and biblical scholars. Through its challenging questions and engaging gameplay, the app celebrates biblical heroes, making it an excellent tool for educating players on the stories and teachings of the Bible.

Williams Costa Jr., director of the Adventist Church’s Communication department, expressed excitement at the milestone, saying “It’s always exciting to see dreams come true. The wonder is that half a million downloads of Heroes is not an end but a big step towards continuing.”

The biblical question-and-answer application developed by Hope Channel and designed by Pastor Sam Neves, associate director of the Adventist World Church’s Communication department, has also become popular for its educational learning purposes. Neves explains that “Heroes has an educational value of biblical immersion. The player follows a sequence of play and learning while playing, so he knows the biblical story without necessarily having to read it.”

Heroes features Bible trivia questions, testing players on their knowledge of the Bible characters and their stories. [Photo: Heroes]






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