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Officer’s Outlook

What’s in a Name?


The flight from Chattanooga to Dallas was going to be a strange one. My wife, Sondra, was traveling with me, but we wouldn’t be sitting together. Instead, my seatmate would be a sixty-something gentleman who turned out to be a real talker. His name was Ron.

“So what brings you to Chattanooga?” Ron asked. It was the perfect opening. I always appreciate opportunities to exchange information about educational backgrounds with strangers, because it usually opens doors to conversations about spiritual topics.

“I was just out here for some meetings at Southern Adventist University. Are you familiar with Southern?” I asked. He wasn’t.

Turns out, however, that Ron and I had a lot in common. He was flying to Seattle to meet a friend with whom he was planning to take a motorcycle trip. Having personally logged over 25,000 miles on my own road bike in the Western United States, I offered a suggestion.

“There’s a great biker road that runs right by Lillooet, British Columbia, through the Frasier Valley as you head east,” I said. “Although I’ve not ridden that road, I travel up there often to visit a school called Fountainview Academy, where my wife went to high school.”

He seemed interested in the school, so I talked about their music program and emphasized the fact that Fountainview is a “Seventh-day Adventist school.” It was the second time the name “Adventist” came up naturally in conversation.

“You know,” he said, “my motorcycle buddy occasionally gives donations to a small school that sounds a lot like the school you’re talking about. Would you believe that they entered one of those Facebook contests and won $500,000?”

“Yeah, I know the school,” I responded. “They’re going to use the money to build a new septic system, right?”

“That’s right!” Ron gushed. “Wish I could remember the name of the school.”

“Mt. Ellis Academy. It’s also a Seventh-day Adventist school!”

“That’s it! Wasn’t that amazing how they won that award?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Your friend must be familiar with Seventh-day Adventists. I’m also a Seventh-day Adventist.”

“I’ll ask him about it once I land,” Ron said.

As we parted ways, I thanked God for the conversation with Ron and for the chance to mention the name of the Adventist Church several times in a positive context.

Just like the name of a business, the name of our church denotes who we are. It’s a personal brand of sorts, and one we can all be proud of.

Elder Ted Wilson, our new world church president, preached a sermon entitled “Remember Your Name,” during the recent Annual Council meetings at the General Conference headquarters. He emphasized the importance of a name.

“That powerful, heaven-sent name, ‘Seventh-day Adventist,’ is a two-word sermon of hope,” Wilson asserted. “It points to God as the Author and Finisher of our Faith. It uplifts Christ in all His beauty. It proclaims the Great Controversy theme from the beginning to the end.”

I couldn’t agree more. What’s in a name? Everything