April 2024 Column

Reflecting His Character

The Mind of Christ

There is a constant battle for our attention. Social media pushes quick, exciting, and intriguing content on our feeds to keep us swiping. Notifications bombard us from every angle, and there is always a new trending story to keep up with.

All of these influences pulling at our attention can lead us to becoming unaware of the bias of the content we are watching/ engaging with.

If you are not careful, you can limit yourself to a specific way of thinking that may not be in alignment with how Christ intended for your character and mind to grow. 

Today, I’d like you to pause and assess the last three pieces of content you watched on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, or the social media platform of your choice. 

If you aren’t a social media user, revisit the last three pieces of content you heard on the radio, read in a book, or watched on television.

As you pull up your history,  consider why you chose to watch or engage with that content. Also consider, what resonated with you from that content piece or the creator. Lastly, consider how that piece of content has impacted the way you think about the topic you watched.

As you ponder the content you’ve consumed, the lens through which I want you to filter this content is, “How does this piece of content help me reflect the character and mind of Christ?” 

If you are unsure of how to answer that question, Philippians 4:8-9 has strong guidance on the matter. 

Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV)

As we focus on reflecting Christ’s character, we must pay attention to what we fill our minds with. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the criteria laid out in scripture for us to grow in His Character. 

We need to focus on: 

Whatever things are true

True content is so important to focus on. We live in a world where fictional stories float around with true stories which eventually makes us develop a subconscious distrust of believing every story we hear. To grow in our faith walk with Christ and reflect His character, we must only fill our minds with what is true. Our faith will be elevated and inspired beyond measure when we see how God is moving in the lives of believers around us. 

Whatever things are noble

According to Oxford’s dictionary. The word noble means, belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status; aristocratic. Noble also means, “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.” 

This one might be an acquired taste for some of us, but I believe when we focus on noble things, we draw our minds heavenward. Some ideas that come to mind for noble things are learning about etiquette and how to further love those around you no matter their social class.

Questions for Discussion

What ideas come to your mind when you think about noble things?

What comes to mind when you hear the word “lovely”?

What are some things of good report you like to focus your mind on?

Contributors

Editor
Picture of Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

Writer
Picture of Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart

AYP New York Ambassador

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Daniel Pino

Daniel Pino Romero serves as a pastor at the Houston Spanish Northwest SDA Church.

Dr. Tom Grove

Dr. Tom Grove is a proud native of Pennsylvania who calls Texas home. He is serving as the
Associate Director for Ministry & Evangelism for the Texas Conference. He also serves as the
English Men’s Volunteer Coordinator for the Conference. Prior to his transition to the Texas
Conference office, he served as the Executive Pastor of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist
Church in Arlington, Texas. Before coming to Texas, he spent 15 years pastoring in the
Pennsylvania Conference. He is an alumnus of Columbia Union College (now Washington
Adventist University) as well as Andrews University where he received his Master of Divinity
and his Doctor of Ministry. He is the author of the Men’s Spiritual Leadership curriculum,
Joshua’s Men, which is published by AdventSource and is being used throughout the North
American Division to mentor men to be leaders in their homes, communities, and churches.

He has been married to his wonderful wife Deborah, a Speech-Language Pathologist, for 27
years and is the proud father of Mark and Caroline. In his time off, he loves reading, traveling,
playing racquetball and cheering for all the sports teams who call Pittsburgh home.

Xav Handfield

Xavyance “Xav” Handfield is a nationally recognized speaker, health and wellness activator, educator and is the CEO of the Handfield Group, LLC. His mission is to use his gifts and his voice to inspire and evoke change in the world. In 2015, he started his speaking career and has been blessed to inspire and speak to thousands of individuals across the country for corporate events, churches, and community organizations. In 2017, he created Plant Based Brotha, which initially started to empower people to be able to transition to a plant-based lifestyle but has since pivoted to teaching others that health and wellness is a holistic experience.

Xav is excited about life and is a living testament that our gifts make room for us, and he truly works towards God’s purpose. He is married to his wife Jasmine, and they just welcomed their first child, a baby girl in April. Xav aspires to inspire before he expires and has a favorite verse, Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Michal Anne Whitcomb

Michal Anne Whitcomb is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, Texas. Michal has spent her 16 year career dedicated to the empowerment, healing, and growth of her clients.  She began her career at Genesis Women’s Shelter, where she worked with women and children impacted by domestic violence. Michal continued her work with children and their families at Dallas ISD’s Youth and Family Centers. In 2012, she began her private practice in Dallas, Texas, where she works with adults, teens, and families on issues of depression, anxiety, grief/loss, relational issues, and trauma. Michal has training in several modalities, many related to the treatment of trauma and adverse experiences. Michal is Certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), an evidenced-based trauma treatment, and is also an EMDR Consultant-in-Training. Michal lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Levi, and their two children. If she is not at work, you can usually find Michal playing softball, singing at church, or enjoying a hike.

Stephen and Felecia Lee

Stephen and Felecia Lee are a mission-minded creative duo. Stephen founded a marketing business, and Felecia is a homemaker. They led at ASI and spoke at GYC, SAC, AYP, and conference events. Based in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, their talks on communication, relationships, productivity, and faith empower individuals to inspire change.

Costin Jordache, MA, MBA, APR

Costin Jordache serves as Vice President of System Strategy and Brand Development for Adventist HealthCare, a healthcare system operating in Maryland and Washington DC. In his role, Costin oversees strategic planning and development, as well as public relations, marketing and communication for the healthcare system.

Over the last 25 years, he has served in leadership roles including News Editor for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, Vice President for Communication in the Central California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Director of Communication in the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor for Media at the Loma Linda University Church and Senior Pastor of the Dallas First Church.

Costin holds a Masters degree in Radio, Television & Film from the University of Texas at Austin as well as an MBA from California State University, along with a BA in Theology and Biblical Languages from Southwestern Adventist University. Costin is accredited in Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America.

He specializes in strategic communication and media leadership, public relations, teaching, strategic planning and organizational leadership.

Costin is married to Leah Jordache. They have two sons, Roman, 18 and Lance 16.

David Asscherick

David is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and ARISE co-founder and instructor. Since his baptism in 1999, David has traveled the globe preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Violeta are the happy parents of two boys, Landon and Jabel.

Keynote Speaker

Benjamin Lundquist, host of Rise & Lead, will headline 2023 AYP Convention.

Benjamin Lundquist is a top motivational speaker and one the leading voices for leadership development and empowerment. He is passionate about helping students and professionals see their worth and value, see themselves as a leader, and see their potential to change the world. The message he shares is motivating, relatable, and highly practical. Audiences are challenged to take extreme ownership of the unique gifts and opportunities they have. He is an international speaker and host of Rise and Lead Podcast which has been downloaded in over 110 countries providing aspiring and experienced leaders of all ages with world-class content and conversation. He frequently speaks at corporate and faith events, universities, and high schools.

Identity in Christ | Breakout Track

April is currently an associate pastor for discipleship at Keene SDA church. She is enrolled in a dual graduate program for Public Health and MDIV chaplaincy. She enjoys working with different ministries that highlight service, hospitality, and life enrichment. 

Her hobbies include traveling, reading, music, and extreme sports. An introvert at heart, she enjoys moments with close friends and in the quiet. Her and her husband, Blake Snyder reside in Burleson, Texas.

Purpose & Calling | Breakout Track

Ann Roda likes to describe her life as one long adventure with God. She began her career as a registered nurse in OB then transitioned into healthcare administration. Then, God unexpectedly redirected her path to the Adventist Theological Seminary, for an MDiv, and into pastoral ministry. She spent 15 years as a church pastor in Marietta, Georgia and Fulton, Maryland. Six years ago, God had another adventure for Ann, and called her back into the health care ministry, serving with Adventist HealthCare as Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care. 

This position is the perfect combination of both pastoral ministry and health care. Ann is married to Jose Hernandez, a licensed professional counselor. Ann and her husband enjoy hiking, biking, and traveling.

Relationships | Breakout Track

Stephen and Felecia Lee are partners in the mission. They share a mutual passion for young adult ministries and using their talents to share the Gospel online and through speaking engagements. Stephen helps individuals and businesses function more efficiently through time management and productivity techniques. Felecia is a full-time homemaker and also the founder of the New Wives Club. 

In addition to this, she runs a program teaching women of color how to learn principles of faith through natural hair care. They live in New Hampshire and speak in different places on topics related to singleness, courtship, communication, evangelism, and faith.

Spiritual Health | Breakout Track

Shawn is passionate about generations coming together! She grew up in a four-generation family business and knows, from first-hand experience, that when people of all ages work together, everyone wins!

She has a B.S. in marketing from the University of Nebraska and is an award-winning sales and marketing professional. Her professional certifications include being a member of the John Maxwell Team and DISC Behavioral Consultant. Recently she published her first book “Strategies for Generational Inclusion at Work.”

Communities | Breakout Track

Michael Gibson currently serves as the Lead Pastor at the Keene SDA Church where he most previously served for four years as Pastor for Young Adults and lead Elevate, a growing and thriving young adult community in Keene. Michael is married to Melissa and they both enjoy the outdoors, long walks, and traveling to new, unexplored places. 

Most days, when he’s not teaching, preaching or studying, you’ll find him playing disc golf or working on home renovations with Melissa. They recently welcomed their son, Micah Eden, into the world last October and ever since, life has taken on a whole new meaning. Above all, Michael and Melissa have a passion for discipleship and telling others about the incredible God they serve. For them, the gospel boils down to loving God and loving people.