August 2023 Column

Rhythms of Life

Follow His Lead

The very thought of change in different areas of our lives can be unsettling. We all want to know what is going to happen next! What if the vicissitudes of life taught us about life and how God wants us to live life? There is a spectrum of experiences life is filled with that we should begin to embrace. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon realizes a plethora of understandings through his journey of questioning why and how life works. Solomon lands his plane of exploration with the fact that the most important thing in life is “to fear God and obey his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Before he arrives at that conclusion, he shares with the reader the importance of embracing the rhythms of life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Solomon’s ultimate realization is that the most important thing in life is “to fear God and obey His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This fear is not about being afraid but rather acknowledging the awe-inspiring nature of God and humbling ourselves before His wisdom and providence. By aligning our lives with God’s commands, we find a path that leads to fulfillment and purpose.

Understanding this idea of divine alignment allows us to be in tune with the rhythms of life. God has a general purpose for all of his children as he “hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). Because of our individuality and uniqueness, there is a specific purpose for each of us to live out as “The Lord says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalms‬ ‭32‬:‭8‬). We must begin to ask God to teach us and help us along this pathway. Walking fully in the multifaceted purpose God designed for our lives is key to having the right mindset on how we see the rhythms. No longer will we be off beat or “lacking rhythm” as we accept divine direction to coincide with the rhythms of our lives.

Life is full of movement, fluctuations, vacillations, and variations that occur regularly. God wants us to understand that it’s ok to experience change and to allow him to accompany us in midst of the life shifts, ups and downs, crying and laughing, mourning and dancing, through it all! The reason for the rhythms are to realize, reflect, and reshape our relationships with God. Be encouraged today to let God dictate the pace of your rhythms as you learn about life and how God wants you to live life.

Questions for Discussion

What would life be like without rhythms?

How can we use the rhythms of life to get closer to God?

How can you help someone navigate the rhythms of life?

Let us be encouraged to approach life with a sense of wonder and openness. Let us embrace the changes as opportunities for growth and learning. Instead of resisting the natural flow of life, let us align ourselves with God’s will, knowing that He has a purpose for each season we encounter. May we find strength and peace in the knowledge that we are not alone in our journey and that God’s loving presence guides us through every twist and turn.

Contributors

Editor
Picture of Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

Writer
Picture of Joffre St.Hilaire

Joffre St.Hilaire

Orlando Chapter Coordinator

Back to top

Justin & Sheree Kelly

Meet Sheree Kelly, a spirited and visionary leader in elementary education with over a decade of transformative experience. A proud alumna of Oakwood University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Sheree has earned accolades aplenty, including the illustrious Southwestern Union Conference Teacher of Excellence award in 2023. Her dedication to nurturing young minds is enhanced by a Counseling endorsement on her denominational certification, showcasing her commitment to comprehensive student well-being.

Justin Kelly is a dynamic professional whose expertise spans education, information technology, and missionary work. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Oakwood College and a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Justin is a tech-savvy trailblazer. He is the creative force behind Superscrum.net, a cutting-edge blog on agile software development techniques, making waves in the tech community.
This powerhouse couple, Justin and Sheree, shine as local elders at Fondren Seventh Day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas. They’ve also shared their talents as elementary teachers at Excel Adventist Academy. Beyond their professional roles, they are known for their love of salsa dancing, country music, and throwing unforgettable themed parties. Their true passion lies in building community through small group studies, potlucks, and engaging events at their home in Fresno, Texas.
Justin and Sheree excel in mastering the delicate art of balancing life, work, and church. They champion the virtues of temperance and healthy boundaries, ensuring harmony in all aspects of life. With nearly eight joyful years of marriage, their unwavering faith in Jesus Christ fuels their journey and dedication.

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.