Our medical professionals are on the front line of this epidemic and we want to show them love and support. In the next week or two, we want to send a prayer caravan to drive around the hospital. We'll let them know ahead of time that we'll be praying—and perhaps honking our horns—at a designated time. To get more information and to register, please click below and select the prayer caravan option. We'll see you soon!
Finding Jesus in the Gathering Dark - 1
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SpeakerDwight K. Nelson
Since 1983, Dwight Nelson has served as lead pastor of the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University. He preaches on the “New Perceptions” telecast, teaches at the theological seminary and has written some books, including The Chosen. He and his wife, Karen, are blessed with two married children and 2 granddaughters.
More In This Series
“STORM: Finding Jesus in the Gathering Dark”—1
- The Storm
- Mark 4:35-40
- Desire of Ages: “Absorbed in their efforts to save themselves, they had forgotten that Jesus was on board. Now, seeing their labor vain and only death before them, they remembered at whose command they had set out to cross the sea. In Jesus was their only hope. In their helplessness and despair they cried, ‘Master, Master!’” But the dense darkness hid Him from their sight. Their voices were drowned by the roaring of the tempest, and there was no reply. Doubt and fear assailed them. Had Jesus forsaken them? Was He who had conquered disease and demons, and even death, powerless to help His disciples now? Was He unmindful of them in their distress? Again they call, but there is no answer except the shrieking of the angry blast. Already their boat is sinking. A moment, and apparently they will be swallowed up by the hungry waters.” (334)
- The Prayer
- Jim Cymbala: “I have come to the sad conclusion that Christians have lost faith in God’s promises concerning prayer. How else can we explain why prayer isn’t paramount in our lives and in our churches? If we believed his promises, wouldn’t we sometimes preach entire series about prayer? Wouldn’t we make room for prayer in [Sabbath] services and set aside weekly times where we could together learn to call on God for his help? We would—unless we are convinced that the status quo is acceptable and we don’t need help from heaven. The key to prayer that changes things is a deep sense of inadequacy and helplessness among God’s people.” (STORM: Hearing Jesus for the Times We Live In 42)
- Paul Miller: “God wants us to come to him empty-handed, weary, and heavy-laden. Instinctively we want to get rid of our helplessness before we come to God. . . . If we think we can do life on our own, we will not take prayer seriously. Our failure to pray will always feel like something else—a lack of discipline or too many obligations. But when something is important to us, we make room for it. Prayer is simply not important to many Christians because Jesus is already an add-on. That is why . . . suffering is so important to the process of learning how to pray. It is God’s gift to us to show us what life is really like.” (A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World 54, 59)
- Jim Cymbala: “If we look at society today, if we look at the challenge of a country becoming more godless by the week, if we look at laws being passed that mock any form of morality—instead of lamenting and protesting, wouldn’t it be better for us to plead with God to visit his people? We need to move toward God, and it begins with desperate prayer.” (Ibid 43)
- 1 Samuel 1:10, 15, 16
- Ellen White: “We are to pray for the impartation [gift] of the Spirit as the remedy for sin-sick souls. The church needs to be converted, and why should we not prostrate ourselves at the throne of grace, as representatives of the church, and from a broken heart and contrite spirit make earnest supplication that the Holy Spirit shall be poured out upon us from on high? Let us pray that when [the Holy Spirit] shall be graciously bestowed, our cold hearts may be revived, and we may have discernment to understand that it is from God, and receive it with joy.” (Ye Shall Receive Power 321)
The New Year Gift
This week I learned of our world church headquarters appeal for prayer throughout the global Seventh-day Adventist family. Originally timed to end during the recently-postponed General Conference session in Indianapolis, our church leaders are calling us to now focus 100 days of praying (March 27-July 4) on behalf of the global coronavirus pandemic. There could hardly be a more urgent need for earnest praying!
A pastor friend of mine, Jim Moon, pointed out a two-verse juxtaposition I'd not noticed before: "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a pestilence among My people, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). While everyone knows the beloved prayer call in v 14, few of us connect it with the preceding divine action in v 13. "A pestilence among My people" certainly could represent a global pandemic like the coronavirus COVID-19. While Satan is the originator of destructive calamities, what more faith-appropriate response is our collective prayers to the One who can deliver this nation, this world, these people, from the grips of pestilence.
So let's join together in humbling ourselves before God and praying and seeking His face—that our world might be saved and our faith community might yet be mobilized to share the glad tidings of Jesus' soon return.
- Pastor Dwight
Since October 2018, our Pioneer congregation and the Andrews campus have joined together in setting aside the first Tuesday of every month as a Day of Fasting and Prayer. Since most of us this coming Tuesday will be safely ensconced in our homes, it will be a fitting opportunity to band together to seek God's face on behalf of our nation, our world, our church. The economic collapse on multiple fronts as a result of this pandemic has seriously affected the Adventist church and schools globally and locally. Let's unite our petitions to appeal to Christ to minister to the members, the leaders, the students, the teachers and all who serve our faith and academic community in this time of financial duress for many. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
In a world changing now by the nanosecond thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, want to celebrate something that isn’t? Join us in a house-bound Agape Feast, as we celebrate the unchanging love of God poured out through Jesus at Calvary. All you need is some fruit, crackers and nuts. Invite your family and friends to join you online Saturday morning (9AM/11:45AM ET—pmchurch.org or Facebook Live). It’s time to the good news overwhelm the bad news—be a part of the Feast!
Neighbor To Neighbor is hosting a food giveaway on April 6, 2020, sponsored by Feeding America. It will begin at 11:00 AM.
Due to the COVID-19 stay at home mandate, Pioneer is unable to provide physical copies of the Adult Sabbath School Lesson at this time. Both teacher's edition and standard edition are available online for free.
Each year, FLAG Camp seeks enthusiastic, responsible high school and college students to work as counselors, teachers and support staff. If you have a love for children and are committed to setting a wholesome example for our campers, consider joining our team. The application deadline is April 5, 2020. At this time FLAG Camp is still scheduled this summer. Due to the COVID-19 virus, please stay tuned for further updates.
The Board of Elders, under the leadership of Bryan and Becky von Dorpowski, has responded to the immediate spiritual and emotional needs of our oldest Pioneer members. Recognizing many of them will chose to protect themselves from the coronavirus by limiting their time in the wider community and thus missing the weekly fellowship that worship and Sabbath School provided, the elders will be focusing on those Pioneer members in their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s—and will be reaching out by phone to visit with them. (In order to protect the health of our members our elders will not be making home visits at this time.)
If you know of an at-risk member who needs personal attention, please call Claudia Sowler 269.471.3134. The elders are praying these targeted phone calls will bring the ministry of our Good Shepherd Savior to these who have faithfully walked with Him throughout their lives.
During this time of potential boredom and cabin fever, enjoy these fun ideas for spending quality time together as a family.
After the long winter of gray and brown, get outside and look for all the buds, sprouts, and new leaves you can find. Try to identify what each one is. You can use your phone to look on the Internet or use an app like Pl@ntNet to identify leaves. Currently, you can see things like crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lilies, snowdrops, moss, ferns, ramps, and wild chives. It is so nice to be reminded that even when things look bleak, God is still there and recreating!
You can also "adopt a friend" each day or week! Send several encouraging and kind notes to a friend via text, email, Messenger, etc. Let them know you are thinking about them and even praying for them.
Sponsored by the Family Life Committee