Pacific Union “All God’s People,” June 1, 2018 Episode 202

“MARCH MADNESS” REVIVAL HOSTED AT LONG BEACH CHURCH

The powerful symbol of baptism accompanies growth and revitalization in Long Beach, as the Philadelphian Church demonstrates how to make creative evangelism real. Working closely with the Breath of Life Television Ministry and Dr. Carlton Byrd—the Long Beach Philadelphian Church hosted a two-week revival titled “March Madness.” During the 10 meetings, 290 first-time visitors, and 41 individuals were welcomed into the church through Baptism.

Find out what’s happening the Philadelphian Church: http://phillysda.org/

Read more about this story at: https://scc.adventist.org/stories/philadelphian-church-evangelistic-revival-models-transformation

Learn more about Breath of Life Television Ministries at: http://breathoflife.tv/who-we-are/

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LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CREATIVE EVANGELISM FUND

Funding for special evangelistic outreach, such as the “March Madness” revival, is provided from the Creative Evangelism Fund of the Pacific Union Conference—one of the most important and dynamic ways in which churches can take on projects for growth and innovation. Developed in 1998, the Creative Evangelism fund has helped to channel millions of dollars into Evangelistic projects that are creative, innovative, and effective.

Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham states that the funds are used for projects that—

Show a high level of member involvement
Are both measurable and sustainable
Model concepts that can be used by other congregations
And—have solid local funding support.

The Lord has blessed the efforts to manage and grow the fund, and it now has an endowment approaching $15 million dollars. Last year this translated into over $900,000 dollars in available funds that were allocated to the various church and conference projects.

Learn more about this fund at: http://adventistfaith.com/evangelism-endowment/

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Remember—that promise is made in the context of the calling that each of us is given to be evangelists and witnesses to the Gospel found in Matthew 28:19-20:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20, KJV

2019-04-30T20:26:04-07:00May 30th, 2018|All Gods People|

Fear

By Mark Witas

When my wife and I were first married, we only had one car, a little grey Honda Civic. We worked at a boarding academy where the administration/classroom building was about a quarter mile from the dorm. I was at the dorm and needed to get to the ad building, so I called my wife and asked her to come from her classroom to pick me up.

The car rolled into the circle in front of the dorm. I bounced down the stairs, jumped into the front seat, and leaned in hard to give my wife a kiss on the lips. I got inches away from kissing her when I heard a scream and noticed that the person in my car wasn’t my wife—it was a 17-year-old senior student named Koreen. I almost landed in a catastrophe, all because of mistaken identity.

There is a parable in Matthew 25 that has, at the heart of it, a case of mistaken identity.  In the parable a rich man leaves on a trip and puts some of his servants in charge of his money. He gives one servant five talents, one servant two talents, and one servant just one talent. Then he leaves.

When he gets back, he discovers that the man to whom he had given five talents had doubled his investment. Same for the man who had been given two talents. The parable takes a turn though with the man who had been given only one talent. Here’s what the text says this man did: “‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you’” (Matt. 25:24-25, NIV).

The master doesn’t react well to this news, and bad things happen to the man who buried the talent.

I’ve got a couple of questions for you: What was the root of the lazy servant’s problem? What made him act the way he did with the Master’s talent?

Look back on verse 25.  “ I was afraid, so I . . .”

The Bible says that there will be a bunch of people who are afraid at the end of time. It says in Revelation 6:16 “They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’”

What is a lamb? It’s a baby sheep. The people screaming for the rocks to fall on them at the end of time are terrified of the wrath of the baby sheep! When was the last time you saw a baby sheep and ran for your life? It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it?

It was this same kind of fear that caused the servant in the Bible to bury his talent instead of investing it for the Master while he was away. I’ve got a question for you about the servant who received the one talent: What was he afraid of? Maybe I should rephrase that: Who was he afraid of?

He was afraid of the Master wasn’t he? Why? Why is it that people are going to be afraid of God when He comes back to bring them home? How could anyone be afraid of God?

Acts 1:11 poses this question: “Men of Galilee,… why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Jesus the healer, Jesus the merciful, Jesus the gentle, Jesus the one who welcomed children into His arms, Jesus who dined with sinners like you and me and enjoyed Himself in our company—this same Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Why would anyone be afraid of Him?

Evidently, some people will be terrified of the Lamb. Why? I suppose it’s because they don’t know Him. They think He’s someone else. They’ve bought into the lie that the devil has planted in all of our hearts. They are convinced that He has some sort of sinister side to Him that is going to rear its ugly head and keep them out of heaven in the end on some sort of technicality. So, instead of having a church full of people rejoicing with the Lamb, we end up with a church full of people wondering if they’ve been good enough to get to heaven.

Somehow people have gotten a picture of God that would cause them to run away from God in fear instead of running into His open arms. Jesus knew this. He knew the burden of man. And as a response He gave anyone who would listen this invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

When you are in Christ there is no condemnation for you. No wrathful Lamb, no angry God, just rest. Rest from fear. Rest in the assurance that His love is enough.

Mark Witas is lead teaching pastor at Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, California.

2018-05-25T20:45:18-07:00May 25th, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” May 25, 2018 Episode 201

VOLUNTEERS REMODEL CHURCH IN FALLON, NEVADA

In Fallon, Nevada, a small Adventist church received a much-needed makeover from Build and Restore International. This non-profit organization, based in Sacramento, takes volunteers on short-term mission projects in communities around the world. At the end of March, they took a group of 35 dedicated volunteers, mostly young people, to the town of Fallon where they completely restored the outside (and much of the inside) of the Fallon Adventist Church. The group used 4,000 staples, 40 gallons of primer and 80 gallons of paint during the remodel, and accomplished a long list of tasks that included pressure washing the outside of the church; painting the inside and outside of the church; repairing water-damaged walls; replacing carpet in the sanctuary; and remodeling the front of the sanctuary. This was truly an “extreme makeover” – church edition!

A huge thank you to Build and Restore International!

See more photos of the church remodel at: https://www.facebook.com/buildandrestoreInt/photos/pcb.567133533651243/567132160318047/?type=3

Learn more about Build and Restore at: https://www.buildandrestore.org/

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DR. BAILEY GILLESPIE PASSES AWAY

It is with great sadness that we report that Dr. V. Bailey Gillespie, longtime Adventist educator, and theologian, passed to his rest on May 7. Dr. Gillespie is known for spearheading the Valuegenesis research project, a landmark study of students in grades 6-12 enrolled in Adventist schools. He wrote or edited more than 30 books and hundreds of articles. He also founded the John Hancock Center for Youth and Family Ministry at La Sierra University. A memorial service for Dr. Gillespie was held on May 19 at the La Sierra University Church.

Watch the Memorial Service for Dr. Bailey Gillespie:

Watch an interview with Bailey Gillespie about the Valuegenesis Project at:

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HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY

This next Monday is Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May. This day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. In a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, Congress requested the president to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as “a day of prayer for permanent peace.”

Dozens of our churches around the Pacific Union on Sabbath will pay tribute to our fallen heroes, recognizing the liberties and freedoms we enjoy, and remembering the brave men and women who have given their lives for our country. At the same time, Memorial Day is an opportunity to focus on Jesus Christ, who laid down His life to secure a freedom which transcends any earthly freedom.

This time of the year affects everyone differently. Maybe you serve our country now or you used to, maybe you have family members or friends involved in serving, or maybe you just get a three day weekend. However Memorial Day affects you personally, be encouraged to reflect on those who have served us, and most of all, on the One who has given us everything.

Read more about the history of Memorial Day at: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history

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A few texts for All God’s People this Memorial Day and every day:

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

2018-05-25T02:27:30-07:00May 25th, 2018|All Gods People|

A Good Race

By Becky De Oliveira

I ran my first marathon in 2013 when I was 41. The runners were of all shapes and sizes. All ages. All ethnicities. Some looked super marathon-ready, like they’d been training all their lives. Indeed, one Australian participant was in the midst of his bid for a world record—aiming to run 160 marathons in a single year. He had run the Indianapolis marathon the day before and was dressed—appropriately, I thought—as Superman. There were people who, frankly, seemed too fat to run, and I found myself surprised over and over again by how many people are strong enough to do more than you might think them capable. Some participants appeared elderly and very frail. “How are so many people runners?” I thought.

I hung out at the finish line for a few minutes after I’d crossed it myself. A man I’d run with for several miles—from around mile 11 to mile 15—was standing there too, wrapped in an aluminum blanket, waiting for his brother-in-law and his father to finish. This was his 19th marathon, and he’d done all kinds of crazy runs—including a race that required participants to run up a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado and then back down. One of his goals, he told me, was to run the world’s “hottest” marathon, which takes place in a California desert at three o’clock in the afternoon when the temperature is something like 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “I just might have to check that one off,” he mused while I found myself thinking exactly the opposite. If I were to check it off, it would be off a list of things I have momentarily considered and decided that I will never do: Methamphetamine. Karaoke. Scuba diving. We congratulated each other, exchanged names for the first time. And then we just stood there, watching runners cross the finish line, watching the race director give each one a hug and sometimes a slap on the back.

The runners crossed the finish line in all kinds of states—and I got an even clearer sense of the variation in finishes from scrolling through the hundreds of photos posted to the race’s Facebook page. Some runners almost collapsed from exhaustion, others burst into tears. Some jogged across the line with big smiles on their faces as if they’d merely run from a nearby corner café. One man carried a large American flag across the finish line. A number of participants were pushing children in strollers or disabled people in wheelchairs. There were two stilt-walkers who completed an entire marathon precariously balanced high above the ground—one of them dressed as a scarecrow. What was apparent was that it did not matter at all how you finished—it only mattered that you finished. The race director hugged you just as hard if you managed the whole thing in less than three hours or if it took six or seven. You got a hug and medal even if you’d hit the wall and were incredibly grumpy and uncommunicative. People cheered for those who were fat and limping, those with ugly sweat stains under their armpits, those dressed in unattractive workout gear. If you were wearing a dumb-looking hat, people cheered. If your thighs jiggled. If you were clearly anorexic. The positivity throughout the race—from both the spectators and participants—was inspiring. People called each other “runner,” and delivered random supportive comments whenever the mood struck them. “Looking good, runner,” they’d say—often to a runner who was not looking particularly good at all. How this lifts the spirit!

It’s hard to describe the love I had for all of humanity as I stood there. Humanity in all its shapes and sizes and states. Some of them—from a purely objective point of view—much better than others. But each one of them moving exactly according to the way God designed them. Each one beautiful and loved. Each one perfect in this moment. Each one perfect in all the moments to come. I could have stayed all day and simply stared at them the way you stare at any of the elements (fire, water), but I knew that my husband and two sons were waiting in a nearby fast food parking lot to throw their arms around me and admire my medal. We would find a Thai restaurant and each order something different and taste each other’s dishes. My legs would stiffen in the car on the way home, but we’d light a fire and my son Joshua would beat me at Scrabble and then I would stretch out on the sofa and watch the flames and read a book for the rest of the evening. In the morning, I’d take a stroll and look for my friend Steve. “How’d you do?” he’d ask, and I’d tell him that I did awesome. Like I always do. Like people always do.

I said goodbye to my marathon friend and wished him well for the future. “Take care,” he said. “Keep running.” You can count on that, I thought as I made my way, limping slightly on my sore left knee through a maze of bananas and bagels and vats of chili donated by Wendy’s, and containers of frozen custard from Culver’s. Booths selling shirts and charms and bumper stickers and protein powder. People hugging and bouncing up and down and taking photographs.

Becky De Oliveira is a teacher, writer, and graphic designer working on special projects for the Pacific Union Conference from her home in Colorado.

2018-05-18T18:19:33-07:00May 18th, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” May 18, 2018 Episode 049

180 DEGREE SYMPOSIUM FOR RELEVANT YOUTH EVANGELISM HOSTED AT LA SIERRA UNIVERSITY

Youth ministry professionals, pastors, students, and academics gathered recently for the 10th annual “180 Degree” symposium hosted this year at La Sierra University.

The symposium, hosted by Andrews University since 2008, started as a way to address current issues in Adventist youth ministries. This year’s theme “REACH OUT! Relevant Youth Evangelism” brought leaders together to discuss research, trends, and best practices for youth ministry and youth evangelism.

Effective ministry engages every believer and every gift. Each one of us have a personal experience that can be used by our Lord to bring hope and salvation to others, and this symposium is just one of many ways that leaders are honing into these gifts across the Pacific Southwest.

Learn more about the 180 Degree Symposium at: https://www.cye.org/ministries/180-symposium

Find out what’s happening on the La Sierra campus at: https://lasierra.edu/

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV).

With these words, Jesus summarized the way in which the actions of all God’s people will be viewed by the world around us. And as we minister in this work in his name, Jesus will surely bless us.

2018-05-17T17:40:37-07:00May 17th, 2018|All Gods People|

God’s Little Children

By E. Preston Smith

It is not enough to be called a child of God, because mature people often feel no need of their parents’ care. They feel that they can care for themselves.

Jesus said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3, KJV). Little children are totally dependent on their parents for all things.

Total dependence on God is our lifelong need.  No matter how old we are, we cannot be victorious Christians unless we are totally dependent on Jesus. In Hebrews 12:2, we are reminded that constantly looking to Jesus is essential all through our lives because Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith.” Paul writes, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be presented blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

I am learning about little children by watching the development of my great-granddaughter, who is an infant just learning to crawl and stand up. As she crawls, she puts her baby hands on everything she can reach and examines it. The baby has no idea of danger and must be constantly watched while she is free so that she does not hurt herself. The watchful care of her parents or grandparent is essential to her wellbeing and happiness. In like manner, every Christian needs to realize that, no matter how old we are, we are in constant need of Jesus and His strength and protective care.

Peter had to learn this lesson the hard way. When he walked on water as Jesus was doing, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus, who was watching him, pulled him to safety. Peter had not yet learned his lesson, for some time later, at the trial of Jesus, he denied his Lord even though Jesus had warned him of his weakness.  At the very moment of his denial of Jesus, he looked at Jesus on trial and Jesus looked at him. The Bible says that then he remembered the warning of Jesus and his unbelief of Jesus’ word.  At Jesus’ look of compassion, he remembered, and he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus forgave him. After His resurrection, the Lord took a walk with Peter and spoke of Peter’s death in the future.  Again, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the disciple John and asked Jesus about John’s future.  Jesus did not tell Peter what would happen to John; instead He reminded Peter to follow Him and keep his eyes on Jesus.

This is our own great need also.  Looking unto Jesus, “the Author and Finisher of our faith.”

E. Preston Smith is a retired pastor who worked in Northern California for 20 years.

2018-05-10T16:38:24-07:00May 11th, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” May 11, 2018 Episode 048

NEVADA-UTAH CONFERENCE HOSTS 34TH CONSTITUENCY SESSION
Members of the Nevada-Utah Conference gathered for their 34th Quadrennial Constituency Session last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. Delegates voted Leon B. Brown, Sr. as president,
Karen Schneider as treasurer, and Carlos Camacho as executive secretary. The Hispanic ministries coordinator, Benjamin Carballo, and Regional ministries coordinator, Oneil Madden, were also voted in. The meeting ended with recognition of the spouses of the administrators, and a prayer over the leaders.

Know much about the Nevada-Utah Conference? Here are some fun facts about the region:

In terms of geography, the Nevada-Utah Conference is the largest of the seven conferences in the Pacific Union.
Both Nevada and Utah make it to the list of top ten for earthquake activity.
Between the two states, they have 8 National Parks.
Utah has the world’s largest natural-rock span. (Rainbow Bridge)
There are an estimated 30K wild horses in Nevada.
#ImagineThat

Read the news release at: https://www.facebook.com/NUCAdventist/posts/1961538700587199

See photos of the Constituency Session at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/NUCAdventist/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1961597620581307

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HMS RICHARDS DIVINITY SCHOOL RECEIVES 10-YEAR REAFFIRMATION OF ACCREDITATION
La Sierra recently announced that their H.M.S. Richards Divinity School received notification that it has been awarded a reaffirmation of its accreditation. One of the major schools on the campus of La Sierra University, the HMS Richards Divinity School prepares students for pathways of service in ministry and religious education, as well as offering advanced study in theology. The school is one of only two Adventist schools in North America to receive this accreditation. “This is truly a significant opportunity and moment for La Sierra,” said Dr. Randal Wisbey, president of La Sierra University.

Read more about the 10-year accreditation at: https://lasierra.edu/article/hms-richards-divinity-school-receives-10-year-re-accreditation/

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RECORDER PUBLISHES BIBLICAL STUDY BY DR. KENDRA HALOVIAK VALENTINE
Did you receive your Recorder in the mail the mail this week? Don’t you love that picture on the cover of four generations of Adventist women?

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend, and the Recorder has several inspiring articles about Mothers, the importance of generations within our community of believers, and a wonderful Biblical study about the biblical character named Rachel—the beloved wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph. The study was written by Dr. Kendra Haloviak Valentine, and is in the May issue of the Pacific Union Recorder.

Read the full May issue at: https://issuu.com/pacificunionrecorder/docs/0518_recorder

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ADVENTIST HEALTH CELEBRATES NURSES WEEK WITH VIDEO
This week is Nurses Week, and for Adventist Health, it is an annual opportunity to express gratitude to the professionals who comprise their largest group of employees. Adventist Health celebrated their ministry with a special video—a message for nurses and all of us. Nurses Week coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the visionary woman who founded modern nursing. “The Lady with the Lamp” had responded to what she felt was the call of God to service at just 17, and spent her life responding to the compassionate ministry of Christ, who she viewed as the founder of her profession.

Watch the nurse appreciation video at: https://vimeo.com/268805352

Learn more about Florence Nightingale at: https://www.biography.com/people/florence-nightingale-9423539

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More news from around the Pacific Union:

-President Jim Pederson Announces Retirement from Northern California Conference-
Elder Jim Pedersen, President of the Northern California Conference, has announced his retirement effective July 31, 2018. He was voted as President on December 14, 2005. The constituency to elect a new president is scheduled for September 30, 2018. To read more, visit http://www.nccsda.com/article/600/departments/administration/northern-california-conference-jim-pedersen-announces-retirement

-Dr. V Bailey Gillespie Passes Away-
Dr. V. Bailey Gillespie, 75, passed to his rest on Monday, May 7, after a two-year battle with liver cancer. Dr. Gillespie was a member of the faculty of La Sierra University since 1981, and as associate dean of La Sierra’s HMS Richards Divinity School from 2015-17

-Alberto Ingleton to Join Pacific Union as Hispanic Coordinator-
Alberto Ingleton has been elected to be the Pacific Union Conference Hispanic Coordinator, replacing Jorge Soria. Since 2007, Elder Ingleton has been the Hispanic Ministries Coordinator in the Southeastern California Conference. He will take up these responsibilities on September 1, 2018. Elder Jorge Soria was elected in March to the position of Vice President for the Pacific Union Conference.

2018-05-10T19:23:59-07:00May 10th, 2018|All Gods People|

Between Loving and Loss

By Ray Tetz

There’s an odd story in the book of Second Kings. It tells of a wealthy woman who notices the needs of the itinerant prophet Elisha and generously shares what she has with him.   She and her husband have a little rooftop room made for him, with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. It is a simple place for a holy man—a retreat. Whenever Elisha travels through her town, he stays there.

One day, motivated by gratitude, Elisha wonders how he can bless the woman, just as she has blessed him. He quizzes his servant Gehazi about her and is told that there is nothing she claims to need, nothing she wants. Gehazi points out, however, that she has no child and that her husband is already old.

Elisha summons the woman and she stands in the doorway of his room. “About this time next year,” Elisha says, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord,” she objects. “Don’t tease me.”

Perhaps we are supposed to infer that she is somehow less than complete without a son, but it doesn’t seem to be her focus—she truly seems content the way she is. She is happy with her circumstances. She has found ways to be generous with her life and to make meaning.  She has created a physical space for Elisha, and perhaps we should see that as a symbol of her willingness to create space for God. Perhaps the whole story can be read as a sort of parable.  Through Elisha’s intervention, God blesses her, just as she blessed Elijah.  Spiritual quid pro quo.

Sure enough, the woman becomes pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gives birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her she would. Life is getting filled up, in unexpected ways. In good ways. Happy ways. Bouncing bundle of joy ways.

The boy grows up, and is loved by his mother, and loves to be with his father.  Elisha is kind of a godfather to the child. Life is getting filled up, in good ways, expected ways.  “Aren’t you getting tall?” ways.

And then the tragedy strikes. The scriptural account is so plain, so ordinary: “The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, ‘My head! My head!’ His father told a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’  After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died” (2 Kings 4: 18–20, NIV).

There is no hint of this story being anything but real; there is no allegory here, no stylized parable of good and evil. Every parent can easily imagine the scene. While some might be paralyzed with grief or sadness or anger, this is a woman of purpose. She is galvanized. The story continues:

“She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out. She called her husband and said, ‘Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.’  ‘Why go to him today?’ he asked. ‘It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.’ ‘That’s all right,’ she said. She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, ‘Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.’  So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, “Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?”’ ‘Everything is all right,’ she said” (verses 21–26).

Of course, nothing is all right. Her son is dead. Her heart is broken. But she is not without God. This is her epiphany: that God is in every moment, even those moments that are battered and crushed and all but destroyed by sadness. It’s a paradox: sorrow and disappointment matched by hope and an unexpected confidence—the sense that even in this adversity God will be generous in His mercy and provision for her.

This is our epiphany: that God holds the universe in His hands with unbounded love and mercy. That our complex lives are always in His care. That, yes, actually, everything is all right.

A mother’s sorrow bubbles over when she finally reaches Elisha: “When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me why.’ ‘Did I ask you for a son, my lord?’ she said. ‘Didn’t I tell you, “Don’t raise my hopes”?’” (verses 27–28).

The prophet acts—which is, of course, exactly what the prophet is supposed to do: “When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD. Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, ‘Call the Shunammite.’ And he did. When she came, he said, ‘Take your son.’  She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out” (verses 32–37).

The woman did not give up. She lived with the tension between great sadness and great faith. Elisha did not give up. He lived in the tension between what he had thought would bring blessing and hope and the cruel reality of a world that pushes in and fills us up. The child was innocent—his whole life before him. His head hurt and he rested in his mother’s arms. He was asleep, and cold. He woke with a great sneeze, surprised to see his godfather standing nearby.

We live in tension between loving and loss, between being energized to act and paralyzed by loss or fear. But we live here. This is our time, our place, our journey. Angels quake to hear our stories.  God bends His ear low to hear our prayers. Ours are only ordinary moments—but nonetheless filled with the potential for extraordinary life.

Ray Tetz is director of communication and community engagement for the Pacific Union Conference.

2018-05-05T16:03:50-07:00May 5th, 2018|Blog|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” May 4, 2018 Episode 047

SIMI VALLEY AND SCC HOST 6TH ANNUAL WOMEN’S DAY

A group of committed Christian women came together from across their community last Sabbath to spend a day together focusing on worship, praise, and prayer. For the last six years, the Simi Valley Adventist Church has sponsored an annual Women’s Day event. This year, in partnership with the Southern California Conference Prayer Ministries Dept. and the Pacific Union, women from different faiths and walks of life gathered at the West Building of the Union’s office for a day to enjoy fellowship and share their faith.

Janet Lui, the main speaker and SCC prayer ministry coordinator, shared a message titled, “Prayer is the Key!” Lui, together with Jan White, pastor of nurture and discipleship at the Simi Valley church, Becky Stroub, and a team of volunteers worked hard to make the day special. From the floral arrangements, vegetarian cuisine, and spirit-filled speakers, to the praise music and presentations, this ministry event has become a wonderful respite for women in the Pacific Southwest.

Watch for more news about Women’s Ministry events at http://www.simiadventist.org and also at http://www.scc.adventist.org.

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“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend….Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” -Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ

Our prayer for All God’s People—particularly for the sisters in communities and churches across the Pacific Southwest—is that through the ministry of women like these, your soul will be nourished, and that you will know Jesus as your personal Savior and Friend.

2018-05-02T21:21:25-07:00May 2nd, 2018|All Gods People|