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!
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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
“Charmed into Righteousness: The Truest Friend”
Reinhold Niebuhr: "On the whole, people do not achieve great moral heights out of a sense of duty. You may be able to compel them to maintain certain minimum standards by stressing duty, but the highest moral and spiritual achievements depend not upon a push but upon a pull. People must be charmed into righteousness.” (Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic 75)
Ellen White: "You cannot but be charmed with the matchless attractions of the Son of God." (Christian Education 76)
- Romans 5:6-8, 10
- The Timeline of the Good News
- God loved us and Christ died for us:
- “While we were still .” (v 6)
- “While we were still .” (v 8)
- “While we were still ” (v 10)
- Three timelines, one truth: God us we were lovable.
- Walt Mueller: “. . . for digital natives living out their lives in the online world, the identity options from which to choose are virtually limitless. Kids [and adults] are able to perform through a growing multitude of social media sites by choosing the words they post (true and false), and by posing and photo-shopping themselves into images that don’t come close to who they really are. As media critic Quentin Schultze has observed, ‘The digital world suffocates virtue by allowing us unbridled freedom to be all things to all people . . . to give ourselves over to the highest bidder or to the most persuasive master’” (YouthWorker Journal Jan/Feb 2015 pp 16-17).
- Michael Horton: Psychiatrist Keith Ablow warns of “‘the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults [and not so young adults], particularly as it regards turning them into faux [false] celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories. . . . On Facebook, young [and not so young] people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. . . . Using Twitter, young [and not so young] people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame’” (or-di-nar-y: Sustainable faith in a radical, restless world 60).
- The Father loved us and Christ died for us we could spiritually photoshop ourselves into an acceptable, attractive state.
- Ezekiel 16:4-10, 15, 22
- Romans 3:10-18
- God loved us and Christ died for us:
- The Truth of the Good News
- Desmond Ford: “With the gospel, it’s the opposite. It must be true because it’s so good! The word ‘God’ is just a contraction of the word ‘good.’ The word ‘devil’ is just an expansion of the word ‘evil.’ God is good, ‘gooder’ than we could ever think, just as we are ‘worser’ than we ever thought. You have to keep the two at equipoise. God is better than we ever considered. We’re worse than we ever suspected.” (Right With God Right Now 83)
- John Peckham: “Scripture presents God as affectionate and loving, devotedly interested and intimately concerned about humans, affected by the world in feeling joy and delight in goodness, yet sorrow, passion and intense anger at evil, alongside profound compassion and the desire to redeem humans. While none can overpower God, he is affected by worldly events because he has willingly opened himself up to reciprocal love relationship with creatures. . . . God enjoys and is deeply affected by reciprocal (though asymmetrical) relationship with humans” (The Love of God: A Canonical Model 189).
- Romans 5:10 TEV: “We were God’s enemies, but he made us his through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s , how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life!”
- John 15:13, 14—“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s . You are my if you do what I command.
- Steps to Christ 100: “The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.”
- p 74—[Jesus is our] “ and Saviour still.”
- p 78—“. . . what a friend [we have] found in Jesus . . .”
- p 93—“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a .”
- p 103—“He [God the Father] is [our] friend.”
- p 122—“Jesus is our .”
- May 24, 1905 letter: “My dear child Mabel—O that we all realized that true happiness is found in taking Christ as our and friend. . . . He loves you and will be your .” (Letter 147 1905)
- Adventist Home 204—“[Jesus] knows the burdens of every mother’s heart and is her friend. . . . He is woman’s friend today and is ready to aid her in all the relations of life.”
- Mind, Character and Personality 2:491 (in a letter to an aged Christian)—“Just rest in [Jesus’] arms and know He is your Savior and your Friend, and He will never leave you or forsake you.”
- How to grow this friendship through prayer: https://www.pmchurch.tv/newwaytopray
“Best Friends Forever and Ever”
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).
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.
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
We are looking for teams of volunteers that can help people who are more vulnerable in our community to run errands such as picking up groceries and medicine. We're also asking for volunteers to make calls and pray for our members and community.
Community and gathering in some form remains vital. We have asked Grow Groups of more than ten people to start meeting online. For Grow Groups of less than ten people, we're asking them to practice safe social distancing of at least six feet—as per the CDC.