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!
The Heart Series
Bring Your Heart to Life
DVDsTo purchase a DVD of this sermon please visit our online shopping cart. Proceeds go to support the New Perceptions media ministry.
Buy DVD Online Buy series
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
"Bring Your Heart to Life"
- The Dream
- The Promise
- Romans 5:5—God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
- Christian Wiman: "In any true love—a mother's for her child, a husband's for his wife, a friend's for a friend—there is an excess energy that always wants to be in motion. Moreover, it seems to move not simply from one person to another but through them, toward something else. . . . This is why we can be so baffled and overwhelmed by such love (and I don't mean merely when we fall in love; in fact, I'm talking more of other, more durable relationships): it wants to be more than it is; it cries out inside of us to make it more than it is. And what it is crying out for, finally, is its essence and origin: God. Love, which awakens our souls and to which we cling like the splendid mortal creatures that we are, asks us to let it go, to let it be more than it is if it is only us. To manage this highest form of loving does not mean that we will be showered with earthly delights or somehow be spared awful human suffering. But for as long as we can live in this sacred space of receiving and releasing, and can learn to speak and be love's fluency, then the greater love that is God brings a continuous and enlarging air into our existence." (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer 23-24)
- Spence Reece: "All I know now / is the more he loved me the more I loved the world." (23)
- Philip Yancey: "When she enters a room Susan assumes that, bidden or not, God is already present. 'We love because he first loved us,' she says, quoting John, 'and I picture God pouring his pitcher into me so that I can pour out to others, and then be replenished with God's love. I enter with a smile, feeling privileged to share the sacred ground on which someone clings to life. If I forget that God goes ahead of me, and think instead that I am bringing God into the room, I can have an air of smugness. I feel pressure to say the right thing, try to impress the patient and staff—in short, I take myself too seriously. I need the constant reminder that God precedes me in that room, and that the person in the bed has a story I can learn from." (Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? 66-67)
- "What is a saint? I like Reynolds Price's definition: someone who, however flawed, 'leads us by example, almost never by words, to imagine the hardest thing of all: the seamless love of God for all creation, including ourselves.'" (Yancey 71)
- Duncan Hamilton: "Amid the myriad moral dilemmas in Weihsien, [Eric] Liddell's forbearance was remarkable. No one could ever recall a single act of envy, pettiness, hubris, or self-aggrandizement from him. He bad-mouthed nobody. He didn't bicker. He lived daily by the most unselfish credo, which was to help others practically and emotionally. Liddell became the camp's conscience without ever being pious, sanctimonious, or judgmental. He forced his religion on no one. He didn't expect others to share his beliefs, let alone live up to them. . . . 'You came away from his meetings as if you'd been given a dose of goodness,' said a member of the camp congregation. 'Everyone regarded him as a friend,' said another, giving voice to that unanimous verdict." (For the Glory: The Untold and Inspiring Story of Eric Liddell, Hero of Chariots of Fire 8-9)
- The Strategy
- #1—Ask to be filled (in the morning).
- Ellen White: "Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love." (Steps to Christ 94)
- Romans 5:8—"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us."
- Picture the cross in your mind, kneel there, ask to be filled with God's love.
- #2—Ask to be unfilled (through the day).
- Next Steps on your Connect Card
- #1—Ask to be filled (in the morning).
"Ask to be filled—and then unfilled"
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.