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!
In Exile: Cadences of Home
Really, Really Faithful Under Fire
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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
“In Exile: Cadences of Home—
Really, Really Faithful Under Fire”
»Four very short stories
»Four very simple reasons
• #1—Persecution is the expected modus operandi of the devil (“evil”
with a “d”) in his “great controversy” warfare to the divine allies and exiles on earth.
• 2 Timothy 3:12—“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be .”
• #2—Trials and tribulations character and dependency
• John 16:33—“‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have . But take heart! I have the world.’”
• 1 Peter 4:12-13—“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to you [as gold purified in the fire—1:6-7], as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
• #3—Persecution keeps the line of demarcation between the exiles and the culture of the captor .
• Walter Brueggemann: “The great problem for exiles is cultural . The primary threat to those ancient Jews was that members of the community would decide that Jewishness was too demanding, or too dangerous, or too costly, and simply accept Babylonian definitions and modes of reality.” (Cadences of Home: Preaching among Exiles 41)
• Lee Beach: “While integration with culture is necessary, to it in all aspects is not.” (The Church in Exile: Living in Hope After Christendom 89)
• #4—Persecution actually the Kingdom of God on earth!
• Esther 8:17—“And many people of other nationalities became because fear of the Jews had seized them.”
• Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—the king at Daniel’s feet in obeisance to Daniel’s God (Daniel 2:46).
• Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and Nebuchadnezzar’s image—the king their God above all other gods (Daniel 3:29).
• Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar after his insanity—“I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and the King of heaven, because everything he does is right” (Daniel 4:37).
• Daniel and Darius the Great—“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of .” (Daniel 6:26)
• Tertullian: “The blood of Christians is .”
• Frederick Dale Bruner: “In Matthean and biblical teaching the tribulation of the latter days is a Christian experience and ‘runs from the first advent to the second.’ We’re in it! . . . The tribulation of persecution is the essence of Christian . . . . A winnowed, persecuted, purged, minority church—paradoxically,
(Matthew: A Commentary 2:483-484, 292)
• Acts 8:1, 4—“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were throughout Judea and Samaria. . . . Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
• Ellen White: “The two armies [faith communities] will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God’s commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, . . . many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.” (Maranatha 199)
• Jesus: “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute also.”
• Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and .” (Cost of Discipleship 99)
• Frederick Dale Brunner: “Though the church is winnowed down, betrayed, arrested, and martyred, nevertheless, like the betrayed, arrested, and executed Jesus himself, it experiences resurrection after crucifixion. The slaughtered lamb becomes a lion!” (492)
If persecution grows the Kingdom—
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.