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!
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.
“Don’t Cry for Me”
□ Hebrews 5:7
Anne Lamott: “There are three things I cannot change: the , the
, and .” (Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential
- But can prayers and tears change ?
Hebrew 5:7—Jesus “offered up prayers and petitions with fervent
to the one who could save him from death, and he was .”
“Abba, Father—everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet
not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)
C. S. Lewis: “It is clear from many of His sayings that Our Lord had long
foreseen His death. He knew what conduct such as His, in a world such as we have made of this, must inevitably lead to. But it is clear that this knowledge must somehow have been withdrawn from Him before He prayed in Gethsemane. He could not, with whatever reservation about the Father’s will, have prayed that the cup might pass and simultaneously known that it would not. That is both a logical and a psychological impossibility.” (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer 42)
- But the prayer of Christ did not the mind of God.
□ Hebrews 5:8
- “He learned from what He suffered.”
- Philippians 2:8—“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming to death—even death on a cross!”
- “Submission to the will of God is the great secret of prayer.”
- “The Majesty of heaven, while engaged in His earthly ministry, prayed much to His Father. He was frequently bowed all night in prayer. . . .The dew and frost of night fell upon His head bowed in prayer. His example is left for His followers. . . . Jesus could heal the sick and raise the dead. He was Himself a source of blessing and strength. He commanded even the tempests, and they obeyed Him. He was unsullied with corruption, a stranger to sin; yet He prayed, and that with strong crying and tears.” (2T 508)
- Rabbi Yehudah: “All human things depend on repentance and the prayers which men make to the holy blessed God; especially if tears be poured out with the prayers. There is no gate which will not pass through.”
- Tears don’t change God’s mind—they change my .
- Desire of Ages: “Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. . . .The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life.” (690,693)
- Philip Yancey: “A person prays, said Augustine, ‘that he himself may be , not that God may be instructed.’ I examine my own erratic prayer life and see it as a time when God has indeed worked to lop off the protuberances and smooth the rough edges. I see defeats and victories both. Like a child who quits badgering a parent, I have sometimes found that I get an answer to my persistent request after I have learned to do without it. The answer then comes as a surprise, an unexpected gift of grace. I seek the gift, find instead the , and eventually come away with the gift I no longer seek.” (Prayer: Does It Really Matter? 154)
He washed my eyes with tears that I might see, The broken heart I had was good for me;
He tore it all apart and looked inside,
He found it full of fear and foolish pride.
He swept away the things that made me blind And then I saw the clouds were silver lined; And now I understand 'twas best for me
He washed my eyes with tears that I might see.
“I will do a new thing. . . . I will pour water on those who are thirsty and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.” (Isaiah 43:19/44:3)
Prayer doesn’t change God’s mind— it changes mine.
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).
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.
Over the summer and fall of 2019 Pioneer underwent significant physical renovation—including a new roof and a major Sanctuary makeover. During the same time congregation leaders engaged in multiple conversations about our missional renovation—how does a faith community like Pioneer seriously engage and impact the people around us for Christ? From this dialogue emerged a fresh new expression of our Pioneer mission: "Love on the Move."