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!
Gone to the Birds
Lessons from the Divine Ornithologist - Part 3
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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
"Gone to the Birds: Lessons from the Divine Ornithologist"—3
- Matthew 23:37
- Jesus: "How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not."
- Craig Keener: "Jewish tradition claimed that Jewish people were under God's wings, and when a Jewish person converted a Gentile, he or she brought that Gentile 'under the wings of God's presence.'" (The IVP Bible Background Commentary 111)
- "No more poignant or tender expression of solicitude ever came from the lips of Jesus." (SDABC 5:493)
- Desire of Ages: "Divine pity marked the countenance of the Son of God as He cast one lingering look upon the temple and then upon His hearers. In a voice choked by deep anguish of heart and bitter tears He exclaimed, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!' This is the separation struggle. In the lamentation of Christ the very heart of God is pouring itself forth. It is the mysterious farewell of the long-suffering love of the Deity." (620)
- Psalm 91
- KJV (vv1-2)—"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High [Elyon] shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty [Shaddai]. I will say of the LORD [Yahweh], He is my refuge and my fortress: my God [Elohim]; in him will I trust."
- Ellen White: "God's commandment-keeping people stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence." (8T 120)
- Psalm 124:7—"We have escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped."
- NET Bible dictionary: "FOWLER: A professional birdcatcher. In the days previous to firearms, birds were captured with nets spread on the ground, in traps and snares. . . . or the use of the throw-stick (Ecclesiasticus 11:30). This was a stick 1 1/2 feet in length and 1/2 inches in diameter, hurled with a rotary motion at the legs of the birds and was very effective when thrown into flocks of ground birds, such as partridge or quail, especially if the birds were running up hill." (http://classic.net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=FOWLER)
- Ecclesiastes 9:12—"Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them."
- Patriarchs and Prophets: "The great mass of the world will reject God's mercy, and will be overwhelmed in swift and irretrievable ruin. But those who heed the warning shall dwell 'in the secret place of the Most High,' and 'abide under the shadow of the Almighty.'" (167)
- Psalm 91:4—"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge."
- Psalm 17:8-9—"Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me."
- Psalm 57:1—"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by."
- Psalm 91:11—the line Satan left out—"He will guard you in all your ways."
- Memorize Psalm 91—
- "Let the more important passages of Scripture [e.g., Psalm 91] . . . be committed to memory, not as a task, but as a privilege. Though at first the memory may be defective, it will gain strength by exercise . . ." (CG 511)
- According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol 287, No 6, p 742), the National Institute of Aging found that "adults who regularly participate in intellectually stimulating activities [such as memorization] may reduce their risk of developing dementia such as Alzheimer's disease by as much as 47%."
"Under His wings I am safely abiding"
William Orcutt Cushing
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.
Each year, FLAG Camp seeks enthusiastic, responsible high school and college students to work as counselors, teachers and support staff. If you have a love for children and are committed to setting a wholesome example for our campers, consider joining our team. The application deadline is April 5, 2020. At this time FLAG Camp is still scheduled this summer. Due to the COVID-19 virus, please stay tuned for further updates.
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.