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—
Please mark Sabbath, October 3 (9:00/11:45 AM), for a joyful celebration of the Lord's Supper as a worshiping community. While we will participate with actual emblems of bread and wine, because of the pandemic the elements will be prepackaged for your safety. These packaged elements will be available for your pickup at the church office the week before (Monday, September 28 through Sabbath, October 3). On-site worshipers will receive the packaged communion elements upon arriving for worship Sabbath morning.
But how will we celebrate foot washing? We're inviting every worshiper and family to experience Jesus' example in John 13 by washing each other's feet that Friday evening where you live. If you would like someone with whom to share this foot washing, you may either invite a friend to join you or please call Claudia Sowler (269-471-3134) for arrangements. Why not make this foot washing a part of your Friday evening worship as we gather across this community to welcome the Lord of the Sabbath into our homes at sundown?
Then Sabbath morning through music, prayer, the reading, and preaching of the Word ("American Apocalypse: How to Train Your Dragon—By the Blood of the Lamb") let's throw wide our hearts to the Christ we love to worship. "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19).
The 4th Quarter Lesson Study Guides are ready for you to pick up at the church office during regular business hours.
Pioneer's Bible Journey Sabbath School class will be using the Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Study Guide) next quarter, beginning October 3. If you have always wanted to read this book, which has changed so many lives, you are welcome to
join us by Zoom. The class meets each Sabbath from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The 270-page study guide, which is conveniently divided into 12 weekly lessons, can be purchased at Amazon.com for $15.99. For more information and to receive the Zoom link each week, please contact Jane Thayer at email@example.com.
Are you friendly and do you enjoy social media? Then, we have a great opportunity for you to be involved in ministry. Through streaming its services on Facebook Live and our website, Pioneer Memorial Church reaches thousands of people every single week. We’re looking to build a new team of local moderators/hosts for our online chat experiences. You could do this from your home. For more information contact Rodlie Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all those who helped in any way to promote and support our July 23 Red Cross Blood Drive. That includes the Pioneer pastors and staff and especially the Pioneer Safety Committee who helped us establish COVID-related safety protocols and procedures with the Red Cross for the drive. Thank you to those who recruited someone to give, promoted the drive, helped set up, take down, register participants and
provide refreshments after donations. And, a SUPER SPECIAL THANK YOU to those that Gave The Gift Of Life by donating precious blood. We had one of our most successful summer blood drives ever despite the COVID virus (or, maybe because of the COVID virus). Less people away at camp meetings and traveling and vacationing? Just a hunch. Our next blood drive is scheduled for October 20, 2020 and again on February 24, 2021. Be well and God Bless! -Larry Ulery
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."