Dear Church Family,
In Deuteronomy chapter 1, verses 30-31 we read: “The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” The imagery here reveals much. Often amidst persecution and trials, we are tempted to ask why and sometimes amidst the torrent of pain, some will even come to question God and or His love. But here we find one of the greatest rebukes to such questioning for we are reminded that it is amidst hardship that we find we can be closest to Him. As a parent, I loved to carry my children when they were younger and wish I still could for that matter though their size now inhibits this for the most part. But when they hurt, when pain or sadness overtakes them, I am more than eager to draw them close and hold them to me. Pain invites an intimacy that daily life sometimes does not afford. It’s when we hurt that we are vulnerable and when we are vulnerable we can either be severely hurt or intensely loved.
How often have we not found a hurt animal in the wild that needs help but because of their wild nature, because of their overwhelming pain, they lash out or bite in an attempt to protect themselves. While it’s awkward to compare ourselves to such, I can’t help but think that when someone begins to question or blame God for their calamities, they are acting much like that wild animal. When we hurt, God must be crushed when we run away instead of to Him. For if the veil could be removed, we would find a loving Father reaching down to pick us up, to hold us closer and tighter than we’ve ever been held before.
As I reflect upon Gethsemane and Calvary, I am led to think that in some ways, even amidst the feeling of separation that Jesus endured as He staggered under the weight of our sin, that it was here that He experienced one of the closest moments with His Father. To reflect back on that moment with the Spirit and the Father must evoke amazing love. I can only imagine what the reunion with the Father must have looked like after the resurrection. May God enable us to grow to the place where we can come to focus more closely on the intimacy with Christ that hardships afford. For it’s when we are in the desert, that our Father carries us as a child.
Remember these precious words from inspiration:
The angels of glory find their joy in giving,—giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know. DA 21
I also love these words from Testimonies to Ministers page 519:
God loves the sinless angels, who do His service and are obedient to all His commands; but He does not give them grace; they have never needed it, for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it; it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow grace upon all who hunger and thirst for it, not because we are worthy, but because we are unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive the gift.
In the news:
- I will share the morning message this Sabbath! We will take a look at the story of Balaam as we continue our series “The Long Journey Home.”
- There will be a fellowship lunch this Sabbath with the Carlton / Smith team hosting.
- This Sabbath we will be celebrating the baptisms of Natalie & Isaac Meier along with Emily Wetmore! The baptisms will be at Paint Creek at 4 p.m. All are invited to attend.
- The church finance committee and board will meet this Monday evening at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. respectively.
- This Tuesday through Friday, July 9-12 will be POWER week with door to door literature evangelism taking place between 5:30-6:45 p.m. To participate, meet at the church at 5:25 p.m. for prayer and materials.
- I am sad to report that Linda Hawkins passed away Wednesday night. A memorial service is being planned for Sunday, July 14 at 11 a.m. at our church.
- All are invited to a diaper and wipes shower for Kayla and Kyle Wells as they get ready to welcome baby Charlotte to their family in August. The shower will be at the fellowship hall from 2-4 pm on Sunday, July 14. It is a come and go shower. They prefer Pampers. Contact Kim Shumaker for more info.
- An Elder’s Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Arnall home.
- Looking ahead:
- Soccer Camp is scheduled from July 15-19 at the big GAA field. Pastor Alex will be leading out with grades 1-12. The time for this event is 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
- The church camp out is scheduled for July 19-21 at Cades Cove. Camping is on your own and you need to reserve your site in advance by registering at recreation.gov.
- VBS is scheduled for July 21-26 from 5:30-8p.m. each evening. The theme will focus on Miracles from the Bible and a light supper will be served.
- Greeneville Adventist Academy is looking for volunteers to help with an exhibit at the Greene County Fair, which runs from Monday through Sunday, July 22-28, 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The exhibit will serve both as visibility for our ministry at GAA as well as Outreach Evangelism to our community. We teachers are signed up throughout the week, but there are still some missing slots. Each night has two time slots of 3 hours each: 4:00-7:00 & 7:00-10:00. Anyone interested in helping with this community event please contact Philip Mitchell at 256-527-5204.
In His Service,