Friday, April 15, 2021

Dear Church Family,

What or who do you stand for?  I was listening to author and speaker, Seth Godin speak about the difference between a logo and a brand.  He pointed out that if Nike ran a hotel, we likely would have an idea of what it might look and feel like.  If Hyatt made a sneaker, we would have no clue. Why?  Because he says, Nike has a brand, Hyatt has a logo.  He went on to point out how you can walk into a Marriott, a Hilton and a Hyatt and they all feel basically the same because all they have is a logo. 

We as a church have a logo, but we also have a brand. And it is our distinctiveness that while under attack by many, makes us attractive, unique and worthy of attention.  We may have designed our logo, but we didn’t design our brand.  That was designed for us by the mission we were given from God through Scripture. When we play down our distinctives, we play down our brand, our mission and the reason for why anyone should want to belong.  Too many churches are like Hyatt’s, Hiltons, and Sheratons in that you can’t tell the difference because the distinctives are minimal at best and often what is distinct is ignored.  They may have comfy seats and good music, but you don’t really leave with any real clue as to why they need exist when so many other similar churches already exist out there as well. Thus many find it easy to switch denominations based on children’s programming and social offerings rather than doctrine because there just isn’t that noticeable of a difference anymore.

I would suggest that it is precisely what makes us distinct that makes us attractive as a church.  For while we hold to the essential gospel story, it’s the sanctuary message as depicted in the 3 Angel’s message that makes us unique and necessary in these last days.  It’s not something we did.  Again, God built the brand.  He just invited us to wear it, to own it through His grace.  Let us live out our brand proudly.  Following after gimmicks and statistics won’t work.  By allowing God to fully dwell in us, our brand will become irresistible to those who hunger after righteousness. 

In the news:

  1.  This Sabbath is Pathfinder Sabbath and thus the Pathfinders will be leading out in the various parts of the service.  Pastor Jared will be sharing the message with a sermon entitled, “Lost But Not Forgotten.”   

2. AYA will resume this Sabbath at 7 pm. With Sheryll Morrison leading out.  It will be a time of hymn singing with hymns chosen by request. 

3. The church board met this week to review our COVID policy and it is now only recommended that everyone wear masks while moving about the church and while singing.  However, beginning with Sabbath, May 22, the church board plans to return to normal status meaning while masks are welcome, they won’t necessarily be recommended.  We also hope to return to enjoying fellowship meals and normal seating arrangements.  We share this because given that vaccines are widely available now, we feel that anyone who wishes to be vaccinated should be able to do so by this date.  Please know that despite our goal, this is something we will continue to monitor and evaluate as we seek to maintain safety for all.  At our May board meeting, we will discuss implementing a zoned approach similar to the school so that we can be prompt in our response should local conditions decline.

4. We are thankful that our GAA mission team returned safely this week from their trip.  The team is now in quarantine for 7 days which means the students will return to the classroom on Tuesday next week.

5. Our annual church campout will be July 30-August 1 at Cades Cove.  Everyone is asked to make your own reservations.  Click here to reserve your place.  Please note that the sites are already beginning to fill so reserve early.  We usually congregate on the A & B sites.

6. Tina and I and the boys would like to invite our church family to our home for vespers and for the baptism of Jason & Jordan on Sabbath, May 15 at 6 p.m.  A bonfire and supper will follow the service.   Please bring chairs.  

7. The following quote was shared by our conference president and I think bears careful consideration given the times we live in with social media and the like.  Politics, vaccines, and various so-called theories are proving so divisive that I fear we have lost sight of the council given:

“Brethren should not feel that it is a virtue to stand apart because they do not see all minor points in exactly the same light. If they agree on fundamental truths, they should not differ and dispute about matters of little real importance. To dwell on perplexing questions, that after all are of no vital consequence, tends to call the mind away from truths vital to the saving of the soul. Brethren should be very modest in urging these side issues which often they do not themselves understand, points that they do not know to be truth and that are not essential to salvation…. I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to divert men’s minds to some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all the investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth.”   – Ellen White in Manuscript 82 1894.

8. Remember the CSC is in need of household items for their thrift store inventory and also are in need of Wal-Mart bags and egg cartons. 

9. Remember to mark your calendar for Sabbath, May 29 as Melody Mason will be sharing with us that day on the importance of prayer and the devotional life.  Invite friends to come and spend the day with us.

10. The construction of the church pavilion should begin soon.  We are waiting to find out when Smucker’s builders can work us in their schedule.  Once construction begins, it should go up quickly and then electrical will be installed after that.

11. There is a special Tea Party planned for girls K-8th grade from 3-5 p.m. at teh church on Sunday, April 25.

12. Given the full calendar of events in the weeks to come, here is a summation of what is ahead:

April 24 – Memorial for Miriam Mathews at 4 p.m.

April 25 – Girls Tea Party Social at 3 p.m.

April 30 – GAA Vespers at church at 7 p.m.

May 1 – Communion Service at 11 a.m.

May 1 – Dianne Ondrejka’s Memorial at 4 p.m.

May 1 – Spring Concert & Strawberry Festival at 7 p.m.

May 8 – Youth Sabbath with Lilly Beth Andrus preaching

May 8 – Adventurer / Pathfinder Investiture at 6 p.m.

May 15 – Vespers / Baptism / Supper at Arnall home at 6 p.m.

May 19 – 8th Grade Graduation at 7 p.m.

May 20 – Senior Graduation at 6 p.m.

May 22 – Senior Baccalaureate

May 29 – Melody Mason speaks for Sabbath morning, afternoon and evening.

13. Norm Draper is looking for volunteers who would be interested in sharing a testimony of what God has done in their life for AYA, April 24. In an effort to coordinate this, please call him or tell him at church tomorrow.

14. As was announced yesterday, please keep Karen Felan and the family in your prayers as Karen’s brother Robert Riddle passed away last week unexpectedly. The family will receive friends at Shilo Presbyterian church next Wedesday, from 2-4 p.m.

15. Here is the next installment of Greener Pastures which is currently featuring our Gardening with Carl Series.  We filmed yesterday in his garden spot where he plans to soon have set up a greenhouse.

Blessings as you prepare for the coming Sabbath!

In His Service,

Pastor Jeremy

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