My wish for each of us as we enter 1999 is that we might be more like Jesus. How does this happen? We are changed by beholding. The Bible explains in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that: "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
The best way I know to behold Jesus is in the holy Word. Let's get into the Bible in 1999.
I heard of a mother who was trying to get her 8-year-old girl to study the Sabbath School lesson. Finally the desperate mother took her own Bible from a drawer and said, "I will help you."
"OK, mother," said Mary, "but let's use Grandpa's Bible. It is much more interesting than yours."
The mother replied, "No, they are exactly alike."
Little Mary said, "Well, I think Grandpa's must be more interesting because he reads it so much more."
Read the Bible, not as a newspaper to inform, but as a letter from your loving Father to warm your entire being. If a cluster of heavenly fruit hangs within reach, gather it. If a promise lies upon the page as a blank check, cash it. If a prayer is recorded, appropriate it and launch it as a feathered arrow from the bow of your desire. If an example of holiness gleams before you, ask God to do as much for you. If the truth is revealed in all of its splendor, ask that its brilliance may ever brighten the hemisphere of your life.
Our time invested in reading the Bible with this insatiable attitude will not be lifeless, but truly delightful, resulting in splendid spiritual dividends. Jesus' character will gradually become infused with ours so that by the end of 1999 we will be all the more like our Forever Friend.
Happy New Year!
--Don Gettys, Senior Pastor
On January 6, Pastor Gettys began a new prayer meeting series based on the book entitled The Shape of the Coming Crisis by Donald Ernest Mansell. This book is available at the Adventist Book Center in Collegedale.
We hope you'll plan to attend this 10-week series, which will give an outline and sequence of end-time events based on the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White. Prayer meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday evening in the fireside room at the church.
The Shape of the Coming Crisis
January 6 "A Cause-Effect Chronology of the Coming Crisis"
January 13 "Preparation for the Coming Crisis and the Time of Trouble"
January 20 "The Mark of the Beast and the Sunday Versus Sabbath Conflict"
January 27 "The Trials and Triumph of the Third Angel's Message"
February 3 "Good and Evil Angels and Satan's Personations"
February 10 "The Seal of God, the Sealing, and the 144,000"
February 17 "The Sifting or Shaking and the Omega of Apostasy"
February 24 "The Loud Cry, the Angel of Revelation 18, and the Latter Rain"
March 3 "The Close of Probation, the Plagues, and the Death Decree"
March 10 "Deliverance, the Special Resurrection, and the Second Coming"
At a meeting on Nov. 5, 1998, the board of elders expressed an interest in assisting the pastors in the nurture and care of the McDonald Road church members. Recognizing that the church membership has outgrown the nurturing care of only two or three people, the elders offered their service in the visitation of members.
In a church the size of McDonald Road, members can become ill, have other needs, and sometimes go to the hospital without a pastor's awareness. It is not the intent of the pastors to overlook these individuals. However, to assist in preventing any such occurrences, your elders have volunteered to take responsibility for approximately 20 families each. This will help assure that all church members are being properly cared for, and it will also enable the pastors to have more time for study and prayer. This does not mean, however, that the pastors will not continue to do visitation.
The plan calls for the church family to be divided into groups of approximately 20 families each, and these will become parishes under the supervision of an elder. The elder will call the parish members to make an appointment for a visit. This visit will help the elder become acquainted with the members and will assist him or her in providing spiritual care. Thus, it is hoped that an ordained church leader, in addition to those who will be visited by our pastors will visit each church family. In some cases of need, the elders may also appropriately make other visits.
This parish plan is a development of the Jethro Model recorded in Exodus 18:17-26. Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, found Moses overburdened, and he admonished Moses to appoint undershepherd leaders over a stipulated number of people. These appointees would deal with the minor matters, while the major concerns would be left to Moses. So Moses approved of the plan and implemented it for the good of everyone--Moses, the leaders, and the congregation.
We hope the members of the McDonald Road Church will be delighted to learn about this parish plan proposal and will cooperate willingly when one of the elders calls to establish a time for a visit. You are important to each of us!
--Doug Bennett, head elder
Over 2,700 lessons have already been COMPLETED by about 300 of our online Bible students. We now have had over 35 graduates and at least two baptisms!
In addition, Gloria Lacey has now mailed out over 250 copies of the classic Steps to Christ to people who requested it through our church Website. This includes individuals living in China, India and many other far-away places!
Our Internet students come from many countries. People from more than 100 countries have accessed our Website at the rate of over 3,000 hits per day. That translates into about 1,000 pieces of literature viewed by people during a 24-hour period. It is much harder to do homework, of course, so we can be really proud of those who are interested enough to do our E-mail lessons.
Although most of our students never get to see their Bible instructors face to face, they do carry on lively discussions via e-mail. This aspect of the ministry is important because it delivers the personal touch. Over 20,000 E-mail messages have been sent back and forth by the church's server during the past year.
We have some very dedicated Bible instructors. This month I'll mention one of them. Nels has sent initial lessons to 110 different people and has also re-sent lessons to some of the 500 people who made initial requests for Bible studies but have not yet followed through. About 60 of Nels's students have completed lessons, and 10 of them graduated from the 30-lesson course. One was baptized! It is a LOT of work, but I believe that God looks down with favor on all the work that is done by those who are dedicating their time to bringing people "into the kingdom of heaven."
"Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" Exodus 15:11.
The Lord Most High is marvelous,
Most gracious and benign,
Creator of the Universe
Both awesome and divine.
Before He formed this World of ours,
And laid its firm Foundations,
Or separated Land and Sea,
Or brought forth all the Nations:
He formed Salvation's perfect Plan,
That sent His Son to die,
That we might have eternal Life
In Heaven by-and-by.
O who is like unto our Lord?
Among the gods that be,
Whose holiness and wondrous Works
Extend from Sea to Sea?
Such Love we never can requite,
Nor even comprehend,
The Depths of Mercy, Love and Grace
No Mortal can amend.
How humbly grateful we should be
For such a loving Lord,
Who saves us from our sinful State,
And grants us His Reward.
For such redeeming Grace we stand
In awe and daily pray,
While looking up with longing Hearts
We wait that glorious Day
When we shall see Him Face to Face,
Our Saviour and our King,
And lift our Voice in Praise and Song
Till Heaven's Courts shall ring.
--Adrian V. Boyer
The meetings are over, but the blessings continue. Approximately 8,000 people in North America decided to become members of the Seventh-day Adventist church as a result of Net '98 with evangelist Dwight Nelson! Nearly 9,000 others are known to be studying the beliefs of our church, and many Seventh-day Adventists have rededicated their lives to Jesus. A common comment heard throughout the land was, "I appreciate Dr. Nelson's fresh approach to the doctrines of our church."
Many here at McDonald Road also liked the fresh ideas that were expressed during the five-week satellite seminar. Several baptisms have resulted, and others are being planned.
Of the 356 people who registered for the seminar at our church, 36 individuals were members of different denominations or had no religious background. Many visitors were from other Adventist churches in the area or were passing through from other parts of the country. One family from New York stated that they were on their way to Florida and had tried to find a place every night of the trip where they could continue to participate in the seminar.
We are thankful to so many who made this possible at McDonald Road: the greeters at the door, the childcare workers, the audio-visual team, the prayer warriors, the custodians, the visitation team, the registrars, the ushers, and all those who invited their friends and neighbors. More visitors came as a result of a personal invitation from friends than from the brochure that came in the mail! We also appreciate all of you who attended so faithfully. The blessing of the "forever friendship" that we experience with Jesus far outweighs any statistics that can be measured.
--Pastor Kent Crutcher
Editor's Note: There will be an estimated 30,000-40,000 baptisms worldwide from
Net '98, according to Brad Thorp, director of Adventist Global Communication Network. Surveys revealed that attendance on the opening night (October 9) was more than 161,000. The live seminar program was broadcast live via satellite to 4,600 locations in many countries worldwide. Other sites are still running the series using taped programs.
The Family Center is bustling with activity again this month. In fact, there's hardly a day on which it will be empty. Pathfinders meet there every Monday evening, volleyball is played each Tuesday evening, and our teen drama group C.A.S.T. practices there on Wednesday and Sunday nights.
Here is a list of other events scheduled in the Family Center for January:
n January 14 - Scrapbook Squad
n January 16 - Get-acquainted vespers and haystack supper followed by a Family Rec. Night
n January 23 - Family Center Payoff Party will begin immediately following vespers. A pizza and tossed-salad dinner will be provided, and plenty of vegan pizza will also be available!
n January 24 - Pathfinder Honors Activity Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
n January 30 - Pathfinder potluck
The Family Center exploded!
Well...at least there were thousands of tiny explosions at our annual Christmas Popcorn Blowout on December 12. Ron and Marilyn Vallieres popped the white stuff while others served caramel corn, toffee corn and popcorn balls. Julian and Jane Oliver even surprised us with multi-colored candy corn.
Bob Moore and Co. provided Popcorn Trivia as well as the "Guess the Number of Kernels in the Jar" game. There were 87 popped kernels in the bag for the age 12-and-under crowd, and 2,677 unpopped kernels for the old fogies. Congratulations to Christy Morse; she guessed 97 to come in first and her brother, Ryan Morse, tied with Nathan Lewis for second place. Both guessed 100 popped kernels. Tina Loeks outguessed the other adults by writing 2,710--just 33 off the mark--while second place went to Pam Lewis, who was 54 shy with her guess of 2,623 unpopped kernels.
Arlene Lewis created some magic by letting the little ones dig for treasure ($$$) in a tub full of popcorn. Pastor and Mrs. Crutcher helped a number of kids string popcorn. The corn strings were then draped on the Christmas tree to decorate it along with ornaments supplied by each family. After a dramatic countdown, Pastors Don Gettys and Kent Crutcher placed an angel on the highest bow, and the tree's lights magically came on to the thunderous applause of onlookers.
A BIG thank-you goes to Sheryl Baker and Carman Perez and their daughters, Katie and Melissa, for the outstanding table decorations. The greatest moment of the evening happened when the popcorn piñata made by Dave and Lou Kratzer and Tammy Harris proved too strong for even the most muscle-bound he-man. At last Christopher Walters manfully stepped up and with one mighty blow promptly broke the bat over the piñata. He then tore it apart with his bare hands, raining goodies down to the squealing crowd below. Thanks, Chris!
--Rod Lewis, social committee chair
New class organized
For Young Adults
A new Sabbath School class for young adults will meet each Sabbath beginning in January. Heath Perez will be leading out in a lively Bible study and discussion, which will be held each week in the room to the left front of the sanctuary.
This new class is for young people who have just graduated from college and are putting their faith into practice out in the "real world." Singles and young married couples between the ages of 22 and 35 are encouraged to check it out. Meet in the sanctuary for the adult Sabbath School program and divide at the regular time for lesson study.
Collegiate and Earliteen
Classes swap rooms
Finding sufficient space for Sabbath School classrooms is becoming a challenge as our church continues to grow. We praise God that the Collegiate class has been experiencing explosive growth during the past two years--often squeezing 35 young people into a small classroom. To help ensure that this class has room to grow in the future, it will be trading classrooms with the Earliteens.
Beginning in January, the Collegiate class under the leadership of Henry Hicks will meet in the upper level of the Family Center, in the first classroom on the right. The Earliteen class, under the direction of Shane and Nathalie Vidal, will move downstairs to the classroom beside the kitchen. Both classes are excited about the switch.
A note to families:
Many parents might not realize that all children's division Sabbath School classes begin promptly at 10 a.m. after the first worship service. Children do not need to wait until 10:40 a.m., which is when the adult classes break for lesson study, to go to their classrooms.
It's OK for visitors
to leave children unattended
If you see visitors bringing small children with them to Sabbath School, please let them know that they can either accompany the children or leave them unattended, depending on their preference. Some parents enjoy the simple gospel message presented in the children's classes, but others long for an opportunity to participate in the adult Sabbath School classes. Due to the terrific support of our church members, the cradle roll teachers do not mind having some children left unattended.
God surely looks with joy on the efforts of our dedicated children's division leaders, who are often ministering not only to the little ones in their classes, but to the entire family.
I never had much luck following through on New Year's resolutions until about five years ago when my cousin Marianne told me her secret. Tired of setting lofty goals and then missing the mark, she determined to follow through on at least one--and she did. Marianne made it her New Year's resolution to visit the famous Chelsea Pie Shop every week and try a new flavor of pie! She turned her source of frustration into a source of joy.
The McDonald Road Scrapbook Squad is excited about helping you with one of your New Year's resolutions. Take a moment to look at the bulletin board in our church lobby or at the church's two albums displaying photos of the happenings in our church and family center. They are an example of what you could do during the monthly meeting of the Scrapbook Squad.
Don't leave your pictures in that out-of-the-way drawer, bag or box any longer. You snapped all of those pictures so you could remember and enjoy your memories. If you wish you could do something with your special photos, the Scrapbook Squad is here to help. Bring some pictures and a sharp pair of scissors to get started. It really doesn't take much time--just one night each month--and it's a lot of fun. We will show you how to store your pictures in a fun and memorable way.
Don't miss the next meeting of the Scrapbook Squad on Thursday, January 14, from 7-9 p.m. A "Just Around the Corner" presentation for seasoned croppers will begin at 8 p.m. There is no cost for the workshop.
For more information, call Creative Memories consultant Lezlee Walters at 236-4148 or Pam Lewis at 396-9204.
"A New Start"
Another year is gone! Have you gotten closer to your goal of better health? The topics you read in the Manna last year can be guidelines to that goal.
Eating for better health is important because what what we put into our bodies affects how clear our minds are. If we have a clear mind, we will be able to grasp and understand spiritual things more fully. Here are some references you may want to read: Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 16-19, 22, 23.
Consider the following scenario. You are on your way home from work or the market when you become aware of a tightening in your stomach, only to realize that you are reliving an encounter you had with your boss or spouse--brooding over the words expressed.
Now you realize that your thoughts are going down a dangerous path, so you stop them. Taking a deep breath, you begin to recall several coping strategies for stressful situations and try putting them to work. Slowly the knot in your stomach loosens, and you find a smile on your face again.
What just happened?
You'll find that your thoughts exert an influence on your emotions. The body reacts to the mind's ideas. These swift instructions are what we experience as feelings, or emotions.
"By changing your thoughts," says Dr. Martin Seligman, "you can control your health to an extent. Thoughts can be changed!"
Here is a four-step plan you can use in these situations:
When you first become upset, ask why. If you aren't sure, jot down your thoughts. This will help you focus so you can understand the source of your frustration.
When your mind wanders back to the problem, try to think of something else. Tell yourself, "STOP!" Say it out loud if necessary. Then bring in the pleasant thoughts. By giving you a chance to "cool off," distraction serves as a buffer and helps to relieve the stress.
Try to think what might have triggered the unpleasant situation. If you have done anything to cause a bad situation, you need to make it right.
On the other hand, if you aren't aware of anything you've done to contribute to the problem, don't beat yourself up. Maybe the root of the problem is actually the result of a bad situation in the other person's life.
Sometimes we create stress by not accepting that others won't always fulfil our desires. Dr. Albert Ellis says, "This is because we are 'crooked' thinkers whose minds are clouded by a set of absolute musts, shoulds, and have-to's."
4. Cognitive Reappraisal.
Last but not least, you need to change your thinking. For example, if you're thinking, "I must be valued by all of my neighbors or else..." or "I'm worthless," shift your thinking to something more along the line of "I wish my neighbors liked me." It's less painful.
By putting a troubling event into perspective, we minimize its importance and head off generalizing. Dr. Seligman says, "When we reconsider our unsettling thoughts and give them a 'good argument,' anger and dejection and resentment can give way to activity and good cheer."
Health & Temperance leader
Dear Church Family,
Greetings from Africa. I wanted to write a short note to let you know that my friend Jesse and I are doing OK. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here and especially for praying for us. We are having a great time. We're working hard, but enjoying it. The people here are wonderful. We have had an opportunity to help build several churches and buy materials to re-roof over 40 others. There are another 120 churches all over Tanzania that need to be re-roofed before we return.
We've assisted with four crusades so far. The Lord is really blessing, and the people are so appreciative of everything we do for them. At our last crusade, we fixed over 600 different items for people. We weld things like old hoes, bicycles, shovels, or anything else they have that is broken--which is most everything.
The country here is beautiful. We went to a game park and saw a lot of different animals. Four bull elephants charged the vehicle we were in three times. That was pretty exciting, to say the least. We hope to go to other game reserves before leaving. It is a great experience seeing these animals in the wild.
We leave on December 21 to go to Zambia for several weeks. On Christmas day we're planning to raft down the Zambezi River.
It is thrilling to see how God works miracles. It is virtually impossible to get visas renewed here without it taking weeks. Our visas were to expire December 9. We were at the American embassy on the 7th and were given little encouragement that we could get them renewed. However, within 24 hours we had residence papers.
Roadways and bridges are nothing like home. We were hauling bricks for a church project and had started to cross one bridge when we realized something was wrong. Just as we backed off the bridge, it collapsed.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. I miss everyone.
P.S. If you'd like to write, my address is:
Kibidula Farms Institute
P.O. Box 17
Tanzania, East Africa
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last updated 1/25/99 by Dean Saunders.