For your safety, Pioneer Memorial Church offices are now closed until further notice. Pastors and staff continue to work remotely to serve your needs. Read more regarding the COVID-19 Pioneer response here.
To purchase a DVD of this sermon please visit our online shopping cart. Proceeds go to support the New Perceptions media ministry.
Buy DVD OnlineBuy series
Dwight 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.
Desire of Ages: “Absorbed in their efforts to save themselves, they had forgotten that Jesus was on board. Now, seeing their labor vain and only death before them, they remembered at whose command they had set out to cross the sea. In Jesus was their only hope. In their helplessness and despair they cried, ‘Master, Master!’” But the dense darkness hid Him from their sight. Their voices were drowned by the roaring of the tempest, and there was no reply. Doubt and fear assailed them. Had Jesus forsaken them? Was He who had conquered disease and demons, and even death, powerless to help His disciples now? Was He unmindful of them in their distress? Again they call, but there is no answer except the shrieking of the angry blast. Already their boat is sinking. A moment, and apparently they will be swallowed up by the hungry waters.” (334)
Jim Cymbala: “I have come to the sad conclusion that Christians have lost faith in God’s promises concerning prayer. How else can we explain why prayer isn’t paramount in our lives and in our churches? If we believed his promises, wouldn’t we sometimes preach entire series about prayer? Wouldn’t we make room for prayer in [Sabbath] services and set aside weekly times where we could together learn to call on God for his help? We would—unless we are convinced that the status quo is acceptable and we don’t need help from heaven. The key to prayer that changes things is a deep sense of inadequacy and helplessness among God’s people.” (STORM: Hearing Jesus for the Times We Live In 42)
Paul Miller: “God wants us to come to him empty-handed, weary, and heavy-laden. Instinctively we want to get rid of our helplessness before we come to God. . . . If we think we can do life on our own, we will not take prayer seriously. Our failure to pray will always feel like something else—a lack of discipline or too many obligations. But when something is important to us, we make room for it. Prayer is simply not important to many Christians because Jesus is already an add-on. That is why . . . suffering is so important to the process of learning how to pray. It is God’s gift to us to show us what life is really like.” (A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World 54, 59)
Jim Cymbala: “If we look at society today, if we look at the challenge of a country becoming more godless by the week, if we look at laws being passed that mock any form of morality—instead of lamenting and protesting, wouldn’t it be better for us to plead with God to visit his people? We need to move toward God, and it begins with desperate prayer.” (Ibid 43)
1 Samuel 1:10, 15, 16
Ellen White: “We are to pray for the impartation [gift] of the Spirit as the remedy for sin-sick souls. The church needs to be converted, and why should we not prostrate ourselves at the throne of grace, as representatives of the church, and from a broken heart and contrite spirit make earnest supplication that the Holy Spirit shall be poured out upon us from on high? Let us pray that when [the Holy Spirit] shall be graciously bestowed, our cold hearts may be revived, and we may have discernment to understand that it is from God, and receive it with joy.” (Ye Shall Receive Power 321)
The New Year Gift
Grow Group Opportunities
We're heading into summer, and with that comes new opportunities for Grow Groups!
Grow Groups will meet from June 22–August 3 (just 6 weeks) and will be held online only again this session. Meeting online allows us to seek friendship as well as social, mental, and spiritual engagement together in community, while prioritizing health and safety. Going digital also allows participants who live outside of our local area to join our groups!
If you're interested in leading, please register your group today!
In no way was The Tent normal this year. After all, nothing has been! That is not to say, however, that it was not a win for the Kingdom of God. Although it was online only, God came through in a mighty way! With about 200 different video clips the whole thing came together against all odds. There were decisions for baptism and people tuning in from all over the world!
This was the 7th year of The Tent. Some of our preachers this year were in the first grade when this all began. That year, Pastor Dwight came to Ruth Murdoch Elementary School and asked the 1st graders which of them would like to preach when they were Junior High students. Well, some of those kids preached last week! These messages were driven by the Holy Spirit as they profoundly spoke to events that took place after the messages were even recorded.
It was not just the speakers who did well this year. Micah Leiterman and Marco Sciarabba Badenas welcomed guests every night with intros that were fun and engaging! What was awesome about their video clips was the way that these two students not only wrote the scripts but they filmed and edited the clips together.
The students came together in an incredible way to make the music as well. Each student created their videos for music individually and these were edited together to create music as a team. We had an incredible team of seminary students who helped bring all of this together, and we also depended upon the musical genius of Chuck Reid who did our fine-tuning.
What was most amazing about The (Virtual) Tent was the seamless way all of these pieces made a whole. This is what the Holy Spirit longs to do with us as a church! Imagine what God could do with a church connected to Him! The (Virtual) Tent is a call to action. This is a picture of what God can do in the worst of circumstances with people who are listening to His voice.
We are saddened to inform you that due to COVID-19 FLAG Camp will be canceled this summer. Thank you to each who has applied to be on staff. Please apply again next year for the summer of 2021. We will be working to make next summer a great and safe experience!
For your safety, Pioneer Memorial Church offices are now closed until further notice. Pastors and staff continue to work remotely to serve your needs.
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
Love on the Move
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."