Our medical professionals are on the front line of this epidemic and we want to show them love and support. In the next week or two, we want to send a prayer caravan to drive around the hospital. We'll let them know ahead of time that we'll be praying—and perhaps honking our horns—at a designated time. To get more information and to register, please click below and select the prayer caravan option. We'll see you soon!
Tales from a Vineyard
Making Love in the Vineyard-An Old Song
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SpeakerDwight 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.
More In This Series
“Tales from a Vineyard: Making Love
in the Vineyard—An Old Song”
»A Love Song in the Vineyard
• Song of Solomon 1 & 8/Isaiah 5:1-7
»A Parable about the Vineyard
• Matthew 21:33-43/John 15
»This may be the most important truth you have yet to learn:
• John 15:1-5, 8, 16
• Jesus talks about “fruit” seven times.
• What kind of fruit?
• Craig Keener: “In Palestine, the grapes ripen in late summer as the shoots stop growing and the bark changes from green to darker shortly before the vintage of August or September. Yet John writes figuratively; of what sort of fruit does the passage speak? . . . [T]he immediate context . . . suggests fruit.” (The Gospel of John: A Commentary 2:997)
• Galatians 5:22-23—“But the fruit of the is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
• Desire of Ages: “The life of Christ in you produces the same as in Him. Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, you bear fruit after the similitude of Christ.”(677)
• Acts of the Apostles: “The sap of the vine, ascending from the root, is diffused to the branches, sustaining growth and producing blossoms and fruit. So the life-giving power of the , proceeding from the Saviour, pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and brings even the thoughts into obedience to the will of God, enabling the receiver to bear the precious fruit of holy deeds.” (284)
• But what about pruning (John 15:2)?
• Hebrews 5:8—“During the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He .”
• 2 Corinthians 12:8-10—“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ . . . That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am , then I am strong.”
• Philippians 3:10—“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His , becoming like Him in His death.”
• Hebrews 12:10-11—“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness [“Become like Me”]. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces the of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained [pruned] by it.”
• 2 Timothy 3:12—“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus [connected to the Vine] will be [pruned].”
• Mark 10:30—Jesus promises all who give up all to follow Him will be rewarded a hundred times as much in this life with “ .”
• The point: we won’t get through this life without being .
• Desire of Ages: “The pruning will cause pain, but it is the Father who applies the knife. He works with no wanton hand or indifferent heart.  There are branches trailing upon the ground; these must be cut loose from the supports to which their tendrils are fastening. They are to reach heavenward, and find their support in God.  The excessive foliage that draws away the life current [sap] from the must be pruned off.  The overgrowth must be cut out, to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The husbandman prunes away the growth, that the fruit may be richer and more abundant.” (677)
• Andrew Murray: “Christian, pray for grace to see in every trouble, small or great, the Father’s finger pointing to Jesus, and saying, Abide in Him! . . . A believer may pass through much affliction and yet secure but little blessing from it all. Abiding in Christ is the secret of securing all that the Father the chastisement to bring us.” (Abiding in Christ 122-123)
• “I will put my in Him.” (Hebrews 2:13)
• “Prune me, dear Father, that there may be more fruit . . . in my life . . . for Your glory.”
You gotta have fruit!
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
Since October 2018, our Pioneer congregation and the Andrews campus have joined together in setting aside the first Tuesday of every month as a Day of Fasting and Prayer. Since most of us this coming Tuesday will be safely ensconced in our homes, it will be a fitting opportunity to band together to seek God's face on behalf of our nation, our world, our church. The economic collapse on multiple fronts as a result of this pandemic has seriously affected the Adventist church and schools globally and locally. Let's unite our petitions to appeal to Christ to minister to the members, the leaders, the students, the teachers and all who serve our faith and academic community in this time of financial duress for many. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Due to the COVID-19 stay at home mandate, Pioneer is unable to provide physical copies of the Adult Sabbath School Lesson at this time. Both teacher's edition and standard edition are available online for free.
The Board of Elders, under the leadership of Bryan and Becky von Dorpowski, has responded to the immediate spiritual and emotional needs of our oldest Pioneer members. Recognizing many of them will chose to protect themselves from the coronavirus by limiting their time in the wider community and thus missing the weekly fellowship that worship and Sabbath School provided, the elders will be focusing on those Pioneer members in their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s—and will be reaching out by phone to visit with them. (In order to protect the health of our members our elders will not be making home visits at this time.)
If you know of an at-risk member who needs personal attention, please call Claudia Sowler 269.471.3134. The elders are praying these targeted phone calls will bring the ministry of our Good Shepherd Savior to these who have faithfully walked with Him throughout their lives.
During this time of potential boredom and cabin fever, enjoy these fun ideas for spending quality time together as a family.
After the long winter of gray and brown, get outside and look for all the buds, sprouts, and new leaves you can find. Try to identify what each one is. You can use your phone to look on the Internet or use an app like Pl@ntNet to identify leaves. Currently, you can see things like crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lilies, snowdrops, moss, ferns, ramps, and wild chives. It is so nice to be reminded that even when things look bleak, God is still there and recreating!
You can also "adopt a friend" each day or week! Send several encouraging and kind notes to a friend via text, email, Messenger, etc. Let them know you are thinking about them and even praying for them.
Sponsored by the Family Life Committee
We are looking for teams of volunteers that can help people who are more vulnerable in our community to run errands such as picking up groceries and medicine. We're also asking for volunteers to make calls and pray for our members and community.
Community and gathering in some form remains vital. We have asked Grow Groups of more than ten people to start meeting online. For Grow Groups of less than ten people, we're asking them to practice safe social distancing of at least six feet—as per the CDC.
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."