Wednesday Food Bank Distribution: Beginning at 5 p.m., our volunteers distribute boxes of pre-packed food into people’s trunks each week. If you or someone you know could benefit, do not hesitate to come/invite them to the church to come & receive. A big thanks goes out to Sharon Gladden and the other volunteers who help collect, organize, and distribute the food. We will continue such distributions on Wednesdays going forward. If you would like to help out in some manner, don’t hesitate to let us know!
Wednesday evening Discussion & Prayer Group: During this period of separation, our mid-week prayer group has continued meeting over Zoom. We meet at 6:00 p.m. to read a chapter & discuss each week from EGW’s book “The Acts of The Apostles” (This week’s chapter, #55, “Not with Outward Show”, https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/130.2469), and we lift up church petitions. If you’d like to join us, contact us for the username and password.
Join us for 9:00 a.m. Sabbath Morning outdoor service: We have so enjoyed fellowshipping with a handful of members each Sabbath outside under the tents in the courtyard. This week, Pr. Nathaniel will be with us to lead Sabbath School discussion and bring us an inspirational message. Devin Wozencraft and JoAnne Lightford will be leading song-service. We encourage people to bring their own chair, source of shade, and a water bottle or other beverage to drink. An outdoor kids’ SS program is available in the first hour, too! If you prefer to watch online, a zoom live-stream is also provided, please contact us for more information.
Recent Church Videos:
Here is a link to Last Sabbath’s church service, filmed in our sanctuary, in which Pr. Nathaniel brought us the message “Life Force” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fxb0v2by0I&t=1008s
A kids’ Sabbath school is offered by our sister church in Orange each Sabbath afternoon. Here is a link to the most recent kids’ SS class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnlIoPpcQjE
Though we are meeting exclusively outside, our church and conference still have ongoing costs of utilities, education subsidies, and workers to pay. Your tithes (10% of your increase) and offerings are most appreciated during this time. Adventist giving has both a phone app and a website you can donate through: adventistgiving.org. Any donations made here are applied directly, with no percentage skimmed off, and your donations will come in your year-end receipt, seamlessly integrated with donations made in the church. May God bless us as we partner with him in faith through our finances.
Have you ever caught your eyes tricking you in low-light situations? Perhaps you’ve been looking at the stars, and you perceive some dimmer stars on the periphery of your vision field, but then when you direct the center of your eye to that spot, there’s nothing there? Or perhaps you’ve been going through your house in the pre-dawn low-light, and you see something that you know is brightly colored, but you only see it in shades of gray?
Both of these optical illusions happen because we actually have 2 types of sensors detecting light in our retinas at the back of our eyes at the same time. The “Rods”(named so due to their rod-shaped form) perceive outlines and forms in black and white, while the “Cones” (which taper toward the ‘top’ or ‘front’ of the retina) perceive color1. Here’s the kicker, though: it takes significantly more light to trigger the cones’ perception than it does the rods. So when you see dim stars only in your periphery, or have only gray-scale vision in the rooms of your low-light house, that’s because the level of light is sufficient to trigger the rods’ perceptions, but not the cones’. One system perceives while the other is oblivious!
Of course, a certain percentage of people have color-blindness, often caused by a genetic problem with their ‘cones’. Someone who is completely color-blind might have severely damaged cones, or none present at all!2
Similarly, Spiritually, could some people have perceptions other people don’t register at all? The Bible talks quite a bit about spiritual perception being illustrated as sight. The Apostle Paul, in the first chapter of Ephesians says he prays for “The eyes of your heart to be opened” (v. 18). Similarly, Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, discusses vision: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
Finally, Jesus, who did literal, physical healings of sight several times, illustrates that as Spiritual perception as well. In John chapter 9, after having healed the man born blind, Jesus has a second conversation with him, saying “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (v. 39) Apparently Spiritual perception can either be ‘heightened’ or ‘dimmed’ depending on how Jesus is received!
I pray that we too, while recognizing that two types of sight go on in our physical eyes on a daily basis, would also recognize that there is a Spiritual “sight” which we can pray and strive to have enlightened. Those who spend increased time in prayer and Bible study will often perceive things that are totally undistinguished by untrained, unrefined Spiritual sight.
Our Spiritual sensitivity can help us perceive when people are hurting, when they are seeking, when they are waking up to Spiritual truths and attraction to God. We can then, prayerfully, initiate a conversation about God and/or offer them a prayer, that God would continue attracting them, leading them, guiding them, into a fuller walk with Him.
I, too, pray that the spiritual “eyes of our hearts” may be enlightened to perceive God’s working, the Jesus’ leading, and the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. Ask God today if he might give you perception of someone (perhaps a church member or coworker, neighbor, or friend/acquaintance), who could use a phone-call or doorstep visit.
May we ever walk by faith, and not mere sight!
May God bless you and your loved ones the remainder of your week.
Pr. Mark Tatum
1 Have you ever wondered how scientists figured out and know that dogs can only see in black and white? (after all, you can’t ask one “what are you seeing?”) The reason is, upon surgically opening a dog’s retina, only ‘rods’ are found! Dogs have no ‘cones’, which would perceive color.
2 a bit of research for this devotional thought was done at https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/color-blindness#1