Another month has passed since I sent you my last message. During this time, I have felt God’s leading and protection over my life and my family’s life, as He has always done. I pray that this has also happened to you and your beloved ones. Sometimes, the enemy tries to attack us with discouraging situations. But hold on; God is in control! (Isaiah 12:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
This Sabbath I would like to share with you an interesting experience that occurred to me a few weeks ago. You may recall that in the last message on November 7 I mentioned how God used me to introduce Jesus Christ to a couple who sat beside me on a flight between Brazil and New York when I was tired, hungry, and sleepy. All I wanted then was to just “hide and rest”. But what transpired on November 11 was completely the opposite. Here’s what happened:
I was scheduled to visit and preach in one of our congregations in the interior on Sabbath November 21. Besides preaching, I was also asked to meet with the Church Board for an important meeting in the afternoon. When I called the leader of the church to finalize the details of my visit, he told me that, unfortunately, things did not work out the way the Church Board expected the Sabbath afternoon meeting and discussion to go. To make matters worse, the weather forecast for the roads leading to that city was also extremely dangerous. Therefore, we agreed to postpone that appointment until sometime in the spring. We prayed together over the phone and said goodbye to each other.
Knowing that there are pastoral districts in our Conference that is comprised of more than one church and the pastors of those districts sometime find it difficult to get preachers for their second, third, or fourth congregation, I called two nearby district
s pastors to see if they needed help. Coincidentally, both had out-of-town preachers coming for one of their churches and they were involved in a series of messages with their other congregation. They were willing to receive me, but I didn’t want to interrupt their original plan. So, I contacted two other pastors of churches which I had not visited for months or even in a couple of years. However, they also had special services already organized with other guest speakers, youth day, etc. Then it dawned on me that maybe the Lord did not want me to travel on that weekend.
Next day I received a text message from a beloved relative in Brazil saying that her father, who is my “favourite” uncle, was turning 90 years old on November 21. She said that her whole family wanted to surprise him and have a “huge” celebration, via Zoom, to praise God for his life, and to honour and show their love for their father. My relative said: “Somehow this idea developed only yesterday, and we immediately thought of you. We are praying that you would be available to share God’s Word with us and present a congratulatory message to him.” My jaw dropped! Despite being close to them, unfortunately, I had not connected with them for the last two years! What is the odd chance that God did not want me to preach His Word in one of our churches in our Conference on that Sabbath? I “tried so hard” to be of service to His people and do His work, but it did not materialize. God had plans for me to have a quiet and restful Sabbath with my family and our beloved relatives in Brazil. Yes, more than 80 people, family and friends, “showed up” for that special Worship Service of gratitude to God. This was a celebration of life for the 90th birthday of one of God’s faithful workers who served His church for decades, but now retired – my uncle, but God’s son!
Our Heavenly Father taught me a beautiful lesson during that week: Jesus’ call for us is to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15, ESV). However, He also says: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV). We need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit to hear His voice, feel God’s presence in our lives, learn from His wisdom, and distinguish Christ’s mission for us at different times in our journey with Him to strike the balance between the two of our Master’s commands in the Gospel of Mark!
As the good news are so many to number and include in this message today, I am attaching the link (below) to the final edition of our REACH magazine in 2020. You will be blessed to see how God has done marvelous things in our Conference this year. It will be an excellent reading for this Sabbath afternoon.
Also, please find below the link to our latest Conference video (another one will be released on Sabbath, Dec 26). It presents the story of how God works miraculously to transform lives and prepare people for His service – an atheist who became a preacher and soul winner for God’s Kingdom: Pastor Ern Brake. His testimony will touch your heart.
In His Service,