March 19, 2020
Dear Members & Friends,
I hope this finds you doing well. I wanted to drop a note to bring you up to date on church business in the light
of society’s events. Please note:
Streaming - We will be live streaming the sermon this week live from the church beginning at 11:00 am. At
the current time we are planning on doing it next week as well. You can connect to the stream by going to
YouTube and search for Hickory SDA Church. Once the live stream begins you will see a picture that says
“Live Now”. Click on that. Early next week we will be in touch with you regarding additional plans.
Bulletin – We will be issuing a weekly bulletin with announcements and the bible reading plan in it. You can
request a copy directly from Kathy Hull.
WHJ School – The Conference has closed our school at least through the end of next week. Our school has
made the decision to have the school closed until further notice.
Pathfinders & Adventurers – As long as our school is closed there will be no Wednesday night Pathfinder meetings.
The same is true of Adventurers.
Gatherings – The Conference is mandating that we comply with the National restrictions regarding getting
together and gathering. They have interpreted that to mean at the church and in homes.
Accordingly, home groups of any size are discouraged from meeting until the mandate from the Conference changes.
Communicate – Make it a point to call or text others in our church family on a regular basis to make sure
everybody has what they need. We are going to have to be deliberate about staying in touch with each other.
Church Giving – It’s very important that you continue to set aside your church tithes/offerings during this time
and make provision to get it turned in. The bills of the church and the Conference continue and our faithfulness
is important at this time. Here are the options at this time:
1) Online Giving – Click the link at the top of the page. To set up an account, click on “Log in” in the upper right
hand corner, then click on “Sign Up” and follow the instructions.
2) Mail to Jessica Voorhees. If you need tithe envelopes, please email, call, or text Jessica.
Finally, continue to pray for leadership at every level as they are making very important decisions. Continue to
keep up to date through the media news on the issues but I advise that you not stay immersed in the news.
Perhaps God is using difficult/different times to move us to a different place in our experience individually and
as a church. Stay in touch with church family and with those you love.
Something that has become a tradition for our family is to vacation at the ocean each summer with family and friends. When I’m on vacation at the shore I spend a lot of time down on the beach next to the water. Granted I’m under a beach umbrella but I’m still near the water. When you look at a beach you can tell where the high tide line is and then you can set up your beach umbrella so that you never get doused with water. It is amazing to me how God limits the reach of the water and sets its boundaries. The Bible speaks of this in Job 26:10 and Proverbs 8:29. Perhaps the best verse regarding this is Jeremiah 5:22 – “Fear ye not Me? Says the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which has placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail: though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?”
God has also placed limits and boundaries around the work that the devil is allowed to do in our lives. The book of Job makes it clear that God places a hedge around those who love and trust Him, only allowing the devil to intrude when it’s for our own eternal good. I’m reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I believe we limit the extent of this verse to only the temptation to sin that we experience in our lives. I believe based on the inspired Word and the writings of Ellen White that God weighs every temptation but also weighs every burden and trial in our lives. I also believe that when God’s people are in the eternal kingdom and the veil is pulled back and the entire replay of our lives is done that we’ll be amazed at what God kept away from us and what He prevented from touching us.
We serve a loving God and we need to trust Him with our lives and the limits that He appears to set on us. God’s view is an eternal one and the things of this life pale in significance when measured against eternal things. Let’s thank our Father in heaven for His watch care and protection over us but more importantly, doing everything He can to save us in His eternal kingdom. Put your bare feet into the sand by the ocean soon and thank Him for His goodness to you.
Pastor Art Randall
On trips through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, my and wife and I have had the opportunity to see the mountains and the beautiful landscape along the western edge of Virginia. One day we happened to be driving through that area and it was a damp, drizzly day and it gave us the opportunity to see something that we haven’t seen too often. A look to one side of the interstate revealed to us a mountain with a horizontal cloud covering the top of the mountain. Our minds were immediately brought to a portion of Scripture and a chapter in the book Patriarchs and Prophets that both deal with the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai to Moses and the children of Israel. On that day Christ himself descended and wrote with his own finger His law on tablets of stone. We are told there was a big cloud on the top of the mountain that was used to hide His glory and to keep Him hidden from human eyes (not to be secretive but because a holy God destroys sin and sinners when His glory is revealed).
We are also told that on Calvary when Jesus died, a cloud surrounded the cross when His agony was at its worse. His Father was nearby, in fact right next to the cross, but Christ was not able to detect His Father’s presence because of the cloud. Again the cloud was used to hide God’s glory from human eyes.
Many of us feel that a cloud surrounds us. We may be in a valley where we are encountering disease, sickness, death, grief, persecution and disappointment. The clouds of those experiences may be crowding around us, obstructing our view of heaven and God’s love for us. We have the assurance that when we are in those clouds is the very time when Christ is nearest to us. The clouds are obstructing our view of Him but they do not remove His presence from us. We have a Savior who loves us and has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Take Him at His word and learn to look beyond the clouds with the eyes of faith
Pastor Art Randall