June 2019
"Even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” Isaiah 56:7
May 4, 2019 - Sermon: Mingled Motives
by Pastor Greg Carlson
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 21

14  For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.  21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

What are the motives that drive us to worship and serve God? We need to examine the motives that stimulate us to have a spiritual life.
  • Why do we acknowledge God’s existence, submit to His sovereignty, and surrender to His will?
  • What lies behind our self-denial and self-sacrifice?
  • Why do we engage in religious activities such as prayer and Bible study?

Revelation 14:9-11 is the 3 rd Angel’s message.
Elizabeth Talbot summarized The Three Angels message:
1.    God’s side wins.
2.    Satan loses.
3.    Choose the winner.
Inducements to live a Christian life: 
  • The promises of reward or punishment influence our individual motives for serving God.
  • Deciding between obedience and disobedience and blessings and curses. 
  • Self-denial brings great gain. 
  • Being a servant to our fellow man ends in greatness and losing one’s life for Christ means finding it in the kingdom to come. 
  • Wickedness has its results. It is often dealt with her and certainly in the hereafter. 
  • The righteous are granted forgiveness and we experience peace, happiness, satisfaction, fellowship and communion with God. 
  • We are assured of the future enjoyment of the glories of heaven. 
  • In contrast the unrighteous are warned that their characters will degrade while here on earth, as they depart further and further from Christ. In the final judgement they will be destroyed. 
 It is human nature for us to serve God from a number of complex, mingled motives. Prayer itself can be motivated by necessity or sense of duty, rather than by love or a devotion to God. We can engage in Bible study by a conditioned conscience or to prove to God our personal faithfulness (legalist). 
Or these motives can often be mingled with a sincere desire to know more about God. A genuine yearning for a close relationship with God. 
However, with complete sincerity a Christian can become legalistic and seek to impress God with his performance of the letter of the Law and secure salvation. He may obey for a desire of material gain or out of fear, and suggest an acceptable conformity to the society around us.
Any of these motives may move men to activity. Combining these motives, we find a very complex and confusing picture. How can we know that we are motivated by the right reasons?
Read Jeremiah 17:9. The Lord who knows and searches our heart by the Word and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Read Hebrews 4:12. The Holy Spirit is able to reach into the depths of our heart and discern what our motives are. He works continuously in our hearts to reshape us and sharpen our motives and desires. He prompts us to worship and serve God from the highest of possible motives. He makes it clear through the Word what kind of motivation God wishes to develop in us.
Paul tells us of the higher motives that are to actuate our faith: Faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. We have faith in Christ’s sacrifice. We have hope in His resurrection and soon return. These things should motivate us toward love for Him as we take Him at His word and believe all that He has done and all that He can do in us and through us. Paul explains that the very spring of our actions is love of Christ.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:14,15, 21.
As we behold the matchless love of our Savior, as revealed from the cradle to the cross, the sight of Him should awaken a deep and genuine love in our hearts. The highest motive is love responding to love. All other motives must pass through this filter. Gratitude for God’s grace kindles a quality of love in us that will stimulate us to levels of spiritual living beyond what we might have imagined. 
In we can understand that the object of our creation is to honor God and to bless our fellow man, if we can see the tender love that our Father in heaven has shown to us through His son, Jesus, if we can sense the high destiny for which the discipline of this life is to prepare us for, the dignity and the honor to which we are called, we will turn away with disgust and with hate for anything sinful in our lives and strive to serve God through a discipleship motivated by love, to love God supremely above all things. Motivated completely by love to furnish the universe with a holy life as God intended. We were created for a relationship and a demonstration of the love of God. This is the life that God intended. A life of service, activated by this higher motivation of love for God and love for one another.
 Let’s examine our motives. If it gets us to fall on our knees and submit to God and fall in love with Him, to serve one another and to serve Him by the pure motive of love.
May 11, 2019 - Sermon: Mothers Love
by Pastor Greg Carlson
Scripture Reading: Matthew 20:20-23
20  Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21  ‘What is it you want?’ he asked. She said, ‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ 22  ‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’ ‘We can,’ they answered. 23  Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.’”

Mrs. Zebedee was assuredly aware of Jesus’ teachings and she knew that her two sons were close to Christ. She began to wonder if her sons would have positions of authority in the Lord’s new kingdom.

She came to Christ with the request that her sons sit on His right and left in His kingdom. Christ did not grant her request, neither did He deny it. He told her that it is the Father who determines who will sit there.

We might criticize Mrs. Zebedee for her brashness and presumptuousness, but we should think about some of the positives in this story and her example:
1.      She prayed earnestly that her sons would be part of the kingdom. We need that same concern for our children. Pray that they will be saved from eternal destruction and saved for eternal life.
2.      She prayed that they would be actively involved. We are all Christians and took on the name of Christ—service is part of being a Christian. Where does service to Christ begin? At home.

We need the attitude of service ingrained in us from the time we are little. Ensure the church is actively seeking lost souls until Jesus comes.

Mrs. Zebedee had big expectations. When you are in the kingdom there are no higher positions than on the right and left of the King Himself. We should admire her boldness. Too often we’ve settled for mediocrity. We should want the best for our children. Strive for excellence to become effective laborers in His kingdom. We should be on the cutting edge of how we witness. Its time for us to take our positions on the right and on the left of Christ. The Lord calls us to be His disciple, and boldly and passionately the outreach of the church, making sure the message of Christ goes into our community and neighborhoods.

A mother’s love is the closest example we have on this earth of the love of God. A love that sacrifices itself, and would even lay down its life for its offspring.

Christ has already gone through the valley of the shadow for you, and conquered death for you. He made it possible for you and I to live forever. He extends the loving invitation much like a mother opens the door and invites her children to come home, no matter what they’ve done.


Sean and Heather Jackson gave the children's story. Afterward, they provided pink and red carnations for the children to give to the ladies of the congregation. Thank you Sean and Heather!
May 18, 2019 - Sermon: Prepare to Meet Your God
by Pastor Christian Raju Talari
Scripture Reading: Romans 3:21-4

21  But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22  even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Pastor Raju is from a small village in India. His parents were teachers. He and his wife are the parents of one son and three daughters, one being Helena (she and her husband are members of Park, SDA Church). Pastor Raju and his wife are also the proud grandparents of Ryan and Abby. Pastor Raju has worked as a teacher, as a headmaster, an academic dean and president of an Adventist college in the Southern Asia Division. He is an evangelist. His family is conducts an Everlasting Gospel Revival each week in the year. 
Sermon notes:
We are here because of God’s grace. What a mighty God we have. We have the privilege to come before His presence to serve Him and to praise Him. We come Sabbath to Sabbath in His presence to prepare for His coming. Unless we are prepared, we cannot meet our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Revelation Chapter 22 says “I am coming quickly and my reward is with me.” We are living in a “No time world.” No time for God or the Word of God. Too busy with so many things of this world that we have no time for a God who gave up everything for us. We are not worthy to come before His presence or send petitions before Him because He is Holy. But He came to seek and save the lost because of His love for the sinner.
How shall we escape the curse of sin, destruction, and death if we don’t accept the great plan of salvation? The Lord is the way. There is no other way.
It is the power of God unto salvation, through Jesus Christ. He is a God of justice. But by His grace and Christ’s sacrifice, He has justified us. Through our belief in His son and acceptance of Him, we are justified by His blood.
Read Isaiah 53:10-12 and Romans 3:21-26.

When we accept Christ’s blood, it is as if the angel of death has passed over our sins previously committed. Our righteousness is not by works but by faith in Jesus Christ.
Once God has declared us righteous, our new life (sanctification), we are set aside to live righteous, holy lives. Live God’s love and it fulfils the law.
Justification has been done in the past. Glorification is done in the future. Sanctification is how we are to live between justification and glorification. How to live and use the talents given by God.
Paul bring out points on how to live sanctified lives:
1.    Do not think too highly of yourself. Christ humbled himself.
2.    Let your love be sincere, like Ruth.
3.    Regard evil with horror, like Joseph and Daniel. Cling to the Bible. If it is contrary to the Word, don’t do it.
4.    Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. Welcome those weak in faith. Embrace them as your brother and love them.
5.    Read the Word of God, but not in a hurry. Meditate on it. There will be a famine of the Word and the door of mercy will be closed. Cling to the Word of God while there is still opportunity. 
May 25, 2019 - Sermon: Faith Check!
by Pastor Greg Carlson
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:32 – 12:1

32   And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33   who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34   quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35  Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36  Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37   They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38   of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39  And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40  God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

 Memorial Day is a day to remember and thank those individuals who gave their best, their all, for us to continue to enjoy the liberties that we have in the United States of America. Memorial Day began after the close of the Civil War in 1865, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was originally called, “Decoration Day.” In 1868 a group of women in Washington DC asked permission of the War Department to decorate the graves at Arlington National Cemetery, and hold a special ceremony to mark the occasion. 

The point of Memorial Day is to remember. Paul, in the 12 th chapter of Hebrews, to remember that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  The phrase begins with the word, “Therefore,” which calls us to review the previous chapter, known as “The Faith Chapter.”   Chapter 11 recounts the names of the heroes of faith in the Bible. Many of them were ordinary people, but they were individuals of faith that God used in extraordinary ways to accomplish His will.  

Our earliest permanent settlers came here looking for religious freedom. Other nations came about by conquest, but it was in the atmosphere of God, not gold, that America was born. The souls that sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 fled the tyranny and oppression of religious intolerance. Upon the passage, the signed the Mayflower Compact, which proclaimed they had come to the new world for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” In 1643 they joined together to form the New England Confederation, and wrote a constitution to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace. These are our spiritual forefathers. 

Things that are right about our America:
1.      Its earliest permanent settlers came here primary looking for religious freedom.
2.      The founders of our nation had a desire to be pleasing to God and to do His will.
3.      America was founded by men and women who acknowledged God’s supreme rule over men and nations.
As the original settlers died off, many of their descendants became more concerned with worldly motives and the spiritual atmosphere began to deteriorate—some that had sought religious freedom for themselves became spiritually intolerant of others. 

But then God intervened in 1734. A handful of preachers soon sparked crusades and revivals in all 13 colonies, which becamse known as "The Great Awakening."  

The Prologue of the Constitution emphasizes that the job of the government is to protect that which God, our Creator, has given to each and every one of us. They reference God as the Supreme Judge of the World. The British wanted us to acknowledge that we had fought and won our freedom. Our early fathers said, no, we DECLARE our freedom and fought to keep it. It is the same with our salvation. We are declared saved, declared righteous, declared justified. The fight is to stay that way. 

American law, as written by our founding fathers guarantees our religious freedom. Inscribed on the pinnacle of the Washington Monument, the highest point in Washington, DC, “Let God Be Praised.”

Let us on this Memorial Day, lift up our eyes and praise God for the greatness and the blessings of this country in which we live. May all those who come behind us, for however long time shall last here in America, be able to say that they found us faithful in America.
Camping at Shad's Landing
May 3 - 5 members and friends of Park Church joined in a camping excursion at Shad's Landing, in Pocomoke State Park. Sabbath services were held on site, and campers enjoyed plenty of activities, including rope climbing, kayak and canoeing, a smores feast, and more! We are grateful to Grace and Jerry Wilson, who handled all the arrangements for the event.

Photos courtesy of Deshirl Rankins
Adrian Valcin Graduates!

Adrian Valcin graduated from Oakwood University, in Huntsville Alabama, on May 11, 2019. We praise God for His providence in guiding Adrian into His service. Adrian earned a Bachelor of Arts, Ministerial Theology. Judge Gregory Mathis spoke at the commencement. The university choir, The Aeolians, sang Happy Birthday to Lina Mathis, who was celebrating her birthday on May 11th. Some members of Park SDA Church, including Deshirl Rankins, Grace and Jerry Wilson, and of course, Adrian's mother, Bernadette, attended the Baccalaureate service. Members of other area churches also attended to celebrate and show their support of our beloved brother in Christ. Below are pictures of the graduation event and celebration, taken by Deshirl Rankins.
Remembering Manuel C. Dizon, by Grace Wilson
In honor of upcoming Father's Day, Grace Wilson shares with us some reflections of her later father.

"Tatay ( dad in Filipino) would have been 85 this June 14. He passed away with complications sustained after a cardiac arrest in the Philippines on March 19, 2019. He died peacefully surrounded by all of his children and most of his grandchildren. I miss him everyday and become tearful when I realize that I can’t call him through FaceTime anymore.

I was blessed to have spent time with him and Nanay (mom in Filipino) a week before he passed away since I came for my high school and college reunions in Adventist University of the Philippines.

My dad, Manuel C. Dizon, came from humble beginnings but with God’s blessings and hard work, he has accomplished much during his lifetime. He met my mom, Yolanda Prodigalidad, in an accounting review class. They married shortly after that and had six children (in birth order) Emmanuel, Grace, Melchor, Samuel, Faith and Hope. 

Although, my dad did not grow up in Adventist home, his mom, Jacinta (fondly called” Inang”) later became an Adventist through a colporteur’s visit and bible studies. By the time Inang learned the bible truths, my dad (the oldest of 5 children), has already left home and was on his own and was soon married. It was my grandmother, Inang, who shared the Adventist message to my mom, who later got baptized. Growing up, I remember my dad and his younger brother being the only non – Adventist in the family and my mom, being the only Adventist in her Catholic family. After several years, my dad, eventually became baptized in the Adventist church when I graduated from college.

At my dad’s wake, my siblings and I shared some of the lessons we have learned from my dad as his legacy continues on…

Hard work and the value of education.  We grew up waking early to do our chores, even on weekends. Even though, we sometimes have helpers, we all knew how to do house chores. As Asians, it was ingrained in us that doing your best and getting an education is vital. My dad says, “your education is your inheritance”.

Perspective. There are times one of my sisters would complain (I’m sure I did it too) about having to work, cook, clean and do so much. Tatay would remind her, “be thankful, at least you have something to cook, others don’t even have food to eat”. And “be thankful, others don’t even have a house to clean.” Things come into fresh perspective when we are thankful with what we have and what God has blessed us with.

Generosity . I was in freshman high school when my youngest brother, Sammy, died in a hit and run accident at a tender age of 7. In his memory, a few years ago, my parents donated funds to build a (much needed) gymnasium in Philippine Union College Academy which is named Samuel P. Dizon Auditorium where the students use it as on all purpose hall for sports, concerts and even church. At my dad’s wake, some of the students and faculty came to sing several songs and expressed their thankfulness for my parent’s magnanimity. My dad (and mom) has helped several working students. I even met one of them at the funeral service, and she expressed thankfulness to my dad who has helped her finish her law degree. I can only imagine the countless people that he has helped.

Love for family.  Every week, my dad would call via FaceTime, all his children and some his grand children as a routine. If we have not called him, he definitely would call us and ask how we all are doing, and sometimes, just say, “I just want to see you or hear your voice”. These weekly calls, we fondly coined, “roll call”. There used to be a time, when we walked in the classroom, and the teacher would do a roll call of all the students and we had to say “present” to be marked in attendance. My dad had to do his weekly ‘roll call’ to make sure everyone is well.  My dad loved family reunions. A couple years ago, my sisters (who are both in the U.S) and I came home to celebrate my mom’s 80 th birthday. (My two brothers and their children live close to my parents). My dad was smiling from ear to ear.

I’m sure during the resurrection morning, Tatay would do a “roll call” and look for each one of his children, family and friends. It is my hope and prayer that we will all be found worthy to be reunited with the people we have lost on this earth. What a grand reunion that will be!"
Photo taken at Nanay's (Grace's Mom) 80th birthday celebration.
Photo taken at Nanay's (Grace's Mom) 80th birthday celebration.
Above picture L-R are: Mechor, Manny, Nanay, Tatay, Grace, Faith, and Hope.
Pictures of the funeral service with the Dizon Family. At right: After the wake. Shown are the children and their families that we able to attend.

Hannah's Journal
News from Hannah Wilson

Hannah Wilson's adventures continue. As of this writing in May 2019, Hannah, her dad (Jerry Wilson), and Ryan Haakerson are making the ascent at Mt. Everest. Their goal is to hike 18,000 ft! More news and photos to follow in the next issue. Below are a few photos of their travels:
Pizza party before Hannah left for Nepal
The Journey!
The plane ride from Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal. L-R Jerry, Ryan, Hannah
"Classic day at the train station." They disembarked at Kathmandu, Nepal.
Ryan and Hannah
Rojan Mathew - Mission Trip to Panama
Rojan Mathew, of Park SDA Church, will be going on a mission trip to the Chiriqui provinces in Panama, on June 29 - July 9th and is looking for anyone who is willingly open-hearted in giving toward toward his cause. Any donation or support in any way is greatly appreciated. The following informational letter from Rojan outlines the mission:

"One of our Chesapeake sister churches across the bridge, New Hope SDA Church is planning a mission trip to Panama in July, 2019 for high-school-age young people and I am hoping to join them. We will be going to the eastern mountains of Panama and working among the Ngobe-Bugle Indians. They are some of the poorest people in Central America and have many needs. We will be working on church and school projects during the time we are there.

I'm excited about going on this trip and am writing this letter to ask your help. The cost of the trip is $1,700 per person. I am hoping that you share in my enthusiasm for this ministry. If you are interested in supporting this mission trip, please consider making a donation. Please make your checks out to Rojan Mathew or cash, and please give directly to Rojan.

Thank you for your help. If possible, please send your contribution by April 30. Please pray for us as we go on this adventure. I will present a report on this mission trip and take plenty of pictures and share them with you when I return. Thank you in advance.

Let us bring before the Lord our prayers of thanksgiving, petitions, and intercession. God is faithful in hearing the prayers of an obedient people. We gather together in unity and love, raising our voices before the throne of grace.