January 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

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.
The Pastor's Pen

When is Soon?
by Pastor Greg Carlson
As a little boy, I remember my mom and dad telling me that Jesus was coming soon. My question was, “when is soon mom?” I learned that soon could mean different lengths of time depending on the expected event. “Daddy will be home soon for supper,” to a hungry little boy might seem like forever, but it really meant in the next twenty minutes or so. “Your brother will be home soon from academy,” meant in the next couple days. After getting my Learners Permit 90 days before turning 16 and being told “soon you will be able to take the car by yourself,” soon seemed like decades. But, it turned out that soon was 90 days. “Soon we will have a remodeled kitchen in the Fellowship Building,” hopefully also means in the next 90 days!
When I was four years old I didn’t expect to see 16 on this earth. When I was 16 I didn’t think I would get married and have children on this earth. But, here I am at 60, now with grandchildren over the age of 16. I’ve come to learn that God is not limited by our concept of soon. As He came in “the fullness of time” at His first coming so will He do so at His Second Coming. In His wisdom, He has not told us just when He is coming. But one thing is certain; it is sooner now than it ever has been before. It is quite clear that if ever there was a time when the political, economic, secular, and religious climates were screaming that Christ’s coming was soon, it is now. But, pretty much every generation since the Apostle Paul has thought the same thing! As we launch into 2019, the last year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, it is a surprise and somewhat of an embarrassment to the date-setter crowd that we are still here on Earth. What we do know is that when the greatly anticipated day of the Second Coming does arrive we will no longer ever have the privilege and joy of leading someone into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ again.
So, what as Christians should we be occupying our time with until Jesus does return? What can we as individuals and as the Park Church focus on as we wait for “soon” to happen? Well, here is some counsel from the pages of Ministry of Healing pages 142-143. The 3rd paragraph is quite familiar to many of us but take a look at the context.
What is the condition in the world today? Is not faith in the Bible as effectually destroyed by the higher criticism and speculation of today as it was by tradition and rabbinism in the days of Christ? Have not greed and ambition and love of pleasure as strong a hold on men’s hearts now as they had then? In the professedly Christian world, even in the professed churches of Christ, how few are governed by Christian principles. In business, social, domestic, even religious circles, how few make the teachings of Christ the rule of daily living. Is it not true that “justice standeth afar off: ... equity cannot enter... And he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey”? Isaiah 59:14, 15.
The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago— a revelation of Christ . A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.
Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”
So, let us heed this counsel as we consider our efforts in 2019 to reach our families, our friends, and our community with the message of Christ’s soon return. Let us mingle with people and let them see Jesus in us. As another Christmas has passed and another New Year has begun let us consider the mystery of the grace of God, Jesus dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit. Let us be found in prayer groups seeking the infilling of the Holy Spirit and revival personally, and corporately. I close with these words from LeRoy E. Froom:
“The Holy Spirit, who is to fill us, is not some vague influence or mystic force. He is a divine Person, to be received with deep humility, veneration, and obedience. Therefore it is not a question of our having more of Him, but of His having more of us—yes, all there is of us. So we are seeking not some impersonal power but a fuller knowledge of a Person, greater allegiance to a Person, stronger love for a Person, and the absolute sway in the life, of a Person—the Holy Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit comes to administer in us the rule of Christ…So we are not simply filled with an influence, or a sensation, or a set of ideas, or a mere blessing, but with a blessed Person. The mystery of Bethlehem is incomprehensible, yet it is a positive fact…But that the same Spirit now comes and dwells in the bodies of sinful men and women is the supreme mystery of God’s grace.”
{Exerpts from Coming of the Comforter by LeRoy E. Froom, pgs. 159, 160}

New Years Eve Agape Supper Communion

Park SDA Church welcomed in the New Year by celebrating an Agape Supper Communion Service. What a blessing it was to come together in fellowship and be partakers of the Ordinance of Humility and Communion.

The Blessing of His Birth!
Celebrating Christmas with Musical Program - Sabbath, December 15th

Here are some of the highlights of the program:

Sermon by Mr. Dittu Abraham
December 8, 2018

Park SDA Church was blessed by the visit of Mr. & Mrs. Dittu Abraham this past Sabbath (December 8th). Mrs. Abraham gave an engaging children’s story. Afterward, Mr. Abraham’s sermon, “Hold Fast to the Key”, began by unlocking the heart of The Beatitudes. Takeaways from the sermon included: We must live the Gospel story. We are a church of hope, and are to bring hope to the whole world. Christ came as a personal Savior, who represented a personal God. Jesus wants to live in our hearts, just as God lived in His. Christ, the Desire of Ages, is now the Promise of all Ages.

Mr. Abraham’s is the President of Frontline Community Services, a position he has held for the last nine years. FCS is located in the greater Washington, DC area, and supports and provides services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the homeless. Please visit www.frontlinecs.org.

Mr. Abraham’s past experience also includes serving in the Adventist church in multiple capacities; as English teacher (at the Salisbury Park SDA Church in India), principal, legal counsel at the Southern Asia Division, Editor for the Southern Asia Tidings and Communications Director. At the General Conference World Headquarters, he was a member of the Communication Strategy Council (COMSTRAT). He is currently an Elder at the Takoma Park SDA Church.
The Park SDA Praise Team gave special music prior to Mr. Dittu's sermon.

Hannah's Journal
News from Hannah Wilson

Little boys are constantly running around our “house”, which is really just two rooms with a tin roof acting as a wall. From the second the breakfast bell rings (or earlier), you can hear the boys yelling, “Miss? Miss!” And the longer you wait the louder it gets. They love to drink charcoal and look in the mirror and laugh at how their teeth turn black. They wake us up if we are sleeping, and crowd around us if we are on our phones. The kids are welcomed company, and once we have chased down and hidden away the important electronics that they shamelessly tamper with (and most of the time even before that), we will engage with them. We bring out Legos, give out balloons, and let them play with other random makeshift toys like sleeping bags, our mats, or pillows. To be fair, each of us kinda loves it.

After dinner it can especially get pretty crazy in our humble madhouse. There is always a few new medical problems to solve or at least treat, and in the background a mix of rambunctious boys run around. And if the dinner is a light one, there may be some late-night cooking on top of that. Boys sit on my bed and pick up anything I have carelessly left in full view. They run around with headlamps, loose leaf paper, pen lights, or pillows. The series of medical treatments range from breathing steam to drinking charcoal, from anti-fungal cream to triple antibiotic, from bandaids on cuts to duct tape on warts. If it’s an especially interesting medical treatment, we get a crowd of curious kids around us. I feel like I run into seven medical problems and fix about two while I battle three problems I can’t solve and hope someone else is tackling some too. It’s definitely an adventure every night.

This night I was particularly tired, and usually the boys leave around 8pm or earlier (or later depending on the day). During prayer requests that evening, one boy asked for prayer for his mom. She doesn’t pay him much attention, and he worries often. I was so tired from the day but also so inspired by the beauty of prayer in this house. In the crazy, messy, madhouse of a home, we approached on bended knee the Master of the universe who joined us as we said goodnight. It had a sobering effect. Each one of us prayed. Prayers in Polish, Spanish, Khasi and English filled the room. I love how the chaos turned calm in seconds. In the crazy and calm, God stoops down to listen, guide, and speak. But there’s something about the way He commands calm like they are old friends that leaves me in wonder. Our pleas for each situation chorused to heaven.

The next day, the crazy was back. But it was not the boys that made it so, but the bon appétit bugs. I think I ate more bugs that day than I have my entire life. The garbanzo beans this morning had about 3 bugs per bean... and I was distracted so I didn’t notice until the crunch broke my illusions of eating just beans for breakfast. It is the after-taste of eating a bug that really gets to me. That night, dinner was oatmeal, and I was again distracted until I noted the undeniable taste of bug in my oatmeal.

But something else happened that day. The boy visited that night and he told me with bright eyes how his mom had called today. She called so rarely that he couldn’t help but be ecstatic and thankful. He didn’t for a second think that it was by chance that she called him the day after we prayed about it. It was not chance, but God’s hand at work. He attributed the fact that his mom called him to our prayers the night before; God had listened! I was shocked and so happy to get to be a part (its funny how I still get surprised when God answers, probably for the best, keeps me appreciating better), and I was again reminded of the power of the God we serve.
Sometimes life is crazy; peace plays hide-and-go-seek, rest goes out the window, and bugs become breakfast. In these moments, I am happy to report God is working. The Prince of Peace’s yoke is easy, offering rest to the weary (and as far as bugs for breakfast only his cousin was reported eating locust). All is well, life is good, God is working.
All things work together,
Hannah Wilson

Something to Think About
Gratitude is not an inherited trait.  Perhaps that’s why so few people possess it. My father was a mechanic by trade; a very good one who worked hard, but made just enough money to support a large family. There was a lot of recycling and hand-me-downs, and being the youngest I got a plenty of goods from the decade before. When I was a teenager our wealthy neighbor threw away a decrepit wooden stool, complete with tattered mauve cushion.
I saw a silk purse in that sows ear, as my great-grandmother would say, but I didn’t know how to get it to that point. My father was amazingly handy with tools and he immediately retrieved it from the trash and volunteered to work on transforming it into my vision. I’m sure he had more productive things to accomplish in his spare time, but he was on a mission, putting all his effort and affection into that stool. I would go downstairs from time to time, but only to chart the progress. Standing on the cool, musty dirt floor of the cellar with my hands on my hips, I marveled at the patience in his voice as he explained how to use each tool properly. I thought it was all incredibly boring and old-school. I was soon up the stairs and on to who knows where, doing who knows what, rather than lend a hand or learn something useful. Despite my indifference, he retreated to the basement each night after supper, where he sanded, stripped, and polished that stool until it looked like a treasure from Antiques Road Show.

I used the stool for several years until I was able to afford a more sophisticated replacement, aka production line masterpiece.  The old stool was banished to a storage unit, where it quietly collected dust. Strangely, after my father’s death one thought kept gnawing at me. I needed that stool. It took some time to extricate it from beneath the rubble of packing boxes and garbage bags in the storage unit. I took it outside, into the light. Here, for the first time, I examined it closely. I could feel the smoothness from the fine grade sand paper, which must have rubbed his fingers raw. I could smell the age and quality of the wood. 

I turned it upside down. My father never did a job without doing it right. His dedication to excellence was always apparent, even in dark recesses, where the eye never bothered to look. And it was there that he had left part of himself, in the form of a faint hand print. It was the very same hand that kept a promise with a firm shake and could fix just about anything for the sum of one smile. It picked cotton instead of calculating homework, carried a Sergeant's rifle ashore on the front lines of blood-soaked South Pacific beaches at the age of 23, turned a drafty, broken-down shack into a home, and welcomed six children into the world. It pulled wiggly teeth and narrated humorous tales. It was too rough, tired, and uneducated to flip the pages of a complicated book--because it began and ended its career in a dirty, greasy mechanic's shop from the age of 13. And it was the same hand that gently, but reluctantly passed my fingers to the hand of another man. Its nails were never clean. It was always calloused. It grew old before its time. But it always gave its best, even when promotions went to smoother hands.

I placed my palm over the print and longed to hold that hand. For the first time in my selfish life I truly appreciated something, and at last I appreciated him. In my complicated, stress-filled world, my heart ached to embrace his simple, humble example. I missed him terribly. And I missed the most important gift he tried to give me: A chance to be a part of his life and recognize his legacy. His legacy was me .
Let us resolve in the New Year to give praise to and express gratitude toward our heavenly Father. The nail-pierced hands of His only begotten Son bear testament to His infinite love toward us. His deepest desire is for us to accept the gift of salvation and enter into a relationship with Him. His legacy is Jesus Christ. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift !" --2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)

Upcoming Events:

  • Pathfinder and Adventurers Clubs Meeting is January 5, 2019, 1:00 - 4:00 PM.
  • Adventurer Club Induction during the church service on January 5, 2019.
  • Thank you all that bought calendars from the Pathfinders. We appreciate the support!
  • Elders and Board Meeting on January 13, 2019 from 8:30 to 10:00 AM.
  • Sabbath School Council Meeting on January 20, 2019 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM. Any questions, please see Sister Karen.
  • Prayer Meeting - each Wednesday at 7:00 PM.
  • Nursing Home visit - 3rd Sabbath of each month, 2:00 PM (after fellowship luncheon).
  • Keila asks that all children to be dressed in black and white every 4th Sabbath. Piano and voice lesson will be offered as well. Please see Keila and Buddy for additional information.
  • Talents for the Lord - 4th Sabbath of each month, 2:00 PM (after fellowship luncheon).
  • Prison Ministry - every first and fifth Sabbath from 7:45 to 9:45 AM in ECI.
  • Bible study at the Annex every Sabbath from 6:15 PM to 8:15 PM (please see Jerry Wilson for details).
  • Margaret Brittingham is now in the Hartley Hall Nurshing Home, 1006 Market Street, Pocomoke City, MD 21851, Room 210. Cards and visits are appreciated. Any questions see David Carroll.