Jesus is standing in front of the governor of Palestine. He’s already been physically mauled and mentally drained by his accusers. They are out for blood. His blood. They want nothing more than to see the would-be Messiah executed. They claim not to have the authority to carry out such a desire, so they try to get someone else to do their dirty work. Romans were good at executing “justice” so they attempt to incite Rome to do their dirty work.
Anytime the Kingdom tries to get the empire to do their bidding, it’s not good for the church nor is it good for the empire.
Pilate didn’t get to his position in the Roman Empire because he was dull. He’s intrigued by Jesus. He’s so intrigued that he questions Him personally. There is Jesus, standing quietly before Pilate. The Kingdom in the presence of the authoritarian empire leader.
“Is it true that you are the king of the Jews?
Somehow, Pilate had heard something about this new Kingdom that Jesus was wanting to usher into the Roman Empire.
He didn’t look like much of a king. He looked poor. Wasn’t much to look at. What kind of a king would allow himself to be arrested and beat up? And where were his subjects?
Jesus answers, “Is it your idea that I’m a king or did somebody put that in your head?”
Pilate reminds Jesus that it was His own people that turned him over and accused him of sedition.
Then Jesus says something that is worth taking note of. He says, “My Kingdom is not of this world and my subjects don’t fight empire battles.” (MRV—Mark’s Revised Version)
Jesus reminds all of His followers that even though we all live in the empire, our Kingdom is not of this world. The Empire is not what we are to be invested in. The Kingdom is what it’s all about. Jesus’ Kingdom, the earth as He sees it becoming, is the business we are to all be about.
I have a dear friend from childhood that I talked to yesterday. He’s in his early 60s. When I called him, he texted me, “I’m not feeling great today, we can talk later.”
I didn’t leave well enough alone, so I called again. He finally answered. In a nutshell, he’s so upset about the politics in the US and how the election went, and how dishonest the media is about it all, it’s literally made him sick in mind and body. The Empire is literally driving him nuts.
In recent weeks we’ve seen elections, riots, strife, and an inauguration (or as a young friend called it the other day—eggnog nation). These things are all news worthy. Lots of pictures and videos. Conspiracies and behind the scenes shenanigans. And it’s all about the empire.
We are not about the business of the empire. We are about the business of the Kingdom. Let’s keep our focus. In the words of the author of the book of Hebrews, let’s, “Fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
Pastor Mark Witas
Special shout out to Marlan Glovatsky for being a host at each “Habits” series online interactive event. Thank you, Marlan!
News & Notes
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all services and meetings at the church have been canceled until further notice. Stay connected! Check out our Facebook page and website. If you are not receiving our emails, please forward your email address to info@SunnysideAdventist.org, so we can keep you informed of our activities.
Welcome to our worship service via streaming video at 11:15 am. Pastor Wendy Witas will present our worship service titled ”Renew Your Mind by the Mastermind.”
Please pray for the family of Marti Wofford who passed away this passed week on January 19, 2021.
There will be a “hangout” for Portland Adventist Academy students with Pastor Billy Hungate Friday, January 29, 6:00 pm.
Sunday, February 28, 4:00 pm, there will be a Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra concert via livestream — use this link to view : http://www.sunnysidesymphony.org
Our new Sabbath School quarterlies are here! If you would like a new quarterly contact the church office and we will make sure you get what you need: 503-252-8080, text 971-238-9680, or email info@SunnysideAdventist.org. Or you may get it online at
The January/February Children’s Sabbath Packets are available from the information desk in the church foyer. If you do not have a code to get into the church, contact Rosie at the church office, 503-252-8080. Packets contain lesson stories, memory verses, crafts and activities for each Sabbath in January and February. We have packets for Beginners, Kindergarten/1st grade, Primary 4th/5th grades, and Junior High.
Several of our classes are meeting during this challenging time via Zoom. We want to share these with you — if you see one that you would like to join, send your contact information to info@SunnysideAdventist.org or call 503-252-8080, and we will make sure you receive a Zoom invitation to join. Here is a list of Sabbath School classes: the Santiam class (Gingrich, Fenn, Hill, Martin & Westermeyer); the Reboot Bible study group (Glovatsky, Kielman, Dickerson, and Dragulin); Steffen Moller and his team of teachers; the Faithtime group; and the Romanian group. On Wednesday morning there is Women’s FaithLift prayer ministry group; and a men’s Bible study group. Let us know if you would like to join in!
Directory Update — We are missing many photos! We would love to have your photo in our directory. If you haven’t given us one, please upload a photo through your Elexio app or send a snapshot to info@SunnysideAdventist.org. If you can’t email it, mail it, we’ll scan it, and return it to you. It does not have to be one that is professionally taken. We just want to be able to identify you with a photo! Thank you for your help with this.
During this difficult time, if you are in need of financial help for rent, utilities, or other needs, the Family Resource Network stands by to help. Or if you know of a fellow church member that may need help and is hesitant to ask, let us know. Call the church office at 503-252-8080 or send an email to info@SunnysideAdventist.org.
Portland Adventist Academy
If you’re an Amazon shopper, you can add Portland Adventist Academy as your AmazonSmile charitable organization. Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchases to PAA. You can feel good knowing that you’re helping our students receive a Christ-centered and character-driven education! Create your account at www.smile.amazon.com. Search charitable organizations for Portland Adventist Academy. Link: https://paasda.org/news/amazon-smiles-at-portland-adventist-academy/
Area Events and Announcements
Crosswalk Portland is conducting a drive-thru “Sock Drive” for our neighbors without houses. It will be held in the PAA parking lot Saturday, January 23, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Come anytime, drop off socks and listen to some live worship music.
February 13, 6:00 to 7:00 Sabbath evening. Please use a red Crayon to circle this date on your calendar. Bright red! Giving For Our Kids will be a one-hour celebration of Oregon Conference education – the students, teachers and staff who are living God’s miracles every day. We’ll take you inside classrooms so you can see how students are learning during Covid. You’ll hear from students, teachers, administrators, staff, and alumni – and you’ll be the first to hear an incredibly beautiful musical piece sung by our kids! Online at www.facebook.com/OregonAdventists/ and www.youtube.com/oregonadventists.
Oregon Conference Planned Giving and Trust Services. One of the benefits offered through the Planned Giving and Trust Services Department of the Oregon Conference is tax savings. Did you know that you can give all, or a portion of your required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA for your tithe and offerings, and not have to pay taxes on those funds? In the same way, you can give stocks directly through the Planned Giving and Trust Services Department as a donation, and avoid capital gains tax. Find out how it works by contacting Leslie Caims at the Planned Giving and Trust Services Department at 503-850-3570 or see us online at oregonadventist.org. We are here to help you provide for those you love, and also support God’s cause in the Oregon Conference.
PACS NEWS: (Portland Adventist Community Service)
PACS Food Pantry Drive-thru OPEN Mon-Fri from 9:00-11:00 am. We are still operating with social distancing and social responsibility. If you or someone you know needs food please tell them about us. If you cannot make it to PACS please send a note with someone and they can get you food. Any questions please call PACS at 503-252-8500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Located at 11020 NE Halsey St, Portland OR 97220.
PACS Thrift Store is OPEN – we have temporary hours: Mon-Thurs 9:00 am-5:00 pm & Friday 9:00 am-2:30 pm. Our donation drop-off center is open and we value your donations but due to a high volume of donations please call ahead to see if we are accepting, 503-252-8500. Located at 11020 NE Halsey St, Portland OR 97220
PACS Thrift Store – At Home Shopping: www.facebook.com/groups/pacsthriftstore
Empty Egg Cartons? PACS Needs Them! If you have any 12-count empty egg cartons we would love to take them off your hands to use in our food pantry! Please drop them off at our Office or Donation Receiving. Thank You In Advance!
ALL SERVICES AND MEETINGS CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
From an abundance of caution and in consultation with Adventist Health and the Oregon Conference Office and in cooperation with the Governor of the State of Oregon, the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church will not be holding public gatherings for the next few weeks. This includes all committee meetings and group Bible studies. The pastoral staff and administration of Sunnyside realize that many of our members fit the demographic of at-risk people in regards to COVID-19. Because of this, we believe the most loving thing to do is cancel services for now.
We encourage all our Sunnyside members to take advantage of this time to connect with each other in meaningful ways. Call friends that you know will miss our weekly fellowship the most. Enjoy Sabbath family time. And wash your hands!
Since we will not be collecting offerings for the next few Sabbaths, please remember your local church by giving online (click on our website link), drop your gifts in the door box at Rosie’s office, or send your gifts through the mail, marking your intent for each gift clearly. Pastors and Rosie will still be on the clock and available via phone or email for appointments and visitation.
Please share word of this with all the folks you may know that do not frequent social media, have access to email or have limited communication in other ways. Please join us each Sabbath on Live Stream for services. Watch for email and social media updates on what services Sunnyside will have to offer. These are uncharted waters for Sunnyside Church and the Oregon Conference. Please keep us all in your prayers as we attempt to navigate well. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46