The Importance of Personal Devotion
Have you ever wondered why some Christians, particularly in the medieval era, worshiped relics? Literally the word relic means “something left behind,” and it can be associated with a number of objects such as garments, bones or ancient artifacts that remain from an earlier period. More significant however, relics were a way of linking the past with the present. They were a way of connecting Christians to the historical figures and religious experiences of the past. Thus it was a common occurrence in medieval Christianity for a Believer to venerate a relic in an attempt to feel closer to the historical person of Jesus Christ. Perhaps by having a hem of His garment, they thought, I can cherish what is left of the presence and power of Jesus.
However, is it even possible to preserve past “God” encounters? Although there is nothing fundamentally wrong with choosing to reflect on how we have experienced God in history, we cannot simply rely on old memorable moments with Jesus to get us through the day. Like a decaying corpse or spoiling cadaver, our spiritual life won’t fair much better if it is not being constantly renewed. A stale and waning religious experience will never accomplish what a fresh new one can! Unlike antique articles and predated bones, Jesus belongs not only to the past but also to the present. He is the God not only of yesterday but the God of today, tomorrow and forevermore (Heb. 13:8). He is the one “who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 1:8). He is the One who lived, died, BUT then rose again! And we can encounter and experience this same Jesus anew “as long as it is called Today” (Heb. 3:13).
A fresh personal encounter with Jesus can come in a variety of ways, shapes and forms. We may connect with Him through prayer, music, nature or even through human relationship, but one of the primary ways that God has chosen to communicate and connect with us is through His Word (Rom. 10:17). The Bible is God’s love letter to humanity, the revelation of His Divine will, the absolute authority and the absolute testimony to His character and ultimate goodness. The Bible is also where we are introduced to Jesus Christ whom I like to refer to as God’s selfie (John 14:9). And as we pursue in meeting this Jesus as revealed in the Gospels, He begins to rejuvenate and refresh our spiritual lives. In essence, God begins to ReJesus us. That means becoming more like Him, orientating our lives around Him and ultimately doing as Jesus did. Only a daily experience with Jesus can accomplish this! Yet if we choose to neglect time in personal devotion, the danger resides in allowing our previous encounters with God, our relics of God, to take the very place of God. We begin to worship the encounter rather than the encountered.
Thus I challenge you, how many relics do you have in your life? How many memories of Jesus have you clung on to because they appear to be the closest thing, perhaps the only thing, you have of Him? Maybe you have witnessed God move in the past but you fail to see Him move right now. Have you caught yourself trying to preserve old, out-dated religious experiences? If so, just know that Jesus wants to pursue a new encounter with you today! Are you willing and ready to experience Him afresh? He’s calling you Today and as long as it is called Today.
See you tomorrow!
News & Notes
News Brief from Adventurers
We are still smiling and praising God for such a wonderful Sabbath (October 31) when we could share this important event in our lives with you–our church family! Thank you for participating with us in the Induction Ceremony and Family Blessing Service! We want to especially thank those who coordinated the event, the video, sound and projection assistants, deacons and deaconesses for setting up for potluck, and washing hundreds of dishes, pots, and silverware…. Your help is greatly appreciated!
This year we introduced a new class: The 4-year olds are now called Curious Cubs, opening the Little Lambs class to the 3-year olds or even younger siblings of Adventurers and Pathfinders. And yes, we still accept new enrollments! Our teachers are very dedicated, creative, passionate, and inspiring! We thank God for each one of them and hope they know how much they are appreciated!`
There are 47 happy Adventurers registered this year, but behind each head-count there is a person, a personality, a soul that needs special nourishment, attention, and love. Stop by and visit us on Tuesday evenings, and while you’re there, let someone know how you’d like to get involved. We’d love to share our happiness with you!
Our worship services are at 8:45 and 11:15 am. Dr. John McVay will present the Bible message titled “When Jesus Sets You Free.” Dr. McVay is the president of Walla Walla University.
The Walla Walla University Nursing School will conduct a nurses dedication this afternoon at 3:00.
Veterans Day 2015.
We honor all of our veterans who have
served and sacrificed for our freedoms.
Thank you to each of you.
Every Wednesday, 9:00 am, meet in the fellowship hall for an exercise class sponsored by Sunnyside Senior Ministries. Everyone is welcome. The class is suitable for seniors, but not limited to seniors. Discover the benefits of a fitness routine designed for adults of all ages every Wednesday. Everyone can workout at his/her own level of ability and pace. The class includes a warmup, aerobic portion, followed by cool down, strength training, balance, and flexibility. Everyone works at their own pace, and no complicated moves. Wear comfortable clothing. Join this group of fun-loving people who have the goal of improving their health in a Christian environment.
Sunnyside Pathfinders are doing a food drive to collect non-perishable foods for their annual Thanksgiving baskets. They plan on giving out 55 food baskets this year. Your help is appreciated. Please leave your food donations on the table in the Narthex. Cash donations may be placed in a tithe envelope and marked “Pathfinder Thanksgiving.”
Our Library has new hours: 10:50–11:20 am; after 2nd service–1:00 pm. If you are interested in a copy of the Torah, the library has a free copy available.
Sunnyside Youth, ages 15+, will be involved in a mission trip to Los Angeles during Spring Break, March 18-27. The Dream Center was founded twenty years with a compelling vision to impact all of Los Angeles by addressing people’s physical, material, and spiritual needs in unique and practical ways, The Dream Center has grown into a phenomenon that now reaches more than thirty thousand people each week through its multiple church services and more than two hundred need-centered ministries. We will be driving a bus to Los Angeles and some of the activities we may be involved in are: adopt-a-block, construction, discipleship, food bank, food truck, kitchen, His hands extended, kid’s ministry, family floor, and foster care intervention. Come prepared to share Jesus in practical ways. For further information and to register, contact Pastor Colby at Colby.Maier@SunnysideAdventist.org or call 503-334-8095.
Sunnyside will be sponsoring a mission trip to Ethiopia during Spring Break 2016. Plan to join the mission team for evangelism, building, heath ministry, and children’s ministry. Express your interest by contacting Ted Mackett, chair, Foreign Missions Facilitation Committee, or see Dick Fenn in the Missions office this morning.
Thanksgiving is coming soon! Do you have dinner plans? If not, we have families that are opening their homes to anyone that doesn’t have a place to go and celebrate the season. Call the church office for specific details, 503-252-8080. If you would also like to offer your home to others, please let us know.
Family Resource Network thanks you for your gifts that have made it possible in recent months to help a number of families through difficult times. The holiday season is a challenging time of year for those having difficulty. Please remember them with your contributions to account #9387.
Portland Adventist Academy
Portland Adventist Academy is having its annual Student Scholarship Auction on Sunday, November 15, 2015. Tickets are $20/person or $125/table of 8 people. We are also looking for auction items such as event tickets, vacation homes, and gift certificates. If you would like to come to our event or donate, please call Heidi Woodworth at 503-255-8372 ext. 230 or email her at email@example.com.
Portland Adventist Academy invites parents to an informational Open House on Wednesday, November 18, from 6-8:30 pm. The evening begins with refreshments and a meet and greet. It continues with department tours and concludes with a question and answer time with administrators when you can learn more about academics, scholarships, and more. Please join us on November 18, 6:00 pm, at Portland Adventist Academy. Find us at 1500 SE 96th Ave. Portland, OR 97216 or online at www.paasda.org. RSVP by calling 503-255-8372.
Portland Adventist Elementary
Portland Adventist Elementary School is having its annual Harvest Festival on November 14 from 5:30-8:30 pm. Come join us for food, games, and fun in the school gym. One can of food for entry. Tickets for food and games can be purchased at the door. Hope to see you there!
Please help support the Portland Adventist Elementary School annual wreath and poinsettia fundraiser – fresh and beautiful products delivered to PAES, for your pick up, just in time for your holiday decorating. All proceeds will be used to help purchase a new phone system for the school. Please call PAES at 503-665-4102 for more details. Orders are due by November 18, and product will be delivered to PAES on Tuesday, December 1. Thank you so much for your support. We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season. Thank you for supporting our school.
Follow the Star is accepting actors for its 14th annual production portraying the story of the birth of the Messiah the first two weekends of December. Also, singers may join the angel choir or audition for the singing angel at the manger. Contact Paul or Corleen Johnson for details, 503-970-1693 or 503-702-5639, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. Volunteers staff this production that is free to the community. Please reply ASAP.
The Northwest Religious Liberty Association is here to help. If you struggle to explain your convictions about Sabbath or labor unions to your employer, or are being asked to work on Sabbath, call Greg Hamilton or Rhonda Bolton at 360-857-7040.
November 14, 7:00 pm: Elise LeBlanc Hilde will be presenting a concert. Bring your family and friends for a night of fresh, positive acoustic music. Elise’s original songs speak of faith, healing, and relationships. Refreshments to follow. Listen to her music at: www.eliseleblanc.com.
Event Location: Pleasant Valley Church.
Saturday, November 21, 7:00 pm, Adventist Health presents a Celebration of Thanksgiving, featuring Jaci Valasquez and Nic Gonzales. Adventist Health invites you to the annual community Thanksgiving concert highlighting our commitment to hope and healing. Ushering in a new era of multicultural worship, Dove Award winning Nic Gonzales with the band Salvador, and multiplatinum, Grammy nominated Jaci Valasquez are Nic + Jaci. Called into lives of music, this Latin-influenced husband-wife duo teams up for the first time ever, merging their ministries to continue to advance the kingdom of God. Free admission with your concert ticket and a nonperishable food item for the Oregon Food Bank. Tickets required and available on a first come, first serve basis. Visit AdventistHealth.org/NW/Thanksgiving or call 503-251-6174.
Tickets now available at Sunnyside Church office.
Event Location: New Hope Community Church.
December 4, 5: Women of Faith – Loved. If you are interested in attending this exciting event and would like more information or discounted tickets, please contact Heidi Hill at 503-412-9600.
Event Location: Moda Center, Portland.
July 25-28, 2016: Great Controversy Tours with Dr. Gerard Damsteegt of the Seminary, Andrews University. See the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation come alive. Visit Rome and the Reformation sites in the Waldensian Valleys, Switzerland, and Germany. These tours give you a new vision in how to inspire church members for Jesus’ coming and future challenges. A most exciting experience! Call 269-815-8624, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Job Opportunities!
Project Patch has three volunteer positions available:
- Administrative Office Volunteer – Vancouver / 2 days/wk, 8-5,
- Maintenance Volunteer – Vancouver,
- Maintenance and Landscaping – Goldendale / 8+ hrs/wk.