This week, I had an epiphany. On the way to the church, I drove through the city dodging small lakes created by swollen creeks, avoiding branches ripped from their moorings by thrashing wind. I thought of those whose lives have been turned to chaos by the flooding and storms. I drove past the Plaid Pantry where a young man’s life had been taken only hours before. I couldn’t help but think of this young Adventist and his family who must struggle to come to grips with a life taken altogether too soon. By the time I arrived in our parking lot, my heart was simply aching with all of the pain of our city over the past few days. I opened my car door and was greeted by an icy blast from the whipping wind. Buffeted by the wind, I made my way through the driving rain to the door of the church. As I crossed the threshold into the church, my senses were shocked by the stark change. Within the walls, the organ was projecting the sounds of Christmas cheer. The musical ensembles tuned their rendition of, “O Holy Night.” In another room, the bells were preparing for their joyful addition to the Christmas celebration.
It’s as if it was a completely different world. As if the walls of the structure were impervious to the chaos on the outside. In the truest sense, the church was a sanctuary, seemingly immune to the pain and uncertainty raging about our city. That’s why we love church, isn’t it? Regardless of what we may be facing in our own personal lives, we come to church to retreat, to recharge, to catch a glimpse of our God to be encouraged for the days ahead.
Yet if the walls are the barrier that keep the chaos from getting in, are they also a barrier that keeps the gospel from getting out? Sometimes I fear that experience “in here” has no bearing on the chaos “out there.” The walls keep the gospel in and the world continues to rage on. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The reality is that the gospel connects with the world wherever gospel-filled people are present in it. The gospel meets the world when we have meaningful conversations with restaurant servers. The gospel meets the world when we hug a broken mom or help clean up a soggy basement. The gospel meets the world when the people of God bring the balm of Jesus’ presence to those who are hurting, confused, or crushed.
The gospel meets the world in the hands and the feet of Jesus.
I can’t wait to connect with you in the sanctuary tomorrow. We will worship together and celebrate the appearing of the One who is unlike any other, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will experience the peace and security of meeting inside the walls. We’ll be fed so that we may help the gospel meet the world outside.
God’s blessing to each of you as we enter the Sabbath together.
News & Notes
As you noted last week, we had the privilege of partnering with Cherry Park Elementary School in a Toy Drive. It was short notice, but our Adventurers and Pathfinders brought in 40+ presents Tuesday evening in addition to the ones donated Sabbath. The Adventurer’s had a special prayer for each of the families receiving a gift. Jackee Duvall delivered them to the school Wednesday morning. They told her that the school had to turn families away and not give them gifts for their children, because they ran out of toys. The 40+ gifts from us meant that they could call those families and give them a gift. We put them over the top for their needs. A special thank you comes from Cherry Park Elementary School for making other kids’ Christmas a special one.
Friday night, 7:00, we will enjoy our 34th Annual Family Christmas program.
Bring your friends and come early to get a good seat!
Our worship services are at 8:45 and 11:15 am. The Advent services this Sabbath are filled with scriptural readings with music from our Sunnyside Church Choir, Sunnyside Handbells, and Sunnyside Chamber Orchestra. This is a weekend that will be very special. Plan to be here.
At 5:00 this afternoon Encounters With God will feature Cynthia Glass.
Next Sabbath, December 26, will be our traditional potluck Christmas Brunch. There will be only one worship service beginning at 11:00 am. At 8:45 we will begin serving breakfast in the fellowship hall. Please join us, and feel free to contribute breakfast breads, fruit, egg or potato casserole, or vege-breakfast meats. Scrambled tofu and hash browns will be provided. Bible study classes will begin at 10:00 am, and finish by 10:45, so we all have time to gather for our Christmas worship service at 11:00. (Please note the earlier time for worship.)
Sunday Breakfast at O’Bryant Square – Every Sunday Living Hope International serves breakfast to approximately 500 homeless, hungry, and poor. Living Hope depends on the support of our volunteers who supply materials to continue this program. Current needs: 8” paper plates, chocolate, and creamer, large size syrup, catsup, oil, and pancake mix; and/or tax deductible $$ donations payable to Sunnyside Adventist Church, memo “Breakfast at O’Bryant Square.” For information contact Ardina Wang 503-255-0075. Bring your contributions to the church — there is a table in the Narthex where you may place them. Let’s overwhelm Ardina with gifts in support of the homeless!
In Your Church Library: We have all 24 volumes of Joe Wheeler’s “Christmas in My Heart” books. Choose one of these wonderful Christmas books to share with the whole family. There are also many other Christmas books and DVDs for all ages. Look on the back library counter or ask the librarian for help in finding something special for your family this season.
Throughout its history, the Christian church has regarded communion as one of its highest acts of worship. From its earliest roots it has been marked by a tone of joy, unity and renewal. The joy we receive resides in knowing that through Christ’s sacrifice we not only experience reconciliation to the Father but we also receive a new life, an abundant life! Join us on Friday, January 1 at 6:00 pm, as we celebrate this special communion service with our Sunnyside family and embrace a new beginning and a new year together with Jesus! “Do this in remembrance of Me.” -Jesus
As the end of the year approaches, some may consider giving a Christmas gift to the Sunnyside church family. Please consider donating to our Church Budget and our ReNew Sunnyside project. Our church budget provides funding for most of our ministries to the community and our own members. ReNew Sunnyside will continue the renovation and refurbishment of our facility. Thank you for supporting the mission and ministry of our church community.
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. Special request: We have a family of four, with two children ages 3 and 4, who need everything for setting up a household. If you can help with anything, please contact Marie Pierre at 503-998-3754.
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 ago 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.
ETHIOPIA 2016: Important Dates and Deadlines
* Wednesday, Dec. 23: Last day for significant participant discounts.
* Saturday, Jan. 9: Mission team meeting.
* Tuesday, Jan. 12: Last day for team member contributions and passport information.
* Tuesday, Feb. 10: Final day for ticketing.
* Sunday, Mar. 6: Mission team meeting and packing party.
* Wednesday, Mar 16: To Ethiopia!
Two quiet books have been lost. They were in a black Fred Meyer shopping bag. These quiet books were handmade and very important to the family. If you have seen them, or know where they could possibly be, please contact the office at 503-252-8080.
Portland Adventist Academy
Portland Adventist Elementary
Area Events and Announcements
ABC Holiday Sale: The Adventist Book Center’s Holiday Sale is December 1-31. Loma Linda Gravy Quick is back just in time for the holidays! The details have been sent by email to those who have signed up. You can also get the details by downloading the sale flyer at www.abcflyer.com.”
December 20, 7:00 pm: Christmas Concert.
Fountainview Academy presents the final concert on their 2015 Christmas tour. Enjoy an evening of meditative and spirited music honoring the King of Kings. Admission is free. Seating is first come, first served.
Event Location: Adventist Community Church of Vancouver.
December 21, 6:00 pm: Missional Gathering (Vespers).
Join us for the “Reservoir,” a missional gathering to connect with each other, to worship God, and to experience His word. Praise music will be provided by Remix. Invite your family and friends to share in this inspirational evening.
Event Location: Mt. Tabor Church.
December 26, 6:00 pm: Christmas Concert.
You are invited to join in listening to beautiful instrumentation and heartfelt voices as they combine to tell the story of the birth of our Lord. You don’t want to miss this one!
Event Location: Stone Tower Church.
March 4-6: Women’s Ministries Leader’s Retreat.
Save the date! For more information email email@example.com.
Event Location: The Village Green Resort and Gardens, Cottage Grove.
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.
Volunteers Urgently Needed: PACS (Portland Adventist Community Services) has an urgent need for morning truck drivers & riders, and general support volunteers in the food pantry. Apply online at pacsonline.org or call 503.252.8500 and start helping people right away!