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Body of Christ – Black Lives Matter

 

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

Verses of Comfort from Gordon

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

Verses of Comfort from Anita

Psalms 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Verses of Comfort from Ricky

Jesus responded in Luke 10:27 with Love your God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul, and towards the end of the verse His command is to love your neighbor as yourself.  To me, as a Christian this is key. It’s saying love your neighbor. Neighbor can be interpreted to me as friend or enemy, male or female, different race, culture or any that applies.
In verse 36, Jesus asked who was the true neighbor? In verse 37, He says, “Go and Do Likewise”.
When it comes to being black in America, you have a heightened sense to observe how you are being treated and if it is because of the color of my skin. But this verse also reminds me to help others in need no matter what, especially when I see an injustice done to them.

Verses of Comfort from David

Psalm 23:1-6 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Verses of Comfort from Angelica

1 John 3:16‭-‬24 MSG This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.

Verses of Comfort from Derek

God made us in His image. Breathing His life into us to create our living soul. In Christ’s family there can be no division, among us we are all equal through Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life! (Genesis 9:6, Genesis 2:7, Galatians 3:28, John 3:16).

John 10:10 I have come so that you may have life, life, and more life! 

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. 

Matthew 25:36 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. 

And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then his followers are going to say, ‘Lord, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

 “Then he will turn to the others, the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
I was sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Lord, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

Matthew 5:48  “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Body of Christ – Black Lives Matter2020-06-14T15:22:34-04:00

Virtual Services Update

Dear Church Family,

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16

As we continue to practice “social distancing” and honor the stay-at-home order for Osceola and Orange counties we hope that you will join us this sabbath on Facebook live by going to https://www.facebook.com/celebrationsda We look forward to worshiping with you again this Sabbath, even if it is virtually!

We had a wonderful Bible study on Tuesday were we talked about “Hope” and how our hope is not in this world but how our hope is in Jesus Christ and no matter how difficult or challenging things get, we have the hope of a bright future and faith that Jesus will see us through these challenging times. Please join us next Tuesday at 7:30 pm for another great Bible study on “Encouragement”. You can join by going to meet.google.com/squ-zzjk-uim or calling (US)+1 402-628-0136 PIN: ‪969 453 935#

Important COVID-19 information/reminders:

What am I able to do with the Stay-at-Home Order in effect?  · Go to the grocery store or pharmacy · Go to medical appointments (but check with provider first) · Visit a restaurant for takeout dining · Care for a family member or loved one · Take a walk, ride your bike, jog and be outside for exercise (just observe social distancing and remain six feet of space between you and others)

A WORD ON PREVENTIVE MEASURES It’s important we continue practicing everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as novel coronavirus (COVID-19):  · Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. · Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough into the crook of your arm. · Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily · Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. · Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).

AdventHealth recently added some coronavirus prevention resources and video podcasts to our consumer resource site focused on churches. Please take a look at this site as it has lots of great information on how to keep your spirits up and how to share the good news during challenging times!

Sincerely,

Tim Farley Head Elder 

Virtual Services Update2020-06-06T10:50:29-04:00

Important Announcement Regarding Sabbath service – COVID-19 | Coronavirus

 

Dear Church Family,

Our prayer for you is that you would prosper and be in health as your soul prospers 3 John 1:2.

With concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19) continuing to grow and the World Health Organization officially labeling it as a pandemic it is important that we take necessary safety precautions.  The leadership team at Celebration S.D.A. Church would like to take the following precautionary steps to protect all our members.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against travel to select countries with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 and further advises that citizens should avoid large crowds and if you do have to travel to a high risk country that you self-quarantine for 14 days post travel.  The current list of high-risk countries are: China, Iran, Korea, Japan and most European countries. This list however will likely be updated frequently so it is important to check the CDC website for updates.  For those who are at high risk of getting sick (elderly, people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease) they are advised to stock up on essential supplies (i.e. medication- prescription and over the counter, groceries and household essentials), take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others, keep away from others who are sick and wash your hands frequently when you do have to go out, avoid crowds, cruises and non-essential air travel.

Sabbath is a high spiritual celebration for all of us and we want to continue to worship in the Lord and have fellowship with our congregation. However, we also want to ensure our congregation is healthy so we will be canceling live services, including sabbath school for the next 2 weeks. We encourage you to tune into Facebook live at https://www.facebook.com/celebrationsda/ to remotely watch services over the next few weeks.  The spread of the coronavirus and recommendations are frequently being updated and as such we will keep you updated regarding any additional changes to our services or public events.  However, it is extremely important that you keep up to date on the virus and ensure you take necessary steps to protect yourself and your family by visiting a reputable website like the CDC or a reliable news source.

The link to the CDC website is below and contains a wealth of information about those at risk, steps to preventing illness, what to do if you do have symptoms etc. You can also call AdventHealth Coronavirus Information Line at 877-VIRUSHQ (877-847-8747) or go to the AdventHealth website below to get additional information.

While the service will be non-traditional, we are certain that the Lord will bless this time we have together, even if it is remotely!

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.adventhealth.com/coronavirus-resource-hub

Sincerely,

Tim Farley- Head Elder

Trevor Lewis- Board Chair

Pastor Des Cummings

Pastor Jim Gilley

Important Announcement Regarding Sabbath service – COVID-19 | Coronavirus2020-06-06T10:50:43-04:00

Living with Purpose

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Have you ever had to go against public opinion or advice from family members, friends or peers from the workplace?

Shortly after Elizabeth gave birth to the baby that became the “Baptist;” it was time to name the child; and tradition dictated the name would be in honor of a family member. Likely the family members were insistent, and when Elizabeth didn’t agree with them, they would appealed to Zechariah; but, as he was told by the angel Gabriel the name was to be “John” – together they remained obedient to the Lord’s command which went against tradition and public opinion.

We live in world today with political leaders that are often driven more by public opinion than what is the right thing to do. We are each called to live a life on obedience-based decisions, not on popular public opinion.  Jesus lived a life based on a purity of purpose and mission, yet the Pharisees wanted Him to conform to the rules of religious tradition. He died because He lived to obey an audience of One, not tradition or public opinion.

Are we being challenged to live a life of conviction versus one simply for pleasing others…or even worst – just ourselves? Can we be true to what God has called you and I to do no matter the cost?

“When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” – Ezra Taft Benson

…just something to think about!

José Ponton, Jr.

Living with Purpose2020-03-06T19:40:09-05:00

Shaping a life of Greatness

“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” – Albert Schweitzer

Did you know that pain, when properly handled, may likely shape a life for greatness? History is replete with stories of those whose struggles and scars formed the foundation for their remarkable achievements. In fact, some folks would attest that it was because of their hardship they gained what they needed to achieve greatness.

For a long time in my life, I wrestled with that concept; for it seemed to be a cruel philosophy. Why should anyone need to suffer? What does it mean – “There are benefits that come only through struggles?” I have now come full circle…even perhaps agree with A. W. Tozer, who said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”

I could mention numerous biblical examples, but certainly no life evidences this truth more clearly than the life of Joseph. His earlier experiences were somber. He may have been born a favored son, but his life was filled with disappointment, mistreatment and rejection; as he faced fear, false accusations, slavery and abandonment.

Remember, when Joseph in prison told the cup-bearer two years earlier, “Now that I’ve told you the meaning of your dream, don’t forget me. Keep me in mind when things go well with you, and when you get promoted. Please do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this place. Remember me.” But the cup-bearer failed to remember or mention Joseph.

Only three days after Joseph said this, the man was released and restored to his former position as chief cup-bearer to Pharaoh. He promptly forgot all about his days in the dungeon, as well as, his cell mate, Joseph.  Two full years passed after that event—a long time to be forgotten. We may find ourselves asking, “After all Joseph had been through, why would something like this happen?” He had been obedient to God and was earlier promoted because “God was with him.”

The answer is that God was still at work in his life.  So, if we’re dealing with any kind of pain, even thru this holiday season, maybe the same “Joseph experience” is true for you and me today…He is still working in us for good

“When you have God, you quickly understand there’s nothing you can’t overcome.” – Nikki Haley

Shaping a life of Greatness2020-02-01T13:51:21-05:00

The Need to Belong

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – David Steindl-Rast

Can you believe January is already gone; and yet, are you at peace and happy with your life so far this new year or do you find you are not where you want to be so far in 2020?   Perhaps you’re feeling secluded and simply longing for a sense of belonging?  Well, I trust what I share today will bring you to a better understanding and direction on the journey likely all of us are on…

The need to belong tugs at every heart because we’re designed to function on the basis of intimate relationships – to love and be loved. This design comes from God Himself.  From eternity, the original family of Father, Son and Holy Spirit lives in intimate closeness. The essence of “belonging” and very nature of God is love and thankfully He did create and made us to be like Him.

Hence, because of our Godlikeness, we possess not just a capacity for love, but a need for it. When our need is met, we thrive; however, when it remains unmet, we find ourselves defeated. Science, through various studies, has showed how children raised in a nurturing environment have higher IQs, while they also correlate loneliness with mental illness and/or other sickness.

“Belonging” is entwined within the spiral-ladders of our DNA. We want to belong, we need to belong; so then, how to belong becomes the question.  Clearly the entire human race fails at it on a daily basis; as strife lashes out everywhere – from the interpersonal to the global scale. So here we sit, alienated from one another and from God, opposed to the very need engraved on our DNA.

It is obvious to me that we can’t extricate ourselves  form these circumstances without a Savior; and qualifying Himself to save us cost Jesus something.   The inseparable Trio of love was fractured at Calvary.  The Father looking down in woe, present but not perceived!  Holy Spirit moaning with cries too deep to be uttered.  Then there was Jesus feeling orphaned, outcast, abandoned and despairing, as this traumatic assault on the cross was sufficient to make His very soul boil over in terminal grief.

Indeed, the cost was commensurate with that which He bought; as He purchased a new “belonging” for all of us.  He paid with His own life and He extends the invitation for you and I to belong to the most elite family in the universe.   A family soon to be reunited and ascend with Him when He comes again.

Are you willing to accept His sacrifice and invitation for this long-awaited reunion?  Don’t delay and embrace His offer today, for is time now to pack for the journey ahead where we belong…just something to think about!

“The impulse of love that leads us to the doorway of a friend is the voice of God within and we need not be afraid to follow it.”  – Agnes Sanford

Jose Ponton, Jr.  

The Need to Belong2020-02-01T13:48:50-05:00

God’s Glory

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship.” Psalm 19:1

I love colors; not just black and white, but wild, vibrant, dazzling and bold colors. Like the Florida sunsets that are so alive with incredible hues of red, orange and pink, along with beautiful shades of blue and violet; some days, you can hardly believe the magnificence.  Of course, my favorite colors are burgundy & gold – Go Redskins!

I’m reminded of a property I managed several years ago, where the entire front of the Clubhouse was ceiling-to-floor windows and I could, while inside looking out, see the lime green trees and bushes in the foreground of a dynamite cobalt blue sky and a huge lake a shade lighter; must admit, the view nearly gave me goose bumps. Yet even in small things, like when the once-in-a while red cardinal flying up a blue sky dotted with giant whiter-than-white clouds amazes me with its beauty while walking around our neighborhood.

Over the years I’ve learned that whenever I’m feeling tired, depressed, overworked or sad – an easy remedy is to go outside and find some color. Travel to the beach and enjoy the gorgeous, soft white sand, dark blue waves dotted with stunning whitecaps. Or perhaps to the amusement parks, where the flowers compete with the colors of the rides, outside umbrella tables and mosaic lounge chairs. Even a simple jump in my car and drive out rural areas, where so many shades of green along farm lands or golf courses alike defy the imagination.

Spirits lifted, my thoughts sorted and smiles returned…I head home – thankful to God for the colors of my life!

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good!” – Maya Angelou

Just something to think about….

God’s Glory2019-09-30T06:26:05-04:00

God’s Handwriting

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you realize that when God entered time and became a man, the One who was boundless became bound – imprisoned and restricted by a weary-prone human body. For more than three decades, His once limitless reach would be limited to the stretch of an arm and His speed of movement checked to the pace of human feet.

Ever wonder, was He tempted to reclaim his boundlessness? In the middle of a long trip, did He ever consider transporting himself to the next city? When the rain chilled His bones, was He tempted to change the weather? When the heat parched His lips, did He give thought to popping over to the Caribbean for some refreshment?  If ever He entertained such thoughts, He never gave in to them…Not Once!

Not once did Christ use His supernatural powers for personal comfort. With one word He could’ve transformed the hard earth into a soft bed. With a wave of His hand, He could’ve boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces. With an arch of His brow, He could’ve paralyzed the hand of the soldier as he braided the crown of thorns; but He didn’t do any of these things.

Want to know the coolest things about what He did do?

He kept his cool while the dozen best friends He had felt the heat and got out of the kitchen. He gave no command to the angels who begged, “Just give the nod, Lord. One word and these demons will be deviled eggs.”  He refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin since Adam. He stood silent as a million guilty verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the giver of light was left in the chill of a sinner’s night.

Finally, I can imagine how after three days in a dark hole He stepped out of a tomb and into that Sunday sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a simple question for lowly Lucifer – “Is that your best punch?”

But want to know the most amazing thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?

He did it all that for you and me!

“Grow in the root of all grace, which is faith. Believe God’s promises more firmly than ever. Allow your faith to increase in its fullness, firmness and simplicity.” – Charles Spurgeon

God’s Handwriting2019-09-30T06:24:06-04:00

Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John Kennedy

Came across this simple story and just had to share…as it depicts what somebody practice as a radical idea back then and still could be our challenge to follow today!

As heir to the Borden Dairy estate, William Borden was a millionaire by the time he graduated from high school. While a student at Yale University, Borden was president of Phi Beta Kappa and was active in football, baseball, crew, and wrestling. But his passion was his religious work, particularly the rescue mission he established.

By the time Borden finished Yale in 1909, he had decided to become a missionary to China despite warnings from his friends that he was wasting his life. He enrolled in Princeton Seminary and traveled to other colleges and seminaries, urging students to give their lives to missions. Through all his other commitments, he kept up his visits to the Yale Hope Mission and gave generously to support its ministry. Borden died at the age of twenty-five while training in Egypt, but his influence lives on. As Princeton professor Charles Erdman said of Borden, “Apart from Christ, there is no explanation of such a life.”

True humility doesn’t make sense in human terms. Giving up a privileged life to serve others is nothing less than a radical idea. Indeed, apart from the humility God models for us, there is no explanation for it at all.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 

Just something else to think about…

“A religion that leads men to place a low estimate upon human beings, whom Christ has esteemed of such value as to give Himself for them; a religion that would lead us to be careless of human needs, sufferings, or rights, is a spurious religion. In slighting the claims of the poor, the suffering, and the sinful, we are proving ourselves traitors to Christ. It is because men take upon themselves the name of Christ, while in life they deny His character, that Christianity has so little power in the world”. – Ellen G. White

Gratitude2019-09-30T06:23:03-04:00

The Two Way Street

“Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.” – Billy Graham

If you were told that God was going to call you sometime today, would you be excited or scared?  Would you let the call go straight through to voicemail, or would you answer Him right away?

The truth is that likely He has called on each of us already. Romans 8:28 reads “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”  Now, perhaps it’s not the same as a phone call…except that it is a very personal message directly to you from God.

The call of God is your life mission, the one He gave you when He created you. Don’t confuse your calling with your career. Maybe you’re called to be a teacher, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in a classroom. Or you may be called to be a writer, but that doesn’t mean you’ll work in journalism or even become a novelist.

Your calling is far more significant than any job. It is an all-encompassing mission that rests at the center of your life and should influence everything you do.  Throughout the Bible we find how God called on people to fulfill a special mission; folks like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Mary, Peter and Paul. They each had a unique roll that supported His ultimate plan to redeem humanity.

It was Paul who tells us that God has called you and I to an equally important task. “My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people” – Romans 1:18

The greatest of those glorious blessings is our intimate relationship with God; so let’s focus on Him…eager to listen and learn what our calling is today.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis

…just something to think about

The Two Way Street2019-09-30T06:22:07-04:00
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