Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Victoria Seventh-day Adventist Church Serving San Bernardino, Redlands & Loma Linda, California

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Sermon Blog 2020

How Do You Take the News?

Sermon by Havard Thomsen
Blog by Paul McMillan

On Sabbath, December 7, 1940, my parents and their three boys, Robert(13), Paul(10) and Frank(7), became members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We had come out of a Community Christian church in which Dad was outspokenly active. That had led him to disagree with the church over having “Junior Deacons” and he and his Sunday School class split and started a new church. This didn’t last long because he soon learned that the book he had been using to teach his Class, Bible Footlights, was an Adventist publication. This came about because I needed a tonsillectomy and the doctor they took me to, Julius Schneider, was an Adventist graduate of Loma Linda’s College of Medical Evangelists. The rest is history.

I share this because this is how we were introduced to daily family worship and study of the Sabbath School lesson. So it was that on January 1, 1941 Dad initiated daily family worship with the study of the Sabbath School lesson. That first week the memory verse was Acts 1:11, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven, this same Jesus you have seen taken up into heaven will so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven?” As a boy of 10 years old that promise was indelibly impressed upon me. Therefore, Pastor Thomsen’s sermon hit a responsive chord in me.

After having reviewed how John responded to each of the 3 times Jesus said in Revelation, “I am coming soon,” he closes the sermon with several challenging questions. Questions like, How does that announcement influence the way you spend your money and time? Do you seek for ways to tell others that He is coming again? It is my prayer that some of us will be more serious about our commitment to Him.

Search Diligently

Search Diligently

When we undertake a journey we usually do so with a purpose – some goal or destination to visit. Each year can be seen as a journey. What are you searching for this year?

When the Wise Men came to Herod asking “where is He born King of the Jews?” Herod must have been aware that poor people were all astir with the belief that it was time for the Messiah to appear. Since he had no personal information, he wisely turned to the religious leaders. Surprisingly they had no trouble providing specific information about this most important event. However it is not the that Herod saw this as an opportunity to nip an imminent uprising in the bud. So he sends the Magi to Bethlehem saying, “Go search diligently for the child and - -“

With or without Divine intervention it is highly likely that the Magi could perceive Herod’s real intent and went home another way. However it was Divine intervention that set Joseph to work feverishly packing his family off to Egypt.

Is it surprising that the religious leaders apparently had no interest in the Magi’s mission? What about us? We can certainly see this as a personal challenge to search diligently for Jesus. Pastor McMillan ended his sermon with that challenge.

As I have thought of that I realize that I know little of how to “search the scriptures diligently.” For many years I have faithfully read both the Old and the New Testaments. This last year I began to write a short paragraph or prayer after having read my daily assigned Bible reading. That in no way approaches an in depth Bible study. Now I have launched this Sermon Blog hoping that God will lead me to or remind me of Scriptures that illuminate the sermon theme.

I invite you to share any insights you have. May the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ illuminate each of our minds that we may know Jesus with saving faith.

Paul McMillan

Light in Darkness

It is appropriate to initate this new aspect of our web site with Suzi Hebert's meditation, "Light in Darkness," presented December 28, 2019. She begins by carrying us with beautifully crafted prose into the life of a 14 year old girl as she meditates amidst the beauties of early Summer outside Nazereth. Mary spontaneousy submits to the will of God and only later considers the significant consequences.

Similarly we find Elizabeth and Joseph called. Elizabeth recognizing Mary's child as her Lord defers to Mary. Joseph humbly accepts his role as caretaker and guardian of Mary and her child.

God has a place for each of us in His plan. I tell students who visit the Alfred Shryock Museum of embryogy that each of us has a unique genome. Each of us is one of a kind and God has a place for each of us in His plan. I pray that I will be available to cooperate with his plan for my life.