Pastor Thure Martinsen

This Week at Golden Hills, Mar. 30, 2013

Web Master - Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Bird Feeder

One of the things that my folks did not too long after coming to live with us (about a year ago now) was to set up a couple of bird feeders. They have always enjoyed watching the birds. My dad also has an unending duel of wits with our local squirrels, they seem to enjoy the bird feeders as well, but they chase away the birds and hog the food.

He has trained our dog, Bandol, to chase the squirrels away from the feeder. He will quietly open our inner door, Bandol standing by barely containing his excitement (sometimes he barks ruining the element of surprise), then will shove open the storm door and Bandol will take off with a joyful bark – lately sliding around the corner on our snow-covered deck, as he heads down the stairs giving the squirrel an opportunity to practice his 50-yard dash to the fence.

One thing I have noticed, especially the past few weeks as we have had a little extension of winter and the snow has made it more difficult for the birds to find food, is that our bird feeder is constantly busy. We have enjoyed the variety of birds that stop by – from the Cardinal family to the Black-capped Chickadees.

My morning worship chair has a great view of the feeder and every morning I am reminded again of Jesus’ words found in Matthew 6:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27, NIV)

It is a good reminder each day that my life is in God’s hands and I can face the day without worry – not because I have things together, but because God cares more about me than He cared about His own life and comfort. Not because my day will always be smooth, lacking pain and conflict, but because God has promised to be with me in everything I experience. My job is to be connected to God and to trust Him with the details of my life.

I know there will be difficult days, painful moments, and discouraging circumstances. I know that I will not always be treated the way I want to be and there will not be money to do everything I think I want to do. But I also know that I have a Savior who wants me to enjoy eternity with Him. He never promised that life here on earth would in any way approximate Heaven, only that He will be with us and lead us home.

Don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to going home with Him. In the meantime, I’ll keep watching the birds and try to live by the promise they point too.

“Seven Days of Miracles”

Last Sabbath we challenged everyone at church to pray that God would lead them to someone this week that they could love and help in Jesus’ name. There are a number of people at the church that are praying for you that you will get to experience the joy that comes from knowing God has used you to touch someone’s life this week. I would love to hear how God has used you! You can share your story with me by email at martinsent@gmail.com.

Special Communion Service this Friday Night!

This Friday evening (March 29) we will celebrate a special Easter Communion Service. The service will begin around 7:00 pm with footwashing in the lobby. Our worship will center around a light meal in the Fellowship Hall as we reflect on what Jesus did for us at the cross. Hope you are planning to join us!

This Sabbath

We will celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus in music during our Worship Service along with some sharing time regarding your experiences with “7 Days of Miracles” and a short devotional from Pastor T. titled “Jesus Alone” – I look forward to worshiping with you!

Tuesday Evening Ladies Group

Every Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm, a group of ladies from our church meets together in the Hearth Room to share, pray, and study. They are going through the book, Adventurous Prayer by Women of Faith. All ladies are welcome to come and to bring friends. For more information contact Pat Martinsen by phone at 402-517-8836 or by email by clicking here.

Prayer Meeting Every Wednesday Evening

Prayer Meeting takes place every Wednesday evening. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm. This Wednesday (March 27) we will be studying Psalm 58 and next week (April 6) we will be looking at Psalm 59. We would love to have you come and fellowship with us!

“You Lost Me” Discussion Group

If you are interested in participating with a small group to explore the book “You Lost Me” please contact me. You may call or text me at 402-517-5333 or email me by clicking here.

Academy Days at DAA

Academy Days at Dakota Adventist Academy is April 4-6. Registration starts at 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 4! All students, grades 7-11, are invited to attend. For more information, check out their website, or call Sharon Heinrich at 701-258-9000, ext. 236.

Mary Grace Concert, May 4

During our worship service on Sabbath, May 4, we will host Mary Grace for a Piano Concert and Special Presentation. She was featured by the Adventist Review in a cover story a few years back which you may access by clicking here. She uses her concerts to help support Adventist Pastors in her home country, the Philippines.

Gospel Harmony Available

A Gospel Harmon (a chronological compilation of the story of Jesus from the four Gospels) is now available on our website. While it is always a good idea to engage in your Bible Study from the Gospels as they are presented in Scripture, a Gospel Harmony gives us a good perspective of how Jesus’ life unfolded. It is available as a PDF document by clicking here. You need Adobe Reader to open it, if you don’t have it, you can get it free by clicking here.

This Week at Golden Hills, Mar. 23, 2013

Web Master - Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fighting the Right Battle

This week I was again reminded of a story from World War II that is not well known, but had far-reaching results.

In preparation for the Allied invasion of Italy, the Allied Army placed fake plans for their attack on the body of a dead airman and left him floating off enemy shores. The Germans found the “plans” and believed they had received authentic and important information. They moved their troops to defend the locations mentioned in the “plans” allowing the Allies to mount a successful campaign. They were preparing to fight the battle in a place that didn’t really matter and as a result, lost.

The same is true for us as Christians. We often try to fight the battle by focusing on how we want our lives to look and working on our actions. We try to modify our behavior not realizing that this is not the battle we need to fight.

Jesus, in His teaching on the vine, found in John 15, talked about the importance of bearing fruit – that’s the whole reason you would have a vine, is to get the fruit. Paul, in Galatians 5, tells us what this fruit is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But as important as fruit is, Jesus did not command us to bear fruit – even though that is the goal; the desired result. Jesus commands us to “abide” or “remain” in Him, just like a branch has to remain attached to the vine. Unattached, no fruit will ever be seen. But, when the branch is attached, fruit naturally happens!

The real battle in Christianity is not trying to bear fruit, but to stay connected. Satan knows if we are connected with Jesus, everything else important will happen. He also knows that if we are not connected, no matter how good our lives may look, we are doomed. He is happy if we get so busy looking good, that we fail to stay connected.

We stay connected by spending regular time in His presence sharing our lives with Him (prayer), allowing Him to share His life with us (Bible Study), and working together with Him (helping meet other’s needs and pointing them to Jesus).

Being connected is everything! It is the only way we will have success as Christians. It is the place where we need to wage our war. How is your connection today?

“You Lost Me” Discussion Group

Based on my last blog, I have had some interest expressed in getting a group together to discuss the concepts laid out in the book “You Lost Me” and explore how we could apply these principles to our lives and church. If you are interested in this discussion please contact me and let me know. You may call or text me at 402-517-5333 or email me by clicking here.

This Sabbath

This Sabbath my sermon title is “Betrayed.” We will look at Jesus’ response to the actions of both Judas and Peter as we explore how we as Christians should deal with this type of difficult circumstance. Some texts to explore are: Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 18:15-35; Matthew 26:14-16, 31-35, & 47-55; Matthew 27:1-10; Mark 11:25; Luke 17:3-4; Luke 22:54-62; John 13:34-38; John 21:15-23; Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:29-32; Colossians 3:12-14; and James 5:13-20. 

“Seven Days of Miracles”

In keeping with a North American Division initiative, we will be participating in “Seven Days of Miracles.” We will be asking God to help each of us reach one person during the week leading up to Easter, loving them for Jesus, in way that is unique and natural to each of us. We invite you to begin praying now that God will open your eyes to needs around you that you can help meet in a Christ-centered way. You will hear more about this at church Sabbath and you can read more about it by clicking here.

Gospel Harmony Available

A Gospel Harmon is a compilation of the story of Jesus from the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and some other selected passages in the New Testament that tells the story of Jesus in chronological order. While it is always a good idea to engage in your Bible Study from the Gospels as they are presented in Scripture, a Gospel Harmony gives us a good perspective of how Jesus’ life unfolded. Several years ago during a dark time in my life, I compiled a Gospel Harmony from the New Living Translation (NLT). I just recently finished formatting it and posted it to our website. It is available as a PDF document by clicking here. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you can get it free by clicking here.

Tuesday Evening Ladies Group

Every Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm, a group of ladies from our church meets together in the Hearth Room to share, pray, and study. They are just now beginning a study of the book, Adventurous Prayer by Women of Faith. All ladies are welcome to come and to bring friends. For more information contact Pat Martinsen by phone at 402-517-8836 or by email by clicking here.

Prayer Meeting Every Wednesday Evening

Prayer Meeting takes place every Wednesday evening. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm. Next Wednesday (March 27) we will be studying Psalm 58. We would love to have you come and fellowship with us!

Special Communion Service, March 29

On Friday evening, March 29, we will celebrate a special Easter Communion Service. The service will begin around 7:00 pm with the leadership of the church (Elders, Deacons, Deaconesses) washing your feet as you come into the lobby. Our worship will center around a light meal in the Fellowship Hall as we reflect on what Jesus did for us at the cross. Your presence and participation will make the service more meaningful!

Easter Worship Service, March 30

We will celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus in music during our Worship Service on Sabbath, March 30 beginning at 11:15 am. It will be a great service and a good opportunity to invite family and friends!

Academy Days at DAA

Academy Days at Dakota Adventist Academy is April 4-6. Registration starts at 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 4! All students, grades 7-11, are invited to attend. Come experience DAA as a student for the weekend! For more information, check out our website, or call Sharon Heinrich at 701-258-9000, ext. 236.

Mary Grace Concert, May 4

During our worship service on Sabbath, May 4, we will host Mary Grace for a Piano Concert and Special Presentation. She was featured by the Adventist Review in a cover story a few years back. You may read the article about her by clicking here. She uses her concerts to help support Adventist Pastors in her home country, the Philippines.

This Week at Golden Hills, Mar. 16, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Elders Retreat Report

Last weekend several of us missed church as we were participating in our first ever, weekend-long Elders retreat. Your prayers and thoughts sent on our behalf were greatly appreciated and today I want to share a little of what we did and where God led us as we met, prayed, studied, and shared together.

Our worship time was spent looking at the book of Galatians. We had all read it through (several times) prior to our retreat and we read through it again together. It is an incredible testimony to the power of Jesus’ Grace and to the completeness of what He did for our salvation. We have nothing to add except saying “yes” to Him! As church leaders we determined again to make Jesus, and connecting with Him, the center of our church’s message.

We have been reading the book “UnChristian” by David Kinnaman and began looking at the book “You Lost Me” also by David Kinnaman. These books share how we as Christians are currently viewed by the non-Christian world and why we are losing so many of our youth. They also suggest Christ-centered solutions as we seek to maintain the purity of the Gospel in a world that is changing in ways never before seen. We would welcome any of you to join in this conversation.

As a result of our discussion, we are looking at ways to be more inclusive of our youth, especially college-aged youth and young adults who seem to be in the most danger of disappearing.

We also discussed how we as a church can have a deeper connection with Jesus and be a greater force for Him in our community fulfilling His commandments summarized in Matthew 22:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)

And, living out His “new” commandment found in John 13:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV)

Over the next weeks and months you will see several things take place as we seek to find ways to live out this love in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our community. You can read about one of these below in Seven Days of Miracles. We are excited to see where Jesus will take us and our church and invite you to pray with us that we, as individuals and as a church, will be filled with the Holy Spirit as we look for ways to let Jesus use us as His hands, feet, and mouth.

This Sabbath

This Sabbath Steve Wilhelmsen, our Head Elder, will explore many of the things that we can and should do with Jesus. The title of his sermon is “… with Jesus.”

“Seven Days of Miracles”

In keeping with a North American Division initiative, we will be participating in “Seven Days of Miracles.” We will be asking God to help each of us reach one person during the week leading up to Easter, loving them for Jesus, in way that is unique and natural to each of us. We invite you to begin praying now that God will open your eyes to needs around you that you can help meet in a Christ-centered way. You will hear more about this at church during the next couple of weeks and you can read more about it by clicking here.

Tuesday Evening Ladies Group

Every Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm, a group of ladies from our church meets together in the Hearth Room to share, pray, and study. They are just now beginning a study of the book, Adventurous Prayer by Women of Faith. All ladies are welcome to come and to bring friends. For more information contact Pat Martinsen by phone at 402-517-8836 or by email by clicking here.

Prayer Meeting Every Wednesday Evening

Prayer Meeting takes place every Wednesday evening. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm. Tonight (March 13) we will be studying Psalm 56. Next Wednesday (March 20) we will be studying Psalm 57. We would love to have you come and fellowship with us!

Special Communion Service, March 29

On Friday evening, March 29, we will celebrate a special Easter Communion Service. The service will begin around 7:00 pm with the leadership of the church (Elders, Deacons, Deaconesses) washing your feet as you come into the lobby. Our worship will center around a light meal in the Fellowship Hall as we reflect on what Jesus did for us at the cross. Your presence and participation will make the service more meaningful!

Academy Days at DAA

Academy Days at Dakota Adventist Academy is April 4-6. Registration starts at 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 4! All students, grades 7-11, are invited to attend. Experience DAA as a student for the weekend! For more information, check out their website, or call Sharon Heinrich at 701-258-9000, ext. 236.

Mary Grace Concert, May 4

During our worship service on Sabbath, May 4, we will host Mary Grace for a Piano Concert and Special Presentation. She was featured by the Adventist Review in a cover story a few years back. You may read the article about her by clicking here. She uses her concerts to help support Adventist Pastors in her home country, the Philippines.

This Week at Golden Hills, March 9, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, March 06, 2013

“The Bible” on the History Channel

Last Sunday evening, we settled down to watch the much anticipated new mini-series, “The Bible” shown on the History Channel. We had read about it and I applaud the efforts of anyone to bring the Bible into focus for others. Committed people spent a lot of time and resources to make this happen.

It was obvious the people who made the movie knew what they were doing. It was technically well done. The acting was believable, there was plenty of action and the story line was engaging. Once you started watching it, at least for me, it continued to draw me into the story.

But, that’s where I felt challenged – the story. Like most other Hollywood attempts to share portions of the Bible, I found it disappointing. It seemed like there was so much effort made to make it watchable, that the main points of the true Biblical story were blurred. Moses was portrayed as eager to do his work in freeing his people, and came across arrogant while in fact, back to Egypt was the last place on earth he wanted to go. The Bible portrays him much less of a superhero and much more aware of his dependence on God. This series pointed more to Moses as the savior of the Israelites, than to God.

There were several other things that bothered me enough that I probably will not watch the remaining episodes. If people look at this and conclude that they now know and understand the important stuff from the Bible, we are in trouble; however, if people will allow God to use it to draw them more into the Bible on their own, to get the real story, the complete truth; then it will have served a useful purpose..

This Sabbath

This Sabbath David Soriano will use Jesus’ prayer found in John 17 to help us better understand our relationship and connection with Jesus.       

Elders Retreat

Most of the elders, along with Pastor T, will be away this weekend participating in a Spiritual Retreat. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them as they prayerfully look at the direction and mission of our church and how they can better lead us in living for Jesus.

Prayer Meeting Every Wednesday Evening

Prayer Meeting takes place every Wednesday evening. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm. Tonight (March 6) we will be studying Psalm 55. Next Wednesday (March 13) we will be studying Psalm 56. We would love to have you come and fellowship with us!

Daylight Savings Time, March 10

The time to spring forward into Daylight Savings Time is this coming Sunday morning (March 10) at 2:00 am. Remember to set your clocks ahead an hour!

Church Board Meeting, March 12

Next Tuesday evening (March 12) there will be a church board meeting at 7:00 pm here at the church.

Special Communion Service, March 29

On Friday evening, March 29, we will celebrate a special Easter Communion Service. We hope you will plan to join us. There will be more details about it as we get a little closer.

Mary Grace Concert, May 4

During our worship service on Sabbath, May 4, we will host Mary Grace for a Piano Concert and Special Presentation. She was featured by the Adventist Review in a cover story a few years back. You may read the article about her by clicking here. She uses her concerts to help support Adventist Pastors in her home country, the Philippines.

 

This Week at Golden Hills, March 2, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Real Thing

Christianity is unique. It is the only world religion that has at its heart a relationship of love between God and His people. It paints God as being eternal, as being the Creator, as having infinite power – yet it portrays Him as a tender Father whose greatest desire is to have a good relationship with His children and to see His children get along, taking care of each other with the same love that God showed toward them. It is the only world religion that has God dying for His people, because of His love for them and His desire to have them live with Him for the rest of eternity.

Somehow, many of us have gotten this wrong. We have somehow reduced the rules that God put into place to preserve and protect relationships, as the main point. Observing many Christians one could many times conclude that how we act is the main point. That our religion is based upon what we wear or don’t wear, what we eat or don’t eat, what we do with our money, what day of the week we worship on, the style of our worship – and the list could go on and on.

There are countless people who have tried this type of false Christianity. They have tried to live by the rules only to discover that they cannot. No matter how hard they have tried, they found that there were some rules they simply could not master. Countless multitudes have finally given up because the pain of regular failure just became too great.

The people of Jesus day were famous for their rules. One day Jesus was asked which rule was the most important. Perhaps they figured if they could at least get that one right, then maybe there was hope for them. Jesus’ answer blew them away, because He did not answer in the language of rules and commandments, but in the language of relationships. He said:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31, TNIV)

What Jesus said here is that it is not about the rules at all! It is all about responding in love to God and sharing that love with people around you!! This is the real thing. Anything else is a cleverly disguised deception intended to keep us away from God.

If you have come to the place where you are ready to give up trying to keep the rules, congratulations! There is hope for you! Having a relationship with God is the real thing!

In that relationship there is no condemnation!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2, TNIV)

In that relationship there is security!

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13, TNIV)

We enter into this relationship by coming and looking at Jesus (John 3:14-17) and as we look at Him we move in His direction. You know that it is a fact of life that we always move in the direction that we are looking. If you spend time looking at Jesus, you will move His direction!

God wants you to experience the real thing! He wants you to live within this relationship of love forever!! Look His way, don’t ever stop looking and you will move close to Him. It will take you on a journey that will never end!

This Sabbath

This Sabbath I will continue our series titled “More like Jesus!” The sermon title is “Render Unto …” and focuses on Jesus answer to the question: “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” The story is found in Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; and Luke 20:20-26. Some other interesting related reading is Isaiah 58; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 10:16-20; Mark 12:28-34; Acts 4:18-22; Acts 5:27-32; and Romans 13:1-14.       

Elders Meet and Pray

This Sabbath morning at 8:45 am the Church Elders meet to share, fellowship, and pray. If you have anything you would like us to pray about, please contact any one of our church elders.

Potluck this Sabbath

There will be a potluck following church this Sabbath. If you are a member, please bring your favorite entrée, vegetable, or dessert. Bring enough to feed your family plus a few more. If you’re a visitor, just come and enjoy it! If you have questions contact Hope Harrison via email by clicking here, or by phone at 402-292-8280.

Reformation Tour Presentation

Following potluck this Sabbath, I will present photos and stories from our recent trip to Germany and Italy where we explored the life and ministry of Martin Luther, a monk in the 1500’s who rocked their world by championing Righteousness by Faith. We also toured several other areas of historical and spiritual interest.

Prayer Meeting Every Wednesday Evening

Prayer Meeting takes place every Wednesday evening. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm. Tonight (Feb. 27) we will be studying Psalm 54. Next Wednesday (March 6) we will be studying Psalm 55. We would love to have you come and fellowship with us!

Special Communion Service, March 29

On Friday evening, March 29, we will celebrate a special Easter Communion Service. We hope you will plan to join us. There will be more details about it as we get a little closer.

Mary Grace Concert, May 4

During our worship service on Sabbath, May 4, we will host Mary Grace for a Piano Concert and Special Presentation. She was featured by the Adventist Review in a cover story a few years back. You may read the article about her by clicking here. She uses her concerts to help support Adventist Pastors in her home country, the Philippines.

This Week at Golden Hills, Feb. 23, 2013

Web Master - Thursday, February 21, 2013

White as Snow!

As I am writing this a winter storm is blowing into Omaha! They are anticipating that we will get a foot of snow. If this is true, this will be the largest snow storm we have experienced since we got here. We are starting to believe that all the hype about winters in Nebraska is just a clever story designed to keep people from moving here – our experience so far with winter here has been rather pleasant.

Actually, I love a good snow storm. I grew up on them. I love to see fresh snow covering the ground; everything looks so fresh, so clean. It doesn’t matter what is below it, what you see is beauty. I know it can bring troubles. I know it can knock out power – once in Colorado we were without power for several days due to a snow storm. I know that it can create a mess for traveling. But, I still love snow!

It reminds me of God’s words in Isaiah:

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18, TNIV)

God’s grace will do this for you and for me! He will take our lives that are stained with sin and will give us the purity of His life. In Steps to Christ it puts it this way:

If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. (Steps to Christ, page 62)

This Sabbath

This Sabbath I will continue our series titled “More like Jesus!” The sermon title is “The Outsider” and focuses on the story of Zacchaeus, found in Luke 19:1-10. Some other interesting passages used this week are: Luke 3:7-14; Luke 18:10-14; Luke 18:18-27; Romans 3:21-24; and The Desire of Ages, Chapter 61, Zacchaeus, pages 552-556.

Reformation Tour Presentation

Following potluck on March 2, I will present photos and stories from our recent trip to Germany and Italy where we explored the life and ministry of Martin Luther, a monk in the 1500’s who rocked their world by championing Righteousness by Faith. We also toured several other areas of historical and spiritual interest.

Prayer Meeting Every Wednesday Evening

Prayer Meeting takes place every Wednesday evening. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm. Next Wednesday (Feb. 27) we will be studying Psalm 54. We would love to have you come and fellowship with us!

Mary Grace Concert, May 4

During our worship service on Sabbath, May 4, we will host Mary Grace for a Piano Concert and Special Presentation. She was featured by the Adventist Review in a cover story a few years back. You may read the article about her by clicking here. She uses her concerts to help support Adventist Pastors in her home country, the Philippines.

 

This Week at Golden Hills, Feb. 16, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hate in the Name of Jesus

The story of Martin Luther and the reformation was not new to me. Ever since my childhood I have read stories of the early reformers, the Waldenses, those who put their faith in God before their own personal comfort - many even losing the life over it.

Touring many of these sights recently while on a Reformation Tour, I was again impressed with how much hate has been spread around in the name of Christ.

Many in the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages hated those who disagreed with them, and in the name of Jesus tried to wipe them out. Even many of the reformers seemed to hate those they were moving away from, sometimes even using force to get their way and killing those who opposed them.

We see the same thing in many Christians around us today. They hate others (liberals, gays, conservatives, Muslims - even some in their own congregations) all in the name of Jesus.

Doesn't it seem a bit twisted that those who are called to love like Jesus (see John 13:34-35) often portray everything but love?

The question I have to ask myself is am I contributing to this distorted picture of Christianity? Are we as a church known for our love for God and people – or is there something else that comes to mind when people think of us?

I would like to be known as a lover, wouldn't you?

This Sabbath

This Sabbath I will continue our series titled “More like Jesus!” The sermon title is “What Can I Do?” and focuses on two stories of Jesus’ life, the night He stilled the storm and the following day when He cast the demons into the herd of pigs. There are some interesting lessons for us in these stories. If you want to read up on them a bit they can be found in Matthew 8:23-34; Mark 4:35 – 5:20; and Luke 8:22-39. There is a whole chapter in The Desire of Ages on these stories as well: Chapter 35, Peace by Still, found on pages 333-341.

Potluck This Sabbath

Following church this Sabbath we will have a special potluck to say good bye to the Lippincotts who are leaving next week to teach English in China. Bring enough of your favorite dish to feed your family, plus four or five more. If you are a visitor, don’t feel like you need to bring anything but yourself. We hope to see you there. If you have any questions, please contact Pat Martinsen via email (by clicking here) or by phone at 402-517-8836.

Prayer Meeting Tonight

Prayer Meeting is tonight – we would love to have you come and fellowship with us! This evening (Feb. 13) we will be studying Psalm 52. Next Wednesday (Feb. 20) we will be studying Psalm 53. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm.

 

This Week at Golden Hills, Feb. 9, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Home Again

If you have been following this blog, you know that Pat and I have been traveling the past couple of weeks. We have had the opportunity to visit historic places related to the Protestant Reformation in Germany and Italy. We have been able to spend a few days with our precious daughter in Rome. We have been inspired by stories of people who risked their lives serving God.

While it is always interesting and exciting to travel, it is always great to return home. We are looking forward to sleeping in our own beds, eating from our kitchen, walking our dog around the neighborhood, and being reunited with friends and family.

I will share some of our adventures in future blogs, but today as we are traveling home I am reminded that this world, as nice as it is sometimes, is not our home. This world, with all the pain, cruelty, uncertainty, and death will soon give way to a much better place. Jesus is there now getting it ready for us (John 14:1-3).

As nice as it will be to get to my earthly home tonight, I am looking forward to really going home with Jesus!

This Sabbath

This Sabbath our Student Pastor from Union College, Brien Wahlen, will present our message.

Prayer Meeting Tonight

Prayer Meeting is always a great time – we would enjoy having you join us! This evening (Feb. 6) we will be studying Psalm 51. Next Wednesday (Feb. 13) we will be studying Psalm 52. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm.

This Week at Golden Hills, Feb. 2, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest Devotional Thought – Karen Yingst

This week we will make discoveries about ourselves in one of Jesus encounters long ago. A man meets a woman in a seemingly chance encounter. In a few brief moments her life is changed forever.

These ancient encounters are valuable for what they reveal about Jesus and what they teach us about the common problems of life.  Although 2000 years have passed since Jesus walked on the earth and 2000 years later when Jacob built this well, Jesus speaks to us today through this encounter.

Times change but the human heart remains the same. We have the same hopes and fears and dreams and doubts, and we struggle with the same problems. The story of this encounter is found in John 4:4-10.

Jesus had to go through Samaria. He came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, which was near the land Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired from his journey, so he sat down at the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water to drink.”  His disciples had gone into the city to buy him some food.

The Samaritan woman asked, “Why do you, a Jewish man, ask for something to drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other.)

Jesus responded, “If you recognized God’s gift and who is saying to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would be asking him and he would give you living water.”

There are lessons here about racial prejudice, religious hatred, and dealing with moral outcasts. This story also conveys valuable truth about how to do evangelism. She came for some water in the middle of the day – 'High Noon'- and she ends up meeting the Water of Life face to face.

Times change but the human heart remains the same. We have the same hopes and fears and dreams and doubts.  We struggle with the same problems of uncontrolled anger, foolish choices, misplaced priorities, hypocrisy, guilt, indifference, frivolous curiosity, misguided ambition, limited faith, convenient excuses, nagging doubt, compulsive busyness, broken dreams, and personal failure.

There is a wonderful lesson in the power of the gospel of this encounter upon your life, and there is a marvel having an encounter with Jesus today. Come and see your encounter with Jesus.

Elders Meet and Pray

On the first Sabbath of each month, which will be this coming Sabbath, the Church Elders meet to share, fellowship, and pray. We meet at 8:45 am in the Hearth Room. If you have anything you would like us to pray about, please contact any of our church elders.

This Sabbath

This Sabbath Karen Yingst, one of our Elders, continues our sermon series “More like Jesus!” Her sermon title is “High Noon” and shares the story of how Jesus met the needs of a whole town through His interaction with one woman at Jacob’s well. You can read about it in John 4:1-42 and in The Desire of Ages, At Jacob’s Well (chapter 19, pages 183-195).

Potluck this Sabbath

There will be a potluck following church this Sabbath. If you are a member, please bring your favorite entrée, vegetable, or dessert. Bring enough to feed your family plus a few more. If you’re a visitor, just come and enjoy it! If you have questions contact Hope Harrison via email by clicking here, or by phone at 402-292-8280.

Prayer Meeting Tonight

For those of us who regularly enjoy prayer meeting, it is a great time of fellowship and worship. This evening (Jan. 30) we will be studying Psalm 50. Next Wednesday (Feb. 6) we will be studying Psalm 51. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm.

Pat and I Gone

Pat and I will be participating in a Reformation Tour that is sponsored by the Kansas – Nebraska Conference. We will be gone January 23 – February 6. During that time I will check emails on occasion, but will not be available by phone. For any church business or personal emergencies don’t hesitate to contact Steve Wilhelmsen, our Head Elder. You may reach him by email (click here) or phone (402-708-2730).

 

This Week at Golden Hills, Jan. 26, 2013

Web Master - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Guest Devotional Thought – Calvin Millet

Two weeks ago Brian, our student pastor, had a sermon titled “This Changes everything”. In the sporting world they use a phrase called game changers to describe plays that alter the outcome of the game. These plays could be as exciting as a Grand Slam in baseball or a kickoff return for a touchdown in football.

In life we all have things that we call life-changing events, like the excitement of falling in love, not for the first, but for the last time – the knowing that you have met the one you want to grow old with. Then there is the first time you held you child in your arms, you knew that nothing would be the same again. It could also be as simple as a word of encouragement at the right moment that inspires a person to become a success.

Then there are things that affect our eternal destiny. These are what we call life-saving events. It could be as amazing as the blinding light and loud voice beat down like the apostle Paul experienced, or it could be as simple as a sinner surrendering to the small still voice of the Holy Spirit. In both instances faith in something new was involved.

The question for us is do I have faith in the Savior? Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him”. And what would please God more than you having faith in Him.

Take time this week to read about a person or act of faith in the Bible. Make it personal; try to put yourself in the person’s sandals. Ask questions of yourself like: “How might I react in this situation? Am I in need of a similar act of faith? How has this act or person of faith touched me? Why did I choose to red this story?” Come ready to share in a sentence or two how or why this touched you.

May god bless each of you this week. I will share my Bible faith person with you this Sabbath, see you there!

This Sabbath

This Sabbath our sermon series, “More like Jesus!” is continued by Calvin Millet, one of our Elders. He will focus our attention on Faith. You can read about it in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. You can gain some additional insights from The Desire of Ages, The Centurion (chapter 32, pages 315-321).

Prayer Meeting Tonight

For those of us who regularly participate in prayer meeting, it is a great time of fellowship and worship. This evening (Jan. 23) we will be studying Psalm 49. Next Wednesday (Jan. 30) we will be studying Psalm 50. A light supper of soup and breads is served at 5:30 pm so you can come straight from work. Our study begins at 6:00 pm and ends promptly at 7:00 pm.

Pat and I Gone

Pat and I will be participating in a Reformation Tour that is sponsored by the Kansas – Nebraska Conference. We will be gone January 23 – February 6. During that time I will check emails on occasion, but will not be available by phone. For any church business or personal emergencies don’t hesitate to contact Steve Wilhelmsen, our Head Elder. You may reach him by email (click here) or phone (402-708-2730).