Volume 3 Issue 21 May 14, 2020
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A Devotional Thought
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed … For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9,15, NASB ).

Just before harvest time, a farmer with a large acreage of beautiful grain lost it to a hailstorm. After the storm was over, father and son walked into the devastated fields. The son could not hold the tears back and expected some type of violent reaction from his dad. To his surprise, his father began to sing, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.”

That same son grew, left home, and met trials and disappointments himself. Years later, reflecting on his father’s reaction to the hailstorm, he said, “That was the most powerful sermon I've ever heard.”*

What kind of sermon do people want to hear from Christians during these unprecedented challenges that we are facing in every aspect of our lives?

The word “crisis” translates to “urgent opportunity” in Korean (pronounced “wee kee”). A crisis has always been a great opportunity for God to fulfill His greater purpose.

Let us use this crisis as an opportunity to get closer to God, to open people’s hearts, serve them, and win them. Now is the time to speak the most powerful sermon that people have ever heard.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB ).

* Paddock, C. L. Signs of the Times , Jan. 1, 1952.

- James Lim
Community Services/Health Ministries Director & Asian/Pacific Ministries Coordinator
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Conference in Action
Engage Your Church in Planting
Two NCC churches have formed missional groups as the first stage in church planting. In January, the San Anselmo Spanish church started the Novato Spanish missional group with about 50 members. The Novato church is also in the early stages of starting the Southern Marin County missional group, with about nine core leaders.

Marin County, where both groups are located, is one of highest-income areas in the state. “Although these church plants come with a lot of unique challenges and opportunities, we have a call from God to reach those people, as Christ did with Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea,” said Executive Secretary Jose Marin. “Please keep these local leaders in prayer as they go into new territories to expand the Kingdom of God."
Ministry in Action
Food for the Town
Food for the Town is an initiative led by The Veg Hub and six Oakland-area churches – Elmhurst, Immanuel Temple, Grand Advent, Market Street, San Leandro Spanish, and Oakland Spanish – to engage the community with compassion.

Many church members have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Oakland Spanish church alone, 68 families lost their jobs and 11 members were infected with the virus. “We recognize that many families, including those with children, are unable to have healthy food during this crisis due to their financial challenges,” said Chef G. W. Chew, director of The Veg Hub ministry.

At the Grand Advent church on April 25, volunteers packed 100 boxes of healthy groceries, including beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. In addition to the NCC, several food distribution companies supported the effort.

Many church members who received food shared it with their neighbors. “This initiative creates a bridge from the hearts of the members to the community,” said Urban Ministries Director Willie Johnson. “It has opened avenues to reach people for the Kingdom.” 

The next distribution event will be May 30. In the morning, volunteers will work in shifts to prepare the boxes. “We’ve got to make sure that we respect the mandate for social distancing and not put anybody in harm’s way,” said Johnson. In the afternoon, the food will be delivered or available for pick up.
Pedersens’ Tutorial
The Napa Community church is planning a virtual communion service on May 30, so two church members made a video to demonstrate how to make unleavened bread at home. You will recognize the instructors – NCC Trust Officer Debi Pedersen and former NCC President Jim Pedersen!
Educators in Action
Pine Hills Adventist Academy
The current crisis has not hampered the creativity of students and teachers
  • For history class, seventh and eighth graders wrote a script outlining the events and dynamics of World War I. Each student portrayed one of the countries in a clever video they created, complete with costumes, accents, and props!  
  • Music teacher Jill Genobaga created several videos highlighting the music of her students. Choral students sing a beautiful rendition of the song “Tremble” by Mosaic, all of them recording from their homes. Another video features a student showcase of music, including vocal, piano, and original compositions.
Bayside SDA Christian School
Principal Rob Robinson has been providing weekly help and encouragement to his school families in two ways:
  • “Just Dessert” is an optional Zoom meeting for parents. As Robinson facilitates, the parents share their experiences and challenges. School board member Joann Rickets, who is a licensed marriage, family, and child counselor, also attends.
  • “What Matters Most” is an email of encouragement for parents. “The best use of life is love; the best expression of love is time; and the best time to love is now,” wrote Robinson in a recent email.
Welcome News
Gabriella Gonzales
Gabriella Grace was born on April 24 to Kat and Manny Gonzales. Her father is youth pastor at the Lodi English Oaks church. Welcome Gabriella!
Dorcas Chu
Dorcas was born on May 8 to Zi Yang and Larry Wai Chu. Her father is pastor of the Alameda East Bay Chinese church and the Stockton Central Chinese group. Welcome Dorcas!
NCC Prayer Line
You’re invited to join the NCC Prayer Line every Thursday morning from 7-8 a.m. This week, NCC Treasurer John Rasmussen will give the devotional, and next week, Granite Bay church Senior Pastor Doug Batchelor will present a short message. Call 1-916-637-8111, and use code 669648#.
Adventist Book Center
Order vegetarian food from the Adventist Book Center at least 48 hours in advance, and pick it up on Tuesday, May 19, in Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Vallejo, Oakland, and Hayward . Deliveries will be made to other locations throughout the conference all this month , so check the schedule .
Office Closed
The NCC office remains closed until further notice. Office employees continue to work remotely. If you need assistance, contact the department directors via email. Questions? Email info@nccsda.com .
Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
(916) 886-5600 I www.nccsda.com