The Gathering began with the adult Sabbath School Lesson Study, led by Pastor David Klinedinst. Children and Youth Divisions conducted separate classes during the study hour.
The worship service commenced with two baptisms. Two souls from the Cambridge church and two from Sussex Central church gave their lives to Christ.
Between the morning and afternoon services the congregation was blessed with a fellowship lunch, followed by a concert, featuring various performances. Pastor Rick Remmers, President of the Chesapeake Conference, offered the Prayer & Welcome, and the subsequent Introduction leading into the two services.
The Morning Worship Service - "One With God's Purpose"
The sermon, One With God’s Purpose, was presented by special guest speaker, Pastor Pavel Goia.
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 3:7-9,19
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Pastor Goia asked, why do you go to church? Why do you keep the Sabbath? Why do you eat healthy? It is good to do these things, but it is not enough. God gave us a mission. You cannot enter heaven unless you follow God’s plan. What is God’s plan?
Pastor Goia illustrated by telling the inspiring story of two young men in his former congregation, that prayed for a town of 16,000 households in a remote, mountainous Romanian village. They went door to door, praying with and for the entire population. After three months of persistent prayer, 46 members of the community attended an evangelistic series hosted by the church, and 44 were baptized as a direct result of the two young men’s participation, prayers, and demonstration of caring.
We were called to serve by God. He did not call us to be blessed, but to be a blessing. Only as we serve can we be saved. You cannot love God unless you love your neighbor.
God gave us a mission, called “The Great Commission,” to use our gifts to reach others. You are responsible for your neighbors.
Israel was called by God to be a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6). They were to be a light, as well as a house of prayer for all nations. But they chose to lock themselves inside the temple, instead of reaching those outside the temple.
= us. We are also are called to be a “kingdom of priests” (1 Peter 2:9). Called to be a force of attraction to the fallen world, to show the world God’s love.
Four lessons that we learn from the previous passage:
Procrastinate vs. urgency
If you want to do something, do it today. If they Holy Spirit calls you to pray, do it today. If He calls you to read the Bible, do it today. If He calls you to reach your neighbor, do it today.
Show me your priorities and I will show you what you love. If you procrastinate your heart becomes insensitive and hardened.
- “TODAY” – used 3 times (Heb. 3:7,13,15)
- “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”.
- Why TODAY, why NOW?
Called out vs. love for Egypt
What happened to Israel?
- They were in bondage in Egypt for 430 years.
- Moses was sent to deliver them to:
- Receive the promised land.
is our vertical relationship with God
- To worship is to acknowledge God as the master of your life. It is when He leads your daily life, hour by hour; as Sister White explains, making no plans for yourself, but surrendering your plans to God, accepting His plans to serve.
is our horizontal relationship with our neighbor.
- When you care and love your neighbor.
Receive the promised land
- Only those who continually worship and serve will get to the promised land. The rest die in the wilderness.
- Moses = symbol for Jesus
- Israel = symbol for us
- Egypt = symbol for sin
God sent Jesus to set His people free, and that is the greatest news in the entire Bible, because though we are all in Egypt, we can be set free by the blood of Jesus.
Israel left Egypt and was baptized in the Red Sea.
- We sometimes think that baptism is the end of the story. It is the beginning of the story. We sometimes forget to love members after we baptize them and help them to grow. But other members choose to relax and never grow to maturity.
- What did Israel do after they were baptized in the Red Sea?
- They murmured!
- Manna & water – food and drink
- Task – a matter of faith; we cannot do it vs. WE’LL do it
- Moses – leaders. They were actually complaining against God. He is in control. He has the power. God allows lessons to help us to grow. People that don’t want to grow blame others.
Each time we murmur we are hardening our hearts. Each time we postpone we harden our hearts.
- Each time the Israelite's murmured they:
- Lost sight of Worship
- Lost sight of their calling, their mission/service
- Lost sight of the promised land.
They focused too much on the earthly things and lost focus of the heavenly things.
When you murmur, procrastinate and blame, “First resistance to God’s Spirit will lead to a second resistance. This way we harden our hearts and our conscience and depart from God.” MYP 96
Salvation is a process with three stages:
- Justification – salvation from penalty of sin
- Sanctification – salvation from power of sin
- Glorification – salvation from presence of sin
- Justification – deliverance from Egypt (an event)
- Sanctification – wilderness experience (a life process, the daily challenges to help you grow)
- Why the wilderness experience?
- To teach them to let go of Egypt
- To teach them to fully trust in God
- To teach them to live a godly lifestyle
- Glorification – Promised Land (an eternity)
Am I saved?
It doesn’t matter where you are in the process—there must be daily surrender at any stage of the process. As long as you are in the process Jesus is working in you! Be patient and let God do His job. He is able to finish what He started. Keep your eyes on Jesus and NOT on self. That is your job.
“He who HAS the SON has life, he who does not have the SON, has no life.” 1 John 5:12
What happened after the Red Sea? God gave them the Law. Which one comes first, salvation or obedience? God first got them out of Egypt (delivered them) and then gave them the law. You need to be saved in order to obey. You need to be a child of God, filled with God in order to obey.
Unbelief vs. faith
- Kadesh – 12 spies. 10 had a spirit of unbelief. Only 2, Joshua and Caleb trusted God.
- 10 focused on themselves and on the problems/giants. They didn't trust in the Lord.
- 2 focused on God and on the promises. They put their trust in the Lord.
We are not saved by what we do, but by what He does, it is by faith in Him that we are saved.
“We have nothing to fear, unless we should forget the way that God has lead us in the past.” The ten forgot what God had done for them in the past. Remembering what God did for us in the past gives us strength for the future.
How long should it have taken from Sinai to Canaan? 11-17 days! How long did it take? 40 YEARS. Because they looked to the problems instead of God. When you look to the problems instead of God, problems look big and God looks small. When you look to God instead of your problems, God looks big and problems look small. Why are we still here, instead of heaven? What are you looking to? The same sins have delayed modern Israel. Unbelief, unconsecration, and murmuring keep us in this world.
“God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander 40 years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there as holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in because of unbelief. Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and he could not fulfill His covenant with them.
For 40 years unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel form the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed modern Israel from entering into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is unbelief, unconsecration, worldliness, strife, and murmuring among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in the world of sin and sorry so many years.” (Manuscript. 4, 1883) (Ev. 696)
It was easy for God to pull Israel out of Egypt, but the problem for God was pulling Egypt out of Israel. Can that be our problem too?
How many left Egypt? 600,000 men, age 21-55 (plus families), roughly 2.4 million people.
How many of that generation entered Canaan? Only 2!
Do you fully believe that God has the power to pull you out of Egypt, bring you into the promised land, and save you?
It was not because they didn’t overcome the giants, but because of their unbelief.
No one will be lost for being weak, but only for not trusting God.
Why the wilderness (Sanctification)
- To teach them to let go of Egypt. Disconnect from stuff. Do not value stuff as a blessing, but use it to be a blessing to others. The real blessing is when you start being a blessing. Value others, people around you. Teach them to fully trust in God and live a Godly lifestyle.
What is a Godly lifestyle?
- The fruits of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Gal. 5:22,23
We cannot produce the fruits of the Spirit on our own. We must invite the Spirit, who gives us the fruits of the Spirit.
The person who trusts God enough to daily surrender/let go, and who daily invites the Spirit and His fruits in his/her life, that person will become the most powerful force of attraction in this world for saving the lost.
Do people know that Jesus lives in your heart? Do people know that Jesus lives in your family? Do people know that Jesus lives in your church?
Daily surrender is more important than any sacrifice or any doctrine. How can you have the doctrines of God without the God of doctrines? Lord, do whatever it takes, but help me live like Jesus.
The Afternoon Worship Service - "Victory in the Final Conflict"
The sermon, Victory in the Final Conflict, was also presented by special guest speaker, Pastor Pavel Goia.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:10-12
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the high places."
“Something great and decisive is about to take place, the world is on the verge of a great crisis.” LDE 11
“…religious liberty will soon come to an end.” Ev. 236
“There will be a time of trouble such as never was…” Dan. 12:1
“There will be an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false.” GC 464
“The last great delusion is soon to open before us. The Antichrist is to perform marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Scriptures.” GC 593
“The enemy will deceive the whole word by his miracle-working power. He will impersonate angels of light and impersonate even Jesus Christ.” 2 SM 96
“Men under the influence of evil spirits will work miracles, sick will be healed… Are we prepared for the coming trial?” 1 T 302
“For by your
all the nations were deceived.” Rev. 18:23
Sorceries – Greek – pharmakeia – anything that medicates the mind or makes the mind confused.
“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matt 24:24
How do you fight Satan? Unless you live in heaven you have no power over Satan.
How do you prepare for the final conflict? With three strategies:
In the Lord
In His armor.
In the Lord
Daily we need the grace power from the source above. “Only those who have fortified the mind with the truth will stand the last great conflict.” GC 594
“The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart… Unless we become vitally connected with God we can never resist.” DA 324
“Without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“We fight… against spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6:12
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27
Satan will perform great signs. “He will perform great signs, to even bring fire from heaven…” Rev. 13:13. Fire in the Bible represents the Holy Spirit, and to attest God’s presence, power, and work.
Satan will attempt pretend he is God and that the Holy Spirit is poured out over men. There will be a fake revival and a real revival. Some people will experience the fake revival, and some people will be so afraid of the fake that they will not experience the real. Both are dangerous positions.
“I baptize you with water but He who comes after me will baptize you with the Spirit and with fire.” Matt 3:11. You must be baptized by
water and by Spirit and fire. How do you know? Fire: you are HOT, on fire for the Lord! You have the desire to tell everyone about Jesus and His love! Whatever you focus on, that is what you are on fire for. Whatever comes between you and God, that is your god. That is what you worship. We focus on this short life and lose sight of eternity. All who focus on earthly things worship the beast. Can you be in the church and not realize that you are worshiping the beast? Yes! The parable of the lost coin—
the coin was in the house
. “Many in the church take for granted that they understand what they believe, but until controversy will arise they don’t know how they are, don’t know their weakness.” 5 T 707
Where is your treasure? Your relationship with Christ must be put above all other things. Dwell – to think of, to focus on, to live in. “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21
Those who are continually dwelling upon this earth, whose minds are focused, consumed with these things, they are worshiping the beast.
“And the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10
We should be in the world, but “not of the world.” John 17:16
“He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:6
In this conflict you cannot fight the enemy in your strength. You need external protection and power. If you think you can win the battle on your own, you have already lost.
“As Christ in His humanity sought strength from His Father, that He might be enabled to endure trial and temptation, so are we to do. Daily we need help and grace and power from the Source of all power.” HP 50
“Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Eph. 6:10
Eternal life is to know God.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thes 5:16
What is prayer? “It is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.” We talk with God and God talks with us. Drop everything and have an
oasis of remembrance
with God. We must be covered/surrounded with Christ so our armor is not exposed. We should be in continual connection with God. You need prayer and faith.
Sister White writes, “Small actions, day by day, form our habits, that form our characters, that become who we are.”
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual
of wickedness in the high
.” Eph. 6:12
“At the sound of fervent prayer Satan and his whole host trembles.” CCh 319
“With all prayer and petitions Pray at all times in the Spirit.” Eph. 6”18
“At the sound of fervent prayer Satan and his hosts trembles.” CCh 319
“We do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Over every man, good and evil angels strive… We have to meet the most powerful adversaries…” Ev. 704
For supernatural war we need supernatural power. The disciples received supernatural power only after the upper room experience.
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:16, 17
“Those who make Christ their daily companion and familiar friend will feel the powers of an unseen world around them, and by looking unto Jesus they will become assimilated to His image. By beholding they become changed to the divine pattern.” 4 T 616
“The faces of men and women who talk with God, to whom the invisible world is a reality, express the peace of God, they carry with them the atmosphere of heaven.” MM 252. This is what Christians should be about.
We must have an invisible friend, we must always talk and walk with Him. When God talks with you He does not come to you with small things, because He is not small. Stop trying to understand in order to obey. Spend time with God and learn to recognize His voice, and obey His voice unconditionally at any price.
“When the Spirit of truth comes… He will tell you…” John 16:13
“He how has ears to hear what the Spirit says.” Reb. 3:22
“My sheep hear My voice.” John 10:27
Only when we fully surrender, we stop fighting and God goes ahead of us and fights our battles. He never called us to fight, He called us into a relationship. Our real problem is not our problems. It is faith. Satan is after our faith. As soon as you learn to focus on God, not on your problems, you obtain victory.
Make God our companion. Do you talk in prayer or do you listen? Consider it a privilege that the God of the Universe talks with you! Growth and change happen in God’s presence.
“Morning by morning He awakens my ears to listen.” Is 50:4
“In the morning I pray… and then I wait expectantly.” Ps 5:3
Prayer seeking the Blesser, rather than the blessings.
We often get nothing from prayer and study, because we hurry. “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10
“Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. With hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ’s loving presence, pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher. With their burdens they return to their work.” Ed. 260
“Each day consecrate yourselves and your children to God for that day.” 7T44
Fix your eyes on God, focus on heavenly things. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on You.” Is 26:3
“Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Wellspring of life. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, and you lose your hold on God.” MYP 249
“Prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian and will assuredly prevail against Satan.” Ev. 609
“Praying is the breath of the soul, the seat of spiritual power. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Wellspring of life. Neglect prayer and you lose your hold on God." GW 254, 255
In the Word
“The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Satan will perform marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Scriptures. Only those who have fortified the mind with the truth of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” GC 593
“Holy men spoke as they were moved by the Spirit… no Scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:21
Prayer and study of the Word always go together. 6T65
“Your ears will hear a voice behind you.” Is. 30:21
Every voice must be checked with the Word.
“In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, some will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it… The third angel’s message will not be comprehended, the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light.” LDE 209, 210
We must learn to spend time with God. That’s how we prepare for the final conflict, by prayer and study.
“Preparation should be made by diligent study of the Word.” PK 626
“Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” Ps 119:105
“God calls us to come out and separate from the world. If we continue to link up with the wold and look at every matter form a worldly standpoint, we will become like the world.” 4 BC 1142
“He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:6
Dwell in God, dwell in heaven.
“Seek first the kingdom of God.” Matt 6:33
If we are to win this conflict and get to heaven, we must experience heaven now, it must become real, we must desire it, seek it, love it, dwell in it daily, make it our priority.
People are drawn to God. Our doctrines are sound, Biblical-based, but people should see not only doctrines in us, but our connection with God. We need to make a decision today. Ask God to come into our heart and change us every day. Daily walk with Him. Humbly invite His presence every day. It is a process. He will grow you, use you, save you.
We give all glory, honor, and appreciation to God for The Gathering. And we give thanks to all those who participated and assisted, from the Conference, our sister Eastern Shore churches, and members and friends of Park SDA Church.