December 2019
Please visit this link for the audio sermons: 
November 2 - Pastor Greg Carlson
Sermon title: "144,000 Literal or Symbolic?"
Scripture Reading: Revelation 7:1-4
The opening of the seven seals of Revelation continues, starting with the 5 th seal and the faithful followers of Christ, even in the face of injustice. The theme of patience and perseverance permeates the entire Book of Revelation. In the 5 th seal the faithful ask, “How long?”

The 6 th seal presents those souls in chaos and the upheaval of the natural elements. The Day of Judgement will come as “The Day of the Lord”. The 6 th seal answers the question, “How long?”, but asks in return, who can stand the great day of the wrath of God?
The 7 th seal answers the question of who can stand: The 144,000!

144,000 symbolizes God’s people for all times, the redeemed who have come out of the great tribulation.

Our focus is shifted from earth to heaven, from the first century to the Second Coming.

Pictures courtesy of Deshirl Rankins
November 9 - Elder Mark McDonald
Sermon title: "The Greatest Temptation and Final Sin"
Scripture Reading: Matthew 4

How many of us think of diet as the greatest temptation and final sin? But the fact is, with God’s help, if you can overcome appetite you can overcome any sin.

Elder McDonald touched on the original fall of man with the introduction of sin through diet, the degeneration of man before the flood and the shift from a plant-based diet, the initiation of Christ’s victorious ministry on earth which began with the temptation of diet, and the ultimate victory of God’s chosen people in the last days. Through Christ’s victory, where Adam and Eve failed, He has given us a way to overcome temptation and the final test: The worship of the beast.

Besides the obvious health benefits of the original plant-based diet, the sole purpose is not the extension of earthly life, but opening a clear perception of truth, as well as a clear channel of communication with God’s Holy Spirit. 

Pictures courtesy of Deshirl Rankins
November 16 - Elder Jerry Wilson
Sermon title: "Close of Probation"
Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:6-10

What was the difference between the ten virgins in Jesus’ parable? One group has a Christlike character. The other group thinks they have a Christlike character. Which group is ready for heaven?

There are many distractors that the devil employs to keep us from salvation and doing Jesus’s will. What is Jesus’ will? It is doing what Jesus did. We are saved by living up to the light we know, and the Holy Spirit empowers us to do good works. 

The Sunday law is a prophetic event that marks the close of probation. Probation comes first to the church. Probation must be closed for judgement to be rendered. 

Elder Wilson challenged us to look at our lives and see what we need to repent of. What will bring us into unity to receive the latter rain? You have to drown in God’s love—die to yourself and born into Christ, becoming His servant, OR die in your sins. Which will you choose?

Sermon takeaway: Put on the helmet of salvation and the devil can’t get in your head.
November 23 - Pastor Greg Carlson
Sermon title: "Run to the Cross"
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:8,9

Life is fragile and trials are inevitable, but opposition creates opportunity.

In our Scripture reading, the Apostle Paul makes four statements that describe how Christians should respond to the trials of life.
1.      Pressure will not defeat us.
2.      Confusion will not discourage us.
3.      Opposition will not deter us.
4.      Hard hits won’t destroy us.

The world will judge our Christianity on how we respond to suffering, sorrow, and hardship. We need a theology of suffering if we are going to reach this generation. If Christians really are the light of the world, light is the most obvious in the dark.

Paul’s view: If I have victory, it is only through trouble, not apart from trouble. 

Sermon takeaway: Make Jesus your first initiative, not your last resort.
November 30 - Pastor Tom Hughes
Sermon title: “Righteousness by Faith; A Reason to be Thankful”
Scripture Reading: Galatians 2:16

Prior to the sermon, Pastor Hughes sang and performed three songs on guitar, while accompanied by pianist, Catherine Wheatley Morgan.
Legalist: If you emphasize more of what you have to do for God than what God has done for you, you are a legalist. But if you emphasize what God has done for you instead of what you need to do for God, you are telling about God’s grace. We should be known as the people who love God so much we can’t stop talking about Him.
Apart from Christ and His righteousness, our worship is worthless. God makes us Holy through Christ’s righteousness.

Focus on Jesus. Tell others of the great things that God has done for us. Christ is our only hope, our only perfection, our only righteousness. Celebrate every day that you have new life in Jesus.
Sermon takeaway: We are not sinless, we are not perfect, we are forgiven. 
Room Renovation
Elder Jerry Wilson and Pastor Greg Carlson recently renovated the room behind the sanctuary. A tremendous amount of work went into the restoration project, starting with completely gutting the room down to the block walls, and replacing all the material with new. The project took several days of intensive labor. We are all appreciative of the hard work these two put into the room for the benefit of Park Church and the glory of God!

We also give a shout out to David Mills for fixing our church sign with new LED lighting! May it be a beacon to the community.

Thank you for your ministry of service, gentlemen!

Story and pictures courtesy of Calvin Hudson. Pictures also contributed by Pastor Greg.
Thanksgiving Social
On Sabbath evening, November 16, Park held the annual Thanksgiving Social. There was sundown worship, a soup and sandwich potluck, games, and lots of fun!! 

The evening began with Elder Jerry Wison sharing the Word of God. Kim Bennett brought a backdrop for people to take pictures together. There were plenty of games, including table tennis and musical chairs. Participants brought food for needy families.

Story and pictures courtesy of Deshirl Rankins.
Wilson Family Gathering
We love hearing of the Wilson family adventures! Grace Wilson reports that she and Jerry spent a great weekend with the girls. Jerry and Hannah mountain biked the trails in Southern and then they drove to visit Rachel and hiked all the way to the top of White Rocks in Virginia. God is good and all were blessed! 

Story and pictures courtesy of Grace Wilson.

Park is so grateful for the loving, Christlike example of the Wilson family.
Congratulations Kurtis Rogers!
Women's Retreat
Women’s Ministries Retreat
November 22 – 24, 2019
Deshirl Rankins and I received a tremendous blessing at the Women’s Retreat in Ocean City. Deshirl attended all three days, while I went for Sabbath services. Two of the events that Deshirl and I witnessed together were Pastor Andrea Jakobsons (from Spencerville SDA Church) at the Sabbath morning worship service, “Deeper Love: Barriers to Intimacy with Jesus.” Pastor Jakobsons preached about Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), but specifically applied Martha to modern women and how we live the same distracted, overly busy existence, with little time to sit at Jesus’ feet like her sister, Mary. Martha had high expectations of herself and others that led to resentment and bitterness, and kept her from forgiving. As Christ explained to Martha, we also need to come to the feet of Jesus and surrender all.
Deshirl and I also attended a breakout group, “Deeper Communication—Prayer”, by Debbie Howell. We learned that God has given us the tools to have a more intimate relationship with Him. The only way to God is through Jesus. The only way to Jesus is through the Holy Spirit. There is a difference between talking about God and listening to God. And a difference between knowing the Bible and knowing it’s Author. When Jesus is revealed in our lives He becomes our identity.

--Irene Haas
Let us bring before the Lord our prayers of thanksgiving, petitions, and intercession. God is faithful in hearing the prayers of an obedient people. We gather together in unity and love, raising our voices before the throne of grace.