Listening to God and Obeying

Listening to God and Obeying by Clayton Pinder     Editor’s note: A dear servant of the Lord, Clayton Pinder served as our Conference President in 2001, using the theme “Try God.” He submitted several good articles for his President’s Page that year; this one appeared in March 2001. Clayton’s obituary is on page 26 in this issue.     Do you ever hear God talking to you? How do you respond? In my life, I’ve learned to listen for Him. The method God uses to communicate varies, but you can be sure it’s Him wanting to get your attention and reaction. I’ve felt the Lord asking me to do something for Him many times. One instance occurred in the early 1970s, when I was working in Summersville, W.Va. A fellow employee got laid off. He was in management, had a large family, and didn’t believe in God. Several times he talked to me about my faith and asked why I believed in God. He had been a choir boy when he was younger, but had gotten away from church. He confessed he didn’t have faith in God anymore. Frankly, he said it even stronger than that. “I don’t believe in God and all that ‘stuff,’ ” he scowled. But he knew I did. I didn’t see my friend for a couple of weeks. Then one day, when I was in a meeting, God spoke to me out of the blue: “Go see your friend.” The message was very clear and persistent. After “hearing” nothing but that, I asked to be excused and left to see my friend. When I arrived at his house, he said he was expecting me. He had been very depressed. He told me that he had gone out that morning, bought a bottle of wine, and planned to commit suicide. There he was—unemployed and a disappointment to his family. He was probably going to lose his house, and he didn’t know what to do. He felt that his life was really messed up. I told him that God had sent me to see him. We talked a long while, and I finally asked him to Try God. Once again he...

A Glimpse of Eternity

A Glimpse of Eternity

Jun 24, 2013

A Glimpse of Eternity by Eric Rudert   We at the White Cloud, Mich., Seventh Day Baptist Church lost our beloved pastor, Bernie Wethington, to cancer on March 19, 2013. (See the May 2013 SR obituary.) Please keep his family and our church family in your prayers during this time of transition.     Bernie was a great leader, challenging us to various needs and ministries in our community, and also to world missions. In and out of the pulpit, he was a big teddy bear when he needed to be, and conversely a bulldog when necessary. (Church members: remember the “We need an elevator” speech in the business meeting? Whew!) He was intelligent and a student of many things, including the Bible. His messages were well prepared, inspiring and thought-provoking. With this terrible disease rapidly consuming Pastor Bernie, our church was able to have him attend a service on March 2. In many ways, it was a “living funeral,” but also a wonderful time of memories and praise. A reception line (with a basket for cards and notes) followed, but Bernie had to leave due to being so weak. During the service a photo was taken with Bernie looking up with his arms in the air, his fists clenched. It has been labeled, “God wins!” When I first heard of Bernie’s terminal illness, my original thoughts were “Why?” and “Not fair, God.” On these “Why” issues, our minds “walk around the “block” only to return to the same place. It’s then we realize that God is God, and only He knows and is supposed to know the answers to these questions. It’s probably human nature to make peace with someone once there’s a terminal illness. Pastor Bernie (“PB”) and I did that. There wasn’t too much baggage or tension between us for the past several years. But, with my duties as moderator and as a trustee, there were a few times we disagreed. I thanked him for the times he rebuked (I love that word) me for the good of our church. After all, Bernie had our church and God’s kingdom as his agenda, vs. mine. In turn, we talked about a few...

Sweet Memories of Brazil

Sweet Memories of Brazil

May 24, 2013

Sweet Memories of Brazil by Renee Sanford, Milton, Wis.   We’ve been home from Brazil for three weeks. I still don’t know how to answer the question, “How was your trip to Brasil?” I don’t even know if I should spell Brazil with an S or a Z. –It was glorious and exhilarating. It was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting. –My heart overflowed with joy. My heart was broken and filled with grief. –I want to go back forever. I never want to leave home again. –God did miraculous things through our ministry. Often what I most needed to do was get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work. –I knew I was supposed to be there. I wondered why I was there. –Not speaking Portuguese made communicating slow and difficult. Not speaking Portuguese made communicating nonverbally easier.   “How was my trip to Brazil?” Filled with tears. Over two days I shared about God’s miraculous healing power in my life, sharing the deep wounds so I could share the glory of the deep healing. Oh how vulnerable we must sometimes be. I cried. Everyone cried. My pain resonated with their pain and people saw they were not alone. “How was my trip to Brasil?” Filled with joy. After sharing the pain, I could share the glory and joy of the healing. There is a balm in Gilead, the overflowing boundless joy of freedom. What a privilege to set the stage for Pastor George to speak about our authority in Christ Jesus to drive darkness away, giving hope to trapped struggling believers. The trip was filled with encounters like that. “How was my trip to Brazil?” Scary. One night I was asked to speak before Pastor George gave the sermon. Shaking, I got up and said through our interpreter, “I’m so nervous—at home I’m not usually in front; I’m out there.” Everyone laughed and suddenly I felt totally at home and knew what to say. I shared what Pastor Nate had told us the week before—about how our true home is in heaven, we are sojourners and aliens on earth. I said, “That’s God’s word, so it’s true, right? So, I didn’t...