Dear STL Supporter
The Tail/Tale of Cyclone Debbie
The Steps to Life seminar series, God's Reformation vs The Community of Unity, with pastor Daniel Mesa concluded in Brisbane on the weekend of April 1. As we drove into Brisbane on the Thursday afternoon cyclone Debbie had travelled south and we started to experience the cyclone's tail - very heavy rainfall and strong winds! We made it to our accommodation safely. Overnight the heavy rainfall flooded the two rivers on either side of the Beenleigh Events Centre, our venue for the seminar. On Friday morning the news came through that the BEC was now an evacuation centre for people (in the hall) and their animals (in the under building car park). So, we had no choice but to advise by text message, email and where possible phone call that the seminar had to be cancelled. We had nowhere to hold it as most of the halls in the district that we could source were being held for possible evacuations.
Then the phone started ringing with offers of alternative venues in areas out of the flood zone. We thank all the folk who offered assistance in this way. Through their generosity God had opened up a way for the Sabbath program to go ahead. For this we were most grateful!
The most suitable option was from the Spanish speaking Adventist Church who hire the Salvation Army Hall at Inala on the Sabbath. While many people who wanted to come and listen to pastor Daniel could not get through the floodwaters, approximately 170 people did make it to Inala and stayed for the day. While the musical team who had put in so much effort to provide us with a feast of beautiful music for the Sabbath, led by Owen and Hildegard Christian, could not get through the floods, we were most grateful to all the musicians who so willingly offered their talents on the day. What a blessing they were and their music was heavenly!
A special thanks to Marcos and Saul Escobar and the Spanish church team for their assistance.
The tale of cyclone Debbie was that God turned a seemingly impossible situation into a memorable and spiritually uplifting experience. The entire seminar is available on DVD and MP3. Pastor Daniel's personal testimony is available for viewing under the Video tab on the STL web site www.steps.org.au
Christmas and Easter are times when we reflect on the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. While the dates that these celebrations occur on can be disputed. The birth of Jesus would not have been in the middle of winter because the shepherds would not have been out in the fields then, and the death of Jesus fitted the cycle of the Jewish feasts, not the pagan festivals associated with the moon. The significance of the events are life changing for each of us.
As Easter comes to us, we should reflect on the enormity of the sacrifice of the Godhead in offering us a way out from sin. We often think of the birth, life and death of Jesus in terms of what Jesus has done for us. We should not forget that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit took the risk and made the sacrifice as well.
Ellen White in chapter 74 of The Desire of Ages poignantly makes these comments in the opening paragraphs. Take the time to read the entire chapter for yourself this Easter. (Embolding supplied)
In company with His disciples, the Saviour slowly made His way to the garden of Gethsemane. The Passover moon, broad and full, shone from a cloudless sky.... Jesus had been earnestly conversing with His disciples and instructing them; but as He neared Gethsemane, He became strangely silent... Throughout His life on earth He had walked in the light of God's presence. .... But now He seemed to be shut out from the light of God's sustaining presence. Now He was numbered with the transgressors. The guilt of fallen humanity He must bear...
So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father's love.... As He proceeded, this strange sadness deepened;... His form swayed as if He were about to fall. Upon reaching the garden, the disciples looked anxiously for His usual place of retirement, that their Master might rest. Every step that He now took was with labored effort. He groaned aloud, as if suffering under the pressure of a terrible burden. Twice His companions supported Him, or He would have fallen to the earth.... He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.
...As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.... Now the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle.... Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdoms of the world would finally become Christ's;... But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan's kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power. With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ's soul was filled with dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan's kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God. And what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men!.... How dark seemed the malignity of sin! Terrible was the temptation to let the human race bear the consequences of its own guilt, while He stood innocent before God....
Rising with painful effort, He staggered to the place where He had left His companions. But He "findeth them asleep." Had He found them praying, He would have been relieved... They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.
Do we understand the necessity of watchfulness and prayer to withstand temptation?
You Don't Have To be Sick!
No one wants to be sick. In so many ways health is wealth- in our well-being, our relationships, our ability to work, our capacity to be useful, to do interesting things, etc. Don and Aileen Sforcina are presenting a mini series that incorporate Saturday afternoon, April 29 and Sunday April 30, telling us how we can choose to have health.
The flyer with all the program details is included for Victorian readers with the mail out of this Newsletter. It is essential to register for the Sunday presentations so that we can ensure you are catered for. Come along and Jump Into Health as Don and Aileen would say.
Free Video Clips from Rod Anderson
Rod Anderson, pastor of the Orchard Melbourne City Central Church has just finished filming at STL a series of forty eight short video clips called Unchained. We encourage you to go to the Orchard in the City web site by this link (www.theorchardmelbourne.org.au/unchained) and view the the clips for yourself. They are worth seeing and sharing.
With Christian greetings
Cherryl and the STL team
Brian Way/Programs Coordinator
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