Message: Thank You
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Jessyka Dooley
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Hebrews 12:18-29 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: There is a new connect group starting the first week in January at our church called “The Journey.” Our connect groups meet right after our family worship service. We have them for all ages, from birth to 100+ years. The adult connect groups vary in style and topics. Some follow the curriculum that the global church provides. Others create their own topics or investigate ideas and questions arising from the message. The Journey, however, take a unique focus—discovering the character of God every week in one book of the Bible. The first two weeks in January will be an introduction to the Bible in general, and then on the third week the class will cover the book of Genesis in one session. The class is designed in such a way that even with no preparation participants will leave with a deeper appreciation of God. However, the more you prepare for class, the more you will overflow with joy as a result. Alongside all the resources for study provided are passages from the classic The Conflict of the Ages five-book series by Ellen G. White. (You might have seen a Kickstarter campaign by a few of my friends that I endorsed and backed called The Conflict Beautiful.) It is described as follows:
The Conflict Beautiful is a complete redesign of one of Ellen G. White’s most beloved collections, The Conflict of the Ages. This five-volume set spans the history of the world from a biblical perspective, all the way from its creation through to its future restoration—all while reinforcing Christ’s beautiful character of love.
These books have been published and republished in many different formats, sizes, and designs, but we at Types & Symbols think it’s time for another update. We think it’s time for a new, beautifully designed, hardcover set—expertly typeset, printed, and bound to match the beauty of words and ideas inside. We want to create books that truly arrest the attention, and we’re calling this edition The Conflict Beautiful.
I am so pleased that The Journey is starting. Not only because of the way the organizers are planning to lead this process but because I believe it really helps address what both atheists and agnostics alike believe. There are matters in the Bible that seem overwhelming. In fact, as one of those parents whom I mentioned earlier this week shared with me, the reason their young adult chose to be an atheist was because they could not see the God of love. They saw the God of violence and death. This is, in fact, the same view of God that Paul believed in his early years. This was why he felt justified in persecuting people. The Journey is going to offer a Duplo (see Boulder Church website for metaphor details) view of God from each book of the Bible, along with splashes of Technic (also explained on the website). As people go through that journey, they will only grow more in love with who God is.
Recalibrate: What do you find diminishes or grows your faith in God? How can you be thankful for the challenges that you’ve experienced? What did you learn from them?
Respond: Pray for the capacity to grow more in God.
Research: Read a story in the Bible that re-ignites your passion for God.
Remember: “Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please Him, with reverence and awe . . .” (Hebrews 12:28, GNB).
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and is co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He and his wife Becky have two sons, one at university and one in high school.
Watch this video bout a deer in a snow globe with your child. What did you think was happening to the deer’s home? Every day, the deer shoved snow from in front of his house and he put all the things that fell down back on their shelves inside. When things get shaken, it can feel like a mess. Hebrews reminds us that God’s kingdom will not be shaken. It’s not like a snow globe but like a strong mountain!
Hebrews shows us how Jesus connects us with God. Before sin, Adam and Eve could talk to God directly; later sin distanced them from Him. Find a friend or family member and try this activity: Have them stay in one room of your house and then go to the other room. Try saying part of your Words to Remember, “Let us be grateful and worship God . . .” Can your partner hear you? Go to a room farther away. Can they hear you now? Come back and say the words right next to them. God talks directly to us now. We are no longer separated from Him!
We all have dark places in our lives. The “Sinais,” if you will. The places where we have fallen short, failed, or messed up. When was a time in your life where you felt like you kept failing? I have had many “Sinai” moments. Moments where I tried my best yet it still wasn’t enough. The thing I have learned in my short 25 years of life is that God never stops at the “Sinai” moments of our lives. God is always pushing us forward to Mount Zion! When was a moment in your life where God took you from a place of failure to a place of life at its best? Today, in light of our time looking at Sinai and Zion, I want to encourage you to move to a place of worship. Life will have its ups and downs; you will go from Sinai to Zion and back again. But always remember how God has moved in your life. When you remember this, it will always bring you to a place of worship.