San Fernando Valley Filipino Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Northridge | CA
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From the Pastor's Study
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 "Atlanta 2010: An Experience"

Having been raised in a Seventh-day Adventist home and as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church, it had been my dream to be able to attend a General Conference Session. It, to me, was like a Muslim desiring to go to a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his/her lifetime. That dream for me became a reality when I was able to attend a few days' meetings and activities during the recent Session, June 23 - July 3, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia. Allow me to reflect on the experience and apply these reflections to our Christian lives.

The Destination

Atlanta, Georgia was the destination. The experience started Tuesday night, June 29. We boarded a friend's Prius, all four of us, bound for Atlanta. We drove 36 hours straight, traversing the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia. Except for short stops for necessities, we drove on and on and on. We had our eyes fixed on our destination -- Atlanta and Atlanta alone. We would pass through a State with beautiful sceneries; we would admire and look, but those sceneries were not our destination -- it was Atlanta and Atlanta alone.

In our Christian walk we have a destination, and that is the heavenly home. While we travel this path on this side of eternity, let us not take our eyes off our destination -- heaven and heaven alone. Let not the "sceneries" of this world distract us from our destination.

The Travellers

Having decided to drive straight to Atlanta, it was imperative that we, the travellers, support each other. One traveller would drive and at least one other would be awake (the designated "waker") to make sure the driver would not fall asleep. Sometimes, there was also a need for another traveller to be awake to make sure that the  designated "waker" was awake. Everything was done to insure that the designated driver was awake. The "waker" would converse (loudly) with the driver, would give the driver something to drink or something to munch on, would give the driver a shoulder or back massage/rub -- anything to keep the driver awake. Each traveller also saw to it that the other travellers were comfortable. At one point, one traveller got sick, so the other three travellers just asked him to be "relieved of his responsibilities" temporarily and just rest and sleep.

In our trip to our destination, heaven, we have fellow travellers. The journey is long and hard at times and there are tendencies for travellers to "fall asleep" and "get sick" in their faith. How easier would the travel be if travellers would look at the welfare -- spiritual, physical and otherwise -- of their fellow travellers. Burdens shared become lighter and joys shared will become brighter.

The GPS

One technology that has never failed to amaze me is the Global Positioning System (GPS). Enter into the GPS the data about a destination and it would guide you there, door-to-door. The Prius we were on was equipped with the GPS. And it worked excellently. The GPS would tell us how many miles we had already travelled; how many more miles to our destination; what major cities/landmarks we expect to see/pass through in our travel. If we decided to get out of the marked route, the "lady voice" in the GPS would gently remind us to make a "U-turn", if it was legal. The GPS saw to it that we were on the right track and that we did not get lost.

We, too, have our GPS in our Christian journey -- God's Positioning System. The Holy Spirit, through the Holy Writ, guides us in the right "freeway" and if we get out of the "straight and narrow," our GPS would gently remind us, "This is the way, walk ye in it." We will never get lost, and we will be assured of reaching our destination if we follow our GPS.

"Proclaming God's Grace"

That was the theme of the Atlanta 2010 GC Session. It was a thrill to see thousands of fellow travellers from the four corners of the globe congregating together in Atlanta, "proclaming God's grace." Every activity, every service and every sermon was "proclaiming God's grace." Every nerve signalled the proclamation of God's grace; every trumpet clarioned God's grace; every heart throbbed God's grace. It was an experience of Grace.

 

I can only imagine the scene when the Christian journey will be over and the 144,000, the great multitude of redeemed, the 24 elders, the myriads of angels and unfallen beings, will gather together on the sea of glass and proclaim God's grace. What a day that will be and what an unparallelled experience that will be!

 

Yes, we have a destination; we are all travellers; we have a GPS; and we will all get there by God's grace. And His grace will be the theme of every story, every conversation, every line, every verse, every psalm, every song. Wow! Amazing grace. Amen. -- RRR

 

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San Fernando Valley Filipino Seventh-Day Adventist Church | 17601 Lassen Street | Northridge, CA 91325