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Battle Creek Tabernacle Family Newsletter
Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2018 
 
Cultivating Faith
by Pastor Rob Benardo

 
I was having worship with my daughter recently and we came across a statement that is so important we both decided to memorize it. It goes like this: “The knowledge of what the scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired. “ That was printed at the Review and Herald back in 1898, right here in Battle Creek, and wow! No knowledge is more essential? This cultivation of faith is “urged” upon us and is a non- negotiable “necessity”? With all these imperatives we must investigate further.
 
First of all, when it says we must “cultivate” faith, that pre-supposes that we have faith to begin with. The Bible says, “For I say through the grace given to me to every man that is among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. “ Romans 12:3.  Amazing. This thing called faith is not something we create, but something “dealt” or “gifted” to us. The Bible also says, “for by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8.  Paul tells us here that not only is grace a gift, but faith is as well. To every man God has dealt to us “the measure of faith”.  But just what is this thing called faith?
 
The Bible tells us that faith comes by the Word of God and so to the Word then we must turn for its definition. In the book of Luke there is a summary of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, which is sometimes referred to as “the sermon on the plain” in Luke Chapter six. Just after this, Jesus tells an absolutely remarkable story about faith. You see, it all starts with this Roman Centurion. He was a soldier with other soldiers under him, and may very well have been in the area to enforce the collection of taxes and would not have been looked favorably upon. Not to mention, Romans in general were despised and mostly rejected by the Jews who prized themselves as the “people of faith”. This Centurion had a servant. That wouldn’t have been uncommon as men were bought and sold like animals. These slaves were also discarded like an old shoe when they were not able to work anymore. But here is where the story gets interesting.

This Centurion’s servant was sick and wracked with pain and the Bible says that the slave was “dear” or ‘precious” to his master. This was completely counter-culture. If a slave could no longer work, just send him away and get one that can. Here we see that this Centurion had compassion.  He knew that this man’s case was hopeless unless a miracle happened. He had not seen Jesus, but had heard of His teachings, and even these second hand reports were enough to thrill His soul and lead Him to believe.“All that was spiritual within him responded to the Savior's words”.So built upon this hope, He asked the local Jewish elders to go to talk to Jesus and see if He would come and heal the servant.
 
Apparently, this Roman had helped to build the Jews a synagogue and they in turn considered Him “worthy”. When Jesus heard this story from the elders, He must have felt compelled to go and so he went with them. Ellen White comments on the journey of Jesus with the following words: Jesus immediately set out for the officer's home; but, pressed by the multitude, He advanced slowly. The news of His coming preceded Him, and the centurion, in his self-distrust, sent Him the message, “Lord, trouble not Thyself: for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof.”  But the Saviour kept on His way, and the centurion, venturing at last to approach Him, completed the message, saying, …   "Neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee;" "but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." As I represent the power of Rome, and my soldiers recognize my authority as supreme, so dost Thou represent the power of the Infinite God, and all created things obey Thy word. Thou canst command the disease to depart, and it shall obey Thee. Thou canst summon Thy heavenly messengers, and they shall impart healing virtue. Speak but the word, and my servant shall be healed.  {DA 316.2}   
 
The Centurion already had been shown to be a man of compassion, and now he is seen as one of great humility and faith. Jesus in response to this man’s faith “marveled” and it took quite a bit to amaze Jesus. In fact, the only other time Jesus marveled was at the unbelief of the Jews in John chapter six. Jesus also said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”Luke 7:9. Let’s unpack this a bit before we close. What were the factors in this man’s cultivated faith gift? Well first of all his faith was alive with the fruit of compassion for those who would have been considered unworthy. Secondly, his faith in the mighty miracle working power of God bore the fruit of humility. In comparison to the “captain of the Lord of Hosts”, all the power of all the armies on earth looked miniscule. He was humbled by God’s power and love.
 
The Centurion had also grasped something that the Jews had not. “Faith is the expecting the word of God to do what it says and the depending upon that word to do what it says.” Lessons on faith, pg. 9 A.T. Jones.  He knew the truth of the Psalm where it says,”God spoke and it was”. He believed so fully in the powerful Word of God that Jesus need not come at all to Capernaum. All He needed to do was speak it! He spoke and darkness became light. He spoke and land masses and creatures came forth. The Centurion was under the power of Rome, but this man Jesus had at His disposal the power of all creation and all that of the universe!
 
The Centurion’s faith had at least one other key element also. Coupled with His settled conviction that the Word would accomplish what it said, was the faith that Jesus “loved enough” to say it in the first place! After all, just having the power to do something is not efficacious unless you are willing to use that power to save and to heal. Jesus was willing. The servant was healed. The Centurion was “cultivating faith” by casting his helpless soul upon the mighty Helper and trusting His Word to do just what it says. Someday we will need a lot more faith than we have right now. Not to worry though. Starting cultivating faith and allowing it to grow and flourish and we will find that our every need both now and in the future will find a rich supply in God’s great storehouse of provision. The only question is, “Are you cultivating faith today?”
 
 
A NEW YEAR…by Lorrie Rietman
Time keeps rolling. Life keeps changing. It amazes me to look back at pictures from a year ago when Nathaniel was a tiny baby and Lily didn't have enough hair for pig tails. Naturally, they have changed tremendously. My grandmother died last year and we moved to a new home. I entered the third decade. The days are often long, but the weeks just seem to fly past. "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12.  As we enter this new year of 2018, may we truly have that heart of wisdom from our Father. Before we know it, twelve more months will have passed; our children will be older, loved ones will have died and life will have changed. Have we committed our days truly to God? Have we intentionally grown closer to God this past year? "But take careful heed to do the commandment...to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul," Joshua 22:5. 
 
 
Keeping Up With Our Church Budget in 2018…
by Chris VanderWaal
 
We have reviewed over the last several weeks that the Tithe contributed through the Tabernacle does not stay in Battle Creek to fund our local church expenses.  Our annual budget is approximately $292,000 per year. Over 60% of this amount goes to fund Battle Creek Academy.  Even though the overall budget is large, our expenses continue to be evaluated regularly and kept as low as possible to keep programs going. 
 
For those who feel convicted to help out with the local church budget as we move into 2018, there is one strategy that would be helpful not only for our church finances, but everyone’s personal budget as well.  Systematic Giving.  The following is a simple scenario:  Annual Budget:  $292,000, Total families:  227.  $292,000 ÷ 227 = $1,286 per year, $1,286 ÷ 12 = $107 per month, $107 ÷ 2 = $54 per pay period.
 
The bottom line is that God knows our hearts and the spirit in which we give.  Prayerfully consider how you will be able to help our local church work toward the ultimate goal of spreading Gods love and salvation to our “neighbors” locally and abroad.
 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
SACRED CONCERT SERIES 2018 begins with singer Scott Michael Bennett January 20th at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary.  All concerts are FREE.  February 17th concert will be pianist Dr. Wen-Ting Ong and violinist Isabel Ong.  March 31st we will end with musician and singer Dr. Buddy Houghtaling and friends.
 
Attention Ladies!  Please join us on Monday, January 8 at 1:00 p.m. in the church’s dining room.  Feel free to bring your own special cup for tea or hot chocolate; hot water will be provided, along with a snack.  We plan to make cards to send to church members, who may be shut in or are unable to attend church regularly.  If you have card making supplies, please bring them.  We will also need stamps for mailing these cards. 
 
ON LINE NEWSLETTER:  Beginning 2018, we want our subscribers help us save on church expenses.  You can help by going paperless, reading your Tab-A-Letter on the church’s website.  Please contact the church office to confirm your desire to opt out receiving your newsletter per standard mail.  OUR WORSHIP SERVICE has been posted on youtube.com since July (channel:  Battle Creek Seventh-day Adventist Tabernacle).  We have 33 subscribers and most Sabbaths have 11 viewers via livestream.  Thank you camera and audio team.   
 
PATHFINDER CLUB UPDATE:  After a busy few months of service, our pathfinders were able to celebrate with each other at a Christmas party at Sky Zone.  It was fun to watch them fly through the air, laugh and enjoy each others’ company. We hope you enjoyed your holiday season and may the Lord bless you with a healthy year ahead.  From Brad and Tracey Hall, Directors of the Battle Creek Pioneers
 

SECOND ANNUAL TABERNACLE RECEPTION & RECOGNITION: 
On Sabbath evening, December 2, 2017, our Tabernacle family attended a special event in the Seminar Room to welcome and honor our newest members who have joined the Tabernacle during the past year through baptism, profession of faith, or transfer of membership.  Following this group photo, all attendees were invited to link hands in a circular fashion and sing together Blest Be the Tie That Binds.  We fellowshipped with our newest members, while enjoying light refreshments in the Dining Hall.   It brings us great joy to welcome and get acquainted with these new members. 
By Joanne Rector, Hospitality Hub