Pastor Burt Talks About Marriage During the 2014 Baccalaureate Service
The Baccalaureate service began with a prelude by Katelyn Pauls, Academy Principal John Pauls’ oldest daughter. The invocation was given by Pastor Jonathan Burt, a pastor from the Kansas Conference studying presently at Andrews University and principal speaker for the weekend. The congregation sang “Sound the Battle Cry”, London Lee (Laurelbrook’s campus chaplain) had the Morning Prayer, and the Guarin Family had special music.
Kendra (9th grader) and Heidi (sophomore) told the children a story about Dirty Old Cody becoming a friend of the king. Rich Sutton, Laurelbrook’s president, called for the offering, which was for North American Division Evangelism. The congregation sang the doxology, and Rich Sutton had a prayer for the offering.
Pastor Lee had the scripture reading from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.”
The Group – Christine (sophomore), Rebecca (sophomore), Shantel (senior), Davina (9th grader), and Gabby Winans presented music for meditation. Pastor Burt had the Baccalaureate Address. The seniors responded that they agreed with his view of marriage. The congregation sang “Under His Wings”. Pastor Lee had the benediction.
Following are some notes on Pastor Burt’s Baccalaureate Address: AUDIO RECORDING
In the afternoon there was a baptism at the lake. Sarah (junior) and Stephen (9th grader) were baptized by Pastor David Wendt, the district Adventist pastor, and London Lee, the campus chaplain.
- The most important thing for the seniors is a relationship with God. Last night the graduates made a pledge to follow God in all things.
- Human relationships, particularly marriage relationships, will make no sense unless God controls this area since He invented marriage.
- There are three paths to marriage.Path 1 – what I do is my life, and whatever I do doesn’t matter. Path 2 – I will make the best decision I can and ask God to bless it. Path 3 – don’t allow romantic relationship with anyone God has not told you to pursue.
- Path 1 - These people don’t believe in right and wrong. Path 2 – little difference between this and the first path.
- Path 3 – scripture teaches this way.The stories of the patriarchs illustrates that doing our own choosing doesn’t go well.
- Isaac made his relationship decisions on faith.
- His father Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for Isaac from his relations in his hometown, a bride never seen by the family before.This servant prays that God will show him the bride by granting his request to get water for him and his animals.
- Rebecca left her family on her own choice in faith went to be Isaac’s bride, to marry a man she never had met.
- Philippines 4:6-7 “6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
- What is this peace?This peace of God is not based on your physical circumstances but is based on unseen circumstances. No matter what happens, this peace of God wipes out all traces of fear in going forward.
- When it comes to marriage, run if the peace of God is not on you.
- When he surrendered to God and started talking to God, he started thinking about marriage. He told God the first person he dated he wanted to be the person he married. God answered his prayer.
- All friends in that bad crowd he talked about last night had had a spiritual awakening, even a girl he had had a crush on.But God said “no”. God’s decision didn’t sit well with him, and he tried to get God to change the decision.
- He took one Pathfinder weekend off, fasted during this time, and presented his case to God while roaming the mountains, but the answer was still “no”.
- A week later, he tried the same tactic with God. The answer was still “no”.
- So he tried a Gideon test – asking God to do something impossible. He asked God to see that his mother didn’t go to work (she never did this).Next morning his mother was gone, gone shopping and off work. Her work had called her and told her that she didn’t need to come to work, but she went shopping for groceries.
- He went out stomping out the door and up Loma Linda hill.
- The next campout he begged off again.All three of the campouts had had the girl he liked on them. Finally on Sabbath, he yielded to God’s Will.At this, the peace of God settled on him.
- God told him he was going to Andrews and that he would meet the girl he would marry in his freshman or sophomore year and that she would be someone he had not worked with her.
- Three weeks later, he and his dad went for a walk and was told that his parents had had two calls to other posts.The family would be moving within a year probably to the General Conference in Silver Springs, MD.He approved his parents’ decision.
- Over the next months, God presented reasons why the family should not go to the GC. Nine months later they were moving to Andrews.
- Now he was in the “hunting zone” but in high school.Again he developed an emotional crush and didn’t talk to God very much.He told this girl that he wanted to marry her – she said “yes”.
- After that, the girl ran from him for four months. God made His displeasure very well known to him.It led to a terrible summer.
- The greatest danger is using God for your own ends.This is not accepted by God.
- For four months, everything went wrong.
- That summer he became a college student at Andrews.He had enough credits to be both a freshman the first semester and a sophomore the second semester.
- He went to Bass Memorial Academy to help Hurricane Katrina victims and felt towards the end that God was forgiving him.
- The girl forgave the breakup, and he was not interested in romance.
- Then he met his present wife. His father got him to show his present wife around the campus. Then his parents asked him to ask her over for lunch.They talked for over two hours with the girl dropping spiritual diamonds every so often.
- His dad talked to him about his present wife, indicating to him that she was the type of girl he should marry. At that point, he talked to God.
- At a gathering of the two families, this girl went with him to climb a certain difficult tree. The person jumping off had to trust the jump wouldn’t hurt him/her. Without warning, she jumped out of the tree. At this point, he decided she might be a good friend.
- Eventually, the two went walking together.Very strong divine pushes started happening in his mind.
- He was still burned out emotionally, but God was pushing the relationship. Then the impression came that he wanted to date her.For two weeks, there is no decision. Finally, he asked her again (she had decided to say “no”), and she said “yes”.
- Peace and relief were not the same as physical attraction and emotional attachment.
- He started praying about it. Then he asked her to become his best friend, the highest level of his attachments.
- At this point, she reached over her hand and said she would trust God on this.
- At this point, he made a list of commitments he wanted to make that might include her.She thought it over and brought it up to him and made the commitment.
- There was still not emotional involvement.That Christmas he made his first trip to GYC. When he saw her, he was immediately attracted to her and in love with her.
- In contrast is the world’s model.There is the first date and the next and the next, leading to pregnancy and marriage or abortion.
- Are you willing to have your inward man renewed day by day until God makes those decisions for you?Every story of human marriage relationship is different when God is in control.
- Are you, graduates, willing to order your life by the things that are not seen?