Rodney Herra - Surprise?
The church service in the Laurelbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church on December 5, 2015 began with an introit by Min Sterling on the piano. Elizabeth Castle had the Personal Ministries Corner and talked about the 2016 devotional books now available. Stanton Rolle followed with the announcements. There will be no fellowship lunch in the academy cafeteria or vespers this evening since the academy choir is singing in other churches today.
The congregation had a silent invocation. The congregation then sang “We Gather Together”. Stanton Rolle then had the Morning Prayer; the congregation sang “Hear Our Prayer”. Stanton Rolle then called for the offering. Montel Johnson and Daryll Ellis then collected the morning offerings; the loose offering went to the local church budget. The congregation sang the doxology, and Stanton Rolle prayed for the offering.
Scott Sterling then read Luke 8:40 “And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people [gladly] received him: for they were all waiting for him.” The congregation then sang “It Is Well”.
Rodney Herra then discussed the topic “Surprise?” The congregation sang “Higher Ground”. Rodney Herra had the closing prayer.
Personnel Other Than Students:
Elizabeth Castle – works in the Laurelbrook Nursing Home / church personal ministries director
Min Sterling - wife of Scott Sterling / helps with the academy music program / on leave from her mission work in Bolivia
Rodney Herra – men’s work coordinator / works with the auto body program / local head elder
Scott Sterling - teaches the physical science class / works with the campus vocational program, especially the sewer and water systems / on leave from his mission work in Bolivia
Stanton Rolle – Laurelbrook business manager
Following are some notes on the sermon by Rodney Herra:
- Luke 8:23-25 “23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled [with water], and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”
- Mark says that they took Jesus into the ship as He was tired, that there were other ships involved, and that Jesus’ ship was full of water and ready to sink during the storm.
- Ellen White in the Desire of Ages says that the Pharisees’ harassment was so bad that Jesus was worn out, complete exhausted. The eastern shore of the lake was mostly pagan and offered Jesus a rest from His labors. Fishing boats on the shore loaded up with people and followed Jesus’ ship, so eager were they to hear from Jesus.
- She also says that Jesus laid down in the boat’s stern and fell asleep. Suddenly, a terrible storm came, surprising even the hardy fishermen and filling the boat with water. Then they remembered by whose command they had started across the sea. Suddenly, too, a lightning flash showed them where Jesus was.
- She also says that the disciples appealed to Jesus to save them. Jesus lifted His hands and commanded the sea to be still. The stars now shine. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. Even those in other boats saw from close up the miracle that calmed the storm.
- Jesus could sleep through the storm about to sink Him. Have we found that peace today from the storms raging around us?
- Mark 5:1-19 “1 ¶ And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and [also] concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”
- Luke 8:39-40“39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. 40 ¶ And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people [gladly] received him: for they were all waiting for him.”
- When Jesus returned, the people were waiting for Him because of the restored demoniacs.
- Ellen White in the Desire of Ages comments on this story, saying that meeting the demoniacs were worse than the possibility of drowning in that fearful storm. They looked more like wild beasts than men. The disciples, but not Jesus, fled in terror. Jesus raised His hand, and the men could come no closer; they stood raging and could come no closer. The disciples probably slowly went back to save their Master.
- We have that same Master today, one who has conquered Satan already.
- The people of the area were so afraid of losing their worldly possessions that they turned Jesus away.
- Jesus allowed the demons to enter the pigs, kill the pigs, and so dispossess the people of much of their worldly wealth.
- So many times we don’t stand for the truth because of what that stand might do to us personally.
- The restored demoniacs wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told them to tell what God had done for them.
- Can you imagine these men’s feelings? They weren’t going to a Christian, but a heathen, family to tell what God had done for them.
- There was a work to do, not to sit at Jesus’ feet.
- The restored demoniacs were told to do a simple work – to tell what God had done for them. Ellen White says that there were great difficulties in doing this world, but they were ready to do their duty as soon as it was pointed out to them.
- If we do our work, we will probably strongly obey. If we stop to reason, the devil has time to suggest doubt and fear.
- In working to spread the news of salvation, we draw near to the Savior and are ushered into His presence.
- These men hadn’t heard one complete sermon from Christ’s lips, but they had seen and heard and felt the power of Christ. Every one of us has had the same experience and can testify of His grace, too.
- Are we appreciative of what Christ has done for us? Do we really know and appreciate Jesus? Remember that our neighbors may not know Jesus?
- As the storms beat around us, what matters is whether we really know Jesus or not.
- We can be what Jesus wants us to be at all times.