Pastor Graham Organizes a Vespers About Service
The final Sabbath program of the 2016 Alumni Weekend was a Sabbath evening vespers beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the academy auditorium. Anna and Jennifer Carr (Class of 2007) led out in a song service, accompanied by Melinda Pauls (Class of 1988) on the piano and other people on various instruments. The opening song was the first verse of “When My Labors and Trial Are O’er”.
Pastor Daniel (Danny) Graham (Class of 1991) welcomed everyone and had opening prayer. Patricia McClellan (Class of 1991) read a special reading about being a servant instead of always wanting to be a leader.
Then a special video from Joel Tremblay (Class of 1991) was shown. True happiness and love is found in self-sacrifice. If you are to avoid stress, have a goal and love your neighbor as yourself. The author could have found these ideas in the Bible – or at Laurelbrook. It is more blessed to give than receive. Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Anna and Jennifer (Class of 2007) sang “Gentle Savior”. Julie Graham (Class of 1991 and Pastor Graham’s wife) had a special presentation titled “The Mustard Seed”. We may think we don’t have anything to offer God. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” The tiny mustard seed was created with a purpose.
Julie grew up a very shy girl not knowing what career she might pursue. Eventually she chose to be trained as a nurse at Southern for two years. Her father challenged her to get her four-year nursing degree. When she finished that course, she felt this was it. In 2012 she was dissatisfied with her nursing career. At a party she was told the nurse practitioner course would soon be a Ph.D. course. She applied to two online schools – and was accepted by both.
The Lord worked miracles with this course. One course needed an online program, and she didn’t have enough time. When she signed on after keeping the Sabbath, she found that the program had shut down, resulting in extra time to finish the course work.
If you feel you cannot serve God, remember that you may have a tiny talent as big as the mustard seed. Esphesians 3:20-12 “20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Pastor Graham then showed a video clip titled “Give a Little Love”, showing how a person could do little things to show love to fellow humans. The program concluded with a prayer and presentation by Pastor Graham. A lot of things like a bank account, political elections, and health care are important now but not when Jesus comes. Being saved is probably the one thing that will endure.
Matthew 7:21-23 “21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd.”
Titus 2:11-13 “11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
John 1:9-12 “9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:”
The curse of sin came upon the whole planet, but in Christ all can be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 “22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Acts 17:24-27 “24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”
People helping each other through life show the fingerprints of God in what they are doing.
Romans 1:18-21“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
God is such a just God who tries to give everyone a chance to be saved. He saves according to the light that people have had in their lives. Throughout the Bible, we have examples of people who were not Christians who had God working in their lives. Ellen White says that people may not know theology, but they know godly principles that guide their lives. And God will save them.
All this is not teaching that all religions are valid paths to salvation. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
God may do all this, but He commands us to go tell the world (Matthew 28:18-20). Our witness is just a part of God’s great plan to save people; this doesn’t mean we have to be obnoxious about it. If we serve well, we will get all back – and more. Hopefully, however, we are service-driven and driven to share Jesus’ love (if people don’t have Jesus, death is the complete end). It’s a great privilege to work with God to bring sin to its conclusion.
Pastor Graham concluded with a brief video clip showing a runner determined to finish a race despite a torn muscle. With the help of his human father, he finished the race. God has given us a privilege of being part of the task of saving the world. Pastor Graham concluded with a call to service and a prayer.
Following vespers, the alumni had a Saturday night social that included food and other things to buy and an auction.