God makes everything come out right. Psalm 103:6
Simon was furious. Last night, for the first time, his lifelong dream became reality: Culminating a dusty, 900-mile trek from his Cyrene home (current-day Libya), he crested a hill and saw Jerusalem glimmering on the horizon–Mount Zion, God’s earthly home! Now, at close range, the Holy City’s limestone walls and timber gates shone like jewels under a midday sheen as he and fellow pilgrims–representing a hundred cultures, chatting excitedly in unfamiliar languages–arrived to celebrate Passover together as God’s chosen people in mutual pursuit of the Almighty: “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy!” he openly exulted. “We’re here, O Jerusalem! . . . all God’s tribes gathering to worship! . . . This is what it means to be Israel!” (Psalm 122:1-5, Message) Simon wanted to create an indelible mind-picture of every moment!
Then–disgrace! Humiliation! Inside the gate, Roman soldiers ruthlessly shoved three convicts against the celebrants’ incoming surge, driving the prisoners like unclean animals to their crucifixion outside the city. Crazed mobs, menacing one Prisoner, bayed like bloodhounds chasing the kill while the Man’s heartbroken supporters wept. “He’ll never make it,” Simon predicted, watching Him faint beneath the cross He carried. The Romans apparently agreed, for they scanned the incoming pilgrims, grabbed Simon–a strapping young adult who looked like a foreigner–and compelled him to heft the heavy wood. Oh, no! Now I’m unclean! To be touched by a Roman and to carry a cross–despicable! I can’t celebrate Passover with my people tonight! Rage consumed Simon as he stooped to lift Jesus’ burden. But . . . he had already noticed something different about this Man. In that intimate moment, transferring the cross, do you suppose their eyes locked?
What might Simon have seen in the Savior’s eyes? Not fear. Not pain. Not anger. Rather, determination! “I have to get to Golgotha!” Jesus’ eyes silently signaled. I’ll get you there, Simon wordlessly responded. I’ll walk with you on your last journey. The Cyrene was the last person to help Jesus. Initially headed into the city, he did a complete about-face and followed Jesus in the opposite direction. Together, they made it to Golgotha. Do you think Jesus thanked Simon for helping Him accomplish His mission? Might Simon have lingered, pondering Pilate’s sign, written in three languages, “King of the Jews”? Did he hear Jesus say: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing”? The evangelist Mark–not one to waste words–thought it important to tell us that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus, who, along with their mother, were among the Apostle Paul’s valued Christian acquaintances. Might this family have been among the Cyrenes who spread the Gospel among the Gentiles? (Portions of this narrative are resourced from: Lonnie Melashenko and John McClarty, “Stand at the Cross and be Changed,” Chapter 1)
Do your dearest plans sometimes hang a horrible U-turn? As the song promises, farther along you’ll understand why. “Too often we settle for much less than what God wants to do through us. We read in Jeremiah 32:27: “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?” and we answer, “No Lord.” Yet, when we face difficult situations we begin to qualify our belief in God, and lower our expectations of what God will do. It is one thing to believe God could perform a miracle in the Bible, or a thousand years ago, or even in the life of a friend; it is quite another matter to wholeheartedly believe God can do anything He chooses to do in our lives! When almighty God speaks to us, what we do next proves what we believe about Him, regardless of what we say. God revealed to Moses His plan to orchestrate the greatest exodus in human history, and He wanted to use Moses to accomplish it. Moses responded by arguing with God and making excuses. . . . Do you sense there may be far more that God wants to do through your life than what you have been experiencing? Ask God to show you what it is, then be prepared to respond in faith and obedience to what He tells you. (Henry and Richard Blackaby, “Experiencing God Day by Day,” page 71)
Continuing our sermon series, “What the Bible says about . . .” Pastor for Administration Rick Weaver will speak for our 9:00 and 11:30 Sanctuary worship services. His sermon title is: “Practical Christianity as taught by Jesus.” Contagious Faith will provide our worship music. Trent Muse will minister at the piano. International Children’s Care representatives Kent Greve (first service) and William Hurtado (second service) will tell the children’s story. Pastor for Family and Children’s Ministries Travis Patterson will call for the offering, which will support Keene Church Ministries and Operations. Mickey Johnson will offer congregational prayer. Glen Robinson will serve as Deacon in Charge.
Today’s Sanctuary pulpit flowers are given by Alan, Chrissie, and Kilory Weis, inviting you to attend Nikki’s wedding to Benjamin Calderon this Sunday, March 17, at 3:00 PM in our Sanctuary.
Young Adults: International Children’s Care representative Herids Fortuna will extol God’s faithfulness in his sermon for The Middle Service in the Fellowship Hall at 10:00. For those of you who were away for Southwestern Adventist University’s spring vacation last Sabbath, welcome back!
Attention Parents and Grandparents! Please pick up your children from Sabbath School at 11:15. We need to allow time for our teachers to clean up and join their families for second service worship. (Children left in Sabbath School may be given a free energy drink and a pet ferret…)
Vacation Bible School 2019: Coming June 10-14 – You can make long-term impact with a short-term commitment! Visit our booth today!
Resurrection Pageant needs non-speaking actors, behind-the-scenes support, and marketplace folks. Sign up in the gathering place!
Our third Food Bank of 2019 is today! We’re open from 1:00-4:00 PM at the Annex while supplies last. If you’d like to volunteer, join us at noon!
Triumphant Quartet brings their powerful Gospel concert to our Sanctuary tonight at 7:00. Come early for a good seat! Join us for a night of music, laughter, encouragement, and inspiration. Free!
In memoriam – We are sad to give you this news:
- Eveline Gilley, a member of our church family for thirty years, passed away overnight Wednesday/Thursday. She had been living the past few years with her daughter and son-in-law in Washington. Her funeral service will be held Sabbath, March 23 in the Kirkland Adventist Church.
- Morris Cummings, husband of Alice Cummings, passed away this Friday morning, March 15, at Huguley Hospice. He was our church member since 1981.
Motorcycle breakfast outing – Get together on March 17 to go as a group to breakfast and enjoy the ride together. Meet in the church parking lot. Info: Ian Curnow, 817-614-9369.
Have a great time kayaking with others March 17, April 7, and May 5 at 10:00 AM. Leader: Shari Harriss, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Final Veggie Burger Sale for Keene Worship Choir is tomorrow, March 17, from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Adventist Book Center parking lot. The choir is off to sing in Pflugerville and at the Texas State Capital the end of March, and we need your help to get there and back. Please, please help us: Purchase GREAT VEGGIE BURGERS! Thanks for your support!
Sewing/needle crafts group meets tomorrow, 3:00 PM at Chisholm Trail Academy. Bring your favorite project to work on with others who share your interest!
We will have a baptism on April 27.
If you would like to be baptized or if you know of anyone who would be a candidate for baptism, please call the church office to schedule it. We are excited when heaven rejoices for an addition to God’s family.
Every Monday, you’re invited to Meals on Wheels in our Annex! 11:00 AM-1:00 PM.
A fall prevention class meets 1:00-3:00 PM Mondays at the Annex, through April 8. Register at 1-877-847-9355 or TexasHealth.org/Classes.
Wednesday night Bible study won’t meet on March 20. See you March 27!
The Retirees Fellowship group will meet on March 21 at 5:00 PM at the Annex. The meal will be catered by the CTA senior class, and the entertainment will be by Devon Howard on the harpsichord.
Finance Committee will meet Thursday, March 21, at 7:00 PM.
Dutch oven cooking: Learn and eat together! BYO chair, Dutch oven, charcoal and food to cook. No Dutch oven? Come anyway! March 24, 3:30 PM, CTA’s back parking lot. Shari Harriss (email@example.com).
Embracing Singleness, sponsored by Women’s Ministries for young single women who want to come together for fellowship, thought-provoking presentations, and discussion, will meet Sunday, March 31, 3:00 – 5:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Speakers are Danae Songy and Laura Rosalez. Soup and refreshments will be served.
Our youth department, known as The Upper Room, is selling T-shirts (extra small to extra large) for only $10 to promote our youth and fund upcoming events. Sizes are limited!
New Life Bible School – “God is delivering me and cleaning my heart and soul and I will have peace.” – Student . . . Can you donate a pocket-sized Bible (Spanish or English) to Prison Ministries? Several of our students have asked for one. If so, bring it to the Bible School or the church.
We’re cleaning up our records on keys for the church. If you have a church key that you’re not using, please return it to Pastor Rick.
Keene Adventist Elementary School
- Please pray for our KAES students. Student Week of Prayer is March 25-29, 8:30-9:30 AM in our church Sanctuary, themed “Your Way, Yahweh!”! Students will lead all music, drama, and preaching. Homeschoolers and adults are welcome to attend!
- KAES is Breaking New Ground! Join us as we celebrate the Gymnasium Project Dedication and Groundbreaking on Sunday, March 31, at 302 Pecan St., Keene. School tours begin at 10:30 AM. The ceremony is at 11:00 AM. Refreshments to follow.
Chisholm Trail Academy
- Follow the trail home to CTA’s 51st Alumni Weekend March 29-30!
Southwestern Adventist University
- On March 30, the Hal Wright Science and Religion Lecture Series will continue, featuring Jason Lisle, founder of the Biblical Science Institute. His topic: “Understanding Genesis.” You are invited to this thought-provoking lecture, 4:00 PM, Mabee Center. Understanding Genesis – There are many opinions and subsequent interpretations on the Book of Genesis. What did the author of Genesis intend and how can we possibly know, or is the important thing only what the Bible “means to you”? Discover why alternative positions are rationally impossible.
- SWAU offers the ACT test, normally available only on Saturday, on April 14 at 10:00 AM in Pechero Hall. Register at act.org.
- TEDxSouthwesternAU is a local gathering where live talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. Topics include Relationships, Data Ownership, Body Electricity, Overcoming Obstacles, and Weight Loss. March 24, 2:00 PM, Wharton. Tickets on Eventbrite until March 19.
Adventist Heritage Village Battle Creek tour is June 9-12. Reserve your trip today! Info: adventtoursus.com, 817-681-3877.
FY 2018/2019 Ministries and Operations budget: $767,808.00
Donations Needed by March 31, 2019 – $575,856.00
Donations Received through March 9, 2019 – $513,041.71
Amount still needed this month – $ 62,814.29
Sanctuary HVAC (air conditioning) total cost – $550,000.00
Sanctuary HVAC project donations received thru March 9, 2019 – $302,386.40
Amount still needed – $247,613.60
KAES gymnasium project total cost target (phase 1) – $750,000.00
Southwestern Union Conference Support – $ 75,000.00
Keene Church donations received through March 9, 2019 – $231,339.44
KAES direct donations received through Nov. 30, 2018 – $315,120.79
Amount still needed (phase 1) – $128,539.77
Today: Church Budget Next week: Texas Vision
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:1-3 This New Jerusalem, 1,500 miles in each direction, ablaze with jewels, is universal in nature. “And the nations of those who are saved [written in the Lamb’s Book of Life] shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.” (Rev. 21:24, 27)
“The old distinctions are no longer barriers between people. But the uniqueness of each person and tribe is preserved as part of their glory just as the unique colors of the jewels are preserved as part of their glory. In this vision, we do not have the blurring of uniqueness or memory or relationships but rather the fulfillment of the ways in which we have been originally created and the ways in which we have lived out our created individuality. But the surprise is that the uniqueness does not isolate us from each other. The ethnos (nations) of the world are honored and set free from the old competitions and fears, but the gift that each tribe and family and individual person has to bring is not an orchestrated ‘amen,’ with every voice identical. . . . No, the jasper does not become a diamond, nor the pearl a sapphire. Each voice is heard in conversation like that of a bride with her lover. . . . God who made us and redeemed us will raise us up again. He will fulfill us and the whole created order too. (Romans 8:18-25). The last vision is the best. At the center of the city is the presence of Almighty God and the Lamb.” (Earl Palmer, “The Communicator’s Commentary,” Vol. 12, p. 246, 247)
Have hope, Forever Family! Jesus is able to keep you and sustain you for all time.
Your Keene Church Pastors
God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my new beginning.
(Sarum Primer, 1538)