BLESS THIS HOUSE! WHICH HOUSE?

By Keith L Major

This past Sunday, October 30, 2011, people of various strata of society and the Seventh-day Adventist Church converged on Gladstone Road for the dedication of the new regional headquarters for the church in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands. Leaders from all the fields were present.
Every constituent level of the church was represented including the General Conference, the Inter-American Division, the 21 Unions in the Division, the conferences and mission, and the churches. Also present were high Government officials including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, and the Leader of the Opposition. It was a grand occasion to celebrate and dedicate this new building of mortar and stone, beautiful, elegant, one that would make us all proud.
As the program continued, amidst singing, prayer and praise, lots of accolades were heaped on the leadership, the contractor, the building committee and all involved in this success - all very deserving. It was when Pastor Israel Leito, president of the Inter-American Division of the church was giving the keynote address that he said something that has resonated with me. To paraphrase, he indicated that we were not merely dedicating a building, because tomorrow it could be blown away in a hurricane, or earthquake, or other calamity. We were dedicating hearts. While the building in all its splendor was a great representation of the worldwide SDA Church, it was to be a center for healing, caring, and sharing….we were really dedicating our hearts.
So how do we dedicate our hearts and ourselves? How do we make the building of ACUM’s headquarters resonate in our lives? By following the initiatives of the world Seventh-day Adventist Church as elucidated by the President, Elder Ted Wilson…. REVIVAL AND REFORMATION. This is not just a mantra. This is an active intentional strategy the church has provided to get us ready for the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is under the structure of three main components: (1) CONSTANT IN PRAYER, (2) HEEDING THE WORD, and (3) THAT I MAY KNOW HIM.

CONSTANT IN PRAYER

We live in a world of constant trouble. Heartache is, seemingly, on every hand. Even doing God’s will comes with its tests. Daniel was doing well, and the only thing his colleagues could find against him was that he was praying; so they made it wrong to pray. What did Daniel do? He prayed more and opened the doors for them to see. The conclusion of the story is that God won out, Daniel was saved, and it led the king to acknowledge the true God.
The people in our congregations are going through a lot; yet, when it’s time to pray, our pews are almost empty. Also, our Sabbath School attendance is sparse, and few are studying the Sabbath School lesson and praying daily. As the world gets worse, we need to not only pray but be constant in prayer.

HEEDING THE WORD
Before you heed the word, you have to read the Word. We get to know Jesus through the reading of the Word. By beholding Him we become changed. The Holy Spirit works on us as we read to bring clarity; and this is how we allow Christ to live inside of us. “He that is within me is greater than he that is in the world,” says the Apostle Paul. Those who read the Word know that this is true. Often in our churches, reading of the Scriptures is a very minor part of the service. Maybe people don’t read the Word as they ought because they are only getting a small taste. We can be intentional about creating interest in the Word. Congregational reading of whole chapters in each of our services might help…seeing that children learn their memory verses and participate in events like Bible Bowl for all. Most of the stories in the Bible I learned while a child in Sabbath School. Think about it: Jonah and the whale; Peter escaping from prison; Paul and Silas being beaten; David slaying Goliath; rescue of the Israelites from Pharaoh. This is the beauty of the Word. Let us read and heed it.

THAT I MAY KNOW HIM

Once you immerse yourself in the reading of the Word, something happens to you…you change. Then you want to share Him. The church worldwide is planning a mass distribution of the book, THE GREAT CONTROVERSY. This is a book by Ellen G. White that tells about our past, our present and our future. It tells about the battle between good and evil and who will win. We must read it and then distribute it.
So when we dedicate our hearts, when we allow Jesus to come into our hearts through praying, reading His Word and sharing Him, we are dedicating our lives to Him, and no hurricane, or earthquake, or calamity can take away the blessing God promises us… so Bless this house o Lord we pray, and Make it shine both night and day.