God's Love Letter

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The Bible is God’s love letter.
John 3:16 is a favorite text for many:  
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” Yet it’s so easy to depersonalize the love of God. We may think, God loves the world. But does He love me, or does He simply love humanity in general? We may see God as distant, who does not often enter into a direct, personal relationship with us. And when He does, we may see His interaction as judgmental, demanding, cold, precise, and detached. Just as the disciples missed the nature of Christ’s messianic kingdom, so we may also miss the major theme of the Bible: God’s love for us—for you, for me! We may fail to understand that God created us for fellowship, and that His desire to restore a personal relationship with us individually is intense. This is the theme of the Bible. John said that recording it would fill the whole world. We have space for only a few illustrations.
The setting of the book of Isaiah is the sin of Judah, Israel, and the surrounding nations. These sins call for harsh judgment. “The faithful city has become a prostitute! . . . I will turn my hand against you” (Isa. 1:21-25). Yet God does not leave His people in despair. He brings wonderful assurance. We hear the passion of a loving parent for a wayward child: “I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. . . . Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Isa. 43:1-5). The message of God’s love is repeated again and again. Jeremiah spoke for God, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer. 31:3). Paul addressed the believers in Rome: “To all in Rome who are loved of God, . . . Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7). The book of Hosea illustrates God’s love for Judah in the marriage of the prophet to Gomer, an adulterous woman. Gomer repeatedly wandered in her harlotry from Hosea’s love, even bearing children from those relationships. Still, Hosea woos her and her illegitimate children back to himself; and restores them to all the privileges of a faithful family.
Likewise, Judah deserted the true God for pagan gods and all their licentiousness. Yet God says:
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, In love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, And you will acknowledge the Lord” (Hosea 2:19, 20).
John proclaims: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). The prayer of Christ in John 17 is filled with declarations of an intimate, personal love that both the Father and the Son have for us.
God’s love was manifest most transparently in the substitutionary death of Christ, who took our sins so that we might receive His righteousness. This love was demonstrated while we were without strength, while we were still sinners, while we were enemies; we were reconciled to God (Rom. 5:5-11). Paul assures us that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ”
(2 Cor. 5:19; cf. Titus 3:4, 5; 1 John 4:8-19). Isaiah wants us to know that God has cast all our sins behind His back (Isa. 38:17). John emphasizes that Christ “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5). No wonder the psalmist declared, “Your lovingkindness is better than life” (Ps. 63:3, NKJV).*
God’s love is so intense that He wants us to dwell where He is. He wants to receive us to Himself and abide with us forever in the new earth (John 14:1-3, 23; Rev. 21:3).
Let’s rejoice in the love of God that brings reconciliation. Christ invites us to abide in the joy that results from the love of God. For no one can snatch us out of His hand (Rom. 5:2-11; John 15:9-11; 10:28).


--E. Edward Zinke Senior Advisor, Adventist Review
Extracted from February 24, 2014 edition.


CONFERENCE CALENDAR OF EVENTS AT A GLANCE
February 2020
Evangelistic Reaping Season for Pastors


10 – 12: ATCU Education Summit (Nassau)
15: Elder’s Certification/IAD Virtual Elder’s Council
16: PARL Conclave
21 – 22: Choral Conducting Workshop for Choir Directors (p.m.)
23: Local Publishing Coordinators Training
23 – 27: Sabbath School and Personal Ministries International Congress (Mexico)
24 – 27: ATCU Treasurers’ and Accountants’ Training (Nassau)
29: 1st Quarter Youth Day (a.m) Local Church)
29: Youth Church (p.m) Joint AY



ADMINISTRATIVE NOTES
Risk Management 
There will be a meeting for all local church leaders at the New Providence Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sunday February 23, 2020 at 6:00 p.m - 8:00 p.m. All are encouraged to attend especially those that are affiliated with children, youth and church safety. The topic will be Child Protection and Church Safety. Our guest presenter will be Tim Northrop, President of Risk Management, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
 --Mrs. Kimberley Bryan, Chief Financial Officer

Deepest Condolences
The Administration and staff of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists sadly announces the passing of Mary Ellen Thompson-Knott, a worker at our headquarters for more than 37 years. She died on Friday, February 7, 2020, in the Intensive Care Unit, Doctor’s Hospital, Nassau, Bahamas while recovering from surgery. She was 58 years old. She served faithfully as an Administrative Assistant to two Conference Presidents, Human Resource Assistant, and recently, Office Secretary. She will be remembered for her courage, faith, humor, professionalism, dedication, and prayer life. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Johanna and Kirk Hudson; her son, Adam; her sisters and many other relatives and friends. The funeral service will be held on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 11:00a.m. at the Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church. Consequently, our Headquarters and the Adventist Book & Nutrition Center will be closed on February 21st. Interment will be at the Lakeview Cemetery. Let’s remember the entire family in prayer in their time in bereavement.



ADVENTIST BOOK & NUTRITION CENTER (ABNC)
Please note that Sabbath School Supplies are available for those needing extra material.
Devotionals for 2020 are in stock for Adults, Women and Children. Delivery service is now available to Nassau and the family Islands.  Please contact us for more information. Also we would like to inform customers that the ABNC is open on Sundays from 9:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. 

– ABNC Management.


ASI /ADVENTIST LAYMEN’S SERVICES AND INDUSTRIES
Elections to Be Held
The election of Executive Officers for ASI for the 2020 - 2025 term will be held on Sunday March 1, 2020 at 4:00p.m at the Grant's Town Church. Only financial members will have voting rights. Deadline for payment of membership renewal and application is Friday February 28, 2020. Please contact us at 427-2341, 376-7044 or 556-0492. 

– Ms. Shandera Smith, ASI Secretary


BAHAMAS ACADEMY
Entrance Exam
Bahamas Academy’s Entrance Exam will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2020. Students
seeking entry for grades 1-10 should report to the examination room from 8:30a.m - 11:30a.m. at the school located on #73 Marshall Road. Applications are available at the school or online at bahamasacademy.org. 

--School Administration


CHILDREN & ADOLESCENT MINISTRIES DEPARTMENT
Thank You 
A special thank you is extended to the Presenters and participants in last week’s CHAM Leadership Certification workshop. We are off to a great start! Please watch here for the dates for Level Two.  

--Mrs. Lavern Sturrup, Children & Adolescent Ministries Director


HEALTH MINISTRIES DEPARTMENT
Health Tip - Water
Here are some healthy tips for staying hydrated:
1.    Keep a bottle of water with you during the day.
2.  If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime.
3. Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
4. When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger.
5. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan.



MUSIC MINISTRIES
1. The South Bahamas Youth Choir will resume rehearsals this Sunday (tomorrow) and every Sunday thereafter beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Agape Church on Wulff Road.  These rehearsals are in preparation for the Choir's Spring Concert schedule for April of this year.
All young persons between the ages 15-30 who has the ability and love for singing are invited to join. – Mr. Ashley Knowles (SBC Youth Choir Director) / Mrs. Annette L. Dorsett (South Bahamas Conference Music Coordinator).
2. The SBC Music Committee would like to meet with all Music Coordinators on Sunday February 16th, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Conference Office.
3.  The Women's Ministries Chorale will hold a rehearsal session on Sabbath February 15th beginning at 6:00 p.m. This rehearsal is in preparation for the upcoming Women's Crusade which will be held March 1-7. All ladies who wish to be a part of the Ministry are also invited to attend.  REHEARSAL VENUE: New Englerston Church.
--Mrs. Annette L. Dorsett, South Bahamas Conference Music Coordinator



PRAYER MINISTRIES
The first Sunday in every month will be early morning prayer meeting. Here are the scheduled meetings:
New Englerston - March 1, 2020
Hillview - April 5, 2020
Philadelphia - May 3, 2020
Bethel - June 7, 2020
Peardale - July 5, 2020
Berea - August 2, 2020
Ebenezer - September 6, 2020
Breathe of Life - October 4, 2020
Centerville - November 1, 2020
Message of Hope - December 6, 2020


Prayer Conference
March 13-15, 2020
Theme: "Touching Heaven - Changing Earth" Learning to Pray With More Power.
Schedule of Meetings: Friday 7:00p.m - 8:30p.m, Sabbath 9: 00a.m - 8:00 p.m and Sunday morning
--Pastor Leonardo Rahming, Prayer Coordinator



PUBLIC AFFAIRS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (PARL) DEPARTMENT
PARL Conclave February 16, 2020 – 11:00a.m @ Conference Headquarters.
The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist has expanded the borders of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department of the Church to include persons who have served or are presently serving in the following capacities.
· An elected representative of any public decision-making body (state legislator, national congress, city council, etc.)
· An elected executive (President, Prime Minister, Mayor, etc.)
· A politically appointed member of any public body
· An executive member of any public body
· A member of the judiciary or of any national or international legal panel
· A member of the diplomatic corps of a country
· A representative to, or executive member of any international body such as the United Nations, etc.
· A lawyer
If you fit into any of the categories mentioned above and are a member of any of the Seventh-day Adventist churches within the South Bahamas Conference, you asked to attend this very important meeting at the Conference Office at 11:00 a.m.      

– Pastor T. Basil Sturrup, PARL Director


WOMEN’S MINISTRIES
First Quarter (January - March)
“WE” (Women Empowerment) – Q1 Forecast: February, 2020
15   The Heart of a GEM: “We Care, and We Share” – Valentine Initiative (individual churches)
22   New Providence Church Women’s Ministries Chat, Chew & Chill, 6:45p.m, Church Fellowship Hall
23   Agape Women’s Ministries Prayer Breakfast 7:00a.m – Church Hall  
23   Breath of Life Women’s Ministries Financial Empowerment Session – “If your bank account could talk, what would it say to you?” – 4:00p.m – Church hall


March, 2020
1-7   SBC “Women Saved by Grace” Evangelistic Series 6:45p.m, New Providence Church
7   International Women’s Day of Prayer
20-22   WM “God’s Daughters Embrace” San Salvador Mission Retreat & Zone 1 Community Outreach


Upcoming WM Events
* Do you want to exchange your average life for deeper faith, greater power and more ministry impact? Join the women of the South Bahamas Conference as they “Meet Jesus at the Well”, exchanging their dry, thirsty and sometimes broken service, for a Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Come and drink of this life changing water, that will spiritually quench and hydrate us, as Sis. Beverley Williams ministers to us nightly. You don’t want to miss this exciting, power packed week, as we delve into issues where others dare not go. See you at the Well!


* All ladies interested in the South Bahamas Conference Women’s Ministries God’s Daughters Embrace Mission Retreat in San Salvador, please note that the deadline for payment is February 28. Kindly call 357-8030 to reserve your space.

Pause and Pray Wednesday
Don’t forget our weekly Pause and Pray appointment on Wednesdays at noon.


Donation Request
Used, But In Good Condition Devotionals
Kindly donate to your local Women’s Ministries Leader for distribution during our community outreach projects this year.
--Mrs. Jacqueline Gibson, Women’s Ministries Director


YOUTH TIDBITS
SBC Adventurer Camporee 2020 
Theme: Extraordinary
Date: Sabbath, March 7, 2020.
Time: 9:30a.m - 5:00p.m
Venue: New Providence Community Center, Blake Road
REGISTRATION FORMS AVAILABLE! Contact your local Adventurer Director.
Early Bird Registration Fee: $15.00 until February 18, 2020.
Late Bird Registration Fee: $20.00 after February 19, 2020.
Fee includes: Camporee Shirt, Patch & Pin.
--Pastor Jamal Franklyn, Youth Director



BREATH OF LIFE CHURCH
Family Life Ministries
Our Family Life department will be having an all-day seminar on February 15, 2020 under the theme, ‘Hope for Today's Families’.
Speaker: Pastor Michael Smith.
There will be an after-lunch breakout sessions, panel discussions/ question and answer sessions.
Host Pastor: Edward St. Fleur.
Come and be blessed!



GRANT’S TOWN CHURCH
Evangelistic Series
The Grant’s Town Seventh-day Adventist Church invites you to the "Revelation Now Evangelistic Series" To be held until February 29, 2020.
Guest Speaker: International Evangelist Pastor Helvius Thompson, Dallas, Texas.
Meetings will be held nightly except on Monday & Thursday nights.
Venue: Grant's Town Church #18 Wellington Street.
Come bring a friend and hear powerful truths revealed from the Scriptures. Connect with us @ facebook.com/grantstownsda



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