Pastor Thure Martinsen

This Week at Golden Hills: Nov. 23, 2019

Web Master - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

My Dream    

One of the things I have imagined for a long time is that we experience real revival here in our church. That God’s Holy Spirit would take control of us and use us to make a real difference in our community.

I know real revival only comes through prayer. By that, I mean not just a one-time prayer that we hope will someday be answered, but prayer that keeps on asking – maybe for months. With prayer that changes who we are at the core of our being. And, prayer that stirs the hearts of others even though they may not know we are praying for them – we may not even know who we are praying for.

This seems elusive because it is easy to give up long before we see any meaningful results.

This weekend, when I opened my blog from Don Jacobsen, he shared a story that illustrates what I have been dreaming about. It is titled I Can Only Imagine.

Please read this prayerfully and imagine how you could put this into practice. Imagine how we, as a church, could put this into practice. Imagine what God could do here in our church and community as a result.

Then, let’s move this direction in actual practice. Let’s see what God will do here, in our piece of this world!

Have you heard the Christian song, “I Can Only Imagine”? Great message. In fact, they’ve made a motion picture now to tell the story of the writing of the song. Powerful.

But this piece is not about that. I need to tell you a story – a true story – as told to me recently by a colleague. There was this little church in a medium-sized town, and it appeared to be in a death spiral. A generation ago it had been vibrant but the membership had either died, grown discouraged, or moved away. There were still forty names on the books; average attendance, sixteen. Youngest: seventy.

The pastor’s first observation was that he apparently had been sent there to officiate at a corporate funeral. But the more he prayed the more convinced he became that God might still have a noble purpose for this struggling, aging congregation.

So he prayed. And he invited the entire congregation to meet with him to pray for their church every morning from 6:00am to 6:30. Six of them showed up. All ladies. After a few weeks a seventh one joined them.

Two, three months went by and there was no visible change. They pled for the people of their community, especially for the families, especially for the children. They didn’t go house-to-house. They spent no money on marketing. They just prayed. They pleaded. They interceded. Nothing changed. Except they couldn’t get all the praying done they wanted to do by 6:30 so they extended their daily prayer time from 6:00am to 7:00.

A couple of months later a new family showed up at church. No one could remember the last time that had happened. A year later the average weekly attendance was fifty four. Some of the new folks began to join them at 6:00 am. Three years later their regular worship attendance was near 300.

So that raises a question: Was the growth of the church the result of God’s supernatural work in the community, or the result of the renewed focus of the members? I suspect the answer is: both. People are only drawn as the Holy Spirit draws them. Jesus brings people to Jesus; we don’t. But when a passion for seeing the lost come to the cross saturates a group of believers, it changes the effectiveness of the church. It changes what God can do there.

So, what if every one of our congregations could catch that vision? Small town and large, small church, medium, large … sleepy or vibrant? Average age seventy or average age thirty-seven? What would happen? I can only imagine. (Click here to read this article online.)

Click here to sign up to receive the HOPE Heals weekly messages. Click here to go to their website,

Ride to Church Needed

An older gentleman, who lives near L Street and 132nd Street (not too far from the Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, and Target), is looking for a fairly regular ride to church on Sabbath mornings. If you live out that direction and would be willing to explore the possibilities, please contact Pastor T. (402-517-5333).

Member Update

Elma Johannessen will be having surgery next Wednesday (Nov. 27) at Nebraska Medicine, Bellevue. It will be a rather delicate surgery and she is requesting our prayers.

Kansas Nebraska Conference Survey

The Conference is trying to collect some important information from us as members so they can make appropriate plans for the future – evangelism, strategies, staffing, etc. If you are a member of this Conference, please take a couple of minutes to answer this brief, 10-question survey. All answers are anonymous. Click here to begin.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes are due this Sabbath (Nov. 23). See below for more information.

Calendar of Events

Sunset this Friday – 5:00 pm

Communion Rehearsal this Friday at 7:00 pm. If are involved with this Sabbath’s Communion service, please plan to be there.

This Sabbath at Church

    • No Breakfast this week.
    • Sabbath School (10:00 am)
      • Traditional Sabbath School Class, Church Sanctuary: Studying the current Sabbath School Lesson (click here to read it on-line).
      • Alternative Sabbath School Class, Hearth Room – Quest for Glory: So You Want To Be A Hero: We will look at the individual stories of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 to see what made them a hero of faith and how we can apply those principles to our lives. Click here to see a basic outline of our study.
    • Worship Service (11:15 am) – This Sabbath we will celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice for us through our annual Thanksgiving Communion Service. Live Stream the service by clicking here.
      • To download or print a PDF copy of last week’s sermon titled Bring it On!, click here. You can watch it by clicking here.

Pathfinders & Adventurers meet this Monday (Nov. 25) at 6:30 pm. For information about Pathfinders contact Holly Degerness (402-917-4718) or Marina Nolasco (402-594-0671); for information about Adventurers, contact Lori Knutson (402-980-5018).

    • Click here to download a copy of the 2019-2020 Pathfinder Calendar.
    • Click here to download a copy of the 2019-2020 Adventurer Calendar.

Prayer Meeting this Tuesday (Nov. 26) at 6:00 pm. We are doing the I Give Up Bible Study Series – for more information, click here. If you wish to participate and don’t have your book and study guide, contact Pastor T (402-517-5333). There is more information about this below.

Christmas Cookie Exchange, December 8 at 2:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. See below for more information.

From Bible Gateway’s Weekly Brief

Prevailing as a Prisoner of War: How does love, honor, courage, and faith sustain a US Air Force pilot for eight years as a prisoner of war? And how does an old, long-unused World War II method of communicating by tapping on a common water pipe offer a lifeline, give strength, boost morale, and build unity among other POWs during their solitary internment? Bible Gateway interviewed Col. Carlyle "Smitty" Harris about his book, Tap Code: The Epic Survival Tale of a Vietnam POW and the Secret Code That Changed Everything. (Click here to read more.)

Trusting God Through Life’s Messes: Life has a way of becoming a tangled mess. All it takes is alarming health issues, job-related stress, parenting uncertainties, an emotional breakdown, and more. What if the mess of your life is where God is about to do his best work? Bible Gateway interviewed Luke Lezon about his book, Your Mess Matters: Trusting the God Who Creates from Dust and Redeems by Blood. (Click here to read more.)

26 Bible Verses of Comfort and Courage: When you need comfort and encouragement, the Bible is an excellent place to turn. Here are 26 Scripture verses that will bring you comfort in the midst of whatever trials life throws at you. (Click here to read more.)

Learn about and download the free award-winning Bible Gateway App by clicking here.

Check Out the entire Weekly Brief by clicking here. To subscribe to any one of their many email newsletters and Bible Studies, click here.

Operation Christmas Child

It is that time of year again! We have the opportunity to make a big difference in a child’s life by participating in Operation Christmas Child. These boxes must be turned by this Sabbath (Nov. 23).

You will find plenty of boxes and supplies on the table in our Lobby. For information and ideas on packing a box, click here – for a list of things to include and what cannot be included, click here.

For more information about the program, click here or speak with Carol Fennessy or Pat Martinsen.

Christmas Shoe Boxes cost $9.00 each to ship.

    • Please remember to include a check in the box for this amount made out to Samaritan’s Purse (note OCC on the memo line) or include $9.00 in cash.
    • Click here to pay this amount on-line and print out a label for your box if you would like to know where your box goes.

If you would like to donate funds to help ship the boxes our children’s departments are preparing, please turn it using one of our tithe envelopes marked Operation Christmas Child.

You may donate funds directly of Samaritan’s Purse for their many outreach and humanitarian projects by clicking here.

Online Bible Study with Laura Story

Join the I Give Up Online Bible Study with Laura Story: We will be going through this study at Prayer Meeting on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm in the Hearth Room. If you have not yet gotten your book and study guide, contact Pastor T.

If you are unable to attend Prayer Meeting, but would like to go through the study, you may do so by joining the I Give Up Online Bible Study with Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and Bible teacher Laura Story to discover the peace and joy that can be found in living a surrendered life. You'll get FREE access to Laura's five study videos, FREE downloads of the first chapters of the book, I Give Up: The Secret Joy of a Surrendered Life and study guide, printable Scriptures and affirmations, and other goodies! (Click here to read more.)

Cookie Exchange, December 8

You’re invited to a Cookie Exchange on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm here in our Fellowship Hall. The theme is Christmas Cookies. Your spouse/significant other is invited – along with your family.

The Rules of the Cookie Exchange are:

    1. All cookies should be homemade or from a bakery (not from the cookie aisle at the grocery store)
    2. Please bake and bring one to three dozen cookies of One Kind.
    3. You may take home as many cookies as you bring.

No time to bake? Burnt your cookies? Still want to attend? Go to a bakery and pick up 1 to 3 dozen of the same kind of cookies and come join us!

Church Positions

There are several positions we need to fill here at the church over the next few months. If you are interested in any of these, or have suggestions for someone to fill these, please contact Kalvin Tuel (e-mail or 402-201-6370) or Pastor T. (e-mail or 402-517-5333).

    • Head Elder: The Head Elder works as the Pastor’s Associate here at church in providing for Spiritual leadership and direction. He/She also functions as the Chairman of the Church Board.
    • Treasurer: The Treasurer manages the finances of our church. He/She maintains the financial records, pays our bills, and is instrumental in planning and maintaining our budget.
    • Sabbath School Secretary: The Sabbath School Secretary orders and maintains the supply of Sabbath School lessons for all our Sabbath School Classes. They also collect the Sabbath School Offering each Sabbath morning from the classes.
    • Junior Sabbath School Leader: The Junior Sabbath School Leader coordinates the teaching and activities of the Junior Sabbath School Class (Ages 10-12).
    • Communications Director: The Communications Director coordinates and publishes the Golden News (email Newsletter), and develops other means of getting information to our members.

Outreach/Community Service Opportunities

Help for Survivors of Current Natural Disasters: ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) works with other disaster relief agencies to assist survivors of the many current natural disasters. To find out how you can help, click here.

Used Stamps Needed! Your used stamps can help Christian Record Services for the Blind raise money. Just tear them off the envelope, being careful to include the entire stamp and bring them to church. Put them into the container provided out on the table and we will take care of getting them where they need to go.

Miscellaneous Information

Video Streaming: We are now live streaming our sermons each Sabbath – you can watch them by clicking here. This will now be a regular feature of our church.

On-Line Church Directory Information: Now you can sync our church directory directly to your Apple, Android, or Kindle Fire device with a Free App! You can search for other members – and then email, call, or text right from the directory app. It’s easy!

    1. Go to your device’s App Store. (Click here for Apple products, click here for Android devices, or click here for Kindle Fire.
    2. Search for Instant Church Directory.
    3. Enter your email as it’s listed in our church directory.
    4. Follow the directions on the screen to complete the login process.

Lippincott Family Updates: Check out the latest update from Lorilee and Bryon Lippincott about their family’s experiences serving God in Asia. To access a PDF copy of the most recent update, click here. To access a PDF copy that includes all we have received from 2019, click here; 2018, click here; 2017, click here; 2016, click here;  2013-2015, click here. To check out their website, click here. Don’t forget to check out Sharing Dots for Kids. To sign up for their e-mail newsletter, click here.

Free Estate Planning & Wills: Norm Zimmerman, Trust Director for the Kansas Nebraska Conference, is available by appointment to assist anyone who needs Estate Planning, Wills, etc. For more information contact Norm (402-617-2001).

On-Line Giving Available! Our church offers on-line giving through our website. If you would prefer to give electronically or if you are going to be away and want to stay up-to-date with your giving, click here. Adventist Giving now has an App you can download directly to your smart phone to make the process even easier. For an iPhone, click here. For Android phones, click here.

Our Church E-Mail Newsletter, Directly to Your Computer! If you would like to receive our weekly, e-mail newsletter, directly to your computer, click here and enter your information in the space provided in the lower right-hand portion of our church home page.

Adventist Screening Verification

Verified Volunteers has changed their name to Sterling Volunteers. The NAD has decided to select a parent name that can remain in their publications and website landing pages on a permanent basis. The name chosen for all our background screening and training needs is Adventist Screening Verification.

In cooperation with the Kansas Nebraska Conference, we are working with Adventist Screening Verification to provide background checks and on-line education for our church officers and everyone who works with our children. This helps ensure that we have some training to help us recognize and avoid situations that would put our children at risk. In addition to our elected Church Officers, everyone who works with Pathfinders and Adventurers, Children’s or Youth Sabbath School Classes, Children’s Church, and VBS must go through this training and submit to a background check (there is no cost to you or to our church). It will take about an hour of your time.

To go to the website where you begin this process, click here and then select First-Time Registrant and follow the instructions. For more information, contact Pastor T (402-517-5333).

Last Week’s Sermon

To download or print a PDF copy of last week’s sermon titled Bring it On!, click here. You can view it by clicking here.

Prayer Watch

There are several people and concerns that we are praying about, for more information about any of these or to request something to be added to our list, feel free to contact Pastor T. (402-517-5333)

    • The Holy Spirit – to fill and guide our church
    • Our Church Leaders (Pastor, Elders, Deacons, Board Members, Sabbath School Class Leaders, Pathfinder/Adventurer Leaders, Etc.)
    • Elma Johannessen will be having surgery next Wednesday (Nov. 27) at Nebraska Medicine, Bellevue.
    • Donna & Gary Parker continue to have health problems. Donna is at Nebraska Medicine, Bellevue hoping to return to Hillcrest Heath and Rehab soon.
    • Raul Calderon, Larry Carter, Ron Egger, Gary Jeffers, Michael McKinnie, Dusty Mayhew, Floyd Morrison, Darin Stotler, Irvin Surber, Christian Willey, Gary Wilson, & Thaddeus Woolsey (inmates Pastor T. has is studying with)
    • The Lippincott Family
    • Kevin Klesh (Safety in his work as a Police Officer)
    • Those dealing with Health Issues: Mary Jane Agan’s father, Al Bakerlis (Diane Harrington’s brother-in-law), Heather Boulais (UC Student), Tammy Burville (Amy Newman-Holub’s cousin), Tanya Callahan (Elizabeth Knutson’s sister), Brenda Carroll (Judy Carroll’s sister-in-law), Dennis Cushman, Emma (Mary Jane Agan’s granddaughter), Tammy Gagne, John Hiers, Jane (Mary Jane Agan’s daughter-in-law), Janice (Elma’s friend), Dick & June Klein, Brett Knutson, Reagan Knutson, Ginger Kroeker, Paul Lostaglia, Dagny Martinsen, Steve Newton (and family), Melody Parker, Donna & Gary Parker, Sheila and her brother Paul, Dane Swensen, Donald & JoAnn Swensen (Les Swensen’s father and step mom), Charise Talley, Cindy & Bob Tice (Elizabeth Knutson’s parents)

Pastor’s Contact Information

To contact Pastor T, leave him a message by clicking here.  

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