An Amazing Fact: Did you know that peanut butter is being turned into diamonds by scientists with a technique that harnesses pressures higher than those found at the center of the earth. Edinburgh University experts do this by squeezing the paste between the tips of two diamonds creating a “stiletto heel effect”. The scientists can also turn oxygen into red crystals using this method. Professor Malcolm McMahon, of the “Centre for Science and Extreme Conditions” at Edinburgh University, is one of the scientists involved. He said: “Pressure can cause extraordinary changes in all kinds of materials and can create completely novel materials.”
Aren’t we all under pressure? Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that at the end of the process we would not be broken by the pressure, but that we could instead become as valuable as diamonds?
“Turn Around!” was the title of our sermon last Sabbath by our guest speaker, Pastor John Wolfe. He started by relating the story of “Easy Eddie” the lawyer and “fixer” for notorious mobster Al Capone. Capone was notorious for the murders he’d committed and the illegal things he’d done. Easy Eddie was a very effective lawyer. In fact, because of his skill, he was able to keep Al Capone out of jail. Al Capone rewarded Eddie with big money, a big house, and all of the conveniences of the day. But Easy Eddie had a son, and because he loved his son he wanted to teach him right from wrong. He realized the one thing he had failed to give his son was a good name, and a good example. Easy Eddie decided that this was much more important than all the riches he had been given. So, he went to the authorities and testified against Al Capone. Al Capone went to prison, but within the year, Eddie was shot and killed on a lonely street in Chicago.
In Luke 17:1-4 Jesus tells his disciples that they must not be a stumbling block to others, and that they must rebuke sin. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Similarly, in Matthew 18:21-22, when Peter asks: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus answers, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Did Jesus intend for us to stop forgiving when we reach 490 times? No – we must continue to forgive.
Pastor Wolfe spoke of Jesus’ experience with the woman taken in adultery, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” He spoke of Mary Magdalene at Simon’s feast anointing Jesus’ head with oil and his feet with her tears: Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. He had forgiven her and kept on forgiving. Pastor Wolfe then stated that the seventy times seven number was prophetic, as in Daniel 9:24: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity.” In other words, the Israelites, as a nation, had been offered God’s forgiveness not 490 times, but for 490 years. As individuals, God’s grace is always there. God is waiting for us to “Turn Around” in repentance. What will we do?
Pastor Wolfe concluded his message with another story. During the course of World War II, many people gained fame. One man was Butch O’Hare, a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. One day his entire squadron was assigned to fly a mission. After he was airborne, he realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. Because of this, he would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and return to his ship. His flight leader told him to leave formation and return.
On his way back, he saw a squadron of Japanese Zeroes heading toward the fleet. And with his squadron away, the fleet was almost defenseless. His was the only opportunity to distract and divert them. Single-handedly, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes and attacked them. The American fighter planes were rigged with cameras, so that as they flew and fought, pictures were taken so pilots could learn more about the terrain, enemy maneuvers, etc. Butch dove at them and shot until all his ammunition was gone, then he would dive and try to clip off a wing or tail or anything that would disable the enemy planes. He did anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction, and Butch O’Hare and his fighter, both badly shot up, limped back to the carrier.
He told his story, but not until the film from the camera on his plane was developed did they realize the extent of his efforts to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation’s highest military honors. And as you might suspect, the O’Hare Airport in Chicago was also named after him.
You might ask, how does this story of heroism relate to the rest of this sermon about repentance, but it does. Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.
We invite you to visit the Community Services Center located on the church property – open every Tuesday from 10:00 – 2:00. During the month of September 1,601 items were given away, 129 people served, and 77.5 hours given by our volunteers. We appreciate your donations and support enabling us to serve our community.
If we can be of assistance to you, please call the church at 683-5713, or Elder Eck Ulrich at 683-3343. Check us out at www.avaadventistchurch.org and follow us on Facebook!
May God bless and keep you!