Deer Park Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Serving our community, transforming lives one family at a time.

A new year...A new opportunity

It's a great feeling when you can start over. Like when you made a mistake and realize that you are given another opportunity to make right what you did wrong. I'm reminded of my first traffic ticket. I was young and thought the world owed me something. Speeding down the highway, I was stopped by your friendly highway patrolman. Coming to a stop and turning down my loud rap music, I was approached by the officer. Without a smile and not even a sense that he was enjoying his day, he gave me an early Christmas first ticket. 


That day I was given a choice, pay the fine or go to traffic school for serval hours to make right what I did wrong. Opting for the traffic school, I was thankful for the opportunity to learn what, why and how I did wrong. The hours spent in the school were a blessing in disguise. While I thought it was going to be the most boring school I would have attended, ended up being a tremendous blessing in my life. 


Second chances are like that. Sometimes you may feel like the second chance is not really that great of a blessing. I think of the Prophet Jonah. This small book nestled between Obadiah and Micah is just four chapters of life transformative information. You may not know the story, so let me tell it to you. the Bible tells us that Jonah received a word from the Lord saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me." (Jonah 1:2) It was a pretty clear injunction. Nothing confusing about what God was asking Jonah to do. 


But Jonah did not like what God was asking him to do and he "rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." (Jonah 1:3) Yep, he ran away from his calling. The Bible then narrates what happened. It tells us that he went down to Joppa, down to the bottom of a ship to sleep away his calling, and then ultimately down to bottom of the stomach of a great fish which went down to the bottom of the sea. 


The progression of Jonah's story after he ran from his calling was DOWN. That is precisely what happens to us in our day today. When we run from what God is calling us to do, to live, and to represent we run the risk of going DOWN. Down toward depression. Down toward disintegration. Down toward a life we never intended to live nor experience. Perhaps, last year for you was a year where going DOWN best describes what happened. Well, I have great news. God is a god of second opportunities. 


The Bible tells us, "And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying," (Jonah 3:1) The second time! What a great phrase. Jonah was given the message, his calling, his responsibility a second time. Listen, you may have messed up big time this last year. But, here's the good news. Failure is an event, not a person. You are not a failure. What you have done may be an epic failure, but you are not a failure. You have a second opportunity to make right what was made wrong. You have a second chance to make a difference. 


This year, make the tough decision to place your life in the hands of the God that is in love with you. Make the choice to do his will and get to know him on a deep, personal, and intimate way. Having a personal, deep, and intimate relationship with God will make a drastic difference in your life! If you would like help in your spiritual journey, please contact us. We are willing and able to assist you in your journey toward a closeness with God. 



Pastor Howard Tello