Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Matthew 11:29; Romans 4:1-6; Matthew 13:3-8; Matthew 7:21-27; James 2:17; Matthew 7:1-5
OUR MISSION: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit–one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” With those words, Starbucks set out to take over the world. Little by little, Starbucks stores have popped up in every city, town, village and neighborhood across America. Airport by airport, they have invaded just about every nation of the world.
OUR VALUES: “Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome. Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other. Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect. Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results. We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.” Change the word “company” to “church” and these would be a fine set of values for the Seventh-day Adventist church.1
It’s not surprising then that Starbucks met a recent challenge decisively. A woman tweeted that the Starbucks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia denied her service. A picture of a sign on the door read: "Please no entry for ladies only send your driver to order. Thank you.” The store lacked the typical “gender wall” of other Saudi Arabian businesses, so only men could enter the establishment. Since Starbucks values a culture where “everyone is welcome,” they set about immediately to renovate the store so that men could enjoy their coffee in peace on one side of the newly built gender wall, and women and children are now welcome on the other side. One person tweeting one message moved one of the largest corporations in the world to action.2
Part of Jesus’ mission was to recruit an army of followers to unite with Him in His Great Controversy battle against Satan. Person by person, home by home, village by village, Jesus raised up a movement as He taught lessons and values to encourage people to join His quest.
Our lesson this week shows the perks of following Christ: We who partner with Him will receive rest from our labors. If we heed His counsel not to judge others, then God will not judge us. If we establish our faith in Him, the Rock of our salvation, no storm of life can shake our foundation. Those who do not, however, will never rest — but will be judged, and swept away like sand castles in the surf.
One Man with a mission brought light to this world of darkness, and we are all changed because of Him. Jesus values people, and as His followers we are still battling Satan by working to create a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
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