On Thursday we honored three sixth grade graduates
(and retiring teacher Mary Jo Kinser!) from Pleasant Hill Christian School:
Throughout their years of education we have taught them to have a strong, inquisitive INTELLECT, and at the same time a strong, committed FAITH in God.  They have excelled in both areas.  We are so very proud of these three graduates who are following the first and greatest commandment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."   
Among our OCC family we have other graduates including:
  • JUNE RUTH SCAFANI, graduating from 8th grade at Windsor Christian
  • JANELLE THODE, graduating from Sonoma Sate Nursing
  • TAVIS TULLY-SMITH, graduating from 8th grade at Matanzas Elementary
Please pray for these outstanding students as they move on in their education and in their lives. 

May 30, 2020

Occidental Community Church family,

Matthew 22:37. Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  38.This is the first and greatest commandment."

As I was preparing my sermon for tomorrow I came across the Christian testimony of Michael Faraday (1791-1876), a brilliant English scientist who worked in the fields of chemistry and physics.  I am always fascinated to read of persons of great intellectual prowess who were also persons with a strong faith in Christ.  Since Jesus taught that the first and greatest commandment included loving God "with all your mind," it should not surprise us that men like Faraday are found frequently on the pages of history.  Having a great intellect and a great faith in God are not at odds with each other.  The old argument that FAITH and REASON are mutually exclusive is foreign to the teaching of Christ as well as the rest of Scripture.

On the wall of his study, Albert Einstein kept a portrait of Michael Faraday, the man he credited as providing the foundation for his own scientific discoveries.  Whereas Einstein did not embrace the Christian faith, the man he so admired and looked up to did.  As the son of a village blacksmith, Faraday grew up in London in a poor, overcrowded home above a coach-house.  He had hardly any formal education, preferring to play in the streets with the other neighborhood children.  But his family was a happy one and deeply committed to the Christian faith, a faith that Michael would embrace all his life.  As a teenager he took a job at a book bindery.  His inquisitive mind began to absorb the contents of the books he was binding.  While binding the 'E-F' volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica he almost memorized the section on 'Electricity.'  At home he did experiments and found other resources to help him better understand this fascinating field of science.  He went on later in life to discover electromagnetic induction which led to the development of the electric motor and electric generator.  For over half a century Faraday worked and lived at the Royal Institute of London where he distinguished himself as one of the most brilliant scientists of his generation.

Faraday often included in his lectures references to his Christian faith.  Lecturing before the Prince Consort Albert (husband of Queen Victoria) in 1854, he uttered these words:  
     "Concerning man's future life, I believe that the truth of the future cannot be brought to his knowledge by an exertion of his mental powers, however exalted they may be.  It is made known to him by a teaching other than his own, and is received through simple belief of the testimony given (referring to the testimony of God).  Let no one suppose for a moment that the self-education I am about to commend in respect of the things of this life extends to any consideration of the hope set before us, as if any by reasoning could find out God."  Every week without fail he preached at the chapel from notes written on a small white card.  Often scientist friends would go along to see what it was that Faraday believed which made him the best-loved man in his profession.  One visitor recorded his impression in these words:  "He read a long portion of one of the gospels, slowly, reverently, and with such intelligence and sympathizing appreciation of the meaning that I thought I had never before heard as excellent a reader."

To be fair, some of the most brilliant and successful scientists throughout history have been agnostics and atheists.  But Michael Faraday showed by his life that one can be a brilliant scientist and still live a committed Christian life by faith .  He understood and followed that part of the first and greatest commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your mind."

Trusting in Him,
Pastor Rick

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Sermons Online
Pastor Rick will be posting a video sermon every Sunday on our church website until we are able to meet together again for worship in our sanctuary. Pray with me that will be soon!
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