Walking By Faith

Bill Irwin was a drunk and self-proclaimed “dropout as a father and husband.”  Things began to change when Bill completely lost his sight at the age of 36.  His drinking became worse and he smoked five packs of cigarettes a day.

His unintended recovery was sparked by his son Jeff’s entry into a substance-abuse treatment center because of an addiction to cocaine.  By the end of the week-long of sessions with his son and counselors he realized he had to stop drinking or he’d die. 

Eleven years after becoming completely blind, he was sober and developed an intense devotion to Christ.  The first verse he learned was “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  In an interview he said of his relationship to God, “The first clear-eyed thing I had ever done was as a blind man, when I asked God to take charge of my life.”

On the three-year anniversary of sobriety Bill decided to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail with only a backpack and his seeing eye dog Orient.  They were later affectionately known as the “Orient express” to fellow hikers and inspired disabled people.  Bill was the first man to walk the entire trail as a blind man.  He had no compass, no map, just the sound of his dog. It took him eight months to go from Georgia to Maine where he ended his hike on Mount Katahdin, the northernmost end of the trail.  His church members were there to greet him and sang “Amazing Grace” as news crews were there to report this great and inspiring event of a blind man kneeling down in prayer, thanking God for getting him through.

He thought of what he endured on the Appalachian Trail for those eight months in 1990, and estimated that he fell thousands of times. He cracked his ribs and suffered from hypothermia as he climbed mountains and forded rivers. The pads he wore didn’t protect his scabbed knees, but he prayed daily anyway.

Along the way, he remembered all the stops at grocery stores and laundromats to buy provisions and wash clothes. He remembered the conversations he would have with the local children about God and the 500 plus Bibles he gave out along the way. 

Bill Irwin was an inspiration to the disabled, hikers, and to us.  His story has many similarities to the life we all live as a Christian. Except we have something better than a seeing-eye dog.  We have all the resources and Heavenly agencies leading us on.  There will be bumps, bruises, pain, heartache, and suffering of many kinds along the trail of life.  Thousands of times we may fall, but we must get up and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

All heaven is cheering us on. Every agency of the King has been afforded. No resource is withheld from those who walk uprightly.  Along the trail, provisions are required and opportunities to share our faith will present themselves. Like Bill, we can open the word of God with them. Teaching the simple truths of the love of God as He taught each of us. 

As we finally come to the end of our journey we can, like Bill, kneel in prayer with thanksgiving and praise for leading us onward and upward.

Michael Butler, Youth-Young Adult Pastor



This Week (February 19 - 24): 

• Tuesday @ 10:00 AM – Women’s Bible Study

• Tuesday @ 7:00 PM –Prayer Meeting with Pastor Mike Thompson

• Wednesday @ 7:00 PM –Spanish Group Prayer Meeting

• Various L.I.F.E. groups (in-home small group Bible studies) take place across Sacramento. To locate one near you contact our small groups’ coordinator, Richard Anger @ (916) 681-3990.

This Sabbath (February 25): @ 9:00 AM - Morning Manna with Elizabeth Rengifo / @ 9:30 AM - Central Study Hour with Pastor Mike Thompson + Children/Youth/Adult Sabbath Classes / @ 10:50 AM - Worship with Pastor Chris Buttery

Upcoming Events

The Art of the Mix is an introductory audio training session. If you’d like to be a part of an exciting ministry truly making a difference, join us at Sacramento Central on Wednesday, February 22 at 6:30 PM. To sign up, please call Cheridah Walters at (916) 802-3260.

Men’s Prayer Breakfast is February 26 @ 8:00 AM in the Camellia Room. This is an invitation for all men. Bring a friend and your grown sons. Come for good food, fellowship, and to hear an inspiring message. You will be blessed!

Choir Rehearsals: The Sacramento Central Choir is back for a little Springspiration! The Music Ministry invites you to join them for their next rehearsal in preparation for Central’s Annual Spring Concert. Email music@saccentral.org for more information.

Mark Your Calendars (also go to https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/events/ to find out what else is happening at Central)

• March 11 – Communion

• March 21-25 – Coming Out Ministries Event

• March 26 – Spring Work Bee

• April 9 – International Festival

• April 14 & 15 – Bible & Archeology with Dr. Michael Hasel

• April 21 & 22 – Media on the Brain with Belt of Truth Ministries

• April 23 – Daughters of God Tea

• April 29 – Spring Music Concert




Jesus Only: Paul’s Letter to the Romans is available by click here. Explore the exalted spiritual ideas of Paul’s great letter to the Romans by first understanding the man himself and the times in which he lived and wrote. Then, step-by-step, chapter-by-chapter, you will come to grips with the life-changing, yet practical doctrines that transformed a persecutor of God’s church into the most devoted, unflinching follower of Christ.

Praying Like Crazy series is available at your local Adventist Book Center or online at www.adventistbookcenter.com. Discover effective ways to pray for your children and for your spouse. Click here to order your copy.

Be Inspired


Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Staff: Chris Buttery, Senior Pastor; Mike Thompsons, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; Michael Butler, Youth/Young Adult; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor