Dear Anaheim Church Family,
Due to the recent events with COVID-19, we have decided to suspend church service until further notice.
Please follow Pr. Mark Tatum and our Facebook page for the latest updates!
May we lean on the Lord during these times!
God bless you all!
“…anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
As we continue to endure the many difficulties of this separation period, many are asking what exactly this is for. Clearly, it is to minimize the spread of Covid-19, as it is both particularly contagious and virulent. I don’t socially distance or wear a mask for my own sake; being a (relatively) young man, I could probably pass through the sickness with a minimum of inconvenience, and be recovered in a couple weeks’ time.
It is for the sake of others that we take these precautions. It is for the aged, the infirm, the immunologically compromised. Though I would likely be okay, others who might catch it from me (and others in subsequent degrees of contagion separation from them) might not be so fortunate. I could start a branch that could end-up infecting a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand others.
Sin is a lot like a sickness that is particularly contagious and virulent as well. First of all, it can affect the one adjacent to the sinner more than it affects the sinner himself. Abel, though innocent, paid the price for Cain’s succumbing to sin in envy & anger. The babies & families of 1st-century Bethlehem, though innocent, paid the price for Herod’s paranoid infanticide. And the greatest example is Jesus Himself, who, though pure & spotless, paid the price for sins of the wicked, suffering the end result of sin in the process.
In modern day, the innocent all too often receive the majority of the pain/hurt for the sins of the guilty. Children in abusive households suffer the bruises, broken bones, and scars of parents who can’t correctly process their frustrations. Tech users suffer the consequences of scammers or virus-makers, having their online identities or even life savings ruined. Responsible drivers and pedestrians pay the price for drunk drivers who lack the control to safely use their cars.
Like the Coronavirus, we need to keep the spread, the victimization, of sin to a minimum! We avoid sin, partly for our own benefit, but even more for those around us who may be more vulnerable. I may be able to commit a little sin and (seemingly) not suffer too many deleterious effects from it, but someone else may witness me commit it, and fall much harder into it, thinking it isn’t that bad. Some can dabble in alcohol, pornography, gambling, etc. without it being too much of a problem, while for others it becomes a prison they can never escape.
If I fall into a prison of sin and end up being lost, that is tragic, but how much more so for somebody who causes or influences someone else to fall into that pit? That’s what Jesus was getting at with the verse above. We don’t only have a responsibility to ourselves, we have a degree of responsibility to those around us, to encourage them toward the good, rather than deceive them toward evil.
I hope we see the importance of remaining pure and careful both in our physical practices, as well as in our spiritual lives. May many be turned to righteousness because of our influence! (Daniel 12:3). And may we, as Daniel cites, shine like stars for the ages of eternity.
May God bless you all,
Pastor Mark Tatum