Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
When someone is going through a hard time, I have sometimes heard the statement “The Lord works in mysterious ways” said as an attempt to console or soothe the distressed/affected person. While it is hard to argue against such a saying, I’ve often found its result to be a hollow platitude, given the vague nondescript helpfulness it is attempting to convey. “That may be true in principle, but how is it supposed to help me NOW?” I’ve imagined saying back to someone trying to comfort/advise me with it. It’s just like there’s no ‘meat on the bone’ to that saying.
But man, when I look in the scriptures, what examples I find! I’ve been struck several times just in the last week how God works things that were absolutely unexpected seemingly impossible to various characters in their situations.
It was the will of God that took Abraham up Mount Moriah to (almost) sacrifice his only son. (Gen. 22)
It was the plan of God that took Joseph into slavery in Egypt, then to the prison house because of a false accusation (Gen. 37, 39, 50:20).
It was faithfulness to God that put Daniel in the lions’ den, and his three friends in the fiery furnace (Daniel 6, 3).
It was God’s great plan of salvation that had Jesus born to itinerant parents in a stable. (Luke 2)
And within Jesus’ ministry, Jesus was always confusing people around him, including:
John the Baptist: Matt. 3:14
Jesus’ family: John 7, Mark 3:31-35
Jesus’ disciples: John 11:7-8, 14-16
Of course, we know that Jesus’ ministry as a whole was fulfilling God’s foreordained plan. This is why Jesus could say “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” in Luke 24:44.
Even further in the New Testament, the persecutions and imprisonments of the Apostles, while seemingly a setback in the short-term, actually served to bolster the church in the long-run, since we have several writings that were written in prison, which we likely would not have gotten otherwise (the books of Revelation, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon were all written from prison/incarceration).
So what we find in scripture is not the blind assertion that ‘God is mysterious in His dealings’, rather, we get several dozen concrete examples of how circumstances were worked out beforehand to produce an unpredictable, yet wonderful outcome!
It is in light of such marvelous and unexpected results that we should feel confident to put our lives in God’s hands. None of the (earthly) characters listed above could see the end from the beginning: they might have been justified in giving-up partway through. But if they had done so, we might not have the records of the marvelous resolutions to their stories!
So the next time you, or someone you know is going through a hard time, rather than saying a hollow statement about God’s methods, why not open a Bible, and explore a certain character in a similar situation, asking how they might have felt throughout the various parts of their story, not knowing the end from the beginning (as we don’t in our own stories). We may very well find that their resolutions bring us relief, joy, and confidence that God can do something wonderful to turn around and improve our situation, perhaps even beyond our wildest dreams, if we will submit to Him throughout the confusion.
The complete text of the scripture verse quoted above reads:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Let’s let that sink in, and let God be God, and we his faithful servants, through whatever path he leads us in (Psalm 23:3-4).
May God bless you all the remainder of the week.
Pr. Mark Tatum
Let’s praise the Lord for the change in weather! The rain has replenished the earth, and the sun and wind have dried us out and made everything look clean and new. While we rejoice, let’s remember in prayer those who have been negatively impacted by the rain in flooded and fire-scarred areas.
Please pray for those affected financially by the government shutdown. Some 800,000 people are going without either/both work or paychecks while this political stalemate lingers. The one case I have heard of from our congregation, is thankfully financially okay for the time being. Many, however, are not, and depend on the government being open for their livelihoods. Please pray for quick resolution to this issue, and you can wrap that into your overall prayers for our leaders, local, broad, and abroad, to be wise and judicious in their leadership. Let’s remember that the Bible’s instruction is to pray for our leaders (Romans 13:1, 1 Tim. 2:1-2) so we can live peaceably, doing God’s work day by day.
Please continue to keep in prayer others who are enduring long-term illnesses:
* Vasile Tolan, Victor’s Father, who is recovering from a surgery he had to remove a cancer on his foot.
* Betty Caballero’s sister-in-law niece Carol, and friend Lupe, who are both suffering with health problems.
* Vivian Rodriguez, Rosa Ferreras, and Daniel Geli, who are enduring effects of long-term illness. May they do so with grace, faith, and improvement over time.
* Lloyd & Esther Sellers, who have both had health problems, that they would gradually strengthen and be able to return to us. They also request prayer for their children & grandchildren as they go through various challenges in their decisions in life.
Let’s of course continue praying for victims of tragedies both natural and man-made, in places near and far around the globe. Fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and wars never stop making their marks, leaving tragedies in their wakes. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Pray for families and relationships that are strained and broken. Pray for prodigals to be ‘nudged’ by the Holy Spirit to return home to the faith of their upbringing. Pray also for the church’s marriages to be strong & fulfilling.
There is, of course, much more to pray for. Please consider joining our weekly prayer groups, and if you have a prayer request to submit for our list, please communicate it either to pastor Mark or the church office. God bless you.
OC Pathfinder Sabbath A Success! If you were at church last Sabbath, you no doubt saw the evidence of the hundreds of people we hosted for the annual Orange County Pathfinder Sabbath. Young people came together from all over our county to sing praises, pray, (friendlily) compete, and have fun in a Christian atmosphere. The day was a big success, thanks in no small part to the efforts & organization of Joel & Cledy Milla. Thanks goes out to Margarito Gonzales and his volunteers as well, who hosted a fund-raiser food sale during the game time after sundown.
Food Bank Distribution Tonight (Wednesday): From 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., our food bank will be open for distribution. If you or someone you know could benefit from some free food, please encourage them to come and receive. Also we are looking for additional drivers who would be able to help out with doing grocery pickups 1 or more mornings per week.
Grupo de Oración en Español reunirá esta tarde a las 5:30 en el Fellowship Hall. Cada semana, revisamos un capitulo del libro “El Deseado de Todas Las Gentes” (esta semana: capitulo 58: Lazaro, Ven Fuera), y elevamos las peticiones de nuestros miembros, y también la lista de la iglesia. Ven y experimenta la bendición de discusión y oración en grupo.
Sabbath Morning schedule will be normal, with a 9:30 start time. The Adult Sanctuary service will include more information about our up-coming health seminar effort, in the form of more informative video presentations brought to us by Michael Warr. Then lesson study is at 10:00 in room 305/306 with Pr. Mark leading the discussion. Kids & Youth will be meeting at 9:30 in the Youth room as usual for songs & light breakfast, before going to their age-based Sabbath school classes in the various classrooms. Los hermanos Hispanos reunirán a las 9:00 en el Fellowship Hall, con Pr. Mark predicando la devocional (titulado “Tres Encarcelados”) al principio, y después los estudios de la lección de Escuela Sabática. Come and join our most dynamic & interactive part of the church day!
Kids’ Clubs of Pathfinders and Adventurers will be on hold for this Sabbath, being the last weekend of the month. Club activities will pick-up again on February 2nd.
Church-Wide Birthday Party Social This Saturday evening, we will be holding our January social in our fellowship hall, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Pastor Mark will be presenting the sabbath-ending program & devotional, followed by a donation-based fund raiser supper, which will go toward the up-coming Flores family mission trip to Peru. Then we’ll get into the birthday celebrations. It’ll be a great time! Come enjoy a great Saturday evening with our church family. Of course, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. are welcome to be invited too!
Orangewood Academy “Preview Day” This Sunday! January 27th, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., our sister school will be hosing an open house in which prospective high school students can get a glimpse of what student life is like there. Get a campus tour, meet some teachers, talk to the principal, etc. Located at 13732 Clinton Street in Garden Grove.
Pastor’s Availability: Early next week, Pastor Mark will be going on a Pastoral retreat for a few days. He will be available during the second part of the week, however, for appointments either at the church, your home, or another location. Feel free to call/text him at (714) 650-1245, or e-mail if you’d like to communicate something to him, or arrange for a time to meet together.
Church Potluck & Afternoon Business Meeting Feb. 2nd. As usual, we will be having our first Sabbath of the month potluck after church service. Bring a vegetarian dish to share, and stay by for an important church business meeting, in which we will talk about a diabetes health seminar we are hoping to hold in March & April. Practical information and a Q&A session will be held regarding this health outreach program.
Alright! It looks like that is what’s going on for our church community! We pray that you and your families are blessed as you continue walking in God’s grace. May we ever be seeking his guidance, comfort, and will in our lives.
God bless you all.
Pastor Mark Tatum