Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
January 16th, 2019
“He rules the
world in righteousness, and judges the peoples with equity.” Psalm 9:8
Last week, I was called in for
a couple of days of jury duty. My emotions were a mix of dread for the time it
would take, (given that I would have to figure out how to arrange my schedule
to accommodate it), and interest at the prospect of serving on a jury.
It was interesting to see the
mix of people on the day I reported: a diversity of ages, cultures, and
lifestyles were represented, and we were all there for the purpose of doing our
civic duty, with the ideal of achieving impartiality and justice in coming to a
decision based on evidence presented within a courtroom setting.
When we got into the courtroom,
where the judge and various legal professionals began to describe the case and
evaluate jurors, I saw that there were over a hundred of us there, with the
goal of getting the jury down to 12 principal jurors and 6 alternates. Four-fifths of the people here will be going
home! I thought to myself: all sides were trying to get a fair and balanced
jury that could adequately stand as the defendants’ peers.
The judge, as well as the D.A.
representative and defense lawyers, instructed us again and again on the importance
of impartiality when weighing evidence. In a courtroom, there is no place for
prejudice (defined as ‘pre-judging’), given any external factors. The fact that
a person is a police officer doesn’t mean they’re necessarily telling the
truth. The fact that a person has tattoos doesn’t mean they’re lying. The fact
that they’re under oath doesn’t mean you can assume all that comes out of their
mouth is accurate, etc.
Multiple people reminded us
that in our system, accused people are considered innocent until proven guilty (this is different than in some other countries,
including Mexico and France). It was even brought up a couple times that it’s worse to convict an innocent person than
it is to let a guilty person go free. While I agreed with this thought in
principle, I was taken aback when one of the defense lawyers quoted Benjamin
Franklin as having said that it was actually better to let 100 guilty men go free than to wrongfully imprison an innocent
one. He went on to explain that to falsely imprison an innocent person for a
crime they didn’t commit actually is
to let a guilty person go free as well, since, because the wrong person is
paying for the crime, an actually guilty is therefore going free.
Though in the end I didn’t get
placed on the jury (again, a mix of emotions), it gave me a lot to think about.
Of course, large in my mind throughout was my concept of God as judge and the
universe’s beings as onlookers. I thought: with all the care that is given to
impartiality and putting away of prejudices, wouldn’t heaven’s justice system
be even more careful that every
person gets a fair hearing?
We of course believe in a God
who wants all people to be saved (2nd Peter 3:9), so He has great
interest in seeing the accused acquitted! Furthermore, it is Jesus who is our ‘advocate’
or defense lawyer (1st John 2:1), who defends us as he pleads his
blood over offenses we (the accused) have committed. The only accuser in the equation is Satan (Revelation
12:9-10) who is rebuked in the judgment scene portrayed in Zechariah 3:1-2. So
we should have no concern as to
whether or not we get a fair trial: if anything, the courtroom will be bent in
I left the jury duty experience
overall heartened that such care is taken for fairness and impartiality in our
justice system. My appreciation for God’s care in the judgment was also
heightened, because God must be far
and above any of our human aspirations for justice. Let’s remember that God’s
judgment doesn’t happen in secret, but before many witnesses (Daniel 7:9-10,
Revelation 20:4), and that at the end, we will say, along with those who have
witnessed the judgment process: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true
and just are your judgments.” (Revelation 16:7).
May God bless you all the remainder of this week.
Pr. Mark Tatum
It has been a wet week around Southern
California: hopefully we all have a place that’s warm and dry where we can be.
Let’s keep in prayer those without consistent shelter, though, that they may be
brought through this wet & cold time okay.
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.
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.
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 57: Una Cosa Te Falta), 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.
Home Care Assist Position: A job is available for caring for some older folks, helping them with
tasks around their home. This is a paid position, with 25-30 hours/week
requested, spread over 2-3 days. Somewhat flexible scheduling is available. If
interested, please contact Pastor Mark or the church office for more details.
Sabbath Morning schedule will be normal, with a 9:30 start time. Pastor Mark will
be leading service in the sanctuary. Then lesson study is at 10:00 in room 305/306. 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 9:30 también en el Santuario, juntos con los anglo-parlantes. Come and join our most dynamic & interactive part of the
Sociedad de Jovenes, our bilingual closing of the Sabbath service, will be held this
Sabbath afternoon at 5:00 p.m. in the Youth Room. Come to enjoy group singing,
a Bible game, and an engaging speaker.
Kids’ Clubs of Pathfinders and Adventurers are on for this Sabbath. The Adventurer Club will
be going on an outing to Irvine Park, and are encouraged to bring a sack lunch
to church, to facilitate a quick departure afterward. Pathfinders will
be hosting the Orange County-wide Pathfinder day, which will be held in
our fellowship hall & parking lot . It will be a most fun & thrilling
day! Thanks to our leaders & all volunteers for their great contributions
to our kids’ clubs.
Pastor’s Availability: Pastor Mark is available for appointments either at the church,
your home, or another location. Feel free to call/text him at (714) 650-1245,
email@example.com if you’d like to communicate something to him, or arrange
for a time to meet together.
19th OC Pathfinder day, held in Fellowship Hall
26th Church-wide birthday party social, 5:00 p.m., fellowship
Feb. 2nd: Potluck & Church Business Meeting in Fellowship Hall
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