Mid-week Pastor’s Update 2-20-19

*Anaheim SDA Church*

*Mid-week Pastor’s Update*

*February 20th, 2019*

[image: book of life.jpg]

*“Surely every one of my days was written in your book before one of them
came to be” *

*Psalm 139:16*

If you’ve ever had children, you know that at around age 5 they begin
asking really interesting questions. Well, Josiah has been increasingly
doing so lately, and one he asked me last week as we were getting pajamas
on for bed really made me think. He asked “Daddy, how many days have I been
alive?”, and I did a little math in my head as I cocked my head toward the
ceiling, and concluded that, being a little over 5 years old, he was
getting close to 2,000 days old. “Getting close to two thousand days” I
responded. “Whoooah!” he said, as his eyes got big. Pretty soon we were on
to other things like brushing teeth and having family worship. He went to
sleep without mentioning it again.

But afterward my mind was churning about it! How many days had *I* been
alive? As I’m approaching 40, and it takes about three years to get to a
thousand, my (straining) brain estimate was a bit more than 13,000 days! I
actually googled “age calculator”, and, after inputting my birth date,
found that I had been living for 14,221 days. As I looked at that number,
it looked big, but at the same time, kinda small! That’s not a *whole lot*
of grains on a seashore, or dollars in a bank. Yet all my life; my sense of
self, my concept of the world, my joys, my sorrows, my frustrations, my
preferences, my passions, are all encapsulated in those 14,000+ days of
existence.

The Lord surely provides us with lots of opportunities. *Every day* is an
opportunity, is it not? And, going by that metric, He has given us
thousands upon thousands of them. What have we done with them? How will we
choose to use the ones that are still ahead? I ask these questions, not to
produce guilt, but rather to help us see that these days, while numerous,
are ultimately finite, and we *will* have only a certain number of days on
this earth. Are we happy with what we’ve been & done so far? And what will
we do with those that remain?

At the end of Jesus’ parable of the landowner and the 3 servants in Matthew
25, the master is overjoyed to see that 2 of his servants have done well
with their opportunities, and have produced an increase. Though their
amounts are different, his response is the same: *“Well-done, my good and
faithful servant! You have been faithful with few things, you will be put
in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” *(Matthew
25:21, 23)

The third servant, who had nothing for show for the resources & time given
him, cites the harshness of the master as the reason why he hasn’t improved
upon opportunities. Has the master displayed harshness by providing the
money, the time, and the rewards with the other servants? I don’t see it
anywhere in the parable (nor do I in so many other parables: the prodigal
son of Luke 15, the man who had two debtors of Luke 7), I think it’s a
projection of the third servant’s fears!

Yet his prediction becomes, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Though
given opportunities, he didn’t even do the minimum of drawing interest from
the bank. He has no excuse (other than his claims on the master’s
harshness), and in the end has what he had been entrusted with taken away,
and he is dismissed.

While this is a tough and a sobering parable, I hope we don’t lose sight of
the optimistic part because of the unnerving, or cautionary part. God
starts out giving. We simply receive and are invited to respond
accordingly: creatively, dynamically, happily! We can do any number of
professions, hobbies, and forms of service to others and ultimately God.

So consider how you’ll spend your next 1,000 days, or even your next
hundred or ten or one. Will we bless, encourage, and build-up with them? Or
alternatively waste, criticize, & tear-down? God is described as having
several ‘books’ in heaven, with the book of life being the most important
(Luke 10:20). Whatever we do, let’s make sure our names are written there.
If you don’t know how to start, *ask* Him to write yours there! Jesus said
that those who ask receive. Matthew 7:7). And, of course, we are happy to
speak with you at the church office for any questions, guidance, study,
prayer, etc.

May God bless you and your families the remainder of this week, until we
are reunited again.

Sincerely,

Pastor Mark Tatum

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*Prayer Requests:*

Please keep Elder Lloyd Sellers high on your prayer list. He had a heart
procedure late last week, that, praise God, appears to have gone well. Pray
for him as he recovers, that he would strengthen considerably. Esther
continues to be weak as well please keep her in prayers as she continues in
dialysis multiple times per week. They also ask prayers for their children
& grandchildren in health, stability, & security.

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.

We are glad that the danger of a 2nd government shutdown has ended. Please
pray for our branches of government to work together to keep serving the
people, rather than be perpetually locked in partisan standoffs. And pray
the government doesn’t shut-down again, that those workers & families don’t
have to go without pay again. You can wrap these into your overall prayers
for our leaders, as we’re praying for those 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.

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.*

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*Announcements:*

*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. A
big thanks goes out to our volunteers who dedicate dozens of hours per week
in collecting, organizing, & distributing the food. Also we are looking for
additional *drivers* who would be able to help out with doing grocery
pickups 1 or more mornings per week. Please let Pastor Mark or the church
office know if you are able to help.

*Grupo de Oración en Español: *Reunimos a las 5:30 en el Fellowship hall
para revisar un capitulo del Deseado de Todas Las Gentes, y elevar
peticiones en oración. Esta semana estamos revisando el capitulo 62: *“La
Fiesta en la Casa de Simón”*. Ven para experimentar una bendición en
compartir fe con hermanos y comunar con Dios y otros.

*Sabbath Morning *schedule will be normal, with a 9:30 start time. Adults
will meet in the sanctuary, with Pastor Mark presenting on the topic of
“God as Shepherd”followed by lesson study is 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. En esta semana los hermanos *Hispanos* reunirán en el
para tener su clase de Escuela Sabática, y devocional, lo cual Dr. Israel
Chambi dará con el tema “Como prevenir el Cáncer”. Come and join our most
dynamic & interactive part of the church day!

*Kids’ Clubs of Pathfinders & Adventurers* will be on hold this Sabbath,
being the last Sabbath of the month. They will resume on March 2nd. A big
thanks goes out to Craig Voelker & Margarito Gonzales, our club leaders, as
well as the parents & volunteers who dedicate time & care to bringing up
our kids in a knowledge of the Lord. Also, a congratulatory recognition
goes out to the Pathfinders for having led our church service last week.

*Sociedad de Jovenes:* Our Sabbath afternoon youth program is on for this
week at 5:00 p.m. in the youth room. Come for a fun, warm time together as
we say farewell to the Sabbath together in singing, playing a Bible game,
and welcoming the new week.

*“Diabetes Undone” Health Seminar *is an 8-part series that will be held on
Sabbath afternoons beginning March 9. Cost is $99 to attend, which will
include 8 guided sessions plus food samples & examples. Several folks
showed high interest after last month’s post-potluck information session.
If you missed that, but are still interested in info and the possibility of
enrolling, speak with Pr. Mark or Michael Warr sometime here in February.

*Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting:* will be meeting next week at 6:30 p.m. in
Room 304. Each week we review a chapter of The Desire of Ages (next week,
chapter 63: “Thy King Cometh”, about Jesus’ triumphal entry), and lift up
petitions in prayer. Please consider coming & joining this close-knit group
of faith & friendship.

*Pastor’s Availability: *Pastor Mark plans to be available for the
remainder of this week, as well as next week, for meetings by appointment
either at the church, your home, or another location. Feel free to
call/text him at (714) 650-1245, or e-mail *prmarktatum@gmail.com * if you’d like to communicate something to him, or
arrange for a time to meet together.

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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.

Sincerely,

Pastor Mark Tatum