*Anaheim SDA Church *
*Mid-week Pastor’s Update*
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*Search me, God, and know my heart;*
*test me and know my anxious thoughts.*
* See if there is any offensive way in me, * *and lead me in the way
* Psalm 139:23-24*
What kind of a God is out there?
Atheists would say they reject the idea of a capricious, tyrannical God who
sternly looks over the world, scrutinizing and judging its inhabitants.
They would just rather deal with science & observable things.
Polytheists would say that, in the multiple gods, some are good and some
are bad. Some are in charge of certain places or aspects of life, and one
can choose how many to worship.
Jews & Muslims would affirm a mighty creator God, who rules with authority
& power. They are eager to live uprightly, that they might honor their
(respective version of) God.
And Christians probably have a much more intimate picture of God than the
other options listed above. Jesus, after all, chose to incarnate Himself &
become intimate with His world from the inside, getting to know us as
equals, before we, tragically, rejected & crucified Him. But He loves us
despite this, and still offers the ability to become children of God to any
who believe (Jn. 1:12, 3:16, 1st John 3:1).
A big concept in Christianity that I don’t perceive in the other religions
is the concept of *intimate knowing*. Though some verses that affirm this
come from the Old Testament (which Jewish people affirm), the concept is
taken much further in the New Testament.
First, we have the intimate knowing described at the end of Psalm 139,
quoted above. This is an authentic prayer that we can pray, inviting God
into a knowing, familiar relationship to us.
In Isaiah 53, the chapter that prophesies strongly about Jesus as the
‘suffering servant’, it says that He “has borne our griefs and carried our
sorrows” (v. 4). Even as He voluntarily took our place as sacrifice, He
chose to know, intimately, our burdens and pains.
In Matthew 11, Jesus encourages us to come to Him, exchanging our burdens
for His light yoke. He invites us to learn His humility and gentleness, and
rest in Him (vv. 28-29). Contrastingly, in Matt. 7:23, Jesus tells the
wicked that the reason He’s telling them to depart is because they never
gave Him the chance to enter into intimate knowing: “I never knew you” He
says. Permitting this knowing, vs. not, seems to be key in salvation.
In Revelation 3:20 we see Jesus describing his standing at the door,
knocking, asking for entrance into our hearts. An intimate meal together is
described for those who open the door, inviting Him in. Surely this
represents a familiar, *knowing* experience.
And the Apostle Paul, in wrapping up his famously beautiful chapter on
love, reflects on how, when our relationship comes to its fullest, *intimate
knowing* will be realized: *For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face
to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know, just as I am fully
I really think that *intimate knowing* is as important to our Christian
walk as other factors, like affirming Jesus’ resurrection or keeping the
commandments. God wants more than a head-knowledge affirmative belief
system, or even an obedience-based one. He wants to *get to know us*, and
for us to get to know Him. The other things will fall into place if this is
permitted to happen authentically.
*Pray without ceasing* (1 Thess. 5:17) is an example of keeping the *knowing
intimacy* going throughout our daily activities. We’re keeping the
communication line open; relating up to God what we’re experiencing, and
asking Him what He thinks about certain things, or asking how we should act
in given situations. God loves the relationship to be continual!
I pray that, as we go throughout the rest of our week, that we will be both
letting God into our hearts to know us, and seeking to know Him. God has
surely done the bigger work in condescending to us to get to know us & let
Himself be known. I count that as a great opportunity that should not be
passed up on. May we seek to know, and be known, by our God.
May God bless you & your families the remainder of the week.
Pastor Mark Tatum
My heart goes out to the millions of people in Venezuela who are suffering
under the political chaos there. News is that almost the entire country has
been without power for about a week, and many fragile & vulnerable people
are affected & even dying as hospitals and other key services are
practically unable to operate. Please pray for the people there, and that
this disaster might be resolved soon. I struggle to imagine what it would
be like to live in that country right now.
Please pray for the victims of the tornadoes that have taken place recently
in Georgia. Last I heard, some 2 dozen people unexpectedly lost their
lives. Let’s pray for their families, as well as the rescue & aid workers
who are working tirelessly. Let’s tie this win with prayers for victims of
other 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
Michael & Carmen Warr are requesting prayer for Carmen’s daughter, Liza,
who is sick and getting medical treatment. They pray for good results on
the medical tests, and for quick recovery.
Please continue to pray for comfort and consolation for the Tolan family,
after the passing away of Victor’s father, Vasile (nicknamed “Leslie”). He
was a long-time member of our church, and very committed. A “Celebration of
life” service remembering him will be held the first Sabbath of April.
We are praising the Lord that Lloyd Sellers was able to return home
recently, after nearly a month of treatment & observation, including a
heart procedure. Pray that he will continue to strengthen, as well as
Esther, that they may have good quality of life & hopefully be able to
return to attending church with us. The Sellers request prayers for their
children & grandchildren as well, in various life situations.
Christina Rebensczuk requests prayer for her health & ability to sleep, as
well as for her sister, who is dealing with a couple health problems, and
her neighbor, who is in his 90s and is in a fragile state as well. May God
uphold these people in strength.
Please keep in prayer Betty Caballero’s sister-in-law niece Carol, and
friend Lupe, who are both suffering with health problems.
Please continue to keep in prayer others who are enduring long-term
illnesses, including 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.
Let’s pray for our government leaders, both domestic and international, as
peoples’ ability to live stable, peaceable lives depends on them making
good, wise decisions. Let’s continue to pray 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.
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 &
*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
*“Festival of Nations” social a success! *Thanks to all who came out &
participated in our international social this past Saturday night. What a
fun time was had experiencing the flavors, cultures, & richness of various
cultures represented in our church. A big thanks goes out to Edie Furness
for organizing, and for so many others who helped it be a great time.
*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 capítulo del Deseado de Todas Las Gentes, y elevar
peticiones en oración. Esta semana estamos revisando el capítulo 65: *“Cristo
purifica de nuevo el templo”*. Ven para experimentar una bendición en
compartir fe con hermanos y comunar con Dios y otros.
*OC Young Adult Bible Study resumes tonight!* At 7:00, some young adults
from various churches will be gathering here at our church to sing, study &
fellowship together. Light refreshments will be provided. Come to
experience community in the faith & walking together with Jesus. This will
be held 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of the month going forward.
Our* Sabbath Morning **schedule* will be normal, with a 9:30 start time.
Adults will meet in the sanctuary, with Pastor Mark presenting, 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 santuario, junto con los
hermanos anglos, y tendrán su lección de Escuela Sabática allí. Come and
join our most dynamic & interactive part of the church day!
*“Diabetes Undone” Health Seminar continues this Sabbath Afternoon *and
continuing through the remainder of March & April. Cost is $99 to attend,
which includes book & video materials, guided sessions, plus food samples &
examples. (and only $10 to add a spouse). If you missed last week, a
“catch-up” session will be held at 12:30, pretty much immediately after
church, then the regular session will begin at 1:30 as usual. Thanks to
Michael Warr & others who are helping out in leading this series!
*Kids’ Clubs of Pathfinders & Adventurers* are on for this Sabbath
afternoon, starting at 3:00 p.m. in front of the youth room. The
*Adventurers* will also be doing a *fund-raiser after Sociedad de
plates of warm supper* in order to raise money for their investiture
service in April. May God guide & direct our volunteers as they lead our
kids in God’s path, learning more about Him while having fun &
accomplishing tasks. A big thanks goes out to Margarito Gonzales & Craig
Voelker, as well as their volunteers in leading out our kids’ clubs.
*Sociedad de Jovenes* will be held at its new time: *6:00 p.m.* in the
youth room. Come to sing, play bible games, and hear a speaker on a
relevant topic. Also, afterward, there will be an *Adventurer fund-raiser
of selling plates of warm supper* in order to raise money for their
investiture service next month. So bring a little $$ and stay for dinner
*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 66: “Controversy”, between Jesus & the religious leaders), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d
like to communicate something to him, or arrange for a time to meet
*Board Meeting a week from tonight:* Next Wednesday, March 20th, at 6:30
p.m. in the primary room. Leaders & Elders, please prioritize attending. If
any have agenda items, please get them to Pastor Mark or Maritza ASAP. And
all church members: please pray for our church’s plans going forward, that
they may be both inspired by and fueled by God & His loving power.
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
God bless you all.
Pastor Mark Tatum