Please read (or at least scroll) all the way to the bottom of this update to see important announcements, including funeral for Millie Wolford this Sabbath, and an upcoming deadline for tuition assistance at Orangewood Academy.
Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
July 27th, 2022
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” Revelation 14:12
I’m sorry for having been out of touch for a couple of weeks – you may be aware that I and my family went to Argentina to see Jime’s side of the family, and, praise the Lord, it was a wonderful time. Lots of hugs, big meals, laughter and tears, and catching up with folks over the near decade it’s been since we’d last been able to visit.
Something quite inconsequential about the trip, but which caught my attention, was that when we went to a “big box” store that we had gone to several years ago, the name had changed. Nine years ago it was a Wal-Mart (which we’re all obviously familiar with), but now the same store, painted differently, was called "Chango Mas". Curious, I looked online, and found that Wal-Mart withdrew from the Argentinean market in 2020, selling its stores to a Brazilian chain, at a loss of $1 billion dollars. Evidently economic outlook made Walmart take the financial hit, rather than try to continue to do business there.
And that made me think of a string of stores that have gone defunct here: former giants such as Sears, Toys R Us, and Blockbuster, and numerous other mid-size chains like Radio Shack, Alpha-Beta grocery stores and Souplantation (r.i.p!). One could make (and no-doubt has made) a list some 50 or more entries long of shuttered business chains.
And that made me think “Sheesh, could the Adventist church ever go under financially? Cease to exist?” I think about how small our churches seem compared to the imposing power of those former giant companies listed above, and it daunts me: if they could fail, with their huge assets and business professionals at the helm, what hope is there for us?
But then I remember that we have something those big stores didn’t: the promise of Jesus that his faithful would endure ‘till he returned. He never mentioned “The Seventh-day Adventist Church”, mind you, our copywritten name, logo, and business structure, but the “remnant”, the faithful, organized in faith communities, he promised would endure. “On this rock”, Jesus said, referring to the truth of his identity as the Son of God, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 Furthermore, the apostle Paul speaks of “we” who are alive at the return of Christ, rising to meet him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
So: the long and short of it is: we needn’t fret! We can just focus on God and faithfulness to His kingdom principles of righteousness, and He will see to it that we endure ‘till Jesus’ coming. What a relief and freedom! We can praise without concern for future existence of God’s faith community.
This understanding actually has a funny consequence: in comparing ourselves now to gigantic corporations, it is they who should be “shaking in their boots”, rather than we, for their existence! Think about it: it is actually more likely that Amazon, Wal-mart, Disney, or Google will cease to exist on earth than it is that God’s remnant people would disappear. What a crazy idea!
It just goes to show that “strength” in God’s eyes is evaluated on a fundamentally different level than man’s. Paul even advises the wealthy in one point (I think it rightly applies to corporations, too) : “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
I hope that you can be free, mentally, to unrestrainedly praise God, worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth, as He deserves (John 4:23-24). Let’s leave the big concerns to Him: our main task is to faithfully endure, with Christ in our hearts.
May God bless you and your families the remainder of the week.
Pr. Mark Tatum