Lost But Won

Think about it. According to human standards, Jesus lost. The believing crowds that shouted “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel!” now shouted “Crucify Him!” In time of His greatest need no one was there to advocate for Him. A friend betrayed him. A friend denied him. He was captured by His enemies and made a spectacle of ridicule. He was tortured and eventually killed as an outcast of society. The disciples clearly understood that Jesus lost, for this reason we find them fearfully hiding in a house (John 20:19). To human eyes, the last few days of Jesus’ life were a defeat.  

Yet, something more disturbing is the fact that Jesus has the chance to defend Himself. It seems as if Jesus lost on purpose. Before Judas betrayed Him, Jesus said, “That thou doest, do quickly” John 13:27. At Gethsemane right before Jesus was arrested He told His disciples, “…lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand” Mark 14:42. He knew what was coming and did not avoid it. This must have been the most perplexing thing for the disciples. How could Jesus, the One who has power over nature and devils, allow Himself to be killed by the enemy? Imagine viewing Jesus whipped, mocked, spat upon and yet does nothing while having all the power necessary to call twelve legions of angels on His behalf. Jesus does not even try to reason His way out or make a last powerful speech. He was silent. It is bad enough to be defeated, but to be defeated on purpose is incomprehensible. 

The character of Jesus is greatly contrasted with the character of the disciples. The disciples were all about winning. They were vicious when protecting their interests. When something prevented them from being winners, the response was a defensive reaction trying to prevent further losses. When Jesus was being arrested Peter took out a sword and cut off the high priest servant’s ear (John 18:10). Jesus being arrested meant losing in the eyes of Peter. Another defensive reaction can be seen in Luke 9:51-54, when the Samaritans did not receive Jesus into their village. James and John vehemently demanded that fire come down from heaven to destroy the village. Their pride was hurt, thus, this could not be allowed. Not being treated as they thought was losing in their eyes. Yet in no case, do we find Christ being revengeful and defensive. 

Imagine if Jesus was like His disciples. Humanity would have been lost. Imagine if Jesus said, “I’m fed up with these stubborn people!” Where would you and I be? See, it is selfishness that teaches us to be first: My life before yours; my things before your things, my reputation and my dreams before yours. It is these thoughts that we define as winning.             

Christ had another definition of winning, the opposite of selfishness. Christ never cursed His enemies or took revenge. He remained calm under pressure, blessed His enemies, and prayed for those that despitefully used Him. In the eyes of humanity Jesus lost. Yet in the eyes of the universe Jesus won. The fact that He lost His life meant that He would win many souls. The cross meant that one in heaven would have any sympathy towards Satan or doubt over the character of God. Satan had no convincing argument. His true nature was exposed. The so called “losing” was actually a great victory.  

I would like to suggest that it was Christ’s purpose to teach us what winning really means. For this reason He gave an example and taught. In His sermon on the Mount, Christ said,

“I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away…44 I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:39-42,44 NKJV

Christ’s teachings go against the school of selfishness. Selfishness tells us to punch back and take out our swords just like Peter did. While you may not wound a person physically you can wound a person emotionally with words. The sprit is the same. Today we may not have Roman soldiers forcing us to carry their burdens or have whole villages reject us, but how do you respond when you feel mistreated? Do you have the sprit as the disciples? Are you losing?

Andrew Vargas, Intern Pastor



This Week (April 25 to 30): 

• Tuesday @ 10:00 AM – Women’s Bible Study

• Tuesday @ 7:00 PM – Prayer Meeting with Virginia Ware (John 18:1-18)

• Wednesday @ 7:00 PM - Spanish Group Prayer Meeting

• Various L.I.F.E. groups (in-home small group Bible studies) take place across Sacramento. To locate one near you contact our small groups’ coordinator, Richard Anger @ (916) 681-3990

• Sabbath @ 9:00 AM - Morning Manna – Pastor Michael Butler

• Sabbath @ 9:30 AM - Central Study Hour with Pastor Chris Buttery + Children/Youth/Adult Sabbath School Classes

• Sabbath @ 10:50 AM - Worship Service with Pastor Fred Dana

• Sabbath @ 1:00 PM – Family Life Event

Upcoming Events

Camera Training: On Tuesday, April 25 @ 6:30 PM, Central’s media ministry will be conducting another camera training. There will be two classes – beginners and advanced. The training will be in the sanctuary. Hope to see some of you there!

Family Life Sabbath:  Sabbath, April 30 will be Family Life Sabbath at Central. Pastor Fred will be sharing a relevant message for the worship hour, and then after lunch there will be a variety of seminars offered for all from communication to parenting to finances. Bring a dish tot share for fellowship lunch and plan to stay for the afternoon.

Light Sacramento! As a part of Discipleship University, starting Sabbath, May 7 @ 2 PM, a practical evangelism training class will begin which is designed to look at effective means and ways to reach our city for Jesus. You don’t have to be a people person or an extrovert to be a part of this exciting venture as we seek to Light Sacramento! Just bring yourself, walking shoes, a change of clothes, and a dish to share for fellowship lunch. For more information, please contact JeAnn Davis at (209) 200-6138.

Youth Week of Prayer: Our guest speaker, Garrison Hayes from Andrews University, will be sharing his experiences and thoughts on what the foundation or “Groundwork” for our Christian walk should be. It starts May 9 at 7 PM in the Sanctuary and then May 10-13 at 7 PM in the Chapel. You won’t want to miss this time of fellowship, fervent prayer, and meaningful topics relevant to youth and young adults alike! Refreshments provided.

Church-Wide Potluck & Ministry Fair: It’s that time of year again when we get to enjoy each other’s company and learn a little more about the ministries at Central. Plan to join us for the whole day on Sabbath, May 14. More details coming soon. You don’t want to miss it!

A Night in Italy: Enjoy the tastes and sounds of Italy as Central’s youth put on a special evening for all.  They will be providing a three course meal, free baby-sitting and dinner for your children, live music and more! Proceeds will go toward Youth Ministry events including Teen Day Camp and Outreach Week this year, and a Mission Trip in 2017. Tickets can be purchased at the office. For more information, contact Pastor Michael at 916.292.2176.

Family Matters

Watch Us on Television! Enjoy viewing Central’s flagship programs, Central Study Hour, every Friday night at 8 PM and Sabbath morning at 6 AM (PST) on 3ABN Proclaim! Also enjoy our Receiving the Word, 30-minute programs weekly on Sunday at 11 AM, Tuesday at 11:30 AM (NEW TIME), Wednesday at 8:30 PM, and Thursday at 9 PM (NEW TIME) on Sacramento Faith TV (Comcast – 20; CCI – 19; AT&T – 14). These can also be viewed on our website (www.saccentral.org) and our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/thecentralconnection). Let everyone know where they can receive timely Bible messages!

Podcasts Available! If you didn't know, every Central Study Hour and worship service can be viewed and downloaded by going to our website (https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/sermons). This is an easy way for you to invite friends and family to listen to important Bible messages coming from Central church. The podcasts are uploaded a week after the live presentation.

News & Events From Elsewhere

Help For Houston: Hundreds of people who have been devastated by Houston's massive flooding crisis are going to be helped by Adventist Community Services (ACS). A warehouse that could be used for accepting and distributing goods has already been located and Linda Walker, Southwest Region ACS Disaster Relief assistant, will be leading out in that operation. Texas Conference will be taking the Mobile Distribution Unit (a semi filled with prepackaged clothing outfits, personal care kits, clean up kits, blankets and sheets) to Houston and distributing emergency supplies to the flood survivors including many non-insured residents. The Master Guide Club members in Houston will also assist the various ACS operations. Please pray for those who’ve be seriously affected by these floods, along with all ACS volunteers.

Open House: Sacramento Adventist Academy will have an Open House for students in Kindergarten to 7th Grade and their parents on Wednesday, April 27 at 5:30 PM. Come see what’s happening!

Elementary Open House: Sacramento Adventist Academy invites students in kindergarten through 7th grade and their parents to their spring Open House on Wednesday, April 27 at 5:30 PM. Learn about the robotics program, hear the bands play, see the classrooms and more.

Forever One Marriage Retreat, with Drs. Pamela and Claudio Consuegra (English), and Drs. Cesar and CarolAnn De Leon (Spanish), will be conducted September 16 to 18, at the La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa in Montgomery, TX. Early bird registration is June 30. Visit http://www.beforeverone.org/ to receive more information.




Shadow Empire: Starting April 28, through a four-part event called Shadow Empire, thousands of people will explore this fascinating subject as revealed through the Bible, in addition to a source that illustrates the topic perfectly: the life of the Emperor Constantine. This series is hosted by Voice of Prophecy Speaker, Director, Shawn Boonstra, who recently traveled to countries such as Serbia, Italy, and Turkey to make history come to life and reveal little-known details about this historical figure.  Boonstra was even granted rare access to a major archeological dig site, on the location believed to be one of Constantine's homes.  To learn more about hosting this event in your home, click here. To watch the trailer, visit http://www.shadowempire.com/

Plenary Presentation videos from the 2016 Emotional Wellness Summit are now available. Videos include sessions with Vice-Admiral Vivek Murphy, MD, MBA, 19th U.S. Surgeon General; General Conference Health Ministries Director Peter Landless, MD; and many more. The Emotional Wellness Summit is designed for health professionals, health leaders, pastors, and individuals wanting to learn more about prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies for better mental health. 

Be Inspired 

From Roman Catholic to Adventist Chaplain: Enjoy this short, inspiring story of how God reached a man and then sent him to Guam to serve Him.

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