Who Are We And What Does That Mean? 

In response to the dedication of the temple built by Solomon, God rained fire down from heaven to consume the offering made to Him. Those in attendance knelt and worshiped God, giving Him thanks. Later, after the people had returned to their homes, God appeared to Solomon during the night and said, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). I believe God is reminding His people of their status according to His view - (1) We are God’s people; (2) We are called by His name.  

What a blessing to know that God looks at you and I as His people called by the wonderful and powerful name of Jesus! As we accept being called by His name and being amongst His people, it is only natural that there are things that His people do because we ARE His people. What does it mean to be His people? (2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 51:17)

God says we are to be humble. During Old Testament times, humility was connected with low socioeconomic status. During New Testament times, the Greco-Roman world regarded humility as a sign of weakness or even a character flaw. This is not so when God applies the term to His people. It is a virtue to walk humbly with Him. David gives us an excellent description of what it means to be humble: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). A broken, humble, or submitted spirit or heart is a sacrifice that God truly desires from His people. Such a heart is ready and willing to obey. 

In addition to being humble, God expects us to pray. Prayer is vital communication that binds us to God in an intimate, reciprocal relationship based on Christ’s merits. Therefore, we can boldly go to God through Christ, even to His throne, so “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Without such prayer, it will be impossible to obey Him.

Seeking God’s face is another activity that fosters obedience. The word seek points to a desire and a striving or driving force behind the act of seeking. Such seeking is our responsibility if we are His people. Nothing will stop the person who earnestly seeks God’s presence. “‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’" (Jeremiah 29:13). Moreover, God wants to be found, as a matter of fact He is waiting for us, knocking at the door of our hearts to let Him in.

A fourth thing expected of us is to turn from our wicked ways. Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ”  When we do this, we turn toward a life of obedience that comes from a heart of gratitude.

What does God promise in return?

When we humble ourselves before God, seek His face, and turn from our sinful ways, God will hear us. Isaiah 59:1, 2 states that “surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” When we honestly seek to obey God, He will answer our prayers.
God will also forgive us of our sins when we humble ourselves before Him. In the New Testament, we read that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This formula has not changed. God knows the heart. A truly penitent heart will be forgiven and cleansed!

Is there anything holding us back from giving God our all and best? I challenge you this week; because of His goodness, forgiveness and grace; out of a grateful heart, lets please our Lord by submitting to him, seeking Him through prayer, turning to Him for strength and then reaching others for His Kingdom. 

Pastor Michael Butler

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CENTRAL HAPPENINGS & NEWS

This Week (February 16 to 20)

Tuesday @ 7:00 PM - Prayer Meeting with Tim Jones – “Jesus Prepares You”

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 – Aaron Earnest

Sabbath @ 9:30 AM - Central Study Hour with Elder Jim Ayer + Children/Youth/Adult Sabbath School Classes

Sabbath @ 10:50 AM - Worship Service with Elder Jim Ayer from Adventist World Radio

Sabbath @ 12:30 PM – New Believers Ministry Luncheon 

Sabbath @ 2:00 PM – Discipleship University with Elder Jim Ayer

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Guest Speaker: This Sabbath, February 21, we are pleased to welcome guest speaker Jim Ayer of Adventist World Radio.  Elder Ayer is an international speaker whose greatest passion is in introducing people to a lifesaving friendship with Jesus Christ.  He will be presenting our Central Study Hour class and preaching for the worship service.  He will also present two afternoon lectures (2 PM and 3 PM) for Discipleship University on the change in life that occurs when you accept Jesus into your life. 

Congratulations to Jim Mitchell & Avis Spencer Murray on the union of their lives in holy matrimony this past Sunday. Our prayers are with you both as you begin your journey together.

Welcome!  We wish to welcome Jennifer Buttery to the team of deaconesses.  She was voted in by the church last Sabbath.

Ralph Callandar is looking for a church member with experience writing grants and who would be willing to help with California's Dental crisis.  His company, "Smile Health Solutions" wants to write a

Grant to help adult Medicaid patients receive basic dental preventive care, such as yearly exams and dental cleanings.  For example, all of the dental offices in Humboldt County have stopped accepting adult dental Cal patients.  Patients are being referred to Redding; more than three hours away.  If you are willing to help, please call Ralph’s office at (209) 477-6700 or leave a message at the call center of (877) 277-9969. Thank you!

Member Assistance: Recently a couple of our congregation had the joy of welcoming their grandson into the world, however he was quickly diagnosed with HLHA - a birth defect that affects normal heart flow through the heart and where the left side of the heart is absent. His mom needs to stay by her son’s side while he is being treated out of state which is bringing with it extra costs.  To learn more about how you can help click here.

Discover Your Divine Design (a seminar of Discipleship University): Every Christian wants to know God’s ultimate purpose for their life. While many know this they struggle to see where they can best fit and serve within the body of Christ.  This practical seminar concludes Sabbath, February 28 @ 2 PM in the Camellia Room.  If you missed any of the presentations they have been recorded and can be picked up at the CD/DVD Ministry Room.

Your Neighbor Thrift Store (YNTS): Don’t forget to stop by YNTS to pick up all kinds of items for your home and personal needs- paper products, new and used clothing, new and used furniture, and vegetarian food products. Store hours are Monday to Thursday - 10 AM to 7 PM, Friday - 10:30 AM to 4 PM, and Sunday – 11 AM to 6 PM.  The store is located at 6700 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA. Tell a friend or neighbor!

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BULLETIN BOARD - An assortment of happenings, announcements, and resources from around the Seventh-day Adventist Church

News & Announcements

K-1st grade Visitation Day at Orangevale Seventh-day Adventist School on Wednesday, February 25.  Students who would like to attend next school year and their parents are invited. Complimentary lunch is provided; RSVP to (916) 988-4310.

The 12th annual Andrews University Music and Worship Conference will be held February 26 to 28 on the Andrews campus. It will provide biblically grounded training opportunities for church musicians, pastors, worship leaders, and anyone involved in worship ministry. The theological focus will concentrate on biblical worship through the lens of the Book of Revelation. Go to http://www.cye.org/mwc to learn more.

Lego League/Adventist Robotics Tournament Weekend comes to Sacramento Adventist Academy (SAA).  The festivities begin with a screening of the film, “Slingshot,” which will serve as an SAA Robotics program fundraiser.  The screening will be held at the Sacramento Central Church on Saturday evening, February 28.  Then on Sunday, the Robotics tournament will be held at SAA throughout the day.  Stay tuned for more details! 

Prayer Retreat: This year’s NCC-sponsored Prayer Retreat at Leoni Meadows takes place March 13 to 15 with Dr. David Levy, M.D., well-known author and neurovascular surgeon. Contact Naomi.Parson@nccsda.com or call (916) 955-4583 to register or for more information.

The Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program (NLCP), March 22 to 26, is a two-level leadership development program that equips pastors and lay leaders with the latest strategies and professional skills to successfully lead. NLCP focuses on three major components: Leadership, Nonprofit Management, and Social Dimension of Evangelism. This intensive two-session program is taught by a group of professionals who teach participants how to operate and minister effectively.  Click here to learn more.

Resources

Liberty Magazine: "It is hard to find anyone unashamedly opposed to religious liberty. It is becoming even harder to find that rare person who understands the principle at play and will grant religious freedom to beliefs they find abhorrent and to peoples they find vaguely threatening..." writes Liberty editor Lincoln Steed. Do you believe religious liberty is under threat? There is a great lack of understanding in our country, and even in our denomination, about religious liberty.  Click here to learn more. 

Omega Emerging: There’s a saying: “Don’t allow a camel to put its nose under your tent, for soon it’ll be in your tent.” Today the “camel” appears to be the emerging church movement in Seventh-day Adventism. How far has it penetrated the church today? Is it the “omega of apostasy” Ellen White warned us about?  This series presents what could be the undermining of the movement raised to correct the errors of modern Protestantism. If the issues raised are indeed happening, then those committed to the historic teachings of the faith have no choice but to “Meet It!” To order your copy click here

Revived by His Word is a daily Bible reading plan leading up to the General Conference Session in July of this year.  To join the journey visit the Revived by His Word website: http://revivedbyhisword.org/

Adventist Mission: Adventist mission work today touches lives in more than 200 countries and areas of the world.  Adventist mission workers preach the gospel, teach relevant living skills, heal people through Adventist hospitals and clinics, spread the gospel on radio and television, run development projects to make better lives for people, and provide comforting relief in times of suffering.

So many mission workers serve God as part of the church that you may not have heard their stories. The Adventist Mission website not only shares their stories, but focuses on the mission of the church.  As you browse through the site, witness how God is improving lives through Adventist mission work around the world and in your neighborhood. http://www.adventistmission.org/

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