San Lo Community, an update for the last Sunday of 2018…
Thank you Pastor Rod for the message from II Corinthians 13:11-14, “A Beneficial Benediction.” There are things that don’t seem to matter, don’t seem to count like signage and labeling that we ignore. How about closing prayer and benediction because we are thinking about what to do right after the service is over, but we fail to realize these benedictions are very key and very important. We are going to look at the closing words of II Corinthians and see they are an encouragement, a call to action, and a strong farewell by Paul. How can we be encouraged in a time of change? There are five active and passive commands in this short passage from Paul:
11 Finally, brethren, - Finally – possibly a preachers’ favorite words, but the message can often go on even longer. Paul says it and then goes on two more chapters but this time he means it and takes pause to say it now. There is a focus, intentional intensity and seriousness. There is an impact he wants to say to us: brethren – to his beloved friends because they have a shared faith in Christ.
1st command: rejoice – an active command to keep on rejoicing. This is not laughter or having a good time but having an attitude that mindset that looks above in spite of circumstances or mood because there is something greater, higher than what we have here on earth. Rejoice in times of weakness, trial, struggle, and in pain. Anyone can be complain or be depressed in hard times but how many can rejoice in these times? Do we have that joy? Or will it be business as usual, or can we be excited about what God will be doing at SanLo?
2nd command: be made complete – fill up deficiencies, the major one being to not have Christ. Aim or strive to be restored, the word used of setting a broken bone. This is a passive command. It is not what we do, but what God does. He is mainly emphasizing character. It is not a self-improvement plan. It is having that character of Jesus Christ – of service, holiness, righteousness, purity, love, forgiveness, compassion, endurance, submission, obedience, kindness, generosity.
3rd command: be comforted – once again this is a passive command not something that we do. This has a dual meaning. We can receive comfort from God but we also need to comfort one another. We often focus on self, our own care and comfort, but God wants us to care for others.
4th command: be like-minded – an active command, not like-minded as in everyone has to have the same opinion as that can be mindless, but even with our difference of opinions, we can ‘think the same thing’ being united in truth that is God. Philippians 2:5 (ESV), Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. We need to be like minded in the truth of Jesus Christ. We might argue over preferences but we need to be like minded in the essentials of who Jesus Christ is. He is Lord, Savior; He brings love, hope, and peace; He grants eternal life. In these, we are to be like minded.
5th command: live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you. This is an active command - when we are like-minded, this will show in outward expression of peace. In all of Paul’s benedictions, this is the only one that combines love and peace. Isn’t that a lot better than dislike and strife? When we think about all that is going on in the world today, there is a lot of bad things going on. So why not start here in the church? Jesus Christ is the only one who brings peace and love. We need to live in peace not in pieces.
This is another command but the tense indicates it refers to a single act. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. It was intended to the recipients of this letter, the Corinthians. There was need for reconciliation and forgiveness. Our equivalent to a kiss might be a handshake or a hug (when appropriate). Community is what has always been emphasized at SanLo, to meet and greet new people. We need connection with one another. This is why we come and is who we are and what every church should be, but we don’t just gather as a community and close off to others. Reach out and connect with new people. This world and even in our church has people who are lonely and need community. We have a solution here at SanLo, that is having community in Jesus Christ with one another. Paul closes his farewell with, 13 All the saints greet you, (the Philippians, Thessalonians, Bereans) as he emphasizes oneness with God, oneness with one another; oneness with the church at large. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. It is wonderful to be talking about the unmerited, undeserved, unearned grace of God. Grace makes us aware of the love of God. Knowing the love of God, we can share in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Rod, the elders and pastoral staff led in the commissioning of Pastor Eric Yata as he takes on the responsibility as our lead pastor, and that he does not stand alone but with all of the other leaders and our Lord God standing alongside to empower Pastor Eric for this role.
Grow SanLo Update – 1) Our GrowSanLo campaign fund is currently at $710,000 which is 47% of our goal of 1.5 million dollars. We are still looking for possible new properties/facilities that may be available. 2) The elders met 2 weeks ago and decided to increase Pastor Joshua Scott from 2/3’s to a full-time pastoral position. He will also become a conference pastor (tentatively March 2019) which includes receiving a benefit package from the conference and is no longer a local hire of SanLo. 3) There is a perception that SanLo has too many pastors. SanLo has hired staff ahead of the actual need and as a result has grown. In comparing with the 26 sister-congregations in our conference, there are 6 other churches that have a higher congregation to pastor ratio. In our English congregation, we have 65 adults per pastor. Of those 6 other churches, they are in the process of hiring an additional pastor. Our future is exciting as we continue to move forward.
Pastor Eric led a time on behalf of SanLo to express our appreciation of Pastor Rod and Koko. As has been practiced in the past, when a pastor retired they would respectively leave for one year to give the new pastor time to establish their role in the church, however, given the time of need and closeness of their relationship with individuals and to the Pastor staff, we extend the invitation to them to continue attending at SanLo in a season when they can be served after the 39 plus year of their service to us. Elder board chair, Frank Nakasone also shared the blessing it has been for him to see the fruit that has been seen at SanLo through his leadership. Koko expressed her praise to God for all He has done through the years at SanLo, and is grateful for the prayers that are sustaining them through this difficult time and now can empathize even more when others go through suffering, they can minister in a deeper sense of what the other is going through.