Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of February 12, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Exodus 12:33-42, “The Movement of GOD.” We’re excited to launch GROW SANLO. Get a sense of the great legacy of faith here at SANLO and see the growth God is doing today. He is setting us on a new course of growth for every generation. As we begin this campaign, I pray that you see it as not just a movement to raise money or find a bigger building, but more importantly as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is an opportunity for all of us to grow as a church in our core values SANLO, Grow to Serve God, Grow to Adore Jesus, Grow to Nurture the body of Christ, Grow to Learn His Word, and Grow to Outreach in the name of Christ. As we have called our series in Exodus, A Great God for a Great Movement, God has SANLO on a movement to grow.
God brought the Hebrews out of Egypt. They didn’t know where they are going they are just following Moses’ orders. They probably had many fears and might have had many sorrows like leaving their homes and memories behind whether good or bad. Yet in the same moment, there was relief, excitement, and hope as they were free from slavery and the oppression of Pharaoh. The change was swift and fast, not easy I’m sure, but the promise of a new land and freedom gave them hope. Why would God put us on a new path and possibly a new facility?
1) God moves us out so that we might see His gracious provision. God transforms us, changes, and even challenges us so we might see how He would provide for our every need. We might be able to watch God work in a mighty way to supply us what is necessary in life. We can see and look at God’s handiwork both then and now. (vv.33-36) This scene is just after the Passover, where God strikes down the firstborn of the Egyptians, and He passes over those who put the lamb’s blood on their doorpost in order for the angel of death to pass by and spare their sons. The Passover is a great foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice as He covers all our sins through His death on the cross as the Lamb of God. Sometimes lost in the Passover is the fact that God provides for them beyond their wildest imagination. God’s grace is not only that He has set them free, but He has graciously given what they need to move forward. In verse 36, “… the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians…” In the Hebrew, favor can be translated as grace, charm, and compassion. They have been given freedom and blessing. They haven’t earned it, worked for it, or done enough good to receive it. God has graciously given them earthly blessing. He has been kind to provide abundantly for them. God allows Israel to receive significant finances and well-being from the Egyptians. This is not saying God will make you wealthy, rich and prosperous. But it is saying that God will graciously provide for us. Here, Israel got the whole deal, but that’s not always the case.
Yet, isn’t that true for us as a church in God’s wonderful provision. God has been tremendously faithful to us, not to say that we’ve always had it easy either. From the beginning in 1929, God provided out of the nursery a house for the church to meet in. Then in 1949, the original sanctuary God provided and built free of debt. Then, many years later in 1988, the new sanctuary, God provided our church a new extension of our building and without that many of us probably wouldn’t be here today. At every milestone of our church home and facility, God has been gracious to provide. Now, we seek the Lord for a new opportunity to see Him move and to work. We desire to ask God to GROW SANLO toward a new endeavor and possibly new facility and home. As God begins to move in us, we might seek God for how to be a part of GROW SANLO. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful…” Let us commit ourselves to seek the Lord and His desires for our lives and our church. See Him provide in mighty ways.
2) God moves us out so that we might see His marvelous redemption. God moves us out from our sinful state in order that we might see, experience, and understand more the depth of God’s plan of salvation. God changes us and transforms us in order that we might see what type of God He is. Our God is deliverer, Savior, Lord, commander, and ruler over our world and our church. (vv.37-39) Verse 37 tells us that the Hebrews traveled from Rameses to Succoth, which means they traveled out of Rameses, one of the major cities to hold the Hebrews. Then they traveled to Succoth, which was a border city of Egypt. God’s people successfully crossed the borders of Egypt. The Word tells us that it was about six hundred thousand men but this isn’t counting the women and children. Plus, there was a mixed multitude of people meaning there were probably some mixed races or even Egyptians who might have become God-fearers, and they left Egypt too. In total, it would have been roughly two million people leaving Egypt. It would have been a massive Exodus of Hebrew, Egyptian, multi-ethnic and multi-generational people. This all happens so quickly that they can’t even wait for their bread to fully bake. They must leave at a moment’s notice. The yeast in the bread had no time to rise. Because of this momentous day, the Hebrews celebrate the Feast of Unleavened bread as part of the Passover. It’s a day of REDEMPTION, SALVATION, and CELEBRATION!!! This is such a significant part of God’s history for His people. God calls them to remember and to celebrate this time for what He did for them. God asks them to recall over and over again that day, a day never to be forgotten, day to remember how is strong, powerful, and mighty God is.
Easter is the Christian’s day of celebration. We also come together every week to celebrate our independence and freedom from sin because of God’s marvelous redemption for us through the cross of Christ. He has saved us from ourselves and the trap of sin and Satan. He has done an amazing work and the redemption of His people. Exodus reminds us all the more how great is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3) God moves us out in order that we might see His steadfast commitment. (vv.40-42) The Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years. God was watching over them throughout the generations. His eyes never left them. His steadfast care and commitment was always upon them night and day, in trial and in triumph, and in slavery and in redemption. He was committed to His covenant promise. Yet, our vision is so limited compared to God’s, because His vision is so vast and eternal. His vision cares through His eternal lens, never straying away from us through every situation, location and generation. This shows God’s amazing commitment to us, because He sees everything. When we fail, He’s still committed. When we sin, wander, and disobey, He is still committed, not only to just watch, but to care and to save.
As the Lord has been committed to us from the very beginning of time, let us see how marvelous, how wonderful, and how faithful God is that it causes in us a response to be committed to Him. As our church adventures into a new journey, God wants to move us out of our normal, out of complacency, out of the same old same old, in order that He might move in. God desires to grow us to different heights and levels in our walk with Him. The GROW SANLO campaign is, yes, about raising funds for a new facility, but the more meaningful and significant part of this is Christ growing in us. God is growing a gospel community of growth for every generation. Consider ways to PRAY, JOIN, SERVE, AND GIVE. We want to encourage every single person in our church to be part of GROW SANLO….in these four ways:
Pray…maybe God is moving you to pray for our elders and leadership, prayer for God’s direction and discernment, prayer for God to open the door to a new facility, and prayer for new believers.
Join…maybe God is moving you to make a commitment to join a small group, join as a new member, maybe you aren’t a believer, join the family of God, how awesome that would be, join a missions team, or join a ministry team.
Serve…maybe God is moving you to make a commitment to serve as a children’s helper (we are in need of children’s ministry workers), serve as a youth leader or small group leader, serve as an usher, and serve on a cleaning crew.
Give…maybe God is moving you to make a commitment to give financially above and beyond your normal tithe.
There are many ways God wants to GROW SANLO and you and me. Take time to meet with the Lord. Ask Him where you can PRAY, JOIN, SERVE, and GIVE. Seek the Lord in what He desires for you as we move with Him so that He might move in your life to show you His gracious provision, marvelous redemption and steadfast commitment.
Have a blessed week in the movement of God,
Stan, for SLZJCC