Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of January 15, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from Exodus 3-4:13, “When God Calls.” Arvo Pärt, the Estonian composer of classical and sacred music, has won numerous international awards and honorary doctorates. Pärt spent seven or eight years searching and came to embrace the Christian faith. The British newspaper, The Guardian, quoted Pärt’s simple but lofty goal for his vocation and calling, wanting his music to express "love for every note" he writes or plays. What a beautiful way to pursue our calling in life. We too, can make it our desire to express love for everything we do. God calls us to join Him in accomplishing His plans. When God calls, what should I do?
1) When God calls, be RESPECTFUL. (vv.3:5-6) Do you respect God enough to fear His glory? God calls His people to join in His plans to be a part of His work so that we may experience His glory. When God spoke as a burning bush to Moses, He said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (v.3:5) Moses was reminded that the God he serves is a Holy God that should be revered and respected. Later, Moses’ successor, Joshua was told the same thing by the LORD just as he was about to conquer the great city of Jericho. The mere presence of God turned common, everyday dirt, into a sacred place, holy ground, a place to be respected and revered. God loves us and Jesus invites children to Himself but they are to be respected as Lord and Teacher over us. Is God calling you this morning? Is He saying for you to go ahead and take a chance reach out and love your neighbor? Maybe He is asking you to trust Him, let go and do not be anxious about anything. Whatever it is, say yes to the Lord, instead of no. Think about Him as the Creator of all things, the universe, the galaxies, planets, earth, majestic mountains, flowing rivers, rolling hills and life itself. Respect Him. He is calling you for a reason, just as He called Moses.
2) When God calls, be RESPONSIVE. (vv.3:11,13; 4:1) Did you know it is okay to ask questions of God? Some religions teach us that if you respond to God with a question He gets angry. That is not true. Moses wanted to be sure of God’s call and asked three questions. 1) Who am I? 2) What shall I say? and 3) What if...? These are responses we can relate to. When God calls us, it’s often something that makes us uncomfortable and we doubt. We ask just as Moses did, “Who am I? What shall I say? and What if...? God had an answer for these three questions. When Moses asked, “Who am I?” (v.3:11), God answered, “I will be with you.” (v.12) When God said, “I will be with you,” shouldn’t that have been enough? It wasn’t. Moses was worried about how to respond if the Israelites asked him, “Who sent you, what is His name? What shall I say?” God said tell them, “I AM WHO I AM.” This is an amazing comment. God’s chosen people were Egyptian captives for 430 years and were influenced by the many gods of Egypt. God said tell them, “I AM WHO I AM,” to remind His people that there is only one true God who has no beginning or end but is, “I AM.” Finally, God showed Moses three signs when Moses asked “What if?” God turned a staff into a snake and back to a staff. He made Moses’ hand leprous and then healed it, and lastly turned the Nile water into blood. God may not give you signs like He did for Moses but His activity in your life can be just as assuring, for example; answered prayers, healing of sickness, protection, and provision when needed. This church has responded to the call of God and moved forward in faith despite some fears we had. Now God may be calling this church to another chapter in our journey with Him. It is an overwhelming thought to think about leaving the long history we have at this location. There are a myriad of obstacles to overcome. How shall we respond? Maybe our first step is to recall the “signs” God has shown us in the past and be confident that He goes before us.
3) When God calls, be REAL. (vv.4:10-13) Don’t try to outsmart God, it’s foolish. We just saw how Moses asked good questions but it didn’t seem like he paid attention to God’s answers. His concerns seemed sincere until his real feelings are revealed in Exodus 4:13, “Please Lord, now send the message by whomever you will.” In other words send any one else but me to be your messenger. He did not want to be the spokesman and leader for the nation of Israel. It’s kind of humorous to think that Moses tried to outsmart God with a smoke screen disguised as genuine concerns. But don’t we do the same thing? We fool ourselves into thinking God can’t be talking to me. Who am I? Nobody will listen to what I have to say. Let’s get real. It’s okay to feel inadequate because we are. It’s okay to be honest and tell God, “I’m not sure how this will go.” It’s okay to ask questions like Moses. But let’s remember all that God has done for us in the past and who He is. He is Creator God and you are His creation! If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord you are not only God’s creation you are also God’s child. He is your fantastic Father who desires only the best for you. Of course you have the option to say “no” to God but you will miss out, like Moses did, on the good God has planned for you. Maybe this will help you to say, “YES.” When God calls, be real but remember... “We are not adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
God has called every born-again believer to evangelize and share the Gospel with friends, co-workers, and classmates. In fact He commanded it. Jesus’ final instructions to all of His followers is to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” Matthew 28:19. God’s call might seem daunting and difficult. You might feel like Moses who was overwhelmed with the task of being the spokesman for Israel. God told Moses he is the one to go before Pharoah, the supreme leader of Egypt, and request Israel to be released after 430 years of captivity (Ex. 14:41). You can tell by Moses’ response he was uncomfortable with the idea. For many sharing the Gospel is just as scary as it was for Moses to be God’s mouthpiece. We ask the same three questions, Who am I? What shall I say? What if...? When God calls us to do something for Him we might ask, “Who am I to think I can tell others about God? What shall I say, I don’t know the Bible as well as my teachers or pastors? What if they don’t believe me or listen to what I have to say? What if I blow it? What if they make fun of me? What if...?” It was a shame that Moses missed out on what God had planned for him. In the same way it is unfortunate when we miss out on the chance to witness people turn their lives over to Christ because of our fears.
1/22 9am & 11am Missions Moment – Andy Jeung
1/22 10am & 12pm AADP – Bone Marrow Donor Drive
1/22 12:45pm Evangelism seminar, “Sharing the Gospel” (Jeff Kataoka)
1/27 5:30pm F3 Potluck Dinner and Fellowship Time (Pastor Scott & Michi Shimada)
1/29 9:00am Small Group Kickoff Breakfast (Pastor Eric)
1/29 12:15pm Baptisms & New Membership Transfers – Reception/Joint Fellowship Hour
1/30-2/2 OMS Pastor’s Retreat
2/5 9:00am Deacon’s Meeting in room 8-9
2/5 12:30pm Baby Shower – Wendy and Jeff Chun
2/6 Mon. 7:30pm Young Life Hosting team meeting – anyone interested
2/12 12:15pm Gro San Lo – Capital Campaign Launch Meeting
2/12 12:45pm Missions Team Meeting in room 8-9
2/19 12:45am NAOMI House Ministry Information Meeting in room 8-9
2/25 (t.b.d.) 55+ Senior Care – PACE, Laurie Shigekuni (Gary Yamashita)
Have a blessed week making disciples,
Stan , for SLZJCC