July 1 - Message Update

SanLo Community, an update for the week of July 1, 2018…

Thank you Pastor Rod for the message from Joel 2:12-32, “Return Policy.” What is it about the different return policies of various stores and how we deal with them? There is one we can be certain of, the return of Jesus Christ. The book of Joel, written by a little known author, its date of writing uncertain, has one of the Bible’s best descriptions of this important topic. Its message is timeless, mentioning the day of the Lord throughout book. What is God’s ‘return policy’ for life?


RETURN TO GOD  (vv.12-17) 12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart…. with fasting, weeping and mourning; Return to Me with all your heart – verses 1-12 is all about God’s judgment, but from verse 12 there is still opportunity to repent and return to God. It is so easy to say you’re sorry, but to repent with sincerity is much more difficult. The depth of the meaning of repenting is described with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13  rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate. Your heart and not your garments; to rend, or tear one’s clothing in that day was to give a public display which showed great mourning. But did it show the true heart? It was a sign that became symbolic. 14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? 14 - Who knows – we should not assume and presume upon God. He is sovereign, but not distant. In verses 13 and 14, the Lord your God is used hundreds of times in the Old Testament, five times in just this chapter showing the covenant relationship with Israel. 15 Blow a trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. First is the watchman’s trumpet, a ram’s horn sounds the alarm. Second calls for a sacred assembly where all must gather. (v.16) The wedding night was usually exempt from public obligation. (v.17) On behalf of the people, the nation, lead in repentance; pray this two-part prayer: 17“Spare Your people, O Lord, do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’” A quote from Charles Feinberg, “God is always more willing to bless than to blast, to pardon than to punish, to win by love than wound by lashing.”  Is it time for you to return to God? Have you been apart from Him? Are you trying to run away? Do you have questions that have become doubts? Are you feeling alone? Return to God.

RETURN FROM GOD  (vv.18-27) 18 Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people. Zealous – some translations use “jealous”, a passionate loyalty. No questioning compassion, love, care for His people. 19 The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them. Return to Him. He gives return to His people, He restores them. I will never again make you a reproach among the nations – this is a future fulfillment. 20 “But I will remove the northern army far from you, and I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, and its vanguard into the eastern sea, and its rear guard into the western sea. Northern army – the specific invasion is uncertain. There is present and future fulfillment common in Old Testament prophecy. 20 And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, for it has done great things.” 21 Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the Lord has done great things. Do not fear…  rejoice and be glad. There is reward for obedience, do we take it for granted? The Lord has done great things. 23 So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God. again rejoice … be glad….the Lord your God. Who is the victor?  24 The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. Restoration here is miraculous as God’s dealing with Israel. 25 “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust. Locusts are voracious eaters. An invasion of locust does not last long but its devastation does. 26 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; …27 “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame. Acknowledge God’s presence and righteousness in the midst and in the memory of difficult times - God is with Israel. 

RETURN OF GOD  (vv.28-32)28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. The Day of the Lord is the theme in Joel as it is said four times, in 1:15; 2:1, 11; and 3:14 in the time frame of the second coming. God promises to give an extensive and great outpouring of special blessings. Spiritual restoration On all mankind, “all flesh”, “all people.” It is intended for Israel, “your” is emphasized three times in v.28. It had been limited to select few before. Prophesy, dream dreams, see visions.  30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. Blood, fire and columns of smoke – describes much about the effects of warfare. There is doom for enemies of God. 31 “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. (v.32) whoever, everyone – will be specially empowered. God promised to fulfill unilateral covenants with Noah, Abraham, priestly, David.


Mission Moment:

Welcome to Joel, Seiko, Akari (16) and Leo (9) Lovestrand, who we have been supporting for the past 5 years to serve with OMF in Sendai, Japan. They provide pastoral care to build the Izumi Park Town Church to become self-supporting through a Japanese national pastor. There has been fruit with new believers and their baptisms, but as they are on home assignment (Chicago) they ask for prayer for the three in lay leadership to keep the work of the church going and growing until their return next year.


Calendar Items:

7/8     both services       Mission Moment - Les and Lynne Ginoza of ZOE International

7/14      5pm-8pm           Norbert and Atsuyo Hiramoto’s 50th Anniversary DinnerSign up deadline is July 4

7/15                              Commissioning – VBS workers, NAOMI Team and Teon Lee for HKSTM

7/16-20                         Vacation Bible School – Shipwrecked, Rescued by Jesus

7/21-28                         NAOMI House - Arizona mission

7/29      12:30pm            Annual Meeting – English and Nichigo

8/11     1pm – 6pm         Special Camp Post Camp Debrief

8/11        7:00pm           JEMS Post Mt. Hermon Rally (tentative)

8/19      12:30pm            Wedding Shower for Mika Matsumoto & Nathan Matsuda

9/1        9am-noon          All-Church Cleanup

9/15                              3 on 3 Basketball Tournament

9/29                              NorCal Regional Gathering