March 12 - Message Update

Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of March 12, 2017

Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Exodus 18:1-27, “Following the Leader.” We are continuing on in the book of Exodus in our series, “A Great GOD for a GREAT Movement.”  We are in our second month of our GROW SANLO campaign as we seek to GROW us in our core values of Serve Adore Nurture Learn and Outreach. We are going to look at a few leaders in our story of Exodus, Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, who stood up to lead by example, but ultimately, the main leader in this story is God, who is our perfect leader. He has never failed, He is completely humble, and took all the shame upon Himself for us. How does God lead His people?

1) God leads us in His gracious redemption. (vv.1-12) Jethro, Moses’ father in law, brings Zipporah, Moses’ wife, and his sons back to Moses. Now on the surface it doesn’t seem like much of anything. On the contrary, in Ancient Near East times, to go back to the family meant something was probably wrong. The text just doesn’t provide enough information to know for sure, but for any Israelite, there was tension in the story. There was concern over Jethro speaking his mind shortly after about Moses’ micromanaging leadership and its effect on his family. However, the bigger storyline here is about Jethro and his faith more than his family. He is a Midianite priest and probably believed in a multitude of gods. He was a non-Israelite, not from the chosen race of God. Yet Moses approaches his father-in-law with respect and honor. Moses pays Jethro respect with a bow and kisses him. They offer each other pleasantries before having a deep conversation. Moses tells Jethro the great story of Israel’s salvation from Egypt. Then in an almost shocking and amazing way - there is a sudden conversion of Jethro. He praises and blesses Yahweh. His confession in verse 11, Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” There is a tremendous confession of faith by Jethro….the Lord is greater than all gods.  The Lord saves this unbelieving enemy and changes him into a believing man of God. We have a Heavenly Father who provides for our every need and desires to redeem us.

2) God leads us in His divine Word. (vv.13-20) The story takes a different turn from the conversion of Jethro to the sound advice of Jethro. This not just a good leadership principle, but the principle of God’s law and His word. The people are coming to their leader, Moses, for instruction from the statues and laws of God. They are seeking out spiritual advice and direction. Moses is providing that, but his misstep is that he’s trying to do it all on his own.  The main point of this part of the passage is not Moses’ failure yet, we’ll get to that, but the people’s failure and need. God has and is establishing something crucial and vital for His people to follow, the law and divine authority of the Torah, the Word. The law wasn’t just meant to keep people in line but it was to reveal their shortcomings as well as lead them to true life. The law was there to exploit their sinful hearts and to show them their need for God. The law is not just a to-do list of does and don’ts. It’s not just a rule book to follow. It’s not just a map or compass. It is the living and active truth of God, which leads us to our Lord, Savior, and life giver, Jesus Christ. Let us be led by His Word so that we might be led by Him.

3) God also leads us with a team of leaders. (vv. 21-23) It is a never a one-man show, it is always a show to be shared by qualified and gifted men and women. God uses a variety of people to serve His purpose, everyone matters in the cause of Christ. We’ve seen Jethro’s confession, his corrective criticism, and now his wise counsel. Jethro’s advice to Moses is that he needs to delegate his responsibility. Moses cannot take on every single concern. It is going to burn him out. Jethro provides Moses with great guidance to delegate many of the tasks to various groups of people. There were probably around 2 million people so there was definitely a need to delegate the responsibility and leadership. Jethro sets up a system of judges in order to spread out the responsibility amongst many in order to best serve the people of God. It is the same as in the New Testament where the apostles saw that the elders couldn’t handle all the responsibilities so they had to create a leadership team of deacons to help serve the people. God’s design for the church is simple yet effective for the elders / pastors to teach and to lead and the deacons to serve. God’s principle rings true - every person matters and counts, it takes a whole team of people to make church possible by the hand of God.

4) God leads us with humble servants. (vv.24-27) This team of leaders must be comprised of people who are qualified and sufficient in the Word and most importantly, be humble. We must be people who are willing to surrender our own pride, sufficiency, and direction in order to serve the Lord. Jethro has confronted his son in law, Moses. Verse 24 says, Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, he listened…such a simple word but sometimes so hard to do. Not only does Moses listen but he follows the exact instructions of his father-in-law. He sets up the judiciary system the way his father-in-law said.  Moses gave up his pride, he gave up his power, and he gave his position for the betterment of himself and Israel. He humbled himself before Jethro, God, and all the Israelites…to serve the people of God. Humility says, “I am willing to change. Lord, change my heart, my mind and my behavior. Lord, I am willing to be wrong about my sin, my thoughts, and life. I am willing to adjust to your plans, not my own, God.” Jesus gave up everything to become nothing so that we might have everything. He left His grand and luxurious palace in the Heavens for a meek and lowly feeding trough. He gave up His omniscient and omnipresent powers to become a limited baby boy. He surrendered and lost all to become sin and wrath so that we don’t have to. He is our humble king who shows us true humility. Jesus Christ led with sacrifice, service, and surrender in order that we might have the privilege to know, love, and experience God. He led in this way to show us how we are to follow Him. Let us surrender ourselves humbly to our God so He might use and lead us. Let us give up our rights so we might find the greatest rights in Jesus Christ. Let us humble ourselves so we might follow our humble leader. 


Calendar Items:

3/14-21                          Young Life Homestay Program (Daisuke and Cheryl Ikegami)

3/19   both services       Missions Moment – Nick Wong – Thailand, Colorado, next steps

3/26        9:00am            Missions Team meet with Joey and Jasmine Tell  (http://www.wheelchairproject.com/the_team/)

3/26        9:00am            CE Teacher’s Brunch & Training meeting

3/26      10:45am            Missions Moment – Joey and Jasmine Tell

 

4/1          8:30am           Missions Prayer

4/2        12:45pm           NAOMI planning meeting (room 8-9-10)

4/7          7:11pm           B.A.M.

4/8       11am-3pm         Church Picnic at the CV Community Center (Vern Hu)

4/9                                 Palm Sunday

4/14        7:00pm           Good Friday Services (English service & Japanese service)

4/16                               Easter

4/23   both services       Greetings/sharing from David and Sue Verwey (Japan Mission)

4/23      12:45pm            Mission Team meeting (room 8)

4/29     8am – 2pm         Love East Bay – Spring Serve (Pastor Eric)

4/29     9am – 1pm         Special Camp Aide Training (English sanctuary and kitchen use)

4/30      12:45pm            NAOMI team meeting to prepare prayer letters (room 8)

Have a humble week, following our leader, Jesus Christ,

Stan, for SLZJCC