May 14 - Message Update

Dear San Lo Community, an update for Mother’s Day week May 14, 2017

Thank you Pastor Rod for the message from Exodus 32:1-8, “Fools’ Gold!” Fake gold is used to swindle people out of money. Sometimes fake goods are easy to spot yet we still fall for the scam. The people of Israel fall for a poor replacement of Almighty God in the golden calf. Even though Israel had experienced God’s deliverance from slavery, rescue from the Egyptian army, hunger and thirst in the wilderness, they quickly forgot. What might we want to avoid asking God?

How Long?  (v.1) 1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” The people complain because Moses has not returned from talking to God on the mountain. He has been gone 40 days and nights, not even 6 weeks.  Delayed – causing them shame by not returning according to their expectation. Moses was meeting with the very God who led them. The emphasis here should not be on Moses’ delay but Israel’s impatience. They had forgotten they had pledged their faith to the Lord in chapter 19:5,7-8a, 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples… All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!"’ They wanted a visible god, “make us a god who will go before us,” to replicate what they saw in Egypt and being surrounded by polytheistic a world. They forgot how God appeared to them in a pillar of fire by night and smoke by day. They had forgotten about God’s deliverance. All they wanted to know is how long do we have to wait before we hear from you, God? How long before things get better? How long for my dreams to come true?  

How Wrong?  (vv.2-3) Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. Aaron should have known better, but he gives in without a fight. We’re not sure why he gave in but it is common to hear rationalization, questioning authority, “Really…how wrong can this be? What is so wrong about that?” It is even more so for those in leadership as everyone is watching. ‘So…Aaron says it is okay.’ A clear break from the covenant with God. So they respond and tear off the gold rings (v.4) He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”  Israel is brought out of Egypt, yet relates to the life they left behind. They observed living animals as sacred. Gods with animal heads were commonly used in worship in the Near East. (vv.5-6) Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. Aaron not only builds an altar but he proclaims a feast to God under the guise of the golden calf. They rose early…offered burnt offerings and peace offerings…eat and drink. To play – is singing, leaping and dancing. In verse 25 it describes them as being out of control or running wild. This was not holy worship but a pagan dance party. The problem was not just the golden calf, but that it was a representation of God. We tend to look at what others may use as their golden calves, but the problem is not their specific object, but how it causes us to want one too. It is the misplaced attitude and intent and what we think about it that is the issue by looking to other idols than God for our wants. How wrong really is it? It is wrong.  

How Strong?  (vv.7-8) Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” God doesn’t ask why they have made it or who has made it because it is irrelevant to God. God tells Moses, “your people” – God almost seems to disown them. Corrupted themselves – to destroy, ruin, pervert – a loss of integrity and virtue. It is in times of darkness and hopelessness when God’s truth shines more clearly because you see the wrong vs. the strong more definitely with a clear contrast. Often times when we have a problem it is difficult to discern between what is good and what is best. Typical graduation speeches often center on self-potential. That’s okay, but the problem is that way of thinking is making its way into the church. The focus is on what people are going to do, not on what God is going to do. Rick Warren: Everybody’s betting their life on something. I’m betting my life that Jesus is who He said He was. Jeremiah 10:10, “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.” We don’t have to ask God how long do we have to wait, how wrong is it, or how strong are You? He is the Almighty God and has offered those who believe in His Son, Jesus, life eternal.

Missions Moment: This July 24th through August 2nd, our Nichigo Pastor Sunao Shimada will lead the Japan Mission 2017 team to his former church, Sodegaura Church of Christ in Chiba, Japan to help put on a VBS program there. The team members are Gloria Kama, June Harada, Kimi Sarena from the English department and Makiko, Makoto, Nozomi, and Kokoro Takasaka from the Nichigo department. Please pray they will be able to share how the light of Jesus always shines. Team prayer/support letters are available at the church.

Calendar Items:

5/21   both services       Missions Moment – Mitsu & Karen Nakamura

5/28   both services       Missions Moment – Morry & Sandy Mori (Kumomoto)


6/2          7:11pm           B.A.M.

6/3          8:30am           Mission Prayer

6/3    10am – 12pm        Special Camp Team Building (English sanctuary)

6/4   both services         Jondy Natividad – sports ministry outreach in Japan

6/4        12:30pm            Craft Day (November 11) 1st planning meeting (rm.0)

6/4        12:45pm            NAOMI Team planning meeting (rms. 6-7 & 8-9-10)         

6/7          9:30pm           Women’s Bible Study Praise Brunch – last meeting before summer break

6/9          5:30pm           Little House potluck and fellowship time

6/9          6:00pm           Youth Fellowship Graduation Party

6/16        7:00pm           Jennifer and Brian Yun baby shower at the church

6/18        9:00am           Mission Team meeting

8/18      10:45am            Missions Moment – Makoto & Amy

6/18      12:15pm            Joint Father’s Day Potluck (Joint Fellowship Hour canceled for June 25)

6/24        9:30am           Fong’s ministry breakfast

6/25      10:45am            JEMS summer camp workers’ commissioning

6/25      12:30pm            Craft Day planning meeting to choose classes (rm.8)

Have a great Mother’s Day week in the blessings and grace of the Lord,

Stan , for SLZJCC