SanLo Community, an update for May 20,2018…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Philippians 4:4-9, “Peace of God.” What makes you anxious or stressed out? There are a thousand things that can bring us worry in an instant. Other things can be over a long course of time. Paul is stuck in a prison cell, uncomfortable, cold, even more troubling, he was on death row and unsure of his own future. Yet Paul’s words are, “Don’t worry, don’t fret, there is no need to, but pray. Seek God and find peace.”
1) When we pray God offers peace instead of stress. (vv.4-6) God will give us an eternal peace (calmness) when we seek and come to Him. It’s in prayer we are reminded that God is with us and He is in control. We don’t have to worry. God gives peace when we pray. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Paul continues to anchor the Philippians in the joy of the Lord. It is the Lord who is their delight and pleasure in life. Again, rejoice because He is right there with you. The Lord is at hand. The Lord is near. The nearness of God is His presence. Paul is calling the church’s attention to the fact that God is close to the Philippians and He’s ready to assist them in their pursuit of God. His nearness should inspire them to pray to seek God and to ask of Him. So there is no need to be anxious. Yet, we are plagued with anxiety all the time. We are worried. We are stressed by the cares of life. One pastor said, “Anxiety is sinful. It is ‘functional atheism’ because you are living as though God doesn’t exist, as if He’s not the all-sovereign ruler and God over your life, over the world, and over all.” If God is near, then we don’t have to worry. So, what’s the answer to our worry? What is the solution to our stress? It is simple, yet difficult. Pray. Seek the Lord. Beseech the wisest counsel of all, the wisdom of God. Make your requests of the Commander and Chief of the Universe, Jesus Christ. Peace comes through praying with the ultimate peacemaker. Paul commands us to don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. Pray and know and experience God’s peace. Martin Luther said, “Pray and let God worry.” Put it on God. Let Him work out your work, let Him provide for your relationships, and let Him deal with your health. The result is not that we’ll never have any problems or conflicts rather once we pray and give our burdens to God, we have peace. The word here is guard - God garrisons peace in and through us. Like a Roman solider standing watch over Paul, so God’s peace stands guard over us and against anxiousness and worry. God guards our hearts and minds in Christ.
2) God offers us peace when we think of Him. (vv.8-9) God offers peace when we think about God’s worthy things. God gives us peace when we think about Him and His glorious ways. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Paul addresses our prayers and now our thoughts; what comes into our minds. Paul talks about the thought life of a Christian. Paul provides a list of things to think about here. This list is accompanied by a special emphasis on the breadth of these qualities of God as he repeatedly uses the indefinite adjective, whatever. That anything we think of, whatever make it worthy of God. At this moment, the Philippians need this good word because they too are being persecuted by the society around them. They are tempted to reject everything around them as evil in the outside world. It might feel like to them that the world is going to hell. Satan is winning. Evil is everywhere. Nothing is good. But Paul strikes against that thought that there is still plenty of good in the world, because of God. They must set their minds on what is true, honorable, just, pure and lovely. We are to do the same as Paul. Let our minds meditate on the things of God in order to transform our minds away from the things of the world. Paul is saying don’t get caught up in the world, but in the One who made it. Set our sights on the eternal, everlasting peacemaker, Jesus Christ. Think of what is true, our God. Think of what is noble, our King. Think of what is lovely, our Savior. Think of what is pure, Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God. When we think of Him, He brings peace. Take a moment to sit with God in prayer. Give God your anxiety, your stress, your work, your relationships…etc. Ask yourself, what is the one thing stressing me out? Then offer that to God and then think about one of His divine attributes. Think of Him. Take a moment in your own heart to be with God. Give Him your world right now.
Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28
The Grow SanLo Asia Team 2018 made up of Pastor Eric, Pam, Noe, Remi and Callie Yata, Angel An and Nick Wong shared about their recent trip overseas and presented a slide show. Pam and Angel shared some of their personal experiences working with the special needs community, migrant families and two missionary families. They shared praise to God for a safe and healthy trip and being able to work together as a team in the Lord. They ask for continued prayer for cultural and specialized support for the special needs group and for educational opportunities for migrant families. Please pray about a possible return mission team trip to Japan in 2020, and particularly for believers in East Asia who are facing intense persecution for their faith. They will be offering an extended sharing time after the worship service on June 24 for all to stay and hear more about what they experienced.