Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of May 7, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Exodus 31:1-18, “Too Busy to Rest.” We probably all could use a little more sleep, but how many of us could use a good hour with Jesus? Just as much as the body needs sleep so does our soul need rest in the Lord. God has a lot to say about this subject so much so that God dedicated one of His most precious Ten Commandments to keep the Sabbath. He not only put it into His top ten, but He also reminded Israel of it again in Exodus 31. God believes it’s so important, that He made the Sabbath a crucial apart of Israel’s culture, lifestyle, and worship. It wasn’t taken lightly by Israel, but for many of us keeping the Sabbath and spiritual rest is only seen as good advice or something beneficial, yet not essential to our lives. Why does God command us to rest?
1) God redeems our hearts when we rest in Him. (vv.12-14) God has finished the consecration of the priesthood and the establishment of the Tabernacle and now He pauses for us to reflect and to honor in Him by keeping the Sabbath. The Lord speaks to Moses, “ABOVE ALL,” you shall keep My Sabbaths. God was saying to Israel, “The altar, tabernacle, basin are all important but they are only important because they lead you to worship Me, Yahweh, the Lord Almighty. The Sabbath was meant to remind Israel of their covenant relationship with the Lord. The Sabbath causes Israel to reflect upon their redemption from slavery, Pharaoh, and Egypt, but ultimately, God’s covenant promise of salvation. In verse 13, “So that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.” The Sabbath is meant to propel Israel to worship and experience more deeply the enjoyment of their God and King and the same goes for us. The Sabbath literally means, “To cease or rest from work.” The Sabbath is meant for you to rest or cease from doing what your “normal” work is in order to worship, to enjoy, and to love the Lord. In verse 14 is a strong warning, “Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.” If you didn’t keep the Sabbath, then one was met with a very severe punishment, death. Because what a Hebrew person was really saying is that I’m not interested in You, Lord. I don’t want to be with You God. It was disobedience and unbelief. It was a rebellion against God. Today, God is not going to punish you with death if you don’t show up on Sunday morning or discipline you if you aren’t here. But for Israel, it was a very strict law, because God took His relationship with His people very seriously and so should we. There is something of eternal value in seeking and in serving the Lord on Sunday mornings. It is part of God’s redeeming process of sanctification to lead us to the Almighty and to enjoy Him week in and week out. It’s God’s place of assembly to sanctify and to set us apart to savor and to worship our Lord.
2) God renews our souls when we rest in Him. It is essential and necessary for us to rest, because it’s when God can revive and restore our souls for the Lord. (v.15) There is work to be done for six days. Then, the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest. It is meant to be a day in which you once again cease or rest from your work. This is a day in which God can refresh your soul from all the hard labor both mentally, physically, and spiritually. Then, the Sabbath refreshes you to go back out into the world to work for Him. The Sabbath is a day of restful preparation in order to prepare you for labor in which He has called you to do whether a nurse, a mother, a construction worker, or a student. The day of rest renews our bodies and our souls to serve our Lord. God encourages us to believe that the best use of our time is time spent with Him. God challenges us to see that the most important refreshment comes from His Holy Spirit. If we find our renewal in Him, then He’ll equip us to serve Him tomorrow and the rest of the week. God renews people with rest in Him.
3) God restores our faith with rest in Him. It is essential and necessary for us to rest because it’s when God can remind us of His gracious provisions in our lives. When we keep the Sabbath, God builds our trust in Him that He is sovereign and in control. God grows our faith when we rest in Him. (vv.16-18) In this section, God recalls His rest from creation in Genesis 2:1-3. He brings Israel back to the time after He finished His handiwork in creating the universe and the world. God created everything in six days, then He rested on the seventh day. It’s important to understand that God didn’t need to rest on the seventh day, not like God got tired or weary from all His labor of putting the stars, planets, and universe together. He stopped working as an example for all of us. God instituted rest for us to pause and take notice of how amazing a Creator God that He is and what beauty He created for us to see. God parallels His creation rest with the Tabernacle. God has Israel stop and take notice in order to see what God has done with the building of the Tabernacle and for Israel to see how Holy God is, and how faithful God is. The tabernacle was the very place, where His people met with God, the Holiest Place on Earth. They were to experience Heaven in a sacred time and space like nothing else. The Sabbath reminded the people of God’s providence and provision for their lives. The Sabbath helped to restore their trust and their belief in their covenant keeping God. If God could provide at creation and at the Tabernacle, then God was going to certainly provide them the Promised Land and much more. God was and is faithful to keep His promises.
When was the last time you just stopped all work and put it aside to be with God? When was the last time you found renewal and refreshment in the Lord? Let us never be too busy to rest with Him. Let us never be too distracted to come to God. Let us never be too lazy to walk with Him. Because it’s in the sitting, stopping, and resting that God gives us redemption, renewal, and restoration in order to keep on enjoying and living for Him.
The 2017 NAOMI Mission Team invites the San Lo community to join in their sending and supporting team as they prepare to go to Arizona July 22-29. Prayer letters are available in the foyer. The team includes, Scott, Michi, Dayla, Raymi, Jadey Shimada, Crystal Tran, Helen and Cale Lee-Takaki, Naomi and Marissa Agraz, Eric and Stephanie Kishi, Doug, Samuel and Daniel Inori, Greg and Craig Ng, Jaime and Gracie Yee, Patti Okui, Shinji Yoo-Oh, Alex, Amy, Andie and Allisa Oh. They will be joined by three from our sister church, West Covina, as they have a hands-on time at NAOMI House so they can organize their own mission teams in the future. They are very grateful for all the prayer and financial support.
5/9 1pm-5pm 55+ AARP Driver Safety Classes
5/14 both services Missions Moment – Japan Mission (Chiba VBS)
5/14 Mother’s Day Potluck (Joint Fellowship Hour canceled for May 28)
5/21 both services Missions Moment – Mitsu & Karen Nakamura
5/28 tentative Missions Moment – Jondy Natividad – sports ministry outreach in Japan
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 12:30pm Craft Day (11/11/17) First 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
6/18 9:00am Mission Team meeting
8/18 10:45am Missions Moment – M & A
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 restful Sabbath in the Lord,
Stan , for SLZJCC