Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of January 29, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Scott for the message from Exodus 7:8-13, “Too Closed For Comfort.” There are times when we get so focused on a specific thing or issue, we lose sight of the big picture. We get so wrapped up in our own thinking, we don’t acknowledge it is God who is in control. We don’t mean to, but it does happen. How do we fail to acknowledge God?
1) We close our eyes. When we don’t see Him. (vv.8-10) It’s not the physical closing of our eyes that I am talking about. It’s the fact that Pharaoh saw what was going on and didn’t even acknowledge it, mention it, comment on it or give any credit to Aaron, Moses or God. A staff is used to support oneself. It is a word used to describe supporting life. In Chapter 4, the Lord told Moses to throw down his staff and it became a snake. Picking it back up by the tail, it returned to being a staff. This is God in control. Pharaoh sees this and does not acknowledge it. We know this because he immediately summons wise men and sorcerers. Pharaoh just saw a staff turn into a snake! Yet he did not appear to think there was anything amazing about that. In fact, he figures he can find others to do the same thing. Do we do the same thing? God is presenting us with all these miracles around us and we chalk it up to science or nature? Do we close our eyes to the miracles of God? We see things and we know there’s a scientific reason behind them but we have to first acknowledge that it’s God putting it all together. You are a complex being. God made you so unique. We all are. And yet how often do we take our lives for granted? Are you aware of all of your surroundings? God performs so many miracles every day, we miss many of them. God created you, He loves you, He died on the cross for you. He changes lives and He can change yours too. First, you need to open your eyes and see that God is real and He wants to have a relationship with you.
2) We close our minds. We fail to think about Him. (vv.11-12) Pharaoh summoned wise men and sorcerers. He turned away from the acts of God and looked towards worldly imitations. Wise men = experienced, clever, could refer to skillful artisans – maybe from other regions. Sorcerers = used six times in Old Testament, always refers to the worship of idolatry. Literally means whispers, magical words, like abracadabra. Secret arts = only used in this verse. It means “to hide” to be covert. These are the things that Pharaoh chose to look at and closed his mind to the things of God. Have you ever had to talk to someone who would not listen to your point of view? No matter what, they would not budge. Maybe they were mad because they thought you did something you didn’t do. And no matter how much proof you had, they would not believe you. It is very frustrating. You can’t reason with the unreasonable. You can’t make them see what they don’t want to see. What about when it is us who have the closed mind? We miss out on seeing the things God wants us to see. I want to encourage you – open your mind and allow God to show you who He is and how He can make a difference in your life if you give Him a chance. Because if you close your mind, you will fail to acknowledge God.
3) We close our hearts when we fail to believe in Him. (v.13) “Hardened,” is used twelve times to describe the condition of Pharaoh’s heart. Usually it’s a positive word – meaning to support, to be courageous, to preserve, to be strong. But here it’s used to describe a heart that is so hard that it cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes we have hardened hearts. Pharaoh’s sin prevented him from acknowledging God. There are many reasons why a heart is hardened. “Understand” means to perceive, put all together, make sense out of it. If the disciples (Mark 6) had understood the miracle that Jesus just fed 5000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish, then they wouldn’t have been so shocked at Jesus walking on the water. The disciples eventually understood and even followed Jesus to the point that they would die for the Gospel. They all died defending Jesus. Why? Because they saw with their eyes, they opened their minds and believed with their hearts that Jesus was and is the Son of God. They made a decision that changed their eternity, and you can make that same decision.
What are you focusing your attention on? Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he never gave God a chance and he missed out because he put his focus on something else. Sometimes we focus on the natural and ignore the supernatural. We focus on the created and not the Creator. We give credit to nature and science and fail to acknowledge the One who designed nature and science. We don’t focus on spiritual things so our hearts are hardened. But by focusing on God and the things He does in our lives, our hearts are more in line with the things He wants for us.
Pharaoh failed to acknowledge God. The disciples eventually did acknowledge God. What about you? Will you take this opportunity to make a decision that will affect your eternity? You just have to give Him a chance. Will you allow Him to show Himself to you? God is all around you. Don’t miss out on all the wonderful things God has in store for you. You need to make that decision and to ask Him to help you. Acknowledge Him in your life.
Thank you Pam Yata for the Children’s Message from Exodus 7. Pharaoh was a real bad guy, probably worse than Darth Vader! He was the King of Egypt and very selfish. He worshiped all the false gods and wanted the Hebrews to worship them too. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let My people go!” Pharaoh said, “No Way! I don’t care what you have to say!” So God caused 10 very disastrous plagues to attack Egypt, each time Pharaoh said, “No Way! I don’t care what you have to say!” Until finally, after the last plague which the first-born in each family died, Pharaoh finally listened to God. So the Hebrews were set free by God.
Congratulations to those who were baptized: Jill Louie, Angela Kao, Carly Ogata, Julio Lopez, Estela Mamangun, Dayla Shimada, Crystal Tran, Krysta Brock, Edgar Brock and Rie Hannon. Welcome to those who were received into membership: Jill Louie, Angela Kao, Estela Mamangun, Julio Lopez, John Dalisay, Lara Dalisay, Melissa Wong, Steven Inn, Pansy Inn, Christine Kawabata, Doug Inori, Kaeko Inori and Rie Hannon.
2/3 7:11pm B.A.M. guest speaker Otis Amey, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
2/4 8:30am Missions Prayer
2/5 9:00am Deacon’s Meeting in room 8-9
2/5 12:30pm Baby Shower – Wendy and Jeff Chun
2/6 7:30pm Young Life Hosting team meeting – Please attend if interested
2/12 Grow San Lo – Capital Campaign Launch
2/12 12:45pm Missions Team Meeting in room 8-9
2/19 12:45am NAOMI House Ministry Information Meeting in room 8-9
2/25 10:00am 55+ Senior Care – PACE, Laurie Shigekuni (Gary Yamashita)
3/3-4 B.A.S.S. Convention
3/5 Visitor Day
3/14-21 Young Life Homestay Program (Daisuke and Cheryl Ikegami)
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 Appreciation Brunch (back of English sanctuary)
3/26 10:45am Missions Moment – Joey and Jasmine Tell
4/9 Palm Sunday
4/29 8:00am Love East Bay – Spring Serve @ Faith Fellowship
Have a blessed week acknowledging God in your life,
Stan , for SLZJCC