From Theocracy to Monarchy, a study of 1 Samuel

Today’s Message in a Nutshell–“From Theocracy to Monarchy”, a study of 1 Samuel

The book of 1 Samuel takes us from the birth of Samuel, the last and greatest judge of Israel, to the anointing of Israel’s most beloved king, David. We find in this book a transition from “theocracy to monarchy” as God’s people chose to be “like all the nations” by demanding that a human king rule over them (1 Samuel 8:5), an outright rejection of the King of kings who had led them from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Sadly, a number of believers today follow the error of God’s people in Samuel’s time. We reject God’s rule over us.  Rather than following God’s way, we instead embrace the ways of the world. The Scriptures, therefore, remind us to not love this world (1 John 2:15-17) or be conformed to it (Romans 12:1-2).  Rather, we should “set our affections on things above” (See Colossians 3).

We also find in 1 Samuel repeated portraits of individuals who had a good beginning but a sad ending.  Eli judged over Israel for forty years but was disgraced by the grievous sins of his two sons. Saul began as a good king but at the end lost his reign because of his disobedience. Samuel, the godly and greatest judge of Israel, died without seeing his sons walk in God’s ways. Finally, David, called a man after God’s own heart and described as having reigned righteously as king, died as a man with a broken heart over his family as a result of his personal sin.

Living the Christian life is like running a race (Hebrews 12:1). Let us, therefore, follow the example of the apostle Paul who, although had a bad start, finished well (2 Timothy 4:7)!

Prayer Requests:

Do continue to pray for a harvest from our telephone outreach campaign and follow-up efforts.  We also ask intercession for our family as Anna gives birth any day now.  We need the Lord’s strength, guidance and wisdom every day. Thank you!

A “Ruth” in the making?

Sunday Worship Message in a Nutshell:

“Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence” (Ruth 3:11, NASB).

This outstanding commendation was given to Ruth the Moabite. This attention given to her character, her “inner beauty,” stands in stark contrast to the world’s focus on physical beauty, evidenced by Hollywood celebrities and today’s multi-billion dollar cosmetic business.

Though it is not wrong to be physically handsome or beautiful, as Scriptures speak of such beauties as Sarah and Queen Esther, the problem begins when outward appearance becomes our pursuit. May we not be swayed by the world’s perspective; instead, may our pursuit be Christ—to be more like him (Romans 8:29). Through her character, Ruth demonstrates to us the importance of inner beauty—that which comes from a heart transformed by and in submission to God.

Praises:

What a blessing to celebrate the 15th birthday of one of the young people who come regularly to Northside. We rejoice especially in her spiritual birthday, for her receiving the Lord Jesus as her Savior this year. Here’s possibly a “Ruth” in the making :), for she and her parents have been opening their home for a weekly Bible Study. Praise the Lord!

We also praise praise the Lord for the two visitors who came to our Sunday worship as a result of the telephone campaign last week! Please help us pray for each of those who expressed interest in visiting Northside Harvest.  We have been making follow ups with prayer and do trust in our Lord who alone can give the increase.

Learning from the book of Judges

“…. and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).

The book of Judges paints a sad picture of what happened to Israel after Joshua died. The generation that followed him and the elders who witnessed God’s great act of redemption did not know the Lord.  “[E]very man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25). Israel’s moral decline and sin of spiritual adultery proves more than just a repeating cycle; it was a cycle that spiraled downward. In fact, even the majority of the judges (“deliverers”) lived questionable lives (An Introduction to the Old Testament, Dillard and Longman, 125). Still, we see God’s gracious act of deliverance in response to the people’s cry for mercy.

Note: It only took one generation for Israel to forget the true God.  Let us learn from the book of Judges.  Let us not forsake the study of the Word of God and the fellowship with believers. Let us be intentional in living a godly example for our children and in faithfully teaching them the Holy Scriptures!

This week, please pray with us as we try to reach our generation and the next via a telephone campaign through Tellstart. Calls will be made to almost 17,000 residential homes in North San Jose and Milpitas. May the good Lord give us a good harvest and the strength and wisdom to follow up on those who respond.

With gratitude for your prayers,

Pastor Sidney

What is your Definition of Success?

After giving an overview of the book of Joshua, Pastor Sidney focused on chapter one. Two questions he posed remain in my mind: (1) “What is ‘success?'” and (2) “Who is your ‘God?'” Think about it: your definition of “success” can actually reveal who your “God” is.  For example, if “success” to you means being wealthy, then your pursuit of riches reveals that money is your “god.”

In Joshua 1, we are reminded that true success is in knowing and obeying the Word of God (Joshua 1:8).  Joshua himself challenged the Israelites to choose whom they will serve (Joshua 24:15).  Just remember: “Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and things were allowed to enter. Within the human heart things have taken over.  Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk, stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne”  (The Pursuit of God, 22).

As Pastor Sidney would often say, “How are you today?” May we repent from having placed “idols” in our hearts where the Lord Jesus Christ should be King.

–Anna Capillas for Pastor Sidney who sends his gratitude to each one of you who came today and to each one of you who prayed. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Love

In answer to a lawyer’s question concerning the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus said, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

These words by our Lord Jesus remind us of what we should truly value– our relationship with God and the relationships we have with others.  This Thanksgiving, why not set aside some special time to give God thanks for who He is, what He has done and what He continues to do in your life? After time with the Lord, go and express your gratitude to others. Let us not take each other for granted. Do take time to say, “Thank you.”

On that note, we thank the LORD for He is good, faithful and longsuffering. We thank Him for His grace in having saved and called us to the ministry. To our brethren at Sunrise Valley, thank you for your love, faithful prayers and support. To our family, friends and loved ones, thank you for each kind word and deed. To NHBC’s regular attendees, thank you for your faithful presence and desire to learn from God’s Word; and to our neighbor, thank you for accepting our invitation to come to this morning’s service!

Here’s the Facebook link to Recent Photos of the Thanksgiving Dinner at our Mother Church and the Thanksgiving Service at Northside Harvest.

Only a Few Weeks To Live…

“What if you only had a few weeks to live? What would you do?” This was my opening question today, a question that created a moment of deep thought among the people.

In the book of Deuteronomy, we find Moses, God’s great prophet, who knows of his impending death. After decades of wandering in the wilderness, the people he had led under God is finally ready to enter the promised land, the land that he himself will not be allowed to enter.  What did Moses do in his last days? Scripture says that “Moses undertook to expound this law” (emphasis mine, meaning “all that the LORD had commanded him to give to them” (Deut. 1:3b)) Deut. 1:5.

What Moses did during his last days demonstrates what was important in his life– God, His Word, and His people.  How about you? What is important to you? I pray that we will daily search the Word so that we will know, indeed, the true treasures of life.  Life is short. There is eternity to think about. Death is certain. It can come any time. What will you do?

This Sunday, 11/20, we encourage you to come and join us in worship. Let us give thanks to the Lord together. “Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it” -A.W. Tozer, Signposts. Christianity Today, v. 39, n. 13.

Please– do not neglect what is important. We encourage you to Click Here to find a local Bible-believing church. Go and take someone with you!

 

Faithfully Coming…

Have you ever prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for this food,” and then later complain about it? Have you ever praised God one day and then doubt Him the next?

In the book of Numbers, we find the Israelites complain time and time again, doubting God and His promises, even though they had repeatedly witnessed His miracles, provision and faithfulness.  We say to ourselves, “What rebellious hearts!” But aren’t we guilty, too? How often have we found ourselves complaining about our situation? How often have we found ourselves doubting God? When was the last time you ate your food, after giving thanks, without complaining about it?

This morning at Northside Harvest, God’s Word reminded us of the need to be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:18).  What a faithful God we serve; and, we thank Him today for those who, from Sunday to Sunday, have been faithfully coming…

Till next time, please be praying with us as we plan ways for reaching out to the community with the Gospel of Christ. We are trusting in God for His wisdom, guidance, strength, provision and perfect timing…

What makes Nov. 1st so special?

November 1st is a special day, and here’s Kathleen who will “tell” you all about it through song!

During our worship today, Kathleen sat quietly (for a few minutes) on the first row, which was quite a feat for a toddler.  Three of the four families who regularly attend were present (not counting ourselves and my parents-in-law), and we praise the Lord! Please pray that these families will commit themselves to the Lord and decide to become members.  One of these regular attendees actually asked for a pew Bible to read during the week!

The message today focused on the Holiness of God and His call to holy living. We went through the different sacrifices and offerings, making clear that man cannot approach God on man’s terms.  Man must approach God according to God’s way– and that one exclusive way is through “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Please continue to pray for us as we seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance in this new church planting ministry.  We are still working on various documents to be able to go door-to-door and distribute flyers.

 

 

 

Once upon a “Box”

Before I begin “Once upon a Box,” let me first give a brief glimpse into this morning’s message.  In a world that would have us believe that truth is a matter of opinion, the Word of God makes clear that absolute truth exists. In Exodus 20, God Himself spoke saying, “I am the LORD” (and over and over in Scripture, we read, “there is no other”!); then, God gives His commandments. These laws actually show man’s sinfulness. Paul explains this fact to Timothy–“that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are…sinners” (I Tim.1:9ff). Paul himself testified of God’s mercy, saying “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (I Tim. 1:15-16).  Read Exodus 20 again and meditate on I Timothy 1. . .

which now brings me to “Once upon a Box,” for this is a story of a priceless gift to Northside Harvest Baptist Church. . .

Once upon a Saturday, a brown box came . . .

and what was inside?

A priceless gift worth embracing!

And worth showing to all the world! (There were 11 of us again today — two had to leave early and are not in the photo and one, my wife, is taking the photo :))

Yup. Northside Harvest Baptist Church now has (not 12 but 24) new Bibles for our Sunday Services–a special gift from our Sending Church, Sunrise Valley Baptist Church! To each of our brethren there, we give our most sincere “Thank you.” Because of your kindness, you have caused great rejoicing in our hearts unto our Lord. As our little Kathleen reminds us everyday through her singing, “God is so good.”

“God Can Do Anything But Fail”

We were eating supper when our hearts were uplifted with our toddler’s rendition of “God can do anything.” Our little Kathleen has apparently learned the song from our worship service on Sundays!  Yesterday, we were 11 all in all. Before the service began, we passed out invitations to coffee drinkers at Peet’s and grocery shoppers at Safeway. We are still working on remaining documents we need but with liability insurance, we are now permitted under our Use Permit from the City of Milpitas to “go public.”  We are now planning ways on how to reach out to the community to bring worshippers to our Lord.

On our own, we know we are sure to fail; but with God, we know nothing is impossible.  Saturday night, I received a call from Chaplain Dr. John Murdoch, who not only provided me with needed counsel for my Chaplaincy training but interceded for me and my family and the church work the Lord has entrusted to us. How truly encouraged I was and challenged by this godly man and others like him who take the time out of their busy schedules to let us know of their care and prayers for us! On this note, we continue to thank our Sending Church under the leadership of Pastor Shaw, for their faithful prayers.

In the preaching yesterday, I gave an overview of the book of Exodus but gave particular attention to chapter three. One main principle I prayed to clearly communicate is the fact of God’s certain judgment of sin. In his mercy, before He executes judgment, He provides a warning, giving man the opportunity to repent. Indeed, we are told to “not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Until next time! (I’m now on my way to my 24-hour duty for my chaplain internship :).