Church Family Newsletter | March 26, 2022
Moses would have experienced the same challenges while leading the Israelite people. He went up Mt. Sinai to speak to God Himself and receive instructions for the people. But as soon as He descended down the mountain, the people were already reverting back to their old ways. To cut a long historical narrative short, the Israelites when through highs and lows as a nation depending on their obedience to God.
My prayer for us all is taken from Joshua's words to the Israelites when they were returning home: "Be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5).
We live in a society which is addicted to polling.
Whether it is to find which advertising slogan sells the most product or what political message resonates best with the electorate, a whole industry has sprung up seeking to elicit the popular sentiment on any number of topics and hopefully give an opportunity for correction or a commercial advantage from the results.
My granddaughter and I are currently exploring the Central Limit Theorem in statistics — she for the first time, me after many decades — which asserts a “law of large numbers” that distributions of data will become more “normalized” as the number of samples goes up. In general this gives a better sense of the strength of the characteristic being measured and how strong the correlation might be to the general population.
We use a similar methodology in our legal system, implicitly assuming that a jury of twelve of our peers will arrive at a better, hopefully more truthful, conclusion than any individual could.
In our political system, “majority rules” is adopted to keep the system from devolving into chaos. Of course, taken to extreme, this can lead to a “might is right” mentality which inevitably leads to the enrichment of the privileged and oppression of the marginalized.
It is therefore intriguing and instructive to discover Jesus conducting his own opinion poll.
'When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven,"' Matthew 16:13-17, NIV.
Some commentators take this passage out of context and claim that Jesus was conflicted or uncertain about his divinity or mission and needed assurance that he was being recognized for who he really was and needed to conduct an opinion poll of the disciples to reassure himself. I’ll come back to a possible motivation for Jesus’ question in a moment, but first, let’s be certain that Jesus knew exactly what he was about.
There is a fascinating encounter recorded in John’s Gospel between Jesus and a woman of Samaria at a town called Sychar. I encourage you to read it again for yourself in John 4:1-42. It is in this encounter that we hear, in Jesus’ own words, his understanding of who he was:
'The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”' John 4:25-26, NIV [emphasis mine].
There is absolutely no equivocation or hesitation or self-doubt in that statement, is there?
So, let us return to Jesus polling his disciples and their answers.
The group gives the current polling results, John the Baptist (intriguing since he was the only contemporary in the group, but already dead by this time), or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or some prophet, you can imagine general vague hand-waving. But apparently, Jesus is not interested in the group-think and makes it personal, “But what about you?” Note why Jesus is happy with Peter’s answer. Peter wasn’t parroting the crowds or public sentiment (“flesh and blood”) but gave the answer revealed by God Himself.
It wasn’t the most popular answer, it wasn’t the consensus answer, it wasn’t the most politically correct answer, and it most assuredly was not the safest answer. But it was the truth!
Peter was not relying on human devised measurements to arrive at his conclusion, but instead stood by a conviction revealed by God Himself. Jesus commends him for it and in doing so presents a lesson for us who are his disciples in this present age. We should base our beliefs on the revealed word of God in the person of Jesus Christ rather than the practices, policies, doctrines, personalities, or popular appeal of preachers or religious institutions. Jesus doesn’t ask, “What does your church believe?” or “What does your family believe?” or “What does your generation believe?” but rather“What do you believe?”.
To paraphrase a popular protest slogan, “No Jesus - No truth. Know Jesus - Know Truth!” [see John 14:6], and crowds are frequently, if sincerely, wrong — “We all, like sheep, have gone astray…” Isaiah 53:6 NIV.
So let’s be sure we are basing our individual truth on our relationship with the one who is the very definition of truth, rather than polling our peers for their opinion.
Blessings on you and yours,
This will take you to Jim Black's collection of articles since starting the newsletter.
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Jr. Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Sunday School - Classroom 3
- 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets - Library
- 10:00 AM - Senior Soldier Class - Courtyard Classroom
- 10:15 AM - Prayer Meeting - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - In-Person Worship Service - Streaming on Concord Corps Family FB Page
- 12:15 PM - Singing Company Rehearsal - Chapel
- 1:15 PM - Lunch Break - Fireside Room
- 1:30 PM - Jr. Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 6:00 PM - Women's Bible Study - Zoom
- 7:00 PM - Songster Practice - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Musicians' Devotions & Prayer - Chapel
- 8:15 PM - Senior Band Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Card Embroidery Craft - Fireside Room
- 6:30 PM - YouthForce - Game Night & Tacos - Fireside Room
- 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Del Oro Brass & Chorus Rehearsal - Kroc
REMINDER: NEXT SUNDAY - April 3rd
- 6:00 PM - Corps Council - Zoom
Volunteer Disaster Action Training
Divisional Youth Retreat
Cameo's Thrift Store Blitz
Chapel & Foyer Getting Repainted
International Prayer Focus
Territorial Leaders: Lt. Colonels Vanlalnungi and Zothanmawia
- Pray for The Salvation Army Ministries in Command.
- Pray for Child Protection Train the Trainers
- Pray for Command Review and the safe Journey of the International Secretary and his team.
- Pray for the Command Leaders Conference held on May 9 to 11.
- Pray for the “Week of Gospel Campaign” held on June 13-18.
- Pray for all Officers, Soldiers, Recruits & Adherence, and Staff of the Command.
New Way to Support Ukraine Relief
Fundraise for good has added a Ukraine option. Click “become a fundraiser” via the link below and you can set up your own fundraiser or create a team to fundraise. That way you can track how much you and your friends have raised. The money will go directly to Ukraine relief.
Text UKRAINE to 52000 to make a $10 donation
***All monies given in the above ways go directly to our Ukraine crisis response!
Click here to share your requests. Requests will be prayed for in our Prayer Room and distributed through our Prayer Chain. Requests can be made anonymously.
Save the Dates
BBQ & Celebration of Sobriety
Featuring CCM Artist Rachel Renee and Lts. Wayne & Katy Benedict
Date: Friday, April 8, 2022
Location: Oakland Garden Street Corps
For those interested in sobriety and would like to attend, please let Major Gwyn know. We need to give a head count to Major James Sullivan ASAP.
Del Oro Women's Retreat
Dates: May 13-15, 2022
Location: William Jessup University
Cost: $75 which includes housing, food, materials, and a t-shirt
- Refreshing Zest (Psalm 51:10) - Renew your spiritual walk by exploring ways to reconnect with Christ through daily bible study, devotions, and prayer. Top it off with a little me-time treat by making your own body scrub to take home with you.
- Come Zest Your Life Up (2 Cor 5:17) - As women we never have time for ourselves so "It's time for YOU to come and relax!" Come pamper yourself and learn how to make facials, hand scrubs, and do your own manicure. It's ME TIME!
- Capture Your Zest (Luke 2:19) - Capture the zest in your Life in a Box! Learn how to create and personalize an exploding scrapbook box. It's perfect for capturing your memorable moments, photos of family, friends, or milestones.
- Easy Peasy Leon Squeezy (John 10:10b) - Lemon juice can change a food's texture and flavor to fit a variety of needs. Come learn what additives God provides that can change the flavor and texture of your life.
- Managing Grief of All Kinds with Hope (1 Thess 4:13) - Life includes loss of many kinds ... HELP! Because grief follows loss - and what help is there for that?! Knowing about grief is helpful. Knowing the good shepherd - the guide through the valley of shadows - who is the best help and our hope. Grief is the bridge we cross over from what was to what is now. What is needed to cross that bridge? Come to this workshop for ideas from a retired hospice nurse with 36 years of facilitating bereavement and a follower of a Good Shepherd.
- A Wooden Spoon Has No Rest When Stirring with a Little Zest (Romans 15:5) - Learn how to paint a lemon on a wooden spoon with acrylic paint layers. Add floral decorations and ribbons as embellishments.
- Living a Life of Zestful Joy (Romans 15:13) - Come! Be inspired! Discover your creative side! Experiences shared joy while creating a beautiful piece of jewelry.
- Cooking with Mony (Psalm 34:8) - If you want to try a Cambodian dish, I highly recommend this dish. It is earthy and flavorful! I use golden herb paste in this recipe. This golden paste consists of lemongrass, affair lime leaves, galangal root, garlic, turmeric, and chilis which is optional) grilled on a stick.
- Is God in Your Finances? (Proverbs 21:21) - Come take a journey through scripture that shows us how God views finances. We will examine ourselves through God's lens with the intent to finish with not only understanding God's perspective to being empowered through His word to take action.
Workshop choices are due by April 8th. Registration is due April 13th.
See Major AnnMarguerite Jones or Major Willdonna Rich if you would like to attend.
Visit of International Leaders
Our international leaders, General Brian and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, will be visiting San Francisco on June 17, 2022. Here is some information to help you begin planning for this event:
Location: We will gather at the South San Francisco Conference Center (255 S. Airport Blvd., South San Francisco, CA 94080) https://ssfconf.com/. There is plenty of free parking available. Please note the venue has a vaccination or proof of negative test required for entry. More details will be shared on this later, but you can find specifics at https://ssfconf.com/covid-19/.
- 6:00 PM - Prelude
- 6:30 PM - Public Meeting
A few things to know…
- There will NOT be childcare for this event. Any children coming to the Public Meeting must be under the care of their parents, guardians, or other adults during the program.
- Majors Gwyn and AnnMarguerite Jones will be starting Junior Soldier, Adherent, and Senior Soldier Classes soon. If you prayerfully decide to be enrolled, you have the option of being enrolled by the General at this public meeting.
- Our Junior Praise Team has been asked to participate.
- If you would like to be part of the United Band and/or Songsters for the meeting, please let Major Ann know.
You can make a tithe payment, give an offering, or donate towards the World Services fund.