SLPC BAPTISM CLASS
SLPC will host a baptism class for those wanting to be baptised (on 28 April). If you want to join the class, contact EM Secretary Yvette at: email@example.com before 21 February. Classes are in Chinese, and meet every Sunday morning from 24 February to 7 April, 9:00–10:00 on the 9th floor.
JOINT OUTDOOR SLPC SERVICE: 3 MARCH
All SLPC ministries will come together for a joint service on 3 March at the Main Chapel of TamKang Senior High School (淡江中學) 26, Zhenli St., Danshui. This service will be in Mandarin, and starts 10:30 a.m. Note: There will be no EM service that day. If you would like to join, email your Name, Date of Birth, ID No. and phone No. to Yvette at: firstname.lastname@example.org before 26 February. Fee: NTD 50/per person (includes lunch & insurance), paid to Yvette. (Directions: After arriving at Red Line Tamsui Station, terminus of the red line, transfer to one of the many available busses traveling along the North Coast, alighting at Fort San Domingo (紅毛城), routes 836 and R26.
SNACK SERVICE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
We are looking for friendly volunteers who can help serve at our snack table after service on Sundays. Can you make coffee and tea, and help serve people after Sunday service? If so, come speak to our secretary Yvette for further information.
EM ENGLISH KIDS’ CLUB!
The EM English Kids’ Club is for kids from 0–12 years old. It’s a fun time when kids can get together to sing songs, play together, and learn about God. Join us from 11:00–12:00 every Sunday in the 7F Kids’ Room. Please send your child’s name and age to Yvette at email@example.com
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Bible Verse for the Week
”Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the glory of the Lord will rise and appear over you.”
Many cultures and religions around the world have had the idea that their gods needed to be fed. Food is important to us, and we like to feed the ones we love. It’s not surprising then that people also wanted to feed the gods they loved. So when things were going well in people’s lives and they wanted to give thanks to a god, a common way to do that was to offer that god some food. Today when we walk past local temples here in Taiwan, we still see this common practice of offering food to gods. It seems strange to us Christians. But it was actually something that the laws of Moses also commanded the Israelites to do. We see an example of this in Leviticus 3.
If things were going well in an Israelite’s life, the law encouraged them to bring God a “well-being offering”. An animal would be brought to the tabernacle, slaughtered, and shared in celebration with others. The person bringing the offering would keep most of it, but some parts were shared with the priests, and others could also eat from it. But the laws of Moses demanded that the best parts of the animal, the internal organs and the fat, were reserved for God to eat alone (vv. 3–5, 9–11, 14–16). As verse 16 tells us, the priests are commanded to burn these parts on the altar as a “food offering” to God.
For us Christians it really is quite strange to think of God in heaven joining in this sacrificial meal. And it’s odd to think that we could possibly feed God in this way. It’s already strange enough to see our non-Christian neighbours doing this, and even stranger to see this tradition in the laws of Moses. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, you aren’t alone. Jesus also thought it was strange.
It certainly isn’t strange to want to thank God and worship him. When things go well in our lives it’s not strange at all to want to praise God. But is offering God a barbecue really the best way to do that? Is God really impressed by sacrifices? In the gospel stories Jesus repeatedly tells people (for example in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7), “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”
Moses and the Israelites thought they could thank God by feeding him. But Jesus teaches us that God isn’t hungry for food – he is hungry for righteousness. The best way we can thank God is not with a barbecue or with any other sacrifice, but rather by showing mercy and kindness to each other, by caring for one another, and by treating others fairly and with compassion. That’s what God wants, that’s what makes him truly feel satisfied. The best way to show our thanks to God for everything that he has done for us truly is to live a life full of mercy and love.
With blessings for the week ahead,
Pastor Stephen Lakkis