Welcome to “Bring Your Neighbor Day!”

By Evan Bartholomew, Lead Minister.

“When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions… she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, He has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.’” 1 Kings 10:1-9 (NIV).

The Hilo women — (l-r) Linda, Melissa, Kelly, Keahi, Myra, Mahe, Jade, Tanya and Renee — are fired up after an awesome Women’s Day in Honolulu, which was put on by the Honolulu International Christian Church!

What an experience it must have been for the queen of Sheba as she visited the famous king Solomon! In a time when many kings were ruling different nations, I imagine that the queen of Sheba had heard it all before. She probably heard many false reports of wise kings, their great kingdoms, and their grand achievements. Yet, none of them could stand up to the hard questions posed by a stern queen of Sheba. Why would Solomon be any different? She traveled a distance of nearly 1,500 miles to visit the king all the way from Sheba, a trip that would have taken six months both ways, to put the wise king to the test. The Bible records, “she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.” No doubt, she had some difficult questions on her mind, and this was a queen desperately looking for answers!

“Desperate”—just about the perfect word to describe myself after graduating from high school, and being forced for the first time to face the responsibility of choosing my future. I too had many difficult questions on my mind: What on earth am I here for? Where am I going now? Who am I really? I had been to a number of different churches seeking answers, but was quickly turned off by the fake smiles, the hypocritical lives of many of the members, and the lack of Bible teaching outside of just a half hour sermon on Sundays. In fact, it seemed almost like church was something you endure rather then enjoy! Just as quickly as church members of these churches dispersed every Sunday to go to Burger King almost instantly after the stale, dry sermon was finally finished, I was equally as quick stop going to church all together. It even brought me to a point where I believed that being a Christian was just an unrealistic ideal and an impossibility for anyone to truly live out!

Joan and Kelly, the Hawai‘i Women’s Ministry Leaders, hang together at Women’s Day!

It wasn’t until my older brother became a true Christian in 2001 that the answers I was seeking began to be answered…but not for me. My brother seemed to have this enlightened look in his eyes, and a sense of confidence in now knowing exactly who he was, where he was going, and what he was doing here on earth. With the discovery of those answers in his life, I was so intrigued at how he had come to find them. Although still skeptical, I began asking him questions and watching his lifestyle like a jeweler would examine precious diamonds—looking for a flaw! Obviously, he wasn’t completely perfect, but the change in his lifestyle was so drastic and radical that I concluded that this was the real deal. As for the questions, like the queen of Sheba, “nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her”!

It is important to note that Solomon’s answers and wisdom didn’t come from school books, nor did they come from listening to the latest philosophical ideas from the wisest men on the planet. Earlier on in Solomon’s kingship, the Bible records God saying to Solomon, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (I Kings 3:12-13 NIV) Solomon’s wisdom was given from God, and it was obvious to other people that God was with Solomon. The queen of Sheba “heard about the fame of Solomon AND his relation to the name of the Lord”. Later, after being “overwhelmed” by his wisdom, she says, “Praise be to the Lord your God”! The queen understood that all of Solomon’s wisdom and answers came directly from his connection with God. Likewise today, the answers that so many people are so desperately seeking don’t come from people, or school books, or even from church groups, but simply from God’s word! It is how Solomon answered the queen of Sheba’s questions, it is what my brother used to answer my questions, and I know that it can answer yours!

The presidential candidates and the President show up at our Halloween party! (l-r) Sarah, Robbie, Evan and Bob dress to impress!

Sadly, this understanding of Halloween has been lost for so many people, and even disciples. The focus of this black and orange, spider-filled holiday has turned away from being the eve of All Saints Day, and the celebration of true discipleship, to the celebration of weirdness and one giant sugar rush! Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a fun costume party, loading up on great candy, and watching scary horror flicks. However, just like Moses, we can put on masks and veil the radiance of God’s ever-increasing glory when we get distracted by “fun” and lose focus on the “fight”!

Thank you so much for coming and joining us for our Bring Your Neighbor Day! Perhaps you have heard of us like the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon? We are simply a group of disciples that believe in following the standard of God’s word without compromise or contamination by other teachings and traditions. We hold a strong and special bond with one another and believe that we are more than a church body, but also a family! Although we are small in numbers here in Hilo, we are part of a world wide movement called the “Sold Out Discipling Movement”! Our goal is the same as that of Jesus, “to seek and to save [the] lost” (Luke 19:10) in Hawaii, as well as the entire world. We hope that you feel welcomed into our fellowship, and leave with the same satisfaction that the queen of Sheba had. She said, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.”

The brothers — (l-r) Jordan, Robbie, Marley and Stefano — are getting extra spiritual after Marley’s baptism!

The queen of Sheba wasn’t just blown away or “overwhelmed”because of Solomon’s kingdom, though it was part of what impressed he so much! The Bible says, “When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon AND the palace he had built…”! In the same way, I pray that our tiny fellowship that you have come to visit today has played a part in inspiring you as well as giving you a sense of who God is, and the joy being His disciples. However, my prayer is that you may be even more excited about the wisdom and answers presented in God’s word, so that together we may proclaim, “Praise be to the Lord [our] God”! God bless!