Around A.D. 50, the Apostle Paul founded this church during his 2nd mission trip. The City of Corinth was one of the most successful seaports at that time. However, the city was filled with all kinds of idol worships, sexual immorality, and philosophies. So the people who were living in this city including the members of the Corinthians Church were comparative, individualistic, materialistic, and divided in many ways. It was nothing close to the lifestyle of Ormond By the Sea. When Paul was writing this letter, it had been 3 years already he left this church. But he wrote this letter to help the Corinthians Church—the church that was infected by the worldly, the sinful, and human-centeredness. This morning, I’d like to share God’s message through a sermon entitled, “Christ, the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.”
Today is the 1 st Sunday in Lent. Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The color
of this season is purple. The season is a preparation for celebrating Easter. In today’s text, Mark introduces Jesus’ baptism and his temptation in the wilderness
as God’s preparation for Jesus’ ministry.
I’ve recently attended
*VSG (Vitality Share Group, Port Orange): Atlantic Central District (January)
On March 3, we will have another VSG meeting at New Smyrna Beach
*Rev. Dr. Robert Tuttle: “Share Your Faith” at Ormond Beach Presbyterian Church
*New Room Conference in Lakeland: “Banded Together”: Asbury Seminary
*Call to Serve: East Central District in Oviedo (7 people our church)
“Awakening from Apostolic Amnesia” by Rev. Michael Beck ( 13 Fresh Expressions)
Why? Why do we do all these things? Why do people spend so much efforts and money putting together all these meetings? Why do we spend so much of our time in driving and learning? According to Rev. Michael Beck, it is because America has become 3rd largest mission field in the world. It is because many Christians, Churches, and Denominations are in the state of spiritual amnesia. It is because the traditional way of doing our ministry does not work anymore in today’s world. All these realities push us to learn and try new and creative ways of doing ministry. Unless we embrace the change around us and be willing to adapt fresh and new ways of doing our ministries, we cannot make disciples of Jesus Christ, like we should. We cannot be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church God wants us to be! That’s why Apostle Paul said in today’s text, “I do it all for the sake of the gospel . . .” This is also the title of my sermon today.
On this morning, I’d like to talk about “Imitating Christ.” John Wesley calls it “sanctification.” John Calvin calls it, “Double Grace.” Grace is being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness. We are empowered to cultivate blamelessness and purity by Christ’s Spirit. However you want to call, it is a lifetime process of becoming more like Christ.
I’m sure that you’ve heard people saying, “talk the talk and walk the walk.” If you say that someone talks the talk but does not walk the walk, you mean that they do not act in a way that agrees with the things they say. We can talk about God’s love and learn His Words all day long, but unless we live out our faith in our daily lives, no one will actually experience the life-giving and life-transforming love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So it is so important for us to imitate Christ. We are the children of God. Children are supposed to look like their mom and dad because they share same DNA. We are the followers of Jesus Christ. And people around us should be able to taste and see the love of Jesus through our words and actions. As we follow Jesus closer every day, the Holy Spirit will help us to become more like Jesus. The Spirit of Christ will sanctify us and cultivate blamelessness and purity in our hearts and lives. We will speak, think, and act more like Christ.
Last Sunday, we learned about the difficulty and the importance of listening. We learned how boy Samuel and priest Eli had a difficult time listening to God. Samuel also needed lots of courage and the encouragement of Eli in order to speak what he had heard from God.
Today, we are going to learn about “speaking.” Just like we struggle with “listening,” we are struggling with “speaking.” Speaking the Word of God can be difficult too. But it is so important to speak since God has called to share His Words. This morning, we’re going to explore the Book of Jonah and the Gospel of John. Today’s text begins like this, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time . . .” (Jonah 3:1). The word “a second time” got my attention when I was reading this Bible verse. Why did God speak to Jonah a second time? How come Jonah had to hear the same message from God twice? After I thought about a little while, I found an answer. I got this answer from our daily life. Why do we have to say same thing over and over again to our children, it is because they do not listen. Why do we bother to take time to make announcements during the service? Simple, it is because we do not pay attention even though it is printed in our bulletin and are running a slideshow before the church service. Wow! I felt like I had found a great secret after I had realized this.
Although we all know how important it is to listen, it is still challenge for many people. I don’t know what makes us so difficult to listen. Most people like to talk rather than listening. I guess that it may be “listening’ sounds so passive while talking makes us feel in being control or more powerful. Listening is important in all human relationships (between husband and wife, parent and children, teacher and student; employer and employee; military commander and soldier. . . etc). “Listening” of course is a critical part in our faith journey. It is important to listen to God. In fact, God’s voice is the most important voice in the whole universe. But unfortunately, many people do not hear his voice well for various reasons. Today, I am going to introduce two people who had difficulty listening and recognizing God’s voice. They are boy Samuel and priest Eli. On this 2nd Sunday of the new year, I’d like to share God’s message with a sermon entitled, “Listen.” Through this message, I’d like to help you become better listener individually and also as a congregation. Let us take a look at today’s text.
Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent. On this morning, we lit the candle of LOVE. Here is the first verse of the Hymn, Love Came Down at
Christmas: “Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine; Love was born at Christmas, Star and angels gave the sign.”
Since love is so important, every one talk about it all the time in many different forms. Elvis Presley sang a song called, Love Me Tender. Have you heard this song before?
Love me tender
Love me sweet
Never let me go
You have made my life complete
And I love you so
Love me tender
Love me true
All my dreams fulfilled
For my darling I love you
And I always will
Many people throughout human history have expressed their thirst for “LOVE” through books, movies, poems, music, and dances. Paul said
in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” The Apostle John said in 1 John 4: 8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Jesus has given us the new commandment to all of us. That is to love one another just as He has loved us! God gave us his only Son in order to express his love for us. He said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only Son . . .”
Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent. On this Sunday, we lit the candles of Hope, Peace, and Joy. “They will rejoice!” This is the first word of Isaiah’s vision in today’s text. The title of my sermon is “The Desert shall rejoice and blossom!” Joy is one of the important emotions we experience. Are you happy? Are you joyful? Every year, we celebrate Christmas. And the spirit of Christmas is joy. Throughout the month of December, many people are joyful because of the Christmas trees/lights, carols/all sort of concerts and cantatas, buying and sending Christmas gifts/cards, candlelight services, and family dinners. During the season of Christmas, people are more cheerful and joyful whether they are Christians or not! The theme of joy pulses through Isaiah 35 from the first line, with its glad lands and blossom deserts, to the last, when the ransomed people come home singing.
Traditionally, “Advent” has been a season of preparation and anticipation. On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, we lit the candles of hope and peace. I named today’s sermon title as “The Root of Jesse.” Don’t worry! I am not going to talk about the famous robber Jesse James. Father of King David also had same name, Jesse. The previous chapter, Isaiah 10 left with the idea of the LORD chopping down the proud as if they were mighty trees. Now, in today’s text, the LORD is looking over the stumps, and causes a new branch to grow out of one of them, the root of the family of Jesse, David’s father. Indeed, Jesus did come from the stump of Jesse. When Jesus came forth, it was like a new green Branch coming from an apparently dead stump.
At our Annual Clergy Gathering at Life Enrichment Center, Dr. Matthew Sleeth was a main guest speaker. His years of experience as an Emergency Room Physician in hospitals qualifies him as a veteran to talk about this topic in a culture of demanding overwork. We are living in a culture where single parent cannot afford to take one day of rest out of seven days. How about a college student who has a big exam on Monday, or a child facing a little league on Sunday? Taking one day off from our work or practicing Sabbath has become more difficult in today’s world that distracts and pressures us to work harder and longer. We live in the most fast-paced period of history. People literally fly from one continent to another on a same day. Dr. Sleeth wrote in his book, 24/6, “Look around. Thanks to ever-improving technology, we now feel the pressure to be “on” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Sure, things like smart phones, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype help us stay connected with coworkers, family, and friends—but what about God? How can we possibly have “ears to hear” when we are plugged in 24/7? If we never take time to “be still and know” God, how can we grow into mature spiritual being? The solution is simple. And it is endorsed by the Great Physician himself. In fact, God himself invented it. It’s called rest. And like all other good things, rest is a gift from God. Rest doesn’t happen. It takes intention, commitment, and restraint. Yet rewards are indescribably amazing.”
This morning, I’d like share God’s message with you through a sermon entitled, “STOP DAY.” Through today’s message, I’d like to encourage you live a happier, healthier, and more God-centered life by living the lifestyle of 24/6.