A famous Asian educator, Yi Whang said, “doing the right things when you are alone is the beginning of true education.” I think we can also apply this to our Christian lives. Today’s text Psalms 139 was written by David at the end of his life. He described God whom he had experienced throughout his life so vividly and praised God for his power, knowledge, and presence. This Psalm ends with David’s prayer for guidance. In this Psalm, David used the word, “to know” 7 times and the word “to search” twice. Let us explore God’s Words in Psalm 139 together!
I see our lives as a lifetime journey or a process of growth. For example, a baby is conceived and grows inside of his or her mother’s womb. Then the baby comes out of her and is nurtured by the family. We have all experienced what it takes for a baby to survive and grow. It takes lots of work to nurture a baby. An infant baby grows to become a little boy or girl; attends preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school and PhD degree. A person’s personality and character are developed by the family member and the environment. They also learn about God and the life God wants them to live through the church they worship and serve. I also see our Christian lives as a journey or a process of growth.
Our God is the God who constantly invites his people. So we should also be the people who constantly invite others. This morning, I’d like to share God’s message with you with a sermon entitled, “Come to Me.” I am sure that we have all experienced inviting someone or responding to another’s invitation.
At the age of 75, Abraham enrolled in the “School of Faith.” Now he was over 100, and he was still having soul stretching experiences. We are never too old to face new challenges, fight new battles, and learn new truths. When we stop learning, we stop growing; and when we stop growing, we stop living. We have just heard the greatest test that Abraham ever faced. In today’s text, Abraham teaches us how to face and handle the tests in our lives. This morning, I’d like to share God’s grace with you through a sermon entitled, “The Lord will provide!”
Today, we celebrate the commissioning of five new Stephen Ministers. Through them, our congregation and our community will discover a new level of care giving. These people have received 50 hours of training by Ms. Jane Walters and Ms. Pat Davis. Through all of our Stephen Ministers, many people will receive emotional and spiritual support in their pain and grief. So I call them “faithful ministers of Christ.” Though the ministries of Jesus and Paul’s letter to the Colossians, I’d like to share some of the essential characteristics of faithful ministers of Christ.
The key to understanding any verse of Scripture is context. There is the immediate context — the verses before and after it, as well as the larger context of Scripture — how the verse fits into the overall story. There is also the historical and cultural context — how the verse was understood by its original audience in light of their history and culture.
Today, I’m going to talk about “Intentional Discipleship” with a sermon title, “Imago Dei.” The word “Imago Dei” means “Imitating God.” In order for us to imitate God, we first have to know who God is. In Genesis 1, God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Here God described Himself as plural rather than singular since He introduced himself as the tritune God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It means that when God made us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worked together to make us in their image. The book of Genesis said that God created male and female in his image. But what does it really mean that God creates us in the likeness of God?
This morning, we celebrate the Day of Pentecost! What is the Day of Pentecost? It was the day God sent us the Holy Spirit. The Day of Pentecost was also one of the three religious holidays among the Jews. 50th day after Jesus had risen from the dead; the Holy Spirit came to the people who were praying at the Upper Room. After Jesus was taken up to heaven, the disciples immediately returned to Jerusalem and began to have a prayer meeting. Luke said in today’s text, “They were all together in one place.”
This is a time of the year when the high school or college students graduate from their schools. I see graduation as an ending or accomplishment. But I also think graduation as a new beginning. Today is a Big Day since we are celebrating 56th year of our church’s anniversary. The first Sunday worship held the parking of 7-11 Store on A1A on May 28, 1961. Today is also last Sunday for Ruth Deveny who has been a member of our church for 32 years and is moving to Buffalo, New York tomorrow. I thank her faithful services for many past years. We all know that Joyce Graham will be leaving us, too in order to live with her son Kyle. We are going to miss both of them greatly and send them with our blessings. It will be new beginnings for both of them.
Likewise, I see the ascension of Jesus as a new beginning. Jesus completed his 33 years of the earthly life and went back to heaven to start a new life there. Aa a matter of fact, that was where He came from originally. I wonder how much you know about the ascension of Jesus. I want to talk about Jesus’ ascension because it is the Ascension Sunday according to the church calendar.
This morning, I am going to talk about what Jesus said and did before, during, and after his ascension. Whenever we recite the Apostles’ Creed, we say this, “I believe . . . in Jesus Christ his only Son . . . he ascended into heaven,and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
In the Gospel of John, the author describes Jesus by using a phrase, “I AM.” They are seven “I AM” in this gospel. But today, I’d like to talk about “I am the good shepherd.” John describes our relationship with Jesus by using the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. Even in the Old Testament, God is often pictured as the shepherd, and the people as his flock. David said in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not be in want” (v.1). Psalm 77:20 says, “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” The prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel also described the leaders of God’s people as the shepherd of God’s people and nation: “Woe to the shepherds who destroys and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” (Jeremiah 23:1). Ezekiel rebuked the false leaders who only sought their own good rather than the good of the flock. He said in Ezekiel 34:2, “Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?” Today’s text describes Jesus as the good shepherd and his relationship with his flock. So I want us to find out two things on this morning through Psalm 23 and John 10; First, what makes Jesus the good shepherd. Second, what makes us good sheep.