By Pastor Wu
04 Sep 2011 Sunday
Worship song: Worthy is Our God
|Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
|Verse 1||Poor and wicked, Rich and righteous
All you nations rise and sing
Weak and needy, Sick and thirsty
Sing to Jesus - King of Kings
|Chorus||All the oceans roar
All the mountains tremble
Lord, all of creation sings Your praise
Worthy is our God
Respected, feared, exalted
We will lift our hearts
to worship You - King of Kings
|Verse 2 CN||生命之水灌溉万物
sheng ming zhi shui guan gai wan wu
sheng ming zhi liang wo ke wang ni
zhu di da neng shi wo men fu fen
jiang hui yi zhi dao yong jiu
|Chorus CN||群海在喧啸 群山在震颤
qun hai zai xuan xiao qun shan zai zhen chan
shi shang wan wu dou lai song yang ni
zhu ying shou zun chong wan wu jing wei ni
gao ju huo re di xin ling jing bai ni
|Verse 2||Living Water, come and fill us
Bread of Life, we long for You
God Almighty is our portion
And He will forever be
|Witness(Original Songs & music by Jordan Wendt & Lily Wendt)||The story behind this song is simple. I was in a small group, and the brother leading the group asked if I would be interested in leading the singing. It had been a long time since I had led music, and I was not feeling very confident. I was walking home one day and I prayed a simple prayer "Lord, give me a song for this group". To my amazement, when I got home and picked up my guitar the chords and melody just came to me. I started writing the words that day too. Over the next week or so, I would write some more words in English and my wife, Lily, would help make some small changes. When all the words were written in English, Lily helped translate them to Chinese. Many of the lyrics are borrowed from scripture, especially Psalms and the Gospel of John. It has been a joy to share this song with others, and tell of God's power in helping me write it. God's Spirit can help us to do many creative things for His glory. I was amazed when I heard the story of the Chinese woman Xiao Min in rural Henan province who has written over 1,000 hymns (迦南诗歌). I encourage everyone to ask God in faith, that He would use them to do new and exciting things to glorify His name. He deserves all the glory, honor, and praise. --- By Jordan Wendt|
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:40-47(NIV)
40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.
42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.
43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.
44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
It is so good to be back. It is so good to be with you guys again.
Amazing Grace is one of my favorite songs. Every time I sang the song, it seemed to me that the tears just came down from my eyes, all the way through the cheek, down to here (his chin). Amazing Grace is one of the songs that I sang the most last month when I was in Shenzhen. Brothers and sisters, before I focus the next 20 minutes on the preaching that I’ve prepared, I would like to share a testimony which happened to me, in which I was involved when I was in Shenzhen as a chaplain to the University Student Games, to the athletes who were involved in these games.
Brothers and sisters, as you know, Chinese soccer has been so poor. You know, China is a country with a population of one billion people, such a big country! Our soccer team could be beaten by Vietnamese soccer team, our team could be beaten by Myanmar soccer team. It is a shame. And our women’s soccer team has not been any better than our men’s soccer team. It is a shame. Brothers and sisters, let me tell you, in the last University Student Games, our student women's soccer team won the championship. Brothers and sisters, let me ask you: how and why they can do that? They won the championship!
Can you tell me the answers? Let me tell you, it is very simple; they came to the church to pray there. In this student athlete village, there was a small chapel, and I was one of the chaplains there. Before they played the Brazilian soccer team, a tough team as you know, these soccer players - young Chinese girls came to the church to pray and to worship the same Amazing Grace together with me and with other Christian brothers and sisters. We had a wonderful fellowship. We encouraged each other. And on the following night, they beat the Brazilian team. And one day before they played Japan for the champion, they came to the church to pray again. We worshipped and sang songs and praises to our Lord. Before they left, I asked one of the soccer players, a young girl, how the game would go. She said, “Japanese was so good these days. They just won the world champion for women’s soccer. And we do not know how the thing would go.” I just did not know why I said that: “With God, nothing is impossible”. That is what I said to the lady. And on the following day, Japanese soccer team was beaten very badly. We won the champion. So with God, nothing is impossible.
So nice you come to His presence to praise His name. God will work wonders for us. So brothers and sisters, let us all give praise to our Heavenly Father. We will put our trust in Jesus Christ, son of God.
In the last month, I spent almost the whole month in Shenzhen. When I was there, I met two persons. Both of them used to work at Haidian Church, they went to Shenzhen for work. And I talked to one of them about how things have been going with him. And he said, “I have been coming to church every Sunday. And it is so nice that church has Bible study and fellowship that I always go. And my heart feels on fire all the time. I am always so excited by what I have heard in the church. So I go to church almost every Sunday.”
Then I talked to the other man, I asked him, “How are things going with you?” He said, “I’ve been busy. When I first arrived here, I came to church to worship. So nice that the church has a fellowship, so I came. But these days, because I have a busy job, I have to take care of my work, so I cannot come to church as often as I used to be. These days, probably, I came to church once or twice a month, or sometimes, a couple of times half a year. ” Then I asked him, “Are you still walking with Jesus? Is Jesus still walking with you? Because of your busy work, because of the busy schedule, because of the pressure, because of the relationship, you have lost Jesus!” Later I just encouraged him to come back to Jerusalem to find Jesus.
And this reminds me of the story we just read to you. The Bible tells us in
Luke 2:41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.
Every year, what did Jesus’ parents go to Jerusalem for? For the Lord, for God, for praising the Father, for the Heavenly Father, or the Feast of Passover. When they finished all of these, they were on their way home. They were not aware Jesus was not with them. They thought Jesus was with them. But in fact Jesus was not in their company. They lost Jesus. And how and why they lost Jesus? Can you imagine the parents went to the Summer Palace to have fun, when they went home, they were not aware that their only son had got lost? Can you imagine that? No, you can’t. You must pay attention to your son all the time. You must watch him all the time. You must have told him, “Never again get off from my sight!” How and why the parents lost their son? They thought Jesus might be with the relatives or friends of them. So they travelled on for the whole day, but they didn’t find him by the end of the day. So they immediately went back to Jerusalem to find Him.
Brothers and sisters, if you lose Jesus, I encourage you to go back to Jerusalem to find Him.
But do not find Him in the super-market, do not find Him in the university, do not find Him in the literature and book, do not find Him in philosophy, or in athlete, but find Him in the temple of the court, find Him among brothers and sisters, find Him in the church, find Him in the fellowship of Christians. That is where you should go.
Otherwise, the Bible tells us, it took the parents three days to find Jesus, three days! Was Jerusalem as big as Beijing? No, if you walk from the west side to the east side, it might take you probably half an hour. Walk, I do not mean by car, I mean you walk on your foot. So Jerusalem was not big, but how it took them three days to find Jesus? Because they did not know that Jesus was in the temple, they did not have that hunch in their heart. They thought: wow, Jesus was 12 years old, a naughty boy, He might be having fun, do some fishing in the river or chasing sheep on the pasture. That was their thought. But brother and sisters, never look for Jesus in the literature, in the university, in the book. But coming to the church to find Him, coming to find Him in Christian fellowship, because it is where we praise God and with fellowship we pray to the Lord, because He is the one always worthy to be praised and also He is the one who always answers our prayer, and makes our prayer come true,.
But how the parents lost their son? How could we lose our faith? How could we lose Jesus - the Son of God, our Lord? It says the parents went to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of Passover. What is a feast? A feast is a combination of big festival, banquet, dancing, singing and all of these kinds of funs involved in it. So they went to Jerusalem not because they were called by the Lord, not because they were called, motivated, touched, pushed by the Holy Spirit of God, but because it was a holiday there, because it was a feast happening there. So they must go there every year, because it was a part of the routine.
Brother and sisters, these days, you might go to Carrefour or other big markets, as soon as you walk into the shopping mall, you will be filled with moon cakes, because it is time to celebrate the so-called Mid-Autumn Festival, most people buy moon cakes, but they do not eat them, they give them to others as a kind of gift. But I sometimes eat, even though it tastes terrible. So you see, when Mid-Autumn Festival is coming, I go to Carrefour to buy a pack of moon cake, sometimes I buy more. Actually, last week I bought a lot, and gave them to some of the volunteers of the Church as a heart of thanksgiving expressed to them. That was what I did last week. I believe almost everybody, in the next week, must go, before this festival is here, to buy moon cakes there, because the time is to come, we must do that. So Jesus’ father and mother, Joseph and Mary, every year, they went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover as a routine, as something part of their life. They should do it because of the custom requiring them to do it, it is time to do it. When Dragon Boat Festival comes, we always go to the market to buy the gluten (sticky) rice dumplings, because it is time for us to eat that kind of awful thing, because it is time to go to the supermarket to buy those kinds of awful thing, because it is time for the parents of Jesus to go to the Jerusalem. It is a part of their day, their life, they should do it. They went there not because they were motivated, touched, moved or urged by the Holy Spirit of God.
If your heart is not moved, touched and motivated by the Holy Spirit, when you come to church, well, the music there is great. Well, I have friends there. I want to go to the church to see if it is possible for me to find a friend, a life partner, because there are a lot of young girls and a lot of young boys there. That might be your purpose. But if you go to church with that kind of purpose, you lose the Son, you lose Jesus Christ, and you lose your faith.
Brothers and sisters, you might have come to church over a couple of years, or even over ten years, you have already known almost everything of this church. You know the pastors, you know all the brothers and sisters in the church, and this is not new, nothing is exciting you anymore. You may want to stop coming to church as often as you used to be. It is time, it is a warning, it is the sign that you are losing Jesus.
In verse 42, it talks continuously, “When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.” You see the father and mother of Jesus Christ went up to Jerusalem not because they were called to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, but because the custom required them to do it. The law of Israel, the law of the Rabbis, the law of Pentateuch, the law of temple required them to fulfill this kind of duty. Brothers and sisters, do you come to the church because you think you have this duty and you have to fulfill it? If you do not come to the church with a heart of happiness, if you do not come to the church with a heart that is connected very closely with Jesus Christ, then you are losing Jesus, you lose your faith.
In 1984, I went to the seminary, and one of the questions we asked each other when we first met was that, “How did you end up here? How you are here?” That is one of the questions we exchanged, we asked each other all the time, some of my classmates said, “My father was so sick, and he was completely healed by GOD, so that is why I want to contribute, commit the remaining time of my life to the Lord, to praise the name of the Lord and to be His servant.” That is some of the answers that we got all the time. Then, there are other people, who said, “Well, I do not want to be here, but you see, my grandfather was a pastor for 30 years, and he still goes to church these days, even though he is not a pastor in church anymore. He wants me to take up this job. My father, even though he was not a faithful Christian, he came to church probably once every other month, and he was not against the idea that I came to the seminary, and a few months ago, I took the entry exam for university. I failed by just a few points, and my grandpa said why don’t you take an exam for seminary? I asked myself, well, if I graduate from seminary, I can still get a job, I can work, I can get some money to support my family, even though the salary is not as big as from a secular job, but still I can make a living, so that is why I am here.”
Brothers and sisters, this person came to the seminary because his grandpa asked him to do so, this person come to the seminary because he wanted to make a living, this person came to the church because even though he is not able to make a decent living but still can make bowls of wheat. Being required by grandpa, or forced to do so, having to do so because of the social pressure, make a living, and these students eventually dropped out of school. And we praise the Lord that this kind of person dropped out of school, and he lost Jesus Christ. The parents of Jesus Christ, they went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as a routine, part of their daily life. They went to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old, because when the young boy was 12 years old, it was a time for Him to go through this kind of maturity celebration. So Passover certainly is a symbol if a young boy participates in it for this young boy to become mature from that moment on. Because of this, they were not called to go to Jerusalem, they lost Jesus.
Are you, brothers and sisters, aware of the fact, of the possibility that you are losing Jesus? Do not be afraid, if you are losing, wake up! The sermon today serves as a wakeup call for you to wake up. To rethink about our faith - if our faith is weak, are we sleeping in our faith?
If you are losing Jesus, come back to the fellowship.
If you are losing Jesus, come back to the prayer meeting.
If you are losing Jesus, come back to brothers and sisters who have strong faith in the Lord, for He answers prayers all the time and He will strengthen you, He will empower you, and He will walk with you. Amen.
With love and strength in Jesus Christ, summarized by Linda, Katherine, Jane, Ray and Franz
|Sermon: Are You Walking with Jesus?||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: Worthy is Our God||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: By Faith||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Hosanna||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Amazing Grace||video||audio||lyric|