By Jessica Wang
24 Jun. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: The New Land||video||audio||ppt
|Worship song: Be the Center||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Mighty to Save||video||audio||lyric|
Worship song:Be the Centre
|Verse 1||Jesus be the centre
Be my source
Be my light, Jesus
|Verse 2||Jesus be the centre
Be my hope
Be my song, Jesus
|Verse 3||Jesus be my vision
Be my path
Be my guide, Jesus
|Chorus||Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Heavenly Father, it’s our joy to worship you. Please be with today’s service and speak to us, to our hearts through Jessica. Please show your will to us and lead us and bring us close to You and guide our hearts in You. Lord, we ask that Your kingdom comes, Your will be done in our lives and in this church, and Your name be glorified here. Please anoint Jessica and give her words to say, and teach us and we can grow in You, Lord. Pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 11:11-15
11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. How about letting us bow down our head and pray before we share God’s Word.
Dear Lord, we thank you so much that today you gather us together. Lord, we ask you to please speak to us, comfort us through your Words. And please build up our faith through your Words; let us be strong and courageous in You. Lord Jesus Christ, I want to lift all the brothers and sisters in your hands; today we just ask you to send the Holy Spirit among us. And speak to all of us, and I lift up myself in your hand, God, please be with me. May the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, Lord. I pray that God, please be with us today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Dear brothers and sisters, two days ago I got a cell phone call from one of the brothers in Dalian church. He told me that his mother-in-law was going to travel from Dalian to Weinan, a city in Shaanxi province. She needs to transfer train in Beijing. She will arrive at Beijing Railway Station and then take another train to Weinan from Beijing Western Railway Station. She is not familiar with Beijing, so her son-in-law was worried about her. He called me and wondered if I could help her or not, and this morning she would arrive in Beijing. Because on Sunday I am very busy, I asked my husband to meet her at Beijing Railway Station. And this afternoon we are going to take her to the Beijing Western Railway Station Dear brothers and sisters. It often happens in our life. If we are going to go to another strange place where we don’t know, we feel nervous. There are so many things we will worry about. Dear brothers and sisters, if you still remember, almost in these two years, every year in the end of June, we are going to have a special service which is sending service. And today it's time for us to preach to all the people who are going to leave Beijing and to go to another new place, to start their job or continue to study. So dear brothers and sisters, today, I'm going to share with you through Deuteronomy 11:11-15: the new land.
What’s your future, what does your future look like? How will God protect you and care for you in the future? And I know that maybe not many brothers and sisters are leaving, but I am sure that you are going to face some new challenges. So I will ask you several questions. If yes, please hands up. OK?
How many people are going to leave Beijing for your continued study or for your new job? Hands up, please! You are graduating from school and you are going to leave Beijing or you are going to live in your own country or you are going to any place to continue work. You will not be here. Hands up, please! OK. Today’s sermon is for you. And how many people are students, you graduated and you are looking for a new job? Hands up, please? Today’s sermon is for you. How many people are looking forward to having a baby? I know Rachel, Juliet and many friends around me, they are expecting their babies. Today’s sermon is for you. How many people is a new father like Larry? Or a new mother like Larry’s wife. Hands up, please? How many people are going to be facing your marriage? That means you are going to get married. How many people are looking for a boy friend or a girl friend? That means you are single, you are facing this challenge? Hands up, please! OK, how many people are going to face tomorrow? Hands up, please! That means you want to still live tomorrow, and you are looking forward to tomorrow. I cannot believe many people don’t want to live tomorrow. You want to die just tonight? (Laughing…) 有多少人期待明天还或者，会面对明天？请举手！It must be all. Even though we know that heaven is much better than here, still I am looking forward to tomorrow. So, if you have these kinds of situation. Today’s sermon is all for you. It is not just for sending the people who are not going to stay here. But also today’s sermon is for any people who are facing new challenges.
So let’s return to our Bible and read in Deuteronomy. This part of message tells us that our Lord speaks to Israelites that they are going to face the new land, which means they are going to cross the Jordan River and face the new land. This land is their dreamed place, because they want to go there. They want God to rescue them from Egypt. Then, they can enter the dreamed land which is going to cross the Jordan River. So before they go there, they do not know whether that is good nor not. Maybe people have confused feeling with happiness and anxiety. So before they go to the new land, the Lord speaks to them. It says: "But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12) So the first part of my sermon is: what does the new land look like? What does new land look like?
So I say that it is a beautiful land. I say that it is the land which people, the Israelites, will go to possess. It is the land which God cares for. Why do I say that? It is a new land and its future is beautiful. It is because Deuteronomy 11:11 says:" But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven." When I read this part of message, it makes me think. There are many pictures in my mind. Because when I think of the beautiful land, there are countryside, seaside, mountains, valleys and desert. There are varieties which God created for us. How about my showing some pictures for all of us? And let us experience the great creation which God created for us.
I download one of the pictures. It is the countryside. While I grew up in Hebei province and every year at this time, I would see this view. It is great. Then, a picture of the seaside, which I took in 2009 in Southern California. Then, the desert, which my brother took a week ago in Gansu province. And then, this is a desert picture which I took in 2009 in Arizona. Next, the forest, which I downloaded. Then, mountains and valleys. And then the Grand Canyon, which shows myself with the great valleys.
OK. So, dear brothers and sisters, I don’t know what is your feeling. But for myself, if I can, if I have time and money, I want to travel all over the world and to see the great vision which God created. It makes me very satisfied, and very happy. It refreshes me, because of the different sceneries of nature. What do you think? Dear brothers and sisters, do you like travel? Do you like to see the different views all over the world? Yes or not? Yes. What’s your feeling when you travel? You will say the great vision which God created for us. You are very happy, and maybe it will make you think about how great our God is. Almighty God, almighty to save. When I see the mountain, I will say that I have come from the Lord, almighty God. But today, dear brothers and sisters, I want to let you know that actually in our personal life, in each of our personal life, we don’t like to see the change, especially it is not a good change we seem to like. We want to live the same way, live in the same place, and stay with the same group of students, friends, pastors or church.
Two weeks ago, when I went to one of the meeting points and preached there , one of the sisters kept crying and crying. After my preaching, I asked her what happened. She said that she would graduate soon, and she was going to Germany to continue to study. I was very happy for that, but she just looked like not being very happy. When I asked her why, she said because she loves Beijing, not because Beijing is a good place, but because she loves the fellowship here, she loves the church, and she loves brothers and sisters here. If she can find a simple job here, she will not go to Germany. But God didn't prepare any job for her here, and God prepares her a chance to study in Germany. So she feel nervous. She does not want to go. She wants to stay here with her brothers and sisters.
So I share this part of message to her, because you know, you don’t want to leave but God wants you to experience Him in a much bigger, much greater, much more powerful way than now you are experiencing. So dear brothers and sisters, like at the beginning I shared with you, today some of you may leave to stay at another place, for a while or even for a long time. You may feel happy or anxious. Today some of you may not be moving from Beijing, but you have graduated and are starting your career. And some of you are changing your jobs, some of you are getting married, some of you are having babies, some of you are facing some sorts of new challenges, which I don’t know, you know, and God knows. You also may feel happy or anxious, but don’t worry, whatever you are facing, today you are starting a new adventure with God, because the future which God promised Israelites, it’s a great land, and also the future which God promised you and provided for you, it’s a beautiful great land for you.
And also God already told them that they are going to cross and take possession. That’s why the beautiful land which God has already given it to them. And also I will tell you that the future is great, beautiful, and also you are going to possess it, because God has already given it to you. And also the land which God cares for is watched all the time. So Deuteronomy 11:12 say "It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end." Underline cares for and eyes on it continually from the beginning of the year to its end. So I want to tell you that it is a promise which God gave to Israelites, and also it is a promise God gives to you - God will take care of you, God will watch over you all the time from the beginning of the year to its end.
So when I think about this care and watchful eyes, there are two pictures in my mind. One picture is that of the moms holding their babies, that is care. Before the service, I talked with Larry. I asked him, "What’s your feeling?" And he said “it’s difficult, I’m very tired, because I have to take care of my little girl.” But even with that, he feels joy. Today I want to tell Larry that when you carry your joy, your little girl, God is carrying you. Dear brothers and sisters, this is a picture which God gives to us, He says that no matter what happens, let your parents know and He will carry you, and also his eyes will be continually on you. Every morning, at where I stay, I will see the second picture every early morning from my window, a mom and a little girl playing on the ground. This mom is one of our pastors here, pastor Liu and her two year old little girl. Because she can walk, so they will play games on the ground. Every time, when I see them, it makes me think about that God’s eyes are on us. Because the little girl can walk a while, mom does not need to hold her hands or carry her all the time. Mom will give her some freedom in the secure places, but mom’s eyes are always on her little girl.
It gives me a picture that God’s eyes will be on us and that He will watch over us all the time and never leave us alone. So dear brothers and sisters, this is what God promises to us. He cares for us and watches over us and He will rescue us if we are in danger. So when I think of this, it makes me think about two different verses in the Bible.
In Isaiah 46:3-4, "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Dear brothers and sisters, we know what it is like caring about babies who are one year old or several months old, but here God tells us He will carry us, He will sustain us, and He will rescue us, He will carry us even when we become old, and even our hairs become gray, He is still carrying us since our birth. And also Psalm 121: 3-4, "He will not let your foot slip- He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." That is God’s promise for all of us, no matter where you are, where you are going to go, and no matter what kind of challenges you are facing. God not only promises us to have the eternal life but also He promises us that on this earth, when we are still alive, God will be with us, He cares for us, He carries us, and He rescues us, He protects us, and He provides all our needs. This is God's promises that we experienced and are going to experience.
On one New Year's eve, my brother and I were driving to my hometown. It was midnight. Suddenly, there were some bad fogs. Around the midnight, New Year's eve, suddenly, we were driving on the road in the bad fogs. Please imagine about the situation. We couldn't see anything in front of us. And then we stopped. At this time, I saw several men arguing, and several cars parked there. My brother began to suspect that there were some bad men making some smoke to stop us, and we were in trouble. We were very nervous, especially I myself. And I started to pray that "God, save us, please!". And then at this time, my brother locked the door of the car and put on his feet, and went very fast, even we couldn't see anything in front of us. At this time, three cars tried to follow us, but they failed. They didn't catch us. Praise our Lord for His help, because He is almighty God, He rescues us from the danger in the midnight. So dear brothers and sisters, our God is a faithful God, is a powerful God, and He had already promised Israelites that He would care for them and watch over them. And also today, our God is faithful to us, He has already promised all of us that He will care for us, and watch over us, rescue us .
Second, but how can we be satisfied in the "new land"?
This is a truth that God is a powerful God, and this is a truth that the new land is a beautiful and wonderful land. And your future, even tomorrow, is an adventure which God will be with you. But, how can we feel that? How can we be satisfied? When we read the Bible, we find that there is a conditional clause. It says, "so, if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today, which is to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will set rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rain so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil, I will provide grass in the field for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-15) So here is the conditional clause that says "If...and then...you will eat and be satisfied".
Dear brothers and sisters, we know that in this society, on earth, for now living in Beijing, eating is not a very big deal, because all of us can eat, but be satisfied is a big deal, because not all of us can be satisfied. So here, there are some requirements for all of us that if we love our God, if we obey him, if we trust in him, if we serve him, then we will eat and be satisfied. This is the principle that God gives us. If we love him, serve him, obey him, rely on him and trust in him, and we will eat and be satisfied. So dear brothers and sisters, here the requirement is that God wants us to build a loving relationship with Him, and what God is eager and desires to do is that all of us can build a loving relationship with Him, which is the first thing. And we can trust in Him, rely on Him, and then we can serve Him with our whole heart and our whole soul. So dear brothers and sisters, this is the requirement. So if we will build a relationship with God first, and then we can experience how great our God is. If we don't want to build a relationship with Him, we will never be satisfied, we will never feel how great and how lovely our God is. So dear brothers and sisters, today I want to encourage you to rely on Him, love Him, and build a relationship with Him, even in the bad situation.
And especially, I want to say that people who are in bad situation is easy to rely on God. One day I heard a testimony from a farmer. We know that May is a season that we can eat cherry. We know that cherry is very delicious. But the farmer who plants the cherry told me that cherry is not easy to plant and get out. In Chinese, we say that "樱桃好吃，树难栽". Because when it is season for the cherry to come out, especially when it is time to pick up the cherry, the cherry is very sensitive, especially is very sensitive to the rain. So if it is time to pick up the cherry, and it rains, the cherry will break. So this farmer shared with me that she has spent 10 years planting the cherry trees, she wants to get the cherry. Every year at this season, she will pray to God. She said that "I couldn't rely on myself, because I couldn't control the rain. If there is rain when it is time to pick up the cherry, then I will get nothing, because the cherry will break" So, she said, "Every morning, I will get up very early, I will bow down under the cherry tree and pray that 'God, if it is your will, please do not rain today'. " So, dear brothers and sisters, here God tells us that if we love Him, obey his commands and serve Him with our whole hearts and our whole soul, He will set rain in season, both autumn rain and spring rain. I know that as we are not farmers, we do not need rain, we do not care when it is going to rain. But living in this society, we still need God, as we are facing our job problems, our marriage problems, our parental problems and all the other relationship problems. We need to rely on God, bow down our knees and pray for that.
So, dear brothers and sisters, how can we be satisfied in the new land? There are so many things I want to share with you, but time is limited, so I will give you some testimonies through the video. There are some brothers and sisters who I have been connecting with. They used to be here, and now they are in different places in the world. They sent me how God speaks to them and strengthens them when they are in new land, when they are facing the new challenges. So let's show the video.
My name is Sophia, I have spent just about 2 years in the United States to study there and also take internship, and now I’m serving in Haidian church. Before I went to that city I did not know anyone there, even had no idea for the place, so I was very afraid and worried about how was I going to settle down there.
The company is not like school. The school will provide you dorms and take care of new staff’s coming, but the company would not do that. They just simply say .” Ok, we give you enough relocation fee; and then you go and take care of yourself.” Because I have no friends there so nobody can really help me settle down. Of course as a girl I worried a lot about my safety, and had a lot of fears.
Gladly God did not forget me, and he gave me one verse from the Bible, I remember it is in Mark chapter 5 verse 36, it goes like this,” Do not be afraid just believe.” It is a very simple verse, yet I keep it there in my heart, so that verse encourages me a lot, and let me know that no matter where I go God is always with me, and I just have to put trust in him.
Because I did not know anyone there, I was worried about I could not find a safe place to live. My boyfriend and I were praying a lot, and asking God for guidance. Thank God that He helped me through my boyfriend, who found an extended stay hotel just very close to the company where I would work. After he found the hotel, we also found on the Google map that there was a big church near the hotel. We thought we should contact the church because they might be able to provide some help, so we wrote to the church, and to our surprise, the church got back to us very quickly, saying that they would send some sisters to pick me up. I was surprised because the airport was very far away from the place where I lived in.
Praise the Lord, with all the nervousness I went on the trip to Denver. When I arrived, two sisters from the church were already there welcoming me, I told them I did not have a car and may need a bike to go to work, and they replied, "Do not worry; our pastor’s wife has a bike that she no longer uses, she would be more than happy to lend it to you.” I was like, "wow, that was so easy".
Then after we arrived at the hotel, because one of the sisters knew the policy of hotel very well, she actually got me very good discount off the price. So actually I got a very safe and nice environment to live in with a very good price.
Before I went to my workplace I was worried and afraid, because I never really worked in a professional environment in America. I was afraid that I was going to lose face, because I did not know how to deal with the relationship with my colleagues, or maybe would not do a good job to finish my work. So I also prayed a lot in my workplace when I worked there, sometimes the bathroom became my secret praying spot. But God really helped me throughout the situation, He just really told me how to deal with things right, like to be faithful in my job and to love my colleagues, just to encourage them and to have a good relationship with them. Through that, God helped me finish many good projects. A lot of them were very successful. I have found out some believers at my workplace as well, and they helped me a lot during the whole internship.
So throughout the internship I learned how to depend on God wholeheartedly. In the foreign city you have a lot of difficulties. No matter big or small, you just have a lot of things to deal with. But no matter how big the problem is or how small the problem is, all you have to do is to give it to God and ask him to help you.
For example, when I need to go to the grocery store in Denver, I always had to ask for help because I did not have a car. The grocery store is normally far away from I where I live, so I prayed to God just ask Him to send some angels to help me go to the grocery store. Then, He would send people from either the workplace or the church to help me out and give me a ride. That’s just a very small example.
So brothers and sisters, I tell you from my own experience that our God is an awesome God. He takes care of every detail of His people’s lives, you just have to trust in him. And I can tell you this: being at a foreign city taught me how to completely depend on Him, Thank God for that experience. I want to encourage you if you are heading to a foreign place, do not be afraid, just believe in Him, and depend on Him in every step that you take, and the Lord your God will open the ways for you and protect you wherever you go. We still have several pictures from this video, showing the brothers and sisters who go to different places and send us their pictures after we connect with them, and the scripture words of how God speaks to them and encourages them. So that's why today's sermon is for everyone who is leaving and also for everyone who is facing new challenges. Let's see other brothers and sisters' pictures and the Words which God spoke to them.
OK, how about letting us do a special thing for all the people who are going to leave and stay in another country or another place. I want to invite all the people who are going to leave to come in the front and stand on this stage, so that I myself and all the brothers and sisters could pray for you. And also we are going to give you a small gift.
(Keep inviting the people who are going to leave to come to the front ... )
All the brothers and sisters here please stand up and raise up one or two hands to pray for all the brothers and sisters who are going to leave, and ask God to be with them, strengthen them, guide them, to let them obey Him, love Him, serve Him with their whole heart. Let's pray! You can pray in silence or aloud.
Dear Lord, we thank you so much for today. You promised us, you are here to be with us. Dear Lord, we thank you that you have already promised us that you are going to be with all the brothers and sisters who are leaving. God, you are almighty God, no matter where they are going to go, no matter what kind of challenges they are going to face. And you told them that the future is an adventure which you are going to experience with them. God, I just pray for your guidance, I just pray for your peace, love and joy fill their heart. God, I pray that let them remember that you are almighty God, remember that always you are God who carries them, you are God who watches over them, you are God who will always be with them. And just remind them that you are God who is going to set rain in season, both autumn and spring. Let them remember that you are God who will provide them their needs, and make them satisfied. God, please remind them that you are God who wants to build a great loving relationship with them. God, please remind them that you are God who is eager to seek them and whom they can seek. God. Please remind them that you are God who is eager to see them serving you. God please let them serve you with their whole heart, with their whole soul, no matter where they go, because God you have already given us a great commission of "Go and make disciples of all nations", and you have already promised us you will be with us until the end of the earth. I pray that God please be with them. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen!