Happy New Year. Be blessed and be a blessing!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sermon for the First CA

Hey, people. Here’s a small contribution for CA before I leave for Australia. It’s the transcript of Pastor David’s sermon in the First CA. I’ve tried to render it as close to the original as possible. Enjoy!

Note: Words in italic are my own thoughts during the sermon, or while I am writing this.


At the announcement of his name, Pastor David stepped forward to address the crowd of faithful brothers and sisters who were waiting eagerly to hear his sharing on the Word of the Lord. As the thunderous applause subsided, the pastor cleared his throat, before opening his mouth to speak as everyone else in the room listened intently to his speech.

“Look at your resolutions for this year?” he began. “What are they all about?”

To draw emphasis, he furthered his line of questioning, “Are they all about what YOU want?”

He let the question hang in the air for a brief moment before continuing on.

“Let me just say this. It is not wrong to pursue our dreams or goals. These dreams are given by God. But what I’m saying is, there’s a better way of pursuing them than YOUR way, and that is God’s way.”

As a person who gives prominence to scripture, the pastor proceeds to quote the sayings of Jesus from Matthew 6:25-34.

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?

28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“In the passage you’ve just heard, Jesus addresses the usual needs of mankind – clothing, food, shelter. In human life, there is a hierarchy of needs, beginning with the basic needs which I’ve just mentioned. Then, we begin moving up the hierarchy with other needs such as peace, comfort, stability and finally we reach the highest point where self-esteem stands.”

“So you see there are a lot of things that stress us up and all of this can be summed up to one word – WORRY.”

To draw our attention back to God, Pastor David quips, “But Jesus gives us an important insight. ‘Don’t you worry!’ He says. We don’t add our lifespan by worrying about things, but instead we shorten it.”

Pausing momentarily, the pastor went on to point out the thing that we sometimes do in our lives. “At times we get upset with Jesus when trouble comes. We say that He doesn’t sympathize with us. But the scriptures paint a different picture. In fact, He does care about us.”

“Look at Psalms 139. It says that God’s thoughts for us are more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashore (vs 17-18),” suggested the pastor, quoting scripture again.

“The fact is. God cares for us more than anything else. We are made in God’s image and are thus, God’s highest creation,” he further elaborated.

“Jesus does not want us to repeat the mistakes made by the Israelites in their worries (e.g. when they chose to disobey God’s commands to take the promised land and were made to wander for 40 years in the wilderness, see Num 14), so He gives us a new solution to our worries.”

I could sense that he was on to something interesting.

“Seek first the kingdom of God,” he brought up the words of Jesus.

The pastor emphasized on the word ‘seek’.

“Now what is ‘seek’?” he enquired. Without waiting for a response, he provided an answer to his own question, “It means to put all our mind and attention to find something.”

After ensuring that everyone was on the same track as he, the pastor highlighted several items that most people ‘seek’ nowadays, which he labeled the 4 G’s.

“What are the 4 G’s?” he asked, then began listing them down, pausing in between each item.



“What’s next?” he asked.

A similar concept of 3 G’s previously taught in secondary school History prompted some to reply, “Gospel”.

“Gospel? Haha. It would be great if people sought the Gospel. The next G is Girl…or…Guy,” he said to the laughter of the crowd.

And finally, “Good health”.

Upon finishing the list, he remarked, “Often, people seek for the gifts but not the Giver. Hence, they lose their focus.”

“Now, Jesus wants to bring our focus back to what’s more important – the Giver, the Healer, the Creator!”

“Once we set our focus on God, what does Jesus say? He says, all these things shall be added unto us. When we have the right focus, all our needs will be given to us. All the things that we used to chase will come chasing after us!”

“Psalms 23 tells us, ‘surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ If we set our focus, He will give us all the goodness and mercy He has promised.”

After laying down a good foundation for his next point, he went on, “Now if we want these blessings from God, then we must put God FIRST. By that, God is talking about priorities. He is not saying that we don’t have to work, but our focus should be on God first.”

“In Psalms, it is written that our concern is God’s concern. We must surrender everything to Him. We cannot allow God only partial Lordship of our lives. We can’t say, ‘Lord, please help me with my relationship issues but please don’t touch any of other issues in my life. I can handle them myself’”

“We must surrender ALL our pursuits to Him,” Pastor David reiterated. To cap his point, he added, “Either, He is Lord of all of not Lord at all.”

“Look after God’s interest and He’ll look after ours. The Bible gives us many clear examples of God pouring out His blessings to those who choose to look after God’s interest.”

“Tonight, I’d like to give you the example of Solomon, the wisest man on earth. Now, one night God appeared to Him and asked him what he wanted. Solomon could’ve chosen riches, long life, and the death of his enemies but instead he asked for wisdom to govern God’s people. He chooses to look after God’s interests by requesting for wisdom and understanding to govern His people. In the end, God did not only give Him wisdom but also gave him so much more – riches and honour greater than any other king who ever lived.”

There are many other ways we can look after God’s interests. Serving God whole-heartedly in our ministry is looking after God’s interests. We don’t have to be in positions of honour like Solomon to do so. Even when we serve ‘behind the scenes’, it is still looking after God’s interests, as long as we do it with the objective of pleasing God as our main focus.

Now that he has got everyone excited about his message, the pastor prepared to approach from a different perspective.

“What is a kingdom?” he began. Almost immediately, he replied his own question, “A king and his domain.”

He then issued his next question, along with the answer shortly thereafter. “What is the Kingdom of God?” “It is the King himself along with heavenly things, things of eternal value such as eternal peace, blessings, true joy and so on.”

“But no matter what type of kingdom it is, the most important figure is the king himself.”

Having established that, the pastor drove home his point. “So, we seek first the King and all the things that pertain to His kingdom.” “How do we do that?”

“Spend time personally with God. Read the word of God, it is the main way of listening to His word.”

“As we do that, we behold God’s glory. We seek the face of God, not the hands of God!

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, ‘If my people who are called by my name, would humbles themselves, and pray, and seek My face and turn away from their wicked ways, then I from heaven will hear them, and forgive them of their sins and heal their lands.’”

“We seek His face, not His hands. The hands of God refer more to God’s works and deeds.” We worship the Creator, not the creation!

“Also, do not forget to pray. After prayer, we enter into the relationship with Him and it becomes worship.”

“Each time we come before Him, we are alone with the King in His royal chambers. It’s just between us and God and we can come to Him and pour out whatever problems and grievances we have to Him. When God is pleased with our time with Him, He will pour out His blessings onto us.”

Pastor David had reached the end of his almost hour-long sermon. He summed up his entire message with a brief conclusion, “God is willing and able to do all that is needed to help us as long as we place Him first!”

After the interesting sharing by the pastor, the CA meeting proceeded with the rest of the activities as reported by Betty and Ken.


Well, that’s it from me this time. Hope I don’t get blasted for taking up too much space in the CA blog. =P

Hope to hear/read the sermon for the next CA from you guys. God bless!

In His service,

Brian Chee Nee Hou


Dann~ said...

Thanks a lot Brian... May God bless u in Australia!

Pat said...

Brian!!! nice post!!! thanz for writing!!!

Vincent said...

hey, I remember this... Haha :)