Sermons by Jerry Tu
Nehemiah 3, Ephesians 4:11-13
Luke 2:8-20, Matthew 2: 1-12 During the Christmas season, I look forward to singing Christmas carols, giving and receiving gifts, and lots of food in a large family gathering! This year, however, Christmas will look very different for many of us. Perhaps this will cause us to re-examine what we really hunger for during this season. Christmas is, after all, a celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what better time than now to focus on Him, encountering Jesus in a special way in our prayers, devotions, and activities? This Sunday, we are going to meet two groups of people that truly encountered Christ on Christmas. These people sought for Jesus purposefully and with excitement because they were hungry and thirsty for the right thing – a genuine relationship with God. They were transformed by the encounter and were filled with great joy. This Sunday, we’ll visit the story of the shepherds and the Magi on their journey of faith to meet Jesus. See you then!
Philippians 3:1-11 Our society places so much emphasis on having an impressive resume, with advanced degrees, a position at a prestigious company, and personal accomplishments. Even in our faith circles, there may be a subtle (or not so subtle) push for similar accomplishments: a master’s degree in theology, leading bible studies, memorizing Scripture. While none of these are negative in their own right, they may lead us to become prideful and to boast in ourselves. The apostle Paul exhorts us in Phil 3:7-11 to place no confidence in those worldly aspects, but rather let our confidence be rooted in the Lord, in knowing Him and being found in Him. God Himself tells us in Jeremiah 9:24: “let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me”. In what can you boast? Where does your confidence lie?
Philippians 2:19-30 In our journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we explored the glorious Christ Hymn in Phil 2:5-11 that illustrated Jesus’ divinity and humanity. This week, we look at two faithful servants of the Lord that truly followed the example of Jesus from the Christ Hymn. They were compassionate and committed, submissive and sacrificial. They can be good models for us as followers of Jesus. Or more accurately, they point to the true model for us: Jesus Christ. We are to imitate Christ by adapting His mindset in the manner we relate to each other. This is what Paul exhorts us in Phil 2:5-8. Meditate on this passage this week and ask the Holy Spirit to transform us into Christ-imitators. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Matt 25:14-30 What does “living a good life” mean to you? Is a “good life” measured by success, wealth, or status? In the kingdom of God, a “good life” is one that matters for God, one with eternal significance. This coming Sunday, let’s explore together how to diligently live our lives to yield a good “return on investment” for God’s kingdom; our text will be on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25.
Matt 20 “It’s not fair!” the child whines… This seems to be an instinctive response when a child is asked to share a toy, or to eat vegetables, or to do anything he doesn’t want to do… “It’s so not fair!” This tendency to exclaim “It’s not fair!” extends to adults, too, though we may hide it better or may be more eloquent in expressing our dissatisfaction. We tend to assess what we have or deserve, compare ourselves to others, and when the balance is not in our favor, we exclaim, “It’s not fair!” Sometimes we even blame God for allowing a perceived inequity in our lives. Jesus addresses this tendency in his parable “The Workers in the Vineyard.” He compels us to confront our own attitude in view of God’s generosity and teaches us an uncomfortable lesson. This Sunday we will study this parable in Matthew 20 as the first parable in our summer series Overflowing Extravagance: Studies in the Parables of Jesus.
1 Pet 5:6-14 I recently watched the film “Silence” about two Portuguese priests who traveled to Japan during a time when the Catholic faith was forbidden. The movie depicted many scenes of believers suffering and even losing their lives for their faith. These scenes inspired me and made me think: how do I react when I face suffering or loss? I realize that I often respond in the flesh; I may complain, get anxious, blame others, or worse. In this final passage of his letter, Peter gives us succinct and helpful exhortations to help us overcome the tendency to respond in the flesh and how to resist the devil during trials and temptations. As this passage brings us to the end of the epistle, I will also give a thematic summary of the whole book of 1 Peter.
1 Pet 5:1-5 What is the role of elders in a local church? More specifically, who are the elders at PBCC and what do they do? We’ll answer these and other questions this Sunday as we look into 1 Peter 5:1-5, Peter’s exhortation to the elders. What underlies church leadership is the humility and servant leadership exemplified by our Lord Jesus. There are lessons here for all of us, whether or not we are elders. Jerry Tu will be preaching and will be joined by the whole board of elders during the service. See you there!
Judg 7:1-25 This week we wrap up our 3-part series on Gideon with a dramatic battle versus a huge invading army. (Hint: It does NOT look like a scene from Lord of the Rings!) This “unconventional” battle raises some intriguing questions: Whom does God choose to fight His battle? What weapons are effective to accomplish His purposes? Applying these to my own life, I ponder, “Can God really use me to do His work? I’m flawed and inadequate!” And even if I believe He can use me, I wonder, “How can I prepare to fight His battle? What role should I take?” Do you ask yourself these questions too? Do you wish you knew the answers? Well, I don’t have all the answers. But come this Sunday and together we can find out how God can prepare us and use us for His kingdom.
Judg 6:33-40 “To fleece or not to fleece, that is the question.” No, this Sunday we’re not doing a biblical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but rather we’ll examine the practice of “laying the fleece” to discern the will of God in making decisions. The judge Gideon used this tactic with God – twice! Is this something we ought to follow? How do we determine God’s will? And when we know His will for us, are we willing to step out and follow Him? We’ll explore these questions and others in our study of Judges 6:33-40. We hope you’ll join us.