2014-11-23 Messages received from Sermon “Finding God in Discarded Places” Tezenlo Thong

Finding God in Discarded Places 

  • I definitely subscribe to the prophets view of life, it’s up to us to do God’s will.
  • Why am I not anxious about the coming of Jesus, I am trying to live life in a good way.
  • Are you living in fear or hope.
  • We are called to work for God. We are called to work with God.
  • The Kingdom of God cannot arrive without our working for and with God.

2014-11-30 Sermon ““When are you coming?” Tezenlo Thong

“When are you coming?”

Mark 13:24-37

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark is a part of what is known as apocalyptic literature. We see this type of literature in other books like the books of Daniel and Revelations. Apocalyptic literature emerged as a result of socio-political crisis facing the Jews. During crises, the people of Israel were asking, “Why are we suffering? Why is God not intervening on our behalf? When is the promised kingdom coming? When is the promised Messiah coming?”

When we are afflicted by sorrow and sadness in life, we ask, “When are you coming?” When we are confused and tired we ask God, “When is your kingdom coming? When are you going to fulfill your promise?” We recognize forces of darkness, such as violence, injustice, discrimination, economic disparity, etc., around us and wonder how long we will have to endure it. We ask God, “When are you coming? When are you going to show up? When are you going to intervene?”

As mortal human beings we ask these questions when we face circumstances that are beyond our control.  When we are faced with national or personal tragedy that we cannot do anything about, we look to the heavens and ask, “When are you coming?” The Kingdom of God may not happen or come according to our desire and time, but it will surely come. All we are asked is to be busy as we wait and watch. We are called to wait actively.

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor

Simpson United Methodist Church


2014-11-23 messages received from Sermon “Finding God in Discarded Places” Tezenlo Thong

Finding God in Discarded Places

Messages received from sermon by Tezenlo Thong:

  • People are thankful for different things.
  • Moments of grief, fear, loneliness.
  • Focus on blessings, be a better person.
  • God can show up in ordinary places, not just “holy” places.
  • Where have I encountered God, experience God, not always church.
  • Find Jesus in the streets, prisons, hospitals, where people NEED.
  • Thought on serving others, prepare meal for the homeless AND serve it, in place of one of the gatherings we have, what can we do for the less fortunate to share our bounty.
  • Go where God is, where people need us, as we need Him.
  • Faith needs to be accompanied with action.
  • Where will you find God?
  • God is found in the forsaken places.

2014-11-23 Sermon “Finding God in Discarded Places” Tezenlo Thong

Finding God in Discarded Places

Matthew 25:31-46

Where do you encounter God? Where have you experienced God? If you want to find God, where would you go to? Normally, you would go to a “holy” place. You would go to a church, because that’s where you think where God is. It is often at unlikely times and places that we meet God.

The scripture this morning seems to be telling us that God is not in church. God is not in holy places. God is not found in where we gather to worship.

Jesus says, “If you want to find me, go out to the streets and there you will find with a sign. If you want to find me, go to the prisons. That’s where I am. Go to hospitals, and there you will find me. I am the guy sleeping underneath the bridge. I am the little girl who goes to bed hungry every night because her parents don’t have enough money to buy food. I am the sick person who has no one to pay a visit. I am the sick who need medical attention. I am the hungry and thirsty stranger you drive by every day. I am not in church. I am at discarded places. You will find me in forsaken places of society.”

Where do you encounter God? Where have you experienced God? God is not here; God is in the least expected places. Go and meet God where God is – the forsaken places of the world.

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor

Simpson United Methodist Church


2014-11-16 Sermon “Investing in God; Risking for God” Pastor Tezenlo Thong, Simpson UMC

 

“Investing in God; Risking for God”

Matthew 25:14-30

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church

 Last Sunday’s parable talks about oil. This Sunday’s parable is about investment. That sounds very modern. I means very capitalistic. Was Jesus talking about capitalism? Could he have known the subprime mortgage crisis? Did he foresee the coming income disparity between the rich and the poor? Jesus couldn’t possibly be talking about investment in the modern sense of capitalism.

Some scholars suggest that the English word talent came from this parable. The word talent in English means a marked innate ability to do something. It means an ability of superior quality. America’s Got Talent or American Idol probably comes to mind. If talent here meant an extraordinary ability, most of us could easily find an excuse for not investing, for most of us are not gifted in this sense. In Greek, talent simply means scale or balance referring to a measurement of weight. It is not a reference to abilities.

God has endowed us. The “master” has given each of the servants a trust. The talents were given as a trust. The talent or wealth belonged to the master, not the servants. It was given to invest and bear fruit. Someone said, “Jesus saves; we invest.” Do we invest our life, time and resources for God? Do we work with the resources that God has given us?

The last servant was fearful of risk-taking. He was afraid of losing the money. Investment always involves risks. Love involves risk. Generosity has the risk of deception and betrayal. Hospitality invites risks and involves vulnerability. Still, we are called for prudent risk-taking. Otherwise, we could gradually slip into irrelevance and slow demise.

 

2014-11-9 Messages received from Sermon Simpson UMC “Awaiting the Fullness of the Kingdom of God” Pastor Tezenlo Thong

Sermon “Awaiting the Fullness of the Kingdom of God” Pastor Tezenlo Thong

Messages received:

  • As we journey through life we must have hope, help others to have hope and make a difference.
  • Consider whether our actions are guided by belief.
  • As we wait for the end of any journey, big or small, it is our responsibility to wait actively and not be idle but continue our service to God.
  • We can serve God by recognizing and serving those in need.
  • Keep hope and patience.
  • Don’t be lulled into inactivity, don’t let life’s journeys be unfulfilled.
  • To give is to receive, to replenish those in need is to replenish oneself.

 

 

2014-11-9 Sermon by Tezenlo Thong, “Awaiting the Fullness of the Kingdom of God”

“Awaiting the Fullness of the Kingdom of God”

(Matthew 25:1-13)

Tezenlo Thong

As we near the Season of Advent, you will realize that the lectionary texts are leading us to what is called parousia, an eschatological event the Christians have always believed will happen soon. The parable for this Sunday talks about waiting for an important event, an event that no one knows when it might occur. The waiters are therefore kept in suspense. We all know what it is like to be in a state of constant suspense, waiting for something to happen any moment.

What is important is that our Christian life is not a passive waiting. We are to wait in active readiness. Some early Christians thought that Jesus would return in their lifetime and decided to wait passively. They became disengaged and disinterested in “earthly” matters. They became fixated on the “hereafter” and lost relevance in the “here-and-now”.

We are not called to wait passively as the world suffers, as God’s children go hungry or as oppression and injustice grow. We are to wait actively. That is why the Season of Advent is a busy time for the Church. We give, and we serve more than we normally do. This Advent, God will come. God will come moment by moment. Sometimes we are foolish, and we miss the coming; sometimes we are wise, and we see him/her in the face of someone in need – “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.” Let us wait actively for the coming of God!

 

 

 

Messages Received from Sermon “Unfinished Journeys” Pastor Tezenlo Thong

“Unfinished Journeys”

Pastor Tezenlo Thong

October 26, 2014

 Messages received from Sermon by Tezenlo Thong:

  • What can your personal ministry do to help another on their journey?
  • What can your personal ministry do to help yourself on your journey?
  • Do journeys need to be finished to be successful?
  • Big dreams and journeys are not always fulfilled in the lifetime of the dreamer.
  • The journey itself is important.
  • What is the finishing line of a journey?
  • The lessons learned and your personal acceptance of the same may be the finished journey.

2014-10-26 Sermon Simpson UMC “UNFINISHED JOURNEYS” Pastor Tezenlo Thong

Sermon “Unfinished Journeys” Pastor Tezenlo Thong

After forty years of traveling in wilderness, Moses and his people came to a place called Mt. Pisgah or Mt. Nebo. The view from the summit provides a panoramic picture of what is called the Promised Land. Here God showed Moses the Promised Land, which could be considered the peak of Moses’ life. There was only one problem. After showing Moses the land, God said, “I have let you see the Promised Land with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

If you were Moses standing and looking at the land that you would never enter, how would you feel? Imagine how he felt that day, knowing his life-long journey would be left incomplete. Imagine the tears welling up in his eyes as he looked across the Promised Land. He had risked so much and suffered so long to get here, and now, at the very brink of achieving his goal, he must stop. His journey must be left unfinished.

Not every journey is completed successfully. Many journeys remain unfinished. There’s a saying that goes, “It is not the destination, but the journey that matters.” We may not see the end of everything we begin in life. What matters is how well what we do.

Deuteronomy 34:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

34 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

2014-10-19 Sermon Simpson UMC “Religion and Violence: Does Religion Promote Violence?” Tezenlo Thong

“Religion and Violence:

Does Religion Promote Violence?”

(Micah 4:1-4)

Is religion inherently bad? Does it promote violence? Does it foster hate, fear and conflict? Or does religion make human beings better people? Are human beings better off because of it? Or is religion neither inherently good nor bad?

On one hand, we don’t have to look far to find atrocious examples of violence done in the name of religion. On the other hand, some of the greatest historical figures who have exhibited strong moral leadership are people with deep religious convictions, such as Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Thích Nhất Hạnh and others.

No religion is immune from violence. All are guilty of perpetrating hatred and division. Religion, including Christianity, can be and has been used as an excuse for violence. However, we must never condone, much less perpetrate, violence in the name of religion or God. On the contrary, we ought to be a people of peace, love and goodwill and treat people of all faiths with respect, love and dignity they deserve.

“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church

(Micah 4:1–4 CEB)

But in the days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of the mountains; it will be lifted above the hills; peoples will stream to it. Many nations will go and say: “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God, so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in God’s paths!” Instruction will come from Zion and the LORD’s word from Jerusalem. God will judge between the nations and settle disputes of mighty nations, which are far away. They will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war. All will sit underneath their own grapevines, under their own fig trees. There will be no one to terrify them; for the mouth of the LORD of heavenly forces has spoken.