Jesus taught what a disciple does from Luke 14:25-35. Are we, as a church, producing disciples of Jesus the way Jesus described? If not, what are we producing? Pastor Joon Hwang, using the Francis Chan's new book, "Letters to the Church", challenges the "Christians" or the churchgoers in America to be serious about being a disciple of Jesus, which is the purpose of being a Christian. The church must produce disciples of Jesus, otherwise, we are not fulfilling the purpose of a church.
Pastor Joon Hwang declared, "In our difficult hour, we need Jesus every hour!" How do we need Jesus every hour? By dwelling in the presence of God, in His temple like what David said in Psalm 27:4. In this message, Pastor Joon gives the vision message for 2020 by challenging the church to focus on "indwelling" in the presence of God and connecting to God daily and hourly, so that we can follow Christ faithfully no matter what the circumstances.
Advent means "arrival" or "coming". Advent is remembering and celebrating the arrival of King Jesus. Pastor Joon asks this question in his Christmas message, Is Jesus really your King? Is Jesus in charge of your life? Do you surrender your will, desire, and opinion to Jesus, who is the King? This King came to set us free from the bondage to sin. Sin is trusting, relying on, and taking control of your own life. The outcome of sin is brokenness and destruction. We cannot take control of our lives. It breaks every time we try. Instead, we need to trust in Jesus, who is the King! He will take care of us when we trust, rely on, and surrender to Him. We will live a life of freedom with Jesus forever! This is the salvation story.
How do we connect to God? We see Paul praising and giving thanks to God when he was in prison in Ephesians 1:3-14. We connect to God when we start praising and giving thanks to God for what He has done. No matter what your situation or the problem is, as we connect to God by giving Him praise and thanksgiving, God pours out His love and grace upon us and walks with us.
Many are hurting today. They seem to find no hope. Pastor Joon Hwang gives a message about hope by studying Revelation 19:11-21. Those who follow Christ know that Jesus ultimately wins, no matter how evil or hopeless your life might be. If you want hope? You must be connected to Jesus. That's the only way.
Eugene Peterson's paraphrase, The Message translated Matthew 11:28-30:
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus calls those who are tired, worn out, and burned out people to come to Jesus. Jesus will walk with you, work with you, and even show you how to do it. You are not alone. In this sermon, Pastor Joon encourages listeners to do whatever we are doing in life with Jesus, even when we are doing things that are overwhelming or burdensome. When we do them with Jesus, He will walk with us and gives us a sense of peace and rest.
Pastor Joon also challenges the listeners that the horizontal issues we have with people are first and foremost our disconnection to Jesus. When we are connected to Jesus, we receive the fruit of the Spirit to reflect the Christlikeness to others.
We lack ownership in the body of Christ today. Paul in Romans 12:4-13 calls the church is a body and we are body parts. Each body part has to play its part for the body to function properly. In this message, pastor Joon challenges the Christians in the church to take the ownership and serve according to the gifts God has given each one of us so that the body of Christ can operate properly.
We often rely on our own knowledge, strength, or ability that we forget to rely on God. However, without God, we cannot do anything. we are so weak without God's grace and His power. Pastor Joon Hwang gives testimony of what he learned when he went to Guatemala for his mission's trip. He learned to rely on God in everything he does.
The church must provide an opportunity for the children to encounter God. Parents must learn how to teach and disciple children from church so they can continue to disciple their children at home. In this sermon, Pastor Joon challenges the parents to be responsible for discipling our own children at home and even at church.
According to the book, "Churchless" by George Barna, it states that the unchurched and de-churched people want to encounter the living God when they come to church. Sadly, they don't get that when they visit churches today. In this sermon, pastor Joon Hwang challenges New Life Covenant Church and all other churches of Jesus that we have to focus on what matters most, which is providing an opportunity for people to encounter the powerful and living God when they come to church.
Most of the Christian leaders argue that discipleship is crucial in the Christian life, yet we don't see many of them in the body of Christ today. Why is that?
When Jesus gave the Great Commission in Acts 1:8, He told the disciples to receive the power from the Holy Spirit and then be His witnesses by going everywhere even to the ends of the earth. In the book of Acts, we see that the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit when they were making disciples. New believers or "disciples" were also added when they received the gospel message with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Joon Hwang argues that without the encounter or the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, you cannot be a disciple of Jesus. It is impossible to follow Christ the way Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20, unless you are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Unless God changes and transforms you by the power of the Holy Spirit, you cannot change or follow Christ faithfully. Perhaps, we don't have too many disciples of Jesus today because we don't teach or emphasize this important component of being a disciple of Jesus.
Jesus is the bread of life and we need Jesus more than anything. In the gospel of John 6, Jesus fed 5000 and the next day, people were looking for Jesus not because they want to follow Him, but simply because he fed them and wanted him to do it again. Jesus boldly teaches the crowd that He himself is the bread of life and what they need is not "food" per se, but Jesus himself, who can give them no hunger. Pastor Joon Hwang delivers a message from John 6:22-35 that teaches about the importance of following Christ and wanting just Jesus in our lives who can truly satisfy our hunger.
What matters most in the church? The attendance or the number of disciples of Jesus in the church? Pastor Joon Hwang is teaching on the new series called, "What Matters Most". In this first message of the series, he teaches about the importance of being and making disciples from Matthew 4:18-19 & 28:19-20.
Why church? Rev. Jill Lind, who is the Director of Congregational Care for the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. She gave a powerful message on what a church is why being part of a church is important by looking at Ephesians 4.
Just as the church is a family of Christ, the family is a church, where we need to disciple our children and the spouse. In the family, we should not take each other for granted, but treat each other as brothers and sisters in christ like what Paul taught the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18.
Psalm 105 commands God's people to give thanks to the Lord by remembering what God has done in our lives. We need to remember what God has done for us everyday so that our hearts are full of gratitude and we give God worship in everything we do.
In today's church, it is pastor-driven. People go to certain churches because the churches are personality-driven. However, the church must be Jesus-driven. In Matthew 10:1-5, Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to do the same thing He has been doing. The disciples have never done anything like that on their own, but they were not supposed to just follow Jesus, but do what He does: preach the gospel, heal the sick, and drive the demons. This is what discipleship is all about. Christians today must stop being spectators and start being the disciples of Jesus by actually ministering and serving the Lord. The churches must stop being a pastor-driven church, but a Jesus-driven church.
What do you live for? The author of Ecclesiastes said that life without God is meaningless or vanity. Peter Ho gives an encouraging and challenging message called the Joyful Grind to those who are trying to find joy, meaning, and purpose in life.
What does Jesus do when we fail in living for Jesus. Julie Hwang gives a powerful and hopeful message from Matthew 26:69-75 to those who think they have failed God in life.
Jesus asked Peter in John 21:15-18, "Do you love me more than these?" Jacob Kim, a guest preacher, is going to be a missionary to Korea to evangelize and disciple the young people who left Jesus and the church. Jacob delivers a powerful message about loving Jesus more than anything and anyone.
Jesus offers the living water to Samaritan woman in John 4 that she will never thirst again. This message challenges people to encounter Jesus and be satisfied with Him, who is the living water, for He truly satisfies our deepest longings.
Nicodemus visits Jesus in John 3 and Jesus tells him that he must be born again. In this "Encounter Jesus" sermon series, this particular message challenges all Christians that we must be born again.