Pastor Jeff Louie is back! Hear how the only way to find our lives us by taking up our cross and following Jesus.
Grace and peace to you, welcome to Cornerstone San Francisco Sunday service. My name is Ahn Truong. I’m part of our pastoral staff. We were so glad and so delighted that you are with us, maybe from home, maybe gathering at the Riordan Campus or anywhere in between. Go ahead and share our Sunday service with a family member or a great friend.
Now, if you are new, you are our guest. We would love for you to get connected with our body and so get your phones out and text “SayHi” to 97-000, and someone from our team will be delighted to get you connected with our community right away. Now, speaking of community, one of our first few gatherings this past year, it was through a Prayer Walk. Man, an amazing Prayer Walk yesterday in the Sunset, along the Great Highway.
So if you missed out, don’t worry, there’s more to come. A matter of fact, we have a Prayer Hike that’s happening on May 29th in San Bruno for a time of prayer, a fellowship and community. Sign up, I’ll see you there. Let’s continue our Sunday Service with our amazing worship band.
All right. Good morning, everybody and welcome to our online service. Let’s clap our hands and sing together this morning. Here we go.
Lord, we put our trust you in this time, the One who is greater than all the things we face. God who is good, who is true, who is kind. We look to you, Jesus, and we say, I believe in Your breakthrough, my life and my circumstances in this city. Jesus, we ask for You to have Your way. We love You. We thank You for this time.
We ask You for you to speak to us as we receive the message and we pray these things, Jesus, in Your good and beautiful name. Amen. Amen. Let’s continue with our service for today.
All right. Blessings to all of you. If you’re joining us for the first time, I’m Pastor Terry, I’m the Lead Pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. You know, this is a, a special time and I realize a lot of us. We’re just connected right now, online. We may be at different parts of the country or even the world in some cases.
That’s great! We’re glad to be able to share this together. Our online service is very much a part of our future and it’s something that we’re very committed to and we’re going to keep it going as well as we can with as much excellence as we can. Uh, for as long as possible, because we’ve seen it is as a real blessing at the same time,
we’re also excited to be able to start to regather. It’s just a transition. It’s just a start. But those of us who are living here in San Francisco Bay area, I think we’re aware that, you know, we’ve had two campuses. We’ve started to gather in presence on one of those sites, the Riordan Campus. And that for us is a great gift and a blessing.
In fact, this Sunday, marks the first time we’re actually going to be having live worship. So I’m very excited about that as we begin to move into what we are hoping will be a new season. Speaking of, uh, you know, something new and then something old. We have a friend of our church community who’s been with us now for a number of years, almost two decades, Jeff Louie, former pastor here in San Francisco, Professor of Theology at Western Seminary.
He’s been sharing his heart with us. And over the years it’s been kind of a tradition for him to update us on how he’s doing, even as he addresses a subject. And he’s going to be talking about surrender and sharing. I told him, just share what’s in your heart. You know? He’s going to talk about what it means to, to give our lives to the Lord and the blessing that is to be found there.
And I told him just be okay with sharing, whatever other things are in your mind. And, and, um, you know, be free. And then, let me give you an idea of how we’re going with a service though. After Jeff shares a teaching we’re going to have a special song that we’ve crafted just for the moment for us to be able to linger with some of the things that we’ve been sharing around.
And then I’m going to come back after that. I have a thought to share and a blessing to give. So with that in mind, even now, Lord Jesus, we just send this moment. And we open up our hearts and we ask that you would, you would come and you would speak to us and you would be with us. And you would, you would highlight things that you want us to be attentive to.
And we just ask for your goodness and grace in this moment in Jesus Name, we pray. Amen.
Well, it’s great to be here. Uh, one of the regrets I have, uh, is that I can’t, uh, be with you live, and one of the highlights of speaking at Cornerstone all these years was to meet with you during the services or after the services, or before the services and chat with you, pray with you, uh, just catch up on life.
Always wanted to always share things that are new with me. Uh, one of the things I always did when I preached live at Cornerstone, so there’s a lot of things happening in my life. First, my youngest daughter moved from Los Angeles and now is residing in Pacifica. So her, her husband, her two children now live 20 minutes away from us.
That means both our daughters live in the Bay Area, at least, uh, technically because that other daughter is in Taiwan now. And, but she lives in Walnut Creek. So it’s really happy. A second thing that’s happening in my life is that I don’t know if you could tell. But I’m like 10 pounds lighter and exercising, eating well, Keto.
And I’m a, the supplement of the month is collagen for me. I need to get the sagging skin more supple and taut, you know, less wrinkly. The third thing that’s happening in my life, which is probably like more significant for me is that I’m going to be transitioning to a different ministry. I have one more month at Peninsula Bible Church, and then I’ll be taking the summer off and then doing something new for the cause of Jesus Christ.
And that’s kind of interesting because I just turned 65. I’m Medicare ready, but instead of retiring, there’s so much to do, you know, so much to do so I’m excited about the future. You could pray for me in terms of how the Lord leads me in this area of ministry. Um, it’ll be my fourth, my fourth transition.
Okay? But I’m excited about it. Now when, uh, Pastor Terry mentioned that this topic that you are going through is on surrender. He didn’t know it, but I kind of flipped. Because that’s like the, one of the greatest topics you could have a series on because, believe it or not, this whole concept of surrender is central to a healthy
understanding of what our faith is all about, what it means to be in Jesus, what it means to grow in Jesus. It’s great for everybody, you know? Surrender. So we’re going to be looking at it through the lens of mostly, uh, the Book of Matthew chapter 16 in a very iconic verse. Here’s how the verse reads.
Matthew 16 verse 24. And you you’ve, maybe you’ve heard of this verse before then. Jesus told His disciples. If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me for whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Now, this is very, very much, uh, uh, central to the teaching of Jesus.
This verse would be mentioned in other Gospels, but we will be referring to the Gospel of Luke later on and as the central to the message of Jesus, because what it does is that Jesus uses — the special moment where he talks about His own death on the cross. And this is sort of like a prophetic thing and then begins to apply it to the life of His followers.
He hasn’t even died on the cross yet. He’s already applying it because this whole concept of the cross and us picking up our cross. Well, it really, in a nutshell captures the whole message of Jesus, His life, His work, and what He wants for us to do, as we grow in Jesus. Now, one of the problems of this passage is that whenever we look at this, like pick up the cross, it sounds gruesome, you know, because this whole idea of, of the significance of the cross, it’s a gruesome thing.
It’s, it’s like, like, you know, in one aspect, in, in modern Christianity, in modern society, the cross is just like a religious symbol. Jewelry. But during the time of Jesus, it was not jewelry. It was not a religious symbol. It was a symbol of execution, because it was how Romans executed criminals who did something that was worthy of capital punishment.
It was death. It was execution. So, what does Jesus mean when He says we must pick up our cross to follow Him? Well, in order to really understand this in a more clear way, I got to tell you what it really doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that every one of us is going to endure a hideous life and be persecuted to the point of death because we follow Jesus.
Now, some of some people will. Uh, most of the disciples of Jesus would be executed for their faith. Um, my brother-in-law is Armenian and he often would tell me of the Armenian Genocide, uh, in the early 1900s. Okay? And they were persecuted for their faith. Now, many, many people are persecuted, but this is not talking really about that.
It’s talking about something else. Well, if it’s not saying that everyone will be persecuted or a die a death of martyrdom because we follow Jesus because we know that’s not true. Does it mean that maybe we, every believer must do something significant for the cause of Jesus, do some great power move, you know, for the sake of our Lord and our master, you know?
Cause we got to prove that we are worthy to be His follower. Well, obviously it’s not talking about that because you know what, if you, if you read this verse carefully, “If anyone would come after Me, deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The denial of self by picking up the cross and following, the following comes after.
Whatever this surrender or sacrifice is about. I’m going to read you another verse. It is the sister verse of this passage in Matthew chapter 16. It’s in Luke chapter 9, but there’s one added word that will help bring clarity to what we’re trying to learn today. Luke chapter 9:23. “And He said to all, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Now, this interesting added word daily really begins to change what this whole passage means, because it’s not about Jesus and a specific moment.
It’s about Jesus and your life as a journey. It’s not something you do. It’s not something in the past tense. It’s more of a tone of your whole life. You don’t like deny yourself once or take up your cross once it’s something we must somehow understand and learn that it’s a daily thing. It’s about a life of surrender.
A surrender to Jesus in order to follow Him better. Now, oftentimes we use a word like surrender and it has very negative connotations. Waving the white flag. Surrender means giving up. No one wants to give up in this life. Okay. We want to fight. Okay. Moment of surrender is always the down time in your life.
Or even sports. I love the NBA, uh, surrender in the NBA is fourth quarter, five minutes left in the game and you empty your bench with the last five players that sort of are never play because Steph Curry has just dropped 50 points on you, you and your team. And so you, you, you, you bring in your bench players.
You’re you’re, you know, the end bench players. You’ve given up. You’ve waved the white flag. We’re not gonna win. Let’s just run out the clock. You know, no one wants to be defeated that way. No one wants to lose. So when I use this term surrender, I want you to understand that it’s not really talking about a bad thing.
It’s really talking about something you do daily, and you realize something about yourself because this realization doesn’t end with the realization. Realization is only beginning. Deny yourself, take up your cross to follow Christ and to follow Christ is a glorious thing. But it’s in a strange way. It’s a sort of a, like a, like a process thing.
Now, what in the world is this, like, um, when we talk about this surrender. What in the world is this sort of, uh, giving up? What does it look like in life? What’s very interesting is that when Jesus gave this very iconic statement of denying self, taking up your cross, following Him. He meant it for every believer that would, sort of, want to make Christ their own faith.
But what does it look like? See, when you studied the Bible, what you have is often are the sort of a general statements that sort of overarching, sort of like, oh, like the category, this is the, the, this, uh, deny self, pick up your cross, follow Jesus is one of these like big verses, you know. And then to really see the color of what it means, the application, the examples. You look through scripture and you find how different people,
different groups, different authors, applied the same principle of surrender, denying yourself, picking up your cross in the context of everyday life. Now let’s give you a number of examples. In the rest of this message is basically a, a Biblical examples and examples of how it applies to each and every one of us.
One of my favorite books is the book of John. Because it really is very different than the other, what we call the four Gospels. It is the most personal, it has the longest sort of dialogues. And within those dialogues, there’s two, that’s really a very good in terms of understanding what this surrender means.
There’s Jesus and Nicodemus. And then right after that, the chapter of Jesus and the Samaritan and the woman at the well, okay. And, um, they could be both so different. One is very religious. The other is nominally religious. Okay? One is very, very obedient and dutiful, the other is not so. One is perhaps squeaky cleaner and the other perhaps less so definitely less
so in terms of the standards of this time. But both of them have something in common. For them to meet Christ and sometimes, you know, taking up, denying yourself, picking up your cross, happens at the moment of your wanting to understand and appropriate Christ as a lifestyle and someone to follow. They both had to give up something.
They both had to surrender something. For Nicodemus, it was to surrender his ego. He was a self-made man. He was well-respected. He thought, you know, what does God want from me? And what do I do to have eternal life? What more can I do? You know, this guarantee. And Jesus says, you know what, you must be born again, has nothing to do with you Nicodemus.
And you know what that was one of the hardest things for him to really grasp, I believe because his life was about achievement. And then when Jesus says you must be born, again, has nothing to do with your achievement. Man! How does that work in his life? And then for the woman at the well, here was this woman who had a series of relational breakups and Jesus talks to her about it.
And then He says, she tells the town people, I want to show you a Man told me all things, you know what, you know what one based his existence on his self achievement. The other existed from man to man and had a shame issue. You could have two no greater extremes. Would Nicodemus, give up his righteousness or his confidence in his righteousness and what the woman at the well allow her shame to be covered.
Wow. You know, these types of things are probably some of the hardest things to deal with in a person’s life. Because they deal with the inward values, personality sort of survival traits thing that we’ve learned, that sort of measure success. And all of us have these side of things in our lives that we must sort of surrender.
Maybe you have too much confidence in yourself. Maybe you had to surrender and then. Maybe you have too much, um, imperfection in your past and you hide. Maybe you have to surrender that
These are other types of surrendering in the New Testament. Sometimes it’s not about the moment you meet Jesus. Sometimes about the life after you’ve already committed to Jesus. Let me give you some examples. Um, Peter. Oh, Peter in the Gospels. Uh, he’s one of the early disciples of Jesus later becomes as great apostle in the book of acts preaching for thousands of people.
But there’s a moment in his life at the end of the earthly life of Jesus, right before He was crucified that Peter swore on a stack of Bibles that everyone would abandon Jesus, except for him. And the Jesus says, you know what, before the, the crow, you know, uh, the rooster crows, you know, are you going to deny me three times. And then it happened?
Then he was crushed. And I think it was a moment of realization of a surrender. Surrender well that’s kind of strange. A realization that it’s not just all pompous talk. It’s now how much will you follow me when a young girl asks you, whether you are a believer of mine. He finally came to understand the limitation of his faith that it was not just all show and glamor and glitz, you know, and for some of us, that’s what we need to do.
You know, here’s the thing about the Christian walk. It’s not about talk. It’s not about how people perceive you. It’s not about you attaining to some heights of that, you know, you’re really famous spiritually. It’s about how faithful you are in Jesus. And sometimes as someone who is already in Christ, someone who was a, like one of the 12, you know, we have to surrender that.
I don’t know, self-confidence in ministry within us who serve. And realize that, you know what, are you going to give that up to follow Jesus.
Other examples of Christians as they walked in Christ that they had to surrender a book of James, the marvelous book. Book of James has a number of, of sort of interesting themes and topics. One of them is he, the, the, the writer, James talks about how we must sort of temper our tongue because it’s sets the whole forest on fire.
And then he, even, he even traces it to the source of, of, of, of hell, you know. Some of us, you know, it is very interesting, surrender for us means we must mind what we say. That even when we correct, and when we rebuke, we say it in a way that is gracious, that would not crush a person. Or say flippant things to our spouses or to our children how stupid they are.
Oh, you know, you always liked that to embellish these types things, because words hurt a lot. It hurt a lot. And James tells us what we need to do is to surrender that and not do that anymore. You know? Because it’s a life of surrender. It’s not nice. Oh, you know, I, I confess Jesus, you know, 20 years ago it was that covers it all.
You know, it’s a whole life of surrender, you know. Whole life of understanding who you are and needing to give it up in order to follow Christ better. The book James also has, um, surrender in the context of how you treat the poor. He says, oh, what happens if a man that’s wealthy comes here, give him the best seat next to you, because all about networking, you know, it’s all about networking back then, but then a poor man come, yo, you sit over there.
You know? James says, you know what, that’s wrong? That’s wrong. That, that faith cannot save you because ultimately you’re not treating the poor man with the same respect. You are different differentiating between people. Based upon how much money they have. Of Corinth. Corinthians also had that, the church had Corinth,
I gotta say. Here they would have potlucks during the communion service and people weren’t sharing with each other and Paul would go flippant. He says, you know, I’m not going to commend you at all. I’m going to condemn you because you need to share with people, you know, this whole idea of how you treat people that you think are lower class than you
is a big deal in the New Testament. And some of the strictest rebukes were given to people who sort of made this differentiation and, and, you know, a line, uh, between the haves and the have nots. You know, that’s a hard thing to surrender, but that’s something we must mindfully begin to surrender in our lives.
To treat people with dignity and the same way, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. Other times the Apostle Paul would talk about how we are to surrender in daily life. Book of Ephesians is a great book for this. He talked about how one of the great problems in the Christian life is the problem of authority.
So he talks about husbands, wives. He talks about parents and children. He talks about the workplace, superiors and inferiors. And how easy it is to those in the sort of superior position to overdo it. And he says, you know what? In each and every one of these three applicable points, the whole key is to begin to surrender abuse of authority. Man, perhaps, you know, you got to trouble marriage, I’ve got to say, you know, trouble marriage could be infidelity.
It could be irresponsibility. It could be abuse and taking advantage of a person, you know.
Maybe that’s what God would want you to do. To surrender that. So that you can follow Him because following Jesus isn’t going to church. Following Jesus isn’t going to Bible study. Following Jesus isn’t taking communion, following Jesus is doing those things because those are good things to do, but to have the mind and heart
of Jesus to be transformed in a person, you know. It’s so important for us to understand that. And it’s something that the world needs at this time.
You know, I don’t know who’s in the audience and who’s going to listen to this message. Perhaps, you know, this is your first message. Perhaps you are someone new wanting to know about Jesus. Perhaps you are a veteran believer, you know, long-time attendee of Cornerstone or live someplace else and viewing this sermon, uh, because you lived in, uh, in San Francisco years ago and, um, was a member and served here.
I’ll tell ya. This is the most important thing. Let’s talk about real life now. There’s a lot of talk about authoritative abuse. In terms of law enforcement. I have many, a number of friends. I would say many of the number of friends who are in law enforcement and they would always tell me, you know, good cops hate bad cops and the small percentage of bad cops that exists,
just give the good cops that really bad name. Well, if you are a bad cop and you’re listening and you are too abusive. You got to surrender that to Jesus Christ because that is doing society and our Lord no favor. We must pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Perhaps you’re a person who was like, you know, like really wealthy and made it in the Silicon Valley, you know?
Maybe, you know, you, you can still afford to live in the Bay Area, even though there’s some people moving out of the San Francisco area, you know. You know what that, this means to you, it means that you know what? Money, fame, achievement for the believer. And I’m going to say this very bluntly cannot be
the main motivation you have in life. And I’m not saying that you cannot be successful or wealthy as a believer. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is it cannot be the main motivation. And if it is, and that’s your goal, you got to surrender it, you know, because even Jesus would say in this passage, what good is it is someone gains the whole world, but loses his life.
Well, maybe you’re a hoodlum. And you beat up on elderly Asian people. Downtown San Francisco, Oakland. I really, as an Asian person, it really disgusts me because it’s like 70, 80 year old people getting beat up daily. But if you’re listening and you’re beating up these Asian people, you got to surrender that. You know, you just can’t do that and then go to church the next day.
Oh man, you can’t do that and check back I’m a Christian box, you know? Cause you gotta give up your cross. You gotta pick up your cross, deny yourself, do something that you do not feel or even aware that you need to give up and follow Jesus Christ. I hope this message helps you. I mean, in giving it kind of helped me, you know, think about this whole thing, you know. Because you know what, when it talks about surrender, it’s never one and done.
It might begin at a moment when you meet Jesus. But as you grow in Christ, you realize it’s a lifestyle. I ask that you allow Jesus to reveal to you the things that you must see in yourself in order to change, in order to be transformed by Jesus, and then it will give us great clarity in what it means to follow Him. Both in deed and in attitude.
Allow me to pray for you to end this message. Our heavenly Father. I pray for my friends at Cornerstone Church. May Your grace be upon this body, and upon those who are listening to this video message, may You allow us to have a life of surrender. Not in terms of waving the white flag. But surrendering and understanding that it actually is the stepping stone to great success because we follow You.
And when we follow You can only lead to better things spiritually in our lives Lord. Take the blindness from our eyes. Allow us to have a heart that is always sort of looking into our own souls. That we may be an avenue of grace to people around us. For I pray this in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
The Lord is better than all these things. He is the well that never runs dry. God has inexhaustible provision available for us. So let’s keep, keep our hearts soft. Let’s stay close to Jesus. Hey you guys. I want to remind everybody, uh, like I get to do. This is kind of our time of giving ours these my time to remind you about it.
Don’t forget, you can give by tithes your offerings by sending them to our church offices. You can give online, on our website. You can give through our app, which is what I do, but I always say that, you know, we really can never out-give God, and we need to be grateful for the gift of, um, a community, a church that we can call our home.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, um, and how the Lord loves us so deeply. He, God has given everything for us and He invites us into places of surrender. Perhaps this is a season of surrender. You know, we’ve been talking about breakthrough since the beginning of the year. And oftentimes breakthrough is connected to surrender, to letting go to yielding, to allowing God to do a new thing.
And I can’t help but think that the Lord is inviting some of us right now to let go and to trust and to surrender the things that maybe are holding us back. Some of us, it might have to do with surrendering, you know, our gifts to Him and saying, Lord, how do You want to use me to be a blessing. For others of us,
it might have to do with surrendering, you know, our identity or our sense of, of security. Or our insecurities, because maybe a lot of us have some of those that we’re struggling with or, or some of the anxiety that’s just been gripping us. The Lord is inviting us to surrender that to Him, to live in His, His command, to not be afraid.
So how can I do that? I think that has to do with centering ourselves in the Lord. That has to do with applying His words, and just allowing God to be an ever present, help for us in time of trouble. A lot of us realize that we’re heading into a season of great transition and that’s going to require change again.
And, and, and, you know, maybe we’ve gotten used to the way things have been. And now we’re having to deal with a whole new set of, of, you know, both opportunities, but also challenges that are connected to a season of transition. Let’s not be afraid of that. We’re okay. You know, God’s with us. He’s not going to let us down.
And one of the things I’m also realizing is that, you know, we’re together here, we can be a church community. Um, we can walk through this. We’ve made this journey so far together. Why not? Let’s just keep walking together. The Lord is with us even now. Lord, I thank you for that. I thank you for your amazing faithfulness, how faithful you have been because you guys know this He’s so good and He’s so God and He wants to what, He wants us to sow good
and He wants us to sow God. And like I say, don’t ever forget, don’t ever forget that His banner over you is love. You are so greatly loved. You are. If you’ve welcomed Him into your heart, you’re His beloved son. You’re His beloved daughter. And even someone who maybe hasn’t done that yet, but you’re really close.
Just remember, He’s given everything to welcome you into His family. You know, God gave us His only begotten son and Jesus gave us Himself.
He wants us to never forget that. He wants us always to remember how deeply loved we are. And my prayer for you is that in these coming weeks and months, this is my prayer for me too, that He would keep you in your spirit and your soul in your mind and in your body. Ah, yeah. In our thinking patterns, we asked the Lord to just help us there.
Right? Keep a good attitude. Stay optimistic, keep trusting because the Lord is with us. All right. Onward, forward, unafraid. That’s where we’re going in Jesus’ name.
Hey, it’s Chloe and Micah. Just a couple of things before we go. This week, we have Faith Moments, FaithTrack, and also we have Phil in the Blank. So mark your calendars. The other thing that we have for this week is we have our May 22nd on Saturday. Our Children’s Gathering and this is for Kids Ministry.
So all those details will be online. And also this is still Foster Care Awareness Month. If you want to get involved, all of that info is going to be on our Outreach Page. Okay. Micah, can you wave us out?