Pastor Larry's Category

Pastor Larry's Category (97)

Articles submitted by Pastor Larry.

Thursday, 12 August 2010 16:11

Pastor’s Corner Pastor Larry June 2010

Written by Lorsen Koo

With Mother’s Day behind us, and Father Day’s ahead of us, I thought of the difficulty of being parents in this 21st century. The pressure of putting food on the table in this depressed economy is overwhelming. Fathers are too busy tending to their own busyness, and often ignore the role of a teaching father. Our children need more than the motherly tenderness; they also need the stern teachings of a loving and caring father, so that they may grow healthily in this confusing culture. A few years ago, I came across a prayer written by the late General Douglas MacArthur. I printed it out and gave it to my children. I echoed with the General of my hope for my children. I would like to share the prayer with you: “Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm; here, let him learn compassion for those who fall. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past. And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.” Praying for our children is important, yet it doesn’t replace spending quality time with them. It is during the casual time that important life-lessons are taught. The younger your children are, the more important it is to give them the time. Soon enough, even if you wanted to give them time, they won’t have time for you! Opportunity doesn’t hang around forever. Therefore, capture the moment to make healthy impressions on their minds while you still have a chance. Before I sign off, I encourage you to pray without ceasing for your children. Praying isn’t the last resort. It should be your first step. But then again, you must know who God is before you can truly pray to Him in faith. Think about it!


Pastor Larry

Thursday, 09 December 2010 13:20

Pastor’s Corner Minister Pinnie December 2010

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner

When we watch the news on the TV or on the internet, we can see people lining up, some wrapped in blankets, and some even setting up their tents, braving the bone chilling cold for the big annual Black Friday sale events. Thousands of people flocked to the stores and malls in the wee hours of the night to get their hands on bargain deals.
This reminds me of many years ago when on one of the Black Friday mornings, William
and I woke up the kids, still half asleep, and headed out to the store where they had
a bargain deal on a kid’s bike. We arrived right at 6:00am when the store opened for
business. We were stunned by what we saw. The line wrapped around the building
and stretched across the parking lot somewhere. It took us a long time to reach the end where we got in line. By the time we got in the store, all the bargain bikes were gone. Miraculously, as we were scouting around the store, we found one on the ground, several aisles away from where it was supposed to be. That was the first and last of our Black Friday bargain hunting event.

For many of us, Christmas is a time of giving. Often the gifts we give are good bargains,
but not necessarily of any lasting or eternal value. The bike is long gone. The kids out
grew it faster than the time we spent in line (seems that way). Of course, we are willing
to spend time and effort on material gifts for our loved ones, but often times, these things just don’t last. Over time, they will be gone. They will be forgotten.
What are some gifts that are timeless and eternal? The first thing that comes to my mind is from more than 2000 years ago, God gave us the greatest gift of love, His only Son, Jesus. Each Christmas we celebrate this most precious gift and the eternal hope for mankind.

In the midst of all the giving and exchanging of gifts during this Christmas season, what
gifts of love can we give? Here are some suggestions to start with:
To our friends and people around us - Be slow to criticize, quick to sympathize, say
kind words and be ready to help.

To our children –Be available. Take time to listen, to care, to counsel, to encourage
and to play. Teach them the unchanging absolutes of God‘s word. Show them faith,
hope and love by our own examples.

To our spouse - Love, treasure, appreciate and encourage each other. Be the spouse
that you want your other half to be.

To our parents – Acknowledge them with respect and honor. Show appreciation of
what they have done for us. Be sensitive to their needs and do the little things that
give them pleasure.

To Christ, our Lord – As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior, don't
forget to thank Him for the great gift of love; and love Him with all our heart, our
soul and our mind. To Him be the glory.

At this Christmas season, I hope you have already accepted the greatest gift of love –
Jesus Christ. Wish you a merry Christmas. May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus
Christ fill your heart!

Minister Pinnie

Monday, 31 August 2009 16:00

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2009

Written by Lorsen Koo
Pastor's Corner by Pastor Larry


September 2009


Last month I shared with you about our eating habit. We want to savor the taste of food in our mouth because that’s where all the taste buds are. Once the food passes through the esophagus, you won’t be able to know what the food tastes like anymore. Spiritual food needs to be savored as well with meditation. This month I would like to share with you another topic that relates to our mouth. The focus this time isn’t what is going in. Rather, it is what is coming out.


There is a big debate on how many words an average person says during a day. Studies show that it ranges from a couple of thousand to twenty thousand words for a typical woman and about one-third for a typical man. Of course, this kind of stereotyping is offensive to some because there are always exceptions to the rule. Regardless of how many words you say during a day, there is no doubt in my mind that words that come from the mouth are powerful. In fact, we can measure one’s success in our communication style. Corporations spend a lot of money to improve personnel in leadership on how to speak. There are workshops and seminars that gear towards improving one’s communication style.


Words that come out of our mouths can be used to either build up or to tear down a person. Therefore it is important to watch not only what we say, but also how we say it. Speaking with tact is necessary, attractive and welcoming, but then, it is so rare and difficult! I don’t believe anyone, in his right mind, like harsh words, no matter how truthful they are. Can you imagine a doctor, after diagnosing a patient with terminal cancer, tells his patient, “You have terminal cancer, and you will die in six months!” Even though it was the correct diagnosis, straight to the point, however the delivery was not tactful at all. How about shoes salesperson telling a customer, “Ma’am your foot is too big for this shoe!” The message would be received differently if the salesperson says, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but these shoes are just a little too small for you.” Both statements present the same fact, but the first statement insulted the size of her foot, whereas the second statement focuses on the improper fitting of the shoe. This is what “tact” is all about.

Come to think about it, there are many tactless and abrasive Christians who speak the truths without any regards of other’s feelings. I wonder how many people stay away from “good intended” Christians who speak harshly. We need to realize that Truths never change, but the way to communicate Truths needs to be tactful, so that we may dialogue. No one, including you, likes to talk with someone who is harsh and abrasive.


Before I sign off, I would like to say that the Bible is full of practical advises and words of wisdom for us to live a harmonious life with others that leads to success. There are many proverbs that remind us to be watchful of what we say and how to say it: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (Pr. 21:23) and “. . . a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Pr. 25:15) are just a couple of examples. Work on it, friends. You will like the outcome.


Pastor Larry

Sunday, 31 August 2008 16:00

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2008

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner by Pastor Larry Tong


September 2008


The opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics were absolutely stunning! It had been a long time since China was able to put on such a fantastic “show” for the world to see how far this country have advanced. Of course, its willingness to finance this event with forty billion dollars helps. China is now a Powerhouse in the International arena. Since the Olympics, I have heard Chinese people say, “It makes me proud to be Chinese!” No doubt that this Olympics tops the previous years, and it’s doubtful that London, England, the next city to host the Olympics, will be able to match China’s spectacular show. Sorry, maybe I’m a little bias, but I’m sure you won’t blame me for a little hype up about my Chinese root.


These couple of weeks brought us Olympics euphoria. Other than a few unfortunate incidences and minor unsportsmanlike conducts, this Olympics brought an excitement from the high level of competitions. I can’t remember watching so many exciting “down to the wire” games. Those games were riveting. In spite of my busyness, I found myself staying up almost every night watching the games. I even stayed up Saturday night until two in the morning (something I never done—it helps that I didn’t have to preach the next day) watching the “Redeem Team” win the Gold Medal over Spain. In the end, China won the most Gold Medals, while the United States gained the most over-all Medals. Not bad for some of us who have dual citizenship!


Most important of all, the Olympics brought the whole world together. As I watched the athletes walking (some running) to the Bird Nest Stadium for the closing ceremony, I saw a glimpse of hope that this world can live in harmony with one another. During these two weeks, there were no Tibet Riot reported; there were no suicide bombing in Afghanistan and Iraq. There was no casualty reported (Maybe I just didn’t pay attention)! The whole world focused on something healthy—sports. Yes, there were competitions, but what I saw was that the individual athletes’ primary goal wasn’t to “beat” his competitor, but rather to perform his best. Many athletes knew they had no chance for a medal, yet that didn’t stop them from going forward with the competition. They were equally proud to represent their countries to compete as those who have high hope of winning medals. I believe this is what Life is all about. It is futile to compare ourselves with others, yet it’s vital to always try to improve. If we have this mentality, we will be successful. In case you don’t know, this is not a “secular” concept. This principle comes from the Bible.


Before I sign off, I like to bring to your awareness that as Christians, like the athletes who represent their country, we represent the Heavenly Kingdom, the Nation of God to compete in this world. We are declared as Salt and Light of the world, equipped with the never changing Word of God to defend the Truths, and charged with one demand—love one another.


Pastor Larry

Thursday, 31 August 2006 16:00

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2006

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner by Larry Tong


September, 2006


On every first Monday of September, we enjoy a “paid” day-off because over one-hundred years ago, this country observed Labor Day as a legal holiday. It was created by the Labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American laborers. Its purpose is to give tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. So, we have a day-off to enjoy and relax with families and friends. I would also like to take this time to acknowledge all the godly laborers who contribute to the Kingdom of God. You don’t even get pay for doing a fine job. As your pastor, I would like to show my appreciation for a job well done. Take a day off and relax!


In order to maintain good mental health at work and ministries, we need to know how to relax. Too much stress will create physical problems and conflicts with other. Therefore, we need to learn how to release our daily stress. Recently, someone sent out a list of things Christians can do to reduce stress. Due to the limited space of the newsletter, I chose ten out of thirty-six items listed to share with you. I also added a short comment to them:

  1. Pray—remember that God is always on your side to help. Start your day by seeking advices from His Words and telling Him your plans for the day.
  2. Go to bed and get up on time—don’t give yourself excuses to stay up late. Adequate rest helps to reduce stress. Stress is automatic when you are always in a rush.
  3. Learn to say No—realize you can’t do everything, and you don’t have to carry the whole world on your shoulder.
  4. Simplify and unclutter your life—simplicity can go a long way. Don’t make life too complicated. For most, it’s already a mess. Your plate has its capacity; don’t try to overfill it.
  5. Take one day at a time—yesterday is history; focus and finish your daily task before starting a new project for tomorrow.
  6. Separate worries from concerns—worry doesn’t help the situation; it will only increase stress. If you can do something about it, do it; otherwise, don’t worry.
  7. Live within your budget—if you can control spending, you have already unloaded a heavy stress of debt.
  8. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut)—saying too much or saying the wrong thing will produce stress for you and others.
  9. Develop a forgiving attitude, and be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most)—an unforgiving spirit will cause more stress to yourself than you could ever imagined.
  10. Laugh, and laugh some more! Laugh will bring a lighter spirit and bring more oxygen to the brain.


I hope this will help you unload some of the stress you have been carrying.


Pastor Larry

Thursday, 01 September 2005 13:41

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2005

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner by Pastor Larry


September, 2005


I was attracted to a caption that read, “London Zoo exhibits a troop of humans—eight men and women cavort next to fellow primates”, a few days ago in the Mercury News. In part, this short news article reads:


LONDON – At London Zoo, you can talk to the animals – and now some of them talk back. Caged and barely clothed within a rocky enclosure, eight British men and women monkeyed around Friday for an amused, bemused crowd behind a sign reading “Warning: Humans in their natural environment.”

“Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals . . . teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate,” said Polly Wills, adding that it lets them “have a gawk at people.”

Chemist Tom Mahoney, 26, decided to participate. Anything that draws attention to apes, he said, has his support. “A lot of people think humans are above other animals,” he said, it kind of reminds us that we’re not that special.” Visitors’ reactions varied.

It is amazing how some human beings look at themselves. It is depressing to even think some people look at themselves as mere animals instead of supreme beings created in God’s image and likeness. This chemist has the wrong notion to think that humans are not that special compared to other animals. How sad it is to have a wrong view of the true image of human beings! If somehow people think that they are no better than animals (a more intelligent one at best), then no one can question anyone’s “animal” behavior. I wonder whether this is one of the reasons why we are seeing more and more cruelties in our society. People who practice cruelty are merely living their “natural animal” behavior. Isn’t that a scary thought?


Are we really just another animal species? It is impossible to look at Darwinism in this short newsletter, and it is not my intention anyway. One thing we need to realize is that not all atheistic scientists adopt Darwin’s theory. If his theory is a scientific fact, this should not be the case. One particular group of scientist that opposes Evolution is the paleontologists because the study of fossils doesn’t support the theory. There are too many missing links!


We are more than animals because we not only have a body and a soul (the two components animals have), we also have a spirit which is used to communicate in spiritual world—either with God or other spirits. No animal could posses this characteristic. You will never see an animal build altars to worship God, but archaeological findings prove to us that throughout generations of different cultures, people built altars to worship higher spiritual beings.


Before I sign off, let me just share that the Bible tells us human beings are made with God’s image and likeness. Though we are marred by sin, we still reflect some of God’s image. Therefore, we must respect our fellow men and ourselves, and as Christians, we also need to learn to restore God’s image. Our self-image must be healthy because God, the Creator of everything, cares and loves us.


Pastor Larry

Wednesday, 01 September 2004 14:38

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2004

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner

September, 2004


For a sport fan like myself, I really enjoy watching the Olympics. I enjoy watching the competitions among the best of athletes. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are written on their faces. You can sense their anxiety from looking at their facial expressions while they are waiting for the official result.


Though Olympic is just another worldwide sport competition, it has all the elements of “Life” itself. We are taught to compete ever since a child. Students from Hong Kong know it too well the competition in its education system. Comparing with others isn’t healthy. A better way is to have the right motives to compete with ourselves—thrive to maximize our potential. All of us should learn from those athletes who train hard to succeed in life, believing there is only one life to live on earth. Once you let opportunities passed by, they will never return. Someone had said that opportunity is like a “bald-headed” fellow with a handful of hair on the forehead. The only way to grasp this fellow is to hold onto his hair as he approaches you, at the right moment; otherwise, once he passes by you, he’ll be gone.


I like to watch the award ceremony in the Olympic. It gives me “goose-bumps” when athletes from China or United States stand on the platform receiving the “Gold Medal” while the National Anthem is being played. Unlike other countries in the past that gave out a medal and a bouquet, Greece, the hosting country, gives a crown made of out of weaves, and of course, a medal. That crown represents something special. I believe it was the original award given when the game started many years ago in Greece .


Time has changed. Winners today also receive endorsements and cash prizes, but in the beginning, athletes trained to compete for the love of the game, the pride of their country, and the “crown” on their head. In Life as well, we engage into a lifetime of training in hope of gaining success. Unlike in sport where there is a definite winner, success in life is difficult to measure. How do you measure success in life? Is making “six-figure” success? Is having a big house success? Is having a loving family success? Is “success” measurable? Different people will have different answers. As Christians, I believe the ultimate success is when Jesus Christ puts a crown on our head when we stand before the Judgment Seat. According to the New Testament, there are three crowns we may receive on that day: the Crown of Righteousness (II Tim. 4:8), the Crown of Life (James 1:12 ; Rev. 2:10), and the Crown of Glory (I Peter 5:4). What a day it will be when we stand on that platform listening to the New National Anthem!


Before I sign off, let me encourage each of you to take a moment now to thank the One who will place the crown(s) on your head one day (I pray that everyone will receive at least one crown). Without the Crown of Thorns on His head, there will not be any crown for any of us.


Pastor Larry
Sunday, 31 August 2003 16:00

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2003

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner

September, 2003


In July, government officials announced that they have uncovered credible threats of possible new airline suicide hijackings by the Al-Qaida terrorists planned for the latter part of the summer. This kind of shear fear factor (the fear of feeling unsafe) is the most difficult to handle. How can you “prevent” something that may or may not happen in the future? Worry won’t change anything, except causes “clinical depression” to those who chose this useless route to handle uncertainty. One thing for sure, if this kind of “fear factor” continues, it certainly will dampen the already weakened economy.


A couple of weeks ago, a “near impossible” scenario happened in the Northeastern quadrant of Northern America—a massive blackout. It affected millions and millions of households and businesses. The monetary loss is estimated to be in the billions. I don’t think anyone would expect that to happen. Terrorist’s attack was ruled out on this incident, but this unexpected event caused me to realize how vulnerable we are and how much we rely on modern technology. With civilization and technologies continue to improve, we, as human being, are increasingly vulnerable. We have lost our basic survival skill. By no means I am saying that civilization and technology are evil; it is just a simple fact. Who knows whether this kind of technological glitches will ever happen again?


Time of uncertainty proves to be the best time to share the Good News. Think about it. When people are affluent and when life seems to be calm, they would think of finding a shelter for safety. Only when they feel threatened, they will seek rescue. I believe God is giving Christians a window of opportunity to reach out to the people who are worried, and provide them with the security of God’s love and peace. Equip yourselves to share the Gospel with those who ask you about your hope (I Peter 3:15).


Restraint yourselves not to over-analyze whether this is the “End Time.” Do you still remember some good intended Christians read Hitler, Kissinger, Computer, and others as the 666 of the Bible. There is a very high probability that everything person or thing can end up with the number 666 if you try hard enough. Who know, maybe someone is working on President Bush or Prime Minister Sharon as the latest 666. This kind of “nonsense” becomes a laughing stock of non-Christians. What we are called to do is to give the reason of our hope with gentleness and respect.


Before I sign off, I pray that everyone who reads this article has the assurance that when Jesus comes, they’d are ready to welcome His grand entrance.


Pastor Larry
Saturday, 31 August 2002 16:00

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2002

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner

September, 2002


The anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attack is just around the corner. I’m sure emotion will be running high for Americans as “the day” is becoming imminent. A year after this terrible tragedy and with the extra measure of homeland security, I wonder how many people really feel safer now than before. Though it might be true that people are more cautious, but safer, I don’t think so. In fact, I think people are more paranoid. A few months ago, the entire LAX was evacuated because a man left his pair of shoes at the security checkpoint. He was running late for his flight so he didn’t bother to wait for clearance. Last month, the Coast Guard and the Armed Forces were guarding Golden Gate Bridge because they received a “tip” that there would be an attack on “a” bridge. It seems that we can no longer tell what is a real threat and what is not. This certainly doesn’t give anyone a safe feeling.


The Bible tells us that this world is in a direct collision course with God. Many people sincerely ask, “If there is a God, why isn’t He doing something about this world?” The answer is that God is doing something about it, but He isn’t doing what we have expected. Since the world at large rejected God, so He “gave them over” to do whatever they felt like (Romans 1:21-32). Three times, the phrase “God gave them over,” was used in that passage. The world is how it is today because of men’s choice, and God decides to let them suffer their consequences.


How true it is when we look at this country. We have been hearing so much “child abduction” and “rape” lately. It is not without cause. I was watching a TV program last night. It was about how much advertisement has changed. Commercials are showing a lot of “skin.” The conclusion was “Sex sells!” With the explosion of internet and the loose control of pornography on internet, anyone can get access to those materials. I wonder how many people really think that children under 18 will have the discipline not to go to those sites. If you think it is bad now, wait until five to ten years from now when this generation of teenagers who have a twisted mind from this “garbage” becomes adults. The majority of the people know that it is evil because it ruins people’s minds. But why isn’t it stopped? “Free Speech” is a nice front, but behind veneer is greediness—Sex sells! Listen to what the Bible says, “God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity.”


This world is in direct collision course with God, and one day, it will explode! Before I sign off, I urge all of you to be in good terms with God if you haven’t done so; to stand firm in your faith despite disheartening news; and to clean up our lives in preparation for Jesus’ coming.


Pastor Larry

Friday, 31 August 2001 16:00

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry September 2001

Written by Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner

September, 2001


I planned to write you from Jonesboro last month, but the schedule didn’t allow me to do that. So I skipped last month’s newsletter and resume it this month. As usual, August was a busy month for most. A few families took the opportunity to go on vacation; some went on Short-term Mission, while others kicked back and relaxed during the warm summer days. The church was busy too. The JV and the Youth had their annual three days two nights camping.


Amidst of all these summer activities, the church officers had to scramble and find time to meet and plan for the next fiscal year so that they could come up with a new budget for the upcoming year. By now, most of the planning that needed to be done are behind us. We look forward to the new changes and challenges. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made substantial sacrifices for the Lord’s ministries last year. Your labor in the Lord is never in vain, though at times you don’t see immediate or favorable results. Many of you continue with the same ministries and some move on to different ministries, while others will take a sabbatical. May God continue to provide you with strength and passion. At the same time, I would also like to welcome the new people on board. The fact that you’re willing to get involved in the Lord’s ministry shows that you’re in a progress of growing. I thank God for your willingness and dedication. So, let’s not forget to intercede for one another because Satan will always find ways to destroy our unity and steal our joy.


In order to maintain the unity and sustain our joy in ministry, we will need to appreciate each other’s gift(s). The Bible constantly reminds us of the “Body” concept. There are many members in a Body: each member is important in contributing to the normal function of a body. Romans 12:3-8 reminds us that God, with His grace, equips us with different gifts, and therefore, we are to exercise them in order to complement each other. Let us also realize that the purpose of utilizing God’s grace of gifts is to meet the needs of the different members of the body. There is no need to be modest about using God’s gift on the one hand, but on the other hand, there is no need to “showboat”. It is important to accept God’s grace with gratitude and to use them with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given us. Therefore, let us serve one another towards this goal—Christ (His Body—the Church) must increase and I must decrease!


Pastor Larry

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