Lorsen Koo

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry December 2002

Saturday, 30 November 2002 16:00

Pastor's Corner

December, 2002


I’m reading Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey. The author’s candidacy with his struggles in faith helps the readers to easily identify with him because of our similar struggles. Let’s face it, to trust the invisible God who at times does things that are beyond our comprehension or even illogical in our minds, takes a tremendous amount of faith. The author gives a very practical meaning to faith when he wrote, “Faith means striking out, with no clear end in sight and perhaps even no clear view of the next step. It means following, trusting, holding out a hand to an invisible Guide.” That is a scary thought, isn’t it? How can we even tell whether the invisible Guide is there? And how can we tell the Guide will lead us to the right place? The answer is faith.


While I was reading the book one morning, I found my mind drifting to a familiar story in the Old Testament. It was the story of God asking Abraham to offer Isaac. The more I thought about it, the more I was puzzled by it. Why would God ask Abraham to offer Isaac in such a way? Human sacrifices were only practiced in pagan worships at that time. God had always prohibited His people to participate in human sacrifice. God asked Abraham to do something that was contradictory to his belief. God stretched his faith to the extreme. God asked Abraham to not only give up his only son, but also in an illogical way. Is that scary or what? Abraham stepped out his comfort zone and just trusted Him! He passed! Of course, we see that the story ended with God’s provision as being better than Abraham’s expectation. Faith involves taking risk with the one you believe in.


But we expect God to arrange all the events in our lives to form a “neat package” that doesn’t disturb our equilibrium. When things around us are not as stable as we think they should, we begin to draw conclusions that God doesn’t love us or God is not fair. We begin to ask God, “Why?” Of course, it is all right to ask God the “Why” questions, but in faith, we also need to realize that we may never be able to know why. To this, Philip Yancey wrote, “No time-bound human, living on a rebellious planet, blind to the realities of the unseen world, has the ability to comprehend such answers.” I can certainly agree with him. Our minds are simply too limited. When we don’t have answers, the ultimate test is to continue to believe in this invisible God.


Faith is important, because this is the only means by which we can relate to this invisible God. Though this invisible God came to live as a man over two thousand years ago, yet for us today, we still need faith to relate to this Historical Man/Eternal God. This is God’s mandate. “And without faith it is impossible to please God.”


Before I sign off, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I pray that you find Jesus during this Christmas season to be your Savior and Lord.


Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry December 2001

Friday, 30 November 2001 16:00

Pastor's Corner

December, 2001


Year 2001 is imminently coming to an end. This has been a volatile year, to say the least, for many of us. We saw the sworn-in of the new President in January. We experienced the effect of the economical squeeze. Many companies had to trim down the work forces and scale down the operation, causing many to be unemployed. The plummet of the stock market resulted in lost of revenue for many individuals and families.


Then the unthinkable happened on 9/11. I don’t think anyone need to be reminded of the horrible scenes when four commercial planes were hijacked and used as weapons to attack innocent lives. Before we could clean up the mess, there were continuous threats of biological attack of Anthrax and Smallpox. We saw the attack on America at a blink of an eye. Soon after, we see America on the attack. Many hope that the war with the Taliban in Afghanistan would end soon and that the responsible terrorists receive their rightful punishment. Even more people hope that there will be a turn-around in the economic front soon, so that they can resume their normal living. No matter how all these events will play out, I believe year 2001 will probably go down in history as one of the most challenging years in recent times.


All these caused me to think about the world we live in. Why is this world the way it is now? Can we somehow improve the world’s condition so that we may live with peace among one another? This is really a “million-dollars” question. Throughout history, people sought answer to bring peace, but generation after generation, we see that they failed, and failed miserably. Revolutions, civil wars, and world wars, which were supposed to bring peace and prosperity usually ended up with more bloodshed. History seems to show that the scope of war has been enlarging as time goes on. How can we stop this “evil”? The Bible suggests that any bloodshed, big or small, came from jealousy and strife, which are internal struggle of being discontent. The first murder case recorded in the Bible was Cain who killed Abel for no other reason than jealousy. It would be hard-pressed to expect the “world” to be in contentment. The Bible strongly prophesizes that the world is not going to get better on its own. In fact, it will only get worse. No wonder Jesus reminded us that we are not of the world. To hold on with both of our hands the things of the world will only draw us into a downward spiral of despair. Hold on to God’s promise instead!


Before I sign off, I wish you a Merry Christmas. Yes, Christmas is coming soon! But let us not forget that Jesus came to bring us hope and contentment. When you turn your eyes upon Jesus, the things of the world will grow strangely dim.

Pastor Larry


Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry December 2000

Thursday, 30 November 2000 16:00

Pastor's Corner

December, 2000


ABC News had a two-hour special in June earlier this year, entitled "The Search for Jesus." The program presented a distorted view of the historical Jesus. The view that was posted by the liberal "biblical scholars," mainly represented by "Jesus Seminar," misled thousands of viewers in stating that the Bible is filled with contradictions. As far as the Evangelicals are concerned, "Jesus Seminar" is not considered to be "Christian" because its members only accept and believe a small portion of the Bible–the portion they consider "sensible." In doing so, they deny God and His supernatural power. But most importantly, they deny Christ and His Deity, which is the core value of Christianity.


The difference between Christianity and other religions is the fact that Christian faith lies not so much on a set of abstract ideas or beliefs but on a person. We must resist the temptation to speak about Christianity as if it were some kind of ‘ism’, like Confucianism, Marxism, Buddhism, or so on. These "isms" have become detached from that founding person, and reduced simply to sets of doctrines. In principle, we agree the philosophical approach to life’s similarity and goodness. But Christians maintain that there is something special, something qualitatively different, about Jesus which set Him apart from other religious teachers, founders, or thinkers.


In Jesus, the message and the messenger are one and the same. To separate the two is to destroy the core of Christianity. In other words, Jesus is the object of Faith, rather than just an example of Faith. Since Jesus is the object of Faith, therefore we do not trust a system or a set of doctrine, but rather, we place our trust on the God who came and lived among men. Christ’s birth (though the exact date is unknown) means more than a historical event. The tumbling of Berlin Wall means a lot more than a passing from the East to the West for the Germans; it means a unification of two once hostile countries. Likewise, the significance of Christmas signifies the beginning of God’s intervention of mankind sufferings by going through the same sufferings men encountered, which ultimate gave people a chance to restore peace with Him.


Before I sign off, on behalf of the Loving God, I invite you accept His gift of peace that is available to everyone who believes. "The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry August 2010

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 16:00
Pastor's Corner by Pastor Larry Tong


August 2010


      Many of you knew twenty-five from our church went to the Holy Land in June. It was indeed an experience that I will cherish for a long time. It gave me a three-dimensional view to the Bible I read, sort of like bringing the “black and white” Bible stories alive.


     Though time has changed, and the topology also differed from now and then, yet we could still vividly see the plain where Samson let loose of the three hundred foxes
with burning torches at their tails to burn up the field of the Philistines. At another occasion, we were standing at the edge of the Pool of Bethesda, imagining the underprivileged people who were hopelessly waiting to be healed. True, the pool had
since dried out, yet standing at the edge of the pool, it seemed that I could still “hear” the dialogue between the hopeless invalid and Jesus who gave him hope. Examples like these are too numerous to mention.


     There were two distinct and impactful experiences for me on this trip. Through a winding road, we got to the top of Mount Nebo. I have always admired Moses, not because of his ability, but of his character. I wrote a sermon outline over ten years ago that I have yet to preach. It was about Moses on Mount Nebo. While I was standing there, I could see (though hazy) Lebanon to my right, Dead Sea to my left, and Jericho in the middle. All of a sudden, the true meaning of “leadership” overwhelmed me through the story of Moses on Mount Nebo. Suffering for the people and suffering with the people are what true leadership is all about, my friend! That moment deepened
my conviction to follow through with God’s plan for His people in spite of difficulty and regardless of my personal feeling.


We traveled from Israel to Egypt one day. We didn’t get to the hotel at the foot of Mount Sinai until it was dark, and we had to get up at 1:30am to hike to the top of Mount Sinai to watch sunrise. A camel took us two-third of the way, and we
hiked (quite strenuously) the rest of the way. In darkness and during the camel ride, the only place to look was the sky, and I saw countless number of stars, with the Milky Way spread out. In less than half an hour after we got to the top, we saw the Sun started to “peak out” from the East, and within a few minutes, we could see the full Sun hanging in the sky. We sang “How Great Thou Art!” Isn’t it true? God is great! We

anticipated the Sun to rise; we expected it to rise; and we were not disappointed. God, through His creation ensures us that we will not be disappointed in Him. As our “world” turns, we sometimes will face darkness, but we can be sure brightness is
just around the corner. What an awesome assurance I had that morning!


Before I sign off, I hope you too can be overwhelmed by the unchanging assurance of God. Many times the reason why we don’t see the vast number of stars and the Sun rises is because we are being distracted by the many things around us. The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I’m God”. Don’t let the turning world spin you around so much that you miss who God is in your life.

--Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner by Pastor Larry Tong


August 2008


Wow! Over $4.50 per gallon! And I’m talking about gasoline. The Dow Jones Averages have been declining as of late. The housing market is in chaos. I don’t know about you, but I see my fortunes falling. Last week, a statistic showed that 63% of Californians say they are worse off financially than they were a year ago. This figure doubled since December of last year, when only 33% felt the economic pinch. There are so many foreclosures in real estate, and so many people filed for bankruptcy. The federal government is trying to patch up this chaotic situation. We also see the US dollar dipped to an all-time low against other currencies. A few months ago when I went to Toronto to visit my in-laws, the Canadian dollar was higher than the US dollar for the first time. Will this economic situation rebound? Nobody knows for sure. Some put their hope on the next President. Some think that it depends on when the troops in Middle East will be withdrawn. There are too many unknowns.


What can we learn from this? First of all, things change rapidly these days. One of the reasons for this is the tremendous speed of transferable information around the world. Things happened on the “other side” of the world can be seen on TV or via Internet within seconds. The Book of Daniel, which was written some twenty-five hundred years ago, prophesied that knowledge will increase at the end time. Surprised? We shouldn’t be. After all, the Bible is the word of God. It allows us to see a glimpse of the future. This brings out an important point, and that is, the Bible is a trustworthy document.


Second, economy is going to be the controlling factor of the world. Money is important to every individual and nation. On a smaller scale, nobody can survive in this world without it. The Bible speaks of money as an asset given by God, and therefore, we need to be a good steward of it: give generously, spend wisely, and save purposefully. Develop a plan to control money. Otherwise, it will control you. I’ve heard a line that may be helpful for you: “A plan today is better than a ‘better’ plan tomorrow.” No doubt money is important, but is not the most important asset in life. The Bible says, “In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!” (Rev. 18:17) Money could vanish in a very short time, so do not hang all your hope on it. Though it is useful, it cannot buy you everything. It can’t even buy the most basic need of humankind. It can’t buy love! Psychologists tell us that when we are loved, it will change our perception of life.


Before I sign off, I would like for you to imagine being loved by no other than God Himself. What a warm and secure feeling! But this can never be experienced except through believing Jesus Christ who died and rose from the death to ensure this possibility. He is inviting you to come to Him. He said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) What are you hungry and thirsty for?


Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner by Larry Tong


August, 2006


A couple of weeks ago, I accompanied my wife to Washington, D.C. where she had to attend a medical related conference. I also used this trip to rest and to catch up with writing the devotional journal.


While Helen was in the conference, I spent a day visiting the Smithsonian. I even watched a 3-D movie, the Aliens of the Deep. It is amazing to see living creatures not only surviving, but thriving at the bottom of an ocean where sunlight can’t even penetrate. How can countless shrimps survive at the mouths of volcanic openings with extreme heat while the freezing ocean water is just inches away? As technologies bring us up close to a deeper ocean and higher space, the more we are amazed with the unknown. God’s creation is truly beyond our understanding. No wonder after God appeared to Job, he uttered “Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:3c). With human’s technologies and knowledge, we are still incapable of knowing the all-wise God. We are only capable of being in awe of the God who created all the amazing lives, some of which can only be seen with a high power microscope.


The hotel we stayed in Washington D.C. is only about four blocks from the zoo. On our last day there, we decided to walk to the famous zoo, which was in the midst of a residential area that houses the Panda from China. On our way back to the hotel, sirens, police cars, paramedics and fire trucks caught our attention. Our curiosity drove us to walk a couple of blocks to find out what happened. I asked a resident on the street who watched what happened. She told us that a water-main was broken, and that the water shot twenty-five feet up in the air for at least thirty minutes. She even showed us the “geyser” picture she took with her camera. Within minutes, the whole area was declared “unsafe” by the authority. Cars that were parked on the street had to be towed away. We didn’t stay long enough to find out whether the residents in the area had to be evacuated. I was thinking what caused the authority to determine that the area was unsafe. When we got there, the water had already been turned off, and everything seemed to be as normal as it could be. There were no visible sink-holes or cracked pavements.


I thought of life from this incidence. Things can look very “normal” from the outer appearance, but beneath the surface, there may be a big void that makes us feel empty, like a street with broken water main. It may look perfectly normal, but when too much pressure is on top, the street will crumble. It is the same with our lives. If we don’t fix the void inside our heart on time, disaster awaits us when we are under pressure. Life isn’t what it appears from the outside or what it should have been or could have been. It is what is underneath the surface. If we are strong inside, we can withhold pressures from the outside, but if we only look good from the outside, without any strength from the inside, we will be crippled when pressure comes our ways.


Before I sign off, I would like to quote what a theologian, Pascal, once said. It goes something like this: “Inside a man’s heart there is void that only God can fill.” When God fills your inside, you will develop strength from within to withstand pressure. God, in His love, came to die on the cross so that you may not only have life, but have an abundant life—a life with meaning and purpose. That’s what life is all about: thriving, not mere surviving.


Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner by Pastor Larry


August, 2005


I read a story about Orville Kelly and his wife not too long ago. He was informed two years ago that he had terminal cancer. They prayed as to how they should prepare. The answer was that they should play about it, so they decided to give a big party. They invited their friends and during the party, Orville held up his hand to make an announcement: “You may have wondered why I called you all together. This is a cancer party. I have been told I have terminal cancer. We decided to start a new organization. It is called M.T.C.—Make Today Count.” Since that time the organization has grown across the country. Orville has been too busy to die, pointing out the way Christians should play into the jaws of death—singing, loving, not losing a minute from “the joy the world cannot give nor take away.” How could someone who faces this kind of trauma be so “upbeat”? It is attitude!


Nothing can adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer we experience life, the more we would find that there is very little we can control. Nearly the most significant decision we can possibly make on a day-to-day basis is the choice of our attitude. Our attitude either keeps us going or cripples our progress. When our attitude is right, there is no huddle too high, no valley too deep, no dream too big, no challenge too overwhelming, and no task too difficult for us. On the contrary, if we have a negative attitude, dreams will never become reality, hope vanishes in a dash, and possibilities become impossibilities. Everything will seem to be covered by dark clouds and we will soon end up smaller and smaller.


In one of the concluding chapters of his book, Attitudes that attract Success, Wayne Cordeiro shared with the readers the Four keys to building an extraordinary attitude (the following are a few quoted from the chapter): “(1) Aim for the Right Target: Everything depends on what you are shooting for. When we aim at the wrong target, life itself become elusive. Answer this life-changing question: What has God asked me to do with my life?” (2) Run the Right Race: Instead of telling God what you will do for Him, ask Him to do His work through you! (3) Understand What Satisfies Your Soul: Contentment cannot be acquired directly. Rather, it is a by-product of a life that is focused on the right things. (4) Make Contentment an Inside Job: Contentment is vital in developing an extraordinary attitude. It’s the final and critical key in your process.”


Before I sign off, I would like to remind you that the Bible tells us to “number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12) Make everyday count! Complaints don’t get us anywhere except dispensing all the energies that are required to do what ought to be done for the day. When you gain true biblical wisdom, you will be able to handle life as it comes.


Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner

August, 2004


I was watching “Court TV” earlier this week to catch up with the Peterson’s case, just for fun. To my surprise, the host interviewed a psychic to whom Peterson’s mother and Modesto police investigator sought for help in locating Lacy Peterson before her decomposed body washed up on the rocky beach. Though not publicly revealed, police investigators often use psychics to assist them in solving unsolved cases.


“In the past, entire civilization saw the earth as a magical place filled with spirits and miracles of gods. Gradually, the world changed. Science and rationalism began to give natural explanations for processes that used to be regarded as supernatural” (quote from “Do you believe in Magic?” by RBC). In recent years, our world is again showing and increased interest in the supernatural. Television programs such as Angels, Charms, and movies such as The Harry Potter series captivates many audiences. There seems to be a growth of interest in black magic, witchcrafts, and sorcery. Even Christians read horoscopes, just for fun, they claim. The question we should ask isn’t, “Is it fun?” But rather, “Is it right?” What does the Bible have to say about this supernatural world that seems to have the power to control the future and the unseen?


You might have assumed that the Bible only talks about God, angels, and human beings. But both the Old and the New Testaments also talk about the unseen world, where the good and evil spirits carry out spiritual battles, and unfortunately, the world that we live in is the battlefield. From the beginning (Genesis) to the last (Revelation), we are presented with a view that spirits interact and intersect our visible world of space and time. The reason we don’t see them is because God, in His grace, shields us from seeing the evil spiritual forces that rule this physical world we live in. One question you may have is, “Why can’t God let us see the good spirits and shield the evil ones?” The Bible tells us that Satan and his messengers masquerade as angels of light. We will be disillusioned, not knowing who is who and what is good and what is bad.


The Bible firmly warns us not to engage in the spiritual world by any means. While God will protect you, yet if you choose to reject God’s protection, you’d be able to make contact. It is dangerous. Since they are evil, they don’t have your best interest in mind, and you won’t have the ability to discern their thoughts. In other words, we’re not equipped for the warfare. For those who can read English, I recommend you to read this small booklet “Do you believe in Magic”? by Thomas Nelson, published by RBC Ministries.


Before I sign off, let me assure you that the God in the Bible is the only True and Good God. He has your best interest in mind. To authenticate that, He exchanged His life for yours. Put your trust in His nail-pierced hands in guiding you through this world that is covered by a dark veil from the evil forces.


Pastor Larry


Pastor's Corner

August, 2003


My wife and I went to a National Health Conference for Pharmacists a couple of weeks ago. We signed up to attend a two-day seminar on Diabetes Care. Two days of intensive lectures were good and informative. It was great to be able to refresh some of the medical knowledge that have been fading ever since I became a pastor. The worse part was the final examination at the end of the seminar! During the training, we learned about the different types of Diabetes, its treatments, and mostly importantly, I believe, the preventive measures one can take to avoid this dreadful chronic disease. Other than caused by heredity, which no one has any control over, the good news is that diabetes can be prevented by diet and exercise.


In many cases, diabetes is directly related to body weight. One alarming trend is that Americans are gaining weight by the year, and a dangerous sign is that the over-weight population is getting younger and younger. Now, we have more obese teenagers than ten years ago. One of the reasons contributing to this problem is the growing availability of “super-sized fast food.” For only thirty-nine cents more, you can have your “fast food” meal super-sized. Who can pass up such a good deal? Little do we know, the extra grease and calories have no place to go except being stored as “unused” fat! Lack of exercise to “burn off” these calories means trouble. The heavier the body weight, the chance to exercise becomes slimmer. Eventually, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes can occur. It is true that we all will die one day, but losing one’s health is losing something extremely important in life. For example, uncontrolled diabetes will cause a person to lose his eyesight, his limbs, and other vital organs. But giving up the good tasting food and the sweet savory desert proves to be most difficult for many because men’s chief pleasure is to eat, that is, until it’s too late. Avoid or decrease eating certain food and having adequate exercise will certainly enhance physical health.


Not giving up instant pleasure to the taste buds could create plenty of undesirable complications. You know, it is the same with “Sin,” because sin may bring you instant physical or emotional gratification, but the deadly consequences will follow, without a doubt. God warns us to avoid them at all cause, not because it isn’t fun. But when the “Fun” dies down, pain and sorrow will follow. Avoid sin and use your time to exercise, do something meaningful for God and your fellow men. You will then experience more joy in the long run.


Before I sign off, I just want to remind you to look further ahead, not just at your immediate present, though that is important at times. Are you on the way to Eternal Life in God? If so, great! Keep on the path. If not, I wish you would believe in Jesus Christ so that you will be.


Pastor Larry

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry August 2002

Wednesday, 31 July 2002 16:00

Pastor's Corner

August, 2002


A couple of months ago, an asteroid the size of a soccer field narrowly missed Earth by 75,000 miles, which is less than a third of the distance to the moon. From our perspective, it seemed to be quite far away, but in reality, it was too close for comfort. When spotted, the asteroid, named 2002MN, was traveling at more than 23,000 mph. With a diameter of 50 to 120 yards, you can imagine the destructive power if it were to land in a populated area. Even if it were to land in an ocean, you can imagine the tidal wave it could have caused. Scientist Grant Stokes, the principal investigator said, “In the unlikely event the asteroid had struck Earth in a populated area, it would have caused considerable loss of life. The energy release would be of the magnitude of a large nuclear weapon.”


As I was reading the news, End Time came to my mind. The Bible forewarned us that God will cause drastic changes in the universe. The sins of the world and the unwillingness to repent will result in God taking action by pouring His wrath on earth. In Revelation chapter 8 and 9, the Apostle John described some of the cosmic changes. “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth” is the lament. It is not going to be good to experience stars (asteroids) crashing down on earth. Only Hollywood fabricates that at the very end, all is well. No, all is not well at that time!


I thank God that He continues to remind us that the End Time is an inescapable reality through the “near-miss” incidents, such as the 2002MN. God is holding up the universe and it will continue to run its course. But a time will come when God will cause drastic changes. At that time, don’t think that God has lost control; He is forever more in control.


Before I sign off, I would like to encourage all of you to prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming. The Bible tells us that believers will be meeting the Lord in the air, and we will return to judge the world with Him. It is much better to be on God’s side when He pours His wrath on the world. You can join the caravan if you only believe Jesus, the Son of God, is your Savior. Be ready, my friends.


Pastor Larry

Church logo 2017 Final Outline Color


© Copyright 2011-2021     

SCBC Chinese Website

Additional Content

 Transform Podcast

Sundays at Southbay


448 Francis Drive
San Jose, CA 95133
(408) 926-2621