8.28.2009

Mark 8: 22-26

Reading: Mark 8:22-26
Supported texts: Matthew 11: 20-24, (25-30), Luke 10: 13-15

When Jesus healed people, he did it with his works, saying, “Be healed” or “Take your mat and walk.”
But once, Jesus was very different in his healing ministry.
Here is a story.

It was when Jesus and his students came to Bethsaida.
Some people brought a blind man to Jesus.
They begged him to touch him.

But Jesus took the blind man by the hand and guided him out of the village as if he were saying, “Why you are here?”

Why did Jesus take him out from Bethsaida?
This might be a reason. (Luke 10: 13-14)
To this town, Jesus said this before:
“Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in another town, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. So, other towns will be more bearable at the judgment than you.”

He was like, “Because you didn’t believe, even though there were so many miracles, you are going to be judged more than other people.”

Jesus is saying: If you have received many gifts and grace, you shouldn’t act like you have never experienced such a thing.

So, after taking him out of this town, Jesus spit his saliva and put that on his eyes. Then he laid his hands on him.
Then he asked him:
“Can you see anything?”
The man looked up and said:
“I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.”

Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again. In order to restore his sight, he needed to pray again. It never happened before.
Then the man saw everything clearly.

Jesus sent him away to his home, saying:
“Do not even go into the village.”
Jesus seems like saving him from that city.
Jesus seems like saving him from the place of unbelief.
It was impossible for him to have his sight back in that city.

Which city is like that for you?
Which place is like that for you?
Which town you should leave in order to have faith?

Or, in some cities, you need to implant faith to change people’s lives. People live influencing each other’s thoughts.
You need to continually plant faith.
Their faith may grow and lead them to repentance.
You need to help them to imagine beautiful in God.
You need to help them to dream dreams.
Then Jesus may come and freely work his miracles there without taking anyone out.
When our faith is built up in God, it is easier for Jesus to work in us and among us.

May you plant this faith through your writing, research, emails and facebook and so on.
Through faith, may people become like God, like Jesus, like Holy Spirit.
May you may be able to plant faith in school, doing job through your life.

Matt 6: 33

Reading: Matt 6: 33

Jesus says:
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

This is the decision that Jesus made for his life.
Jesus decided to seek the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.
This decision energized and supported him to continue his ministry.

But the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness is within him.
He is the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.
So, what Jesus does is to follow his own heart.
Jesus needs to trust his own divine heart.
He needs to trust and act according to compassion and love that he has within him.

So, when Jesus calls us, Jesus plants a holy desire within us.
Then he asks us to follow what is planted deep within.
When Jesus plants God’s desire within us, we will desire to do the will of God.
That is beautiful.


8.27.2009

Core values

Core values:

The story of Jesus
Patiently work for one thing.
Less is more.
Simplify.
Do fewer things with better quality.
A wounded healer is better than a smarty.
Loving is better than being effective.
Let all be done in a loving way.
Love is patience.
Find an effective and efficient ways.
Help people find what they enjoy most.
Be creative.
Christ has planted something so deep within us.
Find out what God is speaking to us about.
Notice what comes naturally and smoothly.
Listen to God and people.
Follow Jesus.
Jesus school happens when heaven opens.





Jesus school answers:

The most important ministry of Jesus school is to help people understand the story of Jesus and make the story of Jesus known.
Jesus school develops various methods and applies various ideas to help the churches to learn more about the story of Jesus.
We practice to implement various ideas into our worship so that we may also experience the interior movement of the Holy Spirit among us.
We also help our community to learn about the story of Jesus.
As we do that, we believe that we will feel a deep joy, sense of freedom, gratitude and delight.

We are working to answer the following questions:

How do we learn who Jesus Christ is?
We learn as we meditate on him.
We learn as we write our thoughts down about him.
We also learn Jesus through our life.
We also learn by teaching people about Jesus.
We need to watch, learn, accept and grow in the faith of Jesus.

How does Jesus live out his faith?
Jesus gets rid of all the worries and fears from his life.
He also helps people to have this faith of Jesus.
He helps them to form a spiritual understanding.
Jesus helps them to live in faith.
In order to do that, Jesus preaches, counsels, and practices spiritual practices so that people can have a chance to think about him and learn from him.
When they understand, they can move forward.
They can become like Jesus.
They can guide others as they have understood Jesus.
Looking at Jesus, they learn how to think and make decisions.
They learn to live a peaceful life.

How do we make decisions?
Jesus shows us how Jesus made decisions, through prayer.
Jesus learns to recognize the way of Christ by praying in the wilderness.
Jesus teaches prayer.
Jesus prays paying attention to the movement and signs of the Holy Spirit.
When we learn Jesus and how he lives as Christ, we learn how to live out our calling in life.



Luke 5:1-11

ppt
Obedience: walking in the faith of Jesus
Reading: Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 14:22-33

Let’s think about Peter in the relation to the life of Jesus.
Let’s think about how Peter was called to live a life of faith.

In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus is about to receive his unbelief.
Then Jesus is about to change his doubt into faith.
This life of faith starts as Peter learns to obey what Jesus is asking him to letting down the net on the bright day light.

In his first obedience, Peter said to Jesus, “Because you say so I will let down the nets on the bright day light.”
In his first obedience, Peter tried Jesus out by going beyond his logic and by ignoring his previous experience.
Then he caught a lot of fishes.

Through this obedience, Peter learned who Jesus is.
Through this obedience, Peter learned who he was dealing with.
But after this, Peter didn’t practice to catch fishes on the bright day light.
Because Jesus asks him to learn to catch people for God.

Then in Matthew 14:22-33, all the disciples thought that they saw a ghost.
But then Jesus says, “Don’t worry. It is I, Jesus”
Then Peter wanted to walk on water.
Peter says, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
Peter initiated this because he wanted to do whatever Jesus was doing.
As long as he is with Jesus, he thought that he was in the lavatory or training center where he would learn faith.
He took a risk to learn something more.
But probably Jesus knew that Peter didn’t have enough faith.
Peter was doing this kind of things without rationalize what he was doing.
Jesus let him to do what he wanted to do this.
So, Jesus says, “Go ahead.”
He throws himself to the lake to live in the faith of Jesus.
He walked a few steps on water.
But soon he needed to ask Jesus to help him walking on water.
Then Jesus safely put Peter back on the boat.

It might have been a good experience to be a leader.
But he probably didn’t ask Jesus to train him to walk on water.
He probably didn’t strive to walk on water.
He never did that again.
But he learned something about who Jesus is.
Through this lesson he learned to humbly follow Jesus without doubting.

Since then occasionally he could have remembered this experience.
Maybe this memory helped him to walk humbly with Jesus and obey Jesus.

Then later in Matthew 17:24-27. Jesus invites him to go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up. Jesus says: “When you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
It was when the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”
Peter said, “Yes.”
And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”
Peter said, “From others.”
Jesus said: “Right, the sons are free.”
However, not to give offense to them, Jesus asks Peter to give money in this way.

In this time, he succeeded because Jesus invited him to do this.
The faith of Jesus manifested here through Peter.
Again Peter didn’t try to find more coins in the mouths of other fishes.
He learned the lesson on how to humbly follow Jesus in the faith of Jesus.

Walking in the faith may look like this.
Sometimes, you experience some kind of miracles or have extraordinary experiences in Jesus. Sometimes, you receive money miraculously.
But you shouldn’t plan your life based on those miracles, thinking that these miracles will continually happen.
Those miracles show you about who Jesus is.
This lesson is taught so that you may follow him humbly, trusting him, based on your own calling.

You may have a period where you have a greater faith.
We may remember when we didn’t afraid to take risks for God.
After those experiences, we now have a faith to walk with Jesus humbly.
Jesus will show you who Jesus is in various ways.
As you obey the message of Jesus, you may learn who Jesus is.
Then you may remember and go where you belong and where only the humble can enter.


Note:

When people ask him, "What are you doing?" Peter hears “Why don’t you do something?”
Peter was so full of energy.
He needs to be busy.

God is asking Peter to be thoughtful, grounded and centered in Jesus.
Then he will be able to communicate gifts, grace, and freedom of Jesus Christ.
It is ok to simply stand before and in awe of the mystery of Jesus.
This may be the most powerful action you would ever do.
Then you can truly respond to what Jesus has said and done.

Ephesians 6:18


Pray and live
Reading: Ephesians 6:18

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

How to pray?
Here are some very simple ways to pray.

Simply say, “Christ I am here before you.”
And wait.

Sometimes be alone.
Calm yourself down.

Find some songs that make you feel the presence of God.
You will get wonderful ideas.

Sing some songs to Christ.
Say, "Jesus, this is a song for you."
And sing.
You will experience Christ entering into your life.

How to pray for someone?
You may in your mind, simply look at God and then look at the person you want to pray for. Then look at God again.

Or say, "Jesus remember so and so."

This is how you may live with Jesus using your compassion and your passion wisely.


8.26.2009

Luke 7:41–47

Reading: Luke 7:41–47

Jesus told a story.
In this story, God is a moneylender.
God has many people who cannot pay him back.
Many people cannot pay back what they owe to God.

There was a guy who owed $5000 to God.
There was another guy who owed $50.
Neither of them had the money to pay God back.
So God canceled the debts of both.

Now Jesus asks: “Now which of them will love God more?"
When God cancels any debts, we can guess that the one had the bigger debt canceled is usually more thankful.
That is what just happens in this room. (Luke 7: 44)

Jesus is saying:
“Look at the woman. She is showing that God has forgiven her debt.
She wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
From the time I entered, she has not stopped kissing my feet.
She has poured perfume on my feet.
This shows that her many sins have been forgiven.
Don’t you see her great love proves the fact that she is forgiven.
That is why she loves so much.”

By her love Jesus realized that God has forgiven her.
Jesus experienced God right here.
Then Jesus explains that to people.

Jesus is saying:
“Show me someone who is very grateful. Then I will show you the one who is forgiven much.”

She somehow knew the true meaning of divine forgiveness.
Her action proclaims “I am forgiven!!!”
That is why she can love Jesus so much.

Or she was the one who realized that God has forgiven her.
Those who realized that God has forgiven them might show their gratitude one way or the other like her.

8.22.2009

John 21

Reading: John 21

(If Jesus were telling his own story, it may have been like this. See what kinds of meditation or awareness happening in you.)

I am resurrected!
I show myself to my students.
Once, I appear to them in this way.

Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael the mystic, John and James, and two other students were together.

Peter said to them:
“I'm going fishing.”
“We're going with you.”
They went out and got in the boat.

They caught nothing that night.
Then, the sun came up.

I was standing on the beach.
But they didn't recognize me.

I was about a hundred yards away.
I shouted:
“Good morning!
Did you catch anything?”
Peter shouted back:
“Not yet!”

Jesus said:
“Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens!”
They did what I said.
All of a sudden there found so many fish in their nets.
They weren't able to pull them out.

John said:
“It's our Leader!”
When Simon Peter heard that it was me, he threw on some clothes, and dove into the sea.
The other students came in by boat, pulling along the net full of fish.
When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.

I said:
“Bring some of the fish you've just caught.”
Simon Rock joined them and pulled the net to shore.
It is 153 healthy fish!
And even with all those fish, the net didn't rip!

I said:
“Ok!
Ready to eat.
Breakfast is ready.”
Not one of my students asked:
"Who are you?"
They knew it was me.
I then took the bread and gave it to them.
I did the same with the fish.
This was now the third time I had shown myself alive to my students after being raised from the dead.
I was having a really good time.

Since I have thought that Peter must have remembered my words, I guess how Peter must have felt.
He was sure of his love for me. (Matt 10: 32-33)

So, I start a healing process.
After breakfast, I said to Simon Peter.
“Simon Johnson, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, my Leader, you know I love you.”
“Feed my lambs.”

Then I said again:
“Simon, Johnson, do you truly love me?”
“Yes, Sir, you know that I love you.”
“Shepherd my sheep.”

And again, I said:
“Simon, Johnson, do you love me?”
Peter was getting embarrassed because I kept on asking.
“My teacher, you know everything. You must know that I love you.”
“Feed my sheep. Peter, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted, but when you are old, someone will lead you where you do not want to go.”

I sort of indicate the kind of death by which Peter will glorify me.
Then, I said:
“Rock, Follow me, by feeding my lambs."

Turning his head, Peter Rock noticed John following right behind.
“My teacher, what's going to happen to him?”
I said:
“If I want him to live until I come again, what's that to you? You follow me.”

Then later, a rumor got out that John may not die.
But that is not what I said.
I simply said:
"If I want him to live until I come again, what's that to you? You follow me.”

I Kings 8: 22-30, 41-43


Prayer of Solomon
Reading: I Kings 8: 22-30, 41-43

Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel.
He spread out his hands to heaven.
He prayed saying:

O, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart.

You have kept your promise to your servant David my father.
With your mouth, you have promised and with your hand, you have fulfilled it, as it is today.

Now God of Israel, for your servant David my father keep the promises you made to him.
You said, "You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel.
If only your children are careful in all they do to walk before me as you have done."

Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word come true as you promised to your servant David, my father.

But will God really dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

So, have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O my God.

Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today.

May your eyes be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said: “My name shall be there.” May you hear the prayer that your servant prays towards this place.

Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place. O Lord, hear in heaven, your dwelling-place. Hear and forgive.

Likewise when the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name.
For they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm.
When the foreigner comes and prays toward this house, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel.
May they know that this house I have built bears your Name.


Mark 11:1-10 (1)

Coincidence
Reading: Mark 11:1-10
Additional reading: Luke 19: 30-36, Matt 17:24-27

At Mark 11:1-10, Jesus was always with Jesus.
Then suddenly, Jesus led his disciples to experience some coincidence.

Jesus says to two of his students:
Go to the village, and at once you will find a donkey tied there.
Untie her and bring them to me.
If anyone asks what you’re doing, say: “The Master needs them!”
He will send them with you.

What happened?
The disciples found exactly as Jesus said.
As for Jesus, it was something natural.
It was a thoughtful calculation from his part and a result of his prayer.
About this time, this kind of things can happen.
May this person who brought a donkey may also sense something like this.

But as for the disciples, it was a coincidence.
It looked like Jesus was using a tool called coincidence.
Jesus was guiding them to travel into the world of coincidences.
Jesus might want to communicate something with them, through this coincidence.

Some say, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
Through this coincidence, God may be saying, “Hi, I am right here with you. Have a go. Helping Jesus like this, you will be better prepared for me and will learn more of me.”

It is like when you enter an office and people were saying:
“Ah, we were just talking about you! We were just thinking about you! Can you help us on this?”

I think this kind of coincidence happens well to those who pray.
According to your prayer, you sometimes, experience some coincidences.
Because your prayer, you meet people and choose to do things.
Then prayer may become a reality.

But don’t be so sure about these coincidences.
Sometimes, in order to change your mind, to help you choose wisely, or to choose to do right things, God may answer your prayer.
Then God may say us:
Since now you have it, what do you think?
Is this what you really want?
Or do you want something else?
You are not satisfied with it, right? You want something else.
You may say then, “Yeah, this is not what I really want.”

Sometimes, in this way, you discover what you really desire.
In this way, you discover your calling in God.

So, don’t just pray thinking, “If God listens to one of these, or if God listens and gives half of what I pray, I am good.”
Say exactly what you think.
If you can say what you truly, really, sincerely want in God, you may be able to discover what God wants for you. Your life may be a journey to find it at this moment.

God is always responding according to our prayer and thoughts.
Our life events tend to happen based on our thought and prayer, whether it is done consciously or unconsciously.

So, we need to always think pure thoughts for others.
We need to think carefully for others.
We contain some bad thoughts against others or some not helpful thought against others; it may turn around and bite us.
Our sin tends to catch up with us.

Sometimes, God causes some coincidence based on our prayer and thoughts, so that we may see the result of our thoughts and prayer and repent of our wrong thoughts, prayer or intention. We might have prayed without knowing who Jesus really was.

We need to always pray motivated by love, compassion, and kindness.
If you cannot do that at this moment, pray saying, “God, don’t answer my prayer. I am just mad at the moment. I just need to pour that out so that you can heal me.”


8.17.2009

Steve Harvey introduces Jesus Christ








Phil 2: 6-11

Humility
Reading: Phil 2: 6-11


Jesus the Messiah has a plan to save others.
Achieving this is his purpose in life.
Jesus is the one who saves everyone.
Anyone who is saved can serve many people.
In this way, Jesus fulfills the role of the Savior.

Then Jesus likes to help people to be divinely inspired. (Acts 2: 18, Joel 2: 29)
So, he pours out his Spirit on everyone.
This Jesus is a self-emptying, humble, crucified and risen Christ.

Now we are encouraged to proclaim this story of Jesus: the Gospel.
This story explains how Jesus works to become our Savior.
In this endeavor Jesus reveals the inner quality of divinity.
Love is the character Jesus reveals.

Jesus was in the form of God.
But he voluntarily gave up his own dignity in heaven.
He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.
He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of human beings.
Then, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.

This message of humility can change people’s life.
Concerning humility, the Bible says:

  • Before one's downfall a person’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
  • Better to be humble in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
  • Pride goes before destruction, a proud spirit before a fall.
  • Proud eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!
Because of his humility, Jesus is highly exalted above every name.
At the name of Jesus every knee bows, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.
This is the glory of God. (Phil 2: 6-11)

God is seen when God empties God-self to become a human being.
God is seen when God doesn’t count equality with God.
By self-emptying, the humble God makes salvation possible.
God becomes a creature.
Jesus becomes fully human.
Mary gives birth to Jesus who is fully God and fully human.

This gospel survives in the ancient world.
This gospel survives when there were a lot of stories about half-gods (i.e., Olympus) who were not fully gods but derived forms of God.

The disciples of Jesus were to explain that Jesus is God.
In the same time, they have to explain that Jesus is God who becomes a creature.
With the power of the Holy Spirit they were able to explain this mystery.

They need to explain to their contemporary.
They were able to explain because they knew people’s tradition and understanding.

It is now our joy to explain how Jesus saves.
Jesus has promised that he is coming back.
Jesus is to be known to everyone.

The story of Jesus

Christ is to be interpreted.
His life is to be explored.
In this way, people gain more understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

It is important to explore the message of Jesus.
Through his message, we understand him personally.
God has a personality.
God is what God promised us to be.
Then grace is explained.
In grace, Jesus saves us without any merit on our part.
Jesus Christ himself won salvation on the cross.

Jesus is the one who created all the things that exist.
This story of Jesus transcends all generations.
So, it shines through all generations.
Jesus can use everything to bring light to our life.
Jesus can use multifold ways to make us understand who we are in him.
Jesus can use all kinds of different cultures and understandings to teach us about him.
Jesus is born again and again to a new culture to meet the needs of people.
Then Jesus leads us to a place.

We learn God through various ways and concepts.
This mysterious journey starts when we wait for God.
God enlightens us as we wait and empty ourselves and seek honestly.
There Jesus is closer to us than what we might have thought.
Jesus is the Spirit.

8.16.2009

Luke 10: 32-38

Let Jesus feed you
Reading: Luke 10: 32-38
Additional Reading: Psalm 131:1-3

Sometimes, we need to relax and allow Jesus to feed us.

Jesus and his students are traveling a lot.

Then, Jesus comes to a village where a woman named Martha opens her home to him.

But soon, Martha is distracted by all the preparations that have to be made. Martha isn’t feeling good.

Martha has a sister called Mary.
But she is sitting at Jesus' feet listening to what he says.
Mary feels wonderful.

Martha comes to Jesus and asks:
"Sir, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?
Tell her to help me!"

Jesus says to her:
"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha may have been thinking:
“I want to feed Jesus well.”
That is what she knows.
But Jesus is like:
“Martha, I came to your house so that I can feed people.
Come, join us.
And listen to what God is saying to you, just like Mary.
Mary made a nice choice to remain with me. And she feels good.”

Mary listens to Jesus.
As she listens, she is fed by the words of God.
She may have forgotten about what is going on in the kitchen.
She is so fascinated by the presence of Christ.
So she decides to stay with Jesus.
She may have thought:
“Martha might need my help.
But I just have to listen to this.
Every word he spoke is so nurturing me.
These words are life-giving.
It is so amazing.”
She feels so good.
It is magnificent.
She forgot everything but Christ.
Christ is all in all.

Jesus can sense what Mary is feeling.
She is having a powerful spiritual experience.
By the feeling she feels, she is changing the world.

She is the one who truly enjoy the gift of God.
She is so joyful.
She listens to and is fed by this awesome words and presence of God!

She feels that the words of Jesus quiet down her whole being.
The word of Christ relaxes her and helps her to focus on what she wants.
This is amazingly real to her.
She is like:
“Who can ever leave this presence?
This is my home. This is my vocation.”

Her prayer may have been:
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I calm and quiet my soul under you feet, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. ” (Psalm 131)
Feeling this feeling restores her and makes her grow.

Jesus must have been so happy to see her feeling that way because of his ministry. Jesus can feel the vision of his Father comes and settles with Mary.
This is the moment when Mary finds her vocation.

This human and divine connection is what Jesus is after.
Think about when you experience this connection.
Think about when you forgot about time passing.
Think about when Christ has met you so closely.
Think about what kinds of thought makes you feel grateful and thankful.
That is powerful moment. Remember them and act accordingly.
Life is a wonderful gift.
Enjoy life with us.

8.10.2009

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Leader: Jesus, forgive us when we weren’t able to stop worrying and to let God.
All: Christ, forgive us when we weren’t able to stop judging and blaming others.
Leader: Jesus, forgive us when we weren’t able to welcome all people.
All: Christ, forgive us when we weren’t able to take the first step of faith.
Leader: Jesus, have mercy, when we weren't able to act out of love and courage.
All: Christ, forgive us when we weren’t able to forgive.


Silent Confession

Assurance of Pardon

Leader: Jesus, you are pardon and goodness.
All: You bury our weakness in your heart and you are going to take care of our future.
Leader: Jesus, you bring our soul out of doubt, and you set faith in the depths of our soul.
All: You place in us this faith, a simple act of trust. It is so simple that all can welcome it.
Leader: Jesus, our joy, since your resurrection, you always come to us. Whatever point we may be at, you are always waiting for us.
All: And you tell us: Come to me, you who are overburdened, and you will find relief.

8.06.2009

Agape Service

(For agape service, let people sit in each table with foods ready to be served.)

Order of Worship

Gathering the community
Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship (responsively)
Leader: Jesus, light of our hearts, you call us to follow you in faith, because your Gospel changes both our heart and our life.
People: Christ, even when there are frailties in us, you always welcome us saying, “My peace I leave you; let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
Leader: Jesus, Son of God, you have never forsaken us when we abandoned you in our thought and deeds. You humble yourself and took the form of a slave, lifting us up to share in your glory.
All: Our joy is in you!

Hymn 276 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Scriptures Reading: John 6: 1-15 (A Dramatic Exposition)

Questions for discussions introduced

Small Group Discussions: Individuals can pick any of these option and share with the group. (15-20 minutes)
Option #1: What excites you most? What brings you peace? What brings you joy and happiness: what place, person, time of day, activity, view, color, word, song, Scriptural quote, image of Christ?
Option #2: What was an important event or a life changing moment in your life?
Option #3: Is there any personal spiritual practice that you enjoy?
Option #4: Who is Jesus for you personally?

Hymn 140 Holy, Holy

Offertory

The Doxology # 592

Offering Prayer
Jesus, our hope, we offer our gifts, times and talents to you. May you bless them and multiply them for a greater benefit of your people. Continually inspire us to understand of your Gospel. Enable us to discover effective ways to serve your people.

Prayers of the People & the Lord’s Prayer

Hymn 485 To God be the Glory

Benediction

8.03.2009

Mark 8

(If Jesus were telling his own story, it would have been like this???)

During those days another large crowd gathered around me.
Since they had nothing to eat, I called my students and said, "I have compassion for these people. And they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance."

My students said, "But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?"
I asked, "How many loaves do you have?"
"Seven."
Yes, my students have to let go of these seven breads in the wilderness to experience this miracle.

I told the crowd to sit down on the ground.
When I had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, I broke them and gave them to my students to set before the people, and they did so.

They had a few small fish as well. So, I gave thanks for them also and told my students to distribute them. All the people ate and were satisfied.

Afterward my students picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Now my students have more than they let go of: the seven breads.

About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, I got into the boat with my students and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

The Pharisees came and began to question me. To test me, they asked for a sign from heaven. I sighed and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to you." Then I simply left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

My students had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.

I said to them "Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."
They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."
Aware of their discussion, I asked them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand that it is not about the breads? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? "
"Twelve."
"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Seven."
I said to them, "Do you still understand now that I am not talking about breads?"

So, we came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged me to touch him. I took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. I spit on the man's eyes and put my hands on him. Then, I asked, "Do you see anything?"

He looked up and said, "I see people. They look like trees walking around."
Once more I put my hands on the man's eyes.
Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
I sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village."

My students and I went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way I asked them, "Who do people say I am?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. And still others, one of the prophets."
"But what about you? Who do you say I am?"
Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
I warned them not to tell anyone about me.
I then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that I must be killed and after three days rise again.

I spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke me.
So, I turned and looked at my students. Then, I rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Then I called the crowd to me along with my students and said, "If you would follow me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. In this journey, when you try to save your life you will lose it. But when you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will find it and save it. What good is it for you to gain the whole world, yet lose your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul? If you are ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, I will be ashamed of you when I come in my Father's glory with the holy angels."

8.02.2009

Luke 16:19–31 (2)

Reading: Luke 16:19–31

Jesus told this story:

There was a rich man.
He was well dressed and lived in a luxurious life.

Then there was a beggar, Lazarus at his gate.
He was covered with sores.
And the dogs came and licked his sores.
He was longing to eat whatever fell from the rich man's table.

Then the time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.
The rich man also died and was buried.
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

So he called to him
“Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
But Abraham replied:
“Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”

He answered:
“Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers.
Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”

Abraham replied:
“They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them."
He said:
“No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.”
He said to him:
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."

What is Jesus saying through this story?
When the rich forgot to take care of the poor, he forgot to live with the heart of God.
Lazarus was poor, dirty or even physically ill.
He has no hope in this world.
But when he died he realized that there was a great comfort in heaven.

Jesus preached to the poor.
When he teaches people on the mountain, he said:
“Blessed are those who mourn now.
Blessed are the poor now.”

Jesus teaches the compassionate God.
God is compassion.
This is the spiritual reality.
When we truly understand the divine compassion, we live with a new mind.
Like Jesus, we may become friends to those who are poor, socially outsiders and religiously outsiders.