1.27.2010

God is love

Luke 12: 33

In Luke 12: 33, Jesus says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

If you want to love, you don’t go first to know how woman and man are deterrent.
You don’t learn first how to use language of love.
You empty yourself to love.

If you want to love, you need to practice Justice.
If you want to do justice, you cannot ignore giving to the poor.

God is love.
What does that means?
God loves us partially? No. God loves us practically.
God loves because that is only thing that God knows how.
Love is what all God does.
Love is God’s hobby, inner drive, purpose, desire, inner quality and leisure.
So when God moves, love moves.
When God thinks, God thinks in love.
When God shouts, God shouts in love.
This love can be a little different from what we think.

When the disciples of Jesus thought about Jesus, they remembered being loved.
Then they realize that God is love.
They learn how to love from Jesus.

This love is speaking.
This love wants people to have faith and live in faith.
Because of this faith, love gives everything.
This love seeks unity among people.
This love is wise.
This love is the light that Jesus shines.

1.24.2010

Tuesday Worship

We are starting a new kind of worship on Sept 14.
We are going to see how God is leading us to worship together on Tuesday.
Everything is experiment here. Let’s say it is a spiritual experiment.
We just want to be open to Christ, listen to Christ and be inspired by Christ.
So, for an hour, we may pray, read the story of Jesus and have a conversation about what is in our mind.
We may meditate on the words of Jesus.
We may pray for one another.
We may worship in a contemporary style.
We may just talk about what we are thankful in these days.
We may just listen to or sing our favorite gospel songs or hymns.
Each Tuesday may be different.
Be curious and come.
All are welcome.
Come and pray with us.
Come and worship with us.

Every Tuesday
7: 00 - 8: 00 p.m.
Union Presbyterian Church
1068 Park Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 374-4464
www.unionpres.org

1.22.2010

Chat Slang

adn --- Any Day Now
aka --- Also known as
afk --- Away From Keyboard
afn --- that's All For Now
asap --- As Soon As Possible
atm --- At The Moment
b4 --- Before
bbl --- Be Back Later
bc, b/c --- Because
bf --- Boyfriend
bfn --- Bye For Now
brb --- Be Right Back
btdt --- Been There, Done That
btw --- By The Way
cu --- See You
cya --- See Ya
d/w --- Don't Worry
dl, d/l --- Download, Downloading
emsg --- Email Message
F2f --- Face To Face
fyi --- For Your Information
gf --- Girlfriend
gg, g/g --- Gotta Go
gl --- Good Luck
gmta --- Great Minds Think Alike
gr --- Gotta Run
gtg, g2g --- Got To Go, Gotta Go
gtsy --- Glad To See You
h/o --- Hold On
hb --- Hurry Back
hw --- Homework
idk --- I Don't Know
Im --- Instant Message
lmao --- Laughing my ass (arse) off
imho --- In My Humble Opinion
imo --- In My Opinion
Irl --- In Real Life
jk, j/k --- Just Kidding
jtlyk --- Just To Let You Know
jw Just --- Wondering
k, kk --- Okay, alright
kit --- Keep In Touch
kthx --- Okay Thanks
kthxbi --- Okay Thanks, Bye
l8r --- Later (Goodbye)
lol --- Laughing Out Loud
ltns --- Long Time No See
nc, n/c --- No Comment
nm, n/m --- Never Mind
np --- No Problem
nvm --- Never Mind
oic --- Oh, I See
omg! --- Oh My Gosh!, Oh My God!
otp --- On The Phone
pal --- Parents Are Listening
pls, plz --- Please
pm --- Private Message
pmfji --- Pardon Me For Jumping In
pos --- Parent Over Shoulder
ppl --- People
r --- Are
rl --- Real Life
rofl --- Rolling On Floor Laughing
sb --- Smiles Back
so --- Significant Other
srsly --- Seriously
sry --- Sorry
sup? --- What's up? or Wassup?
sys --- See You Soon
ta --- Thanks Again
thx --- Thanks
ttfn --- Ta Ta For Now (See ya, later)
ttyl --- Talk To You Later
ty --- Thank You
tyt --- Take Your Time (common reply to brb)
u --- You
ul, u/l --- Upload or Uploading
ur --- Your
vn --- Very Nice
w.e --- Whatever
w/e --- Whatever
wb --- Welcome Back
yt? --- You There?
yw --- Your Welcome

1.21.2010

Questions that can change our life

I am a thinker.
I love to think and pray.
Thinking and praying I learn of Jesus Christ.
I also realize what my calling is in this world.
I am sure there are people out there who would like to learn how to think and pray.

Then here is some questions that may you start thinking for yourself.
Here we go.

Who are you?
What is the most important thing in my life?
Where is your joy?
What excites you most?
How would you serve the world?
How would you serve God?
What is the will of God for you?

1.20.2010

Christian Education

Christian Education section of our website

Welcome!
We welcome you to various educational opportunities at Union Presbyterian Church. We provide classes for people of all ages. These classes are offered from September through May. Come and learn more about Christ and his teachings.

Your Child Safety and Security

Your children are safe and sound in our care. We make every effort to provide an environment that maintains your children's security. Read our safe place policy for more information.

Sunday School (for Pre-school through 5th Grade)
9:15-10:15 am

What to expect?

Various Bible stories are shared with children through various workshops: such as movie workshop, cooking workshop, drama workshop, singing workshop.

Youth Class (for Middle and High School youth)
9:15-9:45 am

What to expect?

Youths explore how to apply God's Word to their daily life, by…
 Asking questions,
 Making discoveries about God, and
 Sharing their faith.
This class also deals with various topics such as Christian belief, ethics, money, peer pressure and the environment.

Orff practice (for Middle and High School youth)
9:45-10:15 am
What is orff? Click here (then it leads to the Music section of our website for more information)

Faith Enrichment Class (for adult):
9:15-10: 15 am.
Adult Faith Enrichment classes deal with a variety of topics relevant to our contemporary Christian life. It is a time for learning, discussion and questions.

Young Parents Fellowship (for young parents)
9:15-10: 15 am.
If you have are parents of school-aged children, come to the church Library for informal fellowship.

Babyfold Nursery (for Infants and Toddlers)
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Our nursery room is full of colorful toys. And most importantly, your children are safe and sound in our care.

A Prayer for the Beginning of Epiphany

Written by Jan L. Richardson

Maker of the universe, fashioner f the starts, who dwells within time and beyond time, hear this prayer:

If I have failed to perceive you when you have appeared in the face of a friend, if I have neglected to feed you when you have come with the hunger of a stranger,
If I have not embraced you when you have sought me out of a sister or brother’s poverty, if I have not laughed and played with you when you greeted me with the delight of a child, forgive me.

Open my eyes, my hands, my arms, my heart to know your appearing and to celebrate the flesh-shaped mystery of Emmanuel, God with us.

Make my heart a dwelling place ready to receive you in even the bleakest spaces, to delight at your appearing even as the animals who make welcome for the birth of wonder.

(Along the journey come times of pausing, of surprise, of wonder at what we discover on the way. We may be so intent on what lies ahead that we find ourselves occasionally amazed by one who has journeyed toward us, who meets us by chance or by purpose with a word, a gesture, a touch we most need to receive. Epiphany is such a time. In the midst of the journey we pause to ponder, to listen, to marvel at the ways God appears to us.)

1.19.2010

Offering prayer

Our faithful God, bless these gifts as your faith community comes alive in worship.
Bless them as your community is enriched through your Holy Spirit.
Bless them as your Word comes home to us, and renew us.
Bless them as the compassion of Jesus Christ goes to work through us. Amen.


Offering prayer #2:
God who loves us, you have given the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Now, use our minds, gifts, times, and talents that you give.
Use them for your kingdom.
Use them to maintain love and justice in this world.
Guide us so that we may be more fruitful in you.
In your name, we pray. Amen.

1.18.2010

Opening Prayer 2

Jesus, you send your Spirit to make us a new creation.
Through your Holy Spirit, you have given us the abundant life.
May your Spirit continually guide our eyes so that we see you.
Guide our ears so that we hear your words.
Guide our lips so that we praise you.
Guide our hearts so that we love you.
Guide our feet so that we come to worship you.
Guide our hands so that we serve you.
Thank you, Jesus, for listening to our prayer.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.
Amen.

1.16.2010

Bulletin for Dec 26

God's Wild Plan
Reading: Heb 2: 10-18, Matthew 2:13-23,
Hymns: 41, 40, 60

Leader: Praise God! Let all the angels praise God.
Praise God, sun and moon;
Praise God, shining stars;
Praise God, highest heavens.
Let them all praise the name of the Lord!
God commanded, and the universe was created, fixed in place forever.
Praise God, kings and all peoples, princes and all other rulers, girls and young men, elderly people and children too.
Let us all praise the name of the Lord, and worship the Prince of Peace.

Opening Prayer

Christ, our Light and Truth, come into our lives, and make us holy.
Come into this place, and make it your holy space.
Come into our world, and make it your world – a world of light and love.
As we lift our eyes to you, let us behold your radiance.
As we proclaim your name with praise and joy, let us know your glory, and your grace. Amen.

Silent Prayer of Confession

Like King Herod, we hunt down that which threatens our way of life, and we want to kill.
When we feel tricked by those who outsmart us, we fly into a rage and want to destroy that which threatens us.
Forgive us, O God.
Give us sight and insight to set aside our fragile egos, and to flee into your loving and protective arms, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Silent Prayers of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

As Mary and Joseph and Jesus settled in Nazareth, help us know that you also take up residence in us, to be birthed each day, and to forgive our threats, our rages, and our destructive desires.

In the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace, we are forgiven.

Offering Prayer

Glorious God, all life has its source in you.
Through you, the stars come into being and the waters cover the deep.
At your command trees bear fruit and the earth provides food for your creatures.
Your steadfast love gives us everything we need. In thankfulness and praise for your many gifts, we offer you our love, our service, and our offerings. In the name of the one who came to be our salvation, we praise you. Amen.

Benediction
May we experience Jesus, who treats us as family and as brothers and sisters.
May we place our trust in Jesus.
May we live as children of God, with Jesus by our side.

May the grace of God lead us forth.
May the light of Christ shine on our paths.
May the presence of the Holy Spirit fill our days.
And may love be our way in the New Year!

1.15.2010

Living in faith

I think life is moving along to teach us something, everyday.
We don’t know what is there.
But we know something is waiting for us.

When Jesus travels all parts of Israel, he didn’t know what is like to live like that.
He must have heard various teachers who came and gone.
He must have felt uncertainty about his future.

Only hope that he has is to trust things in faith.
What is that faith?
He trusts that what is within his spirit is the true reality that needs to be introduced to the world.

A life in faith is like that.
It is about living, seeing things in faith.
It is about living, seeing things in imagination.

When we do that we live like Jesus.

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name and what our hearts can no longer bear. Set us free from a past that we cannot change. Open us to a future in which we can be changed. And grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and live in your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen

Silent Prayers of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

Open your hearts and hear the words:
Christ believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
Christ loves you even when you don’t love yourself.
Christ forgives you even when you don’t forgive yourself.
Believe, speak, and live the Good News of the Gospel.
In Christ we are forgiven! Alleluia! Amen.

Call to Worship

God loves you.
God loves you even if you don’t anything.

Speak with joy to God, all people.
Worship God with gladness.
Come into God’s presence with singing.
Our God is gracious, merciful and faithful to all people.

Let us worship God who wants to give you all.

1.14.2010

John 2:1-11 (2)

(A children sermon)
Props: a jar of punch

Good morning.

What do you drink when you go party?
I like to drink punch.
Would you like to have some?

In the time of Jesus, people drink wine in their party.

So, let me tell you a story.
Jesus went to a party.
It was a wedding party.

He and his student have a wonderful time.
His mother was there, too.
His mother was helping out.
The party was going very well.

Then his mother came and told him something.
What was that?
Right, there is no wine.
Can you have a party without something to drink?

So, what should Jesus do?
Can Jesus turn water into wine?

Mary was expecting Jesus to do something like that.
She asks the people to do whatever Jesus said.

So Jesus told them to fill up big jars with water.
Then Jesus turned that water into wine.
The taste was really good.
It wasn't water.
It was wine.
Jesus had turned the water into wine.

Why did Jesus turn water into wine?
Jesus wants them to have a good time.
Jesus wants them to enjoy their time together.

That is why we pray to invite Jesus to our table.
It makes our breakfast, lunch, or dinner a better meal.
That is why you pray for him to join you on your vacation.
You have a better vacation.
When you have a good time, you thank God for those moments.
God is there with you enjoying that moment.

God wants you to have a good time.
Invite Jesus to be with you.
Jesus makes it better.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for turning water into wine. They must have a wonderful time. We also want to invite you to our life. Be the leader of our life. In the name of Jesus, we pray.

1.12.2010

Praise & Worship

Praise & Worship

Bless the Lord, My Soul:

Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God's holy name.
Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life.

In Your time:

In Your time, in Your time, You make all things beautiful in Your time.
Lord, my life to You I bring, may each song I have to sing,
Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.

Jesus, I adore you:
Jesus, I adore You.
Lay my life before You
How I love You

Reading: Matthew 6: 31-32
Jesus says: Do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the unbelievers run after all these things. And your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Silent Prayer

Spirit of the Living God:

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me;
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Intercessory Prayer

"Holy Spirit come to us"
“Eternal God, you have freed us by giving us your only Son. You open for us the way of freedom.”

"Holy Spirit come to us"
“God, you want us to become new creatures in Christ. Keep us in the communion of your Son. Keep us alert as we wait for the day of his coming.”

"Holy Spirit come to us"
“Christ, your spirit of life dwells within every human being. May the Spirit enable us to tear down walls of mistrust and of fear, Lord, we pray.”

"Holy Spirit come to us"
“Give us your peace, so that we can communicate it to one another in mutual love, and serve the human family.”
"Holy Spirit come to us"

“Christ, you have taken our weaknesses upon yourself and taken charge of our illnesses. Support those who are going through trials, Lord, we pray.”

"Holy Spirit come to us"

“For those who work with the oppressed, with foreigners and with the lonely, Lord, we pray.”

"Holy Spirit come to us"

“We entrust to you our families and friends, all who have asked for our prayers and who pray for us, whom we name before you now, (please speak out the names at this time.)
Lord, we pray…”
"Holy Spirit come to us"

You are able more than able:

You are able more than able to accomplish what concerns me today.
You are able more than able to handle anything that comes my way.
You are able more than able to do much more than I could ever dream.
You are able more than able to make me what you want me to be.

Closing Prayer:
God our father, you never stop searching for all who have gone away from you. And by your forgiveness, you place on our finger the ring of the prodigal son, the ring of festival. (A prayer from Taizé)

Jesus, remember me:

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Taizé songs: © Ateliers et Presses de Taizé (A&PT), Communauté de Taizé, 71250 Taizé, France. GIA is the exclusive North American Distributor for the Taizé Community.
“In Your time”: @1978 CCCM Music (admin. By Maranatha! Music c/o The Copyright Co., Nashville, TN)

Luke 24: 50 – 51

The Ascension of Jesus
Reading: Luke 24:50–51

When Jesus had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

This resurrected Jesus is free from gravity.
He is able to control gravity to work for him.
But he clearly showed that he had a body, after resurrection.
Remember he was eating fish and stuff.
But now he had a different body.
This body works for spiritual reality of Jesus himself.

The body does not hinder Jesus to be Jesus who is the Son of God.
He can go to the Father with his body.

This may be the new body that Paul was talking about.
We may one day have this body: the body that is not bound by time and space.

It is a spiritual body.
It is a body that does not hinder its owner’s spiritual life at all.

Martin Luther King, Jr Weekend at Hebron

Martin Luther King, Jr Weekend at Hebron (Jan 15-17)

6 youths from our church are going to attend this event.

If you like to come, you need to sign these forms and bring with you.

Registration Form for MLK Weekend 2010
Health Form - three pages and now requiring a physician's signature
Covenant of Conduct
Photo Release Form

1.09.2010

Youth Group Covenant 2

We are making Guidelines for our youth group.
Following so far what I have thought about.
Let me know of your opinion.
Here we go.

Youth Group Covenant:

We honor all people, with the Spirit to guide us.
We honor each others' thoughts.
We honor each others' expressions.
We listen when others speak, so we may hear.
We speak in turn, so we may be heard.
We encourage positive talk to one another.

We show kindness to one another.
We retain among ourselves the personal feelings and facts shared in group discussions.
We refrain from put downs or personal attacks.

We honor each others' physical integrity.
We refrain from infringing on each other.
We refrain from infringing on each others' property

We honor the efforts of those who are leading the activity, program, or discussion.
We respond when called to order.

We focus our attention when gathered for program, switching off all electronics for the duration.

When the group feels that we need to add or change this covenant, we meet and agree on other covenant.

John 1: 29-42

(If Jesus were talking about his life, it would have been something like this?)

When John sees me coming to him, John says:

“Y’all look! Here’s the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world! That’s the one I was talking about when I said, ‘There is a man yet to come who is greater than I am because he existed even before I was born.'

“Even I was not sure of him, but the reason I came to baptize was that I might show him to the world, as the one who reveals who God is.

“I saw the Spirit, come down like a dove from the sky, and stay on him. As I said, I was not sure about him, but he who sent me to dip you in water told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and staying will be the one who baptizes you in Holy Spirit.’ Well, I saw it! And I’m telling you that this is the Son of God."

The following day John was standing with two of his students.
He saw me walking along.
John said: “Viola! Here comes God’s Lamb!”

Hearing this, the two students started following me.
I noticed.
I turned around and gave them a smile: “What’s up?”
Andrew and John say: “Teacher, where are you staying?”
I said, “Come and see!”

So they saw where I was staying.
They stayed with me until about four o’clock.
Andrew, the brother of Simon, was one of the two who followed me.
The first thing he did was to tell his own brother, "We have found the Messiah, the Leader.”

Then he introduced Simon to me.
I smiled and said, "You are Simon, the son of John. Why don’t we call you Rock?”

1.08.2010

Humor

Dear Lord
So far today,
I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped.
I haven't lost my temper.
I haven't lied or cheated.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy,
Nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
I'm very thankful for that.
But in a few minutes, Lord,
I'm going to get out of bed.
And from then on, I'm probably
Going to need a lot more help! Amen

1.07.2010

Youth Group Covenant

I am making "Ground Rules" for our youth group.
Following so far what I have thought about.
Let me know of your opinion.
Here we go.

Youth Group Covenant:

“We respect each others.
We show kindness to one another.
We encourage positive talk to one another.

”We listen when someone else is talking.
We wait until they finish talking.

”No physical violence is allowed. (e.g., putting someone down, hitting, jumping on someone else, throwing anything to anyone)
No verbal violence is allowed. (e.g., name calling, making fun of another person, yelling)
No cell phone use is allowed during youth group (except emergency or calling parent for pickup)

”When the group feels that we need to add or change this covenant, we meet and agree on other covenant.”

1.06.2010

Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22 (2)

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Reading: Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22
Prop: Baptism Font with enough water inside

Good morning!
Do you know what this is?
(Showing water font. Touching the water)
What do we use this for?
Yes, this is what we use to baptize people.
Have you ever seen anyone being baptized?

I have another question.
Do you think Jesus was baptized, too?
Right.
Who baptized Jesus?
John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

After that, what did God say to Jesus?
God said:
"This is my beloved son."
And the Holy Spirit came down him like a dove.

Do you know what happened after that?
I mean after the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus like a dove.
He was able to go out and teach people.
He was able to go out and heal people.
When he touched those who are sick, he made them well.
When he preached, people were like, “Wow.”

But there is something more.
John the Baptist said:
Jesus is going to baptize you and me with the Holy Spirit.

Do you know what happens when Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit?
Like Jesus, we can also go out and teach people.
We can also go out and help people.
Serve them.
Love them.
Heal them.

Sometimes you want to help people, but you don’t have power to do it.
But when the Holy Spirit comes, you will have God's power to help others.

So, we welcome the Holy Spirit together.
We always want to welcome the Holy Spirit here and everywhere.
So, let’s pray to welcome the Holy Spirit together:

Jesus, you want us to welcome the Holy Spirit.
So, we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts.
Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we serve you and your people.
In the name of Jesus, we pray.

I think Jesus heard our prayer.
Now we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts.
So, let's listen to the Holy Spirit so that we may serve God and God's people.
Let's listen when the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts.
Amen?

Ok, let’s us go back to our sit.


Note:
Jesus lived the holy meaningful life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit we may also live like Jesus.

Matt 26:47-56

Nonviolent Jesus
Reading: Matt 26:47-56
Additional reading: John 18:1-11

On the night the religious soldiers arrested Jesus.
They were armed to arrest him, an unarmed rabbi, as if he were a violent thief.

Among his students, there were some who were with swords.
So, Peter took one of them and decided to fight back.
Then he wanted to fight, even though Jesus told him that he must love enemy and pray for them.

Jesus called him “rock” because Jesus wanted to build his church with him.
So, Jesus said to Peter:
“Those who take up the sword/weapon die by the sword/weapon.”
Loving his enemy, Jesus refused to use violence, even in self-defense.

Roman Government at that time was a powerful power.
Their propaganda was that they achieved security for everyone and that they spread peace and freedom everywhere by their sword.
But Jesus said here:
“Those who take up the sword die by the sword.”

Some of Jewish independent group wanted to have military power to fight back this power.

But Jesus is pointing out that the sword they were using to secure themselves would cause their ultimate defeat.

Jesus was a man of peace.
Jesus was saying:
“If you are Christian, you need to live this truth and proclaim.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Then he needs to use violence for national security.
They thought that there is no peace without weapon and a strong military power.
They thought that they were using violence from good motives.

But like Gandhi, Jesus refuses using violence.

Jesus was like:
“If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer them your left cheek as well.
Some Roman soldier commands, ‘Jew, carry my backpack a mile,’ take it one mile more. Pray for your enemies! Bless those who persecute you! Do not resist the evil one!”

The kingdom that he wanted to build is something different: “not from here.”
So, Jesus healed the child of a Roman centurion.
Like this he was living as the King of the Jews.

At that time, some of Jewish independent group thought that there was no way to get their independent without swords.

They realized that Jesus was like:
“I always turn the other cheek when someone wrongs me,” or “I refuse to return violence when violence is done to me.”

This nice Jesus, the Son of God, commanded his disciples—us, those who presumed to follow him—to behave nonviolently.

He said, “Love your enemies!”
What are we to do when we are persecuted for following Jesus?
“Pray for those who persecute you.”
So, in the New Testament even though there were people violating and killing the followers of Jesus, his followers didn’t use violence.
This Peter’s incident was the last.

Instead of following this nonviolent Jesus, people try to compromise.
They try to argue for “just war” theory for self-defense.
But Jesus would have said no even to capital punishment, abortion, and any violence even if it is for national security.

Jesus said no even when they talk about using violence for a good cause.
He said no when people argue that violence is sometimes effective in some circumstances.
He said no when they argue saying it might cause some better end.
He said no when they argue saying every nation does that.
So, you cannot mix these thoughts with his teaching.

Jesus even says we need to ask for forgiveness, when we use our violent language, or violent thought.

You cannot justify violence before Jesus.
You cannot make reference to Jesus or to the words or deeds of him.

Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22 (1)

Jesus baptizes his people with the Spirit of God.
(A children sermon on Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22)

Prop: two hammers: a toy hammer and a real hammer.

Good morning!
I want to build houses.
So I brought some hammers.

Do you know what this is?
This is a toy hammer.
Do you think I build a house with it?

Now then what is this?
Yes, it is a real hammer.
Do you think I build a house with this hammer?
It is good enough, isn’t it?

John the Baptist himself said that he is like this hammer (the wooden toy hammer) when he compare himself with Jesus.
Jesus is like this hammer. (The real one)
It is because Jesus can build the kingdom of God.

So, John baptized people preparing them for Jesus.
John was still able to change people’s lives.
John the Baptist said, “I baptized with water so that I may show the one who baptize us with the Spirit.”
He said, “I baptize you with water, but when Jesus comes, he baptizes you with the Spirit of God.”
When Jesus baptizes you, he gives power to build the kingdom of God.

It is like Jesus is giving you this hammer (Show the real hammer) so that you can build houses.

When Jesus baptizes you, you can go out and help people to get ready for Jesus.
You can help people to get to know Jesus.
That is why Jesus baptizes you with the Spirit of God.
Then you can go out by the power of the Holy Spirit and love and serve people.
You can build the kingdom of God.

Let’s pray.
Jesus Christ we pray that you baptize us with your Sprit, the Spirit of God so that we can help people being inspired by Your Spirit. Amen.

1.05.2010

Luke 19:28-40

Reading: Luke 19:28-40
Additional readings: Genesis 24: 12-27, Genesis 37: 36, Acts 16: 6-10, Matthew 17:24-27, Luke 19: 30-36

Once, Jesus asked his two students to do this.
He said:
Go to the village.
Then 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.

At this time, people were already trying to get rid of Jesus.
And Jesus was always with his students.
So, it is unlikely that Jesus was able to set this up without telling his students.

Jesus seems decide to work through this kind of unknown event.
Jesus is trying to work his way out through some coincidences.
For Jesus, it is a plan.

The students went and found exactly as Jesus said.
For the students, it may look like a weird coincidence.

If you were one of these two students, would you have a go only with this information? You may feel like stealing a donkey. It is not a normal behavior.

But sometimes, living in faith is like that, isn’t it?
You don’t have all the information.
You just need to try to find out whether it is the will of God.
You may experience some coincidences.

It might happen like this.
As they found a donkey, one of the students might have said:
“This is weird. I didn’t like these things happening to me. I need to think about how to handle these coincidences. Is this really from God? How can understand this coincidence?”

Then another student might have said:
“Yeah, let’s not do this. This is stealing.”

Then they may not have seen Jesus riding donkey and entering Jerusalem as a king.

Jesus may send some various unexpected events to our life in order to communicate with us.
Try to notice what these events ask you to do.
You may move forward according to your prayer that you did a year ago.

God may send some coincidences to suggest where you need to go and what you need to do.
Because you have a free will, God just wants to give a suggestion through coincidence.

Have faith. And ask yourself when you experience some coincidence:
What these coincidences may ask me to do?
Is it a simple encouragement from God?
By doing this, will I be able to serve more people?
Will I be able to use my life more useful?
Does it align with the general will of God for my life?

God wants us to do right things with right attitude.
So, check your attitude toward life.
Is it opportunity where I can humble serve others?
Shall I try to do what some coincidences may point me to?

Jesus is good.
Jesus loves you. Love Jesus.
Jesus wants you to do what is right.
Jesus tried to work through his students through some coincidental events.

God is good.
God wants to help us.
God is helping us, right now.
Think about what God wants you to do.

So, think about it.
What would you do if something happened according to your prayer?
Would you take a chance?
Would you consider it as God’s helping hands and allow it to happen?

Things may happen according to your prayer.
After things happen, God may allow you to change your mind and to say that it is not really what you wanted.

These are some of my thoughts.
What is your experience?
What is your understanding on this matter?
Will this help you experience Jesus and live with him well?

Matthew 25:31–46

Reading: Matthew 25:31–46

Once Jesus told something like this to his students:

When I am coming back in my glory, all the angels are coming with me.
When I sit on the throne of my glory, all the nations will gather before me.
Then I am going to separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
I am going to put the sheep at my right hand and the goats at my left.

Then I would say to those at my right hand:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Here is why:

I was hungry and you fed me.
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.
I was homeless and you gave me a room.
When I was naked, you gave me clothing.
When I was sick, you took care of me.
When I was in prison, you visited me.”

Then the righteous answer, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?”

Then I would answer, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are overlooked or ignored, you did it to me.”

Then I say to those at my left hand:
“You who are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

When I was hungry, you gave me no food.
When I was thirsty, you gave me no drink.
When I was homeless, you did not welcome me.
When I was naked, you did not give me clothing.
When I was sick and in prison, you did not visit me.”

Then they also answer, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not help?”

Then I would answer, “Truly I tell you. Whenever you did not do it to one of the least of these who were overlooked or ignored, you did not do it to me.”

And these will go into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Why is Jesus telling this story?
Jesus is torn apart when we are broken.
When you are hungry, God is even hungrier.
When you are thirsty, God is thirstier.
When you are a stranger, God is also a stranger.
When you are naked, God is naked.
When you are sick, God is sick.
When you are in prison, God is in prison with you.

This may explain why Christ has come and died for us.

So, when you give food to the hungry, you give food to God.
When you give the thirsty something to drink, you give to God.
When you welcome a stranger, you welcome God.
When you give clothing to the naked, you give to God.
When you take care of the sick, you take care of God.
When you visit prisoners, you visit God.

When you call someone whose phone rarely ring and listen to them, you help God.

I don’t think we will ever be able to understand or even begin to fathom the vulnerability of Jesus to our pain.
We are so used to the awesome image of a rigid and controlling God, who expects creatures to conform to God’s will that it is extremely difficult for us to take seriously what Jesus tried so hard to teach us about His Father and Himself, and tenderness of their love for us.

What we will never be able to comprehend is the anguish that Jesus suffers because of our pain and our discouragement and the depression caused by our sins and our continual failures in trying to put together our broken lives and battered souls.

Some people may think sinners are worthless criminals.
Some people may look down on those who feel the pain of sinners.
But Jesus may feel their inner grief.
Jesus may feel their inner anguish that these sinners or criminals have been subjected to since childhood.
And yet Jesus still feels more compassion for the victims of crimes than the most vindictive prosecutors.

What makes God God is the awesome and incomprehensible love God has for each of us, as selfish, and worthless, and greedy and unforgiving and mean-spirited and hateful as we may be at times.
And we are worthless.
It is only God’s love that bestows dignity and self-respect on us, because anything we have God has given to us.
When Jesus sees a sinner who is hurting, it tears him apart.
This is because he loves that person so much.
Even the most hardened and callous human being, who would gladly inflict execution on a criminal, will think differently if that criminal turns out to be his own son.
If we, as unloving as we can be, can feel compassion for a sinner whom we love, then we might be able to get a glimpse into the heart of God, whose love for each of us, whom God does not call sinners, is so overwhelming, that God’s pain over our suffering has such a extraordinary effect on God.

Jesus expressed this one day when He tried to escape from a huge crowd, only to find them on the other side of the lake when He arrived there.
He made the remark:
“I feel so sorry for the people; they are like sheep without a shepherd.”
That huge crowd, they were sinners and he saw into the heart of each one of them, and saw their sins, but it was not their sins that troubled Him, but their pain, which prompted Him to say to them, “Why are you all so worried and so troubled and so anxious. Look at that flock of birds. They don’t sow, they don’t reap, they don’t gather into barns. Your heavenly Father takes care of them. You are worth more than all those birds, so stop worrying. Your Heavenly Father will take care of you.”

I still have a problem understanding how God can be torn apart by our pain, yet I know it is true, even though I cannot understand it.
It is my job only to teach even when I cannot understand what I teach.
But don’t ever underestimate the love that God, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit have for you.
It does not make human sense so if we try to make human sense out of God’s love for us, we will never allow ourselves to be comforted by the awesome love God has for us.

Just know that He loves you and wants to embrace you with His love.
So, rest your head on His shoulder and feel the overwhelming tenderness of His love, and do not be afraid.
He is your God who made you and He will never hurt you. He will only heal your pain.

1.02.2010

Mark 14: 32-41

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

It was the night.
My students and I went to a place called Gethsemane.

As we arrive there, I said to my other students, "Sit here while I pray."

Then, I took Peter, James and John along with me.

I can feel all over me.
I know what is going to happen to me tonight.
So, I say to my three, "I am really scared. Stay here and keep watch."

Then, I went away a little farther from them.
There I fell to the ground.
I prayed, “Abba, Father! Everything is possible for you! Take this cup from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will!"
I just poured my heart out.

Then, I returned to my three students and found them sleeping.
I said to Peter which means Rock, "Simon, are you asleep? Can you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Then I went away for a prayer.

When I came back, I again found them sleeping.
They did not know what to say to me.

I went away again.

Then I return to them.
I said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Note: It is time to pray.