12.25.2011

Luke 2:41-52

(A children sermon)

Hello.
This morning I want to show you the house of Jesus.
So, close your eyes.
When I say one, two, three, you open them, right?
One, two, three, open them.

Hehe. Well, this is the house of Jesus already.
And now, I have a question.
In this house, are there any objects that explain why Jesus came to this world?
Look around you.
Which object explains why Jesus is born?
(Let the children name various objects. You may give some explanation.)

(Walk up to the communion table.)
Do you see this table?
What is this?
Why is here?
Yes, this is the communion table.

Can this table explain why Jesus came here?
Jesus came to love and died for us.
So, we put the Bread over here.
We put the Grape Juice over there.
Then we remember that Jesus gave us his body (pointing the Bread) and blood (pointing the Grape Juice) so that we can eat and live forever.
It is a spiritual message.

Let's look at this.
What is this?
Yes, this is the pulpit.

What does a pastor do over here?
Yes, we tell everyone about God.
We tell people to love God and love people, because that is the teachings of Jesus.

We do these at this house of Jesus.
But Jesus is also your friend.
So, you can tell people, "This is the house that belongs to my friend." Right?
Alright.
I like this place. Do you?

Let's Pray: Jesus, this is your house. All around us, we see your signs of love for us. Help us to love you and do what you ask of us here. Amen.

12.19.2011

Matt 1:18-25

A Children sermon
ppt

Prop: A baby doll. A crown.

How was your Christmas Eve?

I have a strange question for you today.
Do you know where God is?
Where is God?

Heaven? OK, God is in Heaven.
But then where else is God?
Everywhere? That's also right. God is everywhere.
God is also in your hearts.

Here's another question.
If God comes to us, what do you think God would look like?
Does God wear a crown?
Does God look like an elderly person?
Does God look like a big strong person?
What would God look like?

Well, I have a wonderful story for you.
Today, we learned that God comes to us, in the form of a baby.
We even know the name of the baby. His name is Jesus.

But how can God be a baby?
Think about it.
God is supposed to be up in heaven.
How can God be down here as a baby?
God is supposed to be everywhere.
How can God become a little baby who cannot go anywhere?
How can this be?

Well, that is what we celebrate on Christmas.
We celebrate that God who is in heaven; who is everywhere; and who is in our hearts, became one of us: humans.

You see when God is up in heaven all the time, it's hard for us to get to know God.
When God is everywhere all the time, it's hard for us to talk with God face to face.
When God is only in our hearts, we don’t know which voice is of God or of me?

But when God becomes a baby, we can get to know God.
We can talk to God; see God; and hug God.
So, God became the baby Jesus.
So, the more we know of Jesus, the more we know of God.

So, I would say: talk to Jesus and get to know him more.
Then you would know who you are and who God is.

Now Jesus is again in heaven, everywhere and in our hearts.
So, reading the Gospel we can know who Jesus is.
We can also get to know Jesus through the Holy Spirit. OK?

Let's pray: Thank you God for coming down and living with us and loving us. May we know of your love and kindness more and more. In your name we pray.

12.17.2011

John 5:39-47

Ontology
Reading: John 5:39-47

Jesus says:
You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there.
But you miss the important thing while taking care of minor things.
These Scriptures are talking about me!
And here I am, standing right before you.
You aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
I'm not interested in crowd approval.
And do you know why?
Because I know you and your crowds.
I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your agenda.
I came with the authority of my Father.
But you either dismiss me or avoid me.
If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms.
How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time seeking position with nice benefit, ranking each other and ignoring God?
But do not think I'm going to accuse you before my Father.
Moses, in whom you put so much trust, is your accuser.
If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me.
Because he wrote of me.
If you are not taking seriously what he wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?

Here Jesus is talking about something fundamental.
They were reading the bible, skipping parts where God talks about love, and not caring the glory of God.
Jesus is asking them to get rid of all the non-essential stuff.
Jesus is asking them to know God and follow God.

Let me explain in this way.
I don’t know whether you like to read some theological book.
When you read some theological book, you may see many weird words.
One of them may be "ontology."
Once I understand what it is, I like this word.
Let me explain why.

In a theological conversation, this word can be used like this. You may say, “I study about the ontology of God.”
It means that you study the essence, character and being of God.
So, you dig in order to know about the core essence of who God is.
In order to know that, you need to get rid of all the non-essential stuff which attaches to God even though it is not of God.
For example, a person can fear God and be afraid of God.
It means that he or she fear God and is afraid of God.
It does not necessarily means that God is like that.

So, we remove our presumption in order to know of God.
After that, you find to know what is left.

So, through this kind of ontological study, we learn that:
God is love.
God is compassion.
God is even willing to die for love and compassion if God has to.

Now let’s think about some ontological aspect of the Church.
What is the Church?
What is the core essence?
The Church is the body of Christ.
That is, the Church is called to think with the Christ and to make decisions seeking the will of Christ.
The Church is called to work with Christ on earth, not with our power but with the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is the ontological purpose of the Church.
For example, when we share our faith, we don’t do that with our intellectual nice footwork (our wisdom?), but with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then what is the non essential part of the Church?
Since it is a human organization, there can be am understandable doctrine, tradition, policies and good politics, because we need to have peace.
But if we forgot to ask or misunderstand what Christ wants to do in our midst, we may miss our ontological calling.

So, God is ever calling the Church to be radically God’s.
Then when the Church does the will of Christ, something beautiful happens.
Through the Church, people become one with God.
Through the Church, God manifests God’s presence on earth.
The Church feels joy sharing the story of Jesus with the world.
The Church is even willing to die for Christ while sharing.

Now let's think about ourselves in this ontological way.
Who are we?
What is the core essence of who you are?
We may mistake thinking someone else is us.

What is the purpose of your existence?
When we squeeze orange, we get orange juice.
When life squeezes you, what does come out?
Pride or the character of God.
Here is an ontological question: What is the one thing that you may be even willing to die for?

Jesus seeks the will of God, forgiveness and the Kingdom of God.
The Lord’s Prayer explains what Jesus seeks.

Paul was ontological.
He says: I want to know nothing among you except the crucified Christ. (1 Cor. 2:2)
He lives to proclaim Christ in which all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. (Col. 2:3)

They want to know “what is our business” and “how is our business.”
What is your ontological calling?

As a church, we want to know Christ and want to explain Jesus to this world. This is an ontological calling of us.

May this grace of God with you all.

12.05.2011

Living waters for the world

ppt
Now let me explain one of the reasons why we do this concert.

(1) Have a look at these kids.
What do you think they are doing?

They are going to a nearby river to get some waters.
They know the water is not clean.
But they have to drink something you know.
(3) Because they don’t have this facet at home or at their village, they have no other choice.

(2) So, sometimes they use this yellow container to travel very far every day to get water.
Then, they drink the water.
Then, because of that, they get sick.
Some die, usually children.

(1) So, let me introduce an organization.
It is called “living waters for the world.”
What do they do?
(3) The purpose of this organization is to provide clear water.
So, they train people to go and put this water filtration system in various villages and in various towns.

(4) Then they teach local people how to use this machine.
Then these people can have clean water.
(5) See they have clean water.

So, after this concert, as you go out, you will have a chance to give your donations.
(2) Then we will send the donations to this organization so that they may continually provide clean water in various villages.

So, today, we have two purposes for our concert.
The first one is to remember that Jesus Christ is born.
The second one is to help people to have clean water.
Sound good, right?


11.17.2011

Mark 12:31

Reading: Mark 12:31
Prop:

Jesus said, “Love your neighbors as you love yourself.”

Jesus was, of course, assuming that you love yourself.
Do you really love yourself?
In order to find out I want to have you say these words after me.
So, repeat after me, and tell me how you feel.

I love myself.
I love~ myself.
I love as I am.
I accept as I am.
I am wonderfully created.
I believe I can do all things in Christ.

How do you feel?

You can love others, as you love yourself.
If you know how to love yourself, you know how to love others.
If you know how to make you happy, you may know how to make others happy.

Why did Jesus talk about this love so much?
It is because “Love” is the answer.
Love is the great healing.
Love is the good medicine.

We all have weaknesses.
We make mistakes sometimes.
Sometimes we know we made mistakes.
Sometimes we don’t even know that we made mistakes.
But if we love God, you don’t need to take life too seriously.
If you love God, sometimes, you can laugh at yourself, because you know that God loves you and forgives you.

So, forgive yourself.
When you made a mistake, you know that God can make things better.
God can cover you and protect you.
God will help you forget it and move on.
If you need to make it right, ask God to help you make it right and move on.
You are wonderful made.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to do something good in this world.
So, love yourself and love others.
Love everyone including yourself. OK?

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to live and love everyone including ourselves.
We believe that your love is greater than ocean.
You think of us in your grace.
Help us to love you as you love us.
And give us power and energy to serve the world you created.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.

11.02.2011

Mark 1:35–39

ppt

Praying like Jesus
Reading: Mark 1:35–39

(1) Jesus prayed a lot.
Often, Jesus got many good ideas during his time of prayer.
There he feels the presence of God and finds many answers to his questions.

So, he often liked to go up on a mountain by himself to pray.
Or sometimes, very early in the morning, when it was still dark, Jesus got up, often left the house and went off to a quiet place, and he prayed.
Jesus needs to hear from God.
After that, he did what he realized during his prayer.
So, prayer is important part of his ministry.
Prayer is an important tool that he uses to live a life of obedience and calling.

Then one morning, Simon Peter got up also and was looking for him.
When he found Jesus, he said:
“Everyone is looking for you! What are doing here?”
He didn’t understand about prayer.

But standing up in the middle of prayer, Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else. Let’s go to the nearby villages. I need to preach there also, because that is why I have come.”
In prayer and meditation, Jesus realizes how to carry out his mission that God has given to him.
So, Jesus traveled a lot, preaching in gathering places and driving out demons. (Mark 1:35–39)

But Jesus didn’t always pray alone far away from his students.
Sometimes, Jesus prayed in private, while his disciples were around him.
He just simply lives prayerfully.

Then one day, while Jesus was praying and mediating, he realized God has helped his students to understand about him.

So, in the middle of his prayer, Jesus suddenly asked them, “Who do the people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. And still others say that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

Then Jesus asked the question, “What about you? Who do you say I am?”
How would you answer this question? Who is he to you?
Peter answered, “You are God’s Anointed One: God’s chosen one for the world.” (Luke 9:18-20)
Jesus was thankful knowing that the Holy Spirit helped him understand.

(2) Even today, Christ Jesus does pray for us.
Also, Jesus asks us pray.
Sometimes, we feel that Jesus prays through us and within us.
So, through prayer, you can also understand the heart of Christ.
We realize various things through prayer.
We may get various inspired thoughts, feelings, and wisdom from God.
In this way, we learn of Christ in our prayer.

Also, we learn that Christ truly answers our prayer.
So, I suggest that you set a time for your daily prayer.
In this way, you can express your faith in God.
It may be difficult to set a time of prayer.
But if you practice this, it will become easier and you will feel better.
You would learn that God can do something good for you.

Do you love to pray?
How do you pray?
We pray in various ways.
You may pray according to your personalities.
You can pray with various activities, forms and methods.
There are various ways that we may offer to God, our mind, thought, concerns and interests.
Some people say crying before God is a prayer, because God listens to your crying.
So, let’s think about various ways that we pray.

1. We can pray by meditating on the Scripture.
When we think about what we read, and try to understand, we are in fact praying.
You may contemplate on Christ.
You may think about the character of Christ.
You may meditate on the actions and words of Christ.
Then God receives your meditations.
Then God guides your meditation and leads your life. .

(2) You may ask God questions, and wait for his answer.
This waiting is also a prayer.
Sometimes, you may be wondering what to do in a certain situation.
Then you may ask some questions to God before you sleep.
Then when you get up, or couple of days later, God may help you understand what to do.
As you get nice ideas from God, you cannot help but to give praise to God.
You will be truly grateful.

You can pray in tongues as a personal and private discipline.
If you ask God in faith, God gives you ability to speak an unknown language.
In this way you may allow your spirit to pray to God.
In this way, you may have a spiritual fellowship with the Christ.

Christ is bigger than our words and thoughts.
So, in this way, we may get to know Christ.

(4) In Old Testament, we see that people were praying and dancing at the same time.
They may play loud music and express their gratitude toward God.

Also, some modern people can pray better while their body is moving: such as ADD.
So, some people pray while they walk, run or do physical exercise.
Maybe that is why the early monks say that their labor can be also their prayer.
Doing something prayerfully is also prayer.
So, you may do some of your daily routines prayerfully.

(5) Some people pray better when their body is not moving.
When their body is not moving, their mind can focus and pray.
Like this, they pay attention to God and God’s guidance
They pray in silence.
Silence is God’s first language.
God speaks to us in silence.
So, in silence we may wait on God expecting God to lead our meditation.
You may imagine and think in silence.
Then God may put things in order and clarify things so that you can understand better.
Prayer is also listening.
So, you may pray saying, “God, here I am” and then wait. Allow yourself to be in the presence of God awhile.
If silent prayer is too difficult for you, you may turn on some quiet music and pray, meditate, and imagine.

(6) Sometimes, talking to God about your anger or a strong emotion or feeling in you is a prayer.
You may pray saying, “God, don’t answer my prayer, because now I just want to let this anger out or these emotions out so that you can heal me.” Then you may pour out your anger and other emotions.
Then after awhile, you will know that God has come and removed your anger and sooth your emotions.

(7) We also pray asking God to forgive our sins.
When we come to Christ and lay down everything including our sins, God comes and cleanses us and gives us a new start.

(8) Lastly, I think God loves when we pray for someone else.
When we pray for others, God loves because God can manifest through us. So, when we pray for someone, sometimes, we feel the love of God flowing through us.

What is the purpose of prayer?
The purpose of our prayer is to be united with Christ so that we may think like God and live like God.
So, you will feel God’s love and grace.
You will receive wisdom and knowledge.
God will give you new energy to start following your calling.
So, when we pray patiently, we may be able to accomplish something good on earth.

God hear your every prayer.
So, spend some times in prayer at least this week.
You will be truly thankful, later.
Ok?

Note:
I hope that you pray for this church as well. I want you to pray for leadership in the church so that we may together do what God desires and so that we can offer better ideas for people to follow and explain faith which is deeper than emotion or logic.
We are praying for a new pastor for adult service and a new JDSN for children ministry.
That means that you need to say goodbye sometimes to Pastor Park this week and next week. He will be going to a church in California. I know you would miss him. We will all miss him and his family. Pray for him and his ministry. OK?


Note:
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized. While He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him. And a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22)

”But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Him. And from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: (LUKE 6:11-13)

“And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" (LUKE 9:18)

”Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place. And there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You." (MARK 1:35-37)

“Then the report went around concerning Him all the more. And great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” (LUKE 5:15-16)

“And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on a mountain by Himself to pray. And when evening had come, He was alone there.” (MATTHEW 14:23)

“And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.” (MARK 6:46)

"Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" (MATTHEW 26:53)

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (MATTHEW 26:36-45)

”And coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, will be done."
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation." (LUKE 22:39-46)

“And it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. (LUKE 9:28-29)

“And it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." (LUKE 11:1)

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray....” (MATTHEW 19:13)

“And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail. When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." (LUKE 22:31-32)

"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever," (JOHN 14:16)

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father,...
I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;" (JOHN 17:1,9,15,20)

“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (ROMANS 8:34)

“He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” (HEBREWS 7:25)

10.24.2011

Wait for the Lord

(A children sermon)
Do you like music?
Do you like singing?
Do you have a favorite song that you love to sing along with?
I have a song that changed my life.

I am going to sing that song for you.
I don’t practically like to sing a song in front of many people.
But I am going to do it because I want to explain something.

Over the years, this song helps me slow down and wait for Christ.
I don’t know how many times I sang this song.
I used to sing this song, many times a day.
I sing this song when I want Christ to lead and guide me.
I sing this song so that I can calm down.
Usually, then I am ready to listen to God’s peaceful and loving voice.
Then I tend to have creative ideas.
I tend to make a good decision.
During this time, God reminds me of something, too.

So, I want to share this song with you.
It is called “Wait for the Lord.”
This song is really short. It says, “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord. Keep watch, take heart.”

I will sing it and be silent for awhile. And try to hear what God is saying to me.
(I hope you can sing along with me, if you can.)

(After singing)

I hope that you also find some good songs that help you to calm you down and listen to God’s good voice. Find those songs and sing along for awhile, whenever you want to listen to God. OK?

Let us pray: Christ, thank you for listening to us. Thank for guiding us. In your name we pray. Amen.



Reading: Isaiah 30:15–18


Note:
Sometimes you feel like your mind wants to think about something.
When that comes, your mind runs like this.
You cannot focus on something.
Then give it a time.
Sit with it.
Let your mind run and go wherever it may want to go.

After this exercise, you may have a good and better idea.
It may be that God wants to think through you.
Or it may be that God wants to say something to you.

As for me, I don’t think I would have learned a lot of things that I have learned today, if I didn’t give my mind a time to think and discover.

Sometimes, I just turn on some music that really speaks to me.
Then I tend to think well and get inspired.
Sometimes, it is not even Christian music per se.

10.20.2011

Mark 16: 15-18

ppt
Great commission
Reading: Mark 16: 15-18, Matthew 28: 18-20, Luke 24: 45-49, John 21:15-22

Today we are going to see how the four gospels end.
Each gospel writers like to emphasize certain part of Jesus’ story.
It may be because their calling is different with each other.
Because of their particular calling, they feel connected differently with the story of Jesus.
So, let us compare the ends of each gospel so that we can sense their different callings.

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus said this to his students:
(1) “Go into all the nations and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in new tongues. They will pick up snakes with their hands. When they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16: 15-18)

Mark is called to preach the gospel to all creation.
We will experience miracles and signs as we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are various reasons that Mark says like this.
When you read the gospel of Mark, you know that Mark loves miracles that Jesus performed. So, using a lot of “immediately” in his gospel, Mark tells many miracles that Jesus performed.

Then, at the end, Mark is also saying himself, “Don’t try to perform miracles or healings, but just preach the story of Jesus. Focus on going out and telling the story. As long as you tell the story of Jesus, you experience that manifestation of the Holy Spirit that you enjoy.”

Mark is a story teller. So, he needs to go and tell the gospel.
That was his call.

But, in Matthew, Jesus says to his students:
(2) “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20)

Here Jesus asks his students to make disciples by teaching them "everything" that Jesus commanded them.
Matthew is called to make disciples.
He needs to go out and make disciples.

Because this is his calling, he writes carefully everything that Jesus has commanded.
That is why he wrote down the Sermon on the Mount on Matthew chapter 5 to 7.
That is why he wrote down carefully various parables that Jesus taught: for example, he put together various kingdom parables in chapter 13.

As for him, what Jesus said is important.
So, he wants to go out and teach every word Jesus said.
In this way, he wants to make new disciples.
He likes to ask believers to make disciples, just like Jesus was making his disciples.

So, if you want to teach people, you may need to study carefully the gospel of Matthew.
Matthew likes to explain the details how we should live.

But when come to the gospel of Luke, Luke says this:
Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24: 45-49)

Here Luke mentions about the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why? Because that is what he saw in the ministry of Paul.
So, Luke likes to connect Jesus’ movement with the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Because of his personal experience with the Holy Spirit, he wants to emphasize how the Holy Spirit would work and manifest in believers’ life.

After reading the gospel of Mark and Matthew, he likes to emphasize what is not emphasized. So, Luke likes to show how you can move with the Spirit of Jesus in order to share the gospel in your own society.
What is Luke’s calling?
Luke is called to present the gospel to the main Roman society in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In order to do that, Luke wrote this:
(4) In Luke 6:37-38, Jesus says: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke is trying to introduce this kind of concept into his society.

At the end of the gospel of John, John writes this:
(6) Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Peter says, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted. But when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:15-23)

The gospel of John is written last.
So we assumed that John already read other gospels.
So, in his gospel, John likes to tell personal and intimate stories.

Because John likes you to fall in love with Jesus, most of his stories are intimate and dramatic. John likes to share dramatic stories so that people can feel who Jesus is.
In order to do so, John is very selective.
With only a few stories, John wants to show how Jesus thinks and feels.
John is doing this using various long conversations that Jesus had with people.
John slows it down and zooms into a few important conversations.
So, in his gospel, we read conversation between Jesus and Mary at the tomb, between Jesus and Nicodemus at night and between Jesus and Peter here.

From the start, John has been saying “love God and love people.”
John is called to share this message.
Then at this end, he likes to help people know what they should do if they love Jesus.
So, in the last conversation, John wants to show how Jesus loves Peter and how Peter can love Jesus.

In this intimate conversation, Jesus asks Peter to follow his calling by feeding his people.
In this way, John reminds you: if you love Jesus, you may need to feed his sheep.
If you want to follow Christ Jesus, you need to take care of his sheep.
If you love Jesus, take care of his sheep.
In a dramatic way, he explains this. That is his calling.

John also notes that Jesus didn’t like Peter to compare himself with others.
When you follow your calling in life, don’t compare yourself with anyone.
Don’t say “Why I do all the works?”
Each person has his or her own calling in life.
When you follow your own calling, you follow your own Jesus Christ.
Jesus is asking you to follow him.

So, each gospel writer shows their calling in life.
They cannot hide it.
These four gospels also help us think about our calling in life.
Based on your calling in life, you will have your own questions in faith based on your personality. You will also feel connected with certain part of the story of Jesus.
When you read bible, certain words will speak to you more than others.
God may be pointing that out to you.
God is helping you discover the desire that exists in the depth of your heart.
Find it and live accordingly.
In this way, God is calling you to do something that makes you joyful.

When you pray or read the bible, think about your calling in life.
What is God like?
What lesson is God teaching you?
Do you know it?
If you know, try to be faithful to your calling.

I am sure Jesus already told you about your calling in life, you may need to think about it in order to realize what it is.

Sometimes there is something that Jesus couldn’t give even though he wanted to.
If you follow your calling, Jesus can give those blessings to you.
When you follow your call, you meet Jesus in a deeper way.
May you experience that blessing.

10.12.2011

John 6:56-69


ppt

Eat Jesus? (Taking communion as a act of faith)
Reading: John 6:56-69

About this time, Jesus fed five thousand people with two fishes and five breads. It was because he wanted people to believe in him.
As they look for foods, Jesus wants them to seek him.
Because those who seek him like that will live truly.

We sometimes, experience God’s miracles.
It is because Jesus wants you to believe in him more.

(1) God has sent Jesus.
Jesus lives on earth because of God.
So, he desires that many people will live also because of Jesus.
He says in order that people to live like this, they need to eat him.
He says, whoever eats him will live forever because he is the bread that came down from God.
Do you think you can truly live if you eat Jesus?
When you take Communion once a month, are you doing to live truly?

(2) We do that because Jesus says, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you.”
Jesus desires to live in every part of our beings: emotion, knowledge, or mind.
So, Jesus says, “Eat me. I want to be in you. So, have me in you.”
Jesus desires to live in us.
If we believe in him, Jesus and we can live together as one.

(3) Jesus asks us to eat him.
How can we eat him?
When we believe in him, we eat him.

What happens when we believe in Jesus?
When we “eat” Jesus and his words, and when we believe in him, we are going to understand the Holy Spirit and live forever.

Jesus says, “The Spirit gives life. The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the Spirit and life.”

The Holy Spirit is continually giving life on earth.
This Holy Spirit is in the words of Jesus Christ.
The full of the Holy Spirit is in the words of Jesus.
When we listen to the words of Jesus, we listen to the words of the Holy Spirit.
Knowing the Holy Spirit, we can truly live.

The ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit were one.
So, Jesus asks his students to know the Holy Spirit.
Following Jesus, they will have many moments with the Holy Spirit.
They need to draw life and energy from the Holy Spirit.
They need to remember how the Holy Spirit is present to them.

When they understand Jesus, they were getting to know the Holy Spirit.
When they know the Holy Spirit is a good person, they would know Jesus is a good person.
Because Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one.
Jesus was able to rise from the death, and to where he was before, because he was one with the Holy Spirit.

Being with the Holy Spirit, we have life.
When we eat the Holy Spirit, we can truly live.
When the Holy Spirit works in our mind, we can pray believing that everything is possible.

God the Father can help us to believe in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit can make us find joy and peace in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit can train us to see things through the eyes of Jesus.
When we sense the guidance of Holy Spirit like this, we will feel freedom.
We will be grateful.
We will live the abundant life that Jesus promised.

But hearing this, many disciples turned back and left.
They need something they can tough and feel.
They cannot risk their life for this kind of concept of eating Jesus while he was alive in their own eyes.
They follow Jesus as a good teacher.
But Jesus was asking them to believe in him and live.
It is something more than they can take at this moment.
So, they stop following Jesus.

Looking at this, Jesus asked his twelve key students, saying, “Do you also want to leave me?”

(4) Luckily, Peter was able to remember his experiences with Jesus.
He knew what “happened” to him.
He was able to reflect on various events of his days with Jesus.
Peter felt joy helping Jesus to love other people.
Following Jesus was exciting.
Many aspects of his days have been changed.
He gained more insights and understandings.

Jesus was brining something from God.
When Peter was listening and obeying the words of Jesus, he felt good.
He enjoyed his experience of the Holy Spirit.
He never knew this kind of joy before he knew Jesus.
He even sensed sensations.
He felt his whole body tingled with excitement, sometimes.
When he closes his eyes and imagines how his future would turn out following him, he felt joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.
He senses the will of God.
He recognizes how much he is wired to follow Jesus.

So, Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Peter was here before Jesus Christ.
He was waiting on him.
When Jesus spoke, Peter was able to see things through the eyes of Jesus.
When Jesus spoke his desires, he got to know the Holy Spirit who works in his life and other people’s life.
Peter now knows what is of Jesus and what is of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is working in Peter to will and to act.
Then Peter was able to fulfill a good purpose of God. (Philippians 2:13)

So, Simon Peter was willing to risk his life to follow Jesus.
This was his purpose of living.

What is your purpose of living?
The Holy Spirit is working in you so that you may also know Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is working in you so that you may make plans and do something in keeping with the good purpose of God.

What is your purpose of living?
If you don’t find your purpose, you may feel meaninglessness which may make you weak or even sick.
Meaningfulness makes you well. Then you may come out of a difficult situation.
When you find your purpose of living, you can find joy and live well, spiritually and physically.

Jesus desires that his joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)

For this joy, Jesus asks us to eat him.
How can we do that daily?
One of the ways is to have daily QT (a quite time with God).
Spend time with God maybe early in the morning or right before going to sleep.
Do it daily, even if it is only a little.
Just like eating a meal, we need to "eat" Jesus and live daily with him.
Just like they breathe, we need to drink daily in the Holy Spirit and breathe out their sins.
So, do daily something that makes you connected with God and feel peace and joy.
When do you feel joy in Jesus?
If these activities do not give troubles to anybody, you may on your way to find your calling.
When we are doing the will of God, we may feel joy and peace.
When you struggle to follow Jesus, and when you work hard to obey what Jesus says, you often find peace, joy and humble conviction.
So have Jesus live in you like this.
Practice QT.
It may change the direction of your life forever.
It will change the quality of your days.
Christ will be real in your life.

Note:
I think it will be really difficult to say good bye to Pastor Park.
Before he is a pastor, he is our brother who we need to love in Jesus.
Many of you will miss him for many months to come.
As you are going through this grief period, many feelings will pass by.
You will feel anger, guilt, feeling sorry, wanting to say sorry, and so on.
Luckily, you have a time to do some of these. Bless him as much as you can. Pray for him, his family and his ministry.
Also, in this time, I bless you that you may rest enough and have a good time with God daily.

9.28.2011

Matt 25:14-30 (5)

ppt

Following your callings with what you have
Reading: Matt 25:14-30
Prop: a box (kpca-y-c)

Jesus once told this story to his students:
(1) God’s kingdom is like a man going on a long trip.
He called his servants and entrusted his money to them.
To one he gave five thousand dollars (give a box), to another two thousand, and to another one thousand, each according to their abilities.

Then the master left.
The man, who had received five thousand dollars, right away put his money to work and then he doubled his investment.

Likewise, the one with two thousand gained two thousand more.

But the man with one thousand dug a hole in the ground and carefully buried his money.

After a long, long time, the master came back and settled accounts with them.
The man with five thousand dollars reported that he had doubled his investment. (Give back the box)

His master replied:
“Great work!
You are good and faithful.
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share the joy of your master!”

The man with two thousand reported that he also had doubled his investment.
His master replied:
“Great work!
You are good and faithful.
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share the joy of your master!”

Then the servant with one thousand came.
He got to explain something.
So he said:
“Master, I knew that you are a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.
So I was afraid.
So, I hid your money in the ground.
See, here is yours.” (Give the box)

His master replied:
“That is a terrible way to live!
It's criminal to live cautiously like that!
So you know that I am like that, huh?
Then at least you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that I would have received it back with interest.

The master said:
“Take the thousand and give it to the one who has ten thousands.
To those who use well what is given, even more will be given.
They will live an abundant life.
But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and grinding the teeth.”

That is the end of our story.
Let’s pray:
Jesus Christ explains to us what you mean by telling this story. Amen.

In this story, Jesus is saying that before he goes away, he will give something to his students. (Show a box)
What is that?
He gives his students the Holy Spirit.
They will feel joy if they live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
They will feel the joy of God.

Jesus also teaches them how to live in faith and hope.
Jesus trained them to do something good.
Jesus understood what they could do with the Holy Spirit.

(1) Now what does the one with five thousand do?
He uses his gift to make more money.
He understands the intention of his master.
So, he used it all and made the world a better place.
As he used this gift, he became fruitful.
He worked in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then because he was doing the will of God, he felt peace.
He felt nice.
He learned that God is with him.
Then God gave him more gifts and more talents.
Then, he discovered more what to do with his life.

Everybody has a different ability and a different gift.
When we use them, we find joy.

It is like this.
Each animal has different abilities.
(2) This duck is excellent in swimming.
(3) His nice web feet are very good to swim well.
But because of his feet, he is poor in running.
So, if he wants to feel the joy of his maker, he can do something with his swimming skill.
Then, he will rejoice because God has made him well.
Then he can serve others.
Then he can feel the joy of his master.

(3) The squirrel is excellent in climbing.
But he cannot fly.
But think about it.
What would happen, if he tries to fly all the time?
He may end up losing his climbing skill.

His maker is good.
God has done something nice to him.
He may not be sure of it yet.
But he is a good climber.
If he knows that, he would have fun using his ability.
He will find a new joy.
Then his maker will make him his partner in business.

(3) The rabbit is very good at running.
But she is very poor at swimming.
So, what is her ability?
Running is her talent.

(4) This eagle cannot run like rabbit, swim like duck or climb like squirrel.
But she can fly high.
In this way, she can praise God.

So, if they want, each animal can help each other by doing what they can do best.

What about us?
We are uniquely made according to God’s plan.
If we use well what God has given to us, we will feel joy.
If we learn how to use our abilities for God, we will feel joy and satisfy the heart of God.
God will feel joy, looking at us.

Have you tried to use your ability to serve others?
Sure you have.
God is calling each one of us to find our abilities and use it.
Since we have a different ability, we may have a different calling.
That means that we don’t need to compare ourselves with others.
That means that we don’t need to judge anybody.
We just need to live discovering our calling.
In this way, we can worship God.

Let’s pray:

9.13.2011

Luke 3:1-6 (1)

Preparation: a long, really long paper (about 10 feet?)

Hello.
How are you?
How was your week?

Let’s see. What is this?
(Show the long paper)
(Spread the paper in its length)

Now, what is this?

John the Baptist says that he has come to prepare the way of Jesus.

Then when Jesus comes, he says that he is the way, our way.

So, here we go.
The way of the Lord.

Anyone of you want to walk on this path?
Since I want to follow Jesus, I am going to walk on this path.
I am going to walk on the path that Jesus designs for me.

(Walk on the paper.)
When we walk on this path, we feel peaceful.
Sometimes when we walk on this path, we might be like this.
(Then intentionally stray away from the road.)
What do you think of that?
(A child says, "You are off the road.")

Right, I went astray, right?
Here I might feel not so good.
I might have been upsetting about something and then lost the way.
When I realize that, I should go back to this path, right?
Because I need to walk over here.

But sometimes, without knowing we may wander off.
(Come back to the beginning and walk on the paper)
We may be looking at the birds, and looking at the people.

What would you say, if you see someone wandering off like that?
How can you help that person?
You may say:
"Hey, you are off the road."
Then, that person may come back and walk over here.

So, sometimes, we are on course and off course.
(Walk nicely on the paper.)
But when we walk over here, we feel peace.
In order to walk here we need to have faith.
We need to forgive people.
Then we reach our goal in life.

Following Jesus is like that.

We can walk over here (off the road) or we can walk over here (on the road).
When we try to walk over here (walk on the paper), then we are in fact following Jesus.
Then Jesus also helps us to walk on this path.

We need to help each other to walk together upon the way that Jesus shows us.
When we help each other, we walk on this path.
So, let’s help each other.
Let's pray for each other.
Let’s love each other so that we may all walk with Jesus all the way.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, you are our way.
We want to follow you wherever you lead us.
You show us how to live in this world.
We pray that we would walk in you name, always. Amen.

9.06.2011

Mark 10:13-16 (2)

Humility
Reading: (Isaiah 11:6-10, Matt 18:3-6, Mark 9:35-37), Mark 10:13-16
Prop: a baby like doll

About this time, Jesus was a well-known teacher.
Everyone wanted to see him.
So, the students of Jesus were trying to protect their teacher from those who were pushing their way into the crowd.

Because people respect him and trust him, some of them were bringing their children.
They expect Jesus to place his hands on their children and bless them.

But the students were speechless.
They were like, “Don’t they know Jesus is busy? Jesus does not have time for them. These children would not even understand what Jesus is saying. So why bother?”

But Jesus was different.
He knew what they would feel if they didn’t get welcome.
Since he didn’t often get welcomed by many religious and political leaders, he knew what it felt like.

So, He started his ministry in order to welcome those who were despised and neglected.
So, when his students were stopping children coming to him, Jesus was upset. Then he told his students off:

“Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them. Moreover, if you also do not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child, you are not going to enter it.”

He didn’t really say these nicely.
It is because Jesus didn’t want these children to have a wrong idea about who he is. Jesus was scared of that.
So, he turned around, took the children in his arms, or placed his hands on them. Then Jesus blessed them.

For the children like them, he was willing to die and rise again.
Since they belong to him, he doesn’t want to lose any of them.
Jesus wants to make sure that these children would not get disappointed.

The kingdom of God is prepared for them from the beginning of the world.
The kingdom of God is for them because they are humble.
The kingdom of God is for those who have simple and humility in heart like that.

So, when people try to be greater in the Kingdom of God, they have to get rid of their pride, and try to serve.
So, whenever people ask Jesus about how to be the greatest, Jesus called a little child and said:
“Try to become like little children. If you don't, you are not going to enter the kingdom of God. Anyone who becomes as humble as this child is the most important in the kingdom of God. This child may not think that he is important. She may think that she is nothing. But whoever takes this kind of lowly and humble position is the greatest in the kingdom of God. And whoever welcomes a child in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes God who sent me.”

The kingdom of God is all upside down.
So, the humble are more important in the kingdom of God.
So, children are important.

So, Jesus is also saying that we should treat well those who are younger than us. We should look after those who are looked down.
We should welcome those who are meek and humble, because the kingdom of God is prepared for them.

In fact, Jesus starts preaching because God’s humble people don’t know that the kingdom of God is theirs. So, Jesus shows them the character of God and the heart of God, by welcoming them.

It is important that we pray a lot.
It is important that we serve the poor.
In the same way, it is important that we have a humble heart.
The more humble you are, the more you have the kingdom of God, in a sense.
In fact, humility, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, all these things belong to the kingdom of God.

Almost every week, new people visit our church.
I know that you have tried to welcome them.
Yeah, welcome them in the name of Jesus.
By doing so, you welcome Jesus himself.
By doing so, we welcome God in our midst.

Jesus likes to recognize when he saw a humble person.
When he sees humility in people, he senses God’s joy in his soul.

Now who is this Jesus?
Jesus is called the Son of God.
It means that Jesus was also a son.
So, he likes to do what his father is doing.
He likes to talk about his good Father God.
And, he is obedient to God.

Since his daddy is God, he didn’t worry about his life.
Hey, his father is God, why should Jesus worry anything, right?
So, in a sense, he lives like a simple child.
He lives out his inner longing and desire to help people.
Then strangely, some people love to follow him and learn from him.
Some of them also support him financially.

But even when he became famous, he tried to maintain his humility and his simple life.
Then he told his followers that they don’t need to worry, because his daddy, God is taking care of them, as well.

Then, Jesus shows God’s way of doing things.
So, when we think of Jesus, we learn of the character of God.

From today’s story, we learn that God’s way of making a harmonious life of peace and healing is by welcoming those who have a low self-esteem.

So, if we want to say that we trust in Jesus and that we love Jesus, then we need to continually welcome children, friends and strangers.

Also, when we welcome a person, we welcome everyone he or she knows.
Just like our story today. Because of their children, these parents also get to see Jesus up close. Then they also learn who Jesus really is and what he is all about.

Jesus is not interested in building a group of people who would everything to protect him.
No, Jesus is interested in building a group of people who would practice random kindness to children and strangers.
Jesus is interested in building a group of people who can stop and have a time to welcome children in the name of Jesus.
So, practicing random kindness is part of what it means to follow Jesus.

Jesus is trying to build a group of children who would welcome everyone in humility and faith. If you can do that, you would melt the heart of God.
This is a great way you can bless everyone and God.
This is a simple way that you can help God build a peaceful nation.

God loves the humble.
So, to the humble, we can always say, “Don’t worry. Have faith and enjoy life. God truly loves you.”

Now we learn that Jesus welcome people whose presence is not often appreciated.
So, look around you and try to help people to feel welcome.
Interchanging smile with them, humbly help them to be part of the group.
Inform them about who God is.
Help them enjoy being with God in this beautiful nature.
Share your faith with them.

Remember that everyone is children of God.
So, we are called to welcome and bless everyone.
Having this kind of attitude is what it means to be a child of God.

9.01.2011

Luke 13:1-9

(A children sermon)

Preparation:
Ask: “Can I have two volunteers from the congregation?
I will be the narrator.
And you will be an apple tree.
And you will be Jesus.”
(Speak for them as well. Direct them to act out.)

Narrator: There was a great orchard.
In this orchard, there were many apple trees.
Every one of them was producing wonderful apples.

(Introducing an apple tree)
But there was a tree that was having some problems, producing fruits.

Apple Tree says: I am going to produce the best apples in the whole wide world. Hhhugggg!
(Try to produce some fruits.)
C’mon! Apples!

Narrator: (Introducing Jesus) Then suddenly Jesus appears and says:

Jesus says:
Hello, little tree. What are you doing?

Apple Tree says:
Hi, Jesus, I am trying to produce the best apples. But it is not really working.

Jesus: Can I give you an advice?

Apple Tree: Sure!

Jesus:
Why don’t you just relax?
You need to let things happen, according to God’s design.
God has planted something good within you.
And God has planted you in a right place.
So, relax and let things happen according to God’s plan.

Apple Tree:
You mean, in order to produce fruits I need to relax?

Jesus:
Yep. That's it. Try it.

Apple Tree:
OK, if you say so.

Narrator:
Then as Apple Tree relax and rest.
Then, suddenly she was producing many apples.
(Put some apples in the hands of Apple Tree.)

So, you see, sometimes, God’s ways are different from our ways.
Sometimes, we feel we need to do a lot to please God. But God often says, “Relax. Just be with me, Remain in me.
I am creating something great in you.There is the power of God in you.
Relax.
And let it happen.
Let it grow.”
You see, God is giving us all the things we need.
So, look around you and look within you.

OK?
Thank you. (To apple tree and Jesus)

Let’s pray:
Christ, thank you for helping us to produce wonderful fruits. In your name we pray. Amen.

8.27.2011

Luke 15:1-10 (6)

A children sermon for vbs
Reading: Luke 15: 1-10, (Matthew 28:16-20)

Prop: some coins, a large coin in a small bag

Hello friends.
Do you know what this is?
Right, I brought some coins.

Now, I have a question.
What do you think I would do if I lost some coins?
(Drop some of coins in various places. Pretend that you don’t know.)
Would I just walk away?
I may ask you to help me find them, right?
So, help me find my coins. (Let children put them in the bag.)
Thank you for finding my coins.

Now I have another question.
Have you also ever lost your money and found them again?
Was it a lot of money?
Now think about the time when you find them?
What did you feel?
Did you feel joy?

You know, Jesus is also looking for something.
He always looks for something.
Do you know what he is looking for?
Jesus looks for people.

So, Jesus told this story, a long time ago.
He said: There was a woman who had ten big coins like this. Then she lost one coin. She then lights a lamp and sweep the house and search and search until she finds it. When she found it, she invited all of her friends and had a party at her house.
Then Jesus said that this is how God feels when God find people.

But I have another question.
Can God really lose people?
How can God love people?
It may happen when people don’t understand God and run away.
They may think that God is mad at them. So they run away.
Since they are hurry in running away, they do things without thinking and without asking God.
Then they may make mistakes. Then they blame people and God.

That makes God sad and God feels God lost them.
God wants everyone to love God and love people.
God wants to be their friend.

God wants to be part of your life, because you are very important to God.
God wants to be with you and protect you.
God looks for you because God loves you.

So, when we love God and love people, God rejoices and says “I have found you again.” God throws a party in haven and celebrates.

Now I have the last question?
What do you think God would feel if you help people to love God, and love people?
God would jump up and down in joy with all the angels in heaven, because God really loves them and cares for them.

God looks for people because God loves them.
God wants to find them and bring them to right places in life.
So, let us help people to open up to God, and experience forgiveness and a wonderful life. OK?

Let’s pray: God thank you for finding us. Help us to fund people for you too, so that they may be with your always. In your name we pray, Amen.

3.05.2011

Matthew 17:1-9

A children sermon:
Prop: a statute or pictures of Moses or Elijah

Good morning.
Do you know what this is?
His name is Moses.
He lived about three thousand years ago.
He was very famous for being able to listen to God.
Do you see this plate?
Do you see the words in this plate?
He got these words from God, so we were told.
The words of God are in this plate.

Let’s say now we have a time machine.
Now you can go back and meet him, if we like.
What do you think? Would you like to go and meet him and talk with him?

Our Bible story today tells us something like this.
About this time, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray to God.
He took three disciples Peter, James, and John.
While he was praying, the face of Jesus was changed. His face was glowing.
And at this time, this guy, Moses and another prophet, Elijah, suddenly appeared.
Moses and Elijah had been dead for a thousand year by then.
But they weren’t looked like a thousand years old men.
And they were talking with each other.

Peter, James, and John saw them talking with each other.
They were shocked and wondering: “Why do they come and talk with our teacher? Why does God send Moses and Elijah to talk with Jesus?”

Then suddenly God spoke to them concerning Jesus through the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my beloved, my delight. Listen to him."

Then the disciples realize that Jesus is somebody.
He is more than what they think he was.
God helped them to know who Jesus was.
After this experience, they really, really listened carefully what Jesus had to say. They asked more questions to Jesus.

Well, what about you?
Do you know who Jesus is?
Do you pay attention to what Jesus has to say?
Well, let’s get to know more of him. OK?

Let’s pray: God, open our eyes, so that we'll also know Jesus, the Son of God, Christ. In the name of Jesus, we pray.

2.21.2011

Which Bible version should I use?

Sometimes, I hear people say something like this: “I need to buy a bible. But there are just so many translations. Which version of the Bible should I use?” This question arises also because more people are reading the Bible, in their own electric gadget such as Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone. What kind of version of the Bible would you use for your gadget?

Of course, my recommendation is this: make sure to read it whatever version you may have. But still, I would like to suggest some versions, too. I would like to introduce three versions: NRSV, The Message, and NIV. Let me give you a brief introduction to each of them.

NRSV (New Revised Standard Version):
Most Presbyterian churches use this version for their pew bible. This is somewhat scholarly translation of the Bible. So, sometimes, its English is not as smooth as some other modern translation, because it tries to be faithful to the original grammar of Hebrew and Greek Bible and to the original meaning of Hebrew and Greek. It, sometimes, uses some English words that are not often used in our day-to-day life. But being a scholarly version, it tries to use inclusive language.

The Message:
This version uses colloquial English. Hooray! It is easy to read and understand. Since Eugene Peterson, the translator, who also knows well of Hebrew and Greek, is not shy away from making the original meaning into a colloquial term. Bono of the group U2 also has been promoting this version of the Bible. I recommend this version for those who are not familiar with the Bible or for those who want to understand more clearly and plainly what the Bible is really saying.

NIV (New International Version):
I think this is one of the most popular versions of the Bible. It uses easier and smoother English than NRSV. It reads well. If you like NIV, I recommend their 2010 year version. This new version use more inclusive language than its previous year version. This version or TNIV (Today’s New International Version) can be a safe choice, for young people.

Now, let’s say you bought whatever version of the Bible. Now you want to read. I suggest that you read the Gospels first: The Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. (Hint: Gospel of John is easier than others.) Sometimes, it is a good idea to read out loud, as if you are preaching it. Or you may try to memorize some verses that are meaningful to you. In this way, you can “experience” the spirituality of the Bible.

If you read a lot in one sitting, you may feel how the whole story goes. But you may not be able to think through some of its meaning. So, if you read a bit, you may be able to think through what it means. And this “thinking through” is important because then you can “digest” some of what you read.

Also, for the beginner, I suggest that you try to read a little bit every day, even if it is only a sentence per day.

Lastly, if you are advance reader of the Bible, I would like to remind you of the words of John Calvin: “The Scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them. Whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out all his life in learning, he will never reach the knowledge of the truth.”

Happy reading everyone!

Note: some free ebooks are here:
http://www.plough.com/ebooks/index.html
Free ebook @amzon.com

2.18.2011

Matthew 5:38-48

A children sermon
Reading: Matthew 5:38-48
Prop: two animal toys (a pig and a cow)

Do you know what these are, right?
These are my friends.
Last week I said that they fight all the time.
This week they fight again.
But something interesting happened.
This piggy didn’t want to fight back.
This week, this piggy was very patient with this cow.
This piggy just let this cow have his day.

If the cow wanted to borrow some of his toys, the piggy just let him have it.
If the cow wanted him to play, the piggy just went along with it.
Whatever the cow asked him, the piggy just gave it.
I was amazed.
Then slowly, this cow did the same.

Then I think about God who was also kind to everyone.
God gives sunshine to both the good people and the bad people.
God gives good things to both good people and bad people.
God is good to everyone, because God is perfect.
God does nice things even when people are mean to God.
Do you know why?
It is because God knows that God cannot change people by being mean to them.
Being mean to them cannot solve any problems.
At the same time, God teaches us not to try to change people by being mean to them.
In fact, Jesus asks us to give, when someone ask us to do something or give something, just like this piggy did this week.
Jesus asks us to be a good person, whether people treat us nicely or not.
Jesus asks us to be kind person whether people are kind to us or not.
Then God can truly bless you. You will experience God’s blessing on your life.
Right?
Let’s pray: Thank you God for who you are. Help us to be like you. Amen.

1.27.2011

Matthew 6:25-34


How does the death of Jesus make me not worry?
Reading: Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus sees God’s hand in nature.
Let me paraphrase what Jesus seems to say here:
Walk outside. Look at the nature.
Look at wildflowers
God designs them.
God puts some nice colors on it.
God still take good care of them.

God made the birds.
They don’t produce much.
They cannot live if God don’t provide.
God still take good care of them.

You are very important to God.
Why?
Because spiritually and intelligently, you are more like God.
God will take care of you.
God will dress you well.
God will do something good for you.
God will take care of your appearance.
So, don’t look at the mirror worrying about things.
It is not going to make much difference.

Buy less.
Less is more.
Then try to live for God.
Then you will be a person who can live like God.
God will work in you.
God will take care of you, so that you can focus on God.
God fills you even in the human point of view.
God will send people to you so that you can listen to God through them.

You don’t really worry about your tomorrow.
God will take good care of you.
Work to make the story of Jesus known.
Try to change a nation based on what you realize from the story of Jesus.

Jesus is sending people to preach to nations about what God is like.
Jesus is asking people to pray for this.
As you pray, God will meet you there.
Pray for changing a nation, God will take care of the rest.
God is going to take care of you, God’s workers.
You will meet good people to work with.
Humbly follow what Jesus is asking you to do.
Practice your faith humbly.
You will be better off.

It is good to use your time for God.
When you use your time for God, you find joy and meaning.
God will arrange things so that you can spend a good time for God.
Learn to use your time for God.
It is a wiser way of living.

Jesus didn’t worry about his life.
He asked us not to worry.
Wait a minute!
But what about this death?
He said “don’t worry about anything. Then he died like that?”
God didn’t dress him nicely.
Jesus was naked on that cross.
It didn’t look like God was taking good care of him.
Why did God offer him to a terrible death?
Teaching the character of God, he was betrayed and died.
This seems a clear abandonment from God.

God even takes good care of wildflowers and birds.
How much more God would have loved to take good care of the Son.

Why would God let this happen?
One of the answers is that because of sin of the world, someone has to die and shed his blood. Because love is greater than sin.
Someone has to face the death with a holy attitude.
Someone has to face his death with a gentle attitude.
Someone has to truly transcend the death.
Someone has to live for God through the death and dying.
Then God lets Jesus experience the new life after death.
When Jesus takes away our sin like that, now we can have a good relationship with God.
We can come closer to God.
The death of Jesus makes us live now without worry.
God is willing to offer God’s life for us.
In this way, God makes us righteous.

In gratitude, now we offer everything.
In gratitude, we don’t give up when loving others seem so difficult.
We don’t give up when loving others seem so unnatural.
We just love in gratitude.
We just love so that our life means something to Jesus.
We live in order to live out the life that we are called to be.

But when we are willing to suffer for God, and when we are willing to serve Christ, we find real joy. We feel truly good.

If we forget what God has done for us, we may get easily tired and may not feel good.
If we forget what God has done for us, we may be not willing to suffer for God and don’t want to focus on Christ Jesus.
We cannot deny that sometimes, following Christ is not easy.
In some countries, in order to follow Jesus, they need to face the death.
In that moment, we don’t worry, because God is in control.
God will take good care of us according to God’s wisdom.

Jesus has started a good work in us.
God is going to complete it.

Note:
We don’t condemn suffering.
We don’t condemn those who suffer.
We don’t baptism violence.

We can also rejoice in suffering.
Through the cross of Jesus, we can see the words: “Do not worry.”
Then you can overcome suffering in faith.

God can turn this around.


1.24.2011

Matthew 26:52 (2)

Peaceful Nation
Reading: Matthew 26:52

Do you like history books?
There are some history books that are written for endorsing legitimacy of their nationalism. If you read between the lines, you can see that these books encourage people to be patriotic, risking their life for the safety of a nation. Often these books are written to endorse their national superiority. Many heroes in these books are those who fought for their nation. So, it is unavoidable that some nationalism tends to endorse violence in the name of protecting the existence of their nation.

At the same time, some movies seem to say to our children that killing can be ok or something honorable when it has a good reason or a good cause. But in reality, there is no honor during the time of violence or war. When any form of violence is done against any human being, all honor and dignity disappear. There is no honor when we devalue the life of our “enemy” or friends of our enemy. The truth is that if our life is precious, our enemy’s life is precious, too. If my nation is precious, their nation is precious, too.

The church needs to pray for the nation. We should try to make our nation prosperous. But I think the church should not endorse any form of nationalism. Rather, the church should encourage each nation to be a holy nation.

The church should pray for peace. The church should pray that there may be less bloodshed and less injustice during the time of war. Maybe that is when we need to be repentant of our violent tendency.

But what happen when we face what looks like unavoidable situation? What happen when we face a situation where we just, have to use violence? I think then we need to ask for forgiveness, recognizing our limit.

Because at that moment we weren’t able to follow Jesus, the Crucified One who refused to use any violence, but we were following the Crucifying One (Roman Government in this case) that executed Jesus.

Jesus says, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

North Korea is building their nuclear weapon, not caring about their starving population. USA is spending a lot of money making new weapons, not caring about their debts, which will make their next generation work harder. US military spending in 2009 climbed up to 712 billion. This is about 47% of the world’s military spending in 2009. In this situation, USA is challenging North Korea to stop their effort of making nuclear weapon. I guess Jesus would say, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” (Matthew 7:5) Meaning, “First reduce your military spending and then you will see clearly to remove nuclear weapon of North Korea.”

Again, Jesus taught nonviolence, saying something like this:
“Those who use any form of violence will be destroyed by that form of violence.” (Matthew 26:52)

In Matthew 5: 21-22, Jesus says:
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Even violent words were problematic with Jesus.

According to Jesus, any form of violence when it is only a thought is problematic.

So, the church needs to pray that the world may continually decrease their military spending and use their money wisely for the wellness of our world. I think the less we spend money on weapons, the more we will remove unnecessary fear that is in the world today.

Even in our prayer, even in our life, we don’t want to be violent.
May we be able to seek peace.
May we be able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in peace.

1.23.2011

Matthew 4:12-23 (1)

ppt

A children sermon
Prop: a picture with many different colors in it.

(1-3) I would like to show you some pictures.
These are beautiful, aren’t they?
It has various colors in it.
I think it looks pretty because it has various colors in it.

Now think about it.
What would happen if we don’t have various colors?
What would happen if we have to paint with only one color?
Probably, that picture might be not beautiful as this one, right?

So, when Jesus started his ministry, he called various people to follow him.
Then with these good friends he wanted to continue his ministry.
(1) For example, when he was at the Sea of Galilee, he called some fishermen to follow him.
He said:
“Come, follow me.
Then I will teach you to catch people for God from now on.”
Then, they left everything and followed him.

(2) He saw two more fishermen, who worked in a boat with their father.
Again Jesus said to them:
“Come and follow me.”
Then they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus is still calling new people to follow him today.
Jesus may call you to follow him.

(1)Just like this picture is beautiful because it has various colors in it.
Our church will look pretty, when various people gather together to worship.

There are many people in this world.
We all need each other.
We need to get together in this church.
Then, some people can sing in the choir.
Some people can repair stuff.
Some people can give out bulletins.
Some people can prepare our lunch.
Some people can teach Sunday school classes.
Some people can go out and preach the gospel.

Following Jesus is like that.
We build up one another for Jesus.
We be nice to each other, and help each other to be a good believer.

We all need each other.
So, we make some efforts to get along with each other.
(2) Then we will be like these beautiful pictures.
As we serve each other, work together and love one another, we become a beautiful people of God.
In this way, we follow Christ Jesus.
Right?

Lets’ pray:
Christ, help us to love you.
Help us to love and build up one another.
In your name we pray. Amen.


1.07.2011

Matthew 3:13-17

A children sermon

Prop: baptismal font, water at the baptismal font, guitar, and handkerchief

Hello.
Do you know what this is?
Yes. It is water.
We use this water to baptize people.

A long time ago, Jesus was also baptized by this kind of water.
When Jesus was baptized, we read the Holy Spirit came like a dove.
(Throw a handkerchief in the air and see how it falls.)
The Holy Spirit came down like this on Jesus.
Do you know why the Holy Spirit came down on him like this?
It was because Jesus was humbly obeying God and was paying attention to what the Holy Spirit was doing. So, when we are humble and when we obey God, we also experience the Holy Spirit. When we pay attention to the Holy Spirit, we experience the Holy Spirit.

But usually we don’t see the Holy Spirit.
Have you seen the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is everywhere.
But we cannot see the Holy Spirit.

It is like music.
(Play some music with a guitar)
You can hear it right?
But can you see the sound of the music?
When I do this (playing music) the sound of the is traveling from here to your ears.
So, you can hear it.
It is somewhere in the air.
But we cannot see it.

The Holy Spirit is like that.
The Holy Spirit is always with us.
The Holy Spirit is guiding us and helping us.
But we often ignore the Holy Spirit simply because you cannot see her.
The Holy Spirit is always with us and within us.
Let's pay more attention to the Holy Spirit.
Then we can become a closer friend of Jesus who gave this Holy Spirit to us.
Ok?

Let’s pray.
Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.

1.02.2011

Something Beautiful Sunday

Prop: a handy microphone

This is Something Beautiful Sunday when you can share something that is beautiful to you.
We have Something Beautiful Sunday on the last Sunday of every month.

So, you can share about something that is meaningful to you.
It can be songs, words, pictures, or anything.
You can share something that you are thankful for in these days.
You can share little bitty testimonies or stories that show that God was in action in your life.

(If no one says anything) I brought something here today. This is “These Days.” This is a daily devotional material or book where you can use to read daily and pray along with it. I don’t know whether you are familiar with Quiet Time. When I was a young Christian, I was encouraged to have a Quiet Time with God daily, in the morning. It means that you spend some times alone with God before doing anything else. I am still doing today. It makes my day starts. It is something beautiful to me.

(At the end) This is your opportunity to share with your faith community about what you are thankful for these days. In this way, you can encourage and edifies other believers in faith.

Let's pray: Christ, thank you for being our life.