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.