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.