Luke 2:41-52

(A children sermon)

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?
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.


Matt 1:18-25

A Children sermon

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.


John 5:39-47

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.


Living waters for the world

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?