12.18.2012

Luke 2:41-52 (2)

ppt

How did Jesus find who he was?
Reading: Luke 2:41-52
Additional reading: Colossians 3:12-17
(UPC-09)
Blank: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Temple, Father, Obediently, Matured

(1) Jesus has come at last
Jesus was born.
That means that God was born, because Jesus is God.
So, when Jesus was born, I see God’s humility there.
Why?
Because it means Jesus was to be taken care of.
He had to be fed.
(2) He had to be washed.

Anyway, growing up, he learned a lot of things.
He gained more wisdom and understanding.
Then one day, he realized what he needed to do with his life.
So, he talked about it with his mom.

It was like this.
I am going to tell you that story.
Imagine with me.
Now Jesus was about twelve years old.
(3) Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem, with his family, friends and relatives.
Jesus thought:
“Wow, this is my father’s house. Woohoo.”

Then there, he got a wonderful revelation.
He made a remarkable discovery of himself.
He realized that God lives within him.
He realized that God and he are one.

(4) It was so powerful.
So, Jesus got busy, sharing his idea with the smart people in the temple.
Jesus started his ministry, right there.
He wanted to carry out his dream.
Jesus was hungry for God.

But the problem was none of his family members knew where he was.
And now, his mother was looking for him.
In fact, she was looking for him for four days.

(5) When she found him, she was so glad as if he had come back to life.
But, she also said to Jesus:
“What are you doing here?
We worry about you!”

Then the boy Jesus said:
“Why did you worry about me?
I am supposed to do what I am supposed to do.”

(6) All this time, Jesus was sure that his mother understood everything.
But looking at her eyes, Jesus realized:
“Uh-oh.”
He realized then he got to wait a bit more before starting his ministry.
Jesus realized that his dream was about to die and rise again.

Then twenty years later, Jesus started his ministry again.
During these twenty years of waiting, he observed a lot of people.
Jesus learned to have patience, gentleness, humility, compassion, and kindness.
He also learned about God’s plan for his life.

He also learns that God uses not-so-smart people and not-so-powerful people.
Through these people, God likes to show God’s power and wisdom.
Realizing these, Jesus didn’t go back to the temple to start his ministry.
(7) Jesus chose to have a visit with John the Baptist.

Who is John the Baptist?
John was the one who left everything to serve God.
Then John stayed foolish for God for all his life.

(8) Since John lived like this, Jesus also humbled himself to be baptized by John.
Jesus also left everything and became the wondering preacher who was going to save the World.

But the Holy Spirit also had another idea.
(9) The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God sent Jesus to the wilderness.
There Jesus spent 40 days, like a monk.
He prayed and thought about his life.

There he might have asked himself:
“Who am I?
Why am I here?
How should I live my life?
Why should I work? What kind of work?”
Then he might have realized something.
Spending time in the presence of God, like this, he received an answer.
He realized who he truly was.

In this wilderness, Jesus learns God’s plan for his life.
He learned: what kind of Savior he should be?
He learned that the Savior is to die and rise again for his people.

(10) But throughout his life, Jesus was tempted to find an easy way out, instead of dieing on the cross.
The question was asked then:
“Is this really the only way?”

Maybe that was why Jesus prayed even more.
Through all those prayers, Jesus discovered himself.
Then Jesus was able to answer the question without any doubt.

Realizing who he is, Jesus lived a simple life.
He extremely simplified his life.
Then Jesus left everything and chose one thing, the will of God that he knew so well.
Living a simple life, Jesus freed himself from other obligation.

(11) Realizing who he is, Jesus started his ministry at the Sea of Galilee.
He taught fishermen, tax-collectors, radicals, not-so-smart people and not-so-powerful people.
Jesus goes to slums and poor areas, teaching them about God’s love.
Jesus talked about forgiveness and love through telling various stories and teaching people.
He also healed people.
Often Jesus healed people and said:
“God is here. The Kingdom of God is here.”
Then Jesus was happy.

(12) But to many people, the life of Jesus didn’t make sense.
Why would God want to be born as a human child?
Why would the Son of God want to become a human being, knowing fully well he would suffer and die?
To many people, the life of Jesus doesn’t make sense.

The life of Jesus may start to make sense when we realize God really loves human beings.
It may start to make sense when we realize God lives in the joy of loving us.
That is what the story of Jesus tries to explain: the crazy love of God for you.
God loves you.
Jesus taught this unconditional love.
No matter what you do, you just cannot stop him from loving you.

God loves you.
This reality sometimes seems almost beyond our reach.
But when we let ourselves touched by God's love, our life opens up to others.

But then some people may still say that some of what Jesus said doesn’t really make sense.
For example, Jesus said:
“Love your enemy and pray for them.”
But some people may say:
“Are you kidding me?”
"Love your enemy" may sound stupid or foolish.
But yes, Jesus is inviting us to be foolish for God.
Why?
Because being foolish for God, we may become truly wise.
That is why Jesus became foolish for God and for us.

Through this early life of Jesus, Jesus may say to us that it is ok to believe something.
It is ok to stay hungry for God.
It is ok to be different.
It is ok to dedicate your life to God.

(10) The early life of Jesus may also explain to us about how to live an abundant life.
So, let me summarize them for you to follow through.
(13) Here are three action plans that we may take to follow Jesus.

First, ask God about who you are.
Ask God about what life path you should take.
Pray in the Spirit.
Walk in the Spirit, asking:
“What should I do with my life?
Why am I here?
Why am I still here?"

The Holy Spirit may let you know.
In fact, Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit so that we may understand about God and about ourselves.

Secondly, know that your dream may die and rise again.
So, instead of giving up, prepare yourself, for that unknown future.
Be prepared.
Get ready.
Get ready a bit more.
It may be possible.

Thirdly, once you know about your life purpose, you need to simplify your life accordingly.
Eliminate all the things you don’t use.
Sell it.
Give it away.
If you want to truly find your life, you need to get rid of all those things.
Because they may be distracting you.
Then, focus on one thing at a time, one important thing, your life purpose and your joy in life.
What is it?

John 1:10-18

(A children sermon)
ppt

Happy New Year everyone!

I have a question for you.
How old are you now?
How old were you?
Good.

Here is another question.
Do you know how old is your daddy, your father?

I have another question.
(2) Do you think that your father can become five years old again?
Do you think he could become a child again?
He couldn't?
Are you sure?

I have a lot of question today.
How old is God?
God must be very old, right?
Now can God become a five years old child?
Can God become a child?
God can do everything, right?
God becomes a child.
We know his name.
Do you know his name?
In this session, we celebrate that God became a child and lived among us.
The baby Jesus was born and lived among us.

Since God became a baby, God understands what is like to be 5 years old.
God understands what is like to be six years old.
God understands what is like to be ten years old.
God understands you.
God understands what is like to be excited.
God understands what is like to go to bed early.

There is another answer to the same question, “How old is God?”
God does not get old.
God is spirit.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
This God lives within every one of us.
God lives within you.
God is always with you.
So, you can talk to God.
If you cannot fall a sleep at night, you can be sure that God is with you. Talk with God who is always with you day and night.
Get to know God who came to you in the name of Jesus Christ.

OK? Let's Pray:
Dear Jesus, you know what is like to be five and six and seven years old. You understand us.
You love us.
So we know that you are going to be with us forever!
In Your name, we pray. Amen.

12.03.2012

Luke 7: 18-35

God’s way
Reading: Luke 7: 18-35
Additional reading: Matt 11: 2-11
ppt

John was the man of the desert.
John went to the desert because he had a relationship with God.
But he knew only things that God had spoken to him.
John performed no miracles.
He healed no one.

He just preached people to repent.
Then he baptized them when they repent.
John also honored the humble and humbled the proud.

John understood that his ministry was to get people ready for the Christ.
Then, John introduced Jesus as the Messiah.
Remembering his words, many followed Jesus.
He also sent his two best disciples to go and listen to Jesus.
They walked with Jesus.
They obeyed the teachings of Jesus.
Then they learned the way of the Christ.

Other people followed Jesus.
But John has not had a chance to follow Jesus.
Because a little later, John was imprisoned.

Now being in the prison, he was very uncomfortable.
John felt so lonely there.
He was eating something that he was not used to.
But the most of all, he felt that his end was near.
So, being in prison, he thought about a lot of things.
He also wanted to hear more about Jesus.
His disciples told him what they saw.
They told the story of Jesus to John.
But John had a lot of question about what Jesus was doing.
John was not impressed.
John was expecting something more from Jesus.
John didn’t like the way Jesus was ministering.

There was so much corruption in the world.
So, he expected that Jesus would do something powerful.
He expected that Jesus would bring down fire from heaven.
He expected that Jesus would bring the whole nation to obey God.
He expected that Jesus would speak to the kings and leaders of the nation.
John was expecting that Jesus would become a king.
John expected that Jesus would free him from this prison.
John expected a lot.
But Jesus was not doing any of these.

Instead, Jesus was healing people, like a doctor.
He was taking care of each individual.
He was preaching to the poor.
Jesus was like a witch doctor or a magician.
Or Jesus was like a social worker.

John was shaking his head.
John wanted to come to Jesus and say:
“Time out! Time out!
What are you doing?
I make a straight path for you.
What are you doing?
God wants you to start a new nation.
Don’t you know?
You need to clean out the temple and the palace.
Are you also preparing the way of the Jewish Messiah like me?
Are you not the one?
Are you also a voice like me?
What are you doing anyway?”

Many people were following Jesus because of him.
Being a prophet of God, he needed to be responsible for his words.
But as for him, Jesus acted like another prophet.
He thought if Jesus was also a prophet like him, John might need to introduce someone one else to be the Messiah, the king.

John was anxious to know what Jesus was thinking about this
So, John sent two of disciples to Jesus to ask:
“Are you the one?
Are you the one who is to come?
Should we expect someone else?”

When they found Jesus, Jesus was doing the same things.
He was curing those who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.

Then these two disciples of John asked Jesus who was busy:
“John asks us to ask you:
Are you the one?
Should we expect someone else?”

Then Jesus, understanding what was going on with John, replied to the messengers:
“This is all I can say.
Tell him what you have seen and heard.
Tell him that I am healing all kind of people.
Everyone is getting well.
And I proclaimed the good news to the poor.
Happy are those who are not disappointed because of me.”

Through Jesus, the power of God was unleashed.
People experience what God wants them to experience.
Jesus was showing what God is like.
Jesus was showing people how God thinks.

So, Jesus didn’t want to change his mission statement because of John.
As a matter of fact, Jesus couldn’t follow John’s expectation.
John and Jesus both preached about the kingdom of God.
But it turned out that Jesus preached a different kingdom of God.
The Kingdom that Jesus understood was that through him all humans would see God's salvation.
This salvation was a different kind of salvation, as for John.

Jesus was following God looking at a greater picture.
So, Jesus followed his path.
Jesus preached about God’s new promise that was given through him.
Jesus preached to the poor and healed them, because this was how the salvation of God came.
This was how Jesus red and understood from the bible.

John’s understanding was very limited.
He knew only his part.
John didn’t know exactly what the Messiah should do.
God didn’t teach John about that, because John was not the Messiah.

So, without understanding exactly how God would do this, John understood that God's salvation was political event.
But then John was able to do his job of making people to be ready to follow Jesus.
Through John, God prepared the path of Jesus.

Jesus recognized about the human limitation of John.
But he was ok with it.
Jesus was not surprised by John’s doubt.
Instead, when Jesus spoke to the crowd about John, he said something like this:
“What do you think about John?
Was he wealthy and politically powerful?
No.
But then why did you go to see John?
Right, it is because John was a prophet!
I think John was more than a prophet.
He was the messenger who came ahead of the Messiah.
He prepared the way of the Messiah.
That means that if you follow the Messiah, you are greater than John.”

We don’t know whether John understood Jesus eventually before he died.
But he finished his race.
He did something important for the story of Jesus.
John will be remembered forever as someone who introduces Jesus.
So, Jesus had no problem honoring John.

Jesus told them John was more than a prophet, because John did his part in this salvation story.
When Jesus recognized John as a great prophet like this, those who were baptized by John were very happy.

But those who weren’t baptized by John wanted to reject Jesus as well.
They rejected John before.
Now they wanted to reject Jesus as well.

Then, to these people, Jesus said something like these:
“John the Baptist was not eating bread not drinking wine.
So, you said to John: “He has a demon.”
And I am eating and drinking.
So, you said to me, “Here is a drunken friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
But you shouldn’t define people by what they eat.
You might need to discern more wisely.

“You know what.
You are rejecting people, if they didn’t listen to you.
If they don’t listen to you, you find something to complain about them.
That is not wise way to live.
Try to light a candle to help people instead of cursing the darkness.
In order to do that, you may need to listen to God.
If you can be roughly right about God, that is good enough.
God is bigger than your mind.
Remember: God may have God’s own goal.
God has God’s own mission statement!
It seems it is different from your mission statement.
So, if you insist your own way, you may not do what God wants you to do.
Since God does not think like you, I cannot agree with you.
Reexamine your way of thinking and plan before insisting your own way.”

Here we have two people didn’t understand Jesus: John and those who reject John and Jesus.
They both couldn’t understand Jesus.
But John was able to do his part.
God was able to use John.
But the others couldn’t do their parts, because they didn’t know what God wanted from them.
They didn’t understand what God prepared for them.

We also may not understand Jesus fully.
We may only know a bit of Jesus in relation to our ministry.
So we may need to ask ourselves: What is your ministry?

In this year, our ministry is to tell the story of Jesus.
Our ministry is to share Jesus and the character of Jesus.
Our ministry is to tell people what Jesus has accomplished.
Our ministry is to live his life guided by the Holy Spirit.
Our ministry is to share Jesus together with the Holy Spirit.
Our ministry is to imagine and see the salvation of God through Jesus.

When we obey God in a little thing in life, we learn more of God.
The more we obey God, the more we understand who God is.
The more you obey what you already know, the more you learn.

Then the more we understand, the more God may speak to us.
Then we may even know how God may speak to us.

May we learn the way of Jesus in our own ministry.
May we understand the way of Jesus and live it out.
May we finish our own race before God.


Note:
We may not understand someone, if they have a different calling than us.
It is very possible that when people have different callings, they may not understand why the other is trying to do something like that.



11.12.2012

Luke 15:21-24

Reading: Luke 15:21-24
K-hymn: 490

In the bible, there is an important word.
It is Loving-Kindness.
In Hebrew it is חֶסֶד.
It can be also translated as compassion, mercy, steadfast love, or unconditional love.
The bible explained about how God’s everlasting compassion and forgiveness and unconditional love are manifested.
The bible said that because God has חֶסֶד (steadfast love and compassion) God doesn’t give up on people.

Likewise, God also encourages people to have חֶסֶד, and show compassion and unconditional love to their neighbors.
God wants more loving kindness on this earth.

This loving kindness is explained in the story of the prodigal son.
The father in the story expressed this loving kindness.
This father portrayed God who continually waits and waits for God’s children to return.
“Will they return today?”
In steadfast love, God asks:
“When are they going to return to me?”

When we return to God’s love (חֶסֶד), we are saved.
When we depend on God’s loving kindness, we are saved.
Then God can have us return to our hope and future.
God can embrace us again as God’s people.
This loving kindness of God helps us loyal to God, just like God is loyal to us.

May we be the people of this loving kindness.

11.09.2012

Luke 6:36-37

Living faithfully when everything is not so clear
Reading: Luke 6:36-37
K-hymn: 490

Why?
Why shouldn’t we judge?
Why shouldn’t we condemn?
Why should we forgive?

One of the reasons seems to be that it is because we live in very confusing world.
We lived in the world where right and wrong, black and white is not always clear.
Right and wrong are all mingled together without clear distinctions.

The border between love and hate is not clear.
The border between evil and good is not clear.
The border between brave and coward is not clear.
The border between care and neglect is not clear.
The border between guilt and blamelessness is not clear.

First impression is not always correct.
What looks like bad, turns out to be right.
What we thought was right, turned out to be one sided.
What we thought was correct turned out to have some errors.

Our hearts and minds may desire clarity.
We like to have a clear picture of our situation.
We like to have a clear view of how things really fit together.
We like to have a clear insight into our own problem.
We like to have a clear insight into the world's problems.
But it is not always clear.
Our human life may not offer the clarity that we are looking for.
The more we study, the more we know what we don’t know.

But then we need to make choices without knowing everything.
We may make choices without being entirely sure.
Then, we will look back and may feel regret.
We may do second guessing.
So, we talk to God about what we feel regretful.
We may ask for forgiveness.

When we recognize that we don’t know everything, God helps us move forward.
When we listen to the advices of Jesus:
Do not judge. Do not condemn. But forgive.
Then we may learn to live faithfully.

Then we can live the life forward.
We can move on.
Then we can live faithfully again.
God will help us to sees through all the possibilities again.
God will make new things and help us to see again.

Then God may use everyone and everything to speak to us.
God may speak to us through unexpected sources.
God may speak to us through emotion, intuitive feeling, words, animals, and situations.
God can even use those who seem different from us to expand our understanding.

Jesus even asks us to love enemies.
Through them our understanding may be expanded yet again.
Later, we may like them later more than others.
They may become our good friends.
Through them, we may meet God who is bigger than ourselves.
Then we may have faith that is greater than ours.
Then we may experience grace that is more than we can understand.
Then we may experience love that is far greater than ours.

Then, we can follow the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us.
Then we can learn through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
We can grow in the Holy Spirit.
We can grow in the Spirit of Jesus.

May this kind of grace happen to us.

11.04.2012

John 21:15-25

What is that to you?
Reading: John 21:15-25
K-hymns: 483, 495
ppt

Jesus had lived out his life.
Jesus was not Elijah.
Jesus was not David.
Jesus was not Noah.
Jesus was not Moses.
Jesus lived according to his own calling.
Jesus lived according to his own talents and character.
Jesus patiently lived out his calling before God, in his situation.

Then at the end, Jesus wanted to ask Peter to do the same.
In order to do so, Jesus asked this question over and over and over.
“Do you love me more than any other?
Do you truly love me?”
At this point, Jesus wanted to know this one thing.
He wanted to know whether Peter loved him.

Peter then honestly showed how much he loved Jesus.
Then, Jesus gave Peter a new calling.
Jesus asked him to take care of his people.
Jesus asked Peter to guide the people of Jesus.
Meaning, Peter needed to be patient with them.
Peter needed to be their spokesperson.
Jesus was saying that this is the calling of Peter to live out.
Jesus will guide him.

But then Peter may make mistakes.
But then as long as Peter loves Jesus, Jesus will give Peter another chance to take care of the people of Jesus.

But Jesus also said that when Peter was old, he would be dragged to where he didn’t want to go, because he loved Jesus.
Until that end, taking care of the people of God is his calling.
In this way, Peter can express his love for Jesus.
What an honor!

But while Jesus was talking, Peter was looking at the youngest disciple of Jesus who was probably John.
Peter knew that Jesus loved John.
Jesus seemed awfully kind to John.
So, Peter wanted to know what John would do, while he was taking care of the people of God.
What was the calling of this punk?
Would John live a good and easy life, like before?
Peter was curious how Jesus would use John.

So, Peter asked Jesus:
“How do you want to use John?
What is his new calling?”

Jesus was like:
“That is none of your business.
What makes difference in your following me?
Let’s say John lived a long and good life.
Let’s say that he lived an easy life.
What is that to you?
You say that you love me and will follow me.
So, you have your own responsibilities.
He had his.
Focus on your own task.
You both are unique leaders.”

Was it wrong for Peter to ask Jesus about John’s calling?
Why didn’t Jesus want Peter to compare their lives?
It is because Jesus knew that they have different personality and different gift.
They would live different life.
They would participate in the suffering of Christ differently with a different timetable.
So, Jesus wants to communicate with each one of them based on who they were.
Peter will follow Jesus using his gift and based on his character.
Peter’s calling is given based on how God sees him and how Peter sees God.
John will follow his calling based on his own gift and talents.
Peter didn’t need to compete with John.
Peter didn’t need to try to do better than John.

Each life can be very unique.
Each life may have its own deep meaning.
Jesus wanted to value their unique calls in God.
Jesus will use them both knowing what they can do.
So, Jesus asked them to focus on their job.
They didn’t need to compare.
Therefore they didn’t need to judge each other.

But sometimes, we cannot help but to look at other’s life and compare it with ours.
It is easy to tell people what they can do better for their lives.
Then we may judge their life according to our own understanding about life.
We may say: “Don’t live like that. Live like this.”
In this way, we may ask them to live like us.
But God then may say:
“Leave him alone. They live a good life in me.”

Or, we may say:
“Hum, their life seems much easier than mine.”
Then we may try to live out their calling in life.
We may try to follow their calling, simply because it looks good in distance.
We may pretend.
We may try to talk like them.
We may want to experience their blessings.

This kind of attitude creates confusion and distraction.
Jesus is not asking us to choose a calling among many.
Jesus is not asking us to choose an easy calling or a tough calling.
Jesus is asking us to live out our calling in God.
Then we may suffer less mentally.
Then we may be truer to ourselves.

So, we don’t want to compare.
We just want to live following Jesus.
Then we will live rejoicing in God.

Couple Sundays ago, we learn that this disciple, John lived until 84.
John was living out his calling and still following Jesus while Peter and other apostles were dead long before.
John might have said:
“Why am I all alone here? Did I do something wrong?”

No, he had a different calling.
The church needed to have him alive.
The church needed to ask him a lot of questions.
His life was unique.

So, we don’t want to ask others to live like us.
Even though I preach and evangelize, I don’t try to change others.
I just present what I know in God.

I just want to humbly follow my unique calling.
I just want to live a good life in Christ, obeying the words of Jesus.
I want to rejoice in God’s blessings that are designed for us.
I want to be joyful in Jesus.

(1) It may be like this:
Who is a joyful musician?
A joyful musician is someone who loves doing what she does.
A happy musician is someone who loves her own music.
Finding beauty in her own music, she feels contentment.
Playing various songs, she discovers new ways to play.
Sometimes, playfully, she tries to play like someone else.
In this way, she finds her new gifts and talents.
In that way, she discovers new worlds inside of her.
Slowly, she tries to bring out what is inside of her.
She finds a joy.
She is a joyful musician.
It is not always easy but she has a sense of direction.
She wants to play the music she loves.

But sometimes, she might compare herself with others.
She might compare herself with a famous one.
She might also want to make more money.
She might try to play the music that many people buy in these days.
Then she might make more money but end up playing some music that she doesn’t really like.

Will she be more joyful doing this?
Can she really help others?
Can she truly help others by ignoring who she is?

In order to be happy, she probably needs to find a way to play the music she loves and make a living out of it.
Then she may really enjoy working.
Then she may communicate with others in a deeper level.
She may live, based on her own inner light.
She then may live well before God.
She may live her own life in God.
She may even share the love of God through her music.

Maybe helping people live like that is what Jesus trying to do with Peter.

Following Jesus is like following our uniqueness in life.
In order to do so, we need to look at Jesus.
We need to choose the narrow path.
We need to take each step with him.
We need to look at where Jesus is walking to.
Our understanding of him, our perspective of him and our emotion about him will help us to live our calling in life.
There we will find joy.
There we will find our own music.
In that way, we will make the world better place.

Likewise, we don’t need to compare our life with our past.
We just try to follow Jesus now as much as we know how.
We don’t try to find some easy way or tougher way to be a hero.
We just follow the road that Jesus presents to us.
We walk on our own unique path where Jesus waits for us.
In this way, we may live in Jesus.
In this way, we may bless people around us.

May we live our life focusing our calling in life.
May we live in God and have our own personal satisfaction.
May we live our own best life.

10.23.2012

Matthew 6:25-34

(a children sermon)
Reading: Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 6:25-34
ppt

(1) What is this person doing?
Right, he worries.
Have you ever worried like this person before?

What is worry?
Can you tell me?
What is he doing?
Right, he is thinking that something bad may happen.
Something worse may happen! Ahhh.
So, it is very painful to worry sometimes.

(2) But Jesus says:
“Don’t worry.
I can take care of you.
I love you.
I am good.
I am faithful to you.
So, talk to me.
Talk to Holy Spirit.
Talk to God.
Then God will give you peace.”

Jesus asks us to stop worrying.
Jesus asks us to talk to God.
We can explain to God about out situation.
Then we will have a peace in our heart.
God will give us peace.
Then we can thank God for taking care of us.
We can thank God for listening to us.

God loves you.
So, when you talk to God, God loves it.
(4) Talk to God, as if you are talking to your friend.

Now I have some questions?
Do you think we can only talk to God at the church?
Do you think we can talk to God while in bed?
Do you think we can talk to God when you just wake up and haven’t washed your face?
Do you think we can talk to God while playing with our friend?
Do you think we can talk to God anytime and anywhere?
Right, you can talk to God anytime and anywhere.
You are going to watch a movie soon.
You can also talk to God while watching a movie.

You can also write to God like this person over there.
In this week, try to be with God sharing your thoughts or ideas, ok?

Let’s pray:
Jesus we trust in you.
We love you.
Thank you for taking care of us.
Help us to know what to say to you.
In your name, we pray. Amen.

9.27.2012

Mark 12:1-12

(A children sermon)
ppt

Reading: Mark 12:1-12
Props: apples and a hat for a farmer.

Narrator: Today, I need 5 volunteers to tell a story.
Anybody?
Thank you.
I need you to be actors.
Three of you will be apple trees. You stand here.
You will be a farmer. You stand here. (Give a hat)
And you will be Jesus. You stand here.
I will guide you, ok?
We are ready.

Narrator: There was a great orchard.
In this orchard, we had many apple trees.
Jesus helped these trees to produce wonderful apples.
Jesus would say:
“Relax. Good. God has planted here.
God provides you sun and water.
Receive good energy from sun.
Receive good nutrition from the land.
And, relax. God will work through you. OK?”

Narrator: Then one by one, they had wonderful apples.
(Give apples to their hands) These trees felt good.

Then Jesus sent a farmer to pick some of these apples.
But the trees didn’t want to give.
They were like:
“Don’t touch it.
Don’t pick my apples.
Leave them alone.
It looks nice on me.”

Then the farmer came to Jesus and explained the situation.
Then Jesus came and said:
“They need your apples.
Share what you have.
Trust me. I can give you more apples.
I will help you.”

But they said:
“No. This is mine. This is ours. Leave us alone.”

(2) Then Jesus showed them this picture and said:
“Do you see these rotten apples?
If you don’t give, your apples will be like this.
So share your apples.
Let this farmer have your apple.
Then God will give you more apples.”

What do you think about this story?

Sometimes, God wants to produce something good through you.
God gives you ability and power.
Then God produces something good through you.
God does so that you may also give something back.

Like these apple trees, they can give their apples.
They can use their talents and ability to give something to others.
But if they keep only for yourself, it may be rotten.
It may become ugly.

When God produces something good through you, God may want you to share.
Trust God that you will continually produce more and more because of God.
God will work through you continually.
Ok?
So, let’s us share what we have. OK?

Let’s pray:
Christ, thank you for helping us to produce wonderful fruits.
Help us share nicely. We want to share.
May you help us to use our ability for those who in need.
In your name we pray. Amen.

Thank you actors. Now you can go to your class. Right, you can put your apples here.

8.27.2012

Eat This Bread, Drink This Cup

ppt

(Today, we are going to recognize our Sunday school teachers.
Here are our teachers. Teachers, when I say your name, please wave to children…….
Thank you. Now let’s pray for our teachers. Shall we? : “God thank for giving us these wonderful teachers. May you use them to share your wisdom and knowledge. May you also help their life so that they may preach your word through their lives. Also give them a time to prepare their lessons. And while they prepare their lesson, teach and guide them so that they may know your grace inside out. In your name, we pray. Amen.” Thank you teachers.)

We just celebrate our communion.
This bread and this cup mean something.
So, we are going to sing a song and learn what this food means, ok?
We are going to sing a song to know why we show you this bread and this cup.

Now, if you can read, let's read together.
I know some of you have not yet learned to read.
But you will.
Now if you cannot read, just pretend, ok?

Can you read the first verse? :
1. Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to him and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in him and you will not thirst.

Now let’s read the second verse:
2. Jesus Christ, bread of life, those who come to you will not hunger.
Jesus Christ, Risen Lord, those who trust in you will not thirst.

Now, for those who can read, do you understand every word?
Do you have any word that you don’t understand?

In the second verse it says “bread of life.”
What does it mean: “bread of life"?
Right, it means this bread gives life.
It means that this bread gives joy and peace.
This bread gives a good life.

Now try to memorize.
Have you done it?
Now let’s see who remember every word.
Do you know what was on the first blank?
How about the second blank?
How about the third black?
Good.

Now, I am going to sing this first.
Actually, I am going to sing with the choirs.
We are going to sing only the first verse.
After I sing, we all will sing together, ok?
(Sing first)
Now let’s all try to sing along.
Can you do it?
You adults, also join us sing this song.

Now let’s sing.
(Sing together)

This song explains why we eat this bread and drink this cup.
Singing this song, I hope that you will sense or feel why we celebrate this communion, ok?

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for being our bread and our drink.
May we never be hungry and thirty again because of you.
In your name, we pray. Amen.

Note:

8.09.2012

VBS 2012 - short talks

ppt

VBS talks during the gatherings of whole groups (SonRise National Park)
Props: eagle toy, telescope

Prayer:
God, thank for you this wonderful national park.
Help us to learn of you here.
Help us to play and enjoy you here.
Thank you for loving us and caring for us.
In your name Jesus, we pray, amen.

Day 1 – morning:

How are you?
Welcome to our national park.
(1) In this national park, sometimes, we see this animal.
What is this?
Right, it is an eagle. (An eagle toy)

I have another question.
Sometimes, in this national park a storm is coming.
What do think this eagle will do when the storm comes?

(2) This eagle will fly high and wait for the storm to pass by.
The eagle will peacefully ride above the storm and wait.

God creates this eagle to ride above the storm.
The same God can also help us ride above the storm in life.
God can help us to ride above the difficulties in life.
Or God can help us go through the storms in life.

To do that, God sends us Jesus, God’s only Son.
When Jesus came, Jesus shows us that he can make the storm go away.
Jesus can make it calmer and quieter.
Jesus can also give us peace in our heart, when we face problems.
So, we can ask God to give this true peace.

Now let’s read together, if you can, our bible verse.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
What does mean “refuge”?
Right it means shelter, or a safe place.
What does mean “strength”?
Yeah, it means power.
What does mean “ever-present help”?
Yes, it means help is always there in God.

Ok, see you soon.
You shouldn’t get lost here. Ok? So, follow your teacher well.
Here is…. (You may introduce teachers.)

Day 1 – afternoon:

Now since we are here at the national park.
Let’s look at more animal.
Let’s see.
(2) What is this?
It is a beaver.

He is building a home in the middle of rushing water.

(3) Now what is this?
Does it look like a home?
It is a home of beavers.
They built this house.

(4) Let’s look at the inside.
For beavers, this is a good house.
They are rich.
This house is safe.
Now they can collect more foods and toys here.
With this house, they will live a rich life.

Now do you think God is rich?
Do you think God can do everything?
What about Jesus?
Can Jesus do everything?
(5) Do you think Jesus can feed thousands of people with five bread and two fishes? (Show a bread and fish)
You will find out this afternoon.

Now let’s read together our bible verse:
“My God will meet all your need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Amen.
It means that God can provide everything according to what God has in Christ Jesus.
Whatever God has in Christ Jesus, God can provide.

See you soon.

Day 1 - (Leaving)

Remind them to bring coins. http://hwaryu.blogspot.com/2010/10/living-water.html
End with a prayer.

Singing:

Have you had fun?
Tomorrow we are going to have water sliding.
So bring your friend.


Day 2 – Morning

Ok, what is this bottle for?
Do you remember?
Right, many kids don’t have clean water to drink.
So we are collecting our coins to send to an organization that provides clean water.
If you have some coins, you can put them here now.

(3) Now in this national park, we see more animal.
What is this one?
Right, it is squirrel.
What is he doing?

(4) He is gathering nuts.
Why?
Because when he is hungry he can have something to eat.

You know we can also gather something in God.
Do you know what it is?
We can memorize God’s Word, one by one.
Then we can store up God’s word in our head.
Then when we don’t know what to do, we can remember what God said.
Then we can live according to God’s will.
Right? I hope so.

You say yesterday, Jesus can do all things, right?
But even though Jesus can do all things, he does not do all things.
He only does according to God’s power.
For example, he doesn’t use his power to show off.
He only uses his power to do God’s will.
Today, you are going to learn that.

Now let’s read together our bible verse:
"God is faithful. God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out."

What does it mean “God is faithful”?
Yeah, it means God keeps God’s promise.

Now can you understand the rest?
“God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out."
What does it mean?

It means that God will never let you down.
God will never let you be pushed past your limit.
God will always help you get through it.

Alright, see you soon.

Day 2 – afternoon

(4) What is this?
It is a dog.
What kind of dog?
It is called, husky.

Husky loves people.
God made them love people.
Husky also need to have people love him and care for him.

It is like this.
We need God to love us and care for us.
But it seems God also needs us to love God and care for God.
How?
How can we love God and care for God?
We can do that by loving and caring God’s people.
By loving people, we can show how much we love God.

Now let’s read together our bible verse:
This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

Jesus loves us so much.
He gave his life for us so that we may live in God.
God sent Jesus, the Only Son of God to show that how much God loves us.

Alright. See you soon.

Day 2 - (Leaving)

Let’s pray:
God today, we learned about your love.
Thank you for your love.
May we also love you back, by loving people.
May we also love our mom and dad.
May we also love our friends.
May we love each other.
In your name we pray. Amen.


Note:
Day 3 – morning

(5) What is this?
It is caribou.
When they travel, they travel in herds/groups.
In this way, they help each other stay safe.
They teach young caribou where they can find food.
And they stick together, they are safe.
They travel together.

Also, when we stick together with Jesus, we are safe.
Jesus and we are like herds/groups.
We travel together.
Since we are like young caribou, Jesus teaches us where to go and what to do.
So, I pray we learn to travel together with Jesus.
Amen?

Let’s read together our bible verse for this time around.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.”

7.31.2012

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In God, everything can turn out to be blessings.
Maybe that is why Paul says:
“Give thanks in all circumstances, because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Give thanks in all circumstances.
Can you do that?

Then what about God?
Can God do that?
Can God give thanks in all situations?
Can God give thanks when Jesus is born?
Can God give thanks when Jesus runs away to Egypt?
Can God give thanks when Jesus is growing up in Nazareth?
Can God give thanks when Jesus is baptized?
Can God give thanks when Jesus starts preaching?
Can God give thanks when Jesus prays overnight?
Can God give thanks when Jesus is able to have his followers?
Can God give thanks when Jesus welcomes children?
Can God give thanks when Jesus is obedient to God?
Can God give thanks when Jesus was rejected by people?
Can God give thanks when Jesus was crucified?
Can God give thanks when Jesus was resurrected?
Can God give thanks when God sees his disciples live like Christ Jesus?

We know that when Paul faces difficulty in life, he didn’t forget to give thanks to God.
But we are not Paul.
Sometimes, we face some situation where we cannot give thanks.
We cannot embrace.
We have this anger spring up.
What can we do?
It is like a psychological problem.

What about Jesus?
Can Jesus give thanks in all situations?
But can Jesus give thanks for Pharisees and Sadducees?
Can Jesus give thanks for Judah Iscariot?
Can Jesus give thanks for those who reject him?
Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
Can he give thank for the people of Jerusalem?

Sometimes, we feel sad or feel disappointed.
I think it is normal.
We don’t always be upbeat and rejoice.
Sometimes we can express these feeling in God.

At the same time, sometimes, we need to force ourselves to give thanks and praise God in these situations.
Because it is our proclamation of our faith: God is still alive.
It is not because we are hopeful.
It is not because we feel new possibility.
We give thank because Christ Jesus is with us.
We give thanks because we know of God.
We give thanks because we met Jesus.
We give thanks because we know God, in Jesus.
Even though we may not give thanks in all the circumstances, we always have some situation that we can give thanks.
You still have those who love you.
We still have those who pray for us.

We may not rejoice always in God.
We may sometimes, feel:
“Why am I coming to the church? Shall I leave this church?”
We all have those moments.
It is ok.
After that, we can give thanks in God.
We can give thanks, praying to Jesus all about it.
We may give thanks believing again that we don’t need to worry about anything in Jesus.

7.30.2012

John 9: 1-7

ppt

Jesus heals!
Reading: John 9: 1-7

Today, the disciples of Jesus saw a man who was born blind.
Then they started talking about whose sin is it?
Why was he born blind?
They wanted to know who have done something against God.
So, they asked Jesus: (John 9: 2)
“Rabbi, because of whose sin, he was born blind?”

Jesus knew people in those days thought like this.
But he thought that his students should not think like this.
Their teacher was Jesus who could enlighten them.
Jesus was there to help them understand.
Jesus wanted them to know that Jesus was the solution.
Jesus could solve any problem.
Jesus is the resurrection and life.
He is the living water.

So, Jesus heals this blind man.
Now this man can see for the first time.
It was so wonderful to see this beautiful world.
Through Jesus Christ, he experienced God.

So, his disciples also learned about the power of God.
They learned that Jesus could heal this man.
They learned that Jesus could even do this.
As Jesus healed people like this, they became hopeful.
When Jesus worked like this, they became humble and were ready to listen to Jesus.

Because Jesus can do this, they didn’t need to judge any more blind men.
They also knew that Jesus didn’t judge the blind man or his parent.
They learned that they could invite God to work for them.

(3) Jesus said this: Luke 6:37
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Instead, they can pray for them.
They can expect that God can do something for them.

Jesus wanted to teach how God could work in their life.
So Jesus may be saying “Look for what God can do here.
God is about to do something.”

Believing that God can do something, Jesus talks about God’s forgiveness.
So, Jesus is forgiving.
He talks about God’s love.
So, Jesus heals.
People can become new persons.
He talks about God’s grace.
So, there was a lot of possibility.
People can experience God’s grace.

When people experience the love of God like this, they come to God.
They come to believe in God.
They come to believe in Jesus.

God is doing something new.
God is creating something new.
As they realize that, people come to believe in Jesus.
Then they find a right direction to God.

Introducing God’s freedom like this, Jesus took all their judgments upon himself.
Jesus took our judgments on himself.
Then he died.

Then after his resurrection, he wants to continually proclaim the freedom of God, and the healing power of God.
He proclaims that God heals people.
He proclaims that God drives out evil spirits.
He proclaims that God is still working.
God is still doing something.

In order to heal our sufferings, Jesus suffered for us.
In order to help us overcome our suffering, Jesus suffered for us.
Then God helps us to experience Jesus who is the Resurrection.

God can heal all the parts of our live.
God can heal our mind.
God can change our habit.
God can help us to meet those who can help us.

When some unfortunate incident happened to someone, it does not mean that God has judged them.
Instead God wants people to pray so that God can produce something beautiful and meaningful.
God can help them overcome all kind of stuff.
Jesus is asking us to believe.
Then we may discover God there.
So, as we go through them all, we become the disciples of Jesus, who can call God to help other people.
We may expect that the Holy Spirit may heal people in various ways.
When we experience God like this, we may become more loving and gentle.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to listen to you.
Help us to work like you.
May you work among us more then you worked two thousands years ago.
May you show yourself to us so that we may have your character and love and live accordingly.
In Jesus name.
Amen.


7.24.2012

Luke 7:11-17 (1)

ppt

Reading: Luke 7:11-17
Prop: a toy or a book

Do you have many toys?
Do you have something like this?
What is this?
Right.

(1) Now, I have a question.
Do you know what “only” means?
Sometimes people say, "I only have this or I only have that."
What does it mean?
Right, if I say this is my only toy, it means that I have no other toy.

So, let's say this is your only toy.
Let’s pretend. Right?
Then one day, you lost it.
How would you feel?
You would be very sad, right?
Do you think you will cry?

But how would you feel when you found your toy back?
Maybe it was under your bed.
How do you think you would feel?
You will feel so good, right?
Yeeha.

(1) Well, I want to tell you about someone who lost what is so dear to her.
It was many, many years ago, when Jesus was alive on earth.
He traveled a lot, you see.

Today, he arrived at a town.
He was like, “what is going on?” because he saw a dead person being carried out.
People said to them, "Oh, he was the only son of this lady, whose husband also died a long while ago."
Jesus was like, “She lost the only son she had? Oh my.”
Jesus felt really sorry for her.
Then Jesus decided to do something for her.
So, he said, "Don't cry."

(2) He went up and touched the dead man.
He said: "Young man, I say to you, get up!"
The dead man got up and began to talk.
Then Jesus gave the only son back to his mother.

And she was so happy.
She was rejoicing and praising God.
People were saying, "God has come to help us. A great spiritual man has come."

Well, I am sure that Jesus felt so good being able to help.
And I hope you would remember this story, when you feel like you have lost something.
Well, remember Jesus.
I hope that you would also say to:
“Don’t worry. I am here. I would like to help.”
Right?

Let’s pray:
Christ, thank you for coming into our life.
You are our joy.
May we always rejoice and praise you because you are with us always.
In your name we pray. Amen.

6.21.2012

Map (2)


ppt
A children sermon:

(Showing a map of the world)
What is this?
Right, it is a map of the world.
Do you know where you live in this map?
Right, we live here.

Where is Korea?
Right, Korea is right here.
Most of your parents are born here.

Do you know where China is?

This summer some of our adults will go here from our church.
It is called Nicaragua.

Do you know where Jesus lived?
This is called Israel or Palestine.
It is right here.
Let’s come closer.
This is where Jesus was born and lived.

If we make large this part, it looks like this.
This is where Jesus was born: Bethlehem.
Bethlehem means the house of bread.
Jesus grows up here: Nazareth. (Point out in the map).
This is where he is baptized: Jordan River.
Jesus found Peter, a disciple of Jesus fishing here.
This is where Jesus is died: Jerusalem.
After that, the good news of Jesus spreads all over Europe and reaches to America and Korea.

Since they use different languages, they write Jesus differently.
Remember five countries: USA, Korea, China, Israel, and Nicaragua.
Now let me show how they write Jesus. (Count 5)
Like this.

What is this first word?
Right in English we write Jesus like this: Jesus

What is the next?
Right in Koreans we write Jesus like this, right: 예수님.
What about this?
Do you know how Chinese write Jesus?
It is like this: 耶稣.
Do you know how they say these?

Number 4 is a Hebrew word.
This is how Jesus would have written his name, in Hebrew: ישוע.
It reads Yeshua.
Unlike Korean or English, Hebrew goes from right to left.
This name means God saves; God helps.
What a perfect name!

Now I told you that some of our adults will go to Nicaragua for a short-term mission trip.
Nicaragua speaks Spanish. In Spanish Jesus is written like this: Jesús.
(You may ask children to say after you.)

So, this is the world that Jesus loves so much.
And they use many different languages.
So, if we want to tell them about Jesus, we need to know their languages.
Anyway, since Jesus loves this world, let’s pray for this world.
Ok? Let’s pray.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your coming, two thousand years ago. And thank you for your coming back to life. Thank you for loving us and remembering this world. Thank you also for guiding our way. Jesus, we pray for all the people on this earth. May they know that you love them! In the name of Jesus, Amen.

6.03.2012

Matt 5:21-37

A children sermon: Matt 5:21-37

Object: A bandage, a long sticky tape (to put two toys together), two animal toys (e.g., a tiger and a bear) and scissors

Good morning!
Do you know what this is?
Right, it is a bandage.
Have you ever used this before?
Sometimes, when you get a little hurt, you put this bandage on it.
Then you can go out and play again, right?
I use a lot f these for these guys.

Let me introduce my friends.
(Tiger and bear)
But I have a problem with these guys.
They fight all the time.
So, when I try to make them friends again, the tiger says:
“It is all his fault. He started it.” Or the bear says, “He is so annoying. It is all his fault. He started it.”
So, I have a question. What should I do?

Sometimes, I want to do like this.
I want to put this sticky tape around them and leave like that, until they become friends again.

What do you think it is a good idea?
No, I cannot do that.

Then I thought about God.
Sometimes, people fight with each other or have some argument with each other, right?
God also wants all of us to live in peace.
God wants all of us to be friends.

But what does God do to make them friends again?
What do you think?
Does God use this sticky tape? No.
God is simply asking us to go and tell the other:
“I forgive you or I am sorry that it ever happened.”
Sometimes, this may be a difficult thing to say.
But in this way, we can forgive and become friends again.
Then we can go out and play together, right.

But what if our friend is having a difficult time forgiving us?
Then I guess we need to wait patiently until they can forgive.
We may pray for them.
It is not easy sometimes.

But I hope we keep on forgiving and making friends with each other until Jesus comes. I think that is what God wants us to do, right?

Let’s pray: thank you Jesus for forgiving us. Help us to forgive one other. In your name we pray. Amen.

5.21.2012

Acts 1: 4-8 and 2:1-4

ppt
Wait for God
Reading: Acts 1: 4-8 and 2:1-4
Reading: 1 Samuel 13: 1-15, Hosea 6:1-3, 14:1-9, Isaiah 30:15-18, Acts 1: 4-8 and 2:1-4

Sometimes, God asks us to do something.
But sometimes, God asks us to wait.
Even when we want to do something for Christ, God often asks us to wait.
Then we need to give God a chance.
We take our hand off and need to let God work.
Then we need to stop, slow down and wait.
If we hurried all the time, God may ask us to wait so that God can solve the problems we made.

So, we read this kind of story in the Bible.
About 3000 years ago, God appointed Saul as the first King of Israel.
Then Saul experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then God sent the prophet Samuel to teach King Saul on how to walk with God.
So the Prophet Samuel came and train the King Saul.

Then, this kind of incident happened.
1 Samuel 13: 7-14 described it.

At this time, God asks King Saul to wait.
God asks Saul to wait for the coming of the prophet Samuel.
If he waits, he would be able to move powerfully, with God.
King Saul could take action, being one with God.
Then God could protect him to be a blessed king.

But Saul could wait.
So, he gave up waiting.
He gave up being obedient to God.
He gave up walking with God.
He gave up being with God.

He lived his life knowing his kingdom would be taken away from him.
He lived his life knowing that God has left him.
Then, he often did things that he would regret.
Occasionally, he lost his sound mind.
Then one day, he lost his kingdom.

Then, about 300 years later, God sent the Prophet Isaiah.
Through the Prophet Isaiah God explained why they should wait for God.

Let’s read Isaiah 30:15-18.

Through the Prophet Isaiah, God asks people not to hurry and jump around all over the place but to wait.
Wait so that God can bless them.
In this time of waiting, they need to repent.
They need to return to God.
They need to be quiet before God.
Resting in God, trust in God and see what happens.
Then they get saved.
Then they get strengthened.
Then they get saved from the present difficulties and trials.

But they would say, “No, I don’t want to” to this invitation.
They turned away from this invitation of resting.
Then they run away from the enemy that doesn’t chase after them.
Then they slip, make mistakes and fall.

Now it is 700 years later.
Looking at people getting into a bigger and bigger problem, Jesus came and took their sin and the consequences of their hurrying habits.
Then he was wounded and crucified.

But then after two days God revives him and on the third day God restores.
Now we are able to live in his presence. (Hosea 6: 1-3)

The bible asks us to return to this God and get to know this God.
Because this God will heal us and will raise us up in third day.

Also then after his resurrection, Jesus asked his students:
“Now it is your turn to wait in Jerusalem, until the Holy Spirit comes.”
Jesus is about to leave them and send the Holy Spirit to work with them.
This is a time of transition.
They need to wait and be recharged for another journey of faith, next faith journey with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is about to introduce the age of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s read together: Acts 1: 4-8

Jesus is like:
“You don’t need to jump around here and there to receive the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will come and give you courage.
The Holy Spirit will help you trust in me.
The Holy Spirit provides the guidance.”

After three years of a busy active ministry, they need to wait: 50 days.
Then they need to rest in God.
So, waiting is an important ministry.

Then the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2:1-4.

They would experience the Holy Spirit.
They would learn to be in tune with the Spirit of Jesus.
After waiting and resting, they would live walking with the Holy Spirit.

Because they waited, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gave them power.
Then the Holy Spirit started God’s genuine works within them.
Then 3000 Jews start believing Jesus Christ on this day.
They rejoice as they see the action of the Holy Spirit among them.

(Once upon a time, there was a tree.
For such a long time, many people pass by.
But no one wants to use if it.
His friends become houses, tables and chairs.
Then he left alone.
He felt lonely for such a long time.
He wondered: how come no on wants to use me?
But when it is fully grown, people think it is a beautiful tree.
They like to sit under this tall, huge, and beautiful tree.
People like its relaxing shade.)

So, sometimes, by doing nothing, we are prepared.
Sometimes, we grow spiritually waiting, resting, and doing nothing.
When we learn to rest and wait daily, we can serve others in the way that God likes.
So, sometimes, we need to learn to just be and do nothing.
Then we learn something through those boring times.
Sometimes doing nothing is necessary.
Sometimes, in order to listen to God, we need to rest awhile.
We need a time to think and ponder.
Then we listen to the voice of Jesus.
Then God's grace and love will be experienced within us.
After that, we can do something carrying on God’s will and idea.

For some of you, the time of waiting may sound like wasting times.
But it isn’t.
It can be most productive.
Because then, we may know which road we should walk on and succeed.

So, we need to wait for God daily.
We need to wait and learn daily even for a short minute.
As we wait and come closer to God, Jesus starts his genuine ministry among us.
Have a time of waiting of the Christ in the morning or in the evening.
And sense where the Christ may lead you.

5.14.2012

1 Peter 4:12-19

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Suffering
Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19

Who is the most important person in the Bible?
Jesus.
Why?
Because the Bible is written in order to ask us to be Christ-minded persons on earth.
It is a joyful journey to follow Jesus.
But sometimes, it can be a painful journey.

The first disciples soon learn that believing Jesus and following his way was not easy.
Just like Jesus suffered, the 1st century disciples also suffered.
At that time, the religious leaders and government leaders persecuted them and asked them to abandon their faith in Jesus.
If they don’t listen to them, they wanted to kill believers.
They falsely accused them.
They executed some of believers.

So, some believers went to prisons.
Some of them had to leave their home country, because of constant dangers they are facing.
They were suffering like Christ.
Many believers wondered how to handle these sufferings.

(1) So, Peter, one of their leaders says this in 1 Peter 4:12-14, 16.
“When life gets tough, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job.
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.
Then you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are fortunate, for the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God rests on you.
If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

Peter wants to see these sufferings through the eyes of faith.
Then facing tough situation because of their faith, he asks people to try to rejoice because they participate in the sufferings of Christ.
Even though not everything is going well, he asks people to rejoice as if everything is going well.
In this way, they can show their faith.
He asks them to praise God because they are known as followers of Christ.
Then they would live victoriously with Christ.

(2) Another 1st century believer, James says: (James 1:2-4)
“Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops endurance.
Endurance must finish its work so that you may be mature and well-developed, not lacking anything.”

James says, consider it pure joy facing trials or suffering.
Why?
Because then we mature.
We mature through them.
Endure this testing of our faith, we will be well developed.
Through trials and sufferings, we learn that we are not lacking anything.
Enduring, we enter into the land that God promised to us.

This present suffering may also force us to understand the cross of Jesus.
It also forces you to think about your faith.
When we suffer for Jesus, we think seriously about whether we are right about believing Jesus.
Doing so, you may understand how Jesus might have handled his suffering.

(3) Paul, a 1st century pastor/apostle suffers so much preaching Jesus.
Then he says to the church in Colossians 1: 24:
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, because I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in the suffering of Christ for the church.”

He learned that it was tough to serve the church.
He learned that he needed to suffer to share the story of Jesus.
Then he tried to rejoice in his suffering for the church of Jesus Christ.
Christ has to suffer to share gospel now.
But Paul wants to share that suffering with Christ for the church.
He decided to suffer for his generation.

Then he learns something that he cannot learn without suffering.
Because he suffers, he learns of Jesus and is able to teach others better.
He experiences many miracles of Jesus.
He learns Christ Jesus more and more.
So, he experiences Christ in his own suffering.
He shared this faith.

It is good to know the story of Jesus.
It is good to suffer for the story of Jesus.
It is good to spread this story.
It is good to give our life for the story of Jesus.
Then in the power of the Holy Spirit we will live well.
Then we may change the world for the better.
We may change the minds of people.

Anyway, in his suffering, Paul encouraged others with these words: (2 Timothy 2:11-13)
(4) “If we died with Jesus, we will also live with him.
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us.
If we are faithless, God remains faithful, for God cannot disown himself.”

Paul was saying to himself:
“Paul, suffer with Jesus. Then you will live with him.
Keep on try.
Then know that if you can not be faithful, God will be faithful to you.
God cannot be unfaithful.
God cannot be unloving.
God cannot stop loving.
God has to love and be faithful because that is the character of God.
God cannot help but to be faithful.
To this God, be faithful.”

Then Paul, who wrote this, really died like Jesus.
Now he lives in God, forever.

Because Jesus was willing to suffer, he experienced a breakthrough.
He suffered but experienced the resurrection: the experience of rising back.
Because Paul was willing to suffer, he experienced a breakthrough.
He suffered but experienced his own resurrection as a result.

But it is still difficult to say it is better to die in Christ than to live without Him.
But because of this faith, many had died.
Many had decided to die with Christ.
Because of this faith, they were able to truly live their lives in Jesus.
Because they were willing to suffer for the love of God, more people get wondered about their faith in Jesus.
They asked “Who is this Jesus anyway?”
Then eventually, more and more people learned who Jesus is.

Not all those who suffer die.
Those who feel meaninglessness really die.
Those who have any good purpose survive.
Those who have a reason to suffer survive.
Those who have a good goal to die for survive.
It is a good thing if we have found something to die for or suffer for.

The early Christians have a conviction, facing such a persecution.
So, they try to fill up in their own bodies the sufferings that Christ might have endured without them.
They try to rejoice in it.

What about today?
Even today, in North Korea, and in some Middle Eastern countries, because they follow Jesus, they lose their life. (John 12:25)
Some could not dare to recognize their faith, before their family members, relatives, or village people.
Then they may be persecuted or put to death.
So, some of them are secret Christians in the land.
Some of them have been persecuted in the land.
Some of them are in a prison camp.
Some North Koreans learned about Jesus in China, and tried to go back to North Korea to tell their family, risking their lives.

As you know, North Koreas have been suffering from drastic food shortage: famines.
You may have seen it. This picture was taken at night. It simply shows that they live with almost no electricity at night.
The thing is that they have some natural resources.
But they cannot sell them because they don’t have a good relationship with many other prominent nations.

(6) So, let’s pray for one minute.
Pray for those who are persecuted and live such a difficult condition.
Pray that they may have enough food and spiritual food.
Let’s pray that they may know freedom in God.
Let’s pray that they may be free.
Pray that all the North Koreans may have a chance to listen to the story of Jesus.
Pray that they may experience Christ right there.
In one minute, wait and see how God is guiding you.
Then say something to God for them. OK.
Let’s pray.

Our church has been supporting a ministry that helps North Korean.
But still we pray that something good had to happen in that land.
Pray that some good project may continually happen for them.
Pray that more people can learn about the story of Jesus.
Let’s pray about that.

Now let’s talk about you.
You don’t experience this kind of suffering.
You may suffer in your mind.
Let’s talk about how to handle some tough times that you may experience.
The Bible says:
Don’t be surprised.
Doing all the right things, and preaching the truth, you need to endure it and win it.
Try to give praise to God and rejoice.
We should try to do good.
Try to continually live for God.
Then you will bear eternal fruits.
Then we may experience the victory of Jesus.
We pray that our life may be meaningful and fruitful.

Even if we experience some tough time, because we made some bad choices or we were too proud, we need to humble ourselves and ask God to guide us and lead us.
God blesses the humble.
So, God purifies us and help us mature, so that God can use us.

Let’s learn and grow through some tough times/opportunity.
In those tough times, we learn a lot and grow a lot.
So, let’s ask us: What is it here to teach me?
And learn as we go through our life.
Let’s try to sing praise God.

During those times, we evolve.
We grow up in God.
We grow up as God's chosen ones.
We grow into God's favor.

Let’s decide to continually follow Christ even during those tough days.
Let’s try to rejoice because we participate in the life of Christ.
We will experience Christ right there.
God will be more real in your life.

Don’t worry about anything.
Through prayer and petition, offer our request to God in thanksgiving.

We will learn that this kind of a live of prayer is better than a life of worrying.



Note:

Christ Jesus has lived this life already.
If we come and seek God honestly and truly, we may experience this.
Then we may also comfort those whom we meet at our school and workplace.
We may pray for your classmate and your teachers.
We may pray for our coworkers.
Find someone may struggle.
Pray for them and with them.

Note:
Fundraising for some good cause

Note:
Have you ever felt like you were suffering for Christ?

Note:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5,18)


5.03.2012

Mark 10:13-16 (3)

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Jesus, the Child of God
Reading: Mark 10:13-16

About this time, Jesus becomes very famous.
He is well known as an authoritative spiritual leader.
So, people brought their children to Jesus.
Children felt peaceful and joyful coming to Jesus.

Jesus understands the mind of children and wants to have fun with them.
He is about to play with children.
He loves to welcome their childlikeness.
He was about to bless these children.

But the disciples rebuked the parents and drove them away.
They were moving away from Jesus.
This kind of actions didn’t give Jesus peace.

So, Jesus was like:
“Yo! Let the little children come to me. They are special.
I like them. I am theirs. Let them come to me, just as they are.
Let them experience my blessings.
O, how I wish that people would come to me like these children.
Then they would experience the eternal life.
They would feel joy.
They would feel peace.”

Jesus stopped his students because he worried how these children would feel because of their words and actions.
Then, he blessed them.
He loves to bless them.
Jesus loves to bless their lives.

When Jesus blesses, what does he do?
He imagines with God.
He discusses things over with God.
He listens to God’s plan.
Then he prays that God may act for them.
He prays that they may live peacefully.
He prays that God may solve their problems.
He prays that they may meet the wise God.

God created them, beautifully based on God’s imagination.
Jesus wanted to serve them beautifully based on God’s imagination.

Here he also shows that it does not require much to welcome children.
You don’t need a big house and a lot of wealth.
You just need to be simply there, sharing what you have from God.
So, here, Jesus simply welcomes them and prays for them.
No giving a toy or cookies.
He simply stands up for them.

Children have their own imagination.
Following their imagination, they can go out, run around, jump around, and become a superman, batman or something like that.
They can travel time and space. (Teleport)
Everything is possible.
Their imagination is their art.
Later in their lives, they may start imagining a life they want to live.

Sometimes, children like to act like someone and have fun.
They play acting this person or that person.
They learn things acting like this person or that person.
They learn to think like this person or learn to think like that person.
Playing like that, they are becoming someone.

So, sometimes, they need someone to respect and act like.
At this time, Jesus wants to show who he is.
He wants to say: “How about me?”

When Jesus welcomes children, Jesus is welcoming their imagination.
Jesus desires to protect their imagination.
Jesus wants to help their imagination find a right path.
Jesus wants them imagine with him.
He wants them to imagine that God feels joyful, being with children.
Looking at Jesus, they would imagine, daydream and plan something.
Children need this.

Then later, they would remember:
“When I did that, I felt joyful. Wait a minute. Being with Jesus was also peaceful and joyful.”
Then they may imagine what would be like if they follow Jesus.

Jesus says in the bible: (Matt 18:5)
When we welcome children in his name, we welcome him.
When we welcome children in the name of Jesus, we welcome Jesus, their creator.
When we welcome children thinking of Jesus, we welcome Jesus himself.

Jesus is calling for those who humble enough welcome children.
Jesus is calling people to guide them and teach knowing that they are precious.
Jesus is calling people to engage with them in their imagination; listen to their thoughts; and allow them to share what they receive from God.
Jesus is asking people help them imagine correctly about God.
Jesus might have imagined a world of joy and peace of children.

Jesus, as the Son of God, follows his joy and peace.
So, when we follow him, sometimes, we may feel his joy and his peace.
Have you felt peaceful in Jesus?
Have you felt joyful in God?
Have you felt peace in the Holy Spirit?

This feeling may inform you are experiencing Jesus.
This feeling comes as we are about to enter into the promise/word of Jesus.
When we follow our peace, we end up in the promise land.

For example, Jesus says, “Bless your enemy.”
That is the word has a promise in it.
So, we believe him and bless people.
When we obey his request for love, we find peace.

You can just imagine what you would feel when you bless your enemy.
Then you even feel peace already.

But then how can we bless our enemy?
We bless them, imagining a wonderful world for them,
We bless them, imagining that they get all kind of blessings.
We pray that they receive good idea and thoughts.
We pray that what their all wishes may happen for them.
We pray that they may receive spiritual blessings as well as material blessings.
Then we will find our own peace.

When we try to obey his teaching, we understand him.
Obeying the words of Jesus, we understand the character of God.
When we welcome children, we understand Jesus.
Then we can explain who Jesus is.
Then we can introduce who God is.
Then we can live humbly the truly rich life that Jesus talks about.
So, may you be able to imagine like Jesus.

When the disciples tried to drive the children away, why Jesus was so upset?
He lost his peace.
There were some kind of thoughts and impressions that give him peace.
But when people love God and love children, he finds peace.

So, when Jesus makes an important decision, he gives it a time to think.
He may wait for a peaceful conviction from God.
He may give enough time until a decision comes to him or form within him.
Then he is able to make things in God’s speed.
He is able to build things according to the heart of God.
He is able to build things that last forever.

Do you wait for Jesus to lead you?
Do you wait to have a conviction?
Then you may have less regret.

It means that if we don’t know what to do, we don’t do anything.
We wait. Be still. Be very still.

God will say things about that.
God will guide you.

Then we want to know:
Am I ready to move toward it?
What kind of effort would I make to move toward?
Do I feel peace thinking about moving forward with this idea?
Is this idea good for everyone?
It is something I cannot give up?

When we are sure enough of this, we try out.
Try out the idea.
Test it out.

Then if we make mistakes, God is there to uphold us.
We sometimes make mistakes in our life.
But Jesus forgives us and restores our life.

When you find a roadblock, find another path for life.
Jesus will create new things.
Jesus will find another way for you.

When we make decisions feeling peace, we may make the world toward a peaceful society.
Then we may be able to love children and make a better place for them to live in.
More children may find the love of Christ in their heart.

You are children of God.
God plants God’s idea and imagination in you.
God is dreaming things through you.
God will show what God wants you to do.
Have faith and persist in doing it.

Note: Additional reading: Isaiah 11:6-10

4.07.2012

Luke 24: 45-49 (2)

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Wait, Be Empowered, and Move with the Spirit
Reading: Luke 24: 45-49
Additional reading: Acts 1: 4-8; 2:1-4, Psalm 131:1-2

Often God’s clear and detail guidance comes to those who can wait.
If we can wait on God, we may bring peaceful plans to our community.

Now let’s think about the life of Jesus.
Before starting his ministry, God had him wait and be prepared.
Jesus came to save the world.
But he needed to wait until he knew for sure what he needed to do as the Savior.
He must have studied and learned what the Christ should do.
He must learn what to do and how to live as the Messiah.

Then he learned what was already written in the Bible:
“The Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.
Then in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Through his meditation and study, he came to this conclusion.
He was thirty years old.
Now he needed to make a decision.
Is he going to start this still?
Can he do this?
This is about eternity of many people.
He was this much prepared to build something long lasting, eternal lasting.

He also needs to know what to teach and how to act for God.
He needed to plan his three years of public ministry.

After learning enough lessons from God, he decided to start his dynamic ministry. Even then, he took each step carefully.

(1) First he humbled himself and went to John the Baptist to be baptized.
The humble Holy Spirit came on Jesus like a peaceful dove.
God also approved that he was ready now.

Jesus still needed to wait and think about this.
So, Jesus went to the wilderness.
Jesus was making decision while waiting.
He was there for 40 days and 40 nights.
He was tested there.
After long training, he knew whether some imagination and ideas are in harmony with God or not.
There he learned that he was really ready to serve God as the Messiah.

After this time of waiting, learning, thinking, and preparing, he went out to serve people.
But even after this, whenever he had to make another important decision, he went to mountains and prayed there again and again. He was there alone, waiting on God to speak to him.

For example, right before choosing twelve key students leaders for his ministry he spent a whole night.
Resting before God he made each decision.
If it was the will of God, he might have felt an inner peace.
He knew that by the movement of his feeling.
He must have a process in discerning and making choices for his ministry.
Each decision will influence the whole eternity, so he needed to wait on God.

(2) Even on the night he was betrayed, he waited and made the final decisions being inspired by his Father.
So, again Jesus sought privacy.
In silence, he listened to God.
Because prayer is listening.

His heart was able to listen to his Father.
Then he remembered why he came to the world.
God was saying the same:
“The Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in your name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Before taking the actual cross, he waited alone and thought about, and examined his life.
Jesus knew this process.

Then, Jesus suffered and died.
(4) On the third day, he was raised from the death.
From now on, anyone who confesses their sin and turn around will be forgiven.

After his resurrection, Jesus said to his students: (Luke 24: 45-49)
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised.
So, stay in Jerusalem until you have been empowered by the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus said this again and again.
In another time, while they were all eating, Jesus said: (Acts 1: 4-5)
“Do not leave Jerusalem.
But wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus asked the students to wait.
Jesus didn’t tell them exactly what would happen.
Those who wait will know.

Jesus learned that only when they were empowered by the Holy Spirit, they were able to speak of the story of Jesus.
They needed to wait, be empowered, and move with the Holy Spirit.

(4) So, they start to wait in Jerusalem.
They were waiting together in one place.
They waited one day, two day.
After they waited 50 days, the Holy Spirit came.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing wind came from heaven.
It filled the whole room.
Then what looks like tongues of fire were separated and came to rest on each of them.
Then all of them received the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit empowered them.
Then they began to speak in many languages. (Acts 2:1-4)
Because they received the Holy Spirit, when they proclaim the story of Jesus, the Holy Spirit works with them.
They could help a lot of people because of the Holy Spirit.
When it is needed, the Holy Spirit enables them to heal people.
Then they were able to tell the story of Jesus wherever they go.

You may say:
“We are Korean. We are American. We don’t wait. We don’t like waiting.”

So, let me tell you how other people learn to wait.

Brother Roger of Taizé said something like this:
When you feel like walking in a thick fog, waiting for Christ means giving him the time to put everything in its place. Then a fountain of gladness springs up in the desert of your heart. It is not just any kind of joy, but that jubilation which comes straight from the wellsprings of Eternity.

I don’t know what you think of this.
But Norman Vincent Peale talks about waiting in this way:
“My own method is to seek privacy and sit quietly until I achieve a fairly relaxed state of mind and body. Then I practice conceiving of God, the Creator, as actually touching me, actually re-creating me, then, and there. I consciously “feel” new life passing from God into my body, into my mind. I picture my spirit as being renewed again, making vital electric contact. I then say aloud slowly the following affirmation, “In God (I) live, and move and have (my) being.” (Acts 17:28)… “The Kingdom of God is within me.”

Jesus asks his students to wait.
When we wait, God works in our heart.
When we wait, we experience the Spirit of Jesus works in our heart.

Whether you wait or not, God still loves you.
God loves you and gave the only Son for you.
But if you wait, you will be able to walk closely with the Christ.
If you wait, you will move with the Spirit.

Then your heart may be able to hear clearly what God wants.
In the morning or in the evening, I hope you would learn to wait on Christ Jesus daily.
When you wait, you will understand more of God.

May the Holy Sprit give you new ideas and protection.
May the resurrected Jesus be with you all.

3.28.2012

What is the use of silent prayer? Why do we need that?

What is the use of silent prayer? Why do we need that?

I was leading a retreat the other day at a Christian Retreat Center.
After my first presentation, a person asked me: what is the use of silent prayer?
Why do we need that?
He had a scientific mind and wanted to know what the benefit of silent prayer was. My answer to him was a longer one. But I would like to share a part of it.

There is so many way we pray.
Silent prayer is one of them.
Silent prayer or contemplative prayer is good for those who like to discern God’s way in their own life.
It helps you to get to know more about God and yourself.
It is like taking an inward journey of yourself.

God is communicating with us in various ways.
So, during silent prayer, you examine how God has been communicating with you.
If you recognize it, you can enjoy God’s guidance for your life.

One way to examine about this is to think about how you have been feeling lately.
It is because our feeling often informs us whether we are in tune with God or not.

So, in terms of examining God’s gentle guidance through your change of feeling, here are two questions that you may consider.

What does it feel like when you are in tune with God?
What does it feel like when you are NOT in tune with God?

Mostly, when we are in tune with God, we feel good. We feel alive.
So, here are some of feelings that you may feel when you are in tune with God:

o You are peaceful, whether you are busy or not.
o Everything seems move smoothly.
o You feel calm and easygoing.
o You feel freedom.
o You feel God’s grace for your life.
o God seems working through you as well as people around you.
o You are grateful.
o Out of nowhere, you have faith, hope, and love.
o Suddenly, you feel like you love everyone.
o Suddenly, you are full of hope.
o You are able to calmly listen first, then plan and work.
o You have a quiet conviction for your life. You feel like, “This is it!”

Now what does it feel like when you are NOT in tune with God?

o You worry a lot. So, you spend a lot of times watching TV.
o You become grumpy, or anxious.
o You get easily upset.
o You feel sad, without a specific reason.
o You are not accomplishing much, but you are very busy.
o You feel people don’t care.
o You feel like you are doing everything.
You don’t feel like God is there to help you. You feel like, “I am alone in this.
I alone have to do all these.”
o You do things because you feel you got to do.
But you know you are not in it.
o You feel like your life becomes tough.
o You go through the motions.

If you recognize these feelings, you may be able to discern where you are with God, and then choose better choices for your life.
This is really a very brief description.
But it may help your journey of living in tune with God.