5.21.2012

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

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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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ppt2
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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ppt

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