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.