12.30.2013

The story of Jesus

It is not easy to explain.
But I will try.

Experiencing the story of Jesus is like experiencing an art.
It is like listening to music.
Listening to some music, you may feel the beauty of the music.
You may sense its beauty.

I don’t care what kind of music you like.
You know its beauty and its power.

But if you think about it, you are just hearing sounds coming out of various instruments.
You are hearing airs coming out of various holes of instruments.
If it is a guitar.
You are hearing noises coming out of a wooden box, because of vibrations of various strings.
There is no reason to be moved by it or feel beauty about it.
But you may feel its beauty.
You are created to feel it.

Think about watching a movie.
Have you ever cried watching a movie?
You know it is not true.
You are watching talented actors who were acting out of the script.
These actors pretend that they fall in love.
These lovers may have no desire to see each other after finishing that movie.
But you are crying and laughing over them.
Even funnier thing is that you feel good after crying and laughing for awhile.
Your mind may say it is just a movie.
But your hearts explain something else.

Now let’s think about a face of baby.
Have you ever been there when you felt the power of baby’s face?
As soon as you saw a baby, you suddenly forgot all your worries and stresses.
And you are happy.

The story of Jesus is like that.
But at the same time, the story of Jesus is more than that.
It has a power to change lives.
It has a power to give you courage.
It gives you faith.

But your mind asks:
“Why did Jesus have to die?
Why was his resurrection necessary?”
You may have many questions.
But if you allow God to touch your heart, there is some power in this story.
As you think about it and meditate on it, you experience more of it.

12.28.2013

1 John 4:7-21

ppt

God is love
Reading: 1 John 4:7-21
Blanks: God, love, Son, Son, love, Jesus, loves, love
K-hymn: 9

(2) God loves you.
Because God loves you, God is very interested in your hearts.
God is very interested in your minds.
God is interested in knowing what is going on in our heart, because God wants to know who really loves God.
Then often God acts based on this knowledge.

(2) So, do you love God?
Do you love God more than anything?
If you love God more than anyone, you tend to remove all the stumbling blocks to your very happiness.

So, Jesus encourages us to love God more than anything, more than even our life.
When we love God like that, we can make good choices for our lives.
Then we can produce something good.

Do you know also that our heart has to love God?
(3) If it doesn’t love God, it gets sick.
Then our heart behaves strangely.
It worries a lot.
It may get easily addicted to some negative thoughts and feelings.
It may even feel uncomfortable, even when things go well.
It may even be afraid of happiness and run away from it.
So, if we don’t love God, our mind gets confused and get frustrated.
When you are like that, people may run away from you, because they feel you don’t love them, either.

Then how can we love God?
We can love God by seeking God’s happiness.
How can we seek God happiness?
(2) What makes God happy?
Jesus makes God happy.
So, God is very happy when you try to know Jesus.
God is very happy when you invite Jesus into your heart.
God is very happy as you gain more understanding of who Jesus is.
Then you will learn how to love like Jesus.
(3) Then we can love God.
And you can love people as God loves them.

If we love like this, what happens to them?
They experience Jesus, who loves them.
They experience God’s love, because Jesus loves them through you.
Then Jesus can lead their life and help them to do what God wants them to do.

(3) The Holy Spirit also seeks God’s happiness.
So, the Holy Spirit asks us to have Jesus as the most important person in our life.
Then our life will move much smoothly.
Then God’s thoughts will flow into your mind so that you may live a good life.

But sometimes, we may make some mistakes.
We might make some wrong choices.
Then we may stop loving God or loving people.
Then the Holy Spirit may come and show us that we have sinned against God, because we didn’t love God or love people.
Then the Holy Spirit may ask us to confess our sins to God.
(3) Then when we confess our sin to God in Jesus’ name, God forgives us.
God cleans our hearts and purifies it so that we may practice God’s love and kindness.

But some people may say:
“Why do we need to confess our sin to God, when we have sinned against anyone?
I mean, if I cheated anyone, or lied to anyone, if I have mistreated anyone, I have sinned against that person, not against God?”

When we sinned against anyone, we sinned against God.
So, God suffers.
That is why the Bible says if you don’t love your brother or sister, you don’t love your God.
Why? Why is that?
It is because God loves everyone and lives within every one.
God suffers, because God knows everything and loves everyone.
So, when one of us suffers, God suffers the same.
So, if you think about it, it is not fun to be God.
It is tough to be God.
But that is what is like to be God.

(3) So, you know, Jesus just couldn’t stand there when God suffers like that.
So, Jesus came to die for our sins.
Jesus came to pay the price for our sin.
We might have thought it was ok.
We might have been ok with our sinful life.
But God couldn’t stand it.
So, Jesus was like:
“I am going to die and pay for all your sin, as if I were responsible for your sin.
Then I am going to take away your sins.
Then God will be able to forgive you completely so that you may start all over again.”

Jesus lived like this, because he knew so well, who God is.
So, when we truly understand what Jesus has done for us, we will start to change.
Our hearts will start to change.
Then, Jesus may say something like this:
“Now hold on to me as I hold on to you.
Live in me, as I live in you.
Trust me with your life, and live my life.
Then I can make all things possible.
Then you can truly do what you truly want to do.
So, try to do what I ask you to do.
Then I can create wonderful life for you.”

(3) You know sometimes, I ask God:
“God, what do you want me to say to these people?”
Then God seems to say:
“Go, tell them I love them.”
So, I am telling you:
God loves you.
May you experience God’s love today. Amen.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for loving us.
Thank you for loving this people.
May we understand your love.
Thank you for giving your Holy Spirit.
Thank you for getting involved in our life.
May we want to do what you want us to do.
May we be the light and the salt of the world.
May we love our people.
May you love them through us.
And may your love be remembered forever.
In Jesus name, amen.

Note:
Because we are sinners like this, if we don’t agree with anyone, we say: "God loves me even when God does not agree with me.
God even has died for me.
This God has died for you, too.
So, you can have your place at this church.”

Note:
We have all obey God selectively.
We may have done that, because we cannot agree with God.
But still the graceful God accomplish his good will even in our disobedience.
When we know this, we will not judge anyone.



12.27.2013

John 11:17-27, 39-44

ppt

Hello, Church, Proclaim!
Reading: John 11:17-27, 39-44
K-Hymn: 265
Blanks: rise, resurrection, believe, glory, thank, come out

(3) How does Jesus change our life?
Jesus changes our lives through his words.

That means, when Jesus wants to change our life, Jesus speaks about what he believes first.
Then his words start working in us and for us.
Then we experience the change.

Today, we read an example.
It was when Jesus wanted to raise Lazarus from the dead.
(1) So, first he said:
“I am the resurrection and the life.
All those who believe in me will live forever.”
Since Lazarus believed in Jesus, Jesus now let him experience the resurrection, by saying:
(3) “Lazarus, come out!”
(3) Then Lazarus came back to life.

(2) So, when Jesus wants to change our life, he speaks.
Then, the Holy Spirit starts to work.
Then we experience the change.
This is how Jesus changes lives.

So, Jesus spoke a lot of good words for us.
Jesus says that God loves you.
Jesus says that God forgives you.
Jesus says that God gives you freedom in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says that you will see heaven open.
Jesus says that you will receive eternal life.
Jesus says that you will see God and be called children of God.

Jesus also proclaimed many promises to his churches.
So, today I am going to read that to you.
Then you, as the church, say “amen.”
Then we will proclaim his words together.
Ok?
Let’s practice.
I say:
God loves you.
You say:
Amen.
I say: God forgives you.
You say: (Amen.)
God heals you.
(Amen.)
Your faith will make you well.
(Amen.)

Ok. Good.
Let’s begin:
You will hear the voice of Jesus.
You will bear many fruits in Jesus Christ.

When you pray, your request will be granted.
When you pray, the door will be opened to you.
Everything is possible for you as you believe.

You will become one people in Christ Jesus.
You are brothers and sisters of Jesus.
You will see heaven open.
You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
You will have the true life.

You will be made well.
You will stand firm in faith.
You will be saved.
You will be free and considered righteous.

You will be blessed, satisfied, and filled.
You will be comforted.
You will see God and be called “children of God.”
You will own God’s earth.
You will enter the Kingdom of God.
You will be great in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus will give you the keys to the kingdom of God.

So, when two or three of you gather in Jesus name, Jesus will be there in your midst.
When two of you agree about anything and ask in prayer, it will be given to you.
Whatever you allow on earth will be allowed in heaven.
Whatever you set free on earth will be set free in heaven.

Jesus will build his church.
His church will last forever.
Jesus will give you what will satisfy you forever.
Jesus will take care of you.
Jesus will give you rest.

You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
You will receive power as the Holy Spirit come upon you.
You will be the witnesses of Jesus Christ.
You will bring people to Jesus.

Jesus will raise you up at the last day.
Jesus will acknowledge you before the angels of God.
Jesus will reward you openly.

You will receive eternal life.
You will gather the fruit of everlasting life.
You will live forever through Jesus Christ.
You will find rest.
And Jesus will have you forever.

Amen!

Now may you experience the power of his words in your life.
May you experience what we proclaimed here today.
As you obey Jesus, you will experience more and more of him.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for being our God.
May we live according to your words.
May we live with you forever.
In Jesus name, we pray amen.

12.23.2013

John 6: 51-58 (2)

ppt

Eat Jesus? (Lord’s Supper)
Reading: John 6: 51-58
Additional reading: Isaiah 30:15
Shouting: Jesus
Blanks: heaven, forever, eternal life, feeds on me
Prop: Communion cup and bread
K-hymn: 488

(1) Jesus said something like this:
“I am food.
I am the food from heaven.
God sent me to be your food.
I am the healthy food ever.
So, you can eat me and live forever.”

Now why is Jesus saying that we need to eat him?
Then what is like to eat him anyway?
So, we are going to think about it.

Now then, let’s think about eating.
(3) Do you like eating?
You cannot live without food, right?
So, you think about food a lot.
So, Jesus is saying:
“Think about me a lot.
I am much better food.
If you eat me, you can live forever.
I am the true food.
So, if you eat me, you can truly live.”

(1) So, during the communion, we sort of eat Jesus, right?
But let’s think about this way:
(2) Jesus is God.
Then does it mean that we are eating God?
But how can we eat God?
God creates everything.
Can God be our food?

Yes, in fact, God wants to be our food.
Because if we eat God, we become like God.
Then God can teach us about the truth.
Then we will have courage to be like Jesus.
Then we can do what Jesus does.
Then they can overcome the world.
So, all those who eat Jesus will have Jesus in them and become new people.

(3) So, in order to give this food, Jesus died on the cross.
Then Jesus rose back again so that he can help people live again.

(3) Jesus also told us:
“Drink my blood, because my blood will cleanse you.
My blood will protect us.
Then you will be free from your sin.”

So, Jesus died on the cross to offer his blood for the forgiveness of our sin.
Then Jesus will save all those who believe in the power of his blood.

But again Jesus is God.
So, it is God who bleeds for us.
It is God who was wounded on the cross.
It is God who gives his blood so that we may live forever.
So, Jesus is asking us to drink his blood, and think about the power of his blood.

(3) Again, Jesus is saying:
“This bread is me.
So, eat it.
This cup is my blood.
So, drink it.
If you eat it, you can have me in you and you can live my life.”

(2) But here is one more thing.
We always eat Jesus and drink Jesus together.
Why do we always take communion together?
Because we need to see that everyone is having Jesus in them.
Not only me, but everyone.
So, we recognize that God will work through everyone.
God will strengthen everyone.
God will work through everyone.

It also means that everyone needs to remember what Jesus says.
Everyone needs to think about his death and life.
Everyone needs to love God and love people.
Everyone needs to live a pure life for him.

(3) So, we eat Jesus together.
Then we try to understand the meaning of his life together.
We try to obey together and practice what Jesus says.
We try to turn to him and find rest in him, knowing he loves us this much.
We can trust him, and even pray to him knowing that Jesus even wants to be our food so that we may have the eternal life.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for listening to our prayer.
Thank you for shedding your blood for us.
Thank you for your words.
Thank you for your life.
Thank you for strengthening us.
Thank you for making us live spiritually.
We trust in you.
So, by participating in your Lord’s Supper, may we proclaim your story until you come.
In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

12.18.2013

Matthew 26: 47-56

ppt

A nation of Peace?!
Reading: Matthew 26: 47-56
Additional reading: Matthew 10: 32-39, Mark 16:15, Matthew 25:31–46, 1 Chronicles 28: 2-7

(2) It was when Jesus was captured.
When Peter saw the soldiers taking Jesus away from him, he took the sword and fought back.
This was the only way Peter knew how to deal this kind of situation.
Peter was risking his life for him, as a matter of fact.

But Jesus stopped him saying:
“All who take the sword perish by the sword.”
Even at this moment, Jesus wanted to choose the way of peace.
Peter also needed to choose the way of peace because that is the way of the Christ.

But Peter was so shocked.
He thought Jesus would support him to fight back.
But Jesus was asking him to follow him to the way of peace.
As for Peter, this was more difficult.
Then here Peter discovered a new Jesus.
This Jesus was not the person that he thought he knew.
Peter was not ready to follow this kind of Jesus.
So, he ran away.

It is very difficult to follow this way of peace, knowing you would die.
It is difficult to speak what you believe knowing you will be killed.
It is difficult to boldly follow the way of peace.
But Jesus wanted to achieve his goal in this fashion.
Jesus achieved his goal giving his life away.

But Jesus wanted to start this movement.
Jesus also sought to plant this seed in this world.
So, Jesus said to his students:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
And make disciples of all nations”

What is the gospel?
The gospel is the story of Jesus as the whole.

Jesus asked them to preach his teaching and his life to all creation.
Then his teaching and his kingdom would grow and grow.
Then it will help many people and nations.

So, to follow this teaching of Jesus, some Christian denominations became peace churches and commit themselves for Christian pacifism.
They are Quakers, and Mennonite.
Some leaders of our denomination are also seeking to make PCUSA a peace church at this time.

Now, let’s imagine that there is a nation that decides to follow Jesus in his this way of peace.
What would this nation look like?
How can a nation stand believing “All who take the sword perish by the sword”?
Can you imagine a nation without weaponry?
Can you imagine our policemen or policewomen don’t have any kind of weapon? (In fact, UK does that.)
Can a nation exist like that?

If there is a nation like this, what kind of things would happen?
Let’s say that a nation declare her intention to be a nation of peace.
Then they abandon all military plans.
Then in order to follow the way of peace, they use money for peace.
They give money to help other nations, since Jesus said Matthew 25:31–46, helping the poor and prisoners and so on is important.
They use money to educate other nations to live peacefully.
They try to have a peaceful relationship with their neighbors.

This nation can only exist, if their people want to live like this risking their lives.
Will there is a nation that is courageous enough to try this way of life?
Will other nations recognize their effort and follow?

Let’s say, there is a president who want to run a nation like that.
Can he or she survive?
Can he or she be even elected?
Will a nation follow his or her leading?

What do you think?
Can this kind of nation exist?

We can be very violent people.
There is violence in us.
All those who pray for their enemies may understand how violent we are.
All those who try to forgive someone may understand this.
We are so violent that we need the Savior who gives his body and blood so that we may be so moved enough to follow his way of life.
We need to have God in us to live for God and others.
So, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, knowing that if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we may be able to live his way of peace.
If we can be one with Jesus in prayer, we may live what Jesus is talking about here.
If we are empowered by the Spirit of Jesus, we may be.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, our Savior, help us to follow you.
Give us your Holy Spirit so that we may follow you in your way of peace.
In your name, we pray. Amen.

12.12.2013

John 12:1-11 (1)

ppt
Prop: a perfume of any kind.

What is in my hand?
That is right.
This is a perfume.
It smells like this. (Let them smell)

Now, imagine that you take your mother’s perfume and pour the whole thing on the feet of your father?
You like the idea?
Do you think your mother will say, “Well done, my child”?
Do you think your father will say, “Well done; it smells nice”?

No?
Why not?
Right, you don’t use your mother’s perfume like that, right?

But today in our bible story, somebody did just that.
Her name was Mary.
It was right before Jesus died.
Mary came to Jesus with an expensive perfume.
Then she poured the whole thing on Jesus’ feet.
That is not all.
She dried them with her long hair.

If you were there, what would you say, if Mary did something like this?

We wonder and may ask:
Why would Mary do that?
Is she trying to say something?
What is she trying to say?

As for Mary, Jesus was very special.
So, she wants to give him her best perfume like this.
In this way, she was trying to say to Jesus, "Thank you for coming.”

I think we all have our own way of saying our thanks.
How do you show your appreciation to someone?
Some of you may simply say, “Thank you.”
Some of you may give a gift.
Some of you may do something for others.
Some of you may give a smile and a hug.
Some of you may gently hold their hands.

There are many ways we can say thanks.
We show our appreciation and gratitude in various ways.
But God understands them all.

So, when Mary showed her gratitude in this way, Jesus understood.
Jesus knew that Mary really felt good about Jesus.
So, Jesus felt warm and fuzzy inside.

I hope that we also show our gratitude and thanks to Jesus often.
Then we may also make Jesus feel warm and fuzzy inside.
OK?

Let’s pray:
Thank you, God for giving us your Son, Jesus.
Thank you for coming into our life.
May we live thankfully knowing that you really love us.
In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.


12.11.2013

Three Prayers

ppt

Today, I would like to introduce three prayers by three different people.
As we read these prayers, we may recognize who they are and what they hope for.

First one is “The Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).
Who is Reinhold Niebuhr?
One time, he was like a Michael Jordan in a theological world about 60 years ago.
He prayed:

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

“Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.”

This person must have struggled between serenity and the need to change.
Then he realizes that he also learns to surrender to God’s will, trusting that God will make all things right.


Another prayer is a prayer of St Francis (1181/1182 – 1226)

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

“O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.”

Based on this prayer, what do think about St Francis?
He wants to serve in order to create more love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy.
In order to do those, he wants to console, understand, love, give, forgive and die for God.
This is what he learned from Jesus.



The last prayer is “Lord’s Prayer” of Jesus Christ (5 BC/BCE – 30 AD/CE).
He taught us to pray:

“Our Father in heaven, holy is your name, your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

There are few things that are important to Jesus.
Jesus wants God’s will and plan be accomplished.
He wants that we live a life of forgiveness.

For this, Jesus was ready to give his life.