Matthew 23:1-12 (4)


How can we tell whether someone is a Christian?
Reading: Matthew 23:1-39

When you meet someone for the first time, how can you tell whether that person is a Christian?
How can you tell whether that person goes to a church?
How can you tell whether that person loves God?
How can you tell whether that person makes God happy?

Can we tell it by the way they dress?
(3) Let’s say that that person wears this kind of hat.

By the way, what does it say?
“Know Jesus Know peace”
It means that if you know Jesus, you may know what peace is.

So now, can we say that the person who wear this is a Christian?

What about this?
(3) Someone may wear this WWJD t-shirt.

By the way, do you know what WWJD stands for?
Right it stands for:
"What would Jesus do?"

Some Christian think about this question a lot, because they want to know how Jesus would live in their particular situation.
So they ask this question to themselves:
What would Jesus do?
What would Jesus do?
How would Jesus live in our situation?

They want to know the answer, because they want to live like Jesus.

So, if someone wear this, can we say that that person is a Christian?
Can we say that that person is committed to follow Jesus?
We don’t know.
That person might borrow this t-shirt from his brother.
That person might wear this without knowing that it means.
Who knows?

What about this?
(4) Here are some big expensive necklaces.
If someone wear these crosses, can we say that they are Christian?

(4) What about this?
Someone might wear all of these together, like this.
Now, can we say that that person is a good Christian?

Can we say that that person follows Jesus?

This person may follow Jesus and may be a Christian.
But we don’t know.
Maybe this person just wants to wear something like this, because that person thinks it is pretty.
We don’t know.
We cannot tell by the way they dress.

Then how can we tell if someone truly believes in God?
We cannot see their hearts.
So, how can we know whether they really love God or really believe in God.

Then the only way that we can find out is by looking at how they live.
Do they love God?
Do they love people?
Do they obey Jesus?

Are they careful in what they say thinking of Jesus?
Do they thank God for all blessings?
Do they put God first in their lives?

What do they produce through their life?
Do they produce something good because God helps them?
Do they experience the power of the Holy Spirit?

If they do, we may say that they are Christians because they live like God.

But here is one more questions:
How does Jesus know whether someone is a Christian?
How does God know whether someone is a Christian?

Jesus knows this by looking at their hearts.
Jesus understands people’s hearts.
Jesus understands their unspoken words.
Jesus knows how they think.
So, Jesus just knows.
God also just knows.

God has been working in their hearts so that they can believe in Jesus.
So God always knows whether they belong to God or not.
God helps them to love God and love Jesus.
God helps them to receive the Holy Spirit.
God works in their life for them to follow Jesus.

So, we can be a Christian, only if we allow God to work in our hearts to help us to believe in Jesus.
Then we will be a Christian.
So, let’s allow God to live among us and lead us.

Let's pray:
Jesus, you know us.
You can see what is in our hearts.
If there is something that you don’t want, change our hearts so that we can believe in you.
Change our hearts.
Make our hearts ever true to you.
Change our hearts so that we may be like you.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Matthew 23: 1-12 (2)


Be Humble and Patient
Reading: Matthew 23: 1-12
Props: Running Shoes and Dress Shoes

(3) Jesus says something like this:
“Those who exalt themselves will be disappointed and humbled.
But those who humble themselves will be lifted high.”

What does it mean?
Let me explain with this story.

(3) Once upon a time, there was a gentleman who had these two shoes.
These shoes were at his shoes’ place at his house.
But these shoes were very different.

So. let me introduce them to you.
(2) One is Dress Shoes.
He is good looking.

But he ignored all the other shoes.
Then he only talked with other pretty dress shoes.

Even then he was rarely listening to them.
He didn’t care what others had to say.
He always talked about himself.
He talked about how good looking he was; how handsome and beautiful he was.

He was like this because he thinks that he is very important.
So, he never volunteer for anything, thinking he is saved for a special purpose.
That is him.

(2) Now let’s meet this Running Shoes.
This Running Shoes is different.
He is very nice.
He loves everyone.
He is thankful for God.
He is smiling all the times.
He is willing to serve.
In fact, he was used for various purposes.
(3) Sometimes, he was used to to play soccer.
Sometimes, he was used to go to the post office.
He was used to go to the mart.

(1) Sometimes, he was even used as a toy for kitten.
They played with him and rolled him.
They hid themselves in him.
They loved him.

Then one day, the owner of these shoes was invited to a birthday party.
(3) So, he was preparing for a present.
Then these shoes were watching him.
Both wanted to go to this party.

But the Running Shoes knew so well that the owner would not wear Running Shoes to go to a birthday party.
So, Running Shoes decided to wait patiently to be used for another purpose.

(3) But Dress Shoes was ready.
He looked up and waited to be picked.
Well, he was right.
He was picked.

So, he was so happy to go this birthday party.
He wanted to be looked good and show up at this party.
He hoped that everyone would talk about him and how good looking he was.

(3) But then the birthday boy called and asked everyone to wear casually because they are going to play games outside.
It was a special birthday party with a lot of games to play outside.

So, for this occasion, Running Shoes was chosen.
(3) And he was happy, playing a lot of fun games outside.
He was also happy because he could serve his owner.

(2) Maybe that is what Jesus says here like this:
“Those who exalt themselves will be disappointed and humbled.
But those who humble themselves will be lifted high.”

Jesus is asking us to be humble and patient so that God can use us and bless us.
So, I hope that we practice our faith very humbly and patiently.
May we believe in Jesus very humbly.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to be humble and patient so that you may use us and bless us.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Luke 5:27-32 (1)


Reaching in and reaching out
Reading: Luke 5:27-32
K-hymns: 431/432

Jesus saw a man, Levi at his work collecting taxes.
But God has been working on his life.
He started to sense God who started a good work in him.

People might have thought that Levi became spiritual.
But he was more and more interested in following Jesus as well.

Then Jesus came alone and said to Levi:
"Come follow me."
Then he walked away from everything and walked with Jesus.
Then Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus.
He invited his friends who were tax men.
Some of them didn’t have a good reputation.
They all sat at the dinner.
Then Jesus talked with his friends.
Jesus recognized that Levi was not his student.

But the proud religious law-keepers didn’t like this.
Who knows why they didn’t like this.
They were like:
"What is he doing eating and drinking with thieves and sinners?
Those who hang out with these sinners become like sinners.
Those who tried to live a holy life should not be associated with them.
These people are good cheating people.
They remarried four times and so on.”

When Jesus heard them, Jesus was like:
“When I hear you, you seem to say that these people are sick.
They are sick religiously and socially.
So, you should not get involved in their life.
But if you think like that, how can I help them.
If they are sick, they need a doctor.
If they are sick, they need God who can heal them.
If they are sick, they need God who loves them.
If you cannot see that, you may be sick too.
You may also need a doctor.
You may also need God who can teach you how to think.
You all need a doctor.
You all need God.”

Jesus was saying:
“What is the point in judging these people?
What is the point in punishing these people by not being their friends?
If I can make them my students and teach them, I can help them.”

Jesus continually talked with those who are not religious.
Jesus wanted to help them to live a new changed life.
Jesus became their friends because he wanted them to get involved.
Jesus spoke to their hearts so that they would know how to live.

Then Jesus took care of them spiritually.
He loved them and cared about them.
Then they were interested in knowing the kingdom of God that Jesus talked about.
They wanted to know more.

Jesus lived this kind of life.
In this way he made God happy.
Jesus focused on reaching out these people, because God wanted them.
Jesus focused on welcoming outsiders.
Jesus focused on teaching these people and serving them and changing their life.

Jesus wanted his students to follow his example.
Jesus encouraged all the churches to practice reaching out.
Jesus was like:
“How can you change people by judging them and condemning them?
Then what is the point doing those?
So, I want you to reach out to them with my gospel.
Reach out for those who are not well accepted in their society.
Sinners are welcomed in my church.
Help all people even though they have grown up differently and have different culture.
Reach out to those who are isolated.
Be ready to be uncomfortable sometimes.
But pray and make efforts for this.”

We may constantly try to live this life of Jesus.
We may constantly pray.
Jesus is working today to reach out the outsiders.
So, we need to do something good to those who are outside.
God is calling us to seek their happiness.
Following Jesus means that we seek their happiness.
We make efforts to help them find God and help them find that God loves them.
So, we try to become their friends for God.

In the church, you may practice like this.
Some of you have seen this video.
But let me remind you:
Let’s watch this video:

If you try to find the lonely, they are always with us, right?
Then, you will never be alone.
Helping them to be part of the group is also what is like to reach out.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to practice what you want us to practice.
Help us to love you and love people.
Help us to be patient and kind.
Help us to follow you.
In Jesus name, we pray.

For this kind of life, Jesus asks us in Luke 6: 27-39:
“Do not judge; Do not condemn; Forgive.”

Pastoral Prayer 12

Jesus, you have washed our feet.
You have served us.
You have given us the grace of God.
You shine your truth on us.
You pour out your Holy Spirit on us.

May we listen to you and be changed.
Give us faith to be changed.
Give us understanding.
May we be transformed according to your words.
May we also serve your people and submit to each other.

Jesus the Christ, You are with us.
Even when we are afraid, you are with us.
Even when we doubt, you are with us.

May we understand more and more of you.
May we discover what you want of us.
May we obey more and more of your will.

Jesus, we want to be changed by you.
Change our hearts by your words.
Open our eyes to see your movement.
Open our ears to hear your voice.
Help us find the answers to our life.

Help us find the life, way, and truth in you.

The Spirit of Jesus, help us to trust you.
Help us to be free from worry.
Help us to forgive and move on.
Help us free from stress.

Jesus, you are the resurrection.
Through you, we can live.
Through you, we will rise again.
You bring our soul back to life.
So, we come to you knowing that you wait for us.
Help us to live a good life because of you.

May we follow your footsteps, spreading your Gospel.
May we love you and give our life to you.
May we follow you faithfully just because you love us.
Help us to find God who love us.

Inspire our teachers to share your wisdom and knowledge.
Inspire our kids to listen your words and live according to who you are.

It is meaningless to worship you when you are not with us.
So, Jesus opens the heaven and comes and helps us to worship you and receive your blessings.
And your blessings may overflow to the world that you love.

We pray this in Jesus name.

Pastoral Prayer 18

Jesus, you love us.
You emotionally, voluntarily and unconditionally love us.
So you gave your life to free us.
You gave your life to guide us and lead us.

Then risen from the death, you always live among us.
Thank you for your presence, peace and joy.
Thank you for taking care of our weakness and taking care of our life.
Thank you for liberating us to live your life.

May we live and live in harmony with you and with your people.
May we recognize your presence among us more and more.
May we recognize your guidance more and more.
May we serve each other according to your will.
In this way, may we understand you more and more.

Thank you for sending your people to serve you in various countries, in various forms and in various ministries.
Bless them to teach and speak for you.
Bless them to serve you.
Bless them to have your joy, peace, love, power, faith, and victory in life.

Now we entrust to you our family and friends, all who ask for our prayers and who pray for us.
May your good will be done among them.
Inspire them to do what you will.
May you speak through them and live through them so that people around them may experience you.

We also pray for those who always remains in our heart.
Give them your peace and healing.
Bless them to understand you more.
Heal their minds and create in them a new spirit to serve you.
Fill them with your love.
And help them to live your life.

Jesus, now we pray for our church.
May you accomplish your good will through us and among us and in us.
May we love what you love.
May we live understanding your plan and your will and your mind.
May your good will be done in our life forever.

In Jesus name we pray.


Mark 10:13-16 (1)


Jesus loves children
Reading: Mark 10:13-16
Additional reading: Isaiah 11:6-10

It was when Jesus became very famous.
He was well known as a good spiritual leader.
So, people brought their little children to Jesus.
They wanted Jesus to place his hands on them and bless them.

But the disciples didn’t like this at all.
So they rebuked them.
But Jesus saw this, he was mad.
So, he said to his students:
“Let the little children come to me.
Don’t you ever hinder them, because I belong to them.
I am serious.
Those who do not welcome me like these little children will never have me.
I belong to people who are like little children.”

In a sense, Jesus was asking his disciples:
“Can you feel this joy of God here?
This joy belongs God.
Can you feel my joy for these children?
When you welcome these children, you are welcoming God?
This is so true, isn’t it?
Those who are like children love God.
I feel the joy and peace of God, the joyous peace of God as God welcome these children.”

Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Welcoming these children, Jesus was welcoming those who welcome him.
These little children trust him.
They feel joy, as they come to him.
Jesus feel joy as he blesses them.

Then Jesus might have said to children:
“I belong to you.
You are special.
I like you just as you are.
Just continually live with God.
God will give you joy and peace.
Don’t lose God.”

When his society look down on children, Jesus wants to welcome them and spend time with them.
Then Jesus said to his students:
“If you welcome these people, you welcome me.”

When his society look down on the poor, Jesus welcomed them and spent time with them.
Then Jesus said to his students:
“If you welcome these people, you welcome me.”
I pray that you may see God in this action of Jesus.
God is with them.
We need to buy into this.
God's ministry starts right there.

When we look at the life of Jesus, we may see that Jesus lived his life like a child, without worry or care.
Jesus simply expects God will be kind to him and satisfy his needs.
Jesus feel so much peace because of God.
Those who know God, can feel his joy and peace.

Where there is Jesus, there will be children.
Where there is God, there will be children.
No one can say:
“I love God but not children.”
If you are like that, may God change your mind and make you see what God sees.
May you feel God’s joy looking at children.
May you intuitively sense this joy of God.
May you enjoy God and God’s children.

Jesus says: (Matt 18:5)
"Whoever welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me."
Jesus was saying:
When you welcome children in the name of Jesus, you welcome Jesus.
When you welcome children in the name of Jesus, we welcome God.
When you welcome them, thinking of Jesus, you welcome God.
Think about how Jesus may want to welcome them.
When you imagine to welcome them like this, you welcome God.
When you help them worship God and listen to God, you welcome Jesus.

But still if you say:
“I love God but I don’t like children.
I don’t understand what they are doing.”
Then Jesus may say:
“I don’t understand you.
Can’t you love those whom God love?
Can’t you love what God loves?”

Then what is like to welcome children?
We cannot welcome children and say:
“Don’t act like children.”
“Don’t cry like that.
Don’t behave like that.
God does not like that.”

Just say that you want them to be quiet or behave, but do not use the name of God to say what you want.
In Korea, if a child cries or misbehaves, a parent may say:
“아저씨가 이놈하신다.”
Now in the church, a parent may say:
“하나님이 이놈하신다.”
Please don’t misuse the name of God.
Just communicate that you want them to be quiet or behave.

At the church, if you want to welcome children, you welcome their childlike imagination.
If you want to welcome children, you accept their shorter attention span.
If you want to welcome children, you accept that they can make a mess.

If you continually welcome children at church, they may become like Jesus.
Then they may look up to Jesus.
Then they may learn to act like Jesus.
Then Jesus may become their mentor.
Then they may eventually play like Jesus and become like him.
They may think like God.

If you want to welcome children, you also need to live a simple life.
In other words, we cannot place very fragile things everywhere in the church, and welcome children.
You know what I mean.
Jesus can welcome them, because he lives a simple life.
He does not try to welcome children after preparing a high quality welcoming party.
Jesus didn’t prepare cookies and candies to welcome them.
He didn’t rent a house to welcome children.
He didn’t spend a lot of money to welcome children.
He just welcome them.
Then he share his life with them.

Maybe Jesus was saying:
“I just want to share my life with them.
That is it.
I want to see them.
I want to spend time with them.
I want to pray for them.
That is it.”

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for welcoming us when we are sinner.
Thank you for loving all people.
Help us to welcome children and the poor, so that we may live our life pleasing you.
We pray this in Jesus’ name.


Mark 4: 35-41; 6: 45-52; 8: 14-21 (2)


Jesus in three different boats
Reading: Mark 4: 35-41; 6: 45-52; 8: 14-21
Blanks: sleeping, faith, obey, Watch, understand, understand

Jesus wanted his students to understand that God loves them.
God sent Jesus the Son of God to them, because God loves them.
If they understand that, they may live boldly, because God is for them.
They may not be afraid of anything.
They may not fear of anything, because God who is in control loves them.
Then they may follow Jesus without fear.
They may trust in Jesus.

Now in the gospel of Mark we see three different boat rides that Jesus had with his students.
Let’s see what happened in those boats so that we may learn more about Jesus.

One time, Jesus and his disciples were in the boat: Mark 4:35-41.
It was evening.
A huge storm came up.
And the waves were poured into the boat.
So, they thought that they would sink.

But Jesus was sleeping on the boat.
So they woke him up and said to him:
“Teacher, do you not care that we are about to die?”

Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves:
“Quiet down!
Be still!”
Then the wind died down and the waves became completely calm.

Then Jesus said something like this:
“Why are you so full of fear?
Why are you afraid when you are with me?
Don’t you know who I am?
Do you have no faith in me?
I am God who loves you.
Don’t worry.”

Jesus wanted them to understand that God who created the wind and the waves was with them.
Jesus was trying to help them understand that Jesus is God who loves them.

But they could not understand that at this time.
So, they were like:
“Who is this man?
Even the wind and the waves listen to him!”

(1) In another time, it was right after Jesus miraculously multiplied foods and fed more than five thousand people.
After that Jesus asked his students to go to the other side of the lake.
So they were again in the boat: Mark 6:45-52.
But Jesus went up to a mountain and prayed alone.

Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake.
The wind was against them again.
They thought that they were in trouble again.
So, they worked hard and rowed the boat very hard.

Then about three o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea.
Then the disciples screamed thinking they saw a ghost.

But Jesus said to them:
“Don’t worry!
It’s me!
Don’t be afraid.”

Then again he got into the boat.
Then the wind died down.
But they didn’t understand who Jesus is.

So, Jesus performed more miracles to help them understand that Jesus is God who loves them.
So, again Jesus taught people and miraculously multiplied foods again and fed more than four thousand people.

(2) Then later, Jesus and his students were in another boat to go to the other side: Mark 8:14-21.
On the boat, Jesus said to them:
“Be careful.
Watch out for the yeast of the proud religious law-keepers and of Herod.”

(3) What is yeast?
(3-4) What happens if you add this yeast when you make a bread?

Jesus was asking them not to add stuff to God’s words, not to twist the original meaning of what God says.

Like this, Jesus was talking about spiritual matters.
But the disciples didn’t understand.
So, they were like:
“Jesus is talking about bread, because we forgot to bring our lunch.
We forgot to bring our bread.”

But Jesus was like:
“No, it is not about bread or lunch.
Don’t you understand this?
Don’t you remember?
After I fed more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread, how many baskets were you able to fill with the leftovers?”
They replied:
“We filled twelve baskets.”

“And then, after I fed more than four thousand people with seven loaves of bread, how many baskets were you able to fill with the leftovers?”
They answered:
“We filled seven baskets.”

Then Jesus was like:
“Don’t you understand?”

Maybe Jesus wanted to say something like this:
“See, I can multiply food and create food.
I am God.
I can do those things.
So, I don’t worry about food.
What I am telling you is that in this world some people will try to twist my teaching to push their agenda and serve their purpose.
They may add stuff into my teaching.
Then they may ask you to rethink about Jesus.
They may add wrong opinions about me.
So, I am saying: watch out for this.
And don’t mix them with my teaching.”

As for Jesus, it is very important how we understand him.
If we understand him, we will live differently.

So, Jesus tries to help us understand who he is.
Jesus tries to help us understand that Jesus is God who loves us.
Jesus tries to help us maintain this faith without compromising it.

Jesus hopes that we understand and find peace in Jesus.
Then we may even live proclaiming that Jesus is God who loves everyone.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to understand who you are.
Help us to live understanding you are God who loves us.

So, may we live humbly and patiently according to your teaching.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.


Matthew 21:18-22


You must give something back
Reading: Matthew 21:18-22
Additional reading: Mark 11:12–14
K-hymns: 268, 492

Jesus was about to finish his ministry.
Then early in the morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem city.
He needed to have a breakfast.
Then when he saw a fig tree with a lot of leaves, he thought:
“Since it has a lot of leaves, it will have a lot of fruits.”
So, he went up to it.
But he found no fruits.
Then Jesus realized that this tree only receive all kinds of nutrition but don’t give its fruits to the world.
So, he cursed the tree saying:
“May you never bear fruit again!”
The tree withered immediately.

The disciples said:
“Wou. How did that happen?
The fig tree withered so fast.”

Then Jesus was like:
“If you have faith and do not doubt, you can do that, too.
(4) If you have faith, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
If they don’t doubt, this kind of things will happen.
If they pray for something and then have no doubt, God will accomplish it.
This kind of power is available to you.”

But don’t you think that Jesus was so mean to the tree.
Why did Jesus use his power against this fig tree like that?
Why was Jesus so mad at this tree?
I don’t think Jesus was just hungry.
Using this fig tree Jesus was giving a warning.

Another time, Jesus told this kind of story: Luke 13: 6-9
A man had a fig tree in his vineyard.
He went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.
So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard:
“For three years I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any.
Cut it down!
Why should it waste my land and my soil?”

Then the man replied:
“Sir, leave it alone for one more year.
I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine!
If not, then let’s cut it down.”

Basically this person is saying:
“Let’s be more gracious to it one more year.”

God provides sun and water to this tree.
But it only receives and receives and receives.
It receives good energy from sun.
It receives good nutrition from the land.
It receives good stuff.
But this fig tree contributes nothing back.
It gives nothing back to the world.
This tree is supposed to produces good fruits.
This tree is there to give something back.

God is not asking the fig tree to produce apples or orange.
God is asking it to produce figs.
It is natural.
It is their gifts.
That is what fig tree does.

When it produces fruits, God will be happy.
God will look at the fruits and rejoice, saying:
“This is good.
That is good.
Thank you for these wonderful fruits.”

Telling this story, Jesus is saying to people:
Just like God does not like that fig tree has only leaves, God wants people to repent and produce good fruits.
God wants people to return to God, trust the promise of God and come clean and then bear God’s fruits.
For this goal, God provides faith and good promises and good words to people.
God provides prophets faithfully.
God provides good energy for them.
God provides hope.
God helps them to have faith.
God works in their lives.
Then God wants to serve others through them.
God wants to produce wonderful fruits, through them.
Then God will be happy for them when they produce something positive.

Otherwise, people may experience something like curse.
So, Jesus suggests the way of blessing instead of curse.
If we obey Jesus and learn to produce good fruits, we enter into the life of blessings.
When we live the life of giving, we enter into the life of blessings.
If you obey what God says, you live a happy life.

Jesus shows that those who believe in him can produce good fruits.
It is natural.
Jesus will help them produce something good.
Jesus will help them to believe in God so that they can produce something good.
It is natural.

This may apply to each nation, each city and each church.
This applies to the Jewish nation.
This may apply to Korea.
This applies to USA.
God gives and provides and expects that they produce something good.
Each person, each nation needs to allow God to produce something good through them.
God provides good stuff expecting this result.

But if some nation or some people do not want to serve others, they may wither.
They may be cursed.
If they are not interested in producing anything good even though they have received God’s grace and mercy, they may wither.
They may experience something like being cursed.

When I didn’t know this fully, I also lived like that before.
If there are two choices, I chose to receive, instead of giving.
Then I experience a curse, rather than blessings.
Then I have to pray saying:
“God, help me to serve you fully despite the time I wasted.”
Then when I live a life of giving, I rather experience blessings.

So, don’t make my mistakes.
Serve God instead.
If God wants you to study, study for God, for people for the world.
If God wants to you to work, work for God, for people for the world.

We are here to obey Jesus.
Jesus wants to produce some good fruits through us.
For this glorious goal, Jesus even promised us:
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
If you believe, God can produce something good through you.
If you believe and obey, Jesus can change your life.
So, ask God to help you to believe and obey.
Then God will be with us blessing you and enriching you even more.”
God is with us.
We just need to allow God to produce something good through us.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving so much.
Now, we offer our life to you.
Use it and produce something good through us.
We pray in Jesus’ name.