Mark 9:38-50 (1)


Rejoice in other people's success
Reading: Mark 9:38-50
Blanks: miracles, water, peace

(3) Two thousand years ago, the disciples of Jesus were supposed to cast out demons.
Sometimes they were good at it.
But sometimes they were not good at it.
Some days, they cast out demons.
In other days they were not able to cast our demons.

So, Jesus asked them to pray more in the name of Jesus, so that they could cast out demons.

What Jesus was asking them was something like this:
What are these?
Right, these are phones.
But these phones have no batteries in them.
They have no power.
So then what do we do?
We plug these phones into its power source.
Then it works.
Otherwise, it does not work.

Likewise, Jesus was saying:
"Sometimes, you are like these phones.
You need your power from God.
Then, you can live a powerful life.
So, pray and be connected with God.
Then, you can cast out demons and do powerful things."

(3) Now then there was a man who knew about this.
So he started to cast out demons in the name of Jesus.

(2) When the disciples of Jesus saw this, they were like:
“Who is this guy?
Where does he come from?
He is not a follower of Jesus like us.
Then why does this guy use the name of Jesus, our teacher, to cast out demons?"

So they confronted him saying:
"You can not use the name of our teacher.
Only we can use his name.
We are the disciples of Jesus.
So only we can use his name."

They wanted to insist that only they can use the name of Jesus.
But as you know now, sometimes, they could not cast out demons.
But still they insisted that only they should use the name of Jesus, their teacher.

(3) So after this, John, a disciple of Jesus came to Jesus and reported about this:
“Jesus, have you heard what we have just witnessed?
There was this guy who cast out demons in your name.
He was not a follower of you.
He was not one of us.
So, we stopped him.” (smile)

Jesus was like: (Acts 5:38-39)
“Oh no.
Don’t stop him.
Leave him alone.
Otherwise, you may be fighting against God!
He is doing fine.
He must have some kind of faith.
He must have learned something about me.
So God is with him with this.
There is more than one way to follow me.
Also remember: whoever is not against us is for us.
Since he use the power of my name like that, he would not quickly change his mind and speak against me.
So whoever is not against us is for us.”

Then Jesus might have said something like this:
(3) “But it seems there is another issue here.
You were not able to cast out demons.
But this guy came along and cast out demons.
So, you felt insecure.
Or you felt jealousy.
You are my disciples.
You are following the blessed way.
(3) So if anyone gives you a cup of water to drink because you are my disciple, they will have their reward.
So, don’t be jealous.
Instead, just be happy for him.
Don’t try to stop him.
God does not like that.”

Sometimes, we may not want to see someone succeeds when we fail.
This kind of attitude disconnects us from God.
So when we realize that, we may ask God to forgive us and take away our sins.

(4) Let’s talk about these phones again that need to be charged.
At this point, if we disconnect again these phones from its power source, it may not work.
Likewise, if we are disconnected from God, our life does not work very well.

Then what disconnect us from God?
The Bible calls it sin.
(3) But then what is sin?
It is lying, stealing, being mean to other people, gossiping about other people, being jealous and trying to live only for ourselves.
All these things are called sins.
Sin separates us from God.
Sin unplugs us from our true source of power, God.
These disconnect us from God and keep us from living good and joyous lives.

So as we are spiritually maturing, we recognize when we are envious or jealous.
Then we may laugh at ourselves.
And we may ask God to forgive our sin and ask God to help us to refocus on Jesus again so that Jesus could help us to overcome our own weakness.

(3) The world needs the good news of Jesus the Christ.
Everybody can use the name of Jesus to accomplish great things.
Jesus is for everyone.
Jesus is not only for our church.
But Jesus is for every church and every people.
So we may need to help each other to do the work of Jesus in this world.
And we may need to rejoice when someone else is accomplishing something great in the name of Jesus.
That is how you can live for God.

(3) So Jesus was like:
“Salt is good when salt is doing the thing that it needs to do.
If salt does not lose its saltiness, it is useful.
Likewise, you are children of God.
If you live like God, your heavenly Father, we are doing the right thing.
Then you are very useful in this place.

Then how does God live?
God is good to everyone whether they are good or not.
(3) For example, God shines his light to everyone whether they are good or not.

We are called to live like that.
We are called to be good to everyone like God:
We are called to be at peace with everyone.
Then we will be very useful in this world.
May this miracle happen in our life.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for the faith that you have given us to follow you.
Thank you for your grace and mercy toward us.
Help us to focus on you.
Help us to think of you and follow your way of life.
Then we will have your eternal blessing.
Right Jesus?
Thank you, in Jesus name, we pray.

(So a former president of South Korea, Kim Dae Jung implemented Sunshine policy toward North Korea, to bless North Korea.)


Mark 9:30-37 (1)


Crucified God, Crucified Christ
Reading: Mark 9: 30-37
Additional readings: Colossians 2:12-15, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Philippians 2:5-8, Ephesians 6:12
Blanks: rise, servant, welcomes

(3) Jesus is God.
But on the cross, Jesus suffered and died for us.
The crucified Christ is the great mystery.
Why does God have to be crucified like that?
Why does Jesus have to be crucified like that?
For two thousand year, the cross of Jesus made people wonder.
It still makes me wonder.

Do you know Mahatma Gandhi?
He learned from Jesus about nonviolent resistance.
And he implemented this idea for the liberation of his people.

Then one time, Gandhi was traveling in Europe.
Then he saw the cross of Jesus at a church.
Then he cannot help but to stop and stand there for a long time.
For some reason it made him deeply wonder and ponder at this time.
He must have thought about his life, too.

What about you?
When you see the cross of Jesus, what do we see?
Each person may see differently.
So what do you see at the cross of Jesus?
What do you think about?

(3) When I see the cross of Jesus, I see also human weakness.
When Jesus was on the cross, most of his human friends were not there.
Peter who walked on the water and promised to die for him, was not there.
Thomas who encouraged other disciples to die for him was not there.
Those who acted like they wanted to protect their teacher whom they called the Messiah and the Son of God, were not there.
They all left.
They were brave people.
But they could not be here.

But ironically, because they were not here, they realized their weakness, they were able to serve God.
They could continually serve Jesus, because they saw their own weakness here at the cross.
Right here, they realized that without the help of God, they could not really serve Jesus.
They could not love him.

(3) What if they didn't experience the cross?
What would happen?
They might thought that they could do all things.
Then they might try to show off how powerful and brave they were.
Then when they preached, sometimes, they might be tempted to preach about themselves and what they could do.
They might have tried to promote themselves as the next leader after Jesus.

(3) But at the cross, they all saw it.
They all saw their human weakness.
So they wanted to totally depend on God and God’s power.
Then, God’s power was manifested through them.
And they were not confused about whose power it was manifesting.
They knew that it was God’s power, not their own.
So God was able to freely work among them.

In the Bible there were some people who were confused about this:
(#) For example, when Saul became a king without knowing much about his own weakness, he confused about this.
So sometimes, as for him, what people thought about him was more important than what God thought of him.
sometimes, he acted like what people said was more important than what God would say about him through prophets.
So he couldn't continually seek God nor serve God.

When Solomon became the king without really realizing his own weakness, he also confused about this.
So he married many wives.
And then he was not faithful to God at the end.

(3) But David suffered a lot and waited a long time before he finally became a king.
Maybe because he suffered and learned to be patient, he wasn’t confused about this.
He understood about his own weakness.
So after he became a king, he still remembered that God's power was working for him.

But one time, he committed a terrible sin against God.
When he realized it, he was so sorry for God.
Then he sincerely repented before God.
And he tried to do what is right.
And again he tried to be faithful to God.

He continually loved God and knew that without God’s help, he is nothing.
So as for him, God was everything.
He knew that only God could make him a person of God.

Other people also learned deeply about this while they waited.
(2) For example, Abraham learned this while waiting for a son whom God promised.
If you remember, God promised him a son.
But for many years, no child.
He waited for many years.
Then finally, he had the son that God promised.
His name was Isaac.
But still Abraham loved God more than his son, because he knew only God could give him the son.

Paul also learned about this while waiting.
Paul knew that he was called to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, non-Jewish people.
But Paul also had to wait.
While waiting, he learned more about God.
Then when the time came, God gave him many opportunity to preach and serve the Gentiles.
And Paul knew this was possible because God was with him.

For our benefit, sometimes, there are some kind of suffering for each person.
Then we learn of our weakness before God.
Then we tend to serve God and people faithfully in God's way.

(2) In our Bible reading, today, Jesus mentioned about his coming death and suffering.
Jesus knew that he would be betrayed by a friend and be killed.
But after three days he would rise again.
This was the great lesson that the disciples needed to learn.
Through this lesson they would really learn to trust only in God.

So before it all happened, Jesus continually talked about this.
Jesus repeatedly said that he would die on the cross according to the Bible.
The Messiah was supposed to die like this.
So it was not an accident.
His death was necessary for our new life.
His death could help us to see new righteousness.

(4) Of course, the disciples knew about the animal sacrifice that had been done at the temple for the forgiveness of sin.
But those animal sacrifices were not the real thing.

Jesus was saying that he is the real thing.
His sacrifice is the sacrifice.
His death really takes away the sin of the world.
Through his death, everyone will be forgiven.

(3) After his death, there is no need of animal sacrifice.
His death and suffering would be more than enough to take away the sin of the world.
So after his death, no more sacrifice was needed.
So he reconciled people to God so that they could have eternal life.

God knew this.
So God didn’t protect Jesus even though God has power to stop all this.

But Satan tried to stop this.
Satan knew about this plan of God.
So he tried.
But when he realize that he could not stop it, he tried to make it painful hoping that Jesus would change his mind.
So Satan even seduce his friend Judas to betray Jesus.
Satan tried to make it painful.

(3) But Jesus died his death on the cross.
All the way Jesus was sinless.
That shocked the universe.
It reshaped the spiritual world of the universe.

Then in this way, Jesus defeated the Satanic power of violence and pride.
Then he preached that the way of love and mercy is stronger.
His resurrection was the proof of it.

(3) So now God is blessing all those who follow this way of Jesus.
And through these people, God continually changes the world.
Through those who call on the name of Jesus, God makes the world more peaceful. Then as people are baptized in Jesus, God continually proclaims the victory of Jesus.
God is helping people to rise up and change the world.

(3) Jesus asks us to remember his death and resurrection.
That is the Lord’s Supper, the Communion.
Taking these elements, we are trying to remember Jesus who died on the cross for us.
We try to remember his death and resurrection.
Then we may see God’s power and our own weakness.
Then we may be truly reconnected with God.
Then we may be empowered to follow Jesus in the right way.
Then we may be able to walk in the power of God.
In this way, we may receive the power of God for our life and spiritually healthy.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for your death for us.
Thank you for your resurrection.
Help us to be faithful to you as much as you are faithful to us.
Help us to understand you and believe in you.
Help us to love you as much as you love us.
And may all your vision, dream, and hope be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven.
We pray.
In Jesus name, amen.


Mark 8:27-38


4 Steps of Spiritual Growth
Reading: Mark 8:27-38
Additional Reading: John 6:56-69
Blanks: what about you, suffer, rise, God, deny, save, words

Today, we will think about 4 possible steps of spiritual development that may happen in your life.
These steps happened in the lives of students of Jesus.
It happened in my life.
It may happen in your life.
So let’s have a look at them.

(4) 4 step of development goes like this.
First, you get to know Jesus.
Second, you share of Jesus.
Third, you will get to know more of Jesus.
Fourth, you will be sent by Jesus to do God’s ministry.

You may grow like this.
Let's explore a little bit more detail:
The first stage is to explore who Jesus is.
So here, you read about Jesus.
You get to know of Jesus and so on.

Two thousand years ago, many people followed Jesus. .
They just came and watched what Jesus was doing.

For example:
Do you remember Andrew, a disciple of Jesus?
Andrew came and watched what Jesus was doing, because Jesus invited him to come and see.
No commitment is necessary at this time.
Just come and watch.
Come and start your journey of faith.
Watch and learn the faith of Jesus,.

(3) Secondly, then you talk to other people about Jesus.
At this time, you don’t know much about Jesus.
But still you tell other people about Jesus.

That is what Andrew and Philip did.
They invited other people to come and see.
Philip invited Nathanael.
Andrew invited Peter.
They told others to come and see.
So Peter and Nathanael came and learned about Jesus.

At that time, Andrew and Philip didn't know much about Jesus either.
They didn't know about his future death and resurrection.
They didn’t know many teachings of Jesus.
But they shared with Peter and Nathanael what they found out so far.

Then they learned more about Jesus as they talked with Peter and Nathanael.
They discussed together about what Jesus said.
And they learned more about Jesus.

So, as you share with other people, you learn more about the story of Jesus.
Sometimes, only when you share what you know, you get ahead and learn more.
(3) For example, if you go to Israel, you will see the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.
These two seas are very interesting.

In Galilee, there is full of life.
There are a lot of trees.
There are a lot of fish.
Many people live around Galilee.
There are fishermen working to catch fish at night.
A lot of children play and swim during the day.

The Jordan River flow through this sea.
The Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee and flows out of it.
And it continues to flow into the Dead Sea.

But in the Dead Sea, there is no fish; no tree; no birds flying above.
No people live around the sea.
No animal comes and drinks the water.
Life does not exist here.
So only tourists come and use this place.
At least, that is how people use this place.

Water flows into both seas.
But when the Jordan River comes to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea does not let go of enough water.
The Dead Sea does not share enough water.
But then the weather is hot.
So water evaporates.
Then the Dead Sea has too much salt in it.
So no fish survives.
That may have some spiritual meaning.

When we share what we receive, there is life inside and out.
When we cannot share what we receive, there is no life inside and out.

When you share what you learn, people may also learn and grow.
When you share what you receive from God, God’s power work in your life. So you understand God even more .
When you share the story of Jesus, you learn more about the working of the Holy Spirit in your life.

(3) So sometimes, I ask you to have a chance to teach a Bible study.
I hope that sometimes, in future, some of you may teach 1st graders, 2nd graders, 3rd graders, 4th graders or 5th graders.
I hope that you can teach them at our next VBS here at the church.

Anyway, I hope that try to share some knowledge that you have about God.
Try to share what you understand and learn from God.

(3) The third step is to learn more about Jesus.
As you share, people may ask you some questions.
You may know the answer.
Or you may not.
So you study more about Jesus.

Or sometimes, you may feel you have nothing more to give.
You have given everything you got.
So you may study more and learn more.
You ask questions and discuss with other teachers.
You study the Bible with good teachers.
In this way, you learn more.

(3) From our Bible text today we read Jesus mentioning about his death for the first time.
When they learned and shared what they knew, now Jesus was guiding them to go deeper.

(4) Fourthly, one day, when you are ready, you will be sent by God to do something.
As you get to know Jesus and as you get to understand your own self in God, you may hear this calling.

(3) But still at this stage, your learning continues.
You continually learn more about who you are in God.
You discover your spiritual gifts.
You discover how you should live.
You gain more conviction.

You get to know how to serve others using your spiritual gifts.
You understand how Jesus may use you and your gifts.
This journey continues, as you learn of Jesus, God and Holy Spirit.

At this stage, you need to learn to pray as well.
You can only learn praying by praying.
There is no other way.
That means, you need to be surprised sometimes, by the fact God really listens to your prayer.
You need that experience.
So you need to learn more about prayer.
As you pray, God will helps you to discover who you are in God.
You will learn this by talking to God.
By talking to God, you may also know personally what God is like.
Then your faith may be matured.
Then you may have peace.
You may be able to rest in God's power.

Now you know more how to communicate with God.
You are not afraid when you come to God in prayer.
You know God is very gentle and good.

(#) Then one day, Jesus may also ask your full commitment.
Jesus may say:
“Be fully committed to God.
Meaning, take up your cross and follow me.”

Jesus may ask you to suffer for the truth.
Jesus may say:
“Stand up for me and for my truth.”

Then you really need the power of the Holy Spirit.
You really need the Holy Spirit empowering you to take up your cross and sacrifice your life for the truth

Your faith may be matured like this.
We may need to repeat this process until we get it right.
Then we may know who Jesus is.
We may know more and more who you are in God.
And you are peaceful about it.

Then you may go even to some nations where there is no church nearby.
But still you will be able to live as a Christian.
You will worship and believe in God.

You know how to share your life.
You know how to serve God and people.
You know how God may use you.
So you may serve God and people according to your calling.
You may have opportunity to serve God.

I hope that you experience this kind of spiritual development.
I pray that you have various opportunity to grow like this.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for helping us to serve you with our gifts and talents.
Thank you for guiding us and giving us strength.
Thank you for creating various opportunity for us to know God.
Thank you for using this church so that people may grow in you.
May we be able to learn more of you and serve you.
May we be fruitful in all we do.
In Jesus name, we pray.


Mark 5: 1-20; 7:31-37


Tell the story of God’s love
Reading: Mark 5: 1-20, Mark 7:31-37
Object: A bottle of old soda

(3) Today we are going to have a look at two healing stories of Jesus.
Both happened in the area called Decapolis.
Let’s read these stories.

First story goes like this.
(1) Let’s read together: Mark 5: 1-20

(3) Jesus came here by boat.
(4) Then Jesus cured the man that people thought hopeless.
Then Jesus asked the man to go to Decapolis and tell people about what Jesus has done.
So he told them about what Jesus had done to him.
Then, many people might have believed in Jesus because he told everyone what happened spiritually.

This place, Decapolis was not a Jewish place.
But they all spoke in the Aramaic language.
In those days they and Jewish people spoke in Aramaic.
So, they understood each other.

Sometimes later, Jesus came here again.
(3) Let’s read together to know what happened: Mark 7:31-37

(3) When Jesus came here for the second time, some people in Decapolis immediately thought about a person.
This person was not able to speak and hear well.
They thought this man needed a miracle.
So they brought this man asking Jesus to heal him.
Jesus was like:
“Why not.”
Then Jesus healed the man so that he could speak and hear so well.

But then here is something different about this healing.
Last time when Jesus cured a man, he asked him to go and tell what God has done for him.
(#) This time, Jesus cured a man and said to them not to tell anyone.
What is the difference?
This man could talk now.
People wanted to hear him.
They wanted to ask:
“How could he cure you like this?”

Then they went to their town and told everyone about this.
They could not stop talking about it.

(2) It is like this: (Shake the bottle of old soda.)
Have you shaken a pop bottle and open it?
What happened?
It goes all over.
That's what happened.

They enjoyed talking about Jesus and this man.
Even though Jesus asked them not talk about this, it was too difficult not to talk about this.

Now there might be some reasons that Jesus told them not to talk about this.
(3) Why do you think that Jesus asked them not to talk about this?

Maybe Jesus wanted something more than a simple excitement.
Jesus wanted them to have a spiritual understanding of what happened.
(3) Maybe, Jesus wanted them to truly understand.
Jesus wanted them to understand the spiritual meaning of this healing.
Maybe Jesus wanted them to see more clearly and really see.
If they really saw, they would wanted to be with Jesus.

(3) Or Jesus maybe be saying that their intention of bringing this man was not right.
Jesus cured the man.
But it was not right.
The ministry of Jesus was not a circus.

It is the manifestation of God’s love.
Nothing more, nothing less.

If they can see that, they can tell the story.
Then they can help other people to understand the true meaning of this story.

(2) Maybe Jesus knew this man didn’t want to be part of a public show.
So Jesus cured this man being away from everyone.

Maybe this person was extremely introvert and a very shy person.
So Jesus wanted to heal this man in a very private way.
Jesus dealt with him very gently.

Maybe that is why Jesus told them not to tell anyone.

And again, his miracle is not a show.
Jesus was just helping one person at a time.
And when Jesus wanted to help someone, he really wanted to help that person.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Our ministry should be like that because each person is very important in God’s eyes.
We can help one person at a time.
That is enough for God.

(3) For this kind of ministry, Jesus trained his disciples.
He spent three years with them.
He gave them opportunities to speak for him.
He died for them,
He rose back up for them.
He gave the Holy Spirit to them.
Then Jesus sent them to do this unique ministry of God.
Jesus sent them various places.
Then they went and told the story of Jesus.
Because they understood about God’s love, they could tell the story.
Then people understood that Jesus is the manifestation of God’s love.

Now Jesus is trying to help us understand this God of love and tell the story of God’s love.
Sometimes, we need to do this one person at a time.
Sometimes, we need to pray for one person at a time.
Sometimes, Jesus is trying to help us to share his love and tell his story to one person at a time.
May we be available for this kind of ministry.
Then may God miracle happened in our life.

Lets’ pray:
Jesus, thank you for coming into our life and heal our life.
May we learn of your love enough so that we may also tell your story of love.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.