4.23.2016

John 13:1-17, 31-35 (1)

ppt

Jesus loves our neighbors as much as he loves us
(Love like Jesus)
Reading: John 13:1-17, 31-35
K-hymns: 499, 502

Jesus loved his students.
Spending three years with them, Jesus even showed them how to love.
Then because they were loved, they could love as well.

For example, today Jesus washed the feet of his students.
Jesus also washed the feet of Peter and Judas Iscariot.
In this way, Jesus shows them how to love.

But why did Jesus wash their feet?
Because it was the dirtiest part of body.
You know, they wore sandals without any socks in those days.

Jesus would like to serve to take care of the dirtiest part.
Namely, Jesus would take care of their sins: their dirtiest part.

Jesus is teaching that when we love someone, we may need to wash or take care of their dirty part: their sins.
We may need to carry with them the burden of their sins as they were being sanctified.
Something to think about, right?
Then we may love like Jesus.

After loving them like this, Jesus gave them this new commandment:
Jesus was commissioning them to love like him.
Jesus was like:
"Love one another.
How much?
As much as I have loved you.
When you love one another, people will know that you are my disciples.”

But someone may ask:
How much did Jesus love them?
Jesus laid down his life for them.

Jesus laid down his life for all of his students.
Jesus even laid down his life for those who left him or denied him.
Jesus even laid down his life for those who disowned him or betrayed him.
Jesus even laid down his life for those who misunderstood him.

Why did Jesus lay down his life for all people like that?
Because he saw a great value in each person’s life.
So Jesus loved them and hoped for them and trusted them.

So Jesus helped them to believe in him.
He healed them.
He fed them spiritually.
Jesus taught them and encouraged them to do what he did.

Then after risen from the death, he came back to his students to create the church.
Why did Jesus need to create the church?
Jesus needs the church through which he could continually heal people.
Jesus needs the church through which he could give God’s word to this world.
Jesus needs the church where he could continually give his Holy Spirit.
Jesus needs this church community through which he gives God’s hope to this world.
Jesus needs the church through which he could teach people about God’s love and about how to love.
Jesus needs the church where people experience the unconditional love of God.
So Jesus needs the church where people would not be judged or condemned.
Jesus needs the church where people rest awhile in God’s love.

Still today Jesus empowers his people with the Holy Spirit so that God’s dream may be accomplished on earth.
Jesus encourage us to pray for this.
So we pray that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit.
We pray that we may have God’s Spirit with us.
Then we may be able to live like Jesus.
We may be able to serve and love people.
We may be able to serve efficiently, effectively and productively.
We may love wisely like Jesus.
We may be able to serve people in the way of God.

Today Jesus also reminds us of our goal at this church:
Our goal is to love and be loved.
We are called to love and be loved.
We are learning to love here.
We learn to respect each other.
We learn to respect those who do not think like us and act like us.
We learn to love those who is difficult to love and be loved.
Jesus wants us to love them as much as he loves us.

So here at the church, our job is to practice love.
But what does that mean really?
It means that sometimes, we wait patiently for others to grow.
Sometimes, we wait while others serve.
Sometimes, we allow them to serve in their own way so that they may learn to serve like Jesus eventually.
We humble ourselves and wait.
We listen to understand our differences.
We work to see their great value.
We learn to work easily with others.
We learn to forgive each other.
We learn to have a good character.
We learn to live in harmony.
We learn to live gently.
We allow the Spirit of Jesus to make harmony in the body of Jesus.

When we try to live like this, we are trying to live like our Heavenly Father.
When we try to live like this, we are trying to live like God the Father who loves us and is patient and gentle with us and gave the Son of God to suffer for us.
So we try to learn from God.
In order to learn from God, we do a lot of things at our church.
We worship God, because we become what we worship.
We praise God so that God may be more visible in our life.
We give offerings to God as we try to find ways to love and serve our neighbors.

Then Jesus helps his church to serve people and produce more God’s fruits effectively and efficiently.
Jesus helps his church to serve effectively.
Jesus helps us to make good decisions to run his church for his people.
Jesus helps us to have his productivity and effectiveness among us.
Jesus sends his good ideas so that we may love and serve easily.

Living like this, we learn that we are God’s minister.
Living like this, we learn that we need to follow our own calling.
We also offer other people opportunities to serve in their own way so that they may learn eventually God’s way.

But then this kind of situation may happen.
I don't see this happening in our church.
But this kind of situation may happen in some church.

There is someone who work very efficiently.
This person produce something good for the community.
But this person has a habit of hurting other people’s feeling.
This person breaks the harmony.
This person may do unconsciously without knowing.
Then what should the church do to maintain love and harmony among us.

One time, some disciples of Jesus were like that, too.
How then did Jesus help them?
When someone broke the harmony among them, Jesus guided them to welcome children in his name.
Jesus guides them to welcome the kingdom of God like children.
Jesus is asking them to have a simple and pure heart.

Also Jesus asks them be servants.
Jesus wants them to relax so that God may continually work among them.
In this way, Jesus heals their minds.

Then Jesus says today, our goal is to love one another.
Our goal is to learn to work together.
Our goal is to love each other.

Then people will know we are the disciples of Jesus.
Then people will know that there is a church of Jesus the Christ.
Then people will know that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.

When we honor each other, people will know that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.
When we speak in love and in truth, people will know that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.
When we trust people and hope for them, people will know that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.

When we try to serve prisoners and do mission work, people may sense that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.
When we protect people, people will know that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.
When we are patient with each other, when we are kind to each other, when we are humble and honor God together, then people will know that there is God and that we are God’s disciples.

There was a TV personal who tried to love others in this way.
He said this in TV over and over.
Guess who this is:
“You made this day a special day, by just you being you.
There is no person in the world like you.
And I like you, just the way you are.”

Can you guess who said this?

He was Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
He was also a pastor.
But as a pastor, his calling was to give this expression of care in TV.
He believed that everyone needs to hear this so that they may be healed.
People don't hear this enough.
But God is saying this to everyone:

So he says this every time, so that this truth may heal us.
So let’s hear this again:
“You made this day a special day, by just you being you.
There is no person in the world like you.
And I like you just the way you are.”

Mr Rogers also said something like this:
“I want those who were listening somehow to know that they had a unique value.
There is not anybody in the whole world exactly like them.
There never has been and there never will be.
And they are loved by the Person who created them in a unique way.
If they could know that and really do it and have that behind their eyes, they could look with those eyes on their neighbor and realize:
‘My neighbor has a unique value too.
There's never been anybody in the whole world like my neighbor and there never will be.’
If they could value that person, if they could love that person in ways that we know that the Eternal loves us, then I'll be very grateful.”

Today Jesus asks us to love each other as he loves us.
Jesus finds a good unique value in each one of us.
And Jesus hopes that we may find a good unique value in each other.

May we learn to love like Jesus.
May we be wise enough to love and choose harmony.
In this way, may we be able to show his love that Jesus shows us.
May we be able to share his love.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for showing how to love.
You have given us the good example.
Help us to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to love like you.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen.

4.16.2016

John 10:22-30 (1)

ppt

Why do we call Jesus the Son of God and God?
Reading: John 10:22-30
Additional Reading: John 2:24, 5:17-18, 5:22, 6:38, 6:45-47, 8:42, 10:30, 11:27, 11:43-45, 14:1-3, 14:7-9, 18:33-37, 20:28, Matthew 8:26-27, 9:6, 16: 16-17; Titus 2:13, Isaiah 54:13
Blanks: Messiah, believe, one
Words: colonnade = A structure with columns placed at regular intervals.
K-Hymn: 394, 458

We say that Jesus is the Christ.
Or we say Jesus Christ or Jesus the Christ.
What does it mean?
Does it mean that his last name is Christ?
No, Christ is not his last name.

What does the Christ literally mean?
It means the one who is anointed with oil.

In ancient Israel, they had this culture of anointing people to set apart and appoint someone as a spiritual person.
Then God used this culture to appoint king, priest and prophet.
That is, when God chose someone as king, priest or prophet, God sent someone to anoint them with oil.

Now we called Jesus “the” Christ, Jesus the Anointed One, because God chose Jesus to be the King, Priest, Prophet, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior, the Lord and our everything.

As you know when Jesus was on earth, Jesus needed to prove that he was the Christ.
But then when Jesus was proving that he was the Christ, he was also proving that he was the Son of God, because Jesus believe that the Christ is God.

Here is an example:
Jesus asked the Pharisees: (Matthew 22:41-44)
“What do you think about the Christ?
Whose son is he?”

The pharisees were like:
“That is easy.
The son of David.”

Then Jesus was like: (Psalm 110:1)
“How then does David call him ‘Lord’?
David said in the spirit:
‘The LORD said to my Lord the Messiah:
“Sit at My right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool?”’
So David called him Lord.
Then how can he be his son?”

They could not answer this because they didn’t believe that the Messiah was supposed to be God.
But as for Jesus, this was clear.
So when he was trying to prove that he is the Christ, Jesus tried to prove that he is 100% divine; that Jesus is one with God; and that he has the same nature of God.

If you talk with those who believe in Judaism or Islam, you may know that they don't believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God.
They don't think that God has the Son.
So they don't believe in Trinity like us:
Trinity means that we believe in one God in three persons.
Jesus introduces us this concept of Trinity, by talking about the ministry of Trinity.
For example, Jesus says:
When we baptize someone, we baptise them in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And we worship and praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit who is one God.

But those who believe in Islam may be asking:
“We understand that Jesus is the Christ.
But we don’t understand how Jesus is the Son of God and how he is God.”

So let’s think about that:
In the time of Jesus, some Jewish people thought like those who believed in Islam today.
When Jesus was living in Israel, some Jewish religious people expected that God could become a human.
Moreover, they didn’t think that the Christ had to be God.
In fact, they learned that if someone claimed to be god, they must kill that person in order to serve God and honor God.

So Jesus had a problem.
If Jesus says “I am God,” they would stone him or kill him: Luke 22:70-71
They would say:
“Jesus, you eat and sleep like us.
You are a human.
So we have to kill you.”

So for the first disciples, you can see that it was difficult to call Jesus the Son of God.
But they understood that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore God.
And we still say that Jesus the Christ is God.
But how much do we understand what we are saying?

The prophet Isaiah said something like this before Jesus was even born and had a human body:
He said that God said: Isaiah 54:13
“The Lord will teach all your children.
So your children will have great peace.”

So in order to teach people, God became a human.
That is what Emmanuel means: God is with us: Isaiah 7:14
God promised that God would dwell among us.

People didn't expect that this would happen literally.
But God meant literally.
God promised that God would teach people.
So God became the Christ to teach people.

But then Jesus had to explain to his students that Jesus the Christ is God.
You know at first, people didn’t understand this.
So, Jesus might have been wondering:
“How can I explain that I am God?
How can I explain that it is written in the Bible?
How can I explain that the Christ needs to be God?
How can I approve that to my students?
How can I help them understand?
Will they ever accept me as God?”

So Jesus started to explain to his students like this.
In the beginning, Jesus was like:
“I came from heaven.” (John 6:38)

Then Jesus said:
“I came from God.” (John 8:42)

Then Jesus started to call God, daddy.
In those days no one called God, daddy.

But Jesus said something like this: (John 14:7-9, John 10:30)
“I am doing what God is doing.
I am saying what God is saying.
If you have seen me, you have seen my Daddy.
If you know me, you know my Daddy.
Because I and my Daddy are one and doing the same thing. (John 14:7)
So those who have been listening to God, will listen to me as well.
Because I am saying the same things.”

Jesus is proving that that he has the same character of God.
Jesus is proving that he has the same ability of God and does the same thing that God does: (John 5:17-18)

As a proof, Jesus also performed many miracles.
For example, he turned water into wine.
He walked on water.
Jesus healed people even when they were far away from him.
Jesus calmed the storm by commanding it: (Matthew 8:26-27)
He fed 5 thousand people with 5 bread and 2 fish.
Jesus raise the dead.

Like this, Jesus was showing God’s power and authority.
And Jesus was saying:
“I am doing these because I am the Son of God.
I am doing exactly what what God wants because I am God.”

Jesus also knew about people.
Jesus even knew what they were thinking. (John 2:24)
So, he didn’t ask any question to get to know them.
He just knew them.

For example, when Jesus met Simon Peter for the first time, Jesus knew his name, his calling in life and that Peter would be a leader of his movement.

When Jesus met Zacchaeus for the first time, Jesus also knew his name, his job, and his spiritual condition.
Jesus knew that Zacchaeus would welcome him into his house.
Jesus knew that Zacchaeus would repent and live a new life.
Jesus knew all these.

Jesus also said like this: (John 5:22, John 6:45-47, Matthew 9:6)
“God has given me the power to judge the world.
Because I became a human, I am given the power over human lives.
With that power I forgive your sins.
I give you a new and eternal life.”
Jesus can give us this new life, because he is the living God.

His students also started to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
For example, Simon Peter said to Jesus:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Then Jesus responded like this: (Matthew 16: 16-17)
“Peter!
My Father has revealed this to you!”

Martha also said to Jesus:
“I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” (John 11:27)
Then Jesus said to her something like this: (John 11:43-45)
“I am the resurrection and the life.
I have all the authority over human lives.”
Then, as a proof, Jesus raised her dead brother, Lazarus, from the death.

Then Jesus also proved that he has power over his life and death through his resurrection

Then after his resurrection, as you know, Thomas also said to Jesus:
“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

Paul also said that Jesus is the great God and Savior. (Titus 2:13)
Like this following Jesus, his students understood that Jesus the Christ is God.
And Jesus the Son of God accomplished salvation for all people.
Only God can do something so powerful to free all people from sin.
Jesus shows us that only God can save all people like that.
And that is what we believe.

But here is another problem.
Jesus asked us to follow him.

Some of us may ask:
“Wait.
Jesus is the perfect God.
How can we follow that perfect God?
Isn't it too much to ask?
How can we do what God does?
How can we live like God?”

That is why Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit, God’s own Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God.

When we welcome the Holy Spirit, we receive God.
Then the Holy Spirit can live among us and live within us.
Then this Holy Spirit can do what God wants through us.
The Holy Spirit can put God’s thoughts into our minds and hearts.
Then we can believe that Jesus is God.
Then we know that we are God’s people: Jeremiah 31:33
Our spirits know that we are God’s children.
Our spirits call God, Daddy or Mommy like Jesus.

In order to know this and live a life of God, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Then God the Holy Spirit can help us to follow God.

This is why Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to live within us.
Then because the Holy Spirit lives within us, we become like God.
We become more and more like God.
We become more patient, more loving, more gentle, and more kind like God.
When the Holy Spirit is working through us like this, we follow Jesus.

Jesus wants to introduce this kind of new life in us.
This kind of life is possible through the ministry of Trinity.
Amen

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us believe and know who you are.
May we understand that you are God.
May the Holy Spirit help us to live a life of God.
In your name, we pray.
Amen.


4.09.2016

John 21:1-14 (2)

ppt

Do what Jesus asks us to do
Reading: John 21:1-14
Additional reading: Luke 8:11-15
K-hymn: 442

Today we have read one incident after Jesus was resurrected.
And we are going to think about one more time about what Jesus was like after raised from the dead.

When Jesus was resurrected, he was funny.
He was visible and invisible.
He appeared and then disappeared.
He could walk through the wall and the door to enter a room.

Jesus seemed having fun.
Jesus seemed very happy to show his resurrected body to his disciples like this.
Jesus was showing that he had more power to use freely.

So his students were learning that Jesus could be everywhere.
People may not see him.
People may not recognize him even as they see him.
But he could hear their words.
He knew everything even when he was not there with them.

Why does Jesus show his students that he could live like this?

Jesus was showing this because one day they would also have this kind of body.
One day, they will also have their resurrected body.
Then they may be able to do what Jesus was doing.
So at this time, Jesus was enjoying what they could enjoy later.
Jesus wanted them to watch the life of Jesus and follow him.

But his students didn’t understand it right away.
They were like:
“Jesus was resurrected.
And he is not with us all the time like before.
What are we supposed to do?”

They might have worried about what to do with their lives.
How should they live from now on?
They didn’t understand it.
Yes, Jesus was resurrected.
But what does it mean to their lives?

Then the former fishermen got together and went for fishing.
Their hometown people might have heard that they followed Jesus.
But now they came home and went for fishing.

But they couldn’t catch any fish.
They had done everything they knew.
They might have wanted to catch fishes to feed other disciples.
But they caught nothing.

Then, early in the morning, Jesus appeared on the shore.
Jesus came to say that they had other important things to do.

But first, Jesus called them out and said:
"Hey, friends, have you got any fish?"

Not knowing who he was, they simply answered:
"No!"

Then, Jesus told them:
"Throw your net on the right side of the boat.
Then you will find some."

Without knowing why this man wanted to help, they let down their net on the right side.
Then they caught so many fish.

Then one student intuitively knew what just happened.
This person experienced Jesus before.
So he said:
“He is Jesus!”

This person understood the way Jesus worked.
Jesus is always like this:
When he gives his word, then it becomes true.
Jesus gives his word, his promise.
When people obey, they see the power of his word.
They see that in the words of Jesus, there is power.
Through the power of his words, people know that Jesus is the Christ and God.

When they came, they saw Jesus prepared a nice breakfast for them.
Jesus was like:
"Come and have breakfast.
Bring some of your fish, too."
Then they were having a good time.

Here Jesus didn’t scorn them for going back for fishing.
Jesus understood that they might go back fishing.
So Jesus very gently helped them catch fish.
Then in a gentle way Jesus was saying that they didn’t need to catch fish anymore.
Then Jesus showed them that they needed to teach people about him.

Jesus wanted his students to do what they learned from him.
That is their calling:
God would use them!
Then the world would know who God is and what God is like.

Before they do this ministry, they needed to receive the Holy Spirit.
Then they would have a greater power.
With this higher power, they would do greater things.
They would go back to preach about Jesus.
They would share what Jesus had shared with them.
They would help people to see God’s possibility in their lives.
They would catch people for God.

So today Jesus came to remind them of their calling.
Jesus appeared to guide them back to do the ministry of Jesus.

I believe that even today, when we were busy with other things, Jesus may come and show us what is important.
Jesus guides us back to do the ministry of Jesus.

Today Jesus gently guided the disciples to understand their calling.
Jesus forgave them even though they deserted him before the cross.
Then Jesus even helped them to catch “fish.”

Jesus may help us to catch “fish.”
Our fish may be making a lot of money.
Our fish may be making a better future for my family.
We may try to do what we know how to do.
We may try to do what we have done before.

But sometimes we may find that we cannot even catch fishes.
Sometimes, we may find that we cannot succeed in what we have done before.

Even then Jesus may come gently to help us, because he loves us.
After we have done everything we know, Jesus may come gently and help us so that we may understand that we are called to do what Jesus is doing.
Jesus may gently remind us that we have a greater calling.
Very gentle Jesus may be saying:
“Do what I teach you to do.”

Have Jesus appeared to you like this?

This is how Jesus may appear in our life.
Jesus may help us to understand our calling.
Jesus helps us to understand how God would use us.
Jesus may help us to do what we have learned from him.
Jesus may help us receive the power of Holy Spirit so that we may do what he did.
Jesus may gently guide us to follow him again.
Then we may be able to help people.
Then everyone will be grateful for what Jesus has done and is doing.

I know a Christian community that threw away every record after a year.
Then they start a year thinking that they are starting anew.
This is how they understand in terms of following Jesus.

We may also forget about our past.
We may need to wait again for Jesus to lead us anew.
We may study about what Jesus is teaching us today anew.
What does God want us to do today?

Jesus may be asking us to do something for our community.
What do you think that Jesus asks us to do for our community?
What is Jesus saying to us today?
What is the Holy Spirit speaking to us today?
What does Jesus teach us to do?
What does Jesus want us to do?

I am sure that you are asking Jesus about this and hearing from Jesus.
Yes, we want to ask Jesus to guide us so that we may also serve our community.

If we don’t know yet, we may need to read the Bible daily and pray daily.
Then we may know what kind of an act of mercy that we need to do.
Then when we do what Jesus is teaching us to do, we may see the good result.

In our life, we learn daily what Jesus says is really true.
We learn the trueness of his teaching in various levels.
For example, Jesus says:
“Don't worry.
Don't worry about anything.”

Jesus may say these words over and over to many people in this world.
Jesus says this, because Jesus really meant it.

Why didn’t Jesus want us stop worrying?
Because Jesus can work more freely if we don't worry.
If we don't worry, Jesus can make things easier for us.
Then it becomes easier for Jesus to help us to live like him.
So when we obey this, we may be able to see the good results.
Then we learn what Jesus can do in our life.

Then Jesus may even say to us:
“Good.
Now you are ready.
Go and share my story and my teachings.”

Then we may be able to live our life doing exactly what Jesus wants us to do, not more, not less.
That is my prayer.

Let us pray:
Jesus, help us to trust in you and follow you.
Help us to listen to you and obey.
May we be able to live your life today.
In your name, we pray.
Amen.

Note:
I also want to talk about the importance of small group ministry.