6.25.2016

The Gospel of Luke (Prayer)

ppt

The prayer life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke
Reading: Luke 9:28-36
Blanks: praying, glory, listen

Have you heard about lectionary?
A lectionary is a list of scripture readings for Christian worship service.
These readings are organized into three-year cycles.
It is a suggested reading for preachers.
So some preachers preach accordingly.
And they call themselves lectionary preachers.

I am usually a lectionary preacher.
Meaning, I usually preach according to its suggested Gospel reading.
That is why our text has been from the gospel of Luke in these days.
At this time, it is suggesting various consecutive verses from the Gospel of Luke until November.

Since our reading is from the Gospel of Luke, today why don't we to study about the Gospel of Luke so that we may know about this gospel better?
But in this limited time, we cannot cover everything.
So, let’s have a look at how the gospel of Luke explains the prayer life of Jesus.

In this gospel, we found that Jesus prayed a lot.
Why is that?
Why does Luke like to write more about the prayer life of Jesus?

Because I guess as for Luke, prayer life is important.
He learned that prayer is a very important part of Christian life.
So he looked carefully about the prayer life of Jesus.
He wanted to learn how Jesus prayed.
He wanted to pray like Jesus and live like Jesus.

He might have thought that when we pray like Jesus, when the Holy Spirit helps us to pray like Jesus, we may also live in the power of God like Jesus.
We may live a holy life like Jesus.

Since you are a good student of Jesus, you know the gospel of Luke.
But let’s go through one by one in order to think about the prayer of Jesus again: (3:21-22)
Shall we?

When Jesus was baptized, Jesus prayed.
Remember?
Then, the heaven was opened.
The Holy Spirit came down on him like a dove.

Then God spoke from heaven saying:
“You are my Son.
I love you.
I am so pleased with you.”

This happened when Jesus prayed.

Then, Jesus went into the desert and prayed for forty days.
This was a very different kind of prayer.
For this kind of prayer, he went to desert.
Jesus understood before he started his ministry, he must stand firm spiritually and in faith.
Then after he stood firm in faith spiritually, he started his ministry.

For this kind of prayer, with the Holy Spirit, we may enter into a solitary place to learn to stand firm in faith and learn to have a spiritual clarity.

After starting his ministry, as you know, Jesus still often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (5:16)
This was an important part of his ministry.
Prayer is to be an intentional work for those who want to obey God and do what God wants.
But this prayer is not a lonely work because we experience God there.

Jesus knew that he must pray.
Jesus knew when he had to listen to God.
So sometimes, Jesus prayed alone when his students were around him: (9:18)

Then one day Jesus needed to reorganize his ministry.
He wanted to think with God about that.
So Jesus decided to go to a mountainside and spent the whole night praying. (6: 12)
Then in the morning, he chose twelve students to be the leaders of his movement.
You guess why Jesus prayed all night.
Jesus had a deep meditation about his future ministry.
Jesus was carefully choosing his apostles accordingly.
So it took him about 6 hours.

This kind of prayer is a prayer of discernment.
This kind of prayer is a prayer of listening and thinking.

We know that prayer is a conversation with God.
But for this this kind of prayer, we may need more listening to God.
Prayer is listening.
Prayer is listening to God.

Listening is very important.
When we listen to God, we may hear sometimes God say something like this:
“You don't need to pray about that.
I will take care of it.”
Then we just trust and move on.

The Gospel of Luke explained what might have happened when Jesus prayed alone: (9:28-36)
One time, Jesus invited his three disciples to see this.
At that time, Jesus invited them to a mountain and there Jesus prayed.
Then later, when his students woke up, they saw the face of Jesus shining and Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.
They were talking about the cross of Jesus.
Jesus knew what God wanted.
Jesus wanted to do what God wanted.

When we pray and read the Bible, sometimes we may also have a spiritual experience so that we may understand what God wants us to do.

When his students learned enough, Jesus sent his students to share God’s peace and heal people in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As they went out to do this ministry, Jesus asked them:
“Pray that God may send out more workers like you to do this ministry of harvesting”: 10:1-24.

Then they went out and experienced God working through them and came back.
Then Jesus prayed for them like this:
“I thank you, God, the Lord of heaven and earth.
You help these people to understand and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (10:21)
Jesus gives praise and glory to God as God has done through them what they could not do without God.

Thanksgiving is also important part of his prayer life.
In thanksgiving, we recognize what God has done for us and for our people.

Looking at Jesus praying a lot, his disciples asked: (11:1-13)
“Lord, teach us to pray.”
Then, Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer:
In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord’s Prayer are short like this:
“Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.
Your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation.”

Jesus lived in a world where people liked to do something.
There were many actions and activities.
But when they want to do something for God, Jesus might teach them to pray like this.
In his prayer, Jesus gives God a chance to do more in their midst.
Jesus wants God to be the main actor.
Jesus wants God to be the mover and shaker.

Jesus wants more of God.
Jesus is asking people let God do what God wants.
We are invited to join this prayer.
So we pray like this to see what God does.

Then Jesus encouraged his students like this: Luke 11:9
“Ask.
It will be given to you.
Seek.
You will find.
Knock.
The door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives.
The one who seeks finds.
To the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
God is good and God wants to give good things to you.
So, ask God to give you the Holy Spirit!”

When we know God’s will, we may pray like this.
When they know what God wants, Jesus also asked them not to give up.
They need to persist praying for God.
When we know something is God’s will, we persist.
We pray over and over and over.
We pray again and again until God’s will is done.

Concerning this attitude, Jesus told this story of the persistent widow.
You remember this story, right? (18:1-8)
There was a widow persistently asked an unjust judge to give her justice.
The unjust judge couldn't care less of her.
But she would not give up.
So the unjust gave in.

For some prayer list, Jesus is asking his students to pray persistently.
Why is that?
I don’t know.
Maybe when we are praying persistently, we may change and learn.
Or other people may change and learn.
Sometimes prayer is a process of faith.
As we pray, we may mature and see things in a new way.
As we pray over and over, we may experience God.
We may understand God’s will and justice.
So when God seems hesitating to answer right away, we get ready to pray again and again for a long time.
We may prepare to pray for our whole life.
We pray like this, because we trust in God.

Jesus told another story to explain that we need to pray humbly.
The story goes like this:
A pharisee prayed asking God to remember that he was not like other sinners.
Then he looked down on another “sinner” who prayed next to him.

But the sinner, a tax collector prayed humbly seeking God’s mercy.
Then because he prayed humbly, he experienced God’s mercy.

But the Pharisee who looked down on him didn’t receive.
Do you remember this story?
It is telling us that when we receive what we ask for, it is not because we are holy but because God is holy and merciful. (18:9-13)

The Gospel of Luke also said that Jesus prayed for Peter:
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus said: (22: 31)
“Simon, Simon, Satan has tried to separate you guys from me.
But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.
When you have turned back, help your brothers and sisters.”

Without this kind of prayer, Peter might have not known what to do.
Without this kind of prayer, Peter might have suffered more and could not have continued to be a student of Jesus.
But through this prayer, Jesus saved Peter so that he could follow his calling in life.

Jesus is still praying for each one of us.
Jesus prays so that we may be strengthened to do God's will.

Right before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed again: 22:39-46
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup from me.
But not my will, but yours be done.”

With this prayer, Jesus was preparing his heart for his last mission.
He prayed to move on with God’s plan.

This prayer was very important.
So an angel came to help him praying so that he would be strengthened.
Jesus prayed so that he might face his trial, having a clear conviction and courage.

Here again Jesus taught us:
Sometimes, prayer is not about making God listen to us.
Prayer is not about letting God know what we decide.
God is not our servant.
We are his servants.
So we need to learn to listen to God.
We are the ones who need to listen to God and obey.
Jesus may ask us to pray so that we may not run away from God's will and from our calling.

During this time, Jesus also asked his students: (22:40, 46)
“Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

After this, since then, I guess, his students remember to pray so that they may be protected from temptation.

Then on the cross Jesus even prayed:
"Father, forgive them.
Because they have no idea of what they are doing."

His prayer is like spiritual breathing.
In this way he became one with God.
As he prayed the mind of God, he became one with God.

Then rising from the dead Jesus prayed for the world.

This is the prayer life of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus prayed and asked people to pray.

Why did Jesus pray like this?
Jesus prayed, because he wanted to be with God.
Jesus prayed because he wanted to live for the living God.
Jesus prayed because he wanted to help people in the power of God.
Jesus prays so that he may live in the infinite power and wisdom of God.

When we pray like Jesus, we may live in his infinite power and wisdom.
We may also serve God in his way.
We may be able to choose and do what God wants.
We may live in the name of Jesus.

So let’s learn to pray.
How can we learn to pray?
We learn to pray by praying.
As we pray, we learn more and more about prayer.
As we pray, we become more sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit guides us to pray and learn to pray.

Through prayer, we learn what God wants to do and what God can do.
Prayer is seeking God's will for our life.
We pray for God so that God's will will be done.

Jesus prays so that God's will be done on earth.
So before we pray, we may need to check our worldview.
So we may need to talk to God about what we see in TV and read from Internet.
We may ask:
“God, what do you think about that?”
In this way, we may discern God’s will.

Even when we pray for our children or our family, I think it is important to pray to know God's will for them.
Then we pray accordingly, so that God’s good will be done.
Then they will be even more happier and feel heavenly joy as God's will is accomplished in their life.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us pray and live like you.
Help us to obey you and live like you.

We pray for all people.
May you keep them safe.
May you help them to stand up for you.
In your name, we pray.
Amen

6.18.2016

Luke 8:26-39 (1)

ppt

Your past experience works for good in Christ
Reading: Luke 8:26-39
Additional readings: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20, Romans 8:28
Hymn: 276, 377, 403
Blanks: saw, permission, Jesus, left, Return
Word: Legion – major unit of Roman Army, large military unit

Everybody matters to God.
Everyone is important to God.
We know that.
We know that God created each person with a good purpose.

The question is:
Can people live according to God’s will?
Can we help them to live according to God’s will?
How can help them to understand that following God's will is good for them?

What about us?
Do we know what it's like to serve God according to God’s will?
Do we know the value of living according to God’s will?
Do we know that living according to God’s will is good for them?
Or do we know how to live with God?

If we know, we may help people to live according to God’s will.
If we are convinced that this is what is best for them, we want to help people to live and serve God like that.
When we love someone, we will pray that they find their purpose in life and live accordingly.
Because then, they will have more peace, more joy, more faith, love and patience that is coming from God.

Today, we read about Jesus helping a man to find his purpose and meaning in life.
As you know, the story goes like this:
There was a man who was crazy and dangerous.
In the past, for some reasons, he lost his mind.
Then he became like a wild animal.
His village people knew about this.
So they bound him and chained him.
But every time, the man broke his chains and ran away.
Then he lived in the tombs without wearing anything.
Nobody could talk to him.
Nobody could guide him.
Nobody could do anything for him.
It seemed that it would be like this until he died.

Then Jesus was coming to meet this man.
Jesus was sailing across the sea.
Jesus was the Last Hope for this man.
But for some reason, the man came right out to meet Jesus, as well.

The students of Jesus were watching how Jesus was curing this man.
Jesus ordered the evil spirits to come out of this man.
Jesus used his spiritual authority.
Jesus stood firm in his faith.

But the evil spirits cried out:
"What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I beg you, don't torture me!"

Jesus asked:
"What is your name?"

The evil spirits answered:
"We are army, because we are so many.
We beg you.
Don’t send us to the place of confinement.
Why don’t you send us to the pigs on the hillside, instead?”

Our gentle Jesus even listened to them.
Then he sent them to the pigs.

But when the evil spirits got into the pigs, all the pigs jumped into the lake and were all drowned.
It seemed that these evil spirits killed them all.

But the man became calm and gentle.
He was very thankful to Jesus.

Those who were tending the pigs ran to tell people in town.
Many people came out.
Something new, something beyond their expectation happened.
It was beyond their imagination.
So they became fearful of Jesus who brought such a sudden change.
Their minds were not ready for this kind of wonderful miracle.
They needed to think about all these.
So they asked Jesus to leave the town.

Well, our gentle Jesus listens to them as well.
Jesus simply goes away.
So Jesus got into the boat.
But the man who was cured said to Jesus:
“I want to be with you.
Let me come with you.”

Jesus looks at this man and thinks about his calling in life.
God has purified his heart and sharpened his intuition.
His mind is clear and clean.
Now he can think, choose, and create.
Now he can live a life according to God’s will.
And Jesus knows what is best in the eyes of God.

So Jesus said something like this:
“Now you are perfectly well.
And you know who I am.
So I am sending you to your own town.
Just walk around your own town.
Let your presence speak aloud about God’s goodness.
Let them see you being dressed and having a peace of mind!
Tell people how much God has done for you.
Let them hear about God’s power that you experienced in me.”

Jesus is calling him to tell the story.
Jesus helped him find his calling in life.

This is the only time when Jesus asked someone to tell their healing story.
Jesus commissioned this man to help his people.
He is an apostle (the sent) to his own town.
His calling is to serve God in this way.

What would happen if he tells this story to his community?
He will feel connected with Jesus.
He will produce good fruits.
In this way he will follow Jesus Christ.

He will understand more and more how much God loves him.
He will learn that Jesus helps him in the power of the Holy Spirit.
He will learn that Jesus is still with him.

Until he receives another calling, he's to tell this story.
This story is not only his story but also Jesus’ story.
He lets people know what it's like to be free from the evil spirits.
He lets people know that Jesus is greater than those spirits.
He lets people know what Jesus has done and how Jesus did that.
He lets people know what he knows best.

His past experience helped him to explain Jesus the King of kings.
His terrible past experience with the evil spirits prepared him to explain the power of Jesus Christ.
His past experience helps him to tell God’s goodness.
His past experience leads him to have new calling in life.
His past experiences work for good.
His past experiences work for good in Jesus Christ.

Let’s think about our life:
We might have thought that some of our past experience is useless.
We might have thought that we wasted some of my life.
But then God changed our life and used our experience for his glory.
God somehow made it beneficial and used it for his glory.
Then God asked us to use our past experience.
God asked us to share what God has done for us.
Have you experienced something like that?

We might have done something wrong in the past.
We might have experienced some consequences of our disobedience or sinful behavior.
I am sure that there were times I also did something that doesn't please God.
But our creative God can use those experiences so that we may mature in God.
Then God may make it work for good in Christ Jesus.
Can you believe that?

In Jesus Christ and for us, God is making all things new, good and beneficial.
How could we follow this God today?

I think about this.
So here's one suggestion that I could give to you.
Why don’t you write down what God has done for you?
Think about your life:
What Bible verses has God given to you?
What questions did God answer for you?
What have you discovered about God?
How have you discovered the gentleness of our Lord Jesus?
Write down what God has done for you.

Preparing this sermon, I was updating my past writing.
About 15 years ago, I had written down what God had done for me and what Bible verses God had given me.
Preparing this sermon, I was adding more of what I have learned.
That was a good exercise.
For example, this is what I learn:

I have been reading the Bible for about 30 years now.
There were times when I felt God was speaking through the Bible.
This time I noticed that God have given me a same Bible verse to encourage me.
Then I thought “I might be at a similar period in my life.”
Anyway if I have not written down, I might have known it.
Knowing this, I remembered what God has done for me then.
I remembered my journey of faith.
Because I was reminded of what God has said through the Bible, then I might be able to guess what God is asking me in terms of how I should live.

For our faith journey, remembering is very important.
That's why we do communion.
That's why we come to church.
We come to remember and to be reminded.
Christians are those who intentionally try to remember what God has done for us.
In this way we grow in faith and pray once more and receive God’s blessing.

So also think about your experiences.
Write and read about your experiences.
When do you experience the presence of God?
When was it?
Have you experienced God when you give praise and worship God?
When have you felt that the Spirit of God is with you?
How have you sensed the Holy Spirit?
When have you followed the Holy Spirit?

How did you realize that God has forgiven you?
When have you heard God’s words or God’s whisper?
What has God spoken to you?
When have you sensed that?
Remember that.
Write it down.
Write down what God said and think about that.
That's also our spiritual treasure.
That story is not only our story but also Jesus’ story.

As a church, we may think about our past experiences with God.
God can use our past experience and make it work for good in Christ Jesus.

So let's think about that:
When did you experience the presence of God here?
How has God led us so far?
Think about what God has been speaking to us.
We may discern God’s intention or desire for our life.
We may discover how God may work in our life.

Or you may have some experience that you are not sure whether it is from God or not.
Then we may need to discern together.
We can talk about it and pray about it together.
We may help each other to learn and discern God’s will.

I also like to hear about what God has done for you.
I like to hear about what God has told you.
I also like to hear what God has been saying to this church.

Awhile ago, on Friday nights, I have asked some of you about our future mission.
Then I sense that God wants us to be a missional church.
We want to obey what Jesus said in Matthew 28:16-20:
Go Make Disciples of all Nations.
We want to reach out to non-Christians and help them experience Jesus.
We want to share the story of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is what we can do as we love God and want to help people.
That may be our calling in life.
This may be God’s intention for our life.
This may be what God is trying to teach us today.
We want to obey God.
We want to follow God’s direction for our life.

God may also ask us to share some of our story with others.
Then as we share that story with others, we may learn more about God.
Telling those stories, we may relearn how Jesus loves us and cares for us.
Then we may also apply what we learn.
We may love people and care for people like Jesus.

I think I have been telling you this many times:
But again telling the story of Jesus is very precious and meaningful in the eyes of God.
So we are learning to tell the story of Jesus at the moment.
That is why on Friday nights, we read the gospels: at the moment the gospel of Matthew.
We think about how Jesus did what he did, because we want to learn from Jesus.
We read the gospels, because we want to obey him and do what he says.
Then we may even learn what Jesus is trying to do through us.
We want to read the gospels until we carry out the glorious ministry of Jesus that we read in the gospels.

Then one day, we may be bold enough to pray for our friends.
We may be bold enough to share the story of Jesus with our friends.
We may be be bold enough to find opportunities to tell the story of Jesus.

May God help us understand the story of Jesus.
May you share the story of Jesus.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving us a calling in life.
Help us to be faithful to our calling.
Help us to learn more of you.
Help us to share your story.
We pray this in your name.
Amen.

6.11.2016

Luke 7:36-50 (1)

ppt

The presence of God
Reading: Luke 7:36-50
K-hymn: 484

People live in various culture.
Is it easy to understand and live in another culture?
Is it difficult to live with those who have different culture?

Missionaries are trying to learn other culture and try to communicate the gospel to people who think differently and live differently.
Because they love God, they try to cross cultural barriers in the name of Jesus so that they may communicate God’s love.

I think when they start to live in another culture, it can be fun.
When they just visit them for a short time, it can be fun.

But it may become awkward.
Because the costume is different.
The language is different.
It may become difficult.

Then they may found that there is unspoken culture:
Sometimes, people act in certain way, but they don’t know why.
Because they have been living like that for so long, they don't even know why they do what they do,

But sometimes, people may say that men’s culture is different from women’s culture and vice versa.
These differences are even greater.

Or we may say that everyone lives in their own culture.

So anyway we try to learn to live together.
We try to understand each other.
We are all like missionaries in a sense.

Anyway, in the days of Jesus, there was a culture.
Here is one example:
In the Middle Eastern culture, welcoming guests is very important.
As soon as they feel you are their guest, they treat you very differently.
They treat you as if you are under their protection.
Then they may try to provide everything that you need.
It is their culture.

In the days of Jesus, religious Jewish people had their own culture.
When they invited a guest to his home, they welcomed their guest like this:
He gave them a welcoming hug and a kiss.
He provided water to wash their feet.
He provided an sweet smelling oil for their head.
It was their culture.

But today we read when one Pharisee invited Jesus to his home, he didn't provide any of these.
When Jesus came to his house, he was guided straight to the table.
No hug, no kiss.
No water to wash his feet.
No sweet smelling oil for his head.

Now what was going on?
Why was there no customary welcoming?
The students of Jesus might have felt like this:
“What is this?
Why would he try to dishonor our teacher like this?”

Or other gentlemen might have thought:
“Look how this man show no respect to Jesus at his own house.”
What a shame!”

Jesus might have also thought:
“Though he is thankful for my ministry, he still worries about other pharisees who didn’t like me.
He knows that some pharisees try to find reasons to accuse me.
He may agree with me or respect me a little.
But he still wants to examine who I am.
He is not fully agree with me yet.”

But then there was a woman watching.
She saw how Jesus was treated.

Who is this lady?
She was known as a sinful woman.
Meaning, her village people didn’t respect her.
We don’t know what wrongs things she had done.
We don’t know about her sins.
But we sense that religious people didn’t like her, because she was a sinner.
They knew about her and looked down on her.

Who is she?
She might be someone whom Jesus healed before.
Jesus might have remembered this woman.
She might have tried to live a good life.
She might have tried to find another way to support her family.

But then one time, she might have felt:
“I think God could not forgive me.
Because even I could not forgive myself.”

Then she saw how this host didn't give Jesus a proper welcoming.
Then she might have thought:
"Jesus should not be treated like this.
I may be treated like that.
But not Jesus.
We should honor him for who he is.
Well, then I should give you a proper welcome.”

So she decided to use her bottle of very expensive perfume.
Then she came to kneel at the feet of Jesus.
But then she found herself start crying.
In the presence of Jesus, she felt God.
Then in the presence of God, somehow she realized God forgave her.
In the presence of Jesus, she knew that God forgave her and freed her from her past.
Her inner soul could feel that God loves her and forgives her.

Then she found herself pouring out her heart to Jesus.
In the presence of God, she was wetting Jesus’ feet with tears.
She understood who Jesus is.
Then she wiped them with her hair.
Then she kissed his feet.
She poured perfume on them.
She expressed her gratitude and love in the presence of God.
She experienced God’s forgiveness in the presence of God.
She honored Jesus in the presence of God.
She honored the person whom God loves so much.

We know she loved Jesus so much.
But at this moment, she was living in her own culture.
Her own people could not understand what she was doing here.
They wondered why she used her most expensive possession that she needed for her job like this.
Why did she pour out all to Jesus?

Well, she might have been thinking like this:
“I wanted to change my job and change my life.
I want to live for Jesus.
I want to become one of those ladies who follow Jesus and help him.
I want to offer my life to Jesus.”

In the presence of Jesus, she desired to live differently.
She wanted to be a student of Jesus.
She wanted to follow Jesus.
She dreamed about sharing God’s love that Jesus taught.
I am sure Jesus understood what she was trying to do.

But the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house thought something like this:
“Look at this!
Jesus is not a holy prophet!
He allowed this sinner to touch his holy feet because he does not know what kind of sinner she is.”

But thank God that our holy Jesus is famous for keeping a wrong company!
He loves those who have a bad reputation, because he could help them.
He becomes their friend one by one.
Then his friends becomes like him.

For example, we remember the tax collector Matthew was like that.
Matthew also had a bad reputation.
But he became one of the 12 apostles of Jesus.

Zacchaeus was like that.
He was a tax collector of tax collectors.
Jesus came to his house.
And he became a new person in Jesus.

So, we may wonder how Jesus changes people like that.
How could Jesus make sinners into saints?
How could Jesus make people holy?
How could Jesus do that?
How could Jesus make the lost found in God and live a new life?
How do Jesus make them live differently?

One of the reasons can be that Jesus sees differently.
We may not see it.
But Jesus sees and expects them to live a good and holy life.
Then he stands up for them.
Then because of the faith of Jesus, they live differently.
They become like Jesus.
They change.

Anyway, Jesus spoke to the host like this:
“Simon, I have something to tell you:
Two men were in debt to a banker.
One owed $5,000, the other $50,000.
Neither of them could pay up.
So the banker canceled both debts.
Which one would be more grateful?”

Simon the host replied:
“I guess the one who was forgiven more.”

Jesus said something like this:
“That is right.
I came into your house.
You provided no water for my feet.
You did not give me a hug or a kiss.
You provided no oil for my head.
Because you're not very grateful for me.

“But do you see this woman?
She wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
She was kissing my feet.
She provided oil for my feet.
Why?
Because she feels that she is forgiven much.
So she loves much.”

Jesus recognized her faith and her love.
Then Jesus said something like to this woman:
“Your sins are forgiven.
You are forgiven.
You are free from your past.
Your faith has saved you.
Go in peace.”

She didn’t even need to offer a sacrifice for her sin to be forgiven at the temple.
Instead, Jesus recognized her forgiveness before everyone.
Jesus recognized her before her own community.
Jesus celebrated that she is God’s daughter.
Jesus accepted her as God’s beautiful and remarkable child.

Today God was in front of her and forgave her.
God’s forgiveness came to her and freed her in the presence of Jesus.
So she was ready to start all over again.
She was ready to live a new life.
In the presence of God, she has faith and sees new possibility.
Then she changed.

When she come closer to Jesus today and honor Jesus and stand up for Jesus, this is what she hear:
“Your sins are forgiven.”
When we confess our sin, this is what we hear.
When we are in the presence of Jesus, this is what we hear.

Jesus has power to forgive her and forgive us.
Then Jesus stands up for us.
So we can start all over again.
Jesus can guide us to live a new life.

In order to continue this journey, when we confess our sin, God says:
“You are forgiven.
I forgive you and accept you.”

In the presence of God, people need to feel it.
As people feel this, they could live a new life and live a new life.
As they understand this truth, they embrace their new chance in life and serve the living God.
As they understand the mind of God, they change.

Jesus can forgive sins.
Then Jesus gives this power to his students to forgive sins.
So in the presence of God, God’s people say to each other:
“You are forgiven.
Give glory to God.
God has forgiven you.
God is patient with you.
God doesn’t refuse you.
We celebrate that you are forgiven.”

So we do not judge each other or condemn each other.
Even when other people sin and come over and over and say “I am sorry. Forgive me,” we forgive them and pray for them so that they may enter into the presence of God.
Then we may say to each other:
“Your sins are forgiven.
May God help me to forgive you.”
In this way, we may also stay in the presence of God.

We pray that the presence of God is with us always.
When the presence of God is here, we may also experience the power of God here.
May we stay in the presence of God forever.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for working in our life.
Thank you for your forgiveness.
May we live according to your will as your children.

Help us to enter into your presence.
Help us to understand your culture.
Help us to enter into your presence.
Help us to understand your presence so that we may stay in your presence always.
We pray this in your name.
Amen.

6.04.2016

Luke 7:11-17 (2)

ppt

Learning to do what Jesus asks us to do
Reading: Luke 7:11-17
Blanks: heart, touched, gave, God

Have you ever wondered:
“Is God mad at me?”
I have.
There was a time when I felt like:
“I feel lost.
Will I ever be restored fully?”

Do you remember King Saul?
He might have felt like that, too.
Because of his disobedience, he totally lost it.
Then later he even tried to kill the person whom God decided to use.

You remember Judas Iscariot.
We may say he totally lost it.
I do not want to be like him.
I don’t want to feel like him.

But anyway, one point I felt regretful and fearful thinking:
“Will God ever restore me and use me like before?
Or because of my mistakes, will I never be able to serve God like before?”

So I was thankful when I felt God was restoring me slowly.
I was thankful when I felt that God seems still speaking to me.

In the time of Jesus, some of Jews might have thought like this.
They have lost their nation to the Roman Empire.
So they might have thought that God was mad at them.

So some people tried desperately to obey all the religious laws.
They thought if they kept these laws, God may love them again and give their nation back.

At the same time, some people were waiting for the Messiah to come and restore their fortune and guide them to live a righteous life.

Then the Messiah came.
He preached about repentance.
He guided them and led them to God.
He preached about forgiveness.
Jesus restored them by helping them to understand what God was expecting from them.

But Jesus the Messiah didn't come to punish them or punish their enemies.
Instead, Jesus guides them to come back to God who loves them.
Then Jesus helps them to have a new spiritual hope.

But then people were evaluating Jesus the Messiah.
They were thinking whether this was what they wanted.
Based on their response, Jesus was changing the direction of his ministry.

At the same time Jesus helped his students to do his ministry.
They trusted that Jesus was training them to do his ministry.
Today we are going to think about what they have learned:

Jesus taught many people.
Many people gathered around him.
But again Jesus felt God was leading him to another town and another town.
God was orchestrating everything from heaven.
Jesus was watching and doing what God the Father was doing in heaven.

So Jesus was constantly traveling to find yet another person to help.
His students knew that's what was happening.
So they followed Jesus everywhere he went.
They left one place with him and went to another.
They learned to leave one place and find another persons whom they could help in the name of Jesus.
They wanted to follow him like that, because Jesus was speaking God’s words and because Jesus was traveling in the power of God.
They wanted to follow Jesus as he led them.
They wanted to watch Jesus and do what he wanted them to do.
And the Holy Spirit helped them.

Other people also followed him, because Jesus was so exciting.
But his students followed him in order to learn to live in the power of God.

Today in our reading, Jesus was heading to a town called Nain.
When Jesus came near the gate of the town Nain, many people came out out of the gate.
They were carrying a dead person.
It was a funeral procession.

Then Jesus looked at the dead man’s mother who was crying.
Then, Jesus said:
“Don’t cry.”

At this moment, this mother didn’t have any faith to ask Jesus of anything.
The mother thought that his son was gone.
Just like some churches today feel like there is no hope.
She might have felt there's no hope.

But Jesus loved her and felt compassion for her.
In fact, Jesus came here to give her a new life.
So Jesus touched the coffin!
Those who were holding the coffin stood still.
The funeral procession stopped.

Then people were wondering.
But Jesus knew God wanted to turn this funeral procession into a street celebration.
So Jesus said something like this:
“Young man, I say to you, get up!”
The dead man sat up and began to talk.

This is our Jesus:
Jesus raised the dead.
Jesus gives a new life to a person, to a family, to a church, or to a nation.
So when Jesus comes, we have hope.
When Jesus comes, we have new possibilities in life.

But at this moment do you know what Peter was thinking?
I think Peter was thinking:
“How could Jesus do that?
“How did Jesus know that he could raise this young man from the dead?”

Probably, other disciples were asking the same questions.
Why did they ask this question?
Because they were his students.
And Jesus was their teacher.
What's that mean?

They were traveling with Jesus to watch and learn to be like their teacher.
They were studying under him.
That means, they were learning how Jesus solved human problems.
How did Jesus understand their pain and get involved in their life?
They were praying and learning so that one day they might be able to help people like Jesus.

They wanted to learn.
So when Jesus walked on the water, what did Peter want to do?
Peter wanted to walk like Jesus.
Peter thought that he had to, because he was his student.
Peter thought that he was supposed to walk on water when Jesus walked on water.
He was supposed to do what Jesus was doing.
He was supposed to bring people back to life.
He was supposed to turn this kind of funeral procession into a joyful gathering.
He was supposed to turn sorrow into joy like Jesus.

So at this time, the disciples could not simply rejoice like this mother and other people.
They were wondering: how could Jesus do that?
How could we learn this from Jesus?
How can we be like our teacher?

They understood his life would be their lives.
So they were watching as this kind of miracles showed that God approved of Jesus.
But still they were overwhelmed.

But then later they have done what Jesus was doing:
Remember Peter also raised the dead: (Acts 9:36-42)
The book of Acts says that Tabitha has died.
She was a very faithful lady who helped a lot of people.
So some disciples called Peter to come and raise her from the dead.
When Peter got there, he made people all leave the room.
Then he got down on his knees and prayed.
Then he knew what God wanted to do.
So he turned to her body and said:
“Tabitha, get up!”
Then she opened her eyes and looked at Peter and sat up.

In Acts 20:7-12, Paul also raised the dead.
At that time, Paul also knew that God would raise the dead.

They learned from Jesus to do this kind of ministry.
They learned to do what Jesus was doing.

We are learning too, because we are also the students of Jesus.
We are learning how Jesus could do this.
We are watching how Jesus turned this funeral procession into a party.
We are paying attention to what Jesus is saying so that we may also learn to be his disciples.
May this kind of miracles continually happen in our world.

The students of Jesus also learned this lesson:
One time, the students of Jesus wanted to know how to find out why someone was born blind.
But then Jesus was not interested in teaching them why.
Jesus was not interested in pointing the sin of someone else.
Instead, Jesus was interested in showing them how to heal that person.
So Jesus opened his eyes to see.

So his students learned how to think like his students:
Jesus didn't guide them to analyze the problem.
Jesus guided them to solve the problem in God's way.

Jesus didn't guide them to judge or condemn someone.
Jesus didn't guide them to analyze to find out whose fault it is.
Jesus guide them to relax and solve the problem in the name of Jesus.
Jesus was preventing them doing something else instead of healing.

Because of sins, some people may lost health.
Because of sins, some people may die young.
But Jesus is here to save them from their illness.
And he may use us his student to do that.
We may be supposed to do that.
Why are we supposed to do like this?
Because we are his students.
Jesus said:
“Follow me.”
What does it mean?
We are also called to do what Jesus was doing.
We are called to do what his students were doing.

So we read carefully when Jesus raised the young man from the dead.
We read these miracle stories of Jesus.
We read what Jesus had said and done.
We read carefully to know what he is expecting from us.
Then we may know what is possible.

But then one day the disciples saw Jesus suffered and died.
It was scary.
But then his students knew that they would also suffer and die.

Then Jesus raised himself from the dead.
Jesus their teacher rose again and live a new life.
It was a wake-up call.
It was not a joke.
When they saw Jesus being raised from the dead, his student knew that they would be also raised from the dead.
Why?
Because they were his students.
They believed that this was their life.

Now Christians are believing that they could be raised from the dead.
Christians expect this miracles from God.
Because Jesus is the resurrection.

Even though we learn to do what Jesus taught us to do, there are things that we cannot do, even though Jesus has done it.
One example is the ministry of salvation.
Only Jesus the Son of God can receive the punishment of our sins and take away our sins.
Only Jesus could do that.
Why?
Because only Jesus is sinless and because he is the Son of God.
Only Jesus can die to take away our sins on the cross.

Other than those, we can do what Jesus taught us to do.
We can do what Jesus taught his students to do.
So let's learn from Jesus and see what can happen in our lives and in the world.

Even today, God does impossible things to help us to pay attention to Jesus.
God is interested in healing people emotionally, physically, mentally and socially.
God is interested in healing people so that they may be well.
God is even interested in helping those who are hurting God’s heart, because they need God’s help.

So many miracles are happening in the name of Jesus.
Those miracles are pointing people to God.
Those miracles are helping people to rejoice in God and understand God.

God wants to help people in the name of Jesus.
God wants to help people to have faith in Jesus.
God wants people to learn from Jesus.
So we are praying with God.

Today, we read Jesus came to help a family.
Jesus entered into their life and created a miracle.
Jesus entered into their lives and brought a divine wellness.

God is entering into our life in the name of Jesus.
So we welcome God into our life.
We welcome God into our daily life.
God wants to be in it.
God wants to show up.
So we praise God and thank God and worship God, as God is still working today.

At the same time, as the disciples of Jesus, let’s learn what Jesus is expecting from us today.
Let’s learn who God is.
Let’s learn how God wants to work with us.
Let’s learn how to live in the name of Jesus.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, you create miracles in our life.
You are good and do good in our life.
Help us to understand you.
Help us to live obediently.
Help us to show who you are.
Help us to show who you truly are.
Thank you.
We pray in Jesus name.
Amen.