10.29.2016

Luke 19:1-10 (1)

Jesus who asks questions
Reading: Luke 19:1-10

Jesus came to Jericho.
Many people gathered to see who Jesus was.
Then on his way, Jesus healed Bartimaeus to see.
So Bartimaeus was praising God and following Jesus.
And more people came out to see who Jesus was.

Then a chief of tax collectors of Jericho, whose name was Zacchaeus came to see Jesus who opened the eyes of Bartimaeus to see.
Zacchaeus was wealthy and could have been called as a big sinner in Jericho.
No one called him righteous or religious.

Being a short man, he could not even see the face of Jesus, because many people came out to see Jesus.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree and waited for Jesus to come by.

Jesus saw him and came to where he was and said to him:
“Zacchaeus, come down.
I must stay at your house today.”

What was Jesus was saying again?
Jesus was like:
“I must stay at your house today.
God asked me to stay with you today.
God told me you would welcomed me gladly.
God told me you would be saved today.”

People like Jesus never came to his house.
But Zacchaeus would love him and welcome Jesus into his home.
But many people of Jericho didn’t like Zacchaeus who was known as a big sinner who took away their tax money.
People thought that they had to pay more taxes because of him.
So they began to mutter:
“Jesus is the guest of a sinner.”
They could not understand Jesus.
So some people might have turned away because Jesus came to his home.

But Jesus didn’t turn away from Zacchaeus, even though Jesus could hear what they were saying.
Jesus ignored their voice and obeyed God’s voice.
Jesus felt that God was right.

So Jesus openly loved Zacchaeus and spoke blessings upon his life.
Zacchaeus realized that he was waiting for someone like Jesus to love him.
Then Zacchaeus experienced the love of God.

Then during the mealtime, he stood up and said to Jesus:
“Look, Lord!
Here and now I will give half of my possessions to the poor.
And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus didn’t ask for it.
But because Zacchaeus was totally satisfied in the presence of Jesus, he could let go of his money.
He wanted to be a friend of Jesus from now on.
He was hungry for the words of Jesus, not for money anymore.

Jesus drew a very holy person out of Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus was willing to let go of his money so that people would not complain about Jesus for visiting him.

Zacchaeus was like a sponge.
As soon as a sponge touches water, it is filled with water.
As soon as Zacchaeus ate with Jesus, he was filled with the living water who is Jesus.
He understood Jesus and became his student.

So Jesus spoke:
“Today salvation has come to this house, because Zacchaeus, too, is a son of Abraham!
I came to seek and save the lost.”

Zacchaeus changed when Jesus spoke to them.
Jesus changed Zacchaeus to live like God.

The church of Jesus is called to show this kind love of Jesus.
Jesus would try to help his students to extend their hospitality to more people like Zacchaeus.
Jesus may guide his church to follow God’s leading, breaking a social boundaries.
Will all the churches understand and follow Jesus?
Then God can save God’s people through them.
When God’s people forgive people like Zacchaeus, people like Zacchaeus would understand God.
People like Zacchaeus change as the church of Jesus forgives them.
People like Zacchaeus understand Jesus as the church of Jesus welcomes them.

Now I want to think about how Jesus could live like this breaking a social boundary in his generation.
He did something what other religious people might not want to do.
How could Jesus understand that he needs to find his disciples among tax collectors who was nationally hated?
How could Jesus live like this?

Jesus might have questioned every social boundaries in his days:
Instead of following their social norm, Jesus might have asked:
Is this right with God?
Is this what God wants?
What does God say about that?

He might have asked these questions to understand God.
Then as Jesus spent a lot of times with God, he understood God’s way.
As Jesus listened to God, he knew what God wanted.
When Jesus understood God’s will, he obeyed God.
Then he saved the lost today.

What kind of social boundaries do we have today?
We may also need to question about our cultural norm.
We may ask Jesus about our social boundaries.
Then Jesus may guide our thinking so that we may understand God.

I think one of pastors’ roles is to ask questions.
If anyone wants to change anything, that person needs to ask questions.
If anyone wants to explore a new idea, that person needs to ask questions.

The Bible encourages Christians to think, meditate and ponder.
Then we realize a lot of things of God.
We may enter into God's thought more deeply.
Then we may feel God’s joy when we think certain thoughts.
Then we may know what makes God happy.
When we learn to think with God, we may be able to guess what God’s will is.
When we think with God, we find God’s answer for our questions.

In order to help his students think, Jesus asked many questions:
Sometimes, Jesus didn’t give them an answer.
Jesus simply asked them question to think about.
Some of them were rhetorical questions.
Let me share some questions that Jesus asked:
The most important question Jesus asks to everyone is:
Who do people say that I am? (Matt 16:13)
Who do you say that I am? (Matt 16:15)
Or have I been with you for so long and still you do not know me? (John 14:9)

Jesus also asked these questions:
Do you love me? (John 21: 17)

Why were you searching for me? (Luke 2:49)
What are you looking for? (John 1: 38)
What is it you want me to do for you? (Mark 10:36)
What do you want me to do for you? (Matt 20:32)
Do you want to be made well? (John 5:6)
Do you believe I can do this? (Matt 9:28)
Do you believe this? (John 11:26)
When I return, will I find any faith on earth? (Luke 18:8)

Why are you afraid? (Matthew 8:26)
Why did you doubt? (Matt 14:31)
Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25)
Why are you anxious about clothes? (Matt 6:28)
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? (Matt 6:27)
If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:26)
O faithless and perverse generation how long must I endure you? (Matt 17:17)

Do you not yet understand? (Matt 16:8)
Are even you likewise without understanding? (Mark 7:18)
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and still not see? Ears and not hear? (Mark 8:17-18)

After washing the feet of his students, Jesus asked:
Do you realize what I have done for you? (John 13:12)
Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you? (Luke 6: 46)

If you greet your brethren only, what is unusual about that?
Do not those who don’t know me do the same? (Matt 5:47)

Will not God secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? (Luke 18:7)
Will you lay down your life for me? (John 13: 38)

Jesus asked many questions to guide them.
Why did Jesus ask these questions?
Jesus wants them to think and learn.
Following Jesus was not enough.
His students must think, and learn from their experience with Jesus.
If they think, they may realize what God is teaching them.

So in our faith journey, God may ask questions:
Even before I became an ordained pastor, I felt God asked me this question sometimes.
If I was not taking care of God’s people, I felt God saying:
You are a pastor?
Are you a pastor?
God cares about me.
So God wants me to pray for them.
So I guess when I was not sure about who I am, God asked to challenge me:
Are you a pastor?
So I prayed for them at least.

Does God also ask you?
Are you a Christian?
Are you a child of God?
Are you a minister of God?

For our faith journey, we may also ask God our questions.
We ask questions to know God’s will.
Then we may hear or find God’s answer.
If you don’t have faith, you may hesitate to ask questions.
But when we study the Bible, we have many questions to ask of God.
Asking good and honest questions is important for our spiritual growth.

Yes, if we have faith, we ask questions and wait, because we know God will answer.
Then we will know God really answers.
When we learn from God like that, we may have a greater faith.
When we find an answer like this, it stay with us longer.
So ask questions in faith.
God is able to answer.
Ask honest questions.
Ask good questions.
Then you will have good and honest answers from God.

Some of you know on Friday, when someone asks me a question, sometimes, I ask them back or share that question with the group, because I want people to think.
Then we together can learn through our conversation.

If we give them our answer right away, it would be like giving a fish.
But if we help them to think, it would be like teaching them to catch fish.
Then when people learn to think and know how to think, they find many answers alone.
They could learn to think in God’s way:
They could realize God’s will.
Then as they think, they may understand God.

So if you want to help others, even when you can give your answer, ask a honest and good questions and give them a chance to think.
You may find some people wait for someone to ask them questions to get to know them.
Sometimes one of best gifts that we can give to someone is our listening ears.
Let them talk and think and learn.
Wait and pray for them as they struggle with those questions.
Then people think and learn.
Understanding comes to those who think.

But people may may make mistakes in their thinking.
They may ponder some unhealthy thoughts.
So we listen to them and guide them.
We also encourage people to read the story of Jesus:
They need to compare their thoughts with the words of Jesus.
They need to taste with the thoughts of Jesus.
Then they may remove their lack of soundness in thinking.
They may learn to think without losing their holiness that Jesus produces in them.

So as we study the story of Jesus, we think better for God.
We may discern God’s will and follow God’s thought.
We may have good faith and good understanding.

We read the story of Jesus in order to think better and understand better.
In this way, we are guided to think and discern better.
When we understand better, we have a better life.
So we need to sit down and think with the story of Jesus.

Lastly, in order to follow Jesus, we may also ask these two sets of questions.
The first set of questions is negative and the second set of questions is positive.
When I want to discern what God has been doing in my life, I ask myself these questions.
Let’s think about these questions:

For what moment are you least grateful?
When do you give and receive the least love?
When do you feel like you lose the power of life?
When were you I sad?
What was the worst part of your life?
What was the low point in your life?
When do you have the least sense of belonging to God?
Why?

For what moment in your life, are you grateful?
When do you give and receive love?
When do you feel alive?
When were you happy or joyous or peaceful?
What was the best part of your life?
What was the high point in your life?
When do you have the great sense of belonging to God?
Why?

We may ignore various signs and signals that God sends each day.
But God may give you a sense of joy and peace.
And your intuition and emotion are noticing and feel good when you follow Jesus.
So as you answer these questions, you may find God’s activities in your lives and notice more of God’s hope for your life.
Then you may realize how practically God has been loving you.
Hope this help you discern God’s thoughts and God’s way.
Hope those questions may help you follow God.
Or I hope that you have a good set of questions to discern God’s will.

Anyway, let’s ask questions to know God and let’s ask questions so that people may find God.
And wait for an answer from God and wait for others to discover God’s answer while they think.
Let’s pray for each other and wait for each other as we find God’s answer for our lives.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to think and learn what you teach.
Protect our thoughts.
Help us to see our lives through your eyes so that we can see what God is doing in our life.
Thank you.
In your name, we pray.
Amen

10.22.2016

Luke 18:9–14 (1)

ppt

When we repent, God forgives and welcomes us
Reading: Luke 18:9–14
Additional reading: 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18
Hymns: 464, 293, 324
Blanks: pray, mercy, justified, humble

Jesus told a story today.
The story goes like this:
Two persons came to the church and prayed.
One was a very religious person who was expected to be seen in church.
The other was a tax-collector who was not expected to be seen in church.
But then as they prayed to God, we learned what kind of prayer God wanted.

First let’s learn about the proud religious person who came to church.
He was trying to serve God with various activities.
He worked hard and kept many religious traditions.

But he was not serving God with his heart.
His heart was far from God.
He didn’t agree the fact that God examined his heart.
So he allowed unforgiveness, hate, greed, pride and bitterness to fill his heart.
Various unclean thoughts filled his heart.
Then he despised others and judged others.

This must be the heart of the older brother of the prodigal.
This kind of person judged others even in God’s house.
This kind of person convinced sinners that God would not forgive them.

So if anyone want to repent before God, that person should not meet this man but meet the Father of the prodigal son.
When we meet God of the prodigal, we know God forgives us.
We know God restores us to be the sons and daughters of God.
And we are thankful.

But the religious man stood up and prayed:
“God, I thank you that I am not like other people.
I fast twice a week.
I give 10 percent of all my income to the church.
I didn’t steal.
I was not adulterous.
I am not like this tax collector.
Thank you that I am not like those people.”

This prayer shows that this man has not met God lately in his religious activities.
He just felt righteous, because he checked his religious checklists which was difficult.
But so he was stressed out finishing his religious duties.
Then, he felt tired and became a mean person.
Then he started judging others who didn’t do their religious stuff.
Anyway, his practicing of religion didn’t help him to be kind to others.

So even in his prayer, he judged and condemned those whom God loves.
Even in church, he would not want to have any relationship with people like this tax collector.
Instead, he complained about people like tax collectors whom God loves.
He was hurting them even through his prayer.
He was hurting their feeling because he didn’t understand God.

God was not happy and turned his face away from him.
But then God might have said something like this to him before:
“When have you helped the poor?
When have you comforted the weak?
When have you shared your food with the hungry?
Look. You don’t love them, because you are not in me.
Also you cannot judge others in my church.
When you judge others, I would not accept your prayer.
Do not deceive yourself.
Don’t pretend that you know me.
You don’t know me.
We have not met lately.
I want your heart to worship me.
I am interested in your hearts.
So I want you to bless sinners and those who need your help.
I want you to stand up for the despised.
Love them and pray for them.
Be kind to them.
Then I will answer when you call me.”

No one is righteous without God’s help.
Only by the grace of God we are righteous.
Without God, we are sinners even in our best effort.
We consciously or unconsciously twisted and turned the truth.
My best effort is not sinless if God does not help me.
When we are found in Jesus, God calls us righteous, because of Jesus.
May we understand God’s heart.

So we may think about our spiritual life.
Is our spiritual life stressful?
So am I mad at those who don’t live like me?
Am I judging other people instead of praying for them?

Is there someone does not come near us because they feel that we are judging them and condemning them?
I hope that I am not becoming the older brother of the prodigal.
I pray that people may not be nervous around me.
May we pray and wait for sinners to grow in God.
May our spiritual life free us and relax us so that we be kind to sinners even when we don’t understand them.

Now there was the tax-collector.
He was cheating people at his job.
People knew that he was a dishonest person.
He was lying to get more taxes from people so that he might get some income and profit for his service.
Even though people knew this, they had to pay the tax.
So, people didn’t like him.

The tax-collector came to church to pray.
He understood the holiness of God.
So he was struggling before the holy God.
He knew he was a sinner before God.
But he wanted to ask God to help him and his life.
But the religious person was judging him with his loud voice.

So he was beating his chest and said:
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

This simple prayer touched the very heart of God, as it came from his heart.
Then God did what he asked.
God forgave him.
God of the prodigal son didn’t punish him but honored him and loved him.

God was like:
“I know. I know.
I don’t judge you.
I forgive you and free you from your guilt.
I love you.
You are my son.
You are forgiven.”

God welcomes the prodigal sons and daughters.
God loves the humble prayer of sinners.
God is kind to them.
God renews them and redeems them and helps them to live as the son or daughter of God.

But even after God said this, this man’s heart might still condemn him.
He might wonder:
“How could God love me, accept me and call me righteous?
How could God gives another chance to someone like me?”

Then Jesus might have said:
“Don’t worry.
God forgave you.
God’s grace and mercy is greater than what your heart can feel or imagine.
God is more right than your heart.
Don’t worry even though your heart still judges you.
Come to God more often so that your heart may accept this truth:
God has forgiven you.”

Is our God kind to people like this?
Does my God love people like this?
Do we understand this God?

Or does this sound unfair?
The religious person gave more money to the church.
The religious person had done more for the church.
But God judges him as he judges others.
God would forgive him if he forgives others.

Now we could imagine this kind of scenario.
The tax collector became a disciple of Jesus.
Then he became a faithful disciple of Jesus and felt that he is righteous.
As he felt he was righteous, he might start to judge others.
Then strangely he would become far away from Jesus.

He needed to remember who he was without God.
He needed to remember what God’s love has accomplished in him.
Then he may forgive and pray for those who are not like him.
He may pray for people and love people instead of judging them.
He may bless them and pray for them.
Then he may become a channel of God’s love.
God’s blessings may come through him.
We understand God is like this.

Also if the religious person understood this God, he might pray like this:
“God, I didn’t know you.
I misunderstood you.
Forgive me.
I have not helped the poor.
Instead I judged them and pretended that I was more righteous than others.
I hated those whom you love.
I didn’t love those whom you love.
Forgive my sins.
Have mercy on me a sinner.
Change my heart.
Heal my heart.
Help me to understand you and love you.
Help me to love people and pray for them.”

If the religious repented, God would forgive him, just like God forgave the tax collector, when he repented.
God loves the tax collector and the religious.
God loves all.

We cannot understand this God:
God hates sins but loves sinners.
How can we explain this God?
I cannot understand the heart of God.
We cannot understand God who gives away God’s Son to forgive our sins.
We cannot understand the Son of God who died to take away our sins.

So because we want to understand this God, we say God is love.
We say God is kindness.
We say God is forgiveness.
God forgives us because God is forgiveness.
God is good to us because God is good.
God loves us, because God is love.
God cannot help but to love.
So we cannot follow Jesus without forgiving and reconciling.
As God welcomes us into the kingdom of God, we need to remember that God forgives and frees other people as well.
When we accept God’s forgiveness, we must forgive, as God helps people to repent and be forgiven.

God loves when sinners pour our their broken and repenting hearts.
We may also repent with them and ask God’s forgiveness.
Then God may ask us to open our heart to God even though God already sees what's in our heart.
When we see ourselves in the eyes of God, we truly see who we are.
Then we may surrender and allow God to come and clean our hearts.
Then God change our heart.

When we repent, we also feel really good.
We feel free from sins.
We will experience freedom in our hearts.
We feel God’s welcoming love.
When we experience this God's unconditional love, we change.
We slowly change as we experience God’s healing power.
And we live together with God.
We may see clearly and serve God as God wants us to serve.
We may welcome each other, sinners and strangers.
Then we will welcome all people.
Then we may live in an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation.
This is something beautiful.
Only God’s love can accomplish this.
May God guide and save us.
May Jesus help us to live like God.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, we humbly come to you.
We surrender our life to you.
May you forgive our sins.
May you change our hearts so that we may also forgive your people.
May we welcome people whoever they are without judging them.
May we grow together in Jesus name.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen.


10.15.2016

Luke 18:1-8 (1)

ppt

Pray for what is right and never give up
Reading: Luke 18:1-8
Blanks: pray, keeps, justice, quickly
Prop: papers and pens
Words: justice, judge, just, unjust

Jesus helped his students to understand God and understand God’s way.
Then Jesus asked them to pray.
The more they understand God, the easier God can answer them.

Then today Jesus told this kind of story.
You know this story.
The story goes like this:

There was a judge.
His job was to bring justice to town.
So he needed to listen to people and find out how to bring justice to town.
In this way, he needed to protect the rights of people.

But then he got really tired of his job.
He didn’t really want to help anyone.
He didn’t care about anybody anymore.
He became a mean and awful human being.

Then a widow came to him.
I assume after she lost her husband, someone might have forced her out of her land and treated her unfairly.
So she asked the judge to help her.

But the judge didn’t even want to listen to her.
The judge was like:
“I am busy, lady. Go away.
Bye.
I don’t have time for this.”

But the next day, she came back.
She explained that she was unfairly treated.
But the judge was like:
“Didn’t I tell you yesterday, I don’t have time for this?
Now get out of here.”

The next day, she came back and begged for her justice.
But the judge was yelling at her:
“Didn’t I tell you I have no time for this!!!”
Then he complained about his life.
He never even thought about helping her.

But the next day, she came back.
She was asking for what was right for her.
She believed that this wicked judge could help her.
He put her hope back in this man and would not give up.
So she came back.
She came boldly, shamelessly and courageously.
Her courage overpowered any insecurity or fear about this man.

Who prays like this?
Who prays believing that God would help them like this?
Who prays as if their life depends on God?
Who prays without giving up after a couple of tries?

How many people may say:
“I prayed before but nothing happened.
Why should I pray now?
God must be very busy doing something else.
Why should I bother God?”

Or some may say:
“Pray?
Will anything happen because I pray?
Will God listen to me?”

Jesus is asking us to pray continually.
When we pray continually, God will answer.
Yes, sometimes for some reason, it may take some time for God to answer our prayer.
Or we could be the reason.
We may need to change or understand more of God.
We may be not blessable yet, because we don’t really love God, but try to use God.

So as we pray, God will also change us.
God will guide us to become new.
Then we may meet new people and go new places.

Back to the story, the lady came back again and again.
Then the judge ran away.
He said to himself:
“I don’t fear anybody.
But I cannot handle this lady.
I am exhausted.
She is bothering me too much.”

Who prays like this lady?
Who prays as if their life depends on God?
Who prays without giving up after a couple of tries?

So this judge listened to her story and gave an order so that she could get her justice.
Then she became thankful.

After telling this kind of story, Jesus said something like this:
“Yes! This wicked judge gave what she was asking.
Why do you think that this judge listens to her?”

“And what do you think God will do, if you pray like that?
Do you think God will act for you?
Yes, God will make sure that you get your justice.
So pray like your life depends on God.
God loves to answer.”

Jesus is asking us to pray.
We have been learning about God.
We have been getting to know God whom we pray to.
When we understand God, we know what to expect from God.
Then when we pray, we always experience God answers our prayer.
Then we may understand God even more.
So Jesus asks us to pray more.

Now this church has been in this area for 33 years.
We have been praying for 33 years.
Now we want to know God’s plan for next year.
We want to listen to God and do what God wants here.
What does God want here?

God wants us to pray, because God has a great plan for this area.
God wants us to pray and ask for what God has prepared for us.

So for a while, I just want us to pray.
Do nothing but pray.
And see what God does in God’s time.
If we want to change someone, we don’t talk about him or her.
But we only pray for them.
We want to see what if we do nothing but pray.
We may offer one hour of prayer to God every day.
If we could not offer one chunk of hour, we may offer various 10 minute or 20 minute to offer one hour of prayer.

There we may begin.
When we pray, something changes in a spiritual realm.
Then God changes this area and the world.
Then God helps missionaries through us.
Then God helps the Korean elderly in this area.

God will guide the direction of our church.
Then God may asks us to do something.
God may guide us to do what God asks us to do.

So let me make an example to see what would happen when we follow God’s lead.
Let’s say as we pray, God asks us to help the Korean elderly in this area.
So we think about how to serve them.
Then what would happen?
God may give us some idea.
We may also have some idea.
Then we may discuss to know which is God’s idea.
In the beginning, we may be not sure about that.
So we pray and think about those ideas.
We pray and discern to know God’s will.

Then we will know what God wants to do.
Then we may become clear about what God wants.
Then we pray accordingly.

Then we move slowly with God.
As we think and pray, we continually do what God asks us.
Then we may eventually know how to help the elderly.
In this way, we may also grow spiritually.
We may learn more about God.

Then God will make our service move smoothly.
We may slowly make our service better as we pray and think.
We may improve our service according to God’s good will.

But when we serve God, we may also think about this.
In the Bible, we see those who were chosen to serve God.
When they did God’s will, God gave them success.
But when they did something without praying about that or when they did something according to their sinful hearts, they experienced various defeat and failure. 1 Chronicles 21.
Because of their disobedience some of them were totally destroyed.
God chose them to bless them and do God’s will.
But they worried about something that was not important.
Then they made this kind of mistakes.
Because they didn’t know God’s will, they made worse instead of improving.

So we need to continually watch and pray.
We always need to know God’s will.
We want our God to guide us.
So as we serve God, we need to value our praying time.
We need to think and contemplate more than just doing something.

We serve Almighty God.
God has all the power.
God can do something great.
God can bless us, more than we ever experience.
So we want to listen to God, and obey.
We want to do only what God asks us.

Today Jesus asks us to pray continually.
When we continually pray, we receive what is right for us.

But sometimes, we forget to pray.
We may forget about what we need to pray for.
So, we may need to remind us about prayer.

When I just became a Christian, I was taught to build up my own prayer list.
So I try to make my own prayer list and try to pray continually.
When God answers my prayer, I mark it and thank God.
And I know that God really listens to our prayer.

Then I was suggested to write down only names that I want to pray for continually.
I looked at those names and prayed.
In the past, I prayed:
“God, help this person learn more of you.
Help them to understand you.
Be with them.
Keep them safe.
Let them know you.
Let them understand you.”

But sometimes, when I prayed like that, God helped me to pray in a specific way.
Then my prayer was answered.

For example, in the past, when I pray with my old list, suddenly I thought this particular person could be a good missionary.
So I pray according to this impression.
It think God guided me to pray like that.
Then she became a missionary.

God guides us to pray and answer our prayer.
As we pray, God may guide us pray according to his will.
So if we pray, our life can be very different.

I also learn to write my prayer journal when I want to know God’s will.
Then I can think about what I am praying.
Sometimes, I wrote my questions to God.
Then when I feel God is saying something, then I wrote down God’s possible answer.
Then I think about what God is saying or guiding me.
Then I may hear God better.

Also as I read the story of Jesus, sometimes I stop and pray.
Or I wrote down what God seems saying to me.
I can not be 100% sure.
But sometimes, I am more sure because I feel a very calming peace as I hear that words.

Anyway, my reading makes me think and pray.
My readings helps me receive the faith of Jesus Christ.
Then I can pray for something that I have not prayed before.
I pray because now I have faith.

In order to discern God’s will in my life, sometimes, I also write my answers to these questions:
What did I enjoy in these days?
What have I learned?
What did I notice?
What feelings am I aware of?
What feelings did I experience in my days?
For which experiences am I grateful?
How was Jesus present to me?
In what ways, was Jesus trying to communicate with me?
Is Jesus calling me to an action?

Then I may know what Jesus may have been saying to me.

I don’t know what method is better for you.
But I hope that you learn to pray.
You may write down your prayer.
You may write down the names that you want to pray for.
Or you may pray calling various names you remember.
You may relax and wait for God to speak to you, since prayer is listening.

If you pray according to God’s plan, God accomplishes according to what you pray.
So your prayer really help people around you.
It may take some time.
But God will show you when God has answered your prayer.

I pray that we become a praying church.
We pray for our family, friend, people of this area, Korea, USA and the world.
Then we are become God’s partner on earth.
We also pray for whoever comes here.
We don’t judge them.
We just pray for them regularly.
Then we will see that they change for God.
We will also change for God.
Then God will be very happy as God’s will is accomplished right here.
And we will experience God more.
Then when we have the faith of Jesus Christ, we may pray and live according to God’s great plan for us.

Let’s pray:
Thank you Jesus for your presence in our life.
Help us to understand that you are in us and we are in you.
Thank you for giving us a wonderful life.

Jesus, we offer various names that we remember.
Be with them so that they may also live your life on earth.
We pray this in your name.
Amen.

10.08.2016

Luke 17:11-19 (1)

ppt


How to discern God’s will
Reading: Luke 17:11-19

Today, we have some medicines to cure leprosy.
But two thousand years ago in Israel, people didn’t know what to do with this skin disease and how to cure this disease.
So they were very fearful of leprosy.
They didn’t allow any leper to come near them.
So lepers lived in their own hut with other lepers far away from towns.

But it seemed that they somehow talked with those who were not lepers.
They might have obtained food from them.
Then one Samaritan leper heard about Jesus who is curing all kinds of diseases.
This Samaritan man also heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
So this Samaritan man convinced his 9 Jewish leper friends to come to Jesus.
He might have said:
“Come with me.
I am sure that Jesus could cure us.
We will be healed!
Common, let’s go!”

Then they waited near the border between Samaria and Galilee where Jesus might pass them by.
When they saw Jesus, they didn’t come near but shouted in a loud voice:
“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

But then Jesus said something strange to them at this time:
“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

In another day, Jesus touched a leper and said:
"Be clean!"
Like this Jesus healed him.

But for some reason, for this time Jesus didn't touch them.
Jesus didn’t pray for them.
Jesus didn't rebuke and command leprosy to leave them.
Jesus didn't do anything to cure their diseases.
But Jesus simply said:
“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

Why?
Because Jesus knew what God wanted to do in this case.
Jesus knew God’s intention.

Jesus has a good relationship with God.
So when Jesus healed people, Jesus discerned God’s will.
Then Jesus healed people differently at times.
Jesus heals each person in God’s way so that we understand God.
So Jesus said:
“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

We know in those days, at the temple, there were Jewish priests who were supposed to examine when lepers were cured.
When they found that they were cured, these priests were supposed to say:
“You are cured!
Go and live among people.”

I assumed for many days, the priest might have never examined anybody.
I am not sure whether they remembered how to examine skin diseases.
They might have not believed that they were lepers before.

Besides, one of them were Samaritan.
His Jewish friends might need to go to their Jewish priest.
But the Jewish priests might refuse to examine this Samaritan man.

So the Samaritan man might have wondered:
“Why did Jesus said ‘Go and show yourselves to the Jewish priests’?
What was his intention?”

But the Samaritan man obeyed Jesus.
Then lo and behold, on their way to the priests, they were all cured, because they obeyed what Jesus said.

Then the Samaritan man might have thought:
What shall I do now?
Shall I still need to go and see the Jewish priest?
Shall I go to my Samaritan village?
Shall I come to Jesus and worship him?

Then the Samaritan felt what the will of God was for him.
He felt something in his heart.
Joy and peace guided him to come to Jesus.
His heart was telling him:
“Go back to Jesus who healed you.
Share your joy with Jesus.
Express your gratitude and praise him!
Celebrate with him!”
So the Samaritan man understood God’s will and came back.

So he came back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice.
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.
The Samaritan man was so happy to praise to Jesus.
God seemed to speak to his heart:
“You understood what I wanted for you.
Thank you for coming to praise Jesus who is God.”

So Jesus said to him:
“Rise and go.
Your faith has made you well.”

But his 9 other Jewish friends didn’t come back.
God was also asking them to come and praise Jesus.
God wanted them to rejoice with Jesus.
God wanted to receive praise through Jesus.
So Jesus was waiting.
God asked Jesus to wait so that he could help them.

Then Jesus was like:
“Where are the other nine?
They were also cured.
Why don’t they come and give praise to God?”

They were cured but didn’t come to worship Jesus.
They might not have faith in Jesus.
They didn’t understand why Jesus could cure them.
Then they didn’t expect more from Jesus.

So they might have went to see the priests at the temple.
They might have praised God in the temple even though God was waiting for them to come to Jesus.
God made the temple and priesthood to explain who Jesus is.
If they came back, since Jesus was also on his way to Jerusalem, they could have walked together with Jesus to see priests.
Then they might have been the students of Jesus.

But they didn’t know God.
They didn’t understand God’s will for them.
They didn’t follow God’s plan but went to their own life.

Our healing is not the end goal.
Our healing is supposed to guide us into the presence of Jesus.
That is what God wants here.

Jesus heals us and wants to have a relationship with us and walk with us.
If we understand Jesus and his way, we may worship him in his presence.

When we understand, we may sing songs to God and worship God in God’s way.
Then God would love to listen to our song.
God who is alive will listen to us and notice our worship.
Then even when we are alone, we can sing some praise to God.
God would love to listen to our song.

Now let’s talk about how to discern God’s will.
Let’s think about how we may feel when we follow God’s will.
If we choose the path that God wants us to walk on, we may feel like these.
Let me give these lists of feelings that you may have:

When we discern God’s will and move along with the Holy Spirit, we may feel that God is with us:
We may feel good and peaceful.
We may feel grateful and joy.
We may feel free and satisfied.
We may feel that our life situation is right for us.
So we may become generous, faithful and loving. (Galatians 5:22-23)

But if we chose wrong paths because we don’t know the will of God or how to move along with the Holy Spirit, we may feel bad and separated from God.

Then if we follow the wrong paths for a long time, we may feel like these:
We may feel separated from Jesus and from God’s people
We may feel bored, sad, discouraged and becoming someone else.
We may feel we are everywhere and nowhere.
We may become fearful, afraid, anxious, grumpy and complaining
We may be busy but accomplish almost nothing.
We may realize that our choice is killing us. We don’t feel joy.
We cannot receive love. We cannot love. We are not ready.
We don't care about others.
We close up.
We are not creative
We may becoming unwise, because our brain has too much stress.
Then we get easily tired and annoyed.
We may get easily upset and engaged in a silly argument.
We may get easily addicted to something because we want to forget about what we are experiencing.
We may watch TV for a long time.
People may not give us good feedback saying: “good job. nice work.”
We may become competitive, when you don’t need to do.
We may be not cooperative.
We may want what others have.
We may feel alone and lonely.
We may feel life is too difficult.
We are confused, having many thoughts.
We worry about things. (You may feel like this when you are about to do something new, even though it is God’s will. Then through prayer, you may move to the state of peacefulness.)
We could not be humble.
We may feel pain in your body: e.g., back pain.
Our body may become weak and easily get hurt.

When we feel like these, we may need to return to God.
We need to humble ourselves and return to God.
We need to remember our first love with God
We need to love God back.
We need to remember what God has been speaking to us.
We may write down God’s will that we know.
Then we try to do something that God has been asking us.
We do something according to our calling.
God will help us.
We can begin anew with God.

Then as we choose God’s will and do what is right in God, we may feel connected to Jesus and our neighbors.
We may feel moving toward God and serving God
We may feel we are with God, whether we are busy or not.
We may feel lightness, and freedom.
We may feel inspired.
We may be creative and have good ideas.
We feel that God gives us faith, hope, and love.
We feel courage and strength coming from God.
We feel our choice is life-giving.
We listen to God, then plan and work.
We become humble and serve others.
We give and receive love.
We experience divine coincidences.
Things seem to go well and people don't insist on their way.
As we use our gifts, people may thank God and even say to us: “Good job! Great work.”
You feel “God works through you.”
You are deeply thankful and amazed.
You feel God is saying:
“I have created you for this.
I have led you to this place where you are supposed to be.
You are doing exactly what you are meant to do.”
You feel like you have found what you have been looking for.

When we choose to do the will of God, Jesus guides us and give us various gentle pushes like these so that we may continually obey the will of God.
Then as we proceed with God’s plan, we may find ourselves smiling and having a genuine peace from God.

So when you make each decision, think about this.
When you want to do something, ask these questions to yourself:
As you move on with your decision, ask:

Does the peace of Jesus remain in my heart?
Does God open the doors for me to follow Jesus?
Does it seem right to me and Jesus?
Does the decision continue to be acceptable to me and Jesus?
Does the choice energize me?
Does the course flow freely and smoothly?
Does my choice have the closest connection with my personal history with Jesus?
Does God strengthen me and give faith to proceed?
Do I have the courage to proceed?
Do people know me support this?
Do others who know me well confirm the decision?
Does it further and strengthen my commitments to my friends and family?

We make many decisions for our lives.
We need to choose a college to go to; buy books, cars, or houses; choose new jobs for our life.
In those days, we may think about these questions.
Then we may be able to do what God wants us to do.
God loves to guide us to live a wonderful life.
May we follow his leading.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for helping me making good choices.
We want to sense God's leading and make good choices for God.
Help us to discern your will well and obey.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen

10.01.2016

Luke 17:1–10 (1)

ppt

We cannot serve God if we don’t understand God
Reading: Luke 17:1–10
Additional readings: 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Isaiah 55: 9-11

Jesus Christ often says to his students:
“Have faith.
Because with God, all things are possible.”

Do you know what it's like to have faith?
Were you able to do things because you have faith?

When I just became a Christian, I didn’t know what Jesus is saying here.
I could not understand the word “faith.”
You know, I was not familiar with that word.

But at that time since I was a young Christian, God really helped me.
I knew that God is with me and loves me.
So slowly I learn to have faith.

But when I experienced faith, I felt like it was like understanding.
I understood what God would do.
I understood God would do things because God loves me and people.
I had no doubt about that.
I just knew.
I had faith.
Then I experienced what other people said impossible.

I'm sure you experienced something like that.
When we understand God, we have the faith of Jesus.
Then we know what will happen.
We just know.
We just know God’s will will be done.

Jesus is God who is powerful.
God can do great works.
So when we understand, we pray in God’s faith.
Then God can do beautiful works.

But if we don’t have faith, we don’t pray.
We don’t forgive others.
We don’t obey God.

So let’s think about how we we have faith:
When we pray through the Bible, then we understand God.
We understand who God is.
We understand what God can do.
So we start thinking in faith.
We love God and wait for God’s words.

Then when God says, we believe.
When God gives us his words of blessings, we believe.
We know that God can accomplish that.

When we pray, we also experience that the faith of Jesus coming to us.
Then we pray according to God’s will.
We pray to follow Christ.
We speak in faith because we believe in Christ Jesus.
We may speak in faith for others as well.
Then God will help other people as well.

When we have faith, we live very thankfully because the Holy Spirit does all the works.
We go some places because the Holy Spirit guides us.
We do things as the Holy Spirit helps us.

But then there are those who doubt about what God says.
Even when God says “I will bless you,” they doubt.
And sometimes their doubts win.

Also there are those who add doubts in people’s mind.
As they speak, they may reduce your faith.
The more that person speaks, the more you disbelieve God.
So you may not want to be with them very long.

I also have some people like that.
When I talk with them, I get upset inside.
The more they talk, the more they attack my faith.
Probably they don’t know.
For them everything is hard to achieve.
For them everything is difficult to do.
So it seems that things happen according to their faith.
Because they do not have faith, they work harder and try harder.
But because they do not have faith, they could not accomplish much.
Have you talked with people that?
They may not even know what they are doing.

I confessed I was like that when I was in seminary, as I read many books that discourage faith.
It almost destroyed my faith.

Before I went to seminary, I pray for healing.
I understood that Jesus healed people.
So sometimes, people got healed.

When I read about Jesus healing many people, I believed:
Sometimes, Jesus said:
“Your faith has healed you!”
Then many people got healed.
I believe that.

When Jesus faced the stormy sea and the stormy winds, Jesus simply said:
“Be calm. Be still.”
Then the winds stopped.
And the storm was gone.
I believe that.
I believe that Jesus can do miracles.

But when I read those books that discourage faith, I found myself start doubting.

Then when Jesus asked, "Where is your faith?”
Then I might have said: Where was my faith?

Without faith, nothing goes well.
So I wanted to know how to have faith again.

But then there is also those who have a wishful thinking.
Wishful thoughts do not have power yet.
When we bring our wishful thoughts to God and see what God says about that, then we may have faith along with God’s words.

I pray for someone who always dreams for himself.
He is smart and wants to make his name known.
But I am not sure how much this person understand God.
Without understanding God, he might not be able to progress very much.

God works through those who understand God.
When we understand God, we may move on with God’s words.
Then we can do good works because God is able to help us.

So when we discover something is God’s will, we have faith.
We know what God will do.
So when we understand God’s will, we move forward.
We experience God’s abundance in our life.
We follow Jesus.

Jesus is powerful.
Jesus is God who can do great works.
So we need to understand him.
Then we may pray and receive God’s faith.
Then God can do beautiful works.

Today, Jesus seems asking:
"Where is your faith?
Do you understand God?”
May Jesus help us.
May we understand God and believe that we can do what Jesus is doing.

One time the students of Jesus felt they had some sort of faith.
So they came to Jesus and asked:
“Jesus, forgive our unbelief.
Can you increase our faith?”

Then Jesus was like: (Luke 17:6)
“If you have faith, as small as a seed, you can command this mulberry tree to be uprooted and plant itself in the sea.
And it will obey you.”

Jesus was like:
If we have faith, we can speak in faith.
If we have faith, we can command the world around.
If we have faith, we may say, “Let here be God’s revival!”
Then it will happen.

But those who have no faith will say:
“Well, now, hold on, Jesus.
Don’t be silly.
If you want to move a tree, you gotta dig and uproot it.
Put it on a truck.
Drive into the sea and plant it there.
If you don’t want to do that, you can hire someone else to do it for you.
That is how you get it done.”

That is how we think when we have no faith.
We try to do it.
We try to make it happen, because we don’t have faith.
So it is more difficult to live without faith.

But then some may say:
“Right, Jesus.
That would be nice.
I mean today we command the tree to be moved.
Then tomorrow we find out that someone has moved the tree.
We may not know who did it.
But the tree is moved.
That would be great.”

Well, yeah, we may want someone else to do that.
We may not want to know how exactly it happens.
We may just want to know someone else has figured that out.

But that is not the faith that Jesus is talking about here.
Jesus is talking about something more, isn’t he?
He is talking about moving a tree by faith.
How???
By speaking to it.

Did Jesus really mean that?
Jesus means it.
Think about how Jesus lives:
When Jesus wanted to calm the wind, wave and storm, Jesus spoke to it in faith.
Then the wind and the waves obeyed him.

When Jesus healed the paralytic, Jesus said:
“Pick up your mat and walk.”
The the paralytic walked.

With faith, Jesus turned the water into wine.
With faith, Jesus walked on water.

So when Jesus moves a tree, he would not hire someone to dig and uproot a tree.
He would speak God’s words.
Jesus would use the word of faith.
Then his word will accomplish what he says.

So Jesus is saying to is students:
“Speak what you believe in faith.
It will happen.
Speak in faith and see what happens.”

But if we don't have faith, we may need to work harder.
Then Jesus may also have to put up with our unbelief.
We may drag Jesus down.
So Jesus may feel like saying:
“It is really difficult to work with you because you don't have faith to walk with me.”

We know that the faith work positively and negatively:
You know this already.
So we say:
“Be careful what you wish for.
You just might get it.”

We say these words, because some of us wish for something and we got exactly that.
We experience something like that in our life.

Another proof that the faith works is placebo effect.
What is placebo?
It is like this.
A doctor gives a pill to a patient, saying:
“This will cure you.”
Then the patient believes it and gets cured, even though it is just a sugar pill.
Things happen according to our faith.

A documentary film said that there was a research done to 4 different knee patients.
They were told that two of them would get fake surgeries.
After two years, they would announce who got the fake surgery.

But interestingly every patient got healed.
Everyone thought that they got the real surgery.

But two years later, two of them were told that they got fake surgeries.
They were surprised, because they felt so much better after the surgeries.
They could walk a long walk.
They were playing basketball with grandchildren.
But they were healed by a placebo effect rather than surgery.
They were healed because they believed.

So do we believe in God?
Do you believe in God?
Do I believe in God?
Things has been happening according to our faith.

So we know why Jesus wants us to speak in faith.
When we speak in faith, we will work easily with Jesus.
That is why God wants us to live with the faith of Jesus the Christ.
God wants that we use our words in faith in order to live with Jesus.

So let’s speak in faith.
Then it will happen.
We can speak in faith if we understand God.
Then it will happen.

Let’s speak in faith:
God renews us, uses us and blesses us.
God will accomplish God’s will through this church.
God blesses this Albany area through this church.
God will use this church to bless over 10,000 people.
We are God’s church.

If you do not have this kind of faith, be quiet so that those who have faith may speak.
Let the words of Jesus work here.
Then things will happen.

Jesus says:
With God, all things are possible.
So if we understand God and speak in faith, it happens.
If we speak in faith for God, God’s desire is accomplished on earth.
If we understand the faith of Jesus Christ, we can live like Jesus.
If we understand God, various things and coincidences will happen into our path.
If we understand God, we will have new ideas and thoughts coming from God.
When we have faith, we can serve God and people.
When we get closer to God and have faith, we may join in God’s movement.
Then we may serve the world through our faith.
That is what God wants.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to understand you and why we are here.
Help us to speak in faith and live in faith.
In Jesus name we pray.
Amen